There’s a moment of fear that all women come to know. I know it well. I was once the only female member of a music band. One time at practice, a male band member joked that “We should get blowjobs for all the band members.”
What did I do? Everyone else in the room thought this was funny so I tried to laugh along.
People will hate you for calling them out on sexism, and I didn’t want to be disliked for rocking the boat. I wanted to be accepted as a member of the group, but I shouldn’t have had to accept sexist comments in order for that to happen.
The fear comes from the feeling that women should to submit to sexism and objectification. That we should enjoy being dehumanized and reduced to sex objects. It’s frightening to feel powerless and alone in an environment which is openly disrespectful towards women.
I promise this has happened to every woman you know. Any woman could tell you a dozen more stories like this.
Still, I was shocked by this blog post (“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”) by Meagan Marie, employee at Crystal Dynamics gaming studio. And also by this blog post by gaming industry veteran Christa Charter. Because as much as I and other women and girls experience sexism in everyday situations, women working in the gaming industry get this disproportionately.
Significant strides have been made by the gaming industry in the past year thanks to prominent feminists like Anita Sarkeesian, but those strides have mostly been in starting and growing the conversation. The concrete, tangible improvements in the gaming industry offices and in the video games themselves are another matter. And the price paid by pioneers of female leadership in the gaming industry, such as that paid by Meagan and Christa, was/is much too high.
It’s something especially important to think about as Fan Expo comes to Vancouver today.
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