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GDC "opening a curtain" on misogyny, racism and homophobia

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GDC "opening a curtain" on misogyny, racism and homophobia

Mon 10 Mar 2014 2:53pm GMT / 10:53am EDT / 7:53am PDT
EventsPeopleGDC 2014

Meggan Scavio, GM of GDC events, on the expansion of the advocacy track at this year's conference

Inaugurated in 1988, the Game Developers Conference has become a staple of the video game industry. It's where industry professionals go to mingle, network, learn about games development and sign business deals. But it's more than that. GDC, increasingly in recent years, is becoming a place to shine a spotlight on real-life issues facing members of the industry. Conference organizers are well aware of the role the show plays. In a preview of the event, GDC general manager Meggan Scavio stressed the importance of the advocacy track to GamesIndustry International.

"We sort of just dipped our toe in last year. Last year, one of the most popular sessions was Brenda Romero's #1ReasonToBe panel and that was what helped form the advocacy track. I saw all that happening on Twitter and I thought we need to get all these people together in a room to talk about it, and so I invited them and built an advocacy track around that. This year we formed a committee and we had people submit advocacy talks. We got people we never would have thought to invite," said Scavio.

"One of the really cool ones I think is from Rosalind Wiseman, the woman who wrote the book Mean Girls was based on. She submitted a talk about how video games affect boys' social status and how group dynamics play into games and how possibly redesigning heroes to show a bit more remorse or sympathy might help boys function better in society, which I think is really interesting. We also have Adam Orth who worked at Microsoft and he is going to go a little more in-depth on what happened to him and what he learned from it. He's actually building a game based on that whole experience. I saw a demo of it; it's going to be great. And #1ReasonToBe is coming back as an ongoing panel. We also have Manveer Heir of BioWare doing a talk on misogyny, racism and homophobia and where video games stand in that. He's going to literally take three or four recent games and analyze them - I think it's opening a curtain on what maybe people don't realize they're doing when they're making games," she continued.

"I want the advocacy track to remind people that developers are actually thinking about these things and it's not something that the media is saying we need to focus on"

These are all serious issues that deal with our society and human nature at large, and the fact that the games business is finally taking it to heart is definitely encouraging. While some have criticized the media for pushing an "agenda," Scavio made it clear that the industry is maturing and developers are talking about this on their own with no push from the press.

"Overall, I want the advocacy track to remind people that developers are actually thinking about these things and it's not something that the media is saying we need to focus on. We [as an industry] actually are focusing on them and they are important topics to the video game community," she said.

It's clear that the industry is benefitting from the new age of social media as well. Quite frankly, these advocacy topics can no longer be ignored. "I think the reason we're seeing in the last five or so years people talking about this more is social media. It's just changed the way we discuss everything. When people discover these issues or have problems, it's out there for the world to see, whereas before you had to dig a little deeper for it," Scavio noted. "It's easier to hear about the problems in your games and therefore I think people want to address it more now. And yes, it's super important that we talk about it at GDC because where else are you going to talk about that?"

Apart from the advocacy track, another part of GDC that Scavio takes a lot of pride in is the classic game post-mortems, which started on the 25th anniversary of the conference. "It became super successful. Not only are we doing the three classic game post-mortems - which are Robotron, Shenmue and Zork - this year we're doing our first classic studio post-mortem, so we've got some of the first employees from LucasArts (at the time Lucasfilm Games) coming in to talk about what it was like in the early days of that studio. I'm very excited to keep doing this and I think next year I'm going to try for a classic console post-mortem. Stay tuned for that," she teased.

Scavio also mentioned that she literally gets Shenmue tweets weekly because the audience thinks there's a Shenmue 3 that's going to be announced at the session. "I don't know anything of the kind!" she said.

In years past, GDC felt a bit like E3. You knew the big console companies would have something to show, and usually one or two (if not all three) would present a major keynote. Some of us miss the console chest thumping, but Scavio said the removal of those keynotes was quite deliberate.

"It was completely intentional. We have an advisory board and they really, honestly dictate what happens in the conference. I do not program sessions without their approval," Scavio explained. "They personally mentor things. Mark Cerny and Rob Pardo personally mentor talks - they get on the phone with speakers and work to improve the talks. They take it very seriously and they decided at one point that the standard console keynotes just weren't really working for us any longer and what they wanted to do was to experiment and try the developer keynotes. They kept saying we're a developer conference, let's put developers on stage as our keynotes. These are the people that we should be looking up to."

"So we did that, and we put Sid Meier on stage, we put Kojima on stage and we put Miyamoto on stage. But you do kind of wonder if that's really the right thing for our audience," she questioned. "People expect a keynote to be about what's happening now, what's relevant to the industry right now, and putting a developer on stage doesn't always solve that. So we decided that we would just make the conference its own keynote and that's when we decided to do the Flash Forwards. It's very dry and not necessarily for press, but it's really cool for attendees to get a quick glimpse of what we have in store for them for the week. What we have expanded this year - with Mike Capps and Mark Cerny - is a sort of state of the industry introduction. They are going to make it a little longer this year and talk about what they see as the future of the games industry. [Big keynotes] is not something we're ruling out but we're testing the waters."

"It's continued to grow but do I think it's out of control? I don't yet. What I don't like is how we're in all three buildings of Moscone"

Compared to the D.I.C.E. Summit, GDC is a massive show. In fact, some believe it's gotten too large and too spread out. Part of that stems from all of the meetings happening in hotels outside of the Moscone Center, but Scavio has little power to control what companies arrange.

"I've been with the GDC since the year 2000 and we were in San Jose and there were a quarter of the people there but we actually have the same number of sessions or maybe just a small percentage more than we've always had. It's just that the industry keeps growing and changing and GDC is the place where we cover all aspects of the video game industry, so we do have to keep responding to that with the advent of smartphones and tablets and indie games.," she remarked. "It just builds on top of the other content and you can't just talk about the same things anymore. So yeah it's continued to grow but do I think it's out of control? I don't yet. What I don't like is how we're in all three buildings of Moscone. I'd like to make it a little more consolidated for everybody. I think that would be less stressful."

Scavio added, "The stuff that takes place outside of the convention center I don't really have any control over. We do our best to limit that but we can't limit everything. But what I'm responsible for, I think is still relevant. We also spend a lot of effort trying to perfect GDC Vault in order to help remove some of that pressure of trying to be at all places at once. So if you do miss a session because you have a meeting in another building or somewhere else it's not the end of the world because you can go back and watch it on vault later."

Perhaps part of the bulked up feeling at GDC also stems from the fact that Apple is often presenting during the same week in San Francisco. Scavio clearly isn't happy with that fact. "I could rent [the adjacent Yerba Buena Center] and block them from being there, but that's kind of weird," she joked. "Apple swears that they don't plan that during GDC intentionally."

All in all, Scavio has her hands full. Not only does she have to oversee GDC in San Francisco, but it's a year-round job to ensure that the three other GDC events (GDC Europe, GDC China and GDC Next in LA) offer a unique perspective. She's not looking to add any more events to her plate.

"No, we're not trying to expand at all," Scavio said. "I get emails weekly asking to do a GDC in a particular country and we just say, 'No not yet.' We feel Europe is a really nice place to be, attached to gamescom - I don't know if we would be there if we weren't with gamescom - but it seems to be a really good fit since there are so many developers there and they want a developer event and it's a way for us to reach people who might not be able to [attend] GDC San Francisco every year. GDC China is a similar situation where there's this thriving community there; it's a constantly growing environment... and we stick around in China just to be on the ground with the developers there.

"LA is a really interesting event - there are a lot of things that we don't get to cover at GDC because we're really talking about best practices and we wanted an opportunity to maybe talk about pie in the sky stuff. What are we looking forward to? What might be coming up in the next couple years? That's what GDC Next is meant to be."

As for expanding within North America, Scavio doesn't feel it's necessary. "We did a GDC Canada in Vancouver... and honestly nobody came! And on the east side of Canada they already have a successful event with the Montreal International Game Summit. We don't want to go and step on other toes," she said.

Scavio admitted, "I don't have a lot of downtime," but she loves the industry and "it's a nice community feeling - it makes me happy to do these things everyday." So what's her favorite part? The awards.

"The IGF and Choice Awards are really this sort of feel good two hours of the evening where you're just celebrating these people who spent so much time and energy making these games. That's my favorite thing of GDC, being able to celebrate together because we actually open the awards to anyone - you don't even have to have a GDC pass to attend. You can just walk in. It's also live streamed on GameSpot," she said.

101 Comments

Popular Comment
I think this whole women in games thing, as a minority can be a very overplayed card.... As an experienced team leader involved in making games I am sure my views are the same as my peers. Yes the people we employ to make our games is highly discriminatory, but the discrimination is all to do with their ability to perform the task in hand well and nothing at all to do with their sex, race or sexual preferences.
My latest game 'Word Explorer' has just been completed by the Team at Vivid Games. The lead programmer is a woman and has been excellent for the project. Equally in previous projects with the same company I have worked with other female and male programmers of not such a high quality... and yet still the majority of top programmers there are male, because they are the people who can most easily be attracted into the company with the necessary skills. Previously I worked with Nikitova Games in KIev, Ukraine that had a female CEO and in her company all of the programmers were male, but 50% of the artists were female, which amounted to almost 100 women at one time in the company... again the females were interested in art and design, but not so interested in programming.
Anyone who knows there history of british gaming will know of a number of highly talented developers of various sexual tendencies who were valued for their great work and in any major metropolitan city like London there is now a huge racial mix in nearly all of the big companies. So let's not over state this minorities thing.... all we want is talented people getting employed... the MOST talented, regardless of anything... in computer games development your work talks far louder than you or the way you look.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jon Hare on 10th March 2014 3:52pm

Posted:5 months ago

#1

Iain Stanford
Experienced Software Engineer

32 116 3.6
and yet still the majority of top programmers there are male, because they are the people who can most easily be attracted into the company with the necessary skills.
And that right there is the problem.

Its not always the issue of "Woman aren't getting hired", the excuse, "There are no women *too* hire" is not an excuse, if as an industry women are not being attracted to the roles, then why?

If all you have is a pool of male developers to pick from, then there *is* an issue.

People need to stop acting defensive saying, "But *I* hire women when I can, *I* don't discriminate". Thats not always the point. The industry just isn't "attracting" them, and no doubt for a reason.

Simple (anecdotal so no real *use*) example. At university my Maths lectures were very nearly 50/50 split in gender. Biology, Chemistry and from what I was lead to believe Physics lectures all similar.

Computer Science was near 99:1 ratio. Engineering not much better. There's no reason it should "naturally" split that way.

Posted:5 months ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
I know there's a push to get more equality in the STEM subjects, but I wonder how much of that push is related to gaming? My anecdotal evidence goes both ways - I've read about women (well, girls) who have been dissuaded from following "male-dominated" disciplines due to how they've been treated in the classroom. But, equally, I know women who haven't been treated like that in the classroom (or have, but haven't let it affect their career choices).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th March 2014 4:34pm

Posted:5 months ago

#3

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Iain This is where things get problematic because the hiring manager can't really do anything about that; it is beyond their job description to recruit more girls into Computer Science degrees; they work with what they have.

Yet it is those very same hiring managers that have to deal with being labelled the cause of a problem and risk having their professional careers jeapordised through no fault of their own. That seems a little unfair to be honest.

It also seems a strange to assume that some kind of institutional problem is behind girls not getting into CS anymore than there is one that stops men from getting into nursing or teaching. Yet this is ostensibly an issue that only cuts one way; you can't use sex ratios as the sole barometer to gauge a problem. That isn't to say there might not be a problem, but the figures don't mean what you are trying to get them to mean; they are a crude head count.

It seems grossly unfair to take the natural interest of many bright, talented (and male) graduates and somehow make their zest for their subject area an issue of contention. It's not their fault if they are several more times passionate (and numerous as a result) than their female counterparts.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 10th March 2014 5:36pm

Posted:5 months ago

#4

Gary Riccio
Socio-Technical R&D

10 9 0.9
"These are all serious issues that deal with our society and human nature at large, and the fact that the games business is finally taking it to heart is definitely encouraging... Scavio made it clear that the industry is maturing and developers are talking about this on their own with no push from the press."

Communities that form around online games are a relatively neglected piece of this larger puzzle. We are addressing some aspects of this in a TED Conversation on "Community Organization and Impact in Online Games" that ends on March 13. We would love to hear your thoughts in an original post or reply at http://www.ted.com/conversations/22958/community_organization_and_imp.html

Posted:5 months ago

#5

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

633 239 0.4
know there's a push to get more equality in the STEM subjects, but I wonder how much of that push is related to gaming?
Very little, if research is to believe. In the US, the ratio of female CS graduates around 25%, and this is a reduction since the 80s. There are also significant cultural differences (surprisingly, in Iran the ratio is above 40%).

Recommended reading (its not recent)

Posted:5 months ago

#6

Darren Adams
Managing Director

229 404 1.8
Popular Comment
Computer Science was near 99:1 ratio. Engineering not much better. There's no reason it should "naturally" split that way.
Ummm yes there is, its all about what people want.

There are not many female engineers or programmers because it doesn't interest most females (sure, I am generalising but the evidence is there to support that generalisation). This isn't to say there aren't women who want to be engineers or programmers, but generally people gravitate towards things they are interested in and it would seem those jobs don't scream out to females.

There should never be a need to have a 50/50 split in any vocation. How many males do you see working in a beauty parlor or a nail saloon? It isn't because the those industries are doing something to turn away males, it is just down to the fact that it doesn't interest many males, plain and simple.

Totally off topic, but why on the EU side of GI.biz do we get a US spell check??

Posted:5 months ago

#7

Neil Young
Programmer

279 319 1.1
"There are not many female engineers or programmers because it doesn't interest most females"

Is there evidence to support that? Or is it just a cyclical reinforcement of roles?

Posted:5 months ago

#8

Darren Adams
Managing Director

229 404 1.8
@Neil

I can only support it with my own experience. IE: I teach programming part-time in University and for the last 4 years there has not been one female in the class. It is a similar story throughout all the programming classes in the University I teach at. So yes, I have some evidence from my own observations.

And do you have evidence to the contrary?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 10th March 2014 6:20pm

Posted:5 months ago

#9

Chris Tihor
Writer/Designer

2 13 6.5
Hi all! I'm passing along some details about the sessions for those that are attending GDC and are interested.

Think that Women don't want to work in games? Check out:

Women Don't Want to Work in Games (And Other Myths)
Room 2010, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 19
http://schedule.gdconf.com/session-id/826309

Interested in improving how journalists cover women developers (all opinions welcome)? Check out:

Women in Games Roundtable: Covering Women Developers - A Guide for Game Journalists
Thursday, 20 March, 10AM-11AM, North Hall Room 125
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/covering-women-in-games-roundtable-wig-sig-at-gdc-tickets-10863798915

Have ideas on how to improve the gender ratio in the industry? Check out:

Women in Games Roundtable: Attracting and Hiring Women in Games
Wednesday, 19 March, 2PM-3PM, North Hall Room 125
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/attracting-and-hiring-women-in-games-roundtable-igda-wig-sig-at-gdc-tickets-10838776071

and

Women in Games Roundtable: Enrolling Women in Game-Related Degree Programs
Friday, 21 March, 10AM-11AM, North Hall Room 121
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/enrolling-women-in-game-related-degree-programs-roundtable-wig-sig-at-gdc-tickets-10884711465

All of these are IGDA Women in Games SIG sessions, so come on by and contribute!

Posted:5 months ago

#10

Neil Young
Programmer

279 319 1.1
@Darren - that doesn't support your theory though. That shows that they are choosing not to for some reason, which isn't in dispute. It doesn't show they simply aren't interested just because they're female - you'd need reasons on why they weren't taking the course for that.

My crude evidence to the contrary is that the proportions don't seem to hold up when kids are given the choice, so any preference apparently comes in later. Which doesn't confirm it's an imposed thing, but does rather suggest it.

Posted:5 months ago

#11

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

431 406 0.9
It's far too easy to make the mistake of thinkings things are they way they currently are because, "that's just how it's supposed to be".

Women aren't currently as interested in Computer Science, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't learn how to appeal to them. The question isn't just, "why are girls less interested in taking a journey towards Computer Science," but, instead we should turn our attention towards why people go that route, and then see what differs between them and those groups who do not.

So by understanding the reasons why have expressed an interested we might then be able to see what they have in common with those who don't. Perhaps it might reveal something we were not previously aware of.

Posted:5 months ago

#12

Darren Adams
Managing Director

229 404 1.8
@Neil

What you just said makes no sense to me, sorry.

Personally, I have not seen females wanting to join the programming courses, so one would assume it is primarily due to lack of interest. There is nothing to show that there is anything stopping females from becoming programmers if they really wanted to. Most programmers are self taught anyway, so perhaps I just don't see them in Uni because of that, who knows?

Btw, don't confuse my observations with my opinions. I personally would love to see more female programmers and try to encourage anyone who wants to do so. I just don't get that much interest shown from the female students.

Maybe its a cultural thing.

Posted:5 months ago

#13

Robin Clarke
Producer

26 50 1.9
@Shehzaan Abdulla

"It also seems a strange to assume that some kind of institutional problem is behind girls not getting into CS any more than there is one that stops men from getting into nursing or teaching."

I'm not sure why this is strange to you at all. There is very obviously a historic gender imbalance and closed culture in many professional fields, making it much harder for women to break in and receive the same level of encouragement to do so as male counterparts. Many other professions are struggling to overcome this problem, CEOs and commercial airline pilots are other good examples.

"It seems grossly unfair to take the natural interest of many bright, talented (and male) graduates and somehow make their zest for their subject area an issue of contention. It's not their fault if they are several more times passionate (and numerous as a result) than their female counterparts."

Cry me a river.

Posted:5 months ago

#14

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
if as an industry women are not being attracted to the roles, then why?
This question Iain raised should be the most important one in the discussion and it is one I always raise myself. Its a question that a number of people either don't feel comfortable asking or don't see a point to ask.

I also wonder why we always focus on programming and computer science as the discussion goes on, there are plenty of other roles people have in games companies. Roles that are replicated across a wide range of sectors and industries. Design/art, project management and production roles, QA, HR, Finance, Audio/Music, web development, community management, customer support, sales and so on.

There could be many reasons why women have traditionally not chosen to go into the video games sector. Employment of women in games (and involvement in games generally) appears to have risen dramatically however and gender break downs of the game playing population do not support this idea "girls aren't interested". Perhaps one of the issues is a legacy one of perception.

The games industry can offer much of what similar tech and media companies offer, so I would wish to find out how we can better attract and extract talent from 100% of those skilled to perform these roles in entertainment, tech and media and not just from half of it.

Posted:5 months ago

#15
@Morville O'Driscoll

Who do you think is spreading the view that they're going to get treated badly when they get to the classroom?

Crazy.

Posted:5 months ago

#16

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
Popular Comment
@Robin
It is strange when it is assumed as the only one possible way to interpret the facts instead of looking at the issue holistically.

I'm also perturbed by your 'cry me a river' comment. I'm not sure what it means but I do find it worrying that you feel it is okay to counter-discriminate against people who are just innocently taking part in a subject they like. A person (be they male, female, black, transexual or whatever combination of traits they are) should be able to take the subject of their choice without thinking 'gee, am I creating demographic imbalance by participating?'. No one should have to grapple with that let alone be accused of being part of a bigger problem.

It seems a lot of people have let over-zealous feminism (feminayism) go to their heads. The idea behind feminism is supposed to be liberating; that gender differences are not absolute (there are exceptions and that we should respect them). But some people have taken that to mean gender differences are absolute in their non-existence. To that I say pish-posh! We can be respectful of differences and still be treat each other equally.

Contrary to feminayist belief, gender differences do exist. And it is totally okay that they exist manifest themselves as uneven ratio distributions in any given field. The real issue isn't imbalance, it's people being discriminated against and not being able to get into the job they are (sexuality, race and other factors that don't bear on their job performance aside) the best qualified person for.

A crude headcount of gender ratios does not tell us the whole story:

Case in point with the piloting example; men are naturally better (on average) and calculating angles, lines, speeds, mental rotation work etc all faculties that not only are most men better at, but men actually tend to derive pleasure from exercising (which is why so many men are TV sportaholics; tv sports allow men to exercise those faculties from the comfort of their sofas). Feminayism insists this can not be the case but will quietly give a pass to when the reverse is true; take secretary work; a field dominated by women and their ability to multi-task (which is well documented as being better than that of men).

Now don't get me wrong. A big gender imbalance is a warning sign; a flag that something might not be right. And it is totally something that should be examined deeply. Yes, there may well be institutional discrimination on some level, but to what extent? How much of it is institution and how much of it is down to gender differences that incline people towards other things?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 10th March 2014 8:20pm

Posted:5 months ago

#17

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
@ John
Who do you think is spreading the view that they're going to get treated badly when they get to the classroom?
This was posted by one of my friends on Facebook, just last week:
Today I went to a talk about women in the STEM subjects. The Q and A was quite a debate. It turns out that:
[...]
Women getting As at GCSE are still being specifically told not to take physics and maths by their teachers.
As I say, anecdotal, but considering she's taken an active interest in this subject, it's interesting to see her mention it on Facebook.

(I should note that one of the teachers who responded was shocked by this, so I'm in no way saying this is standard. In addition, the woman who posted this is studying neuroscience - like I say, anecdotal evidence for both sides).

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th March 2014 8:24pm

Posted:5 months ago

#18

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
This question Iain raised should be the most important one in the discussion and it is one I always raise myself. Its a question that a number of people either don't feel comfortable asking or don't see a point to ask.
It's an uncomfortable question to ask because it is so loaded, especially when it is directed as men. By the act of asking it the person questioning sets themselves up as a judge and jury; charging the questionee with the heavy crime of misogyny if they can't produce a sufficient answer.

In what other situation is someone tasked with having to answer on behalf of someone else, but also have to take responsibility for that other person?

'Why did that person steal the bread?'
'I don't know. Why did they steal it?'
'I think you made them steal it'
'Well, no, I didn't'
'Aha! A clear admission of guilt as any! Clearly YOU are the thief! Guards, away with him!'
'Huh?'

Posted:5 months ago

#19

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Morville

See, to me that kind of attitude is worrying and much more telling than a simple crude head count.

On the one hand those teachers may well be onto something as in the current climate they may see that women don't have as good odds in those fields, so their advice could well be sound. But on the other hand advice like that is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 10th March 2014 8:28pm

Posted:5 months ago

#20
Well then the girls that are told that should tell their school and that person should be reprimanded.

Personally I think a lot of these "anecdotal" stories are the same old story retold except in the 1st or 2nd person just to give it a bit more weight.

Can I ask what the girls choose to do about this? Or if the person that was told the story actually asked why the girls didn't report their teacher to their headmaster. You can't get away with that behaviour today.

Posted:5 months ago

#21

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

240 799 3.3
Popular Comment
I do find it worrying that you feel it is okay to counter-discriminate against people who are just innocently taking part in a subject they like.
Nobody's discriminating against men in CS courses or men who want to make videogames. That is quite patently not the case at all. Presenting the idea of encouraging women's interest in working in games as somehow discriminating against men is ridiculous.

Personally I think the gender imbalance in our industry(which, according to Develop's yearly surveys of UK developers, has actually gotten worse in the past few years) is down less to active discrimination in hiring practises or horrible environments in education(not that those don't happen, because they do) and more to general societal pressure on young women to avoid nerdy, mathsy pursuits like games and computing from a very early age. It's more or less impossible to study 'if removed from all social pressures, what do people do?' because, well, ethics, but there is also more or less zero evidence to conclude that women are somehow just biologically wired to avoid specific things like games or truck-driving or that men are naturally less passionate nurses or teachers.

Posted:5 months ago

#22

Robin Clarke
Producer

26 50 1.9
Case in point with the piloting example; men are naturally better (on average) and calculating angles, lines, speeds, mental rotation work etc all faculties that not only are most men better at, but men actually tend to derive pleasure from exercising (which is why so many men are TV sportaholics; tv sports allow men to exercise those faculties from the comfort of their sofas).
What absolute drivel.

Posted:5 months ago

#23

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
@ John
Can I ask what the girls choose to do about this? Or if the person that was told the story actually asked why the girls didn't report their teacher to their headmaster.
Question: Why should a student report something like this to a teacher? Surely school is bad enough, without making yourself a martyr by causing a fuss? If the girl is put-off enough by what is said to change subjects, then I doubt she wants to do anything about it anyways.

But, yes, you're right in a way - the teacher who responded on Facebook (a MFL teacher) noted that it shouldn't be done, and that complaints are taken very seriously. As I say, I wasn't present, so I'm just relaying the Facebook conversation. :(

@ Shehzaan
they may see that women don't have as good odds in those fields, so their advice could well be sound
Yeah, the advice could be coming from a logical viewpoint, but I'd question whether the person teaching should give such "career advice", when anything negative will be so clearly felt in the classroom.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th March 2014 8:47pm

Posted:5 months ago

#24
The reason why is because she's about to enter the adult world and part of growing up is learning how to stand up for yourself. You could even argue that it's her duty to report that kind of behaviour.

Posted:5 months ago

#25

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
Mmm... Tenuous argument there, I feel. :) How willing were you to put yourself out there and stand up against authority figures at the age of 16? In a place where most of your day is dictated to by those same authority figures. Confidence plays a large part in it - and the wider argument of studying STEM subjects - and I think that complaining about such things is great if you can do it, but expecting pupils to do it is a bit much.

Edit: My (mathematics teacher) girfriend pointed out that, yes, girls should complain. But she wouldn't expect them to. She would, however, expect them to go home and say to their parents, who would then complain to the school.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th March 2014 9:16pm

Posted:5 months ago

#26

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

240 799 3.3
That sounds suspiciously like blaming a victim of discrimination for allowing it to happen to her. It's not a student's duty to ensure their teachers are doing their job, that's the duty of teachers. And it certainly isn't her duty to do something(calling out a teacher's behaviour) that could cause her even more hardship if that teacher took it personally.

Posted:5 months ago

#27

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Jessica
If you only look at gender ratios as evidence for gender inequality, then by virtue of being part of the top heavy statistic the implication is the man is a problem because he contributes towards the unbalance. And you are right, that is ridiculous. And it is precisely why you need to look at the issue in a more complex way like looking at hiring attitudes, training styles and so on. The numbers are supporting evidence of gender inequality, not the evidence itself.

There are plenty of biological reasons for why men and women prefer certain things. I think some people insist on the absolute lack of difference (as if men and women are equally featureless blank slates if we remove the influence of society) is because some people have a hard to time reconciling difference with equality.

To be more accurate, these differences are closely tied to chemical differences rather than sex differnces as we see that many women demonstrate the same interests/skills as men typically do when given boosts in testosterone. It's just that chemical balance and sex tend to be aligned in a particular way.

Admitting that isn't discrimination; it's just accepting reality. What is discrimination is when you assume these always hold true. That a woman couldn't have the skills or interests a man does or vice versa simply because of their sex.

In addition to these quite hard-wired (ignoring chemical intervention) factors there are also social factors layered on top that complicate things further. But you can't ignore the input sex has on someones likes (or like I said, to be pedantically accurate, chemical make-up)

There is plenty of studies that show men are naturally better at some tasks than women and vice versa. Feminayism only concedes that men are physically stronger than women and that is about it...but there is much more to it than that. Of course these differences aren't 100% absolute, but that doesn't mean they 100% absolutely do not exist.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 10th March 2014 9:31pm

Posted:5 months ago

#28

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Robin

It's totally true. I'm not sure why you insist on being so threatened by the idea that *shockhorror* men and women are different. It's not drivel at all, it is easily empirically verifiable along with many of the strengths that women tend to demonstrate.

Now is it the case that 100% of inequality in gender ratios can be explained away by these differences? No, not at all. In fact I'm not going to pretend to know how much of these in-equal ratios could be explained that way as I honestly have no idea.

Can I ask what about what I said is drivel?

I'm getting kinda tired of this new age feminayism that simply outright rejects that men might be generally more skilled or interested in something than women or vice versa. It happens. Deal with it .

I'm sorry if the reality bothers you or threatens your status quo or ability to relate to people equally.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 10th March 2014 9:29pm

Posted:5 months ago

#29

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
Yeah, the advice could be coming from a logical viewpoint, but I'd question whether the person teaching should give such "career advice", when anything negative will be so clearly felt in the classroom.
Yeah, I'm actually of the same mind. On the one hand, yeah, I get it, on the other hand it is quite worrying and if anyone in the education > training > recruitment phases is in a position to change things I would say the teacher is in the best position.

Unlike HR staff, teachers don't have a prevailing job duty that overrides their ability to even things out a bit.

Posted:5 months ago

#30

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
It's an uncomfortable question to ask because it is so loaded, especially when it is directed as men. By the act of asking it the person questioning sets themselves up as a judge and jury; charging the questionee with the heavy crime of misogyny if they can't produce a sufficient answer.

In what other situation is someone tasked with having to answer on behalf of someone else, but also have to take responsibility for that other person?
Not really, who's making the individual a judge and jury exactly?

You don't have to know the answer or be responsible for addressing it, only feel free out of natural curiosity and a willingness to learn, to ask the question. It not necessarily a question being asked of one person, but the collective who have experience and knowledge to be shared. I do find it quite funny to think we're unable to questions relating to the lives or prospects of the opposite sex.

I have no such reservations and I'm not afraid to ask to these questions and encourage a dialogue on the matter as opposed to ignoring it. Man or woman, I do happen to be part of the industry and I do have an interest in seeing as much of the productive population having a shot at being involved in it if there is an interest there.

There is a huge disparity if you compare the gender make up of the working population in the games industry and the population of people buying and playing games. In a whole range of fields and industries we ask questions when there is an anomaly, why should games be any different?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 10th March 2014 9:48pm

Posted:5 months ago

#31
It's not a question of blaming anyone. It's just a different way of looking how to deal with these kinds of issues. In practice I agree that she should tell her parents if she feels she couldn't go to the headmaster.

You can't expect to be molly coddled through life. I thought that whole idea of feminism was that women wanted to be treated like equals and didn't need to be protected by a man or increasingly the state.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 10th March 2014 9:42pm

Posted:5 months ago

#32

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@John

I look back on myself when I was 17 (the age when I was considering which degree to go into) and I know I wouldn't have had the courage to ignore a teacher that discouraged me from choosing my subject area. I just didn't have it in me.

And it would have been the loss of the entire industry!

It was only after leaving school/college that I felt comfortable standing up for myself. These things tend to come with age as become more confident that you have something to offer/value.

As someone who is now 'too old to be young but too young to be old' I can still remember what it is like to be 17; no one cares what you think and the default position of those around you is you have nothing to contribute. On top of that you don't have the relative financial, physical freedom of adulthood so it is hard to stand by your convictions when you have nothing to offer/no value to back them up.

Posted:5 months ago

#33

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Adam
You asked why it makes people uncomfortable to be asked the question, and I think I've hit the nail on the head in that regard.

The questioner makes themselves the judge and jury. Count yourself lucky that you haven't ran into the internet crazies I have; who seem to be more interested in lashing out at someone than having an earnest discussion on an important topic. These are sophists; they play word games, manipulate and twist things so that no matter what, you end up the bad guy for everything you say or do (or alternatively everything you don't say or don't do. It doesn't matter which to them). It is not surprising that many men, so fed up of being toyed with in this way (and not even realising what has happened to them) simply don't want to engage in these topics.

In fact it is a miracle that I do at all. Most men who've been on the receiving end of what I have would think 'enough' (in not so polite language!).

I don't think that means people should stop asking the question though (no way) but for many people this won't be the first time they have been asked the question so you should be aware of the connotations the question might carry for them, and why some people will not want to go near it with a 10-foot pole.

There is value in asking this question even if it makes people uncomfortable. But just be sure you understand what they are uncomfortable about.

Posted:5 months ago

#34

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
@ John
You can't expect to be molly coddled through life.
You're in the UK, right? So you know that, if you're of an academic frame-of-mind, you go to university. And university is where people go to stretch their wings. Asking 16 year olds to know exactly what they want, when they want it, and speaking out against injustice is... I don't see how they can. That's not being molly-coddled, that's standing up for your child, and looking out for them.
I thought that whole idea of feminism was that women wanted to be treated like equals and didn't need to be protected by a man or increasingly the state
Assuming someone under the age of 18 possibly has too little self-esteem, too little self-confidence, and too little maturity does not mean there's double-standards. It means that they're being given chance to grow into who they are before hitting adulthood. Or, to put it another way, I wouldn't expect a 16 year old boy to stand up to a teacher saying he shouldn't do something, just like I wouldn't expect it of a girl.

Posted:5 months ago

#35
Off course it's a difficult thing for her to do but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. I don't think she should have to do it either, the guy was an ass but sometimes you are faced with these difficult situations.

However I disagree. Boys are taught to stand up for themselves more from an early age. We protect girls more as a society, have always done so and some people feel that we should protect both boys and girls, even men and women once they become adults. And that's my issue, treating people like children in this way ultimately takes away their sense of individual freedom to make their own choices in life and take the responsibility for those choices.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by John Owens on 10th March 2014 10:56pm

Posted:5 months ago

#36

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
@Shehzaan, its not just about comfort but also thinking its a worthwhile topic at all regardless of the response. Much of this inability to discuss women in games is a self made, self inflicted discomfort cause by some level of narrow-mindedness.

Being on gamesindustry.biz (an on occasion other industry specific sites) my expectations are somewhat raised, this is why I happen to be involved in the topic more on this site than typical gaming forums.

But, I'm constantly surprised when I see other professionals saying "who cares" or "this is a feminist agenda", I think its bizarre (yet not inexplicable with a bit more analysis) to see such an unbalanced proportion of males to females in the industry.

For me, "I don't care and no-one else should" is a let down, "they're not interested like men and fashion" is a cop out, both dismissive and refusing to recognise this might be a topic which some people DO care about and a topic that actually has a lot more to it then "oh women aren't interested".

I'm glad that you also see value in asking the question, but given the environment I do tend to expect better and a little more collaboration from some as opposed to what is almost an attempt to throw out the discussion altogether. I see it a lot!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 10th March 2014 10:06pm

Posted:5 months ago

#37

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
John Owens says that the girl told by her teacher to stay away from an IT career should have reported him, becaiuse "part of growing up is learning how to stand up for yourself. You could even argue that it's her duty to report that kind of behaviour."

Actually, I'd argue that part of growing up is learning to rationally maximize your gains, and that frequently this involves choosing not to start battles like this.

One of the things I may have had an especially good view of, having always had a deep understanding of the technical side of things and an extremely analytical mind, is that in business (and probably pretty much everywhere else), emotional attachment to counterfactual beliefs is extremely strong and drives a lot of business decisions. I can list examples from every week of my career where someone (usually a manager) wanted to do something more expensive, less effective and carrying higher risk than an alternative, based primarily on his discomfort about or unjustified fear of that alternative. And I've learned the hard way that, unless your the sort of person suited to running your own business, you want to be very careful about the degree to which you challenge other people's beliefs (no matter how seemlingly insignificant), because there are long-term negative effects to doing that. It doesn't matter if you're right or not; the person you're challenging will have an emotional reaction and you will have to deal with that.

Add to this the massive power imbalance in many business and other social structures due to what economists call "co-ordination problems," and you end up with very good, rational reasons to pick your battles carefully and think about how much you really want to stir up trouble.

John, you're the co-founder and CEO of a small company; as someone who's done that myself, I'm guessing that you have a much higher capacity for stirring up shit (for lack of a better term) and handling the results that most people. (I know I certainly do.) But you need to realize that a lot of people don't find taking on the challenge of showing others to be wrong exciting or fun; they find causing that sort of trouble to be emotionally (and sometimes financially) draining, no matter if they are right or not. They also believe, quite rationally (and probably correctly), that stirring up that sort of trouble is likely to hurt their careers. I know it's hard for someone like you or me to respect the decision to be silent rather than speak out about obvious wrongs, but I have come to believe that this is not people being weak or shirking their responsibilities, but making rational decisions to try and maximize their happiness, even at the cost of not doing more to make the world a better place (at least in terms of truth, as opposed to emotional turbulence).

TLDR: you can use "someone went along with this without objecting" as neither indication that they agreed with it nor as indication that a problem doesn't exist. People pick and choose their battles for very good reasons, and often let harmful things slide.

Posted:5 months ago

#38

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
Yet it is those very same hiring managers that have to deal with being labelled the cause of a problem and risk having their professional careers jeapordised through no fault of their own. That seems a little unfair to be honest.
I start and stop with this statement, Shehzaan, because it's the first example of something you do again and again in every post you make: put up straw man arguments that directly interfere with "examining the isue deeply," as you claim you'd like to see happen.

If you're really interested in finding the causes of this seemingly odd situation of a huge sex imbalance in gaming IT employment, the first thing you've got to do is stop engaging with perceived extremists and instead engage in rational argument. There will always be some extremest somewhere, on each side, that wants to shut down discussion; using them as an excuse to avoid tackling the real issues where there's room for debate is going to make you appear (justifiably or not) to be non-rational and possibly even an extremist yourself.

If you honestly think that more than an infitessimal minority (if any at all) of people involved in this story and conversation thread want to pin the blame on hiring managers and destroy their careers, you are an extremist and we're done. If you honestly want to have a "deep investigation" of these issues, stop with making up "facts" and other inflamatory tactics.
It also seems a strange to assume that some kind of institutional problem is behind girls not getting into CS anymore than there is one that stops men from getting into nursing or teaching.
Then you need to sit down and study some sociology. Given the long and full history of gender imbalances caused by things other than actual biological differences, dismissing institional/social structures as a cause of gender imbalance in a situation that's not yet been well investigated, is like dismissing alcohol as the cause of a fight in a bar.

(A good place to start, by the way, might be why people no longer dress their little boys in pink, or their little girls in blue. I'm not saying we need to change this, just that it provides interesting insight into human behaviour relevant to this discussion.)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 11th March 2014 4:55am

Posted:5 months ago

#39

Gareth O'Neill
Environment Artist (Contract)

30 23 0.8
I may be being completely and utterly thick here and missing the point but Can I just ask why do we need to advertise and push people towards the games industry to make sure it's 50/50 balanced?

It sounds to me like an Advertising Agency saying we need to get Brand X in to at least 10% of all Homes in every country so lets push all our efforts and advertise more and more, when they could just sell 90% in 2 countries.
Maybe people don't want Brand X?

Last I checked we were all Intelligent human beings with the free will to choose what to say, and do what we want, (I know the Governments trying to put at stop to that but they haven't yet lol) why is it up to the responsibility of someone on "high" to persuade people to come and do this job or that job? why can't people just Choose what they want to do without being made to feel guilty about their choice?

My Girlfriends a Beauty therapist, Should she be made to feel guilty for picking what some may perceive as a Stereo typically Girly profession? because I'll tell you something, she thinks I'm clever because I work on computers, but When she talks to me about all of the medical knowledge she has to know to do her job, It flies right over my head she knows so much about biology and the human body it's baffling. She's doing what she loves and she does it well because she loves it, I wouldn't want her thinking she should consider a role in Computer games when she doesn't even have an interest in playing them.

I understand we need to make people aware that the computer games industry is a viable industry to seek a job in, but that's where it should stop as far as I think.

e.g.
Here's an industry, it's a proper industry, it has it's ups and downs like any other, but it's a viable place to work just as much as being an electrician, plumber etc, so if your interested come and work in it, regardless of your race, gender etc. at the end of the day it's your choice. What right do I have to try and sway your mind simply to fill a none existent equality quota?

Posted:5 months ago

#40

Neil Young
Programmer

279 319 1.1
@Darren
@Neil

What you just said makes no sense to me, sorry.

Personally, I have not seen females wanting to join the programming courses, so one would assume it is primarily due to lack of interest. There is nothing to show that there is anything stopping females from becoming programmers if they really wanted to. Most programmers are self taught anyway, so perhaps I just don't see them in Uni because of that, who knows?

OK, will try to explain. What you're seeing is that female students at your uni are less likely to choose a programming course. My point is that could be for lots of reasons, but you're assuming it is because they're less interested. Even if they are less interested, that doesn't show some innate pre-disposition; it could just as easily be an imposed roles thing.

I mentioned interest in younger kids as it it does suggest against any innate pre-disposition. If the difference is something that appears as they get older, that suggests it's being imposed on them somehow.

Btw, don't confuse my observations with my opinions. I personally would love to see more female programmers and try to encourage anyone who wants to do so. I just don't get that much interest shown from the female students.
Don't worry, was just raising a point about the conclusion you were drawing from those observations - the observations themselves match my own from university, unfortunately.
Maybe its a cultural thing.
Almost certainly a factor.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Neil Young on 11th March 2014 10:00am

Posted:5 months ago

#41

Darren Adams
Managing Director

229 404 1.8
Personally I think the gender imbalance in our industry...is down less to active discrimination in hiring practices or horrible environments in education and more to general societal pressure on young women to avoid nerdy, mathsy pursuits like games and computing from a very early age.
Sorry I cut out some of the text Jessica, but I need it for illustrative purposes.

I think Jessica is spot on with that.

I was talking to my daughter last night about this very subject and from what she was saying a lot of it is down to peer pressure from other females. It makes perfect sense; I was dissuaded from taking cookery when I was in school and was called 'gay' for wanting to take cookery (Even though I ignored that and did cookery anyway and can now make a mean cheese and potato pie). So this is a societal problem, not industry specific.

If we can lead the way and show that it doesn't matter your sex or sexual preference, you are welcome in the games industry. Hopefully the social norms that are pushed on children may start to erode..maybe.

@Neil - it was only the second part I found difficult to get what you were saying, but I get your drift now. ;)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 11th March 2014 10:21am

Posted:5 months ago

#42

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
I just ask why do we need to advertise and push people towards the games industry to make sure it's 50/50 balanced?
We don't need a special 50/50 balance. Quite simply, we see a case to break down any barriers there may be in culture, image or education (to name a few) in order to help enable as much as the productive population to work in the games industry if they would or could.

As an industry we talk a lot about skill shortages. Why is it that 60% of the wider graphics design industry (according to a US study) consists of women, yet 11% of design in videogames consists of women? Or 3% in technical games positions being women roles but 25% in the wider technology industry?

Depending on where you look and who you ask, there may be a 43%-57% or 40% to 60% split of female to male gamers. We also don't have stats to suggest that the talent pool (all industries all education establishments) is anything like 11% to 89% female to male in design or 3% to 97% in maths, programming etc.

Looking at the gender breakdown is quite useful I'd say.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 11th March 2014 11:09am

Posted:5 months ago

#43

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

633 239 0.4
Lovely topic. This is issue is definitely a flamebait, but i am more enjoying the irony of men discussing what keeps girls away from the games industry.... (in other words, why women are not here...) . Out of 42 entries, a maximum of 3 were made by a female.

Why they should not enjoy the games industry? The quite common crunch? The unpaid overtime? The constant danger of being laid off without due notice? The limitations placed on creativity based on the powers that be? I am really suprised, than intelligent, sensitive beings are not rushing to be there. (As a side note, i think recently i've read about more female indie developers than AAA ones... or male ones.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Keresztes on 11th March 2014 11:22am

Posted:5 months ago

#44
Tom I'll tell you what my wife said. She achieved a first class Masters Degree in CS from a "red brick" university. btw - She loves games.

Long hours (crunch) with no security. Basically a poor work life balance. Anyone else?

Posted:5 months ago

#45

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
A slight tangent, but I wonder if the work/social life dynamic and general working conditions would change drastically if there were more female developers? That is, would the collective power of (say) 50% of your workforce saying "This is unacceptable" force a change in development working conditions?

Unlikely, I'm sure, and expecting a single demographic to force such a major shift wouldn't be right. But perhaps something to ponder on?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th March 2014 1:12pm

Posted:5 months ago

#46
@Curt Sampson - You're right.

Some people are better at being the company men than others but if you decide to just go a long with the flow then you can't really complain. Personally I don't like people are aren't forthright and honest with their opinions but who instead work in the shadows to get what they want.

Posted:5 months ago

#47

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Bottom line... I just think video games is something that appeals more to guys than girls. I do think this whole gender and sexual preference thing is an issue, but its being over played. These fights are best left for the advocacy groups. They should be the ones to show enough interest in games as to warrent the creation of one from the developers if not they should get together and do it themselves. With things like Kickstarter, its now easier than ever.

I just feel that the GDC is becoming less about games. I mean what is it now? a social advocacy group? Whats so wrong with having kojima and miyamoto on stage, or tech demos and new game announcements. Cant we just have a varied portion of differant things?

Posted:5 months ago

#48

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Darren
I think Jessica is spot on with that.
I'm going to rehash a bit of a stereotype here but the chances are if you are of my age (or older) then growing up you probably weren't the cool kids at school. People might gravitate towards geeky things, but in my school days it was also something you were essentially pushed into when were ostracised from the in-group.

It wouldn't surprise me if girls looked at that and thought better about joining a maligned out-group. Who on Earth would willfully choose a school life of being uncool and picked on?

This is a bit different these days as videogames and other parts of geek culture are becoming parts of pop-culture or otherwise made sexier (the new takes on the Star Trek movies for instance).

Posted:5 months ago

#49

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
@Shehzaan Abdulla
It's totally true (...) it is easily empirically verifiable (...) Deal with it.
Presumably you can provide some proof that men are inherently better at maths (or any other academic discipline), as that is what you're claiming.

I question the wisdom of airing such outmoded views in a professional space.

Posted:5 months ago

#50
@Neil

I think we should accept that we can't lump science, computers and maths all into the same bracket. In my A-Levels class 40% of both my Physics and Maths classes where female. 0% where female in computers.

It's something specific to computers and I suspect engineering in general. My guess is that it is down to the geeky factor.

Even on the art side. In my experience female art students tend to go into fine arts and crafts rather than computer aided art.

btw - The girls did just as well as the boys in physics and maths ;-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 11th March 2014 2:26pm

Posted:5 months ago

#51

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Robin
Presumably you can provide some proof that men are inherently better at maths (or any other academic discipline), as that is what you're claiming.
I don't need to because that is not what I'm claiming.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 11th March 2014 3:16pm

Posted:5 months ago

#52

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
@Shehzaan Abdulla
I don't need to because that is not what I'm claiming.
Case in point with the piloting example; men are naturally better (on average) and calculating angles, lines, speeds, mental rotation work etc all faculties that not only are most men better at, but men actually tend to derive pleasure from exercising (which is why so many men are TV sportaholics; tv sports allow men to exercise those faculties from the comfort of their sofas).

Posted:5 months ago

#53

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Curt
I start and stop with this statement, Shehzaan, because it's the first example of something you do again and again in every post you make: put up straw man arguments that directly interfere with "examining the issue deeply," as you claim you'd like to see happen.
It's not a straw man argument if people making those arguments exist (though not necessarily on a professional site like this) and worse, people listen to them simply because some of the stuff they say makes sense.

Your right. We can't engage with extremists as a way to forward the discourse. But that is precisely what my comments are espousing. That these extremists should not be listened to. I'm confused as to what your point of contention is here because we appear to be making exactly the same point, the only difference is I'm actually calling out extremism whereas you are simply pretending it doesn't exist.

Surely we should purge extremism from the debate so we can move on without having it drag discussion down?
Then you need to sit down and study some sociology. Given the long and full history of gender imbalances caused by things other than actual biological differences,
I never disqualified the social history factor. I questioned the logic of jumping towards it as the first and only explanation. That IS strange.

But it isn't only you who read my comments in a cartoon one-dimensional way. Is it too complicated for you to understand that this debate isn't as simple as goodies and baddies? Should I don a Superman outfit to make things easier?

Maybe you need to get your nose out of dusty old textbooks and actually examine modern trends that have started occurring on the internet over the last few years and even months instead of the same old tired go to sources. If you did you'd might be surprised by the number of straw figures you find.

Not that these modern trends undo or run counter to institutional sexism. Far from it; they are trends that run parallel to them.

Personally, I don't think the subject at hand is so inconsequential or frail that comments like mine somehow threaten to break it apart; have a little more respect for the weight of the subject matter, please, it's has more integrity than that.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 11th March 2014 3:48pm

Posted:5 months ago

#54

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Robin
The text you quoted does not suggest that men are better at a particular academic discipline than women.

But more to the point, why would you be so upset if they are? So what?

Moreover the things I said are not at all controversial; it's really just benign trivia.

I don't know why you find this idea so threatening and honestly it comes across as a really paranoid new-agey blank-slate philosophy.

You seem to think that because people are different we should use those trends of difference to box them into those roles and cement them.

I think that is BS.

People are different. Accept it, don't use it to discriminate or box them into roles; but do understand they may be (statistically speaking) better at a particular role. If you examine people on a person by person basis instead of using their race, sex or whatever as a shorthand and I don't see a problem. But don't bury your head in the sand just because you don't like the trends or whatever your imagined implications of the trends are.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 11th March 2014 3:56pm

Posted:5 months ago

#55

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
@Shehzaan Abdulla
The text you quoted does not suggest that men are better at a particular academic discipline than women.
men are naturally better (on average) and calculating angles, lines, speeds, mental rotation work etc all faculties that not only are most men better at, but men actually tend to derive pleasure from exercising
Bored of your trolling now.

Posted:5 months ago

#56

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,071 1,005 0.9
I am fairly optimistic that humans can be petty and discriminatory to each other without resorting to the 'modern course' of discriminations consisting of sex, race, religion, ideology, age, and social status. In my book, you are an idiot first and then just try to give an attack a more personal 'flavor' by giving it that second dimension which is all about an observation of an arbitrary difference.

Posted:5 months ago

#57

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Robin

I'm not trolling at all. You just seem unable to grasp a nuanced point.

None of the skills I mentioned are related to maths or any academic field; they are related chiefly to hunting skills. Not mathematics. A person can be great at all the skills I mentioned and be god awful at mathematics because the skills I mentioned are intuited, not calculated. These are the same kind of skills (I'd imagine, but can't profess to know) a pilot might use.

For instance throwing an object and knowing 'if I throw this disc this hard and that dog running across the plain, and assuming that the dog keeps moving at that speed, I will hit it'. This all requires an intuitive understanding of speeds, trajectories and so on; all things men are generally better at intuiting than women.

The same is true of mental rotation work. Women (though it sounds like a terrible stereotype) tend to rotate maps so they can extrapolate the 2D top down information and replay it in their minds as 3D navigational information. Men on average don't have to rotate maps because they conduct that rotation in their minds.

To remain civil I am not going to respond to any more of your comments if you insist on misrepresenting or reducing my position.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 11th March 2014 4:04pm

Posted:5 months ago

#58
I haven't read it so I can't comment but instead of having this argument you may want to look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_human_psychology

btw - Even if there is are any differences due to gender which I'm not saying there are then at an individual level it's would only be one of many factors so therefore you can't use it to justify discrimination in any way.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 11th March 2014 4:25pm

Posted:5 months ago

#59

James Brightman
Editor in Chief

226 254 1.1
FYI, the two of you who keep reporting on each other, we're getting the reports, but I have to say, that function is really reserved for truly offensive, objectionable remarks. It shouldn't be used just because you disagree with someone's opinion. Please use a bit more discretion and civility. Thank you!

Posted:5 months ago

#60
Nah not an advanced civilization. It's probably just us.

Posted:5 months ago

#61

Marianne Monaghan
Director of Project Management

3 13 4.3
I'm a woman who has been in this industry for over ten years. One reason I didn't jump in to comment in this thread earlier is that the discussion was derailed by unsubstantiated speculation that women are "just different" and that games are therefore more appealing to the masculine brain. I've had many interesting conversations about the reasons women aren't better represented in the industry. Sadly, I've had many more conversations that turn into a debate on whether we are just different creatures and therefore it is natural that so few of us are in this business. If it's natural, it can't be a problem that we should investigate and solve, eh? @Shehzaan Abdulla, please provide sources for your assertion that men and women have inherently different abilities and those differences explain the huge gender gap in the games industry, or back away from that argument.
(edited for grammar)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Marianne Monaghan on 11th March 2014 7:49pm

Posted:5 months ago

#62

Eric Leisy
VR Production Designer

116 125 1.1
WOW. I feel I am late to this conversation. I am actually really surprised at the amount of sexism on this thread. There is a lot of victim blaming here, and a lot of MEN projecting their own life experiences on to what they think women's life experience is. This is a huge issue much bigger than just the games industry. We are all smart people here, I would think smart enough to realize the power and influence of society on Gender Roles.

In my limited male opinion on this, it is really hard to even perform studies about these type of things- gender bias, cultural bias, racial and ethnic prejudice is embedded into our psyches from the moment we emerge into the world such that it can be basically impossible to really be impartial on these things, even unconsciously.

@ Shehzaan Hate to gang up on here, and while I respect you having an opinion on this - As an intellectual person, I have to in good consciousness respectfully disagree with your views on men and women. I can say (happily) that I know many women who are far smarter than me. Blanketly saying Men are smarter than women seems a barbarically outdated way of thinking of our species- but the unfortunate fact IS that you are far from alone in this thinking, as can be evidenced by taking a look at the shape of our world today. There are huge inequalities. Where to even start.

There are millions of years of evolution behind these gender identities we've developed. The ideas of what men should do, and what women should do are deeply ingrained in our species.

Even in this discussion, you can see how bias' are affecting peoples opinions about this. It's important that we keep having this discussion, even if it makes some people uncomfortable. Inequality is a real thing, especially for the people who are the target of it. My daughter shouldn't have to feel embarrassed because she is good at math, and not so great at coordinating her clothes because thats what her peers think the norm is. I know for a fact that her intelligence is stifled in class specifically due the societal ideal that women are idealized for a certain role.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Leisy on 11th March 2014 9:44pm

Posted:5 months ago

#63

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

214 534 2.5
Popular Comment
I have to in good consciousness respectfully disagree with your views on men and women. I can say (happily) that I know many women who are far smarter than me. Blanketly saying Men are smarter than women
The funny thing is he never once said or implied that - at least to my interpretation. I think some people here are living in a black & white world when it's actually grey.
It's also amusing the comments asking for evidence. Google is your friend, if you're interested in the answers you can do some research on your own.

Let me just put on my tinfoil hat in case I get some replies that the internet can't be trusted (which is, fair enough, arguable).

Here, have some 'evidence':

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/127/8/1845.full.pdf
http://www.biomedcentral.com/2050-7283/1/18
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/articles/spatial_tests.shtml
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2516990/Sorry-chaps-brains-arent-multi-tasking-But-women-hard-wired-juggle-jobs.html
http://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2013/oct/06/male-brain-versus-female-brain
http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/are-men-better-drivers-than-women/

The problem isn't balance of the sexes, balance is irrelevant. The problem is stopping, pressuring-out, or discriminating people from doing what they like or have vocation for because they were born with breasts.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreia Quinta on 12th March 2014 12:06am

Posted:5 months ago

#64
How do you get from the point of view that if someone wrongs them then they should tell the authorities to that's blaming the victim?

Next time someone tells me they've been robbed I better not hand them my phone and tell them to call the police. I might get punched.

Posted:5 months ago

#65

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Its really tiresome these discussions wether woman and men are the same or differant....

In my own personal opinion... yeah we are differant... just like any guy next to me. In fact even if I had a twin brother, we would view the world in 2 differant perspectives. that alone would make us differant.

I like to believe we are all differant and instead of trying to be the same we should embrace and indulge in our differances. Accept them and learn from each other. That way its a win win situation were we all grow.

But no men and woman, or let me put it into better words... PEOPLE... spend their time arguing about how they are the same as each other. If one person feels infirior to the other that is their problem. Because the other person will be the way they want to be and do what they want to do regardless what the other things of them.

I dont swallow those statements about how woman are the same as men or vice versa... Sorry, but we are differant, all of us, not just bilogically but how we percieve the world. Woman and men are not the same... DEAL WITH IT, but the differances are not limited to gender, cause in reality no two people in the world are alike either.

And while certain things in how our society works should be dealt with equally towards everyone, others need to be earned. Like the person next to you, who has things you dont, you need to see what they did to be where they are.

So i find those conversations of how woman and men are the same have no substance. However if your talking about equal rights in a job enviroment and issues such as discrimination for being a certain type of person, then yeah those things have substance.

But reality is woman simply are not that interested in games as guys are, just as guys may not be interested in lots of things woman are into. But thats ok cause at the end of the day, we got lots to share with each other because we are not the same.

So it would be nice if people would lighten up especially the people at GDC... things arent so bleak for females and gay people in games. Lots of doors have been opening up so lets just enjoy the progress we have made thus far. If enough interest is shown by that certain demographical group of people im sure products will be made for them.

But you cant blame the developers if these groups of people show little interest in games. And you cant blame them if the people of these differant demgraphical groups are not making the games themselves. Right now I think the people making games are doing a good job, with games like Mass Effect, Saints Row, dragon Age, little big planet, Mirrors edge. Lots of progress has been made, dontcha think?

So people around here should chill, it will only get better. e need to make money, no better way then trying to grab as many differant types of consumers as possible.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 12th March 2014 2:47am

Posted:5 months ago

#66

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
@Shehzaan,

You are indeed making a straw man argument if, instead of arguing against the opinions of people in this conversation, you're arguing against the opinions of someone else outside of the conversation. You seem to agree that on this site we have few or no "feminazis" or whatever you want to call them. I agree with you that they ought not be listening to them. So I'm not. Yet, by addressing their arguments, you are engaging with them, even as you say, "Your right. We can't engage with extremists as a way to forward the discourse." You don't appear to see this contradiction (along with many others) in your arguments here.
...the only difference [between us] is I'm actually calling out extremism whereas you are simply pretending it doesn't exist.
I have already clearly acknowledged that it exists (outside of this conversation). We agree on that point, we agree that it's not a productive discussion, but you insist on continuing with it. This derails the conversation, and on your part avoids addressing the real issues that you claim you want to address.

This is indeed trolling. I don't know if you're doing this intentionally or if you're truly unaware that you're trolling, but you are without question failing to assume reasonableness on the part of most people here. What you need to do is accept that, regardless of your intentions, your words are not coming across as you wish they would, and figure out how to fix that.
Surely we should purge extremism from the debate so we can move on without having it drag discussion down?
Yes, please do so. At this point, only you can do this, since you're the only one who's discussing that extremest point of view. It's only dragging the discussion down because you're making it.

Posted:5 months ago

#67

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,153 1,069 0.5
Two cents:

Shouldn't any employer hire someone because they have the necessary skills and passion (and in some cases, education) to do a particular job rather than look at whether or not they're male or female? Quotas always make me queasy in cases where mandates require adding a percentage just so "fairness" gets scaled into the equation.

Granted, in a workplace where on the job training is part of the plan, then SURE - let's get in more people who seem to ignore the field just to show them it's a viable career and not as off-putting as they may think.

Question: Has there ever been a studio that didn't hire a woman because she was a woman?

I sure as hell hope not and if there has been or is, someone needs a life lesson or something.

If I were running a tech company/game studio/ice cream factory, I'd say up front that I don't give a crap if you're male, female, gay, straight, have feathers and a beak or walk backwards down the boulevard wearing a shoe on your head. If you're QUALIFIED, you get hired. If you're not, you get sent back out into the sea to maybe learn a few more things and come back when you're ready.

That's all...

Posted:5 months ago

#68

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
@John Owens
Some people are better at being the company men than others but if you decide to just go a long with the flow then you can't really complain. Personally I don't like people are aren't forthright and honest with their opinions but who instead work in the shadows to get what they want.
You seem to have something of a libertarian streak in you, so consider this:

Why can you not go with the flow in some forums, and reserve your complaints to others? What justifies such a restriction on personal freedom?

There are certainly perfectly rational reasons for "not standing up for yourself" in all circumstances. Say you are crossing a street in obedience to a pedestrian control signal, and you see a cyclist who's clearly about to blow through the crosswalk against the light and hit you. You can "stand up for yourself" and suffer harm when he runs in to you, though it's clearly entirely the cyclist's fault, or you can jump out of the way, avoiding injury, and let the cyclist get away with his dangerous action. Surely you agree that the latter, though it might not be the course you personally prefer, is a rational course that some people might prefer, and they are perfectly justified in exercising their personal freedom to take that course.

In a work environment, your decisions have consequences for both you and the world in general. Making decisions that sometimes result in a small loss to the general welfare in order to avoid a potential great loss to your own is basically a market decision on that person's part: she's decided that the cost of something is not worth the benefit she'd gain. I don't see how someone who believes in personal freedom could argue that she should be using your preferences rather than her own.

Posted:5 months ago

#69

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
@Greg
Shouldn't any employer hire someone because they have the necessary skills and passion (and in some cases, education) to do a particular job rather than look at whether or not they're male or female?
Sure. And I (and I suspect most here) think that employers are not overtly discriminating in this way. In fact, the implication of the original post is precisely that this sort of discrimination is not happening, and that quotas won't help, because there's something else going on here that's limiting the pool of applicants in the first place.

Posted:5 months ago

#70
@Curt Sampson

I've already gave the reasons why I thought she should do what I said and at no point my argument was because I said so.

As you said she's faced with the decision of whether to tell or not and she makes the decision based on pros and cons. You're basically arguing that she shouldn't have to make that decision at all. That it's his fault and he just shouldn't do it in the first place.

We agree on that.

However what we don't agree on is that it's just a question of more education. I don't buy that today he doesn't know that he's being a bit sexist and in that case more education won't do anything except spread the fear among women that this is still a huge issue which ultimately makes the problem worse as it will serve to put more women off from the field. Which brings us full circle to my very first comment to Morville:

"Who do you think is spreading the view that they're going to get treated badly when they get to the classroom? Crazy."

The only way to eradicate this behaviour now is to police it and that requires those that come across it to report it.

As always I should have just left it at my first comment.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by John Owens on 12th March 2014 3:03pm

Posted:5 months ago

#71

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
@James Brightman

You don't find anything objectionable about the use of "feminazism"? You've talked about taking the moderation of the comments on this site seriously, but that means maintaining a welcoming atmosphere for everyone, not just cleaning up after explicit breaches of your rules.

...

Back to the topic - I think we have determined that just saying that women aren't interested in applying to given a job/course is unhelpful, and actively taking steps to find out why people aren't applying and then trying to present said job/courses in a way that is attractive to everyone is a worthwhile goal. I also think it's fair (to an extent) that the buck is being passed to problems with schools and the culture people are being brought up in - I don't know what we can do to fix that, beyond trying to ensure that there are publicly visible industry ambassadors from the whole diverse spectrum.

Posted:5 months ago

#72

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@Andriea
The funny thing is he never once said or implied that - at least to my interpretation. I think some people here are living in a black & white world when it's actually grey.
Thank you for seeing the shades of grey. Those links you provided are good examples of some of the things I was talking about.

@Curt
I have to stop and point out something that is bothering me in this thread. The trend of trigger happy counter-misogyny which would fall under the 'new age internet trends' that I described. Trends which are new and as such tend to go unnoticed or at worse; those that point them out are aggressively muted.

Curt, you initially said my arguments were straw-men arguments, but I have to point out that so are yours:

In my case I took a comment about sex ratios (I use the term 'sex ratios' instead of 'gender ratios' to try and keep a complex topic from becoming overly complex) and developed it to its logical conclusion. I then took issue with that logical conclusion.

In your case you took my comment, which challenges the conventional wisdom that leaps to the conclusion of 'instituionalised sexism' and instead misrepresented it as challenging the concept of institutionalised sexism at work at all. This is a strawman argument as well because it is arguing against a point I didn't make.

My strawmen don't exist any more than yours in this comments section, true. But at least the position I'm arguing against is based on a logical development of something written in these comments (that logical development becomes the position of our absent extremists) rather than words-put-in-mouths. I hope you can appreciate that my strawman is at least partially made of tin, whereas yours is entirely made of thatch.

What is also interesting is that there are actually comments in this very own comment section that are closer to the strawman you've assigned to me!

Take a look over what Jessica says here:
Personally I think the gender imbalance in our industry(which, according to Develop's yearly surveys of UK developers, has actually gotten worse in the past few years) is down less to active discrimination in hiring practises or horrible environments in education(not that those don't happen, because they do) and more to general societal pressure on young women to avoid nerdy, mathsy pursuits like games and computing from a very early age.
Now, I want to be careful to point out that she isn't outright denying the influence of institutionalised sexism, but she does downplay its importance in the big picture and instead looks at other factors.

This is considerably closer to your strawman than my comment as it actually talks about the influence (or lack thereof) of institionalised sexism, whereas my initial comment was to do with the assumption of institutionalised sexism itself.

Yet, no one has taken issue with what Jessica has said or slammed her for being uneducated (and I don't think they should).

Why is this? I'd like to believe it was just because my post was closer to the top of the comments rather than part of a trigger-happy counter-misogynist trend. I'd like to...but I'm not entirely sure I believe that myself.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 12th March 2014 4:31pm

Posted:5 months ago

#73
Quite frankly I think that's the most reasonable post I've ever read from Jessica. Sorry couldn't resist.

Posted:5 months ago

#74

James Brightman
Editor in Chief

226 254 1.1
@Robin, I didn't see feminazim, I saw "feminayism." I don't think Shehzaan is trolling. He didn't attack anyone or throw labels directly at someone. You're the only one to report him to us... repeatedly.

Posted:5 months ago

#75

Shehzaan Abdulla
Translator

82 175 2.1
@James
Since we are on the topic.

I want to clarify that I use the term 'feminayism' as a way to differentiate reasonable feminism from prohibitive feminism. Not as a way to deride feminism itself (which is the way 'feminazism' is used).

This cartoon deals with the issue of what I have termed 'Feminayism':
http://groupthink.jezebel.com/comic-on-bad-feminism-1533658547

I have taken efforts to keep the term 'feminism' and 'feminayism' apart.

I tend not to talk about whatever 'feminism' is because quite frankly I have no idea what it is and it seems most arguments that involve feminism devolve into people working with (or against) whatever their version of feminism is.

This is because feminism doesn't work like say, a company or world religion (which are legitimised by central authority like a Head Office or Vatican); no one group can claim they are the acting out the quintessential essence of whatever feminism is any more than any other group.

Posted:5 months ago

#76

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
@James Brightman

If I've misconstrued what he's said then my apologies. Regardless, resorting to perjorative terms for feminism is objectionable, and if you don't see this pattern of behaviour as trolling (repeatedly baiting for a negative response, and changing tack when challenged) then your definition is probably too narrow to drag the site's reputation for community interaction out of the YouTube end of the pool.

Posted:5 months ago

#77

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

240 799 3.3
John: Thanks... I think?

Honestly, threads like these make me sympathise with friends who avoid this site like the plague. Too many people who don't have a clue what they're on about waffling on for the rest of the world to facepalm at. It's hard reading.

Posted:5 months ago

#78

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Personally I think the gender imbalance in our industry(which, according to Develop's yearly surveys of UK developers, has actually gotten worse in the past few years) is down less to active discrimination in hiring practises or horrible environments in education(not that those don't happen, because they do) and more to general societal pressure on young women to avoid nerdy, mathsy pursuits like games and computing from a very early age. It's more or less impossible to study 'if removed from all social pressures, what do people do?' because, well, ethics, but there is also more or less zero evidence to conclude that women are somehow just biologically wired to avoid specific things like games or truck-driving or that men are naturally less passionate nurses or teachers.
I tend to agree, but then I also think "and so what?" Is the world a worse place because some women choose to not play/make games? I don't believe so. It's their choice and they are free to make them, for whatever reasons they may choose. If a woman does want to play to make games, of course she should have the equal opportunities to do so that a man does, but I see no reason to offer special treatment or special encouragement to "lure" women into the industry in particular. The encouragement should be gender neutral, if it happens to attract more men then women? That's fine. If it happens to attract more women than men? Exactly as fine.

I think this relatively recent interest in somehow reaching a 50/50 gender balance in the games industry is a bit silly. If that happens due to natural interest, that's fine, it's certainly not something to be avoided, but that it hasn't already happened is not some reason for concern, and if it never happens at all, then that's fine too. The industry is not in some way "worse than it should be" because less than 50% of the people involved lack Y chromosomes, that's just how things happened to shake out, and it's no better or worse than the alternative.
As an industry we talk a lot about skill shortages. Why is it that 60% of the wider graphics design industry (according to a US study) consists of women, yet 11% of design in videogames consists of women? Or 3% in technical games positions being women roles but 25% in the wider technology industry?
Probably because they can make more money in other industries and would only pursue games if they had a specific urge to do games, which they do not, apparently. Video games tend to be a tough industry for anyone, and very few people get into game development roles that have no interest in games themselves. It may be good for everyone in the industry if video games were made to be a more welcoming environment to ALL genders, by having more flexible schedules and better salaries and that sort of thing, but there will always be certain baked-in elements to it, like needing to hit certain deadlines.
This is indeed trolling. I don't know if you're doing this intentionally or if you're truly unaware that you're trolling, but you are without question failing to assume reasonableness on the part of most people here.
Actually, reading the comments here, it's far more often that he is the victim of trolling. There are numerous cases here where someone completely ignores the point he was making and assumes a more inflammatory point so that they have something to argue about. The things he's actually saying are not inflammatory at all, but if you dial them all up to eleven, as some of you seem to be doing, then yeah, I can see how one could be offended, but the same is true of any argument. Ideally you would take other people's comments for what they actually say, rather than railing about how bad they would be if they'd actually said something much worse.

Posted:5 months ago

#79

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
@ Tim
is down less to active discrimination in hiring practises or horrible environments in education(not that those don't happen, because they do) and more to general societal pressure on young women to avoid nerdy, mathsy pursuits like games and computing from a very early age
Is the world a worse place because some women choose to not play/make games? I don't believe so. It's their choice and they are free to make them, for whatever reasons they may choose.
I think if women were choosing to not make/play games (or participate in STEM subjects, etc.), people would have no problems. But the very definition of "societal pressure" is that it removes freedom to choose based purely on what the person wants.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 13th March 2014 9:20am

Posted:5 months ago

#80

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
@John Owens:
As you said she's faced with the decision of whether to tell or not and she makes the decision based on pros and cons. You're basically arguing that she shouldn't have to make that decision at all.
Err...no, not at all. I'm arguing that she should make the decision the way she feels it works out best for her. I utterly missed your reasons why she shouldn't decide to "go along with the flow," beyond, "Personally I don't like people are aren't forthright and honest with their opinions but who instead work in the shadows to get what they want" (clearly a personal opinion of yours that should have little effect on how she judges the costs and benefits of her decision) and that if you do choose not to object in that particular forum, "you can't complain" at all, to which I strongly object.

I'm not sure where you get the idea we disagree on it being "just a question of more education." I didn't think I was talking about that at all, and I'd say my opinion comes down on the side of it not being such, depending on how you define "education."
The only way to eradicate this behaviour now is to police it and that requires those that come across it to report it.
Ah, so this is no doubt your reason why she should report the incident.

Clearly, reporting it can be very tough on the person doing the reporting, especially if she's a woman. In incident after incident we've seen massive venom directed towards the victim and the one doing the reporting. Saying that if people aren't willing to take this, they can't have their rights is simply not acceptable.

@Shehzaan:
But at least the position I'm arguing against is based on a logical development of something written in these comments (that logical development becomes the position of our absent extremists)...
Actually, no, this is the core of the problem. Your logical development is not considered logical by those here against whom you are arguing, nor do we even agree with that conclusion. Your instance on pursuing that is merely an attempt (conscious or not) to avoid addressing the real issues being raised.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 13th March 2014 9:27am

Posted:5 months ago

#81

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I think if women were choosing to not make/play games (or participate in STEM subjects, etc.), people would have no problems.
There's no reason to believe that's not the case though. There have been cases presented of women that feel the subjects of harassment or unequal treatment, and of course those should be corrected so that the playing field is truly even, but there's no reason to believe that this would lead to a significantly different gender balance in the industry than we've seen up to this point.
But the very definition of "societal pressure" is that it removes freedom to choose based purely on what the person wants.
Not really. That only matters if you care about fitting in, and if you choose to fit in rather than do something that would be considered in some way "unusual," then you've chosen to fit in, you made your choice.
This is why educational establishments are one of the keys to ensuring equality, and it confuses me why more games companies don't take a pro-active role in ensuring a more even gender balance by promoting the industry at school/college.
Again, why should they? You're asserting a case that a more even gender balance is a desirable goal to pursue, rather than a neutral outcome no more "desirable" than having a workplace with an even balance of brunettes and blondes, or an even number of tall people and short.

Posted:5 months ago

#82

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
Tim Ogul writes, "There's no reason to believe that's not the case though [that women are choosing not to make games."

There are, unfortunately, plenty of reasons to believe this, from statements from women themselves saying that they find the industry sexist and oppressive, to the fact that women are choosing to work in similar industries (such as IT and graphic design) in far, far greater numbers than they work in gaming.

Posted:5 months ago

#83

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Clearly, reporting it can be very tough on the person doing the reporting, especially if she's a woman. In incident after incident we've seen massive venom directed towards the victim and the one doing the reporting. Saying that if people aren't willing to take this, they can't have their rights is simply not acceptable.
Another straw man. Nobody is saying that, other than you, of course.

The argument being made is that 1. The perpetrator of inappropriate behavior should not be doing that, and that 2. when someone sees something, they should say something. If a victim does not report inappropriate behavior, that does not excuse the inappropriate behavior, but neither does it do anything to prevent future inappropriate behavior. If the perpetrator decided to engage in inappropriate behavior in the first place, then clearly he/she was either unaware or uncaring about the inappropriateness of the behavior, and would be unlikely to change without some outside force acting to cause change.

A victim of inappropriate behavior has their rights whether they report or not, but regardless of that, they do also have a civic duty to report inappropriate behavior so that it can be corrected in future.

Posted:5 months ago

#84

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
There are, unfortunately, plenty of reasons to believe this, from statements from women themselves saying that they find the industry sexist and oppressive, to the fact that women are choosing to work in similar industries (such as IT and graphic design) in far, far greater numbers than they work in gaming.
I commented on that above, by pointing out that other jobs in IT and Graphic Design tend to be much more comfortable workplaces for both women AND men. People who get into the games industry (in most of the production roles, at least) almost exclusively do so because they are passionate about making games. People who are not passionate about games will take their skills to other jobs that tend to pay better and have more comfortable conditions for everyone involved.

So if more men are passionate about games than women, that would explain a propensity for men in the industry, regardless of any other factors. I would not expect an even number of female graphic designers in the game industry as in other fields, until well after there are an equal number of women who are passionate about games (and not, the stats that factor in people who play Candy Crush on the train do not support that position).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Ogul on 13th March 2014 9:38am

Posted:5 months ago

#85

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
but there's no reason to believe that this would lead to a significantly different gender balance in the industry than we've seen up to this point.
And perhaps it wouldn't. But at least women would feel welcome. Yes, the implication from that is that they currently do not, and that implication may be incorrect. But is there some reason why promoting the industry to women should not be done? Other than "it takes effort"? Or "we don't do it for men"? What harm is there in actually going out and promoting games (or STEM, or whatever) to women?

Even if the underlying gender mismatch isn't solved, would there be any bad to come out of it? Boys might feel left out, but this assumes an either/or situation, which is not quite what people are arguing. Tailoring guidance into an industry towards one gender does not mean ignoring the other, it merely means showing that the industry has as much to offer women - from a societal and financial point-of-view - as men. It means pointing out that women can make as much of an impact - if not more - as men. To make explicit in education and career guidance what is implicit already. To lead the way. To ensure that they feel welcome, if nothing else.
Not really. That only matters if you care about fitting in, and if you choose to fit in rather than do something that would be considered in some way "unusual," then you've chosen to fit in, you made your choice.
Yeah, because we totally know how resilient school-children (and adults, actually) are. No bullying can stop me from doing what I want, right? No peer pressure ever works, yeah? Humans aren't social creatures who want to fit in and be liked/loved, oh no.

Yes, I'm being facetious. But to argue that
if you choose to fit in [...] then you've chosen to fit in, you made your choice.
ignores human behaviour in its most basic form. To argue that that human behaviour doesn't affect how we make career choices is silly. :)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 13th March 2014 10:04am

Posted:5 months ago

#86

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I don't think there would be any problem with having outreach to new people, of both genders. I just don't think there would be any advantage to tailoring that out-reach towards either gender specifically.
Yeah, because we totally know how resilient school-children (and adults, actually) are. No bullying can stop me from doing what I want, right? No peer pressure ever works, yeah? Humans aren't social creatures who want to fit in and be liked/loved, oh no.
If bullying or peer pressure was effective at preventing people from getting into games or STEM careers then there would be nobody in those careers. I cannot even imagine that the bullying a girl would face for being a game geek/computer nerd would even approach the bullying a boy would face. Girls tend to bully over different issues than what classes you take.
ignores human behaviour in its most basic form. To argue that that human behaviour doesn't affect how we make career choices is silly. :)
And it's equally silly to even imply that it's the game's industry's job to somehow correct thousands of years of human civilization. Are all the choices we make from day to day the same choices we would make under a completely different society? Probably not, but they're the choices we make in the world that we're living in, and we make them to be happier. Don't make choices that don't make you happier, and so long as the choice is presented to you openly, don't blame others if you choose an option that would make you less happy.

Posted:5 months ago

#87

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
Saying that if people aren't willing to take this, they can't have their rights is simply not acceptable.
Another straw man. Nobody is saying that, other than you, of course.
Actually, John Owens appeared to say just this, when he said, "but if you decide to just go a long with the flow then you can't really complain." That is what I was responding to.
If a victim does not report inappropriate behavior, that does not excuse the inappropriate behavior, but neither does it do anything to prevent future inappropriate behavior.
It doesn't do anything at that particular point, no. But unless you think that there's no cost to be paid for pointing out that behaviour (which is pretty much an untenable position, at this point), it's certainly reasonable to say that some people are going to make a personal decision not to pay that cost, and we ought not rely on just that for "fixing" inappropriate behaviour.

I think we're both in agreement on this, actually. Where I see us disagreeing is that you appear to think that there's a high enough probability that the lack of women in game development may just be due to them, rather than the conditions of the industry, and doesn't really need to be looked at further. I find sufficient evidence that the industry has many structural barriers discouraging women from entering it that we need to look more closely, find out what these are and to what extent they're discouraging women. Arguments that, "it's jjust the way they are and all is really ok" sound extremely suspicious to me, because we've heard that so many times before in other industries and it's so often been wrong.
If bullying or peer pressure was effective at preventing people from getting into games or STEM careers then there would be nobody in those careers
I don't get this. Are some people not bullied more than others? Isn't it true that some people are in a better position (whether by nature or circumstance) better able to resist bullying and peer pressure?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 13th March 2014 11:34am

Posted:5 months ago

#88
@Curt Sampson

I'm sorry Curt I'm trying to understand your point but all it seems to me so far is that you don't agree with me.

If the solution to this problem which we both agree on is a problem is not a question of education which I define as the kind of social activism that makes people aware of sexism e.g. this talk at GDC, or reporting, telling the authorities then what in your opinion should be done and how can it be resolved?

Both to a) to prevent him from doing it in the first place and b) after it has been done.

"Actually, John Owens appeared to say just this, when he said, "but if you decide to just go a long with the flow then you can't really complain." That is what I was responding to."

btw - That is taken out of context. We where talking more about the general point of social dynamics however it probably doesn't read exactly the way I meant.

What I should have said was "If you decide not to complain then you can't expect something to be done about it because no-one would even be aware of your issue".

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 13th March 2014 3:39pm

Posted:5 months ago

#89

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I don't get this. Are some people not bullied more than others? Isn't it true that some people are in a better position (whether by nature or circumstance) better able to resist bullying and peer pressure?
Again, I may be wrong on this, but I seriously doubt it. I believe that a boy who is actively engaged in games and STEM education is MORE likely to face bullying and peer pressure as a result than a girl is, and that more boys tend to pursue these activities has little to do with bullying or peer pressure. Bullying and peer pressure should be reduced as much as we can manage, across the board, but I don't think it's really relevant to the gender imbalances.
What I should have said was "If you decide not to complain then you can't expect something to be done about it because no-one would even be aware of your issue".
Which is true. If you experience an uncomfortable working condition, but do nothing to change it, then you can't expect change to happen. That does not condone the initial behavior, and it does not mean that the victim is authorizing future inappropriate behavior, but it's the simple fact of reality that change does not occur in a vacuum, and without attention being called to a problem, it will remain a problem.

Posted:5 months ago

#90
The people who are bullied most are the best "friends" of the lead bully. Bullying is a separate issue but I will say not all bullying is physical or a direct verbal attack. I consider the "people who work in the shadows to get what they want" bullies because their tactic is to form larger drops to then attack the smaller group or individual.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by John Owens on 13th March 2014 9:40pm

Posted:5 months ago

#91

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
I think if we replace "bullying" with "peer pressure", then we have something which is not only closer to what people are talking about here, but also something that is (at least vaguely) related to this issue. (I think the two things - bullying and peer pressure - are related and similar, but also different enough to warrant differentiating).

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 13th March 2014 9:47pm

Posted:5 months ago

#92

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,153 1,069 0.5
Hmmm. The problem is deep and not just (or solely) relegated to male perceptions and sexism directed towards women. I'm typing this comment in the library here (whee, free wifi!) and across from me is a young girl (I'll guess about ten years old) getting math tutoring from a woman and the girl isn't grasping ANYTHING she's trying to teach her. I wasn't listening at first, but I think 45 minutes went by and when I overheard the girl not know what 1/3 of nine was (hissing, "I hate those... fractions!"), my ears started blazing.

The tutor keeps gently explaining stuff and the girl is going on and on about how math is hard, her homework is hard, her teacher goes too fast, her mom was/is bad at it when she was in school and keeps telling her at home that math an science isn't needed to just get a job.

Yikes.

Worse, the tutor (who needs an award for patience). stopped the lesson after the kid vented and asked her what she wanted to do with her life and the the girl (without missing a beat) says: "I just want to be a fat housewife with six kids!" followed by "I'm serious - I hate numbers!"

You should have seen the tutor's face (and mine - I had to duck down under the table as if I was tying my shoe because I wanted to leap up and shake some sense into the poor kid).

They're still at it and I THINK after an hour, one or two things are sinking in... I think I need an aspirin.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 13th March 2014 11:12pm

Posted:5 months ago

#93

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
Tim writes, "I believe that a boy who is actively engaged in games and STEM education is MORE likely to face bullying and peer pressure as a result than a girl is."

I really don't see how you can be giving a fair look at the evidence and come anywhere near this conclusion.When was the last time you heard about male game developers sharing [url=http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-11-27-1reasonwhy-the-night-twitter-took-on-the-industrys-sexism]"tips on how not to get stalked"[/.url]?

@John Owens:

The way you define education, I do agree with you that it's probably a large component of the solution. But Tim's comments, for example, make it pretty clear that he's not going to be "educated" any time soon; he's strongly resistant to admitting that there's a problem at all, and that appears unlikely to change. And we have others, exemplified by Shehzaan, who for whatever reason loudly seize on anything bad that comes out of the side saying there is a problem in order to (wittingly or not) disrupt addressing the problem ("Surely we should purge extremism from the debate so we can move on without having it drag discussion down?"). These people are representative of what is, at the least, a substantial minority that doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.

I unfortunately don't have any particular solutions to offer at the moment. I'm not adverse, as with any market (and this appears to me to be an example of a distorted market) with governmental or pseudo-governmental authorities stepping in to try to level things out, but equally I think it's quite easy for heavy-handed measures taken this way to do more harm than good. (The classic example is setting affirmative action quotas, which have obvious harms that may more than offset the good they do.)
What I should have said was "If you decide not to complain then you can't expect something to be done about it because no-one would even be aware of your issue".
Has anybody complained to you directly? Does that mean you're not aware of this issue? Clearly not, since you're participating in this conversation and you've read up on it a bit.

Systemic issues can be identified and addressed without complaints from all those affected; in fact, a very small number of anonymous complaints can provide enough impetus for someone to start looking at the stats and seeing that something's very off-kilter, as has pretty much happened in this situation. We seem to be at the stage now, in fact, where almost nobody suffering systemic discrimination would rationally complain alone (rather than as part of a large group) because they will suffer worse if they do. It's a classic economics co-ordination problem.

I think that, if it's indeed the case that the lack of women is the games industry is indeed systemic discrimination, rather than some unique psycho-social phenomenon that pops up here but almost nowhere else in society, that women are perfectly justified in expecting that this be solved whether they individually complain or not. There's clearly something going on here, and "the victims aren't complaining enough" is not an excuse to turn a blind eye. And nobody would suggest that we don't investigate other injustices, such as someone being beaten up, simply because nobody complained.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 14th March 2014 12:28am

Posted:5 months ago

#94

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
really don't see how you can be giving a fair look at the evidence and come anywhere near this conclusion.When was the last time you heard about male game developers sharing [url=http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-11-27-1reasonwhy-the-night-twitter-took-on-the-industrys-sexism]"tips on how not to get stalked"[/.url]?
I thought we talked about how we all agreed that that sort of behavior was inappropriate and should be stopped. Maybe stop attacking the other people on this thread, and just discuss the topics at hand like a mature adult?

In the portion you were referencing though, we weren't discussing activities within the industry, we were talking about kids in school pursuing the skills needed to work on games. The point was that girls in school would be unlikely to face any more pressure or discrimination for pursuing computer science or other gaming classes than they would for pursuing any other sorts of classes.

Posted:5 months ago

#95
@Curt Sampson

Ok you answered my question which was "The way you define education, I do agree with you.".

Although my point was that actually I don't think that more education is the solution for ironically the reasons you've given about Tim, "make it pretty clear that he's not going to be "educated" any time soon" although I don't think you quite understand what Tim is actually saying or Shehzaan for that matter. You seem to be lumping them into a group that you have a particular view on rather than treating them individually which with these toxic topics generally happens as people take sides

But in the cases for example the school teacher that Morville talked about I think that they are aware of all the education that is out there and that he also would have the opinion that he's not going to be "educated" any time soon". In fact more education would probably just lead him to feel attacked and therefore harden his views.



So my position is that once you've educated people on what's acceptable behaviour and what's not the only course of action is then to police it.

Feel free to disagree with me. Mine is only a personal viewpoint and I'm open to the idea that more education is what's needed because maybe the situation hasn't progressed as far as I thought but lets leave it there.

I'll leave you with this story though about confronting people when they've behaved inappropriately.

"I was having a smoke with gay and straight co-worker and my straight co-worker kept using the word "gay" whenever he meant lame. My gay co-worker stopped him after a while and said "btw I'm gay". He never used that word again in that context and the two became best friends and later flatmates"

Sometimes that's all that's needed.

Posted:5 months ago

#96

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 359 0.6
So my position is that once you've educated people on what's acceptable behaviour and what's not the only course of action is then to police it.
So we're in complete agreement that there's very likely a systemic problem here, education can go only so far, and that pushing education too hard can even be counterproductive.

That doesn't leave "polic[ing] it" as the only alternative, however. While that's yet another tool we can use, there are plenty of techniques that fall under the broad categories of regulation and providing social incentives that could also be applied to try to remedy the situation. I suspect that if you think about it you'll agree with this.

In fact, the only area where we may disagree is to what extent individuals being discriminated against have a responsibility to speak up about it, rather than keep their heads down. But if you agree that there's a coordination problem (in the economic sense) there, then we're in agreement there, too.

Posted:5 months ago

#97
Well that's what I was asking originally. If not education or policing then what?

We don't actually disagree on the confrontation issue either. I agree that's it's their choice, you just seem to take issue that I'm stating the logical result that if they don't act then nothing will happen. Although if they don't act then the person is free to do it to the next person which does make them partly responsible which is why I said that it could be argued they had a duty.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 14th March 2014 1:48am

Posted:5 months ago

#98

Yvonne Neuland
Studying Game Development

34 59 1.7
A conversation about this topic absolutely needs to occur, but attempting to hold it in an open forum that is frequented by either gamers or game-industry professionals is obviously a futile endeavor. No actual discourse on the topic can occur because the people who caused the problem in the first place consistently flood the comment sections with paranoid rants about non-existent invading feminazi armies, long-winded circular reasoning arguments that deny the problem exists because of the fact that it does exist, and temper tantrums that the topic was mentioned at all.

If a closed forum exists that is dedicated to coming up with real plans to proactively make real steps towards addressing the issue and proactively taking action to achieve those plans, I would very much like to join. Otherwise, if anyone would be interested in joining me to create one, let me know.

Posted:4 months ago

#99

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