Most of us have more than one reason to complain about our jobs -- but for many of us, "rampant sexism" isn’t among them. Not so for women in the gaming industry who (no surprise, guys) have been facing incredible misogyny for years, as a recent Twitter hashtag demonstrates all too well.
On Monday afternoon, #1reasonwhy was prompted into being by a seemingly innocuous tweet from Kickstarter employee Luke Crane. "Why are there so few lady game creators?," he asked. Buzzfeed reported on what happened next:
Over the 24 hours that followed Crane's tweet, thousands of women responded to his question with the hashtag #1ReasonWhy. Using the hashtag, female game developers, writers, critics, and journalists shared personal stories of sexism and exclusion — their "one reason why" so few women are leaders in the massive gaming industry.
But don’t worry everyone, it isn’t just the ladies getting in on the action. Gaming industry gentlemen are also using the tag to talk about the same issue. It turns out a lot of guys in the gaming industry don’t like it when women are continually talked down to either, especially when the women are their friends and co-developers.
The tweets answer a lot of questions that have supposedly “perplexed” gaming industry analysts for years -- like, say, Crane’s question of why there aren’t more women game creators? Or, why don’t more women play video games? Here’s a revelation that should have happened sooner: an industry that continually considers “50% of world population is a ‘niche’ market, while 18-25 year old males (~5% population) are ‘core’ [sic],” according to one male game designer on Twitter, is going to attract fewer women to their product. Ditto an industry that dismisses game concepts for not being “f**kable” and apparently told their female leaders “we don't need women in order to know what female players want from this industry," according to two other tweets. So when an industry is unrelentingly sexist, women don’t flock to it! Who knew?
Of course, there’s always the backlash to the backlash. A couple nasty tweets are embedded below, for reader perusal and elicitation of the appropriate disgusted reactions.
— Menno Gouw (@Madmenyo) November 28, 2012
If women are too sensitive and self-absorbed to deal with criticism it's good they don't design video games #1reasonwhy
— Bernard Chapin (@BernardChapin) November 28, 2012
Same reason why morbidly obese people are underrepresented in the yoga industry #1reasonwhy
— Scout (@twiticalstrike) November 27, 2012
Best to look on the bright side. Props to the gaming industry for talking about this. Despite the incredible immaturity of the above-mentioned tweeters, the #1reasonwhy hashtag exists and is prompting discussion. I can’t help but wish a similar hashtag existed for stock trading or working in a hedge fund, which, as industries, display some the same sexist tendencies as gaming.
And, because talking about uncomfortable issues isn’t its own reward (at least in the short term), author Rhianna Pratchett has started the counter-hashtag #1reasonstobe, prompting women in gaming to tweet reasons they are in the gaming industry despite the sexism. PCGamer also reported the #1ReasonMentor hashtag has also sprung up to give “advice and help to anyone struggling to overcome sexism in the industry.”
See our slideshow of some of the best tweets from #1reasonwhy below.