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Old 08-08-2008, 04:02 AM   #1
jillduffy
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Default Discussion: 'Women in Games: Who Cares?'

Discuss the op-ed "Women in Games: Who Cares?" here.
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:35 AM   #2
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Well, it was nice to see that someone shares my opinion on the subject.
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Well, it was nice to see that someone shares my opinion on the subject.
Your opinion being: "Who cares"?
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:05 AM   #4
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I don't often voice my opinion about articles, but for this one, I want to.

I actually disagree with the author, though I was super excited for her to write this op-ed and read what she had to say.

Identity is not something that should or can be ignored. "Otherness" should not be ignored. I think this is especially true in a political setting, but also in creative ones. Identity does not always have to be front-and-center, but I believe people have to accept their identities and those of their co-workers and neighbors as factors in who they are, how they think, and the decisions they make.

People are different, and saying "who cares?," in my opinion, amounts to saying "let's put those differences aside" -- which in turn means the dominant culture or identity (in America, white straight Christian males) is taken to be the baseline.

That point of view numbs the multiculturalism that otherwise enriches our culture, broadens our ways of thinking and being, and makes us more accepting of others.

I think it does matter that we talk about identity, especially in an industry like game development that contributes to our collective pop culture AND is male dominated.

Brathwaite's article teases this notion a bit, and I'm not sure how much of her article is satirical (the part where she asks about maleness is meant in jest, as she mentions).
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Identity is not something that should or can be ignored. "Otherness" should not be ignored. I think this is especially true in a political setting, but also in creative ones. Identity does not always have to be front-and-center, but I believe people have to accept their identities and those of their co-workers and neighbors as factors in who they are, how they think, and the decisions they make.
Well, that's a completely different message than I got from the article. I felt that she was recognising people's differences, through her interviews with male developers, but arguing against obsessing over them. ONce you start sticking people in boxes, such as 'female game devloper,' you fail to accept their unique identity.
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:40 AM   #6
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I feel as though I've had multiculturalism bashed over my head, stuffed down my throat, and frankly it gives me a headache.

I feel that sometimes, when we to broaden standards etc by focusing on minorities, in our attempt to include those minorities in our thinking we accidentally paint them as something exotic. Instead of expanding the baseline as we originally intended, we actually emphasize it, and the role models for the minorities become overly heroized oddities upon which we place the burden of bringing the very change we ourselves attempted to make in the first place.

Politics is different. People who go into politics do so because they want to make change, want to become civil rights leaders, etc (plus money, fame and glory and all that stuff). A lot of people in other industries, including games, just want to do what they do. Just because someone in a woman in games does not mean they should feel pressured to also be a Women's Rights Champion within the games industry just because they are a minority. If they wanted to campaign for Women's Rights so badly, they are still free to do so or they could just go into politics.

Then of course, comes the backlash. People start hating the minorities because they get all the special attention, special scholarships, better schools, etc. Majority people begin to hate minorities when they were once just cool, different, "who cares?" people, but their anger builds in silence while minorities are free to point out every nuance as a sign of sexism, racism, insert your ism here. The baseline becomes the minority. The result is that the scales don't get balanced, only flipped, but people will still keep thinking that the baseline is the majority and keep adding weights to the wrong side. Then of course the now favored minorities have to keep second guessing their abilities. Were they really the best person for the job because of their helpfulness, hardwork, and talent? Or was it because of their sex, skin color, etc?

All this for someone who just wants to make games.

Really, who cares? Yes, it's a good thing to know that the games industry is not male only. Yes, there are differences. But are the differences really that big? Are they really that exotic?
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:53 AM   #7
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One of the impressions I got from the article was that it is the attitude of a small number of individuals and horror stories that seems to create the perception of widespread inequality. As pointed out in the article, it wasn't something Mrs. Brathwaite thought about often and it didn't have any significant negative impact on her career.

Based on this assumption, wouldn't it be more worthwhile to figure out the root cause? Do businesses and the industry itself present that many barriers specifically to women? Is it simply that female game developers have to be female gamers first? Are young women pressured out of playing games by their peers? Are the games today that repulsive? Do they present barriers? What exactly makes the games industry unattractive to a large number of women? Why do alot of my female friends pride themselves on their fashion instinct and their creative ability, but have never considered a career in an industry driven by the current "flavour of the month", creativity and imagination? Is the technical side emphasised too much?

I'm also confident that if there were more women in this industry, then the industry might be better equipped to develop new innovations. Having that more diverse team and deeper level of insight could trigger what it takes to make games that interest more women.

Unfortunately, my train of thought is quickly spiraling into a bit of a paradox. If todays games don't interest women, then they don't grow up to become developers, but without female game developers, then making games that interest women is that much more difficult!
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Well, that's a completely different message than I got from the article. I felt that she was recognising people's differences, through her interviews with male developers, but arguing against obsessing over them. ONce you start sticking people in boxes, such as 'female game devloper,' you fail to accept their unique identity.
I agree with you.

While you must aknowledge differences between genders, races and sexual orientations, you should not put a label on a person because of a part of his or her identity and think that, because she's a woman or because he's gay, she thinks that way and he works that way.

What Mrs. Brathwaite said is that she doesn’t consider herself like being just a woman in the game industry. She is a lot more than that. Yes, being a woman is a part of her whole identity, but it's just a small part of the much more complex reality that is Mrs. Brenda Brathwaite. It's the same for everyone. The identity of a person is based on so many factors. It's defined by age, gender, cultural context, social class, specific background, origins, personality, etc.

If people were getting obsessed just by the fact, for example, that you have blond hairs, or that you are tall, you could get bored after a while. I think it is what Mrs.Brathwaite tried to highlight.
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:42 AM   #9
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To say 'who cares' is not a call to not recognize. It's a call to ignore inherent separatism - any discussion that focuses on the vices and virtues of majority A vs. Majority B will be detrimental at some point - like Sharon was saying, you go to far to give special treatment to minorities. That's still racism. The whole point was to eliminate special privileges for straight white christian males, but you're doing everyone a disservice by classifying these people as separate from those people, give the minorites a leg up. They're still minorities. They are still primarily viewed according to the very traits that were used on principle to decry the original racism sin.

I've seen enough people bleed to know that it's always red. I've saved enough people's lives to know that we are all the same as we lay dying. It's only when you can recognize that the iraqi farmer was really just trying to feed his family, that you'd be doing the same thing in his place, (and conversely, the soldier was just a kid from iowa trying to defend himself), that it becomes clear what the real issue was - separatism. Some flimsy notion of how you're the good guys, they're the bad guys; we bring freedom and civilization, and they're a bunch of religious whackos bent on world suffering. We wear green and they're all brown in man dresses.

'Who cares' is the only approach that offers a solution. Even if you want to talk about how a woman is an asset in and of herself to a game development team, it IS NOT because she's a woman - it is because of perspective. It's analogous to someone growing up in a large family, or growing up poor, or growing up in another country, or being disabled.

I think that to disagree with brenda's opinion on women in games, and I mean no offense here, is to not be thinking the larger issue through to it's logical conclusion. Brenda offers a unique perspective on game development that hopefully was recognized by the people who pay her, but it's a product of what she brings to the table from perspective, not some benevolent form of sexism. I have the same card to play; I have extensive real life experience in military conflict and black ops, so hopefully the next big "super soldier black ops rambo clone" sees the value in hiring someone like me. But it's not reverse classism, that I am a 'soldier in games' versus someone who never served. It's an offering of my perspective.
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:56 AM   #10
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Adrir - The answer to most of your questions is actually in Sheri Graner Ray's book Gender Inclusive Game Design.

And I haven't read the op-ed piece yet, so I cannot really say much about it. But I agree with Roxanne and Messiah, to shrug and say "Who cares?" is dropping any separatism, which means you can actually get to know people for who they are, their true individualism, rather than any stereotypes they could be placed in.
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