I’m doing a talk in a few days about diversity and equality in the industry. The request is to provide tips and tricks about how to survive as a woman in a male dominated environment. Honestly, I don’t a clue. I’m the last person to ask because I keep running into obstacles, behaving in a way that is totally unpalatable to some of the men that I work with, my ideas get credited to other people left and right and I keep getting told I have a bad attitude no matter what I do.
I’m pretty much a crash course in what to avoid doing as a woman in game development.
The truth is of course that I’m not the one who needs to change. The industry is, and when I say “the industry” I am of course talking about the 80% of the industry consisting of men, who cause the issues in the first place.
Women and other marginalized groups that work with games always have to come up with justifications as to why this industry needs to change. Why? Why do we have to justify a need and want to play games that represent us? Why shouldn’t it be on the men to justify why so many games have male protagonists? Why shouldn’t men have to justify why all the investment money go to white male only startups? Why not justify why the partner stays home to raise kids and do most of the housework and the emotional work? Why not justify why they work so hard to gatekeep women out of games and other fandoms? Why not justify why women and other marginalized people are excluded from networks? Why not justify why men choose to start new studios with male only founders?
“But it’s so hard to have to…”
Sure. It’s been a cakewalk trying to become successful in an industry that ultimately wants to get rid of me. Real easy. No tears, no suicidal thoughts, no issues with self-esteem.
We shouldn’t need a license to be a part of this industry. We shouldn’t have to change ourselves into something that fits whatever flavour of the month geek girl the pin-up calendar is currently displaying. We belong. Deal with it.