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Women in Games Segment Addresses the Gaming Industry’s Gender Problem on Australia’s Good Game

This segment on women in games by the Australian gaming show Good Game hits a few important points in gaming diversity squarely on the head and mixes them with inspiring real women in games and programming.

Most importantly, they make the point that improving diversity in games doesn’t hurt anyone. Adding more women to development teams won’t take away the kind of games people currently like to play; it will only broaden the appeal of games in general. That’s probably the single biggest reason that this video’s comment section on YouTube—as well as the backlash one of the show’s producers told us they’ve received on Facebook amid an overall positive response—makes me so sad: There are a bunch of angry gamers railing against something (diversity) that doesn’t stand to harm them in any way, and that same phenomenon takes place all across the Internet’s gaming communities.

They feel attacked, because they mistakenly believe that saying an industry is predominantly male and should become more diverse is blaming the individual men for the problem. It’s not (except in cases of harassment, but that’s another topic). Asking for better diversity isn’t making an accusation that the gaming industry is a secret society that maliciously keeps women out—yes, the out-of-whack gender balance stems from cultural views and influences. We all know that’s the root of the problem, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work to fix it.

What we are saying is that maybe we can shift those cultural norms with outreach programs and deliberate efforts and maybe stop people from feeling like society is telling them their interests aren’t for them. That’s all, and that’s not too much to ask.

Even when we critique games that we think perpetuate negative stereotypes of women, we know that they’re not going to go away unless people stop buying them. We may even say we don’t think such games should be made—we often don’t—but we’re not trying to outlaw them. We just want to feel like there are more options of games to play that don’t draw those criticisms. If more angry gamers understood that we’re not asking for less of what they like but just more of what we like, maybe we’d finally be able to stop having the same argument over and over.

(via email tipster Steve)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.