Rhianna Pratchett’s #1ReasonToBe

By Nathan Grayson on May 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Recently, we had the wonderful fortune to post GDC’s magnificent #1ReasonToBe panel in full. It’s a powerfully eye-opening thing – regardless of which “side” of the equality “debate” you fall on – and you should absolutely, definitely give it a watch if you haven’t already. One person, however, was missing from its lineup: industry writing vet Rhianna Pratchett, who – in addition to whipping up words for the likes of Tomb Raider, Overlord, Mirror’s Edge, and heaps more – sorta, you know, created the #1ReasonToBe hashtag in the first place. She wasn’t able to make it out due to scheduling conflicts, but this is why they invented the Internet: so we could do anything from anywhere at any time. Thus, we bring you Pratchett’s #1Reason – not to mention her viewpoints on why equality’s very different from ‘pinking’ games, why the industry’s failing to attract female talent, what controversies surrounding Tomb Raider taught her, and how we can ultimately make games better for everyone.      

RPS: First up, you sadly weren’t able to attend the #1ReasonToBe panel at GDC. So, in that style, what is your one reason? What have been your defining moments working in games – both in terms of negativity – ala Brenda Romero’s experiences at E3 – and the event(s) that made you say, “You know what? I’m willing to fight this uphill battle because I love what I do”?

Pratchett: Although I’ve not personally experienced some of the more extreme examples of industry sexism which the first hashtag highlighted, #1reasonwhy and #1reasontobe have lit a fire in me – and Pratchetts are inherently a bit fighty by nature. As I mentioned above, I’ve really realized in the last year how much being a visible industry female matters to people. Not necessarily as much to myself, or to other female developers already in the industry, but those who are um-ing and err-ing at the side-lines. Hesitant to make the jump, or even try to.

Over the last couple of months I’ve done several talks in girls’ schools about working in games and have helped introduce them to game design and narrative, through initiatives like Little Miss Geek. They light up. Like they’ve just stepped through the wardrobe and discovered Narnia. It heart-warming, even for someone who’s not yet managed to graduate beyond cat ownership. I’ve gained so much from this industry and this feels, at least in part, like a way of giving back.

RPS: You started #1ReasonToBe as a more positive complement to #1ReasonWhy. Are we sometimes in danger, do you think, of losing sight of the fact that the gaming industry’s a really special, interesting thing? In doing so, do we risk frightening away talented people who might be interested in making games?

Pratchett: If we’re ever going to change the gender balance of this industry – which I think is the main thing that’s really going to help the situation – then we need to emphasize the positives, as well as being honest about the negatives. The problems highlighted by #1reasonwhy were shocking, saddening and predictable in equal measure. It doesn’t matter how ‘special’ your industry is, there’s no excuse for some of the sheer asshattery which that hashtag revealed. However, maintaining a sense of perspective is vital. Yes, it’s important to talk about the fight, but it’s just as important to remember what we’re fighting for.

The main reason why I started #1reasontobe is because I believe that raising awareness of what a great industry this can be, and what opportunities there are for men and women alike, is fundamental in tackling these problems. When I first started out as a games writer, I knew so little about the role (because people just weren’t talking about it in the same way they do now) that it took a while to realize what the career I’d side-stepped into actually was.

RPS: The fight against sexism is mired in negativity – in many cases with good reason, seeing as sexism is a horrible thing – but is that in some ways detrimental? For instance, it often creates an oppositional relationship against those who don’t think sexism and equality aren’t viable issues. We get angry and – in some cases – even hate them instead of trying to calmly educate them into considering other people’s feelings. So is the problem of attitude here bigger than most people think?

Pratchett: #1reasonwhy evolved into something that was about more than just sexism, but the problems and issues women encounter in this industry linked to their gender. Some of the tweets certainly constituted experience of abuse and harassment, whilst other issues were more along the lines of ignorance and stubborn behaviour – traits that both genders share. There was a lot to get angry about.

It’s often difficult to separate signal from noise online. We all know that anonymous abuse is rife, and rarely are people ever held accountable for their actions. Most trolls (male or female) are not interested in being educated, they just want to rage. It’s hard to know what the solution is for that, beyond tougher anonymity restrictions and penalties for online abuse.

As I mentioned earlier, the best weapon against sexism in the games is to get more skilled women into the industry, keep them there and generally level the playing field.

RPS: Your work on Tomb Raider’s been well-publicized, as has – fairly recently – the fact that the majority of Dragon Age III’s writing team is female. In both cases, the benefits have gotten the spotlight: Lara’s evolution into a real character instead of a caricature, DA III’s removal of problematic story arcs, etc. Do you think we need more of that? More people saying, “Yes, being inclusive and understanding has made our game measurably better/more interesting”?

Pratchett: For many years I steered clear of ‘women in games’ issues. In fact, I’ll admit to being downright uncomfortable with being asked about that side of things. Mainly because I felt that the best thing I could do for women in games was just be one and do my job to the best of my ability. I didn’t have a choice about my gender. I do have a choice about my career – therefore it’s always felt more meaningful to me.

However, now I’ve got many more titles under my belt I’ve felt more at ease with talking about that side of things – hence my contribution to both hashtags. Mainly because I’ve realised that for young girls getting into the industry, it does matter to see women out there talking about these issues – although I’d still always prefer to talk about the work.

After all, no one ever asks a male writer about writing a male character, or how his maleness gave him special insights, which shows that we still have a long way to go in both the fields of narrative and gender balance.

The controversy surrounding Tomb Raider shone a light on my gender in a way that was never intended. Ultimately, no one should be pushed into the spotlight in this industry simply because of their gender, but because they’ve done meaningful, interesting work that’s worth talking about. It’s the work that counts, not what the person has between their legs.

RPS: In working on Tomb Raider – a series that’s gone from gaming industry sex symbol to symbol of the industry’s gradual maturation – what sorts of challenges have you come up against on this front?

Pratchett: The whole controversy surrounding Lara’s first kill scene, and the reasons why it was included in the game, was tough to deal with. And obviously, Lara’s gender played a big part in that. The whole thing was also unexpected, as it wouldn’t have been a controversy in any other entertainment field. Partly that was due to the fact that I’d not been announced back then, so I couldn’t just say: “Actually it’s not like that, it’s like this.” Alongside that, many assumptions were based on limited information because so few people had actually played that scene in context at the time.

I can talk all I want about the fact that, although we thought about that scene carefully and treated it with honesty and integrity, it was not meant to be a single transformative event. That it’s actually about Lara’s reactions – and her reactions to her reactions. Or that the narrative team didn’t put it in to make players want to ‘protect’ Lara. But the unfortunate reality is that some people’s perception will always be coloured by the first thing they heard.

During the uproar there seemed to be one particular undercurrent of assuming that the scene was put together by men who clearly didn’t understand how to deal with the evolution of a female character – especially a videogame character. I felt that it did male creators a disservice. When I was announced some of those rumours quietened. In all honesty I felt that my gender shouldn’t have been a big deal in this matter – the fact that I helped create it and therefore could speak about it from that standpoint, should have been the only thing that counted.

However, the whole issue has brought up some really interesting and important debates about what’s acceptable for videogames to depict, where the boundaries are and how we speak about female characters and their relationship to players.

RPS: One of the biggest #1ReasonWhy tweets is your own – specifically, the one about having to ask teams to consider that the player could be female. Why is that such an easy oversight for so many people, though? I mean, we’re talking about half of the entire human population here. Even from a “pragmatic” standpoint, that means they’re leaving half the world’s money on the table. Why do people remain ignorant of that?

Pratchett: The industry is used to targeting the male demographic, at least when it comes to triple-A, non-casual titles. And it is still, in many ways, stuck in that rut, either uncertain of how to change, not interested in changing or simply averse to straying from the established path.

In the movie industry they talk about the desire for ‘four-quadrant movies’ – namely those that appeal to men and women, both over 25 and under 25. Those kinds of movies – such as Avatar, Titanic, The Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, etc – really clean-up at the box office. They do it through strong story, characters, exciting action and thrilling set-pieces. That’s the kind of thing we need to look at more closely and find a way to emulate, not through whole-sale copying, but in a way that really works for our industry and players.

It’s not about the ‘pinking’ of games. It’s about making them better for everyone.

RPS: Sexism is everywhere in society – Western or otherwise – which has led to an odd response to movements like #1ReasonWhy: “Well, this is hardly confined to the gaming industry.” It’s a pretty defeatist way of viewing things, though. Do you think the key here is to focus efforts (in this case, on gaming) instead of taking a divide-and-conquer approach and being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of, well, changing the world all at once?

Pratchett: As you say, sexism exists in the industry, because sexism exists in the world. When you have any industry that’s skewed in one gender direction or another, then sexism is an unfortunate by-product. Men don’t always get an easy ride in the field of nursing, for example.

Changing the world is a tall order, changing our world, or at least reshaping it a little, seems doable. By and large most male developers I’ve met and worked with would actively welcome more women into the industry, providing they had the necessary skills to do the job they’re hired for.

It’s tough – although not impossible – to change an asshole, but my gut feeling is that, by and large, it isn’t necessarily male attitudes which keeping women out of games development or cause them to burnout. Instead, it’s a combination of a poor work-life balancing conditions, a lack of awareness of the opportunities out there and dwindling creative diversity. And these are problems that have a huge impact on the industry as a whole.

Yes, this industry’s in need of a shake-up, but one that should be designed to benefit all developers, males and females alike. We need to place stronger emphasis on improving working conditions, burnout rate and industry awareness. Ultimately, that’s what will improve the quality of the games and the lives of those who create them. And that’s what really matters.

RPS: It’s been quite some time since the #1Reason hashtags took Twitter by storm. Are you happy with how they’ve evolved, how they’ve become almost a rallying cry when sexist or otherwise alienating issues wriggle out from the woodwork?

They’ve given women – and some guys – a place where they can voice their woes and embrace their joys, and they know they’re not just shouting into the darkness. It’s also produced interesting (and disturbing) articles like Alanah Pearce’s 30 days of Sexism. But I also think it’s been valuable for encouraging more real-world initiatives which revolve around actually trying to change things, rather than just talking about them. Words are great, but it’s action that really matters.

RPS: Do you think progress has been steady and more visible since #1Reason caught on? I mean, on one hand, there was the IGDA GDC party and the recent Dragon’s Crown controversy, among others, but pushback was immediate and severe. Do you think, if nothing else, people are starting to understand that we can’t just ignore the issue of equality and hope it’ll go away?

Pratchett: Certainly people seem quicker to call out the most ridiculous examples of sexism, objectifications for the male gaze, or even just poor party planning. Obviously everyone’s rage mileage will vary on those, but it is important that we highlight and talk about them. Companies need to witness the sales and customers they’re losing out on before they’ll actually start changing anything.

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415 Comments »

  1. c-Row says:

    When you have any industry that’s skewed in one gender direction or another, then sexism is an unfortunate by-product. Men don’t always get an easy ride in the field of nursing, for example.

    I have a male friend who went to an advanced training for child daycare, and the first thing the female trainer said was that all men in this field are basically pedophiles in disguise.

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      That’s clearly a lie. Everyone knows that sexism towards men doesn’t exist.

      Or at least that’s what I’ve heard from way too many radfems recently.

      • xavdeman says:

        Couldn’t we just apply some of Morgan Freeman’s equality teachings to this situation?

        Interviewer: “How are we going to get rid of racism until…”
        Morgan Freeman: “Stop talking about it, I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”

        • maninahat says:

          Unfortunately, just because Morgan Freeman has played the role of wise men, doesn’t necessarily mean he is full of wise aphorisms in real life. In this case, abstaining from discussing race inherently supports the status quo (in which racism is still a problem).

          • jalf says:

            Or rather, he nails it with regards to where we want to be (where race isn’t an issue and people just don’t see the need to bring up your skin color), but that quote doesn’t explain how we’re going to get there from here.

            If *everyone* could agree to do as he said, then hey, problem solved.

            But if certain people are going to get hung up on skin color, then everyone else being quiet about the issue won’t solve anything.

          • Jackson4q says:

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          • vendermvill says:

            Little King’s Story also got ported to another console (Vita).
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JuZTxlM0ek

        • waltC says:

          Yep–that’s it exactly. You cannot fight racism with racism, or sexism with sexism. IE, there’s no such thing as benevolent racism (affirmative action, et al) or sexism (hiring quotas for women, etc.) Any kind of racism only breeds more of the same, and ditto for sexism.

          With sexism in particular–there are in reality two sexes on Earth…;) (Amazing that some people don’t seem to understand that “unisex” doesn’t exist!) There are very distinct biological and hormonal differences between males and females and attempting to address both sexes in unisex fashion is an insult to both men and women everywhere.

          What matters is that every human being should be treated with dignity and respect–”do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” That pretty much sums up the morality of the situation and is the only viable solution. The issue is actually man’s inhumanity to man (or woman) and vice-versa. “Sexism” is actually just the cover often used to hide the very real fact that this is a moral issue having to do with how we treat each other, one human being to another.

      • jalf says:

        [citation needed]

        Because I’m sure you wouldn’t make something like this up just to pollute the debate.
        And if you’ve heard it from “way too many” recently, then surely you can show us who and where.

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          Off the top of my head, you could check out some of the comments on the “Wipeout Sexism from Facebook” Facebook group. That said, I didn’t realise making a tongue-in-cheek post on a comment thread required evidence, or was capable of “polluting the debate.”

          • bill says:

            Rubbish. That’s clearly what you were trying to do. And it’s what always happens. While there may be specific instances of sexism against men in very specific situations, they always get dragged in to derail the debate about the (basically) all encompassing sexism against women. It’s annoying.

          • Shieldmaiden says:

            It’s amazing how you can deduce so much about me, my thoughts and my intentions from a couple of very brief comments. Seriously, it was a joke. No derailment intended, I promise. That’s the beauty of nested comments, you can read the bits you’re interested in and skip past the rest. Magic!

          • Merlkir says:

            @bill: if you start with the assumption that sexism against women is omnipresent and sexism against men is rare if at all real, you will treat all cases of sexism against women you come across as validation of your assumption and dismiss all cases of sexism against men as made up or marginal.

            Funny how that works, eh? Sorry to “pollute” your one sided “debate”.

          • jalf says:

            “Or at least that’s what I’ve heard from way too many radfems recently” does not sound tongue-in-cheek to me.

            But of course, if you didn’t mean it, if you don’t actually think that you have “heard it from way too many radfems recently”, then I apologize for misunderstanding you.

            And I’m sure you’ll apologize to all those “radfems” for wrongly accusing them of claiming that sexism towards men does not exist. Because after all, that was not what you meant to say, was it? That was all tongue-in-cheek, and you are mortified that some people were dumb enough to think you meant it. Yes?

            Never mind, perhaps you could enlighten me on something else.

            On one hand, I quite clearly saw you post a comment.
            On the other hand, you say that the comment meant nothing.
            On the… third hand, you claim that you did not intend to pollute the debate?

            How is that possible? Throwing meaningless garbage (which, apparently, we should understand your first comment as being) into a discussion sounds like polluting to me.

            Isn’t that what people normally call trolling?

        • Great Leader says:

          Try to look at the websites that are for finding aupairs or babysitters. I mean the ones where families post little advertise about themselves and what kind of person they want to hire. 98% of time they are looking for a girl. And in other cases where they put “gender doesn’t matter” they are still looking for a girl – and i know that because i’ve created two very similar profiles representing myself but with different photos and obviously different gender – the amount positive response I’ve got was about 150 for a girl to 10 for a guy. In some European countries (it’s Switzerland or Austria not sure now) it’s even illegal to work as a male babysitter.
          So don’t tell me there is no preference for girls there.

          • Sian says:

            “In some European countries (it’s Switzerland or Austria not sure now) it’s even illegal to work as a male babysitter.”

            I’ll have to ask you for a citation. I just googled both Austria’s and Switzerland’s laws on babysitting and didn’t find any mention of this.

          • FFabian says:

            “In some European countries (it’s Switzerland or Austria not sure now) it’s even illegal to work as a male babysitter.”

            Absolute bullshit. Typical ignorant USian with a “silly foreigners with silly laws” attitude? It might surprise you but there are other countries on this planet that have gender equality and anti-discrimination laws too (and civil rights and freedom and shit).

          • jalf says:

            I’m a little confused. Did you reply to the wrong comment?

            Because I said nothing about no jobs having a preference for girls.

            I simply asked another commenter to provide evidence for the claim that “radfems” keep saying that sexism towards men does not exist.

          • Great Leader says:

            @FFabian

            quote “Absolute bullshit.”

            Well that’s quite a disrespectful thing to say. But I can’t find now where i read it so let’s agree to disagree on that.

            quote “gender equality and anti-discrimination laws”

            I do agree that there are lots of places that have anti-discrimination laws, but gender equality it an utopia. When we’ll have cyborg bodies and standardized brain enhancers we’ll probably will be very close to achieving it. For now, wherever you see gender equality, just look closely and realize you’ve mistaken it with something else.

            @Sian

            quote “I’ll have to ask you for a citation”

            Sorry, can’t find where i read about it. It could have been dutch or even german thingy. If i find it i’ll post it here.

            @jalf

            quote “I simply asked another commenter to provide evidence for the claim that “radfems” keep saying that sexism towards men does not exist.”

            Well, you did not simply asked, it seems to me that you’ve disagreed with Shieldmaiden whole statement when you wrote “Because I’m sure you wouldn’t make something like this up just to pollute the debate” and Shieldmaiden was clearly supporting c-Rows post when he wrote “That’s clearly a lie. Everyone knows that sexism towards men doesn’t exist.” – it’s called sarcasm.
            If you didn’t like only the part he wrote about radfems you should’ve mentioned that you only disagree with that part not the whole statement.

        • pbrand says:

          reddit.com/r/shitredditsays

          Enjoy. Or don’t enjoy. There are plenty of bigoted feminists on the internet, it’s not particularly hard to find them. But when do you find their so-called safe spaces, it’s like staring into the abyss.

          • DXN says:

            Uh, what? At your link I see a bunch of typical dumb bigoted shit, a bunch of dumb regular shit, and nothing in the way of “radfems” calling for a man-holocaust or whatever.

          • baseball93 says:

            That subforum is more of a circlejerk than anything. The mythical radfems don’t really congregate there, it’s more for people who want to laugh at redditors saying problematic shit and also regurgitate insular memes at each other. It used to be about just making fun of people but now it’s a weird zone where you basically circlejerk or go somewhere else. Feminism is great and everyone benefits from it, including men. Even supposed “men’s rights advocates” would be better off just supporting feminism like normal people because the equality shit is all in there too.

        • soldant says:

          I’d laugh at this comment, but I am actually a registered nurse and when I brought this up on the RPS forums the answer was basically “Yes but that’s because of sexism in other industries, and you’re in their industry, so just put up with it.” The profession itself isn’t even interested in it.

          It varies from workplace to workplace, but generally if you’re a male nurse the only place you ever gain acceptance seems to be emergency, peri-operative, and coronary care. You don’t apply for paediatrics – not only are you unlikely to get the post, but you’ll be kicked out by the women. Same goes for some of the general wards. If you’re a male doctor though? Go nuts. Females dominate the nursing sector and there’s an endemic gender bias against males in nursing at least here in Australia.

          I totally support gender equality but damn, sometimes I just can’t care because my profession carries on with the same nonsense, but nobody’s willing to give a flying fig about it.

          • Sinomatic says:

            I think that is just ridiculously fucked up. I genuinely don’t understand what their problem is. I mean (and please let me qualify this after I say it) – I understand the paediatrics thing*, but I don’t understand the general anti-men thing in nursing. What’s their issue? Or is it just that you’re somehow ‘other’?

            * By understand it, I mean that I’ve heard this ‘concern’ before, but I find it equally ridiculous and horribly offensive to men. It really upsets me that in my lifetime there seems to have been this huge increase in suspicion around grown men being in caring roles for children.

          • jalf says:

            That does suck, and sadly, I don’t think it’s just in Australia.

            It sucks, and it is no better than the industries where men are given preferential treatment. The latter are much more numerous, but that does not make it okay. It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not a matter of ensuring that both men and women are discriminated against equally often. I wish that *neither* gender is discriminated against.

            But with that said, once again, I did not argue that “sexism against men does not exist”, as some of you seem to have gotten into your heads. I dared to question the apparently universal truth that “radical feminists believe this to be the case”. I asked what it was based upon, and nothing else.

          • casserol says:

            I came here precisely to comment on that !

            I worked for a few year as a nursing assistant, then I was a nursing student for a while (now a medical student).

            And I, in fact, had it real easy. I worked a lot with part time agencies around london so had a chance to sample many clinics and hospitals and never had any problems, nor noticed any with about my (rare) fellow male health workers.

            But that’s just my experience.

        • harbinger says:

          http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/ (I’m sure you’re able to click yourself through various other Blogs and similar from this alone)
          http://i4.minus.com/iuFa4jrWbFruL.png (she put her entire Blog to private and it can only be viewed by invitation)

          There was also the “Agent Orange Files” thing a bit ago with very many examples of them in their natural environment you can Google if you want, openly discussing their opinions 0f and “solutions” to the male race amongst understanding people on certain message boards.

          • jalf says:

            Perhaps we could stick to the topic, here?

            The question I asked was not “can you please show me where someone wrote a novel about men have wronged women throughout the ages”.

            I asked for a citation for the claim that radical feminists (all of them) specifically say that “sexism towards men does not exist”. Not simply that it is rare, or that it is less important, but that it does not exist. That it cannot exist, that it does not occur. That it is not a meaningful concept.

            It is possible that one of the novels you linked to does say such a thing. In that case, I’d appreciate it if you could just quote the relevant couple of lines here. Because I do not intend to spend the rest of the night doing the research to back up a hateful bigot’s claim. Someone else made this claim. I’m simply asking what it is based on. Burden of proof is on you, not me.

      • WhatKateDoes says:

        Radfems are just as nutter like as MRA’s. any group that seeks dominance or superiority over another is subverting the meaning and intentions of the greater cause of equality, and are to be at least ignored, or at best challenged on their stance.

        • Merlkir says:

          It’s curious that “feminism” is constantly accepted as a positive movement for “equal rights of women”. But a movement for “equal men’s rights” is always lumped under asshole supremacists.

          • Focksbot says:

            It’s easy. The feminists have a point. The MRA guys are largely whining about stuff because they want a piece of the oppression pie. Having recognised that the language of activism has become powerful and attention-grabbing, they want some of that power and attention. They also constantly attempt to hijack feminist discussion – because their real beef is that any kind of meaningful debate should be happening where they don’t get to dictate the terms.

            There do exist areas of life where men get the rawer deal. Most people accept that. Influential books have been written about it (see ‘The Second Sexism’). Most feminists accept that and want to address it. But the issues facing women are far more endemic, numerous and widespread, and so proportionately there should be a lot more discussion about them.

          • Jumwa says:

            Their very title discredits them in most places. Men’s Rights Activists? Rights? What rights are men deprived of that women have? About the only thing I can think of in this hemisphere is how in divorce proceedings the issue of custody of children favours mothers.

            And you know what? On that issue, my heart goes out to those great dads who deserve time with their kids. Truly does. Always has, for that matter.

            However, that one single issue hardly justifies a whole MRA movement that constantly acts like sexism is a 50/50 split, or — more commonly from my experience — pretends as if the “tide has turned” and now men are the REAL victim of sexism and those damn ladies have all the power.

            There are other issues men have to contend with — and again, I only speak for my own continent of North America — but they are not rights issues. There are extremist feminists who degrade their movement, but the whole existence of the MRA degrades the cause of men’s issues, which are intrinsically linked with mutual cooperation between the sexes. Men’s issues won’t get better at the detriment of women, nor vice versa.

          • harbinger says:

            “MRA” is largely a term put upon them by outside people; they very rarely identify themselves as that. Usually they go by names like “Association for Equality” or similar and are trying to bring up largely ignored men’s issues in a “gender study” field largely tipped in favor of one gender that is mostly of one voice with no opposition.

            This was a very enlightening interview into with two individuals that were formerly involved in the women’s rights movement in its beginning (Erin Pizzey being responsible for starting some of the first women’s shelters both in Europe and the US and Warren Farrell, a Ph.D. in political science once championing second wave feminism, as well as serving on the board of the National Organization of Women and founding one of the first organizations for male feminists): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-s5LFCARWI&list=PLHt1Hh27h4BugngrzswMIerLIYhYM3Cjg

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          “Radfems are just as nutter like as MRA’s. any group that seeks dominance or superiority over another”

          I don’t know much about “Radfems” (isn’t that a STALKER mod?), but assuming you meant to be talking about feminists or radical feminists, neither seek dominance of anyone over anyone. The very idea of dominance runs counter to everything feminism, “radical” or otherwise, is about. What you’ve written here doesn’t make a lot of sense.

          • Incision says:

            Dude, you’ve just dismissed yourself as someone who knows what the FUCK they’re talking about.

            Mainstream feminism is anti-male hate speech. Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an ignorant buffoon.

          • Prime says:

            Anyone who thinks otherwise is an ignorant buffoon

            Dude, you’ve just described yourself.

          • DXN says:

            Wrong. God, read a book (about Feminism) sometime.

      • RedViv says:

        Radfems ain’t radical dude. Don’t listen to what people who can’t be chill for once are saying. Mad silly to do so.
        (Honestly in less 90s terms, confusing “does not exist” with “does not exist as separate” seems to be the reason for most of that idiocy. Have to still meet a “radfem” off the internet. Probably hiding somewhere, somehow. Lots of MRA idiots though. Which, funnily enough, make the same confused mistake. Yay. Humans!)

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          Thankfully, you appear to be right. I’ve never met someone who identifies as a radfem in real life. As a trans woman, I’m very glad of that.

        • The Random One says:

          “Radfems ain’t radical dude.”

          They ain’t feminists either, but what else are we going to call them?

      • Focksbot says:

        “That’s clearly a lie. Everyone knows that sexism towards men doesn’t exist.

        Or at least that’s what I’ve heard from way too many radfems recently.”

        *sigh* Let me explain to you the point that they have probably already tried to explain to you and which you’ve chosen to ignore because it doesn’t fit with your own biases.

        Sexism against men doesn’t exist. Because sexism, properly understood, is a society-wide systemic prejudice. There is no society-wide systemic prejudice against men.

        What does exist is individual cases of prejudice and stereotyping against men. These are largely harmless, or at least of limited consequence, because there’s no power axis backing them up, except in the very few areas of public life where women do dominate.

        As for ‘radfems’ – this is fast becoming an extremely difficult term to throw about. I don’t know here whether you’re talking about the bigoted, transphobic subgroup of feminists who dub themselves radfems, or whether you’ve just been talking to some ordinary women who you’ve decided to dub ‘radfems’ as a term of abuse, or whether you’ve been talking to a reasonable but avowed feminists who’re trying to reclaim the term ‘radfems’ for themselves.

        • Focksbot says:

          OK, having read your other comments, I’m guessing the ‘radfems’ you’re referring to fit in the first group.

          Also, it seems my first para was way off, so I apologise, although in fairness, you do a pretty good impression of a straight white cis guy venting about feminists ignoring male problems.

          • Shieldmaiden says:

            Thanks, I appreciate it. My reply to you was posted before your second comment appeared. I’m used to getting crap thrown at me as I’m a kinda middle of the road feminist and have been since before I came out as trans. I talk feminism to non-feminists and I’m some kind of crazy white knight/whatever people are going to accuse me of being now I’m a woman. I do anything other than nod along with and agree to whatever the current point of discussion is and I’m just pretending to be interested in feminism to impress girls.

          • Focksbot says:

            “I’m used to getting crap thrown at me …”

            Likewise, I’m used to these exchanges being quite rough, because I generally get stuck in when I see men taking the “Aren’t these feminists crazy?” line. So I probably do jump the gun sometimes.

            I’m a straight white cis man myself and get too easily infuriated with other straight white cis men who can’t recognise the sound logic behind civil rights movements, or how us lot were basically born with all the cherries in a row.

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          Can we discuss this without the snark and the passive-aggressive put-downs?

          I disagree that sexism has to be “a society-wide systemic prejudice.” It’s discrimination against someone because of their gender. I absolutely agree that sexism against men doesn’t exist on that level, but it’s absolutely possible for a group or individual to be biased against men. Making a statement such as “sexism against men doesn’t exist” is just inflammatory, untrue and completely counter-productive to any kind of meaningful discussion. However, if someone wants to say “systematic, society-wide sexism against men doesn’t exist” or “sexism against men is a relatively minor problem” or even “sexism against men usually stems from antiquated concepts of gender roles which are enforced by the patriarchy” I will be right up there agreeing with them

          And I was talking about the bigoted, transphobic, self-labelled radfems. The kind of people who are to feminism what the Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity.

          • Focksbot says:

            “Can we discuss this without the snark and the passive-aggressive put-downs?”

            Sure, but in fairness, your first comment was dead snarky, which is what set me off.

            “Making a statement such as “sexism against men doesn’t exist” is just inflammatory, untrue and completely counter-productive to any kind of meaningful discussion.”

            I don’t think it is. Too many people’s understanding of sexism is just wrong because they’ve never cottoned on to the idea that it’s systemic, and that that’s the real problem that needs tackling. Their whole concept of sexism is individuals having prejudicial thoughts against other individuals, and so you get men whose logic is: “Well, women have made judgements about me because I’m a man, therefore it’s entirely fair that I make judgements back occasionally.”

            So saying “sexism against men doesn’t exist”, while technically wrong (because it does exist in some areas), is a bit of cold water on the face. It’s an attempt to reinforce the idea of sexism as a social problem, not an individual-to-individual one, and that’s crucial to understanding what feminism is challenging.

            It’s also important because people seem to have such a hard time separating sexist behaviour from the idea of ‘being’ a sexist. Often you can’t make someone own up to, and apologise for, blatantly sexist or even misogynistic behaviour, because their defence is, “I respect women, so I am not a sexist or misogynist, therefore nothing I do can be sexist or misogynist.”

            “And I was talking about the bigoted, transphobic, self-labelled radfems. The kind of people who are to feminism what the Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity.”

            Gotcha. The Sheila Jeffreys school.

          • Twitchity says:

            Huh. I actually wasn’t aware of this “radfem” discourse; left-wing feminists launching a campaign against the transgendered sounds like a paradigmatic and quite awful example of Dostoevsky’s onion in practice. Having said that, they’re such a tiny, marginalized, and utterly bizarre corner of academia that I wouldn’t worry unduly about them unless you’re doing tenure-track in postmodern gender studies.

            I do agree with Focksbot in that sexism really can’t be understood apart from the larger forces of society and production; if we go along, however advisedly, with the base-superstructure interrelation as a starting point, then structural biases against groups (women, gays, trans, racial/religious minorities, the poor and so on) generally must begin with a form of disenfranchisement in productive terms, of which superstructural discrimination is enforcement and justification. (To put it another way, you start by enslaving someone, then build the justifications for doing so.) I simply don’t see any value in coopting terms like “sexism” and “racism” and using them to ameliorate radical critiques against powerful and hegemonic groups.

            (On the other hand, there is, for example, definitely a structural bias against the rural poor, especially in the United States, within which group white men are significantly overrepresented, so it’s certainly possible for a white man to be discriminated against — but it’s a bias that exists *despite* structural advantages in race and gender.)

            To put this whole thing another way, I would indeed maintain that “sexism against men does not exist.” However, “jerk academics who just generally hate men” do exist — they just don’t have any meaningful effect other than diverting academic funds that might otherwise go to something useful, like coral acidification research projects, or construction paper for very small children.

        • Sian says:

          There is one, maybe two areas I can think of where there’s a systemic, society-wide prejudice against men, and I appologise for bringing up the first one: rape. As far as society is concerned, women can’t ever be rapists and men can’t ever be raped. Which is wrong. Other than that, I agree with you.

          (The other area has already been mentioned: child custody after a divorce. I think that’s getting handled better now, though, and will continue to improve, so that’s why I call it a “maybe”.)

    • Terragot says:

      For me, this is where the problem in the debate lies. Because of one person’s opinion, an entire industry is considered to be only that. Was there not one person your friend met that was just indifferent to him being male in that industry?

      I’m not saying dish out brownie points for being a decent human being, I just think it’s sad to see hate used as a megaphone.

    • skalpadda says:

      I have a male friend who went to an advanced training for child daycare, and the first thing the female trainer said was that all men in this field are basically pedophiles in disguise.

      And I’m a male who spent several years working in child daycare and never encountered anything but positive reactions to a male working in a female dominated field. No one is saying women can’t be bigoted morons just the same as men, but your one anecdote isn’t worth much in a larger context.

      • Matt_W says:

        Indeed, my son’s daycare teacher is a young man, and he is great!

      • Stellar Duck says:

        As a guy currently working in a kindergarten and an afterschool day care I’ve met nothing but positive reactions from both my female colleagues and the parents of the demon spawn we take care of.

        Both groups has repeatedly praised the way I do my job as well as commented that it’s nice for the kids to have a guy to relate to as well as me being able to do some stuff that the ladies generally don’t really care for. The wood-shop activities have exploded since I took them over and I usually have to limit the crowd as too many 1st to 3rd graders in one room with saws can be… messy. The same goes for football. I’m not saying my female coworkers can’t play footy but they sure don’t do it. So now we have regular matches and I do my best to teach them kicking and passing as well and working on their general body awareness and timing.

        So yea, whatever. It’s an anecdote but I’ve had an amazing time.

      • Shookster says:

        It’s not an isolated thing, unfortunately. At my church, in order to protect themselves from legal issues, the board enacted a policy that says men cannot be alone in the nursery taking care of children. A man and a woman can be in the nursery, and a woman can be in there alone, but a man can never be alone with a group of children under a certain age.

        The thinking is that since male sex offenders are more common, the best way to prevent problems is to eliminate the possibility. On the flip side, it seems to imply that women have restraint and men do not.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          No one is suggesting it’s an isolated incident – the point is that you can bring up anecdotal examples to support both sides of the argument, ergo it is not universally true that men in childcare are viewed with suspicion

          • Shookster says:

            Oh! Absolutely not! Sorry if it sounded like I think that’s univesally the way it is. But, much like Pratchett’s comment on male nurses in the article, I think it’s an attitude that shouldn’t happen at all to any gender in any field.

            What I DO think is that it’s generally (and notice I don’t say universally) more acceptable where I am in the Midwestern U.S. for women to care for children. It’s just a mindset and a roadblock for SOME men because of preconceived ideas of women as being more nurturing. Something, by the way, that feminism hopes to solve; if things viewed as traditionally feminine like nurturing children is no longer viewed as weak, then it’s not unmanly for a man to be a daycare worker. But I digress…

          • Wraggles says:

            While anecdotal evidence is a poor basis for discourse in the first place, the fact that such evidence on both sides of the argument can be brought up is not actually equivalent in this instance. If I expect result Y and the absence of result X, and yet in “some” instances X occurs, then that is indicative of my expectations being wrong. Bringing up instances of Y is not counter-factual, as Y is the “expected” or ‘desired” result.

            (This of course does nothing to attribute for size and scale, potentially X could lay within an acceptable margin of error or is an outlier)

    • harbinger says:

      The thing is men and women are different on a genetic level and have different predispositions, and for the most part what women want to do is not designing games or Information Technology jobs in general. That’s not going to change very much as long as people have the freedom to choose their own job.

      There’s not going to be an “even split” in the game industry, people need to cope with that and deal with it.

      Here is a very interesting Norwegian Documentary on “Gender Equality”, how early in life one can see differences and it also focuses a lot on jobs taken by both genders and interviewing a lot of researchers in the field. One fascinating thing in it was that in countries like India, where there are certain jobs (like IT) that are a given to make money, there is a lot more women working in and studying in the field. While in relatively “free” countries, where people are largely open to do what they want like Norway, the “split” between the genders in certain jobs gets further apart:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrsF7wyUxs8

      • alw says:

        A lot of the discussion going on at the moment is more about whether people really have the opportunity to work in the field they want or whether there barriers that prevent equality of opportunity. The documentary (which was pretty interesting, I thought) seemed to be more about what people would choose if those barriers didn’t exist. If women mainly end up choosing to be nurses and men mainly choose engineering or whatever, that’s fine, as long s they’re not excluded from any of those choices because of people thinking it’s not suitable for their gender.

      • Senethro says:

        Or maybe there are cultural effects going on here and your suggestion of “WOMEN DON’T COMPUTER BECAUSE GENES” is really stupid?

        • alw says:

          Thank you for that well thought out and reasoned contribution to the ongoing discussion.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Because the idea that genetics stops women from choosing IT jobs set the bar pretty high!

          • Senethro says:

            Seriously, I posted in a less than positive way but what is not stupid about saying how developed world womens careers choices being gene influenced and developing world being culture influenced?

            Given harbingers other replies on this page are desperate reachings to find examples of evil feminists and good MRAs I doubt he has anything sensible to contribute.

        • harbinger says:

          Or maybe you could give that documentary a watch, before going on a tangent, where Dr. Richard Lippa (Professor of Psychology at California State University), Prof Dr. med Trond H. Diseth (Child Psychologist), Prof Simon Baron-Cohen (Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge) and Professor Anne Campbell (Department of Psychology, Durham University) present their findings and arguments.
          They aren’t even saying it’s entirely biological or disputing cultural influences, just that biology plays a large part in that too. They are also not saying that they would be incapable of it, just that if there is a choice of career not entirely based on survival women usually rather gravitate towards people-oriented things like nursing, teaching or social work, while men gravitate towards things like construction, engineering and IT.

          I loved her part especially: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOb1b8GYH6c
          “Absolutely amazing. I’m astonished that someone could say that. I guess the question I would pose is: “Where do bodily differences come from? Where do the differences between men and women’s reproductive systems come from?” Evolution, I’m sure would be the answer that most social scientists would give. “And what orchestrates those bodily differences? What is responsible for the production of hormones and peptides that keep everything going? The human brain mostly, through feedback systems.” It seems to me quite extraordinary that you could imagine that evolution has operated on the reproductive systems and has had absolutely no effect at all on our brain, the single most expensive organ that we have in the body.”

          Don’t worry, “gender researchers” are given screen time too, most of it near the end is being spent with them stuttering and proclaiming that science is humbug, while they don’t present any evidence of their own, but it must be so because of how they’re “feeling”.

          I’m sure most feminists not working in an official capacity would find an even simpler answer to all that by simply saying it’s a consequence of “patriarchy”. There’s no better and easier explanation to all the worlds ills, no better source for all that is wrong than that after all.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            So your point is that their will never be a 50/50 split in the games industry? Great, but what does that have to do with the article? It’s about the women that are in the industry and those that might want to get into the industry(those freaks of nature if you will) and what they have to deal with (which they just shouldn’t have to)

          • Senethro says:

            I don’t owe you half an hour of my day especially when the greatest point you can draw from this high quality broadcast is that a biological influence exists.

            Yes, I know, I have a fucking degree in it. The problem is that you want to say this biological influence is responsible for every difference that you perceive between men/women and so to justify them as being “natural”.

      • jalf says:

        Different at a genetic level? That’s interesting, considering you get half your genes from each parent. So half your genes are girl genes, and half your genes are guy genes, and that is *totally* different from the situation had you been the opposite gender.

        • darkChozo says:

          To use my extensive high school level knowledge of genetics, if there were certain traits that were expressed more strongly on the X chromosome than on the Y chromosome that predisposed women towards (in this case) not being an IT professional, then it would be a difference in job preference that is due to differences between men and women at a genetic level.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Take a second to step back and consider how fantastically complex the concept of “being an IT professional” is. Then consider the very abstract way in which genetics influence your preferences and choices. Once you’ve done that it should be pretty clear how utterly ridiculous it is to suggest that the reason there are more men working in IT than women is down to genetics.

          • darkChozo says:

            I’m well aware of how limited what I said was (ergo the “high school level knowledge” thing). Jalf suggested that men and women have identical genetics, which is blatantly false – sex is literally determined by mostly-clearly-defined genetic markers.

            I would say that, given our (lack of) knowledge of how exactly genetics work, you couldn’t say with confidence that sex doesn’t have an impact on your chances of being an IT professional. Not that means anything, absence of evidence not being evidence of absence and such.

        • Bhazor says:

          The genetic content of men and women are broadly identical (the second X is deactivated in women and the Y is pretty vestigial) but gene expression and particularly hormone production can be radically different.

          Men and women are not the same physically. It’s no great leap to assume those changes include the brain and it’s no great leap to assume this may include mental differences. Even in gender neutral environments young girls gravitate to dolls and boys gravitate to weapons. Maybe it so happens fewer women have the “blinky light fun box is good” set up than men. Just like fewer men may have the “shoe shops are a legitimate place to spend £300″ hormonal stew. Of course there is no “super model” for humans and there are no gender absolutes but that doesn’t mean genes aren’t a major factor.

          • Senethro says:

            Did your genes make you type an unbiased and neutral phrase like hormonal stew or was it an expression of your culture? Was the reference to shoe shops a funny joke or just part of the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decision women have regarding appearance standards? Is it necessary to point out that your avatar is a damn pony, the show that creepy nerds appropriated from young girls because they couldn’t be allowed to have even one thing to call theirs?

            What I’m saying is you’re not very good at this. Please air your views to your class geneticist in training, as the sound of a roomful of people cringing is one possible start to reform.

      • DXN says:

        Don’t do Evo Psych, kids.

        • DXN says:

          By which I mean, a layperson using an Evolutionary Psychology-based explanation to make sweeping statements about the way large categories of people react to things is almost certainly talking out of their arse. Untestable and reductive, they’re no more than Just So stories.

          • Bhazor says:

            Why would social factors be any different?

            The evidence for both is broadly the same, somewhere between anecdotal to dubious social experiment.

            What I will say as a geneticist in (early) training is that genetics is like being dealt a poker hand. You might be able to bluff, decieve, trick and raise but you can’t change your cards. Two people dealt the same hand could win or lose on how they play and what cards get set out but that doesn’t change the importance of their starting hand.

          • DXN says:

            Sure, Evo Psych is not an unreasonable source to draw inspiration for a hypothesis about social dynamics from that you can then test using soft-scientific means. But when its used as the basis or the evidence for specific claims, and especially when its used by laymen as “proof by sounding about right” for their dumb gut-instinct misogynist just so stories, it becomes a problem. It’s pseudoscientific handwaving with no more value than an appeal to nature, or than racialist claptrap.

            And with regards to gender specifically, it tells us absolutely nothing that has any relevance to whether women “should” be working in the games industry or playing games or having games marketed to them etc. Even if there were some supposed ‘genetic factor’ that made women less predisposed to get into gaming, that would form no kind of a basis for acting like an asshole to female people or excluding them from anything.

          • DXN says:

            I mean, let’s look at something you wrote above:

            “Men and women are not the same physically. It’s no great leap to assume those changes include the brain and it’s no great leap to assume this may include mental differences. [...] Maybe it so happens fewer women have the “blinky light fun box is good” set up than men. Just like fewer men may have the “shoe shops are a legitimate place to spend £300″ hormonal stew.”

            ‘Maybe’ indeed. And ‘maybe’ the moon’s core is cheese.

            There are “mental differences” between any two individuals or statistical groups. That’s not meaningful by itself. Even people who focus on this surely acknowledge that the disparity across the whole population is far larger than the disparity between gender groups. And it certainly is a “great leap” to go from that to some kind of proclamation that women (considered individually) are inherently and unchangeably less likely to choose an IT-based profession, and would be so even if the social and cultural barriers that make it so difficult for them to do so are removed. It’s nothing more than handwaving. Of course, even if it were true it would absolutely not mean that we shouldn’t open every opportunity for the women who *did* want to buck their terrible genetic burden and work in one of the highest-paid areas that doesn’t require a huge educational investment.

            And yet it’s exactly this kind of far-flung, unproven and barely-proveable pontificating that directly props up actual, real-world, harmful policies and attitudes, which cause huge cumulative social and economic harm. And that people take as qualification to be so presumptuous as to decide whether or not women “should” be supported or encouraged to do whatever the hell they choose to do.

            Ludicrous. Shameful!

          • Bhazor says:

            Where did I say anything about not supporting women who want to work in the industry?

          • DXN says:

            Harbinger posted that gender-weighting in different careers is due to genetics. Jalf pointed out that men and women are not very significantly genetically different. You refuted that by explaining about gene expression.

            In that context your comment seems to me to endorse Harbinger’s comment, which obviously (no?) supported the idea that there’s no, or less point in supporting women’s entry into the industry, since they supposedly “don’t want to anyway”. In other words his idea implies that things already are as they should be and there’s no need for change.

            My point is that it is too large a leap to go from the difference in gene expression between genders to a broader sociocultural dynamic like “women just aren’t cut out for IT,” including the gaming industry. It’s bad science used to support a bad and oppressive dynamic. And even if the science was good, the dynamic still wouldn’t be. The point of liberal democaracy/republicanism is to work around the worse parts of our nature and our default group behaviours, which are so easy to engage in without even realising it.

    • Branthog says:

      In the US, 95% of nurses are male (yes, this is an accurate statistic — google it). It’s a real travesty and something needs to be done about the sexism in the industry that keeps men from striving to be part of the rewarding field of nursing.

      . . . Or maybe men just happen to be interested in other professions and that’s okay.

      The same goes for STEM and other supposed “women-deficient” fields. As long as there is plenty of opportunity for those who are interested both in the education and employment side, then the ultimate result (employment statistics and how many of a certain gender or race or other label make up individual title productions) is irrelevant.

      Also, who the hell would want to encourage people to go into STEM fields? My advice to women and men alike is to find a better line of work that will be more rewarding and less fraught with instability. As much as people lobbying the government (in the US, at least) for engineering-based H1B quota expansions, it’s a field with a fairly high rate of unemployment and a very low rate of entrance from those entering STEM educations (I think something like less than 50% of those focusing on STEM-majors in college actually ever work in STEM fields after graduation).

      Anyway, the reason I am pretty “defeatest” about all this and tend to turn a “deaf ear” to it is that I am not the CEO or product manager of a game studio or publisher or other technology company. I’m open to and enjoy games with interesting female, gay, non-white (doesn’t necessarily have to be the stereotypical anti-stereotype “strong” woman) characters. Even lead characters. I don’t give a shit if the team making my games are all men or all women. Or predominantly one or the other. Or if they’re all Canadian Wiccans. As long as they make interesting games.

      As a consumer — there’s really not a fuck of a lot I can do about this. We hear you guys — being a girl is hard. It’s probably hard in the automotive and furniture manufacturing industries, too (and I don’t care who makes my furniture or care, either, as long as it’s good). Just want more do you want me to do? Article after article after article for two years and a lot of “look how awesome I am for standing up and publishing something about this” chest thumping and . . . most of us *still* don’t have a damn clue what it is we’re supposed to do about it and most game journalists have made it very clear how little being tiny squeaky wheels about products to companies means, so writing letters to the head of EA or Silverchair or whoever the fuck made that zombie game and saying “I’m not buying anymore of your shit unless you durpa durpa durp” is apparently not going to accomplish anything . . .

      I understand there’s a certain value in keeping something like this constantly on the “front burner”, but you’re going to have diminishing returns on “give a fuck” from the overall audience, as time goes on, because it’s largely either preaching to the choir or (often, with game journalists) attacking the choir. Your wife doesn’t want to hear you coming home every single day for two years bitching about how much it sucks at work — primarily because there’s nothing she can fucking do about it since she isn’t your boss or colleague. And that’s pretty much the situation most of us are in, too. The best the audience/consumers can do is sympathize and that’s worth, it seems, fuck all.

      • darkChozo says:

        Where are you getting that nurse statistic? It’s almost literally the opposite of what I can find; I’m seeing ~6% of all nurses being male, which goes up to ~10% for new nurses.

        As for STEM fields, all the statistics I can find suggest that the average STEM unemployment rate is lower than the national rate (it’s gone up in recent years, but so has the national rate). There are potential issues with competition from highly skilled immigrants, but it’s less a matter of being a risky field and more of being a field that is riskier than it was a couple of years ago.

  2. Utnac says:

    regardless of which “side” of the equality “debate”

    And that is where I stopped reading.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Yeah, but despite that little jab the article is actually worth reading. It’s just an interview with a writer about her opinions on stuff, and that stuff happens to be about Twitter and GDC and Tomb Raider and sexism. All first hand information, I’ll point out.

      • Mokey says:

        How was that a jab? It’s not a “debate.” It’s a bunch of people (male and female) calmly explaining what’s wrong with this industry and how it can be fixed, while on the other side men whine and scream about how everything is fine and, in the worst cases, how everything was great until all these smelly girls showed up.

        • Sic says:

          … and this is why most of us just aren’t interested in joining in on the debate.

          It seems most of you in the heat of it actually believe things like “while on the other side men whine and scream about how everything is fine and, in the worst cases, how everything was great until all these smelly girls showed up.” , which makes the debate largely irrelevant, because the people involved just aren’t worth debating.

          When people speak up against some of the more radical articles that John posts, on the virtue of the data being wrong, the response is usually to berate the people who is pointing this out. If you’re not with us, you’re against us (and therefore a “screaming and whining man”).

          I’ve said this before, and I will continue saying it: if you want any sort of viable debate, if you actually want something happening, this kind of behaviour just won’t do. You’ll have to do better.

          • Prime says:

            The only way to get the kind of debate you want is to BE that kind of debate. While there are the noisy few that seem to want only to fill up the threads with screeching and hollering (on both sides) there are equally a good number of people here that can discuss the topic, and engage opposing viewpoints, without resorting to personal attacks or any of the prettier ways of dressing up dismissive sentiments. Telling us that you won’t debate because you get jumped on by howler monkeys each time is not much different from what Mokey said, which you quite rightly challenged.

            If you’re also suggesting that all attacks on RPS writers are all shouted down then I’d suggest going back and reading a few of the noisier threads. The rude ones generally are, yes, but valid points presented respectfully are never dismissed so casually. Jim’s been quite busy in this thread putting across his point of view with people I might deem not worth the effort.

          • Muzman says:

            Although the data was questionably presented all of once, the shitfest turned up on every occasion for mostly unwarranted reasons. And it’s solely because as soon as something vaguely feminist sounding comes up many many people feel they must speak up and oppose it (because some feminist said mean things to them once, or they grew up osmosing Rush Limbaugh or similar)

          • Utnac says:

            Muzman it has absolutely nothing to do with what is being said and absolutely everything to do with how it’s being said. I’d love to read some pieces about the opinions of some women in the industry about the industry. But it’s not is it. It’s john walker et al writing article after article full of hyperbole, false statements and loaded interviews and then telling anyone who doesn’t like that to Fuck Off or deleting their comments.

            Plenty of links around the forums to articles that manage to offer some perspective and insight without reverting to the debating style of a 10 year old.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            “Muzman it has absolutely nothing to do with what is being said and absolutely everything to do with how it’s being said.”

            Indeed. For those who have slightly different opinions on the whys and hows to be told that our views are automatically invalid because we’re not falling precisely in lockstep with liberal journalistic mindset… It’s unprofessional. Just unprofessional.

            Oh how can I say that when women are being trolled: I must be a monster! Hey lads, let’s all us White Knights throw these troll-sympathisers in the troll pit where they belong!

          • Muzman says:

            You guys talk like the last few months defines this stuff. You have to go back way longer than that to see why John is mad on occasion and it was indeed usually over nothing except the vague whiff off feminism causing endless consternation.
            Did he tell you personally to fuck off? I don’t see why that would matter if he didn’t. What’s this all about? Raking someone over the coals until you get loud mea culpas over matters of bias and professionalism that you get to set the terms on? (and only on this subject) I don’t know what else it could be.

      • Utnac says:

        And very interesting I’m sure, and I’d love to here her views. I just don’t really want to have to pick out her thoughts and views from amongst all the loaded garbage which makes up the rest of the article including the interview questions themselves.

        • edwardoka says:

          How can you know that the questions were loaded if you never read them?

          A potentially valid interpretation of “”side” of the equality “debate”" could be that Nathan was acknowledging that the issues at play here are FAR more complex than just a simple spectrum with active misogyny at one end, and an egalitarian utopia at the other end, but that, of course, is too difficult to sum up in a sentence.

          I might be wrong in that interpretation but at least I’m not getting het up over quote marks.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            The problem with a more balanced interpretation of the “quote marks” thing is that it doesn’t take into account the pattern RPS’s writers have been following as they continue pumping out these articles. The snark gets more vicious, the dismissal of alternate opinion gets more blatant, and the insults get more personal.

            Maybe Mr. Grayson could clarify why he felt quotation marks were necessary to begin with?

          • jalf says:

            Isn’t it obvious? Because he doesn’t feel that there are meaningful “sides”, or a meaningful “debate”, between those who think that everyone should have equal rights and equal opportunities, and those who don’t think so.

            Because it would have been extremely weird if he, or any other RPS writer, had pretended that an honest actual debate exists between “sexist assholes” and “sensible people”.

            It would have lent credibility to people they feel have no credibility.

            There is no debate on the issue. But there is a “debate”. With the quotation marks. Because it is not a debate, it is a hideous caricature of a debate, in which some people try to justify being hateful scumbags, and some people… don’t.

            There are subjects where I fully understand that some people disagree with me, where a meaningful debate can exist, and where people can take sides. Which football team are you rooting for, what was the best PC game of 2012, is capitalism a viable economic model, and if God existed, which brand of Ketchup would he prefer?

            All of those can be debated reasonably.

            But “should people be treated as equals, or am I entitled to remain ignorant that not everyone share the privileges that I have?”
            That is not a debate. That’s a rational person versus a complete dickhead.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            The problem with a more balanced interpretation of the “quote marks” thing is that it doesn’t take into account the pattern RPS’s writers have been following as they continue pumping out these articles. The snark gets more vicious, the dismissal of alternate opinion gets more blatant, and the insults get more personal.

            That’s because the opposing “opinions” are pathetic and repugnant, and don’t deserve respect.
            The reason people who express these things get shouted down, is because they’re wrong

            Would you also lend your support to those who’s “alternate opinion” was that black people and Jews are subhumans? I seriously doubt it.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Pardon my French, Ergates_Antius, but assigning a blanket condemnation to every opposing voice in this debate as “pathetic and repugnant” is a fucking horseshit cop-out. There are plenty of reasonable objections to the way RPS have been covering the sexism debate, but unfortunately both the staff and a majority of the readership here have taken a “with us or against us” attitude. Why does this whole thing have to be so black-and-white with you people?

            Also, you’re a dumbshit for even having the balls to equate those of differing opinions on this topic with racists. That was a cheap shot, and I hope you realize how monumentally stupid it was to make that comparison.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Also, you’re a dumbshit for even having the balls to equate those of differing opinions on this topic with racists
            No. Sexism and misogyny are directly comparable to racism. That you think otherwise is telling.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Ergates, you’re welcome to browse through this site’s articles and find any one of them where I have directly or indirectly outed myself as a sexist or antifeminist, or encouraged such beliefs. Go ahead. My beef isn’t with the topic, it’s with the coverage and the resulting hivemind reaction.

            You can’t come up with a reasonable counterargument so you resort to logical fallacies. Fuck you for calling me out as a sexist or a racist without having the proof to back it up.

            You are an ignorant, baiting little turd. Welcome to the block list.

    • Toberoth_Syn says:

      Congratulations on your wilful ignorance.

  3. honuk says:

    If Tomb Raider were a film, it’d be slasher schlock. And yet in gaming its writer is hailed as a feminist icon. Show her work to anyone with legitimate feminist credentials beyond a twitter hashtag and praise isn’t exactly what you’d get in return.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I don’t believe Pratchett can be said to be responsible for Crystal Dynamics’ gratuitous death scenes. That would be over-stating the influence of a writer on a finished game.

      Besides, her work is more than one flawed game – as this interview demonstrates.

      • Cara Ellison says:

        When I interviewed Rhianna about Tomb Raider, I made sure to ask her about how much power she had and how she worked with level design, and it’s quite clear from her responses that she was often responding to what the design team wanted, and often, what they had already decided.

        • Terragot says:

          And from my experience, Design are often responding to what Brand want.

        • Philomelle says:

          Didn’t she also mention repeatedly that the reason Lara goes from breaking down over one kill to gunning down hundreds of cultists wasn’t because the design team wanted it that way, but because the entire test audience complained that they wanted to start using guns as soon as possible?

          The Tomb Raider I played was flawed not because of an immature narrative, but because it was a game with an internal struggle of what it wants to be and what it needs to be in order to sell. It often comes off like it doesn’t really want to be as violent as it is, but it needs to sell to the mass market, which mostly consists of people who like guns, explosions and violence.

          Hell, it goes as far as shove all of Lara’s violent finishing moves into the back of one particular skill tree, as if trying to say that violent options are there if the player wants to use them, but they can be ignored in favor of scavenging and stealth otherwise. Which I did; I only started picking up all those super-violent finishers when I had nothing else to level, which was in the areas largely devoid of human opponents. I completely missed out on Lara’s super-violent antics everyone is talking about as a result.

          Funnily, I still feel like I was playing Tomb Raider the right way.

          • RedViv says:

            Fittingly enough, the brutal finishing moves only appear some time after Lara has her “COMING FOR YOU ALL!” moment, after which they might actually be considered appropriate for the character.

          • Slaadfax says:

            In an attempt to be 100% fair, I don’t believe a writing project like this is terribly indicative of someone’s talent or lack thereof. As is very often the case, it seems, writing is in the video games industry is heavily constrained by the design/marketing needs of the game itself. It cannot possibly be easy to pour a character arc into what is at a mechanical level a “gutsplosionspree”

            Notable examples are listed below of good game writers (Ken Levine, Ragnar Tornquist), however they have the benefit of being the lead on their particular projects. The game gets made the way they want it to, following the story they want to tell. It is a very different experience than coming in 2/3rds of the way through and filling in those talky parts.

      • honuk says:

        I’m not talking about death animations. I’m talking about the narrative arc. Quivering vulnerability into suffering into “payback” murder and “survival.” That’s a rape narrative. No amount of PR and twitter revolution is going to sweep that away. Right now the “feminist” movement in gaming is all self-congratulation with the occasional extraordinarily obvious complaint.

        As for her other work, the less said the better. Perhaps I should quote RPS on Mirror’s Edge? Alec called the story “overbearing,” “not very good,” “not interesting,” and concluded that it features “thinly-sketched characters” who “don’t matter a jot.” That was being kind.

        One of the best ways to get more women in the video game industry is to attempt to attract top talent by virtue of what is being created. Hailing mediocrity as revolution is a quick way to protect a status quo that happens to be 90% male.

        We have to redefine what writing is in video games anyway, but that’s a point for another discussion.

        • Bhazor says:

          In particular the arc reminded me of “I Spit on your Grave”. But what it really felt like was Uncharted in a flimsy tank top. The same narrative/gameplay disconnect, the same faceless (ambiguously raced) mooks, the same mind boggling plot twists and all the same tired old Hollywood lines.

          Ragnar Tornquist wrote a far better female lead and I’m damned if I’m going to praise Tomb Raider just because her character is slightly better than most female characters.

        • Laurentius says:

          Now i would disagree on this. ME writing being certainly flawed but nevertheless far better then TR, for one it has better pacing and dosn’t dwell on its shortcomings, narrative /gameplay dissonance and plot holes ( something TR just excels in).

        • dahauns says:

          Re Mirror’s Edge: WHOA. Congratulations. Way to misquote an article.
          And to add to her list: Both Heavenly Sword and especially Overlord had fine writing.

        • Muzman says:

          Mirror’s Edge was another ‘Write to the design/fill in the blanks (and have them changed on the fly as design progresses)” kind of jobs from what I understand it.
          I’m not sure I’d call her a great writer either, but given the chance I dare say she’d be more coherent than games design often permits.

          How many AAA writer driven games are there anyway? Stuff by Ken Levine. Valve stuff. A smattering of others here and there. It’s by far the exception rather than the norm

          • PopeRatzo says:

            but given the chance I dare say she’d be more coherent than games design often permits.

            And if she were a better writer, she’d be a better writer.

          • Muzman says:

            Better at what aspect though? is the question

          • mouton says:

            It shows when you read the accompanying Mirror’s Edge comic book miniseries. Unlike the writing of the game, it was quite decent, so it does point to developer meddling/stifling design constraints.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          Quivering vulnerability into suffering into “payback” murder and “survival.” That’s a rape narrative.

          That’s also a narrative of a huge percentage of all heroic fiction.

          Very few heroes start out as the heroes, except in schlock action films.

          I don’t believe its fair to take a narrative arc and load it up with your own psychological baggage.

          Do you believe Spiderman is a rape narrative? How about Karate Kid? If you’d like examples from classical literature I can provide them, but I want to give you something inside your frame of reference.

          We have to redefine what writing is in video games anyway, but that’s a point for another discussion.

          “We”?

        • The Random One says:

          Yeah, Mirror’s Edge’s story was pretty poor. That’s OK; a complex story would just be at odds with the straightforward gameplay. I used to find it confusing that Faith was considered a strong female character, since she’s a weak character without clear personality or motivation. Then I realized people were using “strong female character” to mean any female character that didn’t have stereotypical female characteristics, regardless of how good or bad the actual character was.

          • mouton says:

            A story doesn’t have to be complex to be good. It could have been simple but unidiotic.

      • bhlaab says:

        Doesn’t explain loading a question with “RPS: In working on Tomb Raider – a series that’s gone from gaming industry sex symbol to symbol of the industry’s gradual maturation…” unless you’re talking about graduality in terms of proceeding from one atom to another, I guess.

    • Bhazor says:

      @honuk
      Pretty much.

      Same can be said for the hack writer of Far Cry 3 being praised (mostly by himself) as a satirist of soaring genius.

  4. twig_reads says:

    Hm, the first negative comment is already deleted (man, rps is fast on that front), but I would still like to reply to the point that rps should keep politics out of gaming blog:

    Try as you might, you can’t keep politics out of anything, because it _is_ in everything. Humans are political creatures and you making crude remarks (“sexless bitch”, really?) only go to show that it really is the case, because you not wanting there to be any talk of sexism in RPS is your politics, your vision of how “things should be and members of a community should act”.

    In short, screw you man, for being a bigot and a hypocrite.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Yeah, I saw it too before it was deleted, but that idiot wasn’t really worth wasting the energy. The poster clearly hadn’t read the article and clearly didn’t know who she was in the first place. I suspect pure trolling.

      Part of the problem is that sexism has been exploited for political gain in the past, sometimes very recent past, which has unfortunately polluted the issue. But clearly there is substance to the issue of sexism in the game industry (regardless of the causes being under-researched), and RPS is not just posting about it for political jollies.

      So, indeed, the knee-jerk reaction of the jerk in question was not valid.

    • thegooseking says:

      Exactly. Arguing that politics should be left out of anything is inseparable from arguing in favour of the status quo, which is not an apolitical statement. The difference is that the people who actually do argue for the status quo don’t (for the most part) pre-emptively try to undermine future discussion.

    • Mordsung says:

      I’m just a bit depressed some people consider human rights a political issue.

      That, to me, makes it seem like there is a pro-human rights and an anti-human rights side of the debate, and that is a frightening thought.

      • DXN says:

        I’m sure there are people – in fact I know there are people – out there in Daily-Mail-Land and even Telegraph-land who are quite happy to identify themselves as “anti-human rights”.

        • Mordsung says:

          In Canada, it’s the Sun and SunTV crowd that would likely be the same, or at least a vocal minority of them.

          • Kitsunin says:

            And in America, it’s the Fox crowd. From what I’ve seen, that even extends outside of America though, I know a good few idiots (I live in Taiwan now) who think Fox is “Alternative” news, and watch it only for that exact reason.

          • derbefrier says:

            please explain how fox news actively or in any way is anti-human rights. I ask because I know you cant answer because your full of shit. I get so tired of this crap never being challenged. Just because they don’t report the news with a heavy liberal perspective like all the other major networks doesn’t mean they are the bad guys you know it just means you been brainwashed into thinking anything that even slightly opposes “popular” liberal opinion is inherently evil like a good little government drone.

          • Davie says:

            Anti-human rights may be pushing it, but Fox consistently and fiercely pushes its own conservative agenda, to the point where they don’t mind using questionable sources, misinformation, out-of-context statements and entirely fictional data to reinforce its points. Just because you agree with the bias doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

            Most of the major news sources have ulterior motives in their reporting one way or the other. It’s wise to desire concrete proof from both sides before believing anything a hundred percent.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Fox News is the only News broadcast that has fought all the way to the US Supreme Court for their ability to lie on camera. And they won. I hear they can’t be broadcast in Canada due to some law saying that you can’t do that. Fox does not respect their position as news media, in my opinion. They just sell it.

        • mickygor says:

          I somewhat doubt that. It’s very difficult to differentiate between human rights and the Human Rights act. I suspect intentionally. Same with all these laws bearing victims’ names. It’s difficult to state opposition because you’re insulting the concept the bill was named after, not just the contents of the bill itself.

      • twig_reads says:

        But. It is a political issue? Politics isn’t just about talking suits. It really is how a group of people determine what’s considered a norm for the group. Human rights are not a cosmic law, it is human-made arrangement.

        • Mordsung says:

          Everything is a human made issue for the most part, and many of those things we have decided as a species are worthy of being treated as cosmic-law. We know they are not, but we treat many things, such as laws against murder, as though they are.

          This is definitely an issue worth being enshrined into the same status as our laws against theft and murder. Just because we invented those laws doesn’t mean they aren’t very important.

          This is not something that should have two or more sides.

          • twig_reads says:

            When did I say it was not important? It not being a cosmic law does not equate it to be not important.

            So if theft is cosmic fault, then what about piracy? Also what do you think of abortion, euthanasia, death sentence? If murder is a priori a cosmic law, then what’s there to discuss anymore? We’ll just collectively go “That’s bad” and leave it be, outside of human decision realm.

            You kinda depower the human element in this subject by that. I think the most special thing about human rights IS the fact that it’s of human nature. Taking that away and dogmatizing it defeats the point in my eyes.

  5. sophof says:

    I find it interesting that the person who apparently invented this whole thing wrote the new tomb raider, which, according to many followers of said movement, was a typical sexist depiction with the attempted rape and all that. Perspective is everything.

    Meanwhile, I would caution any young kid, boy or girl, to stay out of the industry, I rarely hear any positive tales. The current AAA model definitely has to die first, and I’m willing to bet it would take away a large amount of the complaints attributed as sexism with it. My point is, sexism is about intent, not actions, even though the result can be the same nonetheless.

    Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, wasn’t it something like that?

    But I have to say, if you are going to change something, the way she handles it is definitely the way to do it. Change comes slowly and by generation, changing the minds of young people that are not yet stuck into a specific world view.
    Change only appears to be sudden, but feminism is hardly a new thing of course and in this generation most of the men might be more feminist than the women of the previous. This cause just manages to get hijacked by prudes and confused people constantly for some reason. She also manages to be a lot less condescending than the interviewer btw, you guys really need to take more distance from this subject when you write about it…

    • Bhazor says:

      “She also manages to be a lot less condescending than the interviewer btw, you guys really need to take more distance from this subject when you write about it…”

      Agreed.

      • Mordsung says:

        Why should an opinion website take a distanced approach to this subject when they do not take a distanced approach on the rest of their opinions?

        When a game sucks, they tell us about it forcefully and allow their opinion to shine through un-smothered.

        Why should the subject of game story content receive any less passion?

        • Bhazor says:

          The difference being if you disagree with their opinion of a game you have different tastes but if you disagree with how they write about feminism then you’re an idiot or worse.

          • Mordsung says:

            Well this is a rare case where one side is pretty much objectively wrong and the other is right.

            To pretend woman have achieved equality is intellectually dishonest, and to pretend that gaming is not a very misogynistic place is also intellectually dishonest.

            Sometimes it is opinion vs opinion and either side is equally right, this is not one of those cases.

            Just because there exist female supremacists who try to push the debate way too far past equality does not mean that feminists who simply want equality do not exist.

            I should know I am married to one, and she dislikes female supremacists as much as anyone does because they damage her cause greatly.

            Do not make the mistake of assuming feminist = female supremacist. Feminists hate the female supremacists as much as anyone.

          • Bhazor says:

            Which is exactly why I don’t like RPS’s coverage of feminism which centers around hand wringing and angry shouting when as Rhianna points positivism is just as if not more important. It’s the same thing I’ve been saying for a while and it’s something that Porpentine’s weekly free indie round up has been doing for months. But the rest of RPS covers it with such joylessness that people just tune out and shove it over to the feminazi catergory.

            The only recent feminist article I’ve liked on here in the past few months was Starcraft 2 Buns article. Reason being unlike their other articles it wasn’t preachy or condescending.

          • DXN says:

            Ah. Good old tone argument.

          • Bhazor says:

            Ahh defining every possible counter argument as a troll/derailment.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            No, just the ones which *are* troll/derailments… oh, that’s pretty much all of them.

    • Iamerror says:

      “She also manages to be a lot less condescending than the interviewer btw, you guys really need to take more distance from this subject when you write about it…”

      Good point.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “She also manages to be a lot less condescending than the interviewer btw, you guys really need to take more distance from this subject when you write about it…”

      Indeed, just because some of us don’t think that feminism is the opposite of sexism (and vice versa), that doesn’t put us in the same boat as the screaming trolls.

    • baby snot says:

      Can one of you point of where Nathan is being condescending. I really don’t see it. What am I missing?

      • MadTinkerer says:

        ” – regardless of which “side” of the equality “debate” you fall on –”

        Implies that there is only one valid viewpoint to the issue at hand.

        As opposed to Miss Pratchett’s far more reasonable “However, the whole issue has brought up some really interesting and important debates about what’s acceptable for videogames to depict, where the boundaries are and how we speak about female characters and their relationship to players.” which I heartily agree.

        • xavdeman says:

          Well, it’s true, isn’t it? Except for certain parts of the middle-east and some (thankfully) minorities in the western parts of the world, there really is no debate about the (acceptance of) equality of women in modern society.

          • MarcP says:

            There might be no debate about the acceptance of equality, but there is no shortage of arguing about what equality actually means.

            Equal rights and opportunities on a legal level? Easy to quantify objectively, not overly hard to accomplish, doesn’t hurt anyone. Doubtful you’d find anyone against that.

            Equal rights and opportunities on a social level as well? Here, you’re getting into subjective territory. Not only this goal is more nebulous and hence ultimately unattainable, but you’re also going to enforce particular social customs, restricting freedom.

            50% of each gender in every job? There’s your ideological debate arguing for or contesting the importance of biology in human behaviors.

            No doubt it saves a lot of thinking to label everyone who disagrees with you a stuck-up feminazi or a misogynistic barbarian, though.

          • Sassenach says:

            Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

            Simplifying into camps of ‘hates women’ and ‘is a cool guy’ has a few problems. One is that, pragmatically, it’s value as a persuasive dialectical technique is dubious. Ridiculing people until they go away just tends so marginalize said people rather then persuade them towards a better consensus, which has it’s own host of problems. Another is that the issue is more complex, the ways in which someone’s attitude towards a person is coloured by said persons sex is multifaceted. Thus you can have someone who believes they are being fair when in fact some aspect of their behaviour is arbitrary.

            There is the presumption that anyone who stands to have their view changed on the matter is utterly reprehensible for that fact. Going back to the root comment here I think the reason why Pratchett’s answers come off as better for the topic then Grayson’s is the difference between explaining what the problem is, allowing people to better make decisions, and saying ‘if you think this, you’re wrong’.

          • Prime says:

            “Only a Sith deals in absolutes”

            …unless you’re a Jedi pronouncing that “Only a Sith deals in absolutes”. That there sounded very much like an absolute, Obi Wan old son.

          • elderman says:

            Except for certain parts of the middle-east and some (thankfully) minorities in the western parts of the world, there really is no debate about the (acceptance of) equality of women in modern society.

            Sure, apart from parts of the Middle East, lots of Africa, central Asia, China, India, well, all of East Asia, really, and at the very least some parts of South America, the issue of equal formal political rights for women seems to be a settled issue. Of course, then there are places like America, the UK, France, Italy, and Australia, (to name a few I’m familiar with) where the practical realisation of these rights is sometimes in doubt, but, absolutely, aside from these small corners of the globe, equal rights for men and women is already a done deal. Feminism’s over, no question.

            It’s not a debate because it’s a struggle. The effort to make gaming into a cultural space the celebrates women and men equally is a tiny part of a much larger effort to reduce the amount of misery in the world caused by the mistreatment of people due to their sex. It’s not a debate because doing and saying hurtful things to people or about people because of their sex isn’t ok and that’s not debatable.

  6. WhatKateDoes says:

    The resurgence of the indie community is a positive ray of light by subverting the tropes of AAA class games, and many of those games are developed by women and men, separately or together, featuring characters of both genders or none at all :)

    Despite this, I still look forward to the next Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and hell yes Elite, Star Citizen.. Games where gender will hopefully be irrelevant.

    For the record I liked Tomb Raider, having returned to the series for the first time since the original game.

  7. JonathanStrange says:

    It’s not too bad here but I really am getting annoyed with the original Tomb Raider games often being dismissed as some ancient relics of a bygone era who’s sole sale point was, if the way people often talk about it now is anything to go by, Lara’s chest.

    Story was never the original games intentions and really, aside from being chesty, what was actually wrong with the original Lara? She was a fun, over-the-top adventure hero typical of the 90′s. Hell, she was downright badass. Not only that but the first game she was in was relatively action free, not reliant of blood and guts and shooting to keep peoples attention but instead clever level design, puzzles, platforming, and just a fun spirit of adventure.

    That doesn’t even happen today, the new Tomb Raider was more of a 3rd person shooter than anything related to the original games and half its selling point was how dark and grim and gritty it was. Oooo, look at Lara getting beat up and blood everywhere, HARDCORE. Watch her shoot a dozen guys in cold blood before pulling off an execution finisher move with a climbing axe. AWESOME! Teenagers love this shit!

    Now to the new games credit the 3rd person shooting *is* pretty good and they clearly at least tried to do something with the story, but jeez people, give the original games some credit too.

    • maninahat says:

      Pretty much the single most common complaint about Tomb Raider I’ve seen was that it had too little of the fun environmental puzzling, and far too much violence. People *do* give the original games credit.

    • thegooseking says:

      Incidentally, the issue of the relationship between player and character is something that is (too) briefly mentioned in this interview, and the groundwork for our discussion of that whole concept was really opened up by none other than Toby Gard, the guy who created Lara Croft in the first place.

      He saw a distinction between avatars (really just a projection of the user into the game world) and actors (individual characters with their own psychology independent of the player). Since then we’ve sort of come to terms with the fact that it’s not a binary proposition like he suggested (Commander Shepard, for example, is a bit of both), but that was an important first step.

      (He also suggested that avatars belong in first-person games and actors belong in third-person games, which I think is kind of balls, but you can’t get everything right when you’re opening up a new field of discussion.)

    • faelnor says:

      I think people’s memories have been muddled by the early debates on sexism and sex symbolism that appeared conjointly with the original games. Core got a fair (but minority) amount of backlash from giving Lara such huge breasts. It would make sense that current games journalists remember that debate probably as much as the game themselves.

      I especially find the sentence

      Lara’s evolution into a real character instead of a caricature

      rather dismissive of her previous characterisation. Lara’s character has been constantly evolving since the original title, culminating with the original Crystal Dynamics trilogy half a decade back. I would argue that those three games showed Lara at her best: independant, funny, strong, often oblivious to what her male sidekicks had to say about putting herself into danger (when they were not just pussying out at the sight of a particularly tricky cliff climbing — and she wasn’t banging any one of them!) yet not devoid of personal issues such as the search for her mother or the remorse at letting a friend die in a flooded tomb when she was young.
      Of course, that characterisation worked itself into a fairly stereotypical game plot, with clear villains and first-degree “epic” adventure, but when ever was that a bad thing? Good narration with an excellent and funny female lead character elevating an enjoyable but straightforward video game? Sounds like a winner to me.

      I can’t comment on the earlier Core Design games after TR2, since I didn’t play them. I hear that games like Angel of Darkness are bad, and badly written. But, at least from my experience, I vehemently protest against any accusations of Lara Croft being a thoughtless sex object, and I honestly think the new Tomb Raider is a step backwards in both gameplay and narration.

      As for the “boobs debate”, which is all it amounted to back in the early 2000′s, I dunno. I see nothing wrong with a game character, either male or female, being sexualised and visually simplified to base elements, including sexual attributes. See the recent Dragon Crown’s debate.

    • KenTWOu says:

      …what was actually wrong with the original Lara?

      This digital book has all answers.

  8. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Re. the problem with anonymity, one of the comments on Alanah’s “30 days” post has it right. Somebody needs to figure out a way to punch people in the face via the internet.

    • Prime says:

      +1

      Re: Alanah Pearce’s article: It’s something to be profoundly thankful for that RPS doesn’t see that type of proto-hominid very often, if ever. I suspect we have the dress code to thank for this; not many of their kind like wearing monocles.

  9. drinniol says:

    So when are we getting more female writers on RPS? *ducks*

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s a valid point. We’ve had numerous female applicants for our permanent positions, and I suspect we’ll hire a female writer at some point. Adam and Nathan took the first two positions because they were just the best candidates at the time.

      • Incision says:

        No. It’s not a valid point. It’s about merit, not gender. Any time you choose someone “because she’s a woman and we ‘need balance’”, you’re pandering.

        • thegooseking says:

          You’re pandering either way. All else being equal, you would expect to see a roughly equal number of men and women wanting to write about games (and lets, for the sake of argument, assume they have equal talent). Then you would get a natural balance.

          Now, the reason all else is not equal is because gaming is such a traditionally male-dominated sphere. If you’re not going to make an effort to be more inclusive to women, that’s not going to change, and you’re just pandering to the status quo.

          Affirmative action might seem unfair on the micro level, but it’s necessary on the macro level. The thing is, it won’t always be necessary. It’ll be necessary only until a natural balance can be achieved.

          • Incision says:

            No, you wouldn’t. In a male-dominated sphere, you would expect to see more men writing than women. That’s basic probability and I’m at a loss to explain it more clearly to you.

            Men understand their target audience. Every time I see a woman writing on games it usually contains a slant I’m completely uninterested in because women are simply unable to separate their personal agenda from the business of games journalism. And it shows.

          • limimi says:

            Incision: Ellison’s style is personal, as is a lot of ngj – and a lot of games writers find their voice there. But if you only ever see women inserting their ‘personal agenda’ (and somehow never seen men doing it) then you either have a selective memory or a very strange method of discerning which articles to read.

            If you want to broaden your horizons, you should check out Tracey Lien over at Polygon, Brenna Hillier over at VG247 (I know some people don’t care for VG247, but Hillier is funny, insightful and a good read) ex-Gamespot’s Laura Parker, freelancer Alanah Pearce and countless others.

        • rebochan says:

          “No. It’s not a valid point.”

          Yes, it IS a valid point on a site that feels women deserve a greater voice in their industry. And on the editorial board of an OPINION site, they can hire anyone they want to get a diverse selection of views. It’s no different than hiring a guy that loves JPRGs to do your JRPG coverage.

          The “meritocracy” argument is a typical red herring from a bunch of white guys (and it’s ALWAYS white guys) that whine and cry that the only reason they’re not rich and successful is because women/minorities have it out for them. It also comes with the loaded implication that the ONLY reason women and minorities are under-represented is because they’re inferior to white males.

          • Incision says:

            > Yes, it IS a valid point on a site that feels women deserve a greater voice in their industry.

            Oh really? And pray tell me, what have “women” done to “deserve” a greater voice in “their” industry?

            This kind of nonsensical assertion really needs to be pulled out and examined. There’s absolutely no justification for making such broad sweeping statements. If women want a greater voice in any industry, they can do what every man has to fucking do. Earn it.

            I’m always amazed at the quaint sexism which asserts that women are so manifestly incapable of self-direction that they need men to give them special consideration in order to progress.

            >”The “meritocracy” argument is a typical red herring from a bunch of white guys (and it’s ALWAYS white guys) that whine and cry that the only reason they’re not rich and successful is because women/minorities have it out for them. It also comes with the loaded implication that the ONLY reason women and minorities are under-represented is because they’re inferior to white males.”

            Pathetic ad-hominem and straw man in one paragraph. Don’t try and argue with the adults kid, you just make yourself look stupid.

          • Prime says:

            If women want a greater voice in any industry, they can do what every man has to fucking do. Earn it.

            And your refusal to see that there’s something actively preventing women from asserting their own position is also laughably quaint. How rude of us “white knights” not to see that the world is an entirely fair and level playing field and that women are just moaning because they’re too fucking lazy to drag themselves up to male standards!

            It’s not “quaint sexism” to realise that women are being kept down by a variety of sociological means and to want to help remove those means so that woman can be the true equals of men without having to fight twice as hard as we do to get recognition.

      • bazbarrett says:

        But that’s the exact same reason that the software industry gives when it comes to poor female representation in both the workplace and conferences. It’s a cop-out, especially when you’re declaring yourself for equality so loudly. It’s like you’re saying, “Equality now! Just not when it affects us”.

        • Prime says:

          It’s no cop-out. They had female candidates that simply and plainly weren’t good enough. Equality is best served by meritocratic choice. Arguably, the very fact that there aren’t more high-quality female candidates for these positions supports the view that sexism in the industry could be a factor preventing more female candidates from being available when these opportunities arise.

          I realise that other companies can also use this defence but then why shouldn’t they if they face a similar lack of female applicants? It’s when there are clear failures happening, like DC’s dearth of women writers for their blatantly over-sexualised comics, that companies should be taken to task. Demonstrate that RPS have ignored suitable female candidates and only then would you be able to criticise legitimately. Also, as journalists RPS are absolutely right to ask the question of other parts of the industry, to ask others to defend themselves where the truth is not known, or where something looks suspicious. They wouldn’t be doing their job otherwise.

          Poor old RPS can’t seem to catch a break! They get accused of “whiteknighting” (nngn) for women so often but when they make a choice based on merit the first thing they get accused of is hypocrisy!

          • F33bs says:

            When a reporter like Grayson here uses the word “we” in an interview question, they cease to become journalists and instead become hobby writers. I love RPS, but when push comes to shove on this sexism issue, they’ve thrown all journalistic credibility out of the window and are *clearly* editorializing for a cause. That’s fine if jumping to conclusions for the sake of political and ideological expediency is your thing, but some of us would like to see the site approach the issue with the sensitivity and intelligence they approach most other controversies.

          • bazbarrett says:

            RPS can’t catch a break as the people who read the site have a multitude of opinions, so it’s not strange that any given stance will have people agreeing and disagreeing.

            Interestingly the term meritocracy was first coined in a satirical essay criticising the concept. The truth is rarely so clear cut. I really like what RPS are doing for taking people to task for sexism, but the longer they do not have a permanent female writer, the hollower their criticism seems.

            They’ve recently added two full time writers (who I both think are pretty great btw), that would seem to have been a great time for them to really commit to their stance on sexism in the games industry by ensuring one of those two writers was a woman. RPS must be close to the biggest PC gaming blog in the world, I would find it hard to believe they couldn’t find a qualified female writer.

            Waving the meritocracy flag for excusing gender imbalances is really the go-to excuse for any company, and is really, really weak. It’s one thing if you’re a small software shop who have trouble finding any qualified applicant, it’s another when you’re a top 10000 website with a fairly massive readership who have made combating sexism one of their major goals.

            Here is article arguing against the meritocratic argument in FLOSS.

          • Prime says:

            but some of us would like to see the site approach the issue with the sensitivity and intelligence they approach most other controversies.

            Very hard to read that as anything other than “…until they start saying the kinds of things we like to hear”. There is plenty of sensitivity and intelligence being presented. Your inability/refusal to see it is not RPS’s responsibility.

            Here is article arguing against the meritocratic argument in FLOSS.

            Not really. It’s saying that meritocratic principles fail within a sexist environment, which is kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? It doesn’t actually criticise Meritocracy itself.

            Given their very public stance I trust RPS would work harder to ensure sexist attitudes play no part in their decision making.

            Trust is the key. There are lots of people here who do not trust that RPS is a fundamentally honest and decent collection of people. They’ve been accused of everything from selling out to generate clicks to taking money for favourable advertising, all without any shred of proof.

            They’ve recently added two full time writers (who I both think are pretty great btw), that would seem to have been a great time for them to really commit to their stance on sexism in the games industry by ensuring one of those two writers was a woman. RPS must be close to the biggest PC gaming blog in the world, I would find it hard to believe they couldn’t find a qualified female writer.

            Waving the meritocracy flag for excusing gender imbalances is really the go-to excuse for any company, and is really, really weak. It’s one thing if you’re a small software shop who have trouble finding any qualified applicant, it’s another when you’re a top 10000 website with a fairly massive readership who have made combating sexism one of their major goals.

            Trust, the lack of it, is at the heart of those two paragraphs. You’re clearly sceptical that they’ve done the legwork they needed to, or that they’re taking true responsibility for their stance. Where’s your proof? What have they done to you to deserve such scepticism? When they say they didn’t get the applicants, what’s stopping you from believing them or, in fact, any company who gives that as a reason? Do they have to show you lists of every applicant before you’ll let them off the hook?

            RPS have done nothing to deserve the criticism they get, nothing but strive to provide us with humourous, engaging content year upon year. That’s what bugs me about them not getting a break – diverse opinions are all very well but when swarms of people show up knocking RPS without any reasonable foundation, it starts to get very irritating.

    • Erinduck says:

      When the comments section isn’t so shitty that this is an article that has to end up existing.

      • Bhazor says:

        No that’s the article that showed RPS are taking trolls personally and don’t care about how many people they insult as pay back. That is the article that made the issue so inflammatory.

        The subtext of John Walker white knighting to protect a fragile young delicate woman is also… troubling for their ongoing coverage. Where was Walker’s defense when Quinns was getting crucified during the Fallout: New Vegas fallout.

        • Erinduck says:

          Okay, here’s the thing:

          If you’re being a massive sexist/homophobic/transphobic/racist shitbag? You should be taken seriously. You should be called out and shamed for your behaviour. These problems need to be pointed out because, contrary to what everyone’s 3rd grade teacher says, if you ignore things they DON’T go away. Calling them “trolls” diminishes what they actually are: a representative slice of the major problems that exist in society, only given a voice.

          You can go “he’s just white knighting to protect her!” all you want in an attempt to diminish what he’s doing, but your entire argument kinda falls apart when you ask “okay, why?” I mean, it’s not like he wrote an article on how stupid that argument was in the first place.

          • Bhazor says:

            You’re linking to a series of articles in which Walker insults his entire audience. On behalf of a handful of trolls who only get stronger the more attention they get.

            And again. Where was his defence of Quinns in the New Vegas WIT with 800 comments including multiple personal attacks?

            If RPS is supporting equality that means treating your staff equally. It certainly does not mean disempowering your latest female writer while stating anyone who complains about her articles is a clearly a misogynist pig.

            I agree with Honuk up thread. RPS need to step back. Stop feeding/responding to trolls, stop taking it personally and most of all stop attacking their own readers in the comments. Instead of balance and moderation they’re “banging their drum” and repeating themselves. That doesn’t further anything, that just annoys people and that makes it all the easier for the people who could be convinced to just dismiss the whole argument.

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            “You’re linking to a series of articles in which Walker insults his entire audience”

            No, he doesn’t. He is mocking idiots and bigots. And that’s not our *entire* audience.

          • Bhazor says:

            No he’s mocking the entire opposition.

            Don’t like the RPS coverage of sexism/misogny? Are you..
            A) A bigot
            B) An idiot
            C) Blind
            D) A mens right activist

            This article followed from the wage gap article where the vast majority of complaints were about the methodology and validity of the article. Comments that prompted several angrily worded comments from Walker calling people idiots. The ultimate take away being that any complaint about RPS coverage shows you are no different to the bigots.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I think you might need to take your own advice, Bhazor. Step back for a bit.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          “No that’s the article that showed RPS are taking trolls personally and don’t care about how many people they insult as pay back.”

          Don’t understand this.

          “The subtext of John Walker white knighting to protect a fragile young delicate woman is also… troubling for their ongoing coverage.”

          Nor this.

          • Bhazor says:

            Did Cara ask John to write that article? Was Cara going to write her own response? Did John at least ask permission first?

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            Yes, Cara was there as the article was conceived, she read it before publication, discussed it with John, and so on.

            I know you are determined to prove that RPS is full of hypocrites and so forth, but your motivation to do so eludes me.

          • Bhazor says:

            Well if Cara was involved in the “Women write for RPS” then I do apologize.

            It was still a terribly conceived article though that has undoubtedly prompted much of the animosity these articles get.

          • Kitsunin says:

            You are aware that article was practically made -because- of all the animosity all these articles get, right? I honestly can’t even begin to fathom how you thing that was insulting to all of RPS’s readers. It’s. Satire. If I hadn’t the slightest clue what that meant, then sure I would be damn offended about RPS doing something so masogynistic, but as it is? I enjoyed that article, the humor was dry, but not the slightest bit offensive to me, because I know I wasn’t being aimed at there. If it offended you so, maybe that’s because you were or believe you were being targeting by it.

          • Brigand says:

            The thing is though, that article was written in a way that lumped all RPS readers into the same category as those who made the nasty comments. If it allowed readers to take offence than that’s the author’s fault not the reader. The fact of the matter is that people were personally aggrieved by it and they’re associating that with the more important issue, thus undermining it. And there’s really no point reading into the psychology behind the individual who took offence at it, especially when you don’t know them. In the end though, the issue of gender equality is more important so you kind have to ignore how, on principle, that article was insulting to the general readership.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Strange, I find it impossible to see it that way. It’s satire, and that tends to involve taking things to extremes. The most “Offensive” bit I can find is: “rather than containing the face of a man, as readers trust to expect” but um…I know that’s not me, so I thought was funny.

            It’s humor. It tends to involve things not being serious or literal.

          • Brigand says:

            It’s subjective. It’s purely about perception, the fact that you personally don’t see it that way doesn’t matter. The fact that other people can see it as unfair to them really does. In principle, an article written generally to the readership criticising the actions of a minority without drawing distinction between the two will generate problems. How can you know that the article doesn’t target you? It doesn’t say anywhere it doesn’t. It’s completely up to the reader to decide, and not even consciously decide, it’s partially implied just by writing that article without drawing distinction that it’s the whole readership at fault.

            I’m not saying that the article wasn’t needed but seriously all it needed was a “it’s a substantial yet relatively small minority” clarification in there somewhere and it would’ve done wonders.

            And it’s humour. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

          • Kitsunin says:

            It does matter that I wasn’t offended, because I also thought it was funny, which goes to show that subjectively (If that’s the way we’re arguing) it was a good article. While it refers to all of us throughout, it also says such things as “Clearly by being women they are imposing their agenda on an undeserving audience, in a way that is inexcusable.” or was that serious too? It’s a large part of humor, known as taking things to extremes, throughout the article it refers to the people who were being, err, lame, as though they are a majority, but the article wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t imagining those people to be a majority. Would the article have worked if it said: “Clearly a select few readers were upset, and we now hope to redress the balance over this unfortunate incident.” for instance? I find it doubtful, and I bet people would still be offended.

            I am -firmly- against unnecessary additional characters in words, if the american spelling is simpler and more phonetic, then that is the correct word in my eyes. >.<

          • Brigand says:

            Really, i’m not saying what you thought about the article isn’t valid i’m saying that it’s equally as valid and possible that someone could’ve found it unfair to them. And when it’s a topic of such importance like gender equality than that’s really all that matters. If what you write has the potential to offend (justifiably so or not) those who support gender equality it has the potential to sour their opinions on the topic or the manner in how it is conveyed. Obviously for some, it just detracted from the larger issue which is truly unfortunate but it’s definitely a product of the lack of distinction made which could’ve been so easily avoided. If the article worked or not is really insignificant against the potential harm it possibly caused.

            And yeah, I don’t really mind. To each their own or whatever that phrase is.

          • andytt66 says:

            “Yes, Cara was there as the article was conceived, she read it before publication, discussed it with John, and so on.”

            I’m actually really quite relieved to find this out. I had also formed a rather negative opinion of John based on my misunderstanding of the situation.

          • drvoke says:

            When I read the “lol Sorry we had woman” article, I knew it wasn’t about me, I knew who it was about, and I had a good laugh. It was a fun little RPS “inside” joke. And I was pleased that it basically put readers on notice: this is the editorial position of RPS on gender and games journalism. If you’re not on board, this will be a very uncomfortable experience for you.

          • Brigand says:

            You’re missing the point. It’s not about how you subjectively experienced it. It’s that how the lack of the category distinction led to the possibility that people could be insulted by the possible effects of that insult. I’m not saying everyone viewed the article in that way either, but maybe a few people did and that’s significant.

          • Bhazor says:

            Except the criticisms of the Cara article had nothing to do with her lack of a y chromosome and more with the content of the article. Unless that article saw unbelievably quick comment pruning the only gendered comments I saw were about how women take pictures of objects like this
            http://cdn.twentytwowords.com/wp-content/uploads/How-males-and-females-take-pictures.jpg

            Every other complaint seemed to be about how Cara spent as much time talking about in an interview as she did asking questions. Or just that it wasn’t very good.

            There was no “uproar” like that when (the much missed) Leigh Alexander wrote for RPS. I’d also be interested in how Porpentine felt about being left out as a female RPS writer.

          • Tagiri says:

            Ugh, really? The whole point of that picture was that it was what Rhianna Pratchett would have seen while talking to Cara on Skype. If she’d only seen a soup container, she would probably have said something.

            ETA: Also, you might not want to bring up Porpentine, since people get mad about her posting all the time because of who she is.

        • rebochan says:

          You realize the second you used the phrase “white knighting” that your entire argument became invalid, right?

  10. Zanpa says:

    Staring Eyes?

  11. aepervius says:

    “It’s tough – although not impossible – to change an asshole, but my gut feeling is that, by and large, it isn’t necessarily male attitudes which keeping women out of games development or cause them to burnout. Instead, it’s a combination of a poor work-life balancing conditions, a lack of awareness of the opportunities out there and dwindling creative diversity. And these are problems that have a huge impact on the industry as a whole.”

    That is something important to emphasize and something I long suspected. In other type of software industry (the one i work with, the one i have colleague with, heck even an India provider) there are a lot of women sometimes above parity, sometimes below. I heard and saw some form of sexism, but rarely as bad and as skewed as the game industry.

    I long suspected that there are so few women in the software industry because women are a bit smarter than men and avoid the terrible condition there ;).

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think there’s an extent to which working in particularly fields, because it is deemed desirable, results in low pay. The developers I know outside games certainly seem to do much better for themselves than those in games – better pay, greater job security.

      That was sort of mirrored in my experience of publishing. People working on magazines outside specialist enthusiasm stuff (games particular) had far better conditions and pay. The (valid) assumption being made by the games publishing companies, of course, was that they could always hire another gamer who could string words together.

  12. Beefeater1980 says:

    Good interview, interesting article, thanks for posting. We could use a little more relentless upbeatness about these difficult issues: a bit less outrage and a bit more Flora Poste / Rhianna Pratchett.

  13. Yosharian says:

    “In the movie industry they talk about the desire for ‘four-quadrant movies’ – namely those that appeal to men and women, both over 25 and under 25. Those kinds of movies – such as Avatar, Titanic, The Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, etc – really clean-up at the box office. They do it through strong story, characters, exciting action and thrilling set-pieces. That’s the kind of thing we need to look at more closely and find a way to emulate, not through whole-sale copying, but in a way that really works for our industry and players”

    *vomit*

    So we need to take everything that’s wrong with the movie industry, and emulate it?

    Sorry, but I’ll keep on going to see movies that appeal to me, rather than movies that are designed to appeal to everyone, and the same applies for my games; I’m interested in a really well-made game that appeals to my specific tastes, not a game that appeals to everyone. Trying to please everyone is a great way to make a really bland, boring game.

    And the mere mentioning of Avatar as if this is something positive… That’s just disgusting… One of the worst films in recent history.

    By contrast look at a film like The Hurt Locker, very specific topic, auteur-driven rather than designed by committee, absolutely fantastic film, does everyone like it? No it’s about war and bombs and the male psyche, it’s not going to appeal to everyone. Still a fucking great film. All industries, movie, radio, videogames, must face this war of commerce vs art. Don’t let commerce win. Fuck commerce.

    edit: ps: no offence Miss Pratchett =p I liked your writing in Tomb Raider!

    • Erinduck says:

      Except we don’t have The Hurt Locker in gaming. We have A Good Day to Die Hard.

      Over. And over. And over.

      Every so often we’re lucky and we end up with Die Hard 2: Die Harder but even that wasn’t a very good movie.

    • MarcP says:

      Agreed, it is a really poor argument regardless of which “side” of the “debate” you fall on. A world where every movie would be like the movies listed is not a world I’d want to live in.

      It confuses quantity with quality, and it mistakes commercially driven definitions for hiveminds. “Men under 25″ (or any of those other three arbitrary demographics) isn’t a homogeneous block of people sharing the same ideas, hence why you can have xXdudeBroXx loving his Call of Duty and Knightan Grayson preferring Tomb Raider despite both of them being at the tender age of 23.

      • Erinduck says:

        No, it’s not homogenous, it’s an entirely layered group with the vast majority of them expressing very specific purchasing habits.

        • MarcP says:

          No argument there, that’s pretty much the point I’m making. Games wouldn’t be bought by everyone, just by the majority. Targeting the lowest common denominator does not create quality, and only serves to restrict diversity.

          • Erinduck says:

            Would you be surprised if I told you that it actually does the opposite? It’s thanks to four-quadrant films that smaller titles like Drive are able to be made in the modern industry. Instead of having the majority of retail releases having to be hit-driven like they are in games, four-quadrant movies (that largely function as the biggest tentpoles) allow for smaller titles to find life and thrive, even though they won’t have the same level of returns.

    • WhatKateDoes says:

      Interesting choice.

      The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcMVGQphEw8&sns=tw via @youtube

      • Yosharian says:

        Is there a point to this? If you’re merely pointing out that the director is female, it doesn’t affect my point in any way, her gender is irrelevant. Now that’s true gender equality, bitches.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Avatar is just not an important film, and this has absolutely nothing to do with the gender of the director. Films like Avatar are crafted to be easily consumable, like baby food. Both Titanic and Avatar do their job well and are well made. But their job is simply to show the viewer a kind of soft focus reflection of morals and virtues – simplified and superficial with black & white contrasts for context – that it takes no effort to identify or to identify with. So that the viewer leaves the cinema with a sense of self-righteousness and affirmation of the nobility of the human condition, that will last them until they next switch on the news.

    • Incision says:

      And the mere mentioning of Avatar as if this is something positive… That’s just disgusting… One of the worst films in recent history

      Spoken like a nerd who knows absolutely nothing about film.

      James Cameron knows his shit in a way you never will. The screenplay for Avatar was spot on and reflected a writer/director at the height of his creative powers.

      It also made 2.7 billion dollars. Now I’ll give you an idea of why that is. Because it was four-quadrant and because it was good.

      Your ignorant bullshit is the idiotic ranting of an insecure fool who only defines himself in opposition to the mainstream. Whose mantra of “popular=bad” is the misbegotten ravings of a whiner who’ll never achieve anything in his life and who is insanely jealous of those who do.

      • faelnor says:

        Nope! Avatar really is bad :)
        Also, nice insults there!

      • thegooseking says:

        While I agree with the sentiment that popular is not necessarily bad, Avatar does not fall into that category. The writing was at best unsurprising, and it was way longer than it needed to be.

        Also your argument that how much money it made somehow ‘proves’ that it’s good is just baffling.

      • Lacero says:

        Wow, we must’ve watched different films. I saw it in 2d, maybe it needs the 3d to make the story really shine?

        • Azdeus says:

          Yes, it truly gives depth to the characters, it’s like a whole new movie!

        • Reapy says:

          Avatar blew me away, jaw on the floor…. it was my first 3d movie in an imax. Wow.

          I watched it again in IMAX 3d and enjoyed it.

          I watched in 2d and turned it off pretty quickly out of boredom.

          For me it was exploring the planet with the characters along with exploring 3d and what can be done with it now a days, immersion and all that. Sitting behind the cockpits of the vehicles just really felt like you were there, really amazing stuff.

          I like to think of avatar like doom3, once you are done admiring the tech the bland undercarriage starts to stink, but you can still appreciate it how awesome the tech driving it is.

      • Yosharian says:

        Ad hominem doesn’t make your points any less retarded and incorrect

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Ouch, man. The sooner you get your nose out of James Cameron’s butthole, the more relaxed you’ll feel.

      • Curry the Great says:

        Avatar has nice 3D visuals but a 1D storyline and characters. It’s all so predictable and cheesy. I could explain it all but I could also just refer you to http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/other-movies/avatar/ . He’s better than me at criticizing movies.

        Anyway, the ironic thing is that Avatar is pretty much like Crysis. Amazing visuals but a shallow, predictable or dull story. It’s why a lot of AAA games frustrate me, becacuse all that effort and money is spent on making it look good, and then they play it safe and boring and predictable with the story. I really don’t think you should take Avatar as good examples to what you want games to be. Unless you’re a shareholder and just care about money.

        • Yosharian says:

          Crysis was actually fun to play though, mostly. Whereas Avatar is decidedly not fun to watch. I couldn’t wait for it to end.

          • Curry the Great says:

            Crysis wasn’t fun cause of the story though, was it? It was the visuals and the gameplay. In Avatar I think the only good thing is the visuals that do look pretty. In both the story sucked, to the movie/game’s detriment.

          • Yosharian says:

            Well no, not cos of the story, but that’s where comparisons with movies and games are a little inappropriate.

      • Yosharian says:

        Oh and btw Titanic was actually a good movie, despite the occasional silliness of the love story. Avatar doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as that movie.

      • aoanla says:

        I find it fascinating that the defences of Avatar are claiming that the *script* is the reason the film was successful. A quick trawl of the “Professional” Criticism of the film on Metacritic shows a number of the 90% reviews, even, giving it a high score *despite* the plot, not because of it. (For example, from the New Yorker’s review “The movie’s story may be a little trite, and the big battle at the end between ugly mechanical force and the gorgeous natural world goes on forever, but what a show Cameron puts on!”)
        The reason Avatar was incredibly successful is pretty much the reason the original Star Wars was successful – the production work and cinematography was a massive leap ahead of everything else available at the time, and this was sufficient to support a film that was otherwise weak in the “traditional” areas of plotting and characterisation.
        That doesn’t make Avatar a bad film… but it does make it a bad thing to aim for if you want to make Video Games more like “good films” – we can already do spectacle in games pretty well, thank you.

        • Yosharian says:

          No no no NO this is nonsense! The original Star Wars movies have some very good moments in them and are NOT comparable to trash like Avatar! You gonna watch moments like Empire’s Darth Vader vs Luke duel and tell me Avatar is comparable to it? No fucking way.

          And as for characterisation, even the first movie has tons of characterisation. Han Solo for example is an extremely memorable anti-hero, and even the comedy characters like 3PO are pretty fun to watch.

          I do not buy for a second that the only reason Star Wars was successful was LOL SPECIAL EFFECTZ. People fell in love with these great characters just as much as they loved the effects.

          • Incision says:

            Oh God – a Star Wars fan-boy. It all makes sense now.

          • Curry the Great says:

            Except he’s right. Star Wars had way better characters and story than Avatar, and relied on them for a good movie experience. Not as much on visuals as avatar. So using it as an example for Avatar’s success is wrong imo.

            And Incision, there’s no need to act like an asshole because someone doesn’t like the same movies as you.

          • Yosharian says:

            Don’t waste your time, he’s just a troll with a personal grudge. I already muted him. But, thanks anyway ;-)

          • aoanla says:

            Sure, Avatar’s plot is hokier than A New Hope’s (although A New Hope is certainly not sparklingly plotted, and is intentionally derivative of 30s action serials*). It is certainly the case that A New Hope would not have been successful without the (for the time) stunning special effects which wowed people at the box office – the script was largely secondary. Avatar is a more extreme example of the same effect (the effects are more spectacular, and the script is worse).

            (Note that the success of Empire and Jedi is much more related to their scripts improving, as the general trend of movie special effects improved to match the bar that A New Hope set.)

            *See, for example, the original NY Times review of Star Wars back in 1977: http://www.nytimes.com/1977/05/26/movies/moviesspecial/26STAR.html?_r=0
            They don’t think the script is bad (they enjoy the hokeiness), but they do think the main point of the film is the production design and special effects. Just like the reviews of Avatar. The difference is that Lucas deliberately invoked the hokey script effect, while Cameron doesn’t seem to have realised that his script was that bad.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            I have to reluctantly disagree. We saw Star Wars as kids and we made it into more than it actually is – because it’s a really awesome adventure story with all the right archetypes in all the right places and was our first encounter with such elements on such a fantastic stage. It ain’t literature, it’s a movie. The production values were on another planet for the time, the cinematography was not bad either. Characterization and plot, while good things, are done better in books in the same way that cinematography – while a good thing in games – is better in cinema. What Star Wars did was define a whole new cinema treatment for science fiction, that proved to be a winning formula. Milton’s Lucifer, is a notable antihero. Han Solo is just copypasta from 1000 frontier outlaws in westerns. We see him as more than that because he’s a cool, handsome, really together kind of guy, with awesome toys and a subservient yet loyal best friend who can rip people’s arms off on command. That, as little boys, is what we’d like to grow up to be.

      • Faxanadu says:

        I love what Avatar did. Now, when discussing films, all I need to do is ask “did you like Avatar”? -and I’ll instantly know if we’re on the same page. Book. Library. Okay, the same planet. Sola-…you get the picture.

    • Not Marvelous says:

      “…Avatar, Titanic, The Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park…”

      Not talking about Hunger Games, since I didn’t read the books nor saw the movie. But all the other ones here are the absolute best mainstream Hollywood has to offer. Cameron and Spielberg both have incredible movie making talents – and I would argue Cameron is a very good screenwriter also. If you want to see him go off the beaten track, see Strange Days. Making a good conventional narrative is not somehow easier than making a good unconventional one – I would argue that it is often even harder, since you do not have the element of novelty and unpredictability on your side.

      The four movies above are movies with great pacing, clear and engaging dramatic sequences, and are incredibly faithful and successful in their genres (I would say particularly Indiana and Titanic as a pulp adventure and a classical romance, respectively). No wonder companies like Naughty Dog and Bioware are trying to evoke similar craftsmanship in their games.

    • Matt_W says:

      “Trying to please everyone is a way to make a really bland, boring game.”

      It appears that trying to please a specific minority results in the same thing: witness CODBLOPSFACE XLIII.

      • Wytsfs says:

        Funny thing about that, COD was actually one of the games that brought a more mainstream audience to gaming. In fact, that’s why it’s so popular yet so reviled by much of the gaming community.

  14. Laurentius says:

    I’ve got this wierd feeling from recent RPS interviews that they don’t “click”. Seems like interviewer (especially Mr. Gryson )and interviewed person have diffrent expectations and aims for these talks, in the end result is pretty bland.

    • bill says:

      I think they just overcomplicate the questions. Instead of asking short open questions and letting the subject talk, they tend to ask 6 line questions that interject about 4 points and then ask if the interviewer agrees.

      I’ve never studied interviewing, but I’d guess the first rule would be to ask short open questions.

      • dE says:

        Without agreeing to either point, in scientific interviews, you’re basically told to re-visit entry level lectures if you push more than one point into a single question. Multiquestions are often considered a sign of insecurity with ones own questions.
        RPS is “just” a Blog though. So it doesn’t need to adhere to scientific standards.
        The result is somewhat similar however: The interviewee will pick one of the many subquestions and answer that to great length, while ignoring the other subquestions. This may be the disconnect you’re feeling, as you personally might have answered a different subquestion than the interviewee.

  15. lebbers says:

    The interviewer bias is strong in this one — with the phrasing and tenor of these questions, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the interviewer was a guest blogger interviewing a liberal democrat on the DailyKos.

    Fortunately, Pratchett managed to save this interview by foregoing the sententious hand-wringing of the interviewer and providing thoughtful and well-reasoned responses to the fundamental questions being discussed.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      RPS are trying hard to push their agenda, and it seems in most cases the interviewees aren’t taking the bait. Props to them, but it can certainly make for awkward conversations.

    • Ein0r says:

      You have a typo “gmaes” in the first interview question.

      Dunno, i couldnt care less about this whole female sexism in gaming industry. The only way to fight it is by proper education of kids aged 5-20, until they leave school. And society works on it; you see the changes already in place but not as fast as they should. You just cant change some random old mens or womens attitude towrads sexism because they didnt learn it better. You just need the old ones to die.

      Same goes for “man in the nursing branch.” As i experienced it myself, the children liked me, the parents appreciated my work, but the rest of the staff (females only of course) just mobbed me, which went so far that i had to leave since the chef was also involved. You can just hope for those people to die, or name and shame them. Everything else doesnt help. Same goes for sexism in gaming industry.

    • Merlkir says:

      Agreed. Props to Pratchett, she handled it well.

  16. Skipperoo says:

    If this had been a male interviewee, would you have used a modelling shot for the opening pic?

    J’accuse.

    • WhatKateDoes says:

      Yes? Since it would be a publicity shot of aforementioned male celeb too?

      • Skipperoo says:

        I guess I missed all the pictures accentuating Lord British’s voluptuous lips and sparkling eyes.

        • WhatKateDoes says:

          Yes. I guess you did. If that’s how you interpret the image.

        • RedViv says:

          Hah, the old “don’t be remotely attractive if you don’t want sexism” routine. Quite expertly done.

          (Tell us if you’re serious, then we can laugh even harder.)

          • Skipperoo says:

            What a beautiful straw man you’ve put together!

            I just find it amusing that in an article about fighting the good fight for gender equality in the games industry (something I support), they’ve chosen to use a headline picture (the purpose of which is to grab the attention of a reader) of the interviewee sitting looking pretty.

          • RedViv says:

            If you now only repeat what I heightened above, then I did not construct a strawman and just highlighted what you find so very amusing.
            There really should be no problem with a presentable picture of the interviewee.

          • Skipperoo says:

            Hard to tell if you’re being deliberately obtuse or not, so I’ll leave it there.

        • thegooseking says:

          That’s because you’re looking at Lord British. Try this instead:-

          http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/ken-levine/

          Particularly this one.

      • Yosharian says:

        A little unfair, Chris Avellone is so sexy it’s absolutely standard to have a glamour shot of him

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Press head shot too sexy for Skipperoo! Rhi, that temptress, with her tempting head and all featured affixed, photographed in a professional manner. Next time, smear her face in dirt and make her wear a bag so he doesn’t get distracted.

      Christ, man. Google up my press shot, will’ya? You get a press shot done and you really do want to look as best as you can.

      • harbinger says:

        You have to excuse your readers from getting confused after all the articles you’ve done outlining that women with tits and ass are bad and evil and shouldn’t be employed visually in any video game, ever.
        Or the same thing with demonizing “pretty” or “sexualized” characters in video games.

        You reap what you sow and all that…

        • Senethro says:

          I can see how you think this is a witty reply and imagine your fistpump and audible “heh!” on hitting Opinion, Away!. It unfortunately doesn’t work for those of us able to tell the difference between objectification and dressing up nice.

        • Sinomatic says:

          Except for that whole part where RPS have never said any such thing. Having legitimate issues with the constant objectification of women in our little gaming sphere is a far cry from demonizing the wonderful female form.

          • Fred S. says:

            In game terms, they’re all objectified. Women, men, little fuzzy what-nots, they are all objects decorated with art and stereotyped behavior. Every one of them. They are story elements or background elements or maybe even player avatars but each and every one of them is an object first and foremost. What you are really objecting to is the decoration of the object in question.

            http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii45/freddybear/NonFemme.png

  17. flaming_sock says:

    Where da video games?

  18. Ako says:

    Typo in the first question: “gmaes”.

  19. bill says:

    Dads of daughters ho!

    The interesting thing about this debate on RPS is that it’s opened my eyes to how ridiculously biased all forms of entertainment media are. Specifically, in my case as a dad with a 2 year old daughter, it’s become clear that there are ZERO fairytales that have a heroine that actually DOES ANYTHING PROACTIVE.
    They are all so wet and passive and just there to be rescued or married. They make princess peach look like some kind of Ripley. (who is one of the few examples in other media that are worth remembering).

    It’s very ‘wood for the trees’, but as a boy I never noticed that all the princes are out having adventures, and all the princesses are blocks of wood.

    Personally, i want my daughter to be a kick ass human being – and other than making her watch Aliens every day I’m not sure how to go about it now.

    • Lacero says:

      The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

      Edit: This deserves more. There are quite a few fairy tales with girls (or sometimes women) as the heroes. But for reasons the reader can imagine the ones with male heroes are more famous.

      1001 Nights is obvious, but the presentation of Scheherazade serving at the whim of her husband is tricky to manage. Ultimately though she’s the hero, and enters the marriage to save the evil king. Several of the stories include women as heroes, but not enough.

      Mulan is great, but the disney version isn’t the best. She does sort of sit around a bit in that. Other versions are often not for children, it’s a war story after all.

      It’s really worth sitting and reading Grimm Fairy Tales and the works of Hans Christian Andersen, they’re both free now, and you can find the good stories in there that you’d like to read to someone without your options being filtered through popular “male-hero woman-wife” culture.

      • bill says:

        Hmmm. I vaguely remember The Snow Queen – but I always mix it up with the bad woman from Narnia.

        The original stories might have more proactive women, but so far the kids-book versions are all wash outs.

        (Thumb Princess in particular is just ridiculous. )

        • RedViv says:

          The story of Thumbelina brought a wee Viv to proclaim that (as it is now retold by her parents) “Thith thtory ith bollockth.” when her mother read it to her. That mother agreed, and they both from then on picked silly stupid antiquated and just wrong stories apart regularly.

          What I’m getting at is: Don’t only look for the “better” version of some story, but try to tell kids that they should always ask and try to see what might be wrong, or better, or done differently. Best preparation for life, I think.
          Or at least that’s what worked for me and Ma.

        • Lacero says:

          The originals are far from perfect, but modern adaptions or kids books always seem to make them worse.

          Hunger Games, His Dark Materials and City of Ember show there’s plenty for children a little older at least.

      • JackShandy says:

        Try Vasilisa the beautiful.

    • NR says:

      Yeah, it’s depressing how bad it is that there are so few good role models for young girls especially. But there is some stuff at least! For books, have a look at some of these (pretty good choices there), and for movies definitely look at literally every Studio Ghibli film ever, as they are genuinely wonderful and just perfect generally.

      • Yosharian says:

        Kiki’s Delivery Service is quite nice

      • bill says:

        Heh. It’s weird, but I live in Japan.
        Ghibli movies are great (or at least were), but I’ll have to wait a year or two before she’s really old enough. She has a Totoro toy already though.

        Japan is always a pandora’s box not worth opening, but I’m always surprised by the leaning towards strong female leads in Ghibli movies given that the rest of Japanese culture has none at all. But hey, we’d better not get into that.

        • DXN says:

          I’d say The Boss from MGS3 is one of the best female characters out there. Hell, one of the best characters out there. Everything about her is strong as hell, but her style is absolutely understated and economical and she is always in total control, even in the context of the deeper, hidden storyline behind her actions. (Though even she conducts the last fight with Absolute Cleavage for no particular reason).

          If I was to make a glib and off-the-cuff culturalist generalization it would be that Japanese media seems more tolerant of having genuinely strong, effective and independent female characters as long as they are still subject to the male gaze, sometimes more egregiously than others. Other random examples – Yoruichi from Bleach, Yoko from Gurren Laggan, Revy from Black Lagoon.

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      I encourage everyone with daughters (actually, children full stop, boys need to see this stuff too) to show them this video. It’s very well done promo for a LARP system and it includes a decent number of women wearing sensible armour and kicking serious butt.

    • Merlkir says:

      Could it possibly be that fairytales originated in societies where being kept safe and having an easy life was desirable? Where hardships and challenges were not “fun and kickass”, but things that got you killed most of the time?

      Perspective is everything and you’re speaking from a position of ignorance.

      • cpt_freakout says:

        I still think he’s better suited at ‘perspective’ than you.

      • Mordsung says:

        Even if they did, the male characters still braved that danger that went out into the world to accomplish x or y.

        No reason the female characters shouldn’t do the same. My wife probably has a few inches in height on most of the guys here and a dozen or more pounds. She is likely a more capable fighter than a very large number of males. The average male height in North America is 5’9, my wife is almost 6’2 and not a small woman. She could probably stomp slightly over 50% of male North American adults without even trying.

        She elbowed me in the face once trying to wake her up for class, I have never been hit harder.

        No reason for girls not to be fighters in stories too.

        • RedViv says:

          And exactly there’s the thing – stories are about exceptional people and/or circumstances. There is no reason at all to not get competent active female characters out there, with statistically unlikely abilities, as if those were ever important in fiction. The regular soldier doesn’t venture through the battlefield and frag 200 noobs in 15 minutes either.
          If you only hear stories of how blokes are the ones who fight monsters and sorcerers, and birds are always there to get a nice warm cage and be safe and have someone who earns their food – chances are, kids are being a bit influenced by it if they never learn to think further. And that just should not be, in a time where thinking and education is steadily becoming far more important than pure physicality.

          (Say hi from a fellow giant, btw. :P)

    • Mordsung says:

      Make your own stories dude.

      When I was a kid my dad made up all his own fairy tales and stories to tell me and the man can barely spell. When you’re 2, complex plot arcs aren’t exactly your main concern so you could probably very easily invent your own heroic stories with strong female characters.

      Or, better yet, strong characters of ambiguous gender.

      Strong characters with gender identity issues would also be cool.

      • Lacero says:

        I was actually thinking to myself when I read bill’s comment whether the mouse in The Gruffalo has an explicit gender.

        I totally agree about making thing up, even if you have a copy in front of you to read from you can always change it. Just stick to the rule of three.

        • Mordsung says:

          Changing existing stories works well too.

          There are very few characters in Lord of the Rings that require being male or female. Frodo could easily be Froda.

          Hell, we don’t know what female dwarves look like, maybe Gimli is a woman.

          Aragorn is the only one I can think of with a love interest, and even then, nothing wrong with it being a gay relationship.

    • Sinomatic says:

      “and other than making her watch Aliens”

      Best. Dad. Ever.

    • maninahat says:

      I found a study somewhere that pointed out that men outnumbered women three to one in kid’s and family orientated films. That just seems plain damn weird.

    • rebochan says:

      Might I recommend The Paper Bag Princess and The Practical Princess? Good stories I remember from my own childhood, largely because as a little girl myself, I was desperate for stories with cooler girl heroes.

    • Incision says:

      Dude, here’s a fucking piece of reality.

      You have a daughter. Deal with it. Stop trying to turn her into your son. That’s shitty fucking parenting, right there.

  20. Rinu says:

    Thanks for the interview!
    I vaguely knew Rhianna Pratchett’s writing from Mirror’s Edge (I still need to overcome some bleeding wall-jump combos later in the game). I took a bit of interest in her after Tomb Raider’s release. She was a part of reason why I tried the game despite the hard work of SE’s marketing department convincing me to not buy it.
    She sounds like an interesting person I’d welcome to read more about. Or play more games written by her ;).

    By the way, Overlord is also available on GOG for $10 together with usual suspects (soundtrack, expansion, artworks).

  21. Merlkir says:

    It’s sad to see a reasonable person like Pratchett being interviewed by an incompetent baiting whiteknight. She showed admirable restraint.
    There are people whose opinions on inequality are well informed and worth listening to, Pratchett seems to be one of them. RPS writers are just pathetic.

    • maninahat says:

      This is grinding my gears. The whole point of the discussion is about Rhianna’s take on sexism in the industry. The questions are naturally going to be slanted towards the presupposition that there is sexism, and that sexism is a bad thing.

      Ugh, I shouldn’t really dignify any comment that uses the words “white knight” with a reply. Just go read this, you clueless person you: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/06/misogyny-sexism-and-why-rps-isnt-shutting-up/

    • rebochan says:

      It’s sad to see a reasonable person like Nathan Grayson getting comments from an insufferable moron who uses words like “white knight” to cover up his own insecurities.

  22. Borklund says:

    Thank you for an enjoyable interview. I also read Alanah Pearce’s 30 days of Sexism article. It ends with this paragraph:
    “If jerks on the internet are given a free-pass and allowed to hide behind anonymity when they’re being sexist to someone, then there’s absolutely no reason you can’t use that same anonymity to criticise or educate them. Honestly, just seeing one down-vote or having one person stick up for me is a part of the reason I’m still here and I’m not going to stop fighting. Every single person has the power to fight sexism.”

    I don’t think this works. I have only first-hand experience to back this up but I’d be willing to claim that literally nobody is going to change their abhorrent sexist views because of a youtube comment or downvote. Not from another anonymous person on the internet and especially not from the subject of their hate. I don’t care about what anyone posts on youtube and I don’t care to correct every stupid remark I come across on that site or any other. I also don’t upvote videos or leave positive comments when I enjoy something, because I don’t care to. Am I part of the problem and if so why? I’m not apathetic to women’s issues IRL, I just normally don’t give a flying fuck what random commenters on the internet write or have to say. It can’t be my job to be a counselor to these idiots, or anyone else on the internet. What I mean by this is that surely this problem is not going to be solved by two sides arguing on message boards or comment sections on articles or youtube.

  23. Incision says:

    > No, he doesn’t. He is mocking idiots and bigots. And that’s not our *entire* audience.

    Jim, I’d venture to say, you have absolutely no fucking idea who your audience is. Based upon your recent output, you appear to think it’s the readership of Jezebel.

    Which is probably why you’re running into problems.

    • DXN says:

      *eyeroll*

      Every single one of the last 200 RPS articles has been about games or the games industry. A whopping 2% of those have related to sexism in the gaming industry (which is topical even if you don’t think it’s important). A further 1% of them made some kind of minor reference to the issue. Jezebel this is not.

      Thank god RPS *do* know how to write for their audience, which is mostly made up of people who are not so bizarrely allergic to such an obvious issue.

      • Incision says:

        What “obvious issue”?

        A bunch of women start whining about how the gaming industry doesn’t give them a pony every time they mention they have a vagina and all of a sudden “there’s a problem”.

        Here’s an idea – every time a nerd feels the urge to play White Knight, he needs to check his nuts. Because sure as shit, attitudes like this will ensure he never gets to use ‘em.

        • DXN says:

          Yes, because clearly that’s what’s happening here. Women want ponies and special treatment.

          Women want to not be shit on “because they have a vagina”, is what’s happening. But that’s exactly what gaming culture and the gaming industry is doing. Just the fact that this is seen as a debate and that people with your kind of attitude need to be accommodated and petted and treated as if you have anything meaningful to contribute to it is ridiculous. You’re not entitled to your opinion if you can’t back it up with anything but dumb, clichéd barbs about “white knighting”, as if that describes any and all attempts to address this issue and improve things.

          • Incision says:

            > Yes, because clearly that’s what’s happening here. Women want ponies and special treatment.

            Yes, yes they do. Everyone else in the gaming industry has to fight for what they have. All of a sudden, women want special treatment and special rights so that an industry which predominantly caters to men all of a sudden reverses course and starts catering to their need to feel like a special snowflake.

            Here’s a hint: Possessing a vagina does not make you a special snowflake.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Wow, that’s some special new kind of fuckwittery. Were you born that dumb or were you dropped on your head as a child. Repeatedly.

          Kindly die in a fire.

    • maninahat says:

      Wait, are you arguing that the majority of RPS’s readers are idiots and bigots?

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Winding up a relatively small number of fuckwits doesn’t constitute having “problems”

  24. BooleanBob says:

    Really good interview! I thought Rhianna’s answers were very thoughtful, and found myself nodding in agreement pretty much the whole way through. Nice one RPS and Rhianna!

    ‘Rhison’ is unforgivable, though.

  25. Kuroko says:

    I don’t see feminists crying about not having enough women in the construction industry carrying sacks of concrete.

    • Prime says:

      Of course you’ve had a detailed and lengthy look at the gender biases in the construction industry before making that comment, haven’t you?

      …haven’t you? Please don’t tell me you’ve just lashed together a couple of incredibly lazy stereotypes to use as a makeshift weapon. That would be so very disappointing.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Okay, I’ll bite. Both men and women are represented in jobs that have little cultural output or the generation of ideas and ideology,I.e. unskilled work and skilled professions that work to the designs of others. The problem is that women are so very under represented in areas where ideas and practices are created and disseminated across society, ie politics, managerial positions in the public service and private sector, cinema, and in the specific bubble RPS serves – video games. Women can already be secretaries, care assistants and any number of important jobs that serve other people, what needs to happen is for women to be represented in positions where their ideas and experiences can find voice and enter our cultural ideas and practices. So no, it is unsurprising that women don’t campaign to lug sacks if concrete around because they already have access to any number of jobs like this and it would do much less (although not nothing) to gain women an equivalent representation within society.

    • Incision says:

      Yes, I also don’t see women crying about the >90% difference in the on-the-job death rate. Workplace death doesn’t matter – if you’re a man.

  26. drewdupe says:

    Great article. I don’t understand what it is about sexism that makes everyone get real snarky and mean in the comments, though.

    • RedViv says:

      Some blokes don’t like their huge free bowls of ice cream being touched. Simple.

  27. Berzee says:

    I’m not able to concentrate on the content of this article because I’m distracted by a bitter dislike of hashtags. The pound sign is just what Twitter uses to find tagged tweets guys it’s not part of the tag you don’t have to say it as part of the tag oh my gosh you people seriously.

    The correct way to add the tag “#MyUniquePerspective” to a tweet would be like this: ##MyUniquePerspective.

    ##youpeopleseriously

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      No, the pound sign is what one uses to express a quantity of pounds sterling. The hash symbol was invented by the Belgians as a universal symbol to represent breakfast.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Ok, you got me, the Belgians have never invented anything.

        • Berzee says:

          And stay out!

        • mickygor says:

          Are Belgians even a thing?

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            I’ve been looking for a Belgian source on Belgians to finally settle the matter. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything in the Belgian language. I’ve come to the conclusion that Belgium is just an in-joke between the French and the Dutch and that taking the less direct route from London to Vienna is both more scenic and fraught with fewer existential conundrums.

      • thegooseking says:

        The hash symbol was originally the abbreviation ‘lb’ (from the Italian ‘libbra’, an old unit of weight measurement being approximately equal to a pound), with a horizontal line across the top. Over time, with hurried handwriting on the part of accountants, the loop of the b became a second horizontal line.

        Incidentally, the £ sign is a stylised capital L (for ‘libbra’ again, since a pound currency was originally worth a pound weight of silver) with a line through it.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Indeed, which is why we still use lbs, to abbreviate pounds of weight. Libra/Libre is also still the word used for both the currency and the weight measurement in many modern languages. However, none of this changes the fact that the hash “#” looks a bit like a waffle.

          • Berzee says:

            Which makes it especially appropriate as the universal prefix for faddish internet “opinions”!

      • andytt66 says:

        #Octothorpe

  28. Kitsunin says:

    “it often creates an oppositional relationship against those who don’t think sexism and equality aren’t viable issues.”

    Ugh…that double-negative hurt my brain. And I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to just be a negative.

    Sorry, I’m only saying because I had to re-read it about five times before it finally made sense.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Against those who don’t think it’s not an issue. What could be clearer?…. : / Maybe that is how you punch someone in the face online, you do it with grammar ;)

      • Kitsunin says:

        But in that case doesn’t “Against” just mean “Towards”? I don’t…think…it counts as a negative. My head hurts :?

  29. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Becasue she’s Terr… I mean, because she’s a terribly good writer.

    (Actually, she is, imo)

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Overlord and Heavenly Sword are the games I’ve played, that have been at least partly written by Pratchett. I felt they did that Dungeon Keeper thing of making evil feel like lighthearted fun while at the same time – for me at least – subtly reminding you that what you’re getting up to is not really something you’d like to be on the receiving end of. Anyway, without over-analyzing, the narrative was something I enjoyed in Overlord.

      I disliked most of the gameplay though – the grind was compulsive, as grind can be for a while but there are only so many assorted squashes I can destroy before I start to go a bit wrong in the head. I live in lower Austria and believe me there are enough pumpkins here that if I ever wanted to emulate Overlord I could do so until the cows came home.

    • maninahat says:

      Hmmm. How about Bioshock Infinite?

      • Iamerror says:

        Nonsense; she worked on AI dialogue. To quote her from an interview with Digital Trends :

        “I did a similar thing for BioShock Infinite where I worked on the AI for that and helped to kind of define it, but as a minor writer in the spectrum. The sexy stuff is done by [the Irrational writing team]…”

        It’s hardly comparable with the roles she had on Mirrors Edge, Overlord or Tomb Raider for which she is accredited as ‘lead writer’ [at least to my knowledge] and thus where her abilities should be scrutinised.

        Critically none of the aforementioned are considered to feature ‘quality’ narratives. Though how much that has to do with Pratchett and how much blame rests on any number of potential issues, from the development cycle to publisher demands, is impossible to gauge outside of Mirrors Edge; for which we know the [extremely difficult] constraints she had to work within.

  30. Screamer says:

    Maybe because she’s the #1VaginaWarroirFACE

    … I don’t know, but regardless, it seems the internet decided she’s now the face of the fight against sexism regardless of what she has achieved or not.

  31. Don Reba says:

    Cool. Never heard John Walker admit that there is a debate with two sides to it.

    • Koozer says:

      Psst, look at the author’s name.

      • Don Reba says:

        That’s what I’m saying. If this subject needs to be raised on RPS, I would prefer Nathan to be the one doing it. Unless the quotation marks indicate sarcasm.

    • newguy2012 says:

      The best side is the one in the middle.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      There are 2 sides. People who oppose sexism, and misogynist pricks.

  32. Koozer says:

    Look, everyone’s missing the real issue here: Where’s the Staring Eyes tag?

  33. Koozer says:

    Oh fine then, I can’t resist any longer:

    This ‘debate’ seems to have two sides: those who want equality for all, and those who don’t think it’s a problem and need everyone else to shut up for some reason.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Shut up. Thanks to a medical condition my computer is hooked into my head and every time I check RPS I’m forced to listen to every article and comment there is, so all this chatter about sexism is hurting my sensitive little earholes.

    • KikiJiki says:

      This ‘debate’ seems to have two sides: those who want equality for all, and those who don’t think it’s a problem and need everyone else to shut up for some reason.

      Feels more like the debate is between two groups. Insufferable bigots who can’t accept another point of view, and everyone reading these articles.

  34. Strangerator says:

    “Ultimately, no one should be pushed into the spotlight in this industry simply because of their gender, but because they’ve done meaningful, interesting work that’s worth talking about. It’s the work that counts, not what the person has between their legs.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! This is pretty much the statement that I think all of us can get behind.

    As for the “debate”, the two sides break down as follows…

    1) We need to give a megaphone to all women in the industry to really demonstrate their capability and worthiness. Failure to highlight ALL women in the industry is a form of “soft sexism” whereby inaction is acceptance of the status quo.

    2) See the above statement by Pratchett. Evaluate everyone in the industry as an individual, and not as a gender. I can only speak for myself, but the problem I have with #1 is it feels a bit too patronizing. If you focus on all women in the industry, regardless of exceptionalism, you may wind up doing more harm than good. You may inadvertently reinforce the notion that female developers “aren’t very good” because based on pure statistics there will be far fewer exceptional female devs.

    3) “We don’t want no stinking women in the industry!!” This is an artificial group created by #1, because it provides a convenient straw man. The assertion is that people in group 2 are all secretly or even unknowingly misogynistic, because surely group 1 knows they intend to fight for women’s rights. But I’m sorry to break it to you #1′s… this group doesn’t really exist. Most people just want good games to play, and don’t care who makes them.

    • Kitsunin says:

      While you have at least most of a point, it should be noted that 1) is mostly the same as 3), created by the members of 2) who want to shut down criticism of gaming for the gender-related issues it has, because it’s much easier to argue against extremists who just think women are the greatest thing, rather than people who actually have a point.

      Now we need to add 4) and 5), which are generally subsets of 2)

      4) We want to point out that there ARE problems, and that affirmative action-type things could help reap a long-term benefit, even if at a micro scale they can be shitty. Just in general, we want to do whatever we can to make things better, because we know that right now there are big problems, and just sitting there won’t fix them.

      5) We are just SICK of all this talk about gender issues. It gets us so upset to hear it, and we want everyone to shut up so we can imagine that there aren’t any, even though we could just ignore it if we’re really so convinced doing nothing is the right course of action.

      And how is inaction NOT acceptance of the status quo?

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I think there’s still some ambiguity about whether, by sexism, we mean a kind of institutional marginalization of women in industry roles – or the production of sexist content in games – or people on the internet bullying and abusing games writers and female gamers on the basis of their gender. Obviously inaction is not an option if the first exists but I think it’s far from proven that it does. I think the problem is more general and not specific to games. The same with issue #2. publishers are supplying a demand. With the last issue there one that really should be a legal issue and is tied to the tricky subjects of anonymity on the internet and policing the internet. So we have multiple perspectives clashing but often because people two people are looking at different sides of sexism which are different problems that demand different solutions.

      • Strangerator says:

        I’ll concede that I might have overly caricatured #1, both sides are guilty of this.

        “And how is inaction NOT acceptance of the status quo?”

        If I believe the solution to a problem is inevitable, and that any action I take makes things worse, then it makes sense to not take radical action. You mentioned “affirmative action” type solutions. I find these to be an offensive form of soft racism/sexism in the same way you probably view my tendency towards “inaction.” Preferential selection based on race or other characteristics carries a lot of bad psychology with it that, in my view, institutionalizes divisions between races/genders/etc rather than mending them. These divisions are subsequently exploited by politicians to get people to identify with a victimized group instead of thinking as an individual, and it is this basic mechanism which I believe is going to eventually limit all of our freedoms (including playing what videogames we want!) I’d also argue that encouraging victim mentality puts hard limits on what one can achieve, but now I’m drifting off topic..

        • Kitsunin says:

          Well certainly, don’t take radical action, but if you aren’t going to think about and point out where the issues are, you aren’t helping, at least.

          As far as affirmative action goes, I think that it can help in the long term, even if it definitely is a soft form of sexism/whateverism. If there are relatively few women in the gaming industry, by letting women in who are not quite as skilled or talented (Reason being there are less to choose from, so naturally less that are especially good) you encourage things to change over the long term, as women see that our industry accepts them, and women working in games becomes more normalized, even if for the short term you’ve lowered the bar a little bit.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Whoever runs the internet, can you make like a trigger or something that instantly deletes any posts about sexism in the games industry and replaces them with a copy of this? Thanks.

  35. Grover says:

    Yeah…they’re really reaching to get a face for this debate. An actual female game dev who has worked on something critically acclaimed would probably be better.

  36. bombaythehardway says:

    I wonder if she teases her dad for including so much cleavage in his book covers.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Specifically, the old Kirby covers.

      I don’t particularly like the Kirby covers for various reasons and find that Kidby is much more to my liking, but the amount of cleavage was never really a point of note for me.

      Considering the roots of the books I’d say that it’s poking fun of fantasy covers in general. If my memory serves Larry Elmore for instance did it a lot. And strange bikini armor in general.

  37. Totally heterosexual says:

    Wow. She sure is pretty.

    …that’s not sexist is it? Like apparently everything else said in this comment section.

  38. bombaythehardway says:

    “Even from a “pragmatic” standpoint, that means they’re leaving half the world’s money on the table. Why do people remain ignorant of that?”

    I loved the article but surely Nathan knows that in order for that to be true, everyone on earth would need to have a way to play games. For the majority of Earth’s citizens, a game console is light years beyond their financial means. I find it ironic that the claim of ignorance is supported by ignorance.

  39. Tasloi says:

    It’s somewhat disappointing so few people really speak out in favor of a wide variety of games including those that might not be personally appealing at all. This is what we find in movies and literature after all. It might be unintentional but it always seems to boil down to a somewhat narrow “approved” range of works be they mainstream, feminist-friendly, whatever.

    That said she does give some good answers here. If this is any indication her absence on the GDC panel was a loss in my opinion. Despite the high praise given to that talk I found it to be somewhat underwhelming.

  40. honky mcgee says:

    John Walker: Nobody likes me because my posts on piracy and sexism are too edgy and progressive for our simple minded readers.

    Jim: Fine, who wants to pick up the torch for women’s rights in the field of interactive entertainment in the year 2013. Anbody? ….. *crickets chirping* Okay then, we’ll draw straws.

    Nathan: Doh!

  41. honky mcgee says:

    On a serious note: I’d really like to see more Women (always capitalize) working in the game industry but with a few caveats…

    Firstly, I’d like them all to be named Jade Raymond…

    Secondly, I’d like them all to be Jade Raymond….

    So, in conclusion, to achieve the goal of ending sexism & misogyny in the field of interactive entertainment the solution seems obvious.

    1. Create a time machine and travel to the future where human cloning is available at Kinko’s

    2. Kidnap 2013 Jade Raymond sending her into the future to be cloned whereby her copies are then sent back in time to year 2013 to end sexism and misogyny in the field of interactive entertainment.

    The End

  42. Vinraith says:

    The sheer amount of baffling vitriol and hatred that comes spilling out of the internet at articles like this makes their necessity all the more apparent. Good on RPS for continuing to push the issue.

    • Hodge says:

      This. Exactly this.

    • andytt66 says:

      Okay, I’ll bite… could you please enlighten me as to how this article is going to stem the flow of “vitriol and hatred that comes spilling out of the internet”?

      Because I genuinely (no snark, honest) don’t see what will be accomplished by this. Those that speak out on both sides of this issue will continue to do so with ever increasing vehemence, and those of us who are pro-equality but recognise that we have little agency to effect change will continue to feel disgruntled that we’re being called mysoginist.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Firstly, the only way equality will be achieved is by people not shutting up about it. It’s not that speaking up will solve much on it’s own, but that not speaking up just reinforces the status quo.

        Secondly – there is no way that these articles have ever suggested that “those of us who are pro-equality but recognise that we have little agency to effect change” are in any way misogynist.

        • Bhazor says:

          Except for when they do

          “The gaming industry and those who write about it, she says, are stood on this moving walkway, always trundling toward the sexism and misogyny that infests throughout. There are of course those who march forward toward it, embracing it. But most, she says, are standing still. They don’t particularly desire or support it, but they also don’t want to think about it, discuss it, contest it. So they stand still, and in doing so, inexorably glide toward it.”
          http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/06/misogyny-sexism-and-why-rps-isnt-shutting-up/#more-148511

          Not with us? Then you’re actively against us.
          You either write long angry posts about it or you are a sexist bigot.

          Again RPS are just antagonising the exact people they could be persuading by stirring up resentment with biased loaded articles. RPS has always been open minded and critical of shallow representations of women in games and the industry, but in the past few months it’s just turned preachy.

          @Vinraith
          Sometimes the article creates the vitriol.
          To take an extreme example
          Its like lighting a crucifix and then saying the resultant anger is a valuable discussion and that burning crucifixes are improving the racial equality.

          • rebochan says:

            “Not with us? Then you’re actively against us”

            Considering how EVERY ONE of your posts on this topic demonstrates that you are, in fact, against any attempts at equality and you’d rather people just shut up….me thinks you doth protest too much.

          • Prime says:

            Sometimes the article creates the vitriol

            Utter bollocks, Bhazor. That’s just a lame excuse for crummy behaviour. People who can’t read an article without resorting to vitriol don’t get to blame the article for making them behave like total arseholes.

      • DXN says:

        This has always struck me as a very defeatist line of thought. People are learning all the time, including from the opinions of their peers or role models. As you learn, your opinions develop, deepen, become more informed, and frequently change. Not necessarily an immediate 180, but a drift in one direction or the other over time. I know I’ve had plenty of my own opinions changed by hearing enough arguments in a given direction. I’ve seen the same happen to other people. Especially younger people who are still forming an adult view of the world, such as a good portion of this site’s audience.

        How does any entrenched opinion or societal attitude change? Because people talk and hash things out and argue and cajole and persuade, and eventually things change. Especially when they’re relatively influential people like RPS, taking a stand on these important gaming-related issues and not backing down just because it makes some people whine and moan, and giving people a space to debate in the comments.

  43. QualityJeverage says:

    The fact that any of the articles RPS has published on this topic have been called “radical” is so batshit fucking insane that I can barely contain myself.

    Don’t stop for one second RPS, keep it up. As for me, Comment Blocker extension: Engage.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      An article counting the times we see Kerrigan’s ass isn’t radical, it’s ridiculous.
      An article about how women in the industry are earning less without any evidence or context isn’t radical, it’s as dumb as a politician trying to prove something with some random statistic.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        An article counting the times we see Kerrigan’s ass isn’t radical, it’s ridiculous.
        Why is it ridiculous? Why is it not a valid criticism? Just because it raised the issue in a light-hearted manner, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    • dE says:

      You’re leaking bile and vitriol like a hate tanker from (s)hell. I wouldn’t quite call that containing yourself. Thank you for suggesting yourself for the block list though, I appreciate that.

  44. BRiDeath says:

    Rhianna: “Most trolls are not interested in being educated, they just want to rage.”

    Alfred: “Some men, Ms. Pratchett, just want to watch the world burn…”

  45. NotToBeLiked says:

    I was with her until the ‘games need to become like movies, appealing to everyone’.

    The absolutely last thing I want is for games to become as boring as movies that are trying to please everyone and more importantly offend no one. Your average blockbuster movie is shallow beyond belief because everyone has to ‘get it’ and ‘like it’. I want games that aren’t afraid to step on people’s toes, do ‘difficult’ topics. Games that are aimed at a more mature audience (The Witcher etc) or any specific demographic that would get more enjoyment out of it because they can really relate to it.

    • rebochan says:

      Way to miss the point, fella. Her point was that films are such a broad artform that “blockbuster” titles attempt to appeal to a wider market. Games, meanwhile only want to appeal to the same white male 18-25 demographic no matter how high profile the title.

  46. Ender7 says:

    This is not an article, this is more RPS political bullshit pretending to be an article. I am sure Rhianna Pratchett is an interesting person and I would love to hear her opinions about GAMES. However, this political drite is more pointless inflammatory post to catch page clicks. RPS USED to be such a good gaming news site. Sad to see them fall from grace.

  47. Megakoresh says:

    I am gonna have to stop reading this blog if they don’t shut up about this. Have you noticed that it’s most of the time the same guy leaving these fucking posts here? Not even a girl (since they are most likely all smarter than this)!

    Bloody pathetic. How long can this go on?

  48. PikaBot says:

    The overtones of sexual violence in that Tomb Raider scene still sit poorly with me, in no small part because they are utterly unnecessary. It’s true that it’s not actually a ‘press X to not get raped’ scene, since the actual consequences for failure are simply death. But then why is it being set up like a rape scene to begin with? No sir, I don’t like it.

    It’s really too bad that that’s the part of the game they chose to showcase. It was a pretty good game but the marketing was a real clusterfuck.

    • Wytsfs says:

      It’s like that because that’s how people imagine violent amoral men in this culture. It’s a widely held cultural assumption, “attractive young woman is captured by a dirty threatening violent man? Of course he’s going to at least threaten to abuse her sexually!” It actually seems strange to some people when that doesn’t happen.

  49. vecordae says:

    This seems like a difficult path. In an ideal world, the games industry would be gender-blind. However, the mass consumer base is not and probably will not ever be free from socially-instituted gender identities and they will buy their games accordingly. I’m looking forward to seeing how games companies navigate that disparity.

    Keep on posting.

  50. Blackcompany says:

    Someone has likely said this, or something like it, but here goes:

    Most of the examples of sexism provided by individuals such as this come not from the industry, but from the industry’s target audience. Where sexism does occur “in the industry” it generally is in an attempt, however misguided and ill advised, to engage this same audience. You cannot eliminate sexism from the industry without changing the target demographic, or at least, the industry perception thereof.

    Furthermore, whilst discussion of sexism in gaming is important, I feel it is also time to examine the motivations for said sexism. Why does the industry try so hard to keep females out, if indeed it does so? Why do gamers frantically try and push females away from this hobby, if indeed some of us do so? These are questions that are at least as important as the debate about whether sexism exists “in the industry.” Finding the answers to these questions might well shed some light on which perspectives need to change – on BOTH sides of the fence – in order to alleviate sexism in the industry.

    I for one can tell you that, while I find sexist behavior deplorable, I do not necessarily enjoy the idea of a greatly increased female presence in gaming. Females have recently dramatically increased their presence their presence in the world of fictional literature, and the less said about most of their popular works, the better. Whether its Hamilton, Gallenorn, Huff or any of a very, very large variety of other, similar writers, they are all essentially writing copycat pieces following the same or incredibly similar characters through nearly identical plot lines. Perhaps more telling still: ALL – or at least the VAST MAJORITY – of major villains in these tales: ALL MEN. Nonetheless, the vast majority of these tales share one other common note: insecure female protagonists who in the end almost – and note I said ALMOST – always rely on flawless male hero figures to swoop in and save them from the evil male villain.

    Of course the issue is not restricted solely to literature. In America, country music is – unfortunately – a rather big thing. Country and pop music here have recently seen a dramatic rise in the number of female “artists” on stage. All – or very nearly all – of said performers share a singular favorite topic where their songs are concerned: blaming men/their ex-boyfriends for LITERALLY EVERYTHING BAD they have EVER experienced in life. These songs are very telling: their narratives tell tales of flawless females who have never made a bad decision or been guilty of a single mistake – save, presumably, for choosing their ex in the first place – but who have been lead down a bad path by men, and how its all the man’s fault. There are, quite literally, thousands of these songs across two or three genres, and they seem very popular with young women.

    Unfortunately, however, this isn’t even my biggest gripe with women of late. That is this: “What’s the difference between flirtation and sexual harassment? Whether or not he was cute!” Tell that ‘joke’ to women, and the VAST majority of them will think it is funny. Very telling behavior. And this carries over into the workplace, where women often – NOT always, but OFTEN – seem to seize on EVERY opportunity they can find to become offended at even the slightest “chauvinist” remark they can manage to overhear from anywhere, any time. A lot of men understand that we are not perfect, and we don’t want this sort of constant “hall monitor” behavior in the work place, if we can avoid it. And frankly, it happens with women far, far too often for us to entirely welcome them into any industry in larger numbers.

    These are the reasons why men tend to push women away from industries in which males are very entrenched. And especially from industries requiring creative thought. Recent examples suggest women are not nearly as creative – again, on average – as women would like to believe. See again: Modern literature/music/women authors in video games (not that men in this same position are better, mind.) To add to this: You claim you just want to work here, but you come in the door and bam, it is like working with a constant hall monitor. Unless you look like Fabio or Vin Diesel; then you can damned well say what you want, to whom you want, without worry. Women, if you want to enter into industries where males are deeply entrenched, how about this: accept the industry for what it is, whether or not you agree with it, and then try and change it from the INSIDE, by suggesting ways in which the industry can be fixed, as opposed to looking on from the outside and demanding we change it first, so you can finally “be allowed” to enter into said industry.

    tl;dr: Men aren’t perfect and sometimes even the best intentioned among us gets a little chauvinist in out thinking. Therefore, the last thing we want/need in any work place is a female hall monitor policing our speech and our thoughts whilst trying to undo our every effort in order to give everything more feminine touch. You’re welcome to JOIN any industry you please, thank you. But please stop trying to COMPLETELY REMAKE AND TAKE THEM OVER in the process. K’thanks.

    • Tagiri says:

      Wait, are you seriously saying, “I wish women would stay out of the games industry because some female SF/F authors wrote things that I don’t like,”? Like, can I say that men should just stay away from writing games because just look at John Ringo’s oeuvre?

      ETA: Have you ever considered that maybe women pretend to think that your sexist jokes are funny because they’re sick of being called out as humourless bitches every time they say something?

      • Blackcompany says:

        It isn’t my joke; I heard it from a woman – and a number of men who all have heard and seen women laugh it up over this same joke. I have also heard women admit that, sadly, its also the truth.

        And no, I don’t want to keep women out of any industry. I just do not care for the idea of more women writing video game narratives, based on my numerous failed attempts to engage with a female author whose name was not Anne Rice and whose subject matter wasn’t vampires-minus-the-sparkle.

        • Tagiri says:

          I just . . . I understand that you’re probably trolling and it’s not really worth getting angry over it. But you’re dismissing all female authors ever because of a couple of books about vampires that you didn’t like. Laurell K Hamilton (and I’m brave enough to type her full name) is a hack who wrote thinly veiled allegories about her own relationships into her stories, it’s true. And Anne Rice’s quality tanked around the time she decided that she was too good for editors. Neither of those things have anything to do with their gender and are done by plenty of male authors as well. It’s just that individual men don’t get held up as a standard for their gender every time they do anything because men are considered to be the default in these industries.

          Can you even imagine a woman saying that she wished male authors would stay out of the romance genre because John Ringo writes stories wherein an author-analogue rescues bionic prostitutes and uses them as comfort women for his troops?

          ETA: Also, this “hall monitor behaviour” thing, are you for real? It is such a hardship to try to not say anything that has the potential to hurt another person for 8 hours of your day?

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      You know the highschool movies where everyone has to fit into a stereotype like jock, nerd, etc.
      You have the same kind of stereotyping going on, only you have just one category: women. As if you had never actually talked to one.

    • rebochan says:

      ….wow. It’s…just not every day you read the stupidest thing in the world.

      Your take-away is women SHOULDN’T be in entertainment because they are incapable of being good entertainers? And then you have the balls to suggest women need to make their own games and enter the industry? Seems a wee bit counter-productive.

      No, no, this is fun. Hey, you know what? I keep seeing so many shitty movies by men. Michael Bay and Ed Wood and Robert Lippert and Jon Peters and their like. Stinking up their industry! Clearly, women are far more qualified as The Hurt Locker can attest to.

      Oh god, that hurt, My brain, it is hurting. So much. The sheer pain of the logical paradox.

      Ah well. Hey, buddy. I’m a female developer. I’m getting my nasty, icky girl hormones all over your hobby. And knowing that makes some backwards little manchild upset and you can’t do a thing about it? Is my #1reasontobe tonight.