In the wake of the Anita Sarkeesian controversy and the virality of the #1ReasonWhy campaign on Twitter, there were a number of stories about sexism among gamers and game developers. Many of them are archived under the specific posts on those two topics, but some articles are broader in scope and not tied to specific episodes or events. They are documented here.
Resources for Victims of Online Harassment:
- Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment
- A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity
Open Letter to the Gaming Community
In September 2014, Andreas Zecher on Medium released an open letter to the gaming community against harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability. It calls for people who see threats of violence or harm in comments in places such as Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or Reddit to report them to the respective sites. It was signed first by Zecher of Spaces of Play, and it was hitherto signed by a large number of game developers and others from across the industry. The full statement and list of signatures can be found here.
Sexism in Game Culture
- Regina Buenaobra on Acid for Blood: June 18, 2008: Vexation
- Nicole Leffel on Team Valkyrie FTW: Oct. 13, 2011: No flat girls: How allies are born
- Marianne Cassidy on The Good Men Project: Oct. 22, 2011: I am a female nerd. Apparently
- Darius Kazemi on Terrible Magazine: Nov. 13, 2011: The three least powerful women in gaming
- Ethan Gilsdorf on Cognoscenti: Aug. 8, 2013: In video game culture, it's still "no girls allowed"
- Ben Payne on Femusings: Aug. 29, 2013: Videogames: Internet sexism
- Tracey Lien on Polygon: Dec. 2, 2013: No girls allowed
- Rachel Ediden on Kotaku: Jan. 28, 2014: She was harassed by a games reporter. Now she's speaking out.
- Laralyn McWilliams on Gamasutra: Oct. 30, 2014: She's not playing it wrong
- Carolyn Petit on Tumblr: Jan. 20, 2015: A note on the use of rape in video games
- Patrick Garratt on VG24/7: Feb. 17, 2015: Developers shooting the messenger: stop blaming the press for sexist extremism in games
- Patrick Klepek on Kotaku: Feb. 20, 2015: Indie dev cancels PAX East booth over security concerns
- Brendan Sinclair on GamesIndustry.biz: Mar. 5, 2015: Dealing with harassment
- Nathan Grayson on Kotaku: Mar. 20, 2015: Why people are arguing about women streamers showing skin
- Caster, Scarletrose wrote this piece in response to criticisms over how some women choose to dress while streaming (Mar 20, 2015).
- Jeff Grubb on GamesBeast: Mar. 23, 2015: Girls get kiddie tablets, boys get game consoles - researchers say tech gender bias starts with parents
- Charlie Hall on Polygon: May 15, 2015: Inside the research that could change the perception of kids, gaming, and gender
- Dean Takahashi on Venture Beat: May 14, 2015: IDGA's Kate Edwards confronts Gamergate and diversity in gaming head-on
- Steve Dent on Engadget: May 22, 2014: Lizard Squad member pleads guilty to harassing women gamers
- Mike Snider on USA Today: Aug 18, 2015: A year after 'gamergate' women say online abuse is still a big deal
- Kaley LaQuea on CU Independent: Oct 1, 2015: Opinion: Misogyny in online gaming culture takes a toll
Penny Arcade Controversy and Rape Culture
Foz Meadows tackled the topic of rape culture on her blog shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows:
- June 2, 2012: Penny Arcade vs. rape culture
The referenced comic strips are here:
In response to criticism of her post on the page itself and on Reddit, Meadows wrote a follow-up post defining rape culture in relation to video games on June 11, 2012: Rape culture in gaming
- And continued the discussion on June 14, 2012: Rape culture in gaming: Redux
An anonymous poster created a Tumblr devoted to the controversy and its ensuing discussion, originally created on January 31, 2011: The pratfall of Penny Arcade - A timeline
GTFO: A Film on Sexism in Gaming
In this documentary director Shannon Sun-Higginson highlights the experience of abuse and discrimination of female gamers and industry professionals. The website for the documentary can be found here. Reviews and commentary will be compiled here.
- Nicole Tanner on Pixelkin: Aug 25, 2015: 'GTFO' film documents the hurdles faced by women in games
- Chelsea Stark on Mashable: Jul 30, 2015: Mashflix presents 'GTFO', a documentary on women in gaming
- Charline Jao on The Mary Sue: June 19, 2015: GTFO: The movie gives voice to women in gaming
- Dennis Harvey on Variety: Mar 23, 2015: SXSW film review: 'GTFO: Get the f&#% out'
- Monica Castillo on International Business Times: Mar 20, 2015: 'GTFO' movie: 3 ways you can help women in the gaming industry
- Robert Ito on New York Times: Mar 6, 2015: In the documentary 'GTFO' female video gamers fight back
Indie Wire also published an interview with director, Shannon Sun-Higginson.
- Laura Berger on Indie Wire:Mar 12, 2015: SXSW women directors: Meet Shannon Sun-Higginson - 'GTFO - Get the F#$% Out'
Women Working in the Industry
Like other technology sectors, the games industry is dominated by men. However, women are making inroads that have resulted in more consistent conversations about the challenges women face in the workplace and how to improve gendered diversity in the industry, overall. This section compiles articles dealing with game development as it pertains to the relative inclusion or exclusion of female industry workers.
Microsoft GDC Party Controversy
At the 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft came under fire for hiring female dancers dressed in school girl outfits to dance on platforms at a party they hosted. Many female attendees took to Twitter to express their frustration and feelings of alienation and exclusion as a result of the stunt. Commentators also pointed out that this form of entertainment is quite hypocritical coming from a company that hosts a "women in gaming" luncheon every year.
- Joseph Keller on Windows Central: Mar 18, 2016: Microsoft draws fire over dancers at Xbox GDC party [Updated]
- T.C. Sottek on The Verge: Mar 18, 2016: Microsoft's GDC party extends tradition of sexism in the gaming industry
Anu Passary on Tech Times: Mar 19, 2016: Microsoft apologizes for Xbox GDC party With dancers in skimpy outfits
- Mike Snider on USA Today: Aug 18, 2015: Why women leave game development and how to change things: Q&A
- Susan Kelleker on The Seattle Times: Aug 13, 2015: 'This has got to change': Women game developers fight sexism in the industry
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: May 28, 2015: Former competitive Smash Bros player talks about fighting sexism in eSports
- Christopher Livingston on PCGamer: Mar. 5, 2015: GDC Panel: Women in esports are "walking through a minefield"
- Mike Rose on Gamasutra: Oct. 20, 2014: Did 80s computer marketing push women out of video games?
- Brianna Wu on The Mary Sue: Apr. 24, 2014: Why GitHub's unconvincing investigation harms women in games development
- Jenn Frank on Gamasutra: Mar. 27, 2014: The Rolodex
- Elizabeth Sampat on Gamasutra: Mar. 24, 2014: Women don't want to work in games (and other myths)
- Deirdra Kiai on Deirdra Kiai Productions: Mar. 22, 2014: Making games is easy. Belonging is hard. #1ReasonToBe
- Maddy Myers on Paste: Mar. 13, 2014: Hyper mode: How to be visibly femme in the games industry
- Christian McCrea on his blog: June 21, 2013: 8.7% is proof of a problem
- Jen Whitson on Technoculture, Art and Games: May 30,2013: Gamasutra, glass ceilings, beer and feminism
- Andy Chalk on The Escapist: Mar. 28.2013: Brenda Romero resigns IGDA post over GDC party
Emma Fissenden ran a series profiling women working within the industry in 2015 called Game Changer on The Mary Sue. A sampling of those profiles can be found below.
- Nov 20, 2015: Game Changer: Ann Lemay divulges day to day life as BioWare Writer, building a diverse games industry, & finding your support unit
- July 21, 2015: Game Changer: Dishonored 2’s Cara Ellison on experimenting with narrative design, owning your talent & the importance of self-care
- Jun 3, 2015: Game Changer: Game maker & UX Designer Catt Small talks multifaceted skill-sets, interactive technology and diverse industries
- Apr 8, 2015: Game Changer: Talent & Production Coordinator Becky Dodd on working at Naughty Dog & having the courage to pursue your career
UN Cyber-Violence Report and Symposium
In September, the United Nations hosted a symposium on cyber-violence against women. Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, both of whom have been victims of online harassment related to their work in the video game industry and culture, spoke at the event. The UN also released a report titled, Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call that was widely criticized and ultimately pulled. This section will be updated with content pertaining to these events as they unfold.
- Maddy Meyers on The Mary Sue: Sept 24, 2015: The United Nations released a report on cyber violence against women & girls
- Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC: Sept 30, 2015: UN report on cyberviolence highlights rampant online issue
- Video Game Voter Network: VGVN statement on U.N. Cyberviolence report
- Jaime Bravo on The Medium: Sept 7, 2015: Citation games by the United Nations’ #CyberViolence
- Sarah Jeong on Motherboard: Oct 1, 2015: 'I'm Disappointed': Zoe Quinn Speaks Out on UN Cyberviolence Report
- Ian Miles Cheong on Gameranx: Oct 5, 2015: Video Game Voters Network condemns UN report on cyberviolence
- Keezy Young on Pixelkin: Oct 7, 2015: ESA denounces U.N. report for misinformation about video games
- Sam Machkovech on ARS Technica: Oct 7, 2015: UN agency backtracks, expresses “regret” over cyberviolence report
- James Fudge on GamePolitics.com: Oct 7, 2015: UN pulls questionable report on ‘cyber violence against women’
- Brad Glasgow on Game Politics: Nov 10, 2015: UN hopes to have revised 'cyber-violence' report available by year's end
Positive posts about the changing gender dynamic of game development:
- Regina Buenaobra on Acid for Blood: Aug. 25, 2007: PAX Panel: Girls, games, and the growing role of women in the game industry
- Regina Buenaobra on The Border House: Mar. 24, 2010: Ada Lovelace Day: Women in the games industry
- Erik Leijon on Cult Montreal: Nov. 28, 2012: Pixelles: Calling all (game-designing) ladies
- "AnonymousFan8675309" on The Hawkeye Initiative: May 4, 2013: Special Guest Edition: The Hawkeye Initiative IRL!
- Anthony Accinelli on Strength Gamer: Aug. 22, 2013: How #SaintsRowIV is the answer to #Sexism in gaming
- Edwin Evans-Thirlwell on TotalXbox: Sept. 2, 2013: 50% of developers will be women "five to ten years from now", says Lionhead boss
- Kris Graft on Gamasutra: Nov. 12, 2013: Ouya invests in 'feminist puzzle platformer' from new studio MK Ultra
- Leigh Alexander on Gamasutra: Jan. 23, 2014: Taking on the challenges of being a mom in game development
- Pascal Clarysse on Gamasutra: Oct. 1, 2014: Interview: Angry Birds Stella Lead on gender balance
- James Brightman on GamesIndustry.biz: Feb. 11, 2015: Women in games: everyone needs a hero
- Laralyn McWilliams on Gamasutra: Feb. 11, 2015: Diversity drives success
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: Feb. 13, 2015: Brenda Romero on cashing in, selling out, and staying true to yourself while making games (interview)
- Ben Kuchera on Polygon: Mar. 2, 2015: Ignorance is no excuse: GDC puts its code of conduct front and center during show
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: Mar. 4, 2015: Zoe Quinn and other female game developers speak out against harassment
- Danielle Riendeau on Polygon: Mar. 5, 2015: How to hire more women in the game industry
- Rachel Weber on GamesIndustry.biz: Mar. 5, 2015: Daybreak adds second scholarship to GIRL competition
- From GamePolitics.com: Mar. 5, 2015: Intel promises to help foster more diversity in the video games industry
- Danielle Riendeau on Polygon: Mar. 5, 2015: Offworld relaunches as a new site for diverse game writing
- Simon Parkin on Gamasutra: Mar. 6, 2015: Women share their #1ReasonToBe in games, in a powerful GDC panel
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: Mar. 7, 2015: Has the game industry turned the corner on women and diversity?
- Brian Baglow on GamesIndustry.biz: Mar. 12, 2015: A progressive stance
- Sam Maggs on The Mary Sue: Mar. 17, 2015: The Mary Sue Interview: Neopets' CEO on their first mobile game and getting girls into gaming
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: Mar. 18, 2015: Nintendo celebrates women's history month with female game heroes
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: Mar. 20, 2015: The women of Telltale Games represent for women's history month
- Evan Narcisse on Kotaku: Mar. 27, 2015: Chainmail Bikini anthology has women gamers telling their own stories
- Eddie Makuch on GameSpot: Apr. 7, 2015: Women in Game Development exhibit headed to California museum
- PBS Game/Show: Apr. 2015: How I became a video game feminist (video)
- Mariella Moon on Engadget: Apr. 26, 2015: Interactive exhibit honors women in game development
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: Apr. 28, 2015: Wrestling star/Game enthusiast A.J. Brooks sets up scholarship for Girls Make Games camp
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: May 1, 2015: Cookie Jam maker SGN hires female exec to run its S.F. office
- Gavin Greene on VentureBeat: May 6, 2015: Gamergate's positive effect: We're not talking about diversity
- Jeff Grubb on VentureBeat: May 7, 2015: Only 2 of the top 200 highest-grossing e-sports starts are women
- Charline Jao on The Mary Sue: June 8, 2015: Laralyn Williams on why it's important for game developers to let staff diversity shine
- Jessica Lachenal on The Mary Sue: June 23, 2015: Brianna Wu talks about the changing state of the games industry at InspireFest 2015.
- Damon van der Linde on The Financial Post: Nov 20, 2015: Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig weigh in on sexism, diversity in the video game industry