This December I exchanged Christmas calendars with quite a few friends. In one of them there was a button with Princess Leia on it. It stated “we are the resistance”.
Translating it to my hobbies and my profession, the games I’ve loved since I was barely a teenager of course indicate that we – us – marginalized groups in gaming – are the rebels opposed to the Empire and their evil ways.
It implies that we’re talking about power as a zero sum game, and that there is a limited amount to be had. For games, I’m not so sure.
Before it became clear that women buy just as many games as men do, in some cases more developers used “the market” as an excuse as to why there were no women, Black, Latino, Asian, mixed race, indigenous, non-binary or trans protagonists in games. When it turned out that those groups buy games in the same way white men buy games, the focus shifted in the conversation. Now it was all of a sudden too difficult to animate women! Maybe it’s also too difficult to animate Black, Latino, Asian, indigenous, mixed race, non-binary and trans people?
I’ve mentioned this many times before, but apparently if you want relatedness in a game, put a dog in there rather than a woman. Players respond better to dogs, according to research done on only white men.
The excuses I’ve seen range from the pseudoscientific (women’s brains are different!) to the outright absurd. “Women identify much easier with male characters than men do with female characters!”
All it ultimately boils down to is for the most part “we don’t want to” and when asked why the answer is “because”.
Turning the logic back almost never works because apparently “it’s not the same thing”, even though it clearly is.
What I really wanted to point out though is that games is not a zero sum game. Just because there are more women (and Black, Asian, Latino, indigenous, mixed race, non-binary and trans people) playing does not mean that we are somehow “stealing” experiences from white men. It just means that we get more varied games.
Maybe I will never understand how this is an issue because I’ve never been in a position where almost everything is made with me in mind (although I do recognize my white, European privilege). I can’t understand how sharing could possibly be a problem. But then again, I’ve never felt entitled to the entire world.