Home Nerd Culture How To Quickly Start A Men Vs Women War in Gaming Threads

How To Quickly Start A Men Vs Women War in Gaming Threads

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Siobhan Reddy GameReactor

Just by commenting about how women are being treated in the gaming community and the workplace or take a pro-women in gaming stance can easily start a men vs women war in a comment thread. Polygon.com, known for their “debates” and also for their gorgeous web design, posted an article titled “How to attract more women in game development“. Immediately there were negative comments and comments that side-stepped the issue mentioned in the article to making it about “how to attract ANYONE in game development”. Of course these comments were made by male gamers.

In the article, Media Molecule’s studio director¬†Siobhan Reddy made some statements about how she got into the industry and how there is a lack of young women especially young girls getting involved into game development. She also gave some ideas about how to attract more young girls into game design by specifically designing programs to teach them and young women game design and working on design projects to increase understanding and excitement.

Instead of offering more ideas or sharing experiences about the state in which women are being included in the industry, I was met with some backlash about my comment suggesting that I have never worked for indie game developers and if I had proof to “back up my claims” that the industry does not market to diverse populations for game development education.

My comment:

 

My polygon.com comment

My Polygon.com comment

I think men were offended by my “assumptions” that there are men in the industry who do not look at women as equals in the workplace. My opinions are based solely on experience and not “assumptions”. This is well documented that they do not and that women who are new entries or mid-levels have a hard time in some workplaces. Women have to constantly prove something in the workplace and in the gaming community to be taken serious. If talking about these issues makes men become bullies and dodging the discussion, imagine not talking about these issues and living through it. So anytime I comment on these said articles, I’m met with the same type of backlash: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. There are no issues. We need proof. You don’t even work in the industry. Men have issues too…”

I understand that men have their share of issues in the industry which can be said of all industries in the world. That still doesn’t excuse the fact that women, even in 2013, are still being bullied by men, don’t receive equal pay, get harassed online, get hacked, receive death threats, just by being a woman and standing up for themselves. If you really want to know why young girls and young women don’t apply for game design, really think about it. If almost 50% of gamers are women, that includes young girls too. They probably get harassed online as well. So if you get harassed online in the medium, why would you even think about pursing a career in that same medium which is obviously made to not welcome you with open arms? Its not too difficult to understand that. And if you find it too difficult to understand that, make an account with a female’s touch, go online and speak like a girl and see if a male with in the hour of playing a FPS doesn’t say something sexual to you. Then comment on your experience. I’ll be here all week…

 

If you have creative ways of recruiting women into game design and other professional positions in the games industry, please share them. In the same light, share some of your best or worst experiences involving women working, freelancing, or volunteering in the workplace. Let’s get a real productive discussion going.
Quaisha A. Thornton is an Gamer/Writer/Editor/Entrepreneur/Tech Trainer/Marketing Consultant. She is the Founder/CEO of DelightfulCritics.com, a social club for critics of entertainment. Starting up an advertising consultant business, she hopes to promote and advertise "fan-made ads and content" from the video game industry. Quaisha speaks her mind about the industry including sexism vs games, women in the industry, writes about multiplayer/co-op gaming and gives gamer relationships advice all at CutieDDDGamer.com.
  • http://sheattack.com/members/Nia/ Nia Pierce

    Very good article!

    • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

      Thank you my dear Nia! :D

  • http://sheattack.com/members/hyperion/ David M.

    Okay so, I may get bashed for this, but I am simply sharing an opinion, not stating a fact. With that in mind, here ‘goes.

    Okay so… as a working professional in the gaming industry, working on games ranging from Mass Effect 3 to Madden Football, I have come across a fair amount of racial and sexual diversity. It is of course dominated by men.. HOWEVER! The women gamers I have seen, played with, and lost to have one thing in common… they-all-talk-shit, and they all back it up! Men are BY NATURE competitive, and we ACTIVELY seek out competition. We thirst for it in EVERYTHING we do.

    Secondly. It’s REALLY not your fault the gaming industry does not target women. Look at how much conditioning since childhood has been stained into our minds. While watching Cartoon Network, or Nickelodeon, every other commercial is advertising toys. Boys get the SOLDIERS!! TRANSFORMERS EXPLODING IN YOUR FACE! NERF GUNS!!! NINJAS!!! DRAGON BALL Z KAHMEHHAMEHHA ACTION FIGURES!!! THE AVENGERS!!! GI-JO!!!!! and the list goes on. What do girls get???? Barbie dolls, Doll houses, a fake oven, fake food for the fake oven, my little pony, a fake blinking/pissing baby, hell I have even seen a damn commercial for a Washer/Dryer set for girls… -_-

    My point is… This “problem” stems from a very early age. That’s ALL we know. Girls get the soft shit, guys get the hard shit, and when most of these guys who aren’t doing anything with their lives see a girl playing with their “toy”, they get all pissy.

    Simply play. Live and let live. Women make themselves a target for these guys because you announce yourselves as “victims” of segregation. WE HONESTLY AND TRULY DO NOT DO THIS ON PURPOSE!!! So when you say you are a victim, we automatically get defensive. Because for their to be a victim there must also be an oppressor. If you love to game, then game. By complaining about these imbalance, you LITERALLY create the line between male and female yourselves. Blur this line by ceasing to recognize that it exists.

    Game on.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

      Valid points David. There are certain situations where women have been at the end of abusive actions and harassment in the gaming community and industry. And these situations are what I am referring to and that alone.

      Unfortunately, these discussions always get lumped into a single pile – “women have issues about the gaming industry” and that’s as far as the discussion gets. However, for the women who were indeed victimized, they can’t lump it into a single pile. You can’t sweep what happens to them under the rug.

      Now sure, women are treated like this in other industries and there are specific rules and regulations to handle this – sexual harassment clauses, etc. But I found none of these in games and this behavior towards women happens way too often. And this is what I am trying to get attention to.

      Why is it that because I like to game, I have to get harassed. If what you say “Simply play. Live and let live”, then why can’t I play, live and let live? I don’t know about other women but let me tell you my experience. When I first got into gaming hardcore, I signed up to Gamespot. My gaming identity is SpawnHellraiser. Definitely can’t tell I’m a female with that name and my gamer pals didn’t know I was one for almost 2 years on the website. One day I wrote a blog post and within it I mentioned I was a female. After that, the whole GAME CHANGED. I was instantly treated definitely. Why was that? I then got comments about my bra size, how big my butt was, if i had a boyfriend, if I was a lesbian, if I wanted to exchange sex pictures. So WTF??

      So if my experience is making myself a TARGET for these guys then I’m sorry. I am not going to change my sex just to play games and have fun.

      • http://sheattack.com/members/hyperion/ David M.

        The thing is… Lol… You know how parents and teachers used to tell you. that when/if someone picks on you, ignore them, or respond in a way that does not fuel their desire to annoy you. If they ask your bra size, PLAY ALONG! MAKE IT FUNNY! Say Quadroople D’S BITCH, I GAWT DEM BIG BOOBS!

        You have a bf?!?!
        YUP! I’m MARRIED BIIAAATCH!

        Can I have some sexy pics?
        Can you send me a pic of a spoon up your ass? (give them a fake email, or the phone number of a guy you think would think it’s hilarious)

        My point is… We are boys… we are ALL TROLLS… If we see it bothers you, then we will keep doing it. It really is that simple. If I fuck with you and say something like.. I dunno… “Hey… Didn’t know they had consoles in the kitchen..” and you get butt hurt… lol, you are fueling my desire to fuck with you. We do not HONESTLY THINK you suck, or that you are any lower than us on the totem pole, we just know how sensitive you guys get about the subject. :)

        TRUE STORY ^

        • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

          Funny thing is I did all those things you mentioned to combat it. I don’t mind playing along, shooting the breeze, being a little immature just to lighten the testosterone, but what I am getting at is that some people TAKE IT TOO FAR. That’s my real concern.

          For a real-life example, Nia posted this article on her Facebook to get a discussion going. Immediately there were negative comments about the woman in the picture, (in which they assumed was me) and said some nasty things even though they probably didn’t even read the article or most of it because it explains who she is and what the article is about. Unsurprisingly, by me writing about my experience with trolls got me even more targeted by trolls. I asked the trolls to apologize, and instead of saying, “I’m sorry that was a bit harsh”, I was threatened with more verbal or internet abuse. THREATENED.

          So I asked the troll, what did I do to you to deserve your hatred? You don’t know a single thing about me. I can certainly understand you don’t like my opinions but why the behavior towards someone only writing their experience? In his defense, he said he didn’t know a Black Woman wrote the article and he has nothing against me, its just that he hates white people always being put in the limelight. I can somewhat understand this, but how you go on attack mode and then when asked to calm down, you respond with even more abuse for someone who you don’t know? That’s not just being a troll, but that is straight up psychological issues and I don’t think ANYONE can be ready for psychological warfare like that. I didn’t come to work in the industry to be threatened just because of my views, but this abuse was Black on Black.

          Anyway, Nia, the kind hearten soul she is, calmed me down because I was fuming. She said “it takes patience and understanding”, something that I do not have full control over at this time. So I said to her “for now on, I’ll choose my battles.” And that is what I intend to do. Even though I do have rough skin, there are some things that get under it. It can’t be helped, I am a human being.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/ashley/ Ashley

      I think gender segregating toys from a young age is very harmful. I hope the rest of the world realizes that soon!

      • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

        I actually don’t see anything wrong with those toys as long as the parents have the understanding that their kid may want to play with different types of toys. Growing up, I was a ton boy, because I am the only child and my closest to brothers were my god brothers. They had cool toys and my mom had gotten me barbies and a baking set. The baking set was cool because I played “house” but the barbies were quickly decapitated, ON PURPOSE. My mom realized that I don’t like Barbies so she got me action figures and hot wheels cars. She understood what her child wanted and it was never about “oh, you’re a girl, you must play with these toys only.” I know some parents may do that, but its in the teaching. If you teach your child segregation even subtly, they will grow up with it. Just like if you teach your child racism they will grow up with it. I was taught to respect my peers, treat others that way I want to be treated. I grew up with that sentiment. Life is too short to be dealing with hate (of course there are circumstances where someone does something to you and you simply hate them, but even so that is not good for prolonged time).

        • http://sheattack.com/members/ashley/ Ashley

          I can’t remember where I read this but there was a preschool that decided to paint part of the playroom pink and after they did that all the girls stayed within the pink area and all the boys got all the other cool toys. It’s almost like we program girls to behave a certain way. I just think that training boys to be aggressive and girls to be passive at a VERY young age is pretty bad. You and me are lucky to have cool parents. I grew up playing with dinosaurs AND my little ponies but not all parents are as forward thinking as mine were. Emphasizing appearance as a highly important trait for girls at such a young age just makes me sad. Girls should be valuing other things and develop interests and hobbies apart from makeup and boys. Guys have no problems with this and that’s because they are encouraged to be that way. Anyways, that’s just my opinion. :P

          • http://sheattack.com/members/somegamergirl/ Gabby Nuovo

            Hah I loved playing with my Legos and dinosaurs. <3

    • http://sheattack.com/members/dreamsmithjane/ Jane

      That’s…actually pretty offensive, yes. Some people might bash you for it. We’re not making it up. The imbalances existed before we started complaining. We didn’t invent this discrimination, and ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. If “Simply play. Live and let live” actually worked, this conversation wouldn’t be taking place. After all, that’s what we did, and it didn’t turn out so well. You have your causality mixed up. We are calling out bad behavior after the fact. If that causes unrelated individuals to feel slighted by association, and they (or anyone else) think that more bad behavior is an appropriate response, we are not to blame. It is not an appropriate response.

      Another thing I can say with absolute confidence is that the social “training” of men to associate competitive behavior and activities with their identities as men is not absolute. I’ve known a great many men who don’t hold to that at all, and some who vehemently reject it. My point is that this is not something that needs to be accepted. There’s also nothing about competition that requires talking shit. In fact, in most professional and/or official competitions, it’s considered bad sportsmanship, and is grounds for disqualification. There is no excuse for disrespecting your fellow gamers.

      In your other comment, you said that guys are “all trolls”, and that is absolutely untrue. It’s not something that guys do. It’s something that completely horrible examples of human beings do. Honestly, if a person sees that something hurts someone, and their first instinct is to repeat it and hurt them more (deliberately and gleefully, at that), that is sick, sadistic, and inexcusable. There are a lot of men who never do this. And again, ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. It would never have happened in the fist place if giving it attention were what caused it. It’s not something to which anyone should be subjected. No one should be the target of this kind of behavior, and we shouldn’t have to play along or just let it happen. It shouldn’t be tolerated. Ever. The idea that it can be explained does not begin to indicate that this is an acceptable state of affairs, let alone a desirable one. It simply gives us a possible avenue for corrective action.

  • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

    I would also like to clarify what aspects of the gaming industry I tackle with my blog and in other discussions. I like to discuss the personal attitudes towards individuals and their peers in the community and industry. You may not like a certain person because of how they game or whatever the reason, but you still have to respect them. There’s a lot of disrespect going on on both sides when there doesn’t need to be. And in some cases, this disrespect comes from gender power and racial power. For some reason, some people think that because they are a man or a women, or their particular race, they have the right to be disrespectful in a fun environment because they “paid” their way or work in the industry, etc. And this is why the gaming community are not taken seriously and why there’s a lack of young prospects in the AAA industry. But more specifically, I talk about the issues plaguing women because I speak from my own experience and not necessarily speaking on behalf of all women. I speak on my behalf alone. I only write what I experience, not speculation unless I’m writing about news.

  • http://Youtube ChariotMan7

    Hmm. I wounder how too. How do couples start a war with each other in video games. this is a interesting article.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

      Hi, Chariotman7

      The article wasn’t literally about the steps of how to start a men vs women war, but to observe how it gets started just by a simple comment on a hot subject. As you can see, just by a comment, I was targeted by war mongers. In that, that is how a war begins. You can cease fire or keep the war up. I responded to see comments but I realized I have to pick my battles so I ceased fire.

  • http://sheattack.com/members/Nia/ Nia Pierce

    My response to men who think this article is just a bunch of complaining or victim seeking:

    Actually complaining DOES advance things lol. The civil rights movement was based off of “complaining” in the eyes of the majority and look how that turned out. I’m with you guys. Some minority groups do belly ache a lot, but to dismiss a person’s opinion as mere bellyaching isn’t always a valid sentiment in every situation just because you disagree. The fact of the matter is that women aren’t normally looked upon as equals in the gaming industry and many parts of the community. Thankfully, I have not personally had any traumatizing events in my gaming life, but I hear many horror stories from minorities and women when trying to consort with other gamers. I think that there IS a discrepancy of some sort in the gaming industry or else many people wouldn’t speak on it. I believe that there will be imbalances in every entertainment form, but in gaming, it’s a lot more apparent and many people still treat it as the boys’ club that it once was in the early days. I don’t think that the industry does this on purpose. I think it’s just one of those things that are so ingrained and “traditional” that women are often left feeling as though they don’t belong or should be discouraged from participating.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/hyperion/ David M.

      Well put :)

      I will say that you are fortunate to not have experienced any of these horror stories, but… Most gamer guys… MOST OF THEM… lack social skills, and lack respect… It’s a maturity issue.

      It comes down to just being immature… Because no grown man with any real self respect or respect for others would say half the things these lonely fucks would say with their dick in one hand and a controller in the other fapping to Laura Croft jumping as they spam the ‘X’ button. It’s kinda sad.. So when they meet a girl… it’s like… OMG GIRL!!

      • http://sheattack.com/members/Nia/ Nia Pierce

        LMAO!

      • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

        Yes, you are so right.

  • http://sheattack.com/members/somegamergirl/ Gabby Nuovo

    Really fantastic read, Quaisha. This is such an ironic thing to read after literally seeing on my MyIGN profile my latest update was someone writing on my wall and saying, “I followed you because I like you as a girlfriend”. Seriously, c’mon?

    I would love to work in the gaming industry (involved in the story element or journalism work), but I sometimes feel disheartened because of many of the points you made.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

      Thank you Gabby!

      Fortunately I don’t get those messages anymore probably because I boast about my fiancee all the time. hahaha. I can only imagine how popular women in the gaming industry such as Starslay8r and Aisha Tyler deal with it.

  • http://sheattack.com/members/jaekuro/ Joycelin

    Overall, I think that a lot of girls don’t come to the industry because they aren’t forewarned about how harsh it can be. Yes, it’s tough being a girl over here but these things, “get harassed online, get hacked, receive death threats”, both males and females gets. It’s all in understanding that gaming is a competitive around that is populated by people who act really big and bad through a mic and a keyboard. We all do it. It’s what the internet does to people.

    As for gaming, I think that a lot of girls just don’t see the harshness until they are already neck deep in it. Luckily, I was raised with boys so the name calling and competition was normal to me. Even after writing for quite some time, I never got much backlash because I didn’t point out that I was a girl and I just didn’t pay much attention. For others though, it’s not an easy thing to get past. By no means am I saying that it should be that way but, it may be easier in the future for girls new to the industry to be introduced to the good and bad of the industry.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/Nia/ Nia Pierce

      Yup, you gotta have tough skin lol. Thank God I have it. At any rate, I understand both sides.

  • http://sheattack.com/members/dreamsmithjane/ Jane

    I see things are off to a good start around here. :) I’m sorry. Some people don’t like facts getting in the way of their worldview.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

      Well said Jane! :D

  • http://sheattack.com/members/chaoscat/ Timothy

    I personally think the More Diverse Devs in General would be very good Because it would bring new Views and Ideas into Games! Then Maybe there would be Innovative games coming out on a more Regular Bases! Different Genders, and Backgrounds are things I believe the game industries could Really benefit from! Fresh Blood, and all that! AS to how People View Girls in Gaming I never under Stood it!

    • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

      I totally agree!!

  • http://sheattack.com/members/goldultima/ GoldUltima

    As a general rule, men should never speak on women’s issues or vice versa because neither can ever really understand how the other feels. One just needs to accept that the other has issues and not spend so much time measuring out who has what worse, but just try to help eachother as best we can.

    • http://sheattack.com/members/chaoscat/ Timothy

      thats a very good point, but in some cases men actually have some EXP in some of these women’s problems! such as I actually have some EXP dealing with how guys Treat women/girls in online video games! This is, because I often was mistaken as A girl online, because of my user Name! Its not fun at all!

    • http://sheattack.com/members/ragingnucleus/ Bob Johnson

      I disagree with you on this one. Both men and women are equally qualified to speak on and discuss each others issues, especially when both are affected by them. Saying that a man will never understand a woman’s issue because he’s a man (or vice versa) is ridiculous. We are all humans with some degree of empathy (or at least I hope so), and I think that putting a fence up on gender issues just reinforces the divide. Speaking about one gender’s issue with both sides of the story is healthy discussion.

      • http://sheattack.com/members/goldultima/ GoldUltima

        I really don’t think you can equate empathy to understanding. If anything I’d say that would belittle someone’s personal struggles to say you have true understanding just because you imagine what it’s like. I don’t think a man is really capable of truely understanding the hardships and pressures of society that women deal with on a day to day basis. That’s why arguments like the ones the article is talking about happen. They don’t truely understand the scale of the problem, but they think they do based off mere supposition. It’s why womens concerns are cast aside so easily as non-issues. It’s like the difference between being told about someone being burned alive and actually being burned alive. You can’t truely comprehent the magnatude of it just through observation. You can have empathy, but not understanding and there’s a wide gap between the two.

      • http://sheattack.com/members/qthornton/ Quaisha A. Thornton

        I agree that speaking from both sides of the discussion is healthy, however since the beginning of human history, men and women have issues that they share together and they both separately have issues. A man simply cannot fathom some issues women go through no matter how much they want to or talk about it. And a woman simply cannot fathom some issues men go through no matter how much conversation there is. Firstly, our brains and bodies act differently and second EACH PERSON has their own experience, wisdom, advice, no two people are the same anyway. So to say that a human can FULLY understand another human being is not understanding nature at all. Everything and everyone are unpredictable even occasionally.

        But I promote healthy discussions and rational thoughts all the way! People may not fully understand some issues but it can be worked through, satisfying both parties of that they really need.