I love stories with happy endings. And uplifting middles. And only sorta upsetting beginnings. This is the rare tale that both rides that grin-coaxing emotional rollercoaster and focuses on issues of gender inequality in the gaming industry. A rarity? You don't even know the half of it - mostly because I haven't told you about any of it yet (jeez, hold your horses). But in short, Hawken publisher Meteor - whose executive branch is apparently half female - had a minor kerfuffle involving a monolithic poster of a scantily clad, Rosie-The-Riveter-esque character smack dab in the middle of its offices. So a few employees played a prank involving an equally nonsensically dressed male technician, and the results were, well... just delightful.
The offending poster took up such prime office real estate because CEO Mark Long apparently adored it. The same, however, could not be said of the anonymous employee who told the tale to Hawkeye Initiative (a wonderful, often hilarious project in its own right) and many of her coworkers, so here's what they did:
"We blew (ahem) Brosie up poster sized. We framed him. And then, at 7:30 on Monday, April 1st, we snuck into our CEO’s office and switched them. I stood in the entryway, dizzy with joy. It was glorious. There Brosie stood, proud, nipples testing the air like young gophers in springtime, the post-apocalyptic breeze gently swaying his banana hammock. Brosie said, loud and proud: 'Get ready, world! I am here to lubricate your joints and tighten your socket.'”
But then, stomachs started sinking, euphoria-enforced hulls no match for the possible ramifications of harsh reality. What if their boss got pissed? What if he was too stuck in his ways to take the joke in good humor? We are, after all, talking about "a late-50s ex-army guy who happens to determine our employment futures in an at-will state."
Here's how he replied:
“That was a brilliant prank. You called me on exactly the bullshit I need to be called on. I put up pictures of half-naked girls around the office all the time and I never think about it. I’m taking you and [the artist who made the poster] to lunch. And after that, we’re going to hang both prints, side by side.”
There are, of course, tons of takeaways here, but Meteor's anonymous Prankster Of Great Justice outlined them just as well as I ever could've hoped to. The short version? Many people who seem like they're being jerks just aren't aware, and some of them even want to help but just don't know how. "We just haven’t been around enough for them to notice," she pointed out, before concluding that the only way to get everyone on the same page is to make it happen.
"It’s hard work, and yes, there are a couple genuine assholes along the way. But if Ruby Underboob can brave the occasional droplet of molten metal, so can we. Speaking from experience, it’s worth it."