I woke up this morning with my day well planned out. I had a bowl of oatmeal and a to-do list on hand. As per usual, I jumped into Twitter to get my morning fix of news and tweets from friends. An hour later, my oatmeal had gone cold, and my to-do list was completely sidelined. The top trending hashtag was #1reasonwhy, a phrase that was also exploding all over my feed. It started with one simple tweet that asked, “Why are there so few lady game creators?” That was enough to trigger a flood of responses from women working in games on their experiences within the industry.
Take a look at the discussion, and you’ll find story after story about job interviews that range from insulting to absurd, devs who were snubbed at conventions, peers who were surprised to find a woman who can code, sexual harassment and rape threats, game design students told to be quiet about it if they wanted to find jobs, and on, and on, and on. By now, game critics, journalists, bloggers, and ordinary gamers have chimed in, too, as well as plenty of male devs describing the behavior they’ve witnessed toward their female colleagues. There have also been women who have voiced acknowledgment of the problem but make the point that their own experiences have been welcoming. And yes, there are some who have added dissenting opinions, and some who are just there to troll. The whole thing is fascinating, and depressing, and oddly encouraging.
The shiny silver lining to come out of this is #1reasonmentors, where devs and industry folks of all genders are banding together to offer support and advice. A Storify page by pixelsprite is currently serving as a central hub of helpful tweets sorted by professional field (if you know of similar resources, feel free to share ‘em in the comments). To me, this is a prime example of what makes our community so amazing, despite the ugliness that comes along with it. What could be more of a hallmark of game culture than a bunch of people discovering a challenge and joining forces to tackle it? Isn’t that why we all love games in the first place?