I'm Tired Of Being A 'Woman In Games'. I'm A Person.

Sexism in games remains an unsolved problem, it's clear. Some of you will be nodding along, and some of you will hear the s-word and roll your eyes and go, "Oh, this again?" You guys can piss off -- go click on some new screenshots or a trailer consisting of a release date slowly fading into view. You're hopeless.

Sorry, do I sound a little hostile?

It's just that I'm shocked that grade-school concepts like "diversity is constructive" and "treat human beings equitably" are concepts that somehow still need championing, still need arguing for. I mean, really? I have to explain many times that the convergence of varied perspectives makes creating things-–like video games -- more fruitful? Or more simply: You think boys' clubs are better than spaces where everyone gets equal respect regardless of their gender? What're you, five?

Whoa. Ugh. Sorry, I'm being confrontational again. I'm just really, really fatigued.

See, I've been a games journalist for a number of years now. Currently I am editor-at-large at Gamasutra doing industry reporting most days out of the week; I have a column in Edge and one at this here Kotaku (where I used to be a fulltime editor, fun fact!), I edit Nylon's games section, and I've been in OXM, GamePro, the Escapist, Slate, Variety, Wired and the Onion's AV Club. In just the last week I appeared on PBS, and NPR just recorded me for a segment on a program about my latest Kotaku piece. I've been on CBS, CBC, I've spoken at multiple GDCs and on more podcasts than I can count (even drunk ones, uh huh). This past weekend I went out partying for Halloween until 4am and then I got up and went to a design conference and I wrote like five articles while I was there. Because this is my job, always, all day and every day.

I work, you guys.

And yet on a regular basis I hear -- even from you guys who write to me and describe yourselves as my "fans" (sidenote: be fans of the people I write about who actually make things instead of people who just talk about them)... I hear myself described as "one of the most prominent female gaming journalists", or as a "feminist writer". When you guys come up to me at events you want to tell me about things you've read or games you designed that I might be interested in because they deal with gender stuff.

Which, I mean, OK, is fine. Obviously I'm concerned about gender inequity and prejudice in the gaming space or I wouldn't have spent words to get us here. I've written a lot about sex stuff, too. But again, you guys: I work all day every day and have done so for years. I write about business models, gaming and art culture, gamified apps (just in the past couple weeks!)-–and so many of you still think my gender is my most important adjective.

"So many of you still think my gender is my most important adjective."

I'm not saying you you, mind. I'm not going to assume that every one of you reading this article has even seen my byline before, let alone has distilled me to "female video game journalist" alongside any number of other zoo novelties. But here's a funny thing: Every time I open my mouth to talk about sexism, I am presumed to be speaking only "as a woman", and for all women. I'm not.

Oh, god, am I not. Wanna know a funny thing? A lot of women aren't too into my work, either, because I can't speak for them the way they'd like, or because I won't be aggressive about feminism and instead I just want to talk about video games sometimes, and, like, I don't mind the body physics in a fighting game or the sex in a sex game. And I really like Bayonetta! I'm sorry!!

I can't win. It pretty much sucks, and now you understand why I'm a little bit fatigued.

Sometimes people invite me to "women in games" groups, and I understand that it's important for me to represent. But often I hesitate, because I'm tired of being a "woman in games." I'm a person. There are a lot of other adjectives you can use that are equally germane to my work. It's a lot to assume, that I represent all women, or that it'd be possible for me to represent all women even if I wanted to. I feel entitled to be the kind of woman I want to be, and not have that be legislated based on what example my peers want me to set. I wish people wouldn't make a big deal about my gender at all.

And yet I can't even say that -- "stop making a big deal out of my gender" -- because the war against sexism in the video game space isn't nearly won. It is still a big deal. The war against all kinds of insular hatred in the game space isn't won yet. Gaming has been, forgive me, a predominantly nerdy shut-in white guy pastime for so long that people seem scared to discuss all the ways gaming could and should be a place where everyone needs to be acknowledged and invited, as creators and players and writers.

I mean, my friend Denis bares his soul in front of all of you last week because of his wish for less homophobic language in the competitive online space, and there were still people among you who left comments to the effect of "how is this relevant to games." There are still people among you who leave comments on Kotaku about Lisa Foiles' makeup, or when Kirk Hamilton says he likes Felicia Day's work you assume he's in looooove.

Really? How old are you? When are we going to grow up, as a culture? When am I going to stop being embarrassed to have devoted my entire life to this?

So. Yeah. Sexism is still a problem. And as a writer people still think I'm a novelty that needs "female" before my name. And they assume somehow that I speak for all women. No. Just no. Do you know how many emails I got the other week asking me "what I thought" of the copious use of the word "bitch" in Arkham City, following Kirk's article?

All Kirk said was that he thought "bitch" got said a lot and that it seemed weird to him. And I get all these notes from you guys wanting specifically to know "what I think", to the point where I felt like if I were to say "I'm not offended" people would feel somehow vindicated about calling women bitches, and the reverse of that too, to where people just wanted me to use my status as a female to vindicate their views on sexism, whatever they may be. And this happens a lot.

The funny thing is that these tedious conversations that surface -- the word "bitch" in Arkham City, what the women are (or aren't, more accurately) wearing in Soul Calibur can you say this or that word, show this or that image, how important is the "feminist whore" Achievement in Dead Island -- they don't help the battle, for me. It ruins my ability to communicate, because I'm combing the semantics of my writing, always paranoid that there'll be something in there to misconstrue, to freak out about and attack me.

These relatively small, isolated situational arguments get people's hackles up and distract from and inhibit a larger discussion about openness, respect and equality. It always feels to me like plugging leaks with fingertips, like quashing ants one at a time rather than kicking over the hill.

I mean, to me the solution is simple. Why argue about it? Why seek validation either way? When you're not sure how you feel, just err on the side of respecting people. That's how I, as one person in this space who happens to be a woman, would like to see us tackle sexism. It sounds so basic -- but again, we're not supposed to even need to have this discussion in the first place. We're supposed to be civil adults, not sociopathic internet ragers who are systematically destroying any chance games might have of growing and of being taken seriously.

"We're supposed to be civil adults, not sociopathic internet ragers who are systematically destroying any chance games might have of growing and of being taken seriously."

What I mean by "err on the side of respecting people" is this: when peers and friends speak up and let me know something is hurting them, I usually feel that the need to respect their feelings is way more important than obtuse arguments over someone's all-important right to say "whore" in a codebase.

When, for example, someone who's been a victim of sexual assault risks excoriating internet flames and even death threats to stand up in front of us and say "I find rape jokes offensive," I think it's just a lot better, more human, to try to understand and respect that person's views than it is to stridently defend your right to make a rape joke. Do you need that right so badly you're going to claim you're being censored if you're asked to demonstrate a little civility? I mean, who would answer yes to that?

Please don't write me because I'm female and ask me what I think about the next big gender controversy in games. Don't ask me if I think Catwoman needs to zip her uniform up or about some out-of-context inflammatory quote from someone or other or if it's "OK" with me if you use this word or that word. I am just so exhausted of these things. Don't engage in arguments and discussions that are ultimately about you seeking permission for your prejudices or pats on the back for your lack thereof.

As far as I'm concerned, tackling sexism in games seems pretty simple: Care for your fellow humans. When people say they're being hurt and ask you to hear them out, do it, Don't be a dick. If you really have anger issues toward women, get help. Seriously. If you feel confused when others seem opinionated or uninformed in the discussion, don't get angry or feel powerless or ignorant. Ask, talk, listen. The troll schtick is getting old. You don't seem correct; you don't seem cool. You just seem immature and insecure.

Listen to your fellow gamers, men and women alike, with empathy. Discuss with respect. You aren't ever entitled to discriminate against anybody for any reason. If you ever find yourself arguing that you are, instead of hearing out your peers, just get lost. Go back to arguing on your gamer forum about whether this or that game should have gotten an 8 or a 9 and let us move on without you.

Leigh Alexander is editor-at-large for Gamasutra, author of the Sexy Videogameland blog, columnist in Edge Magazine and games editor at Nylon Guys, in addition to freelancing reviews and criticism to a wide variety of outlets. Her monthly column at Kotaku deals with cultural issues surrounding games and gamers. She can be reached at leighalexander1 AT gmail DOT com.

Image: York Berlin/Shutterstock


    "You guys can piss off — go click on some new screenshots or a trailer consisting of a release date slowly fading into view. You’re hopeless."

    Awesome way to try and turn people to your point of view man!

    Read your article, and it's nothing new, and not entirely accurate. Mountains out of molehills it seems like

      Agreed, for the most part.

      Wait, wait, let me get this right. You're saying that an article written about something that the author deals with daily is "not entirely accurate"? I take it that you have access to all of Leigh's correspondence and that it is different enough to what she says it is to back up your opinion?

      Steven Bogos, expert on women in gaming

      Yeah, because people should beg on their knees and be totally nice to the fucktards out there because they totally deserve it. Jesus Christ. Grow a brain.

        Pretty much. Wish I didn't have to expect responses from people acting like misogynistic little children, but here's the proof. Excuse them while they completely discard the message and pick at any little thing they can, even if they don't have the slightest decent point :/

          misogyny, the intellectual fairy floss for fat lonely guys. that's right duders, you're forever alone because those women have to make everything about THEM. they don't consider YOUR feelings, which are as beautiful and fragile as glass butterflies. amirite?

          Calling someone a misogynist doesn't necessarily make it true. And while I consider myself the very opposite of one, I find myself siding with the critics on this article. It wasn't an issue until Leigh Alexander made it one. Believe it or not, most guys don't even notice it if you're a girl, and don't make a fuss about it. But if you go out of your way to write a divisive article that insults your reader base in the first paragraph, you're the one poking the sleeping dog.

            Actually, I don't believe it. You claim it's not a problem but when it comes to deciding relevance of the issue to women I do tend to take the perspective of the author (and other female gamers I know) over that of someone named 'Steve'.

      I will be polite, even though I don't want to. The point you're missing is that I get a man's opinion every time I turn on the TV, the radio, play a videogame. I'm really REALLY tired of what you think. Please be quiet.

      In short? We really don't need your opinion on the matter.

    This article is a bit of a mess. Firstly, being overly hostile and rude and then sarcastically apologising for it is not a great start. We get it, you're frustrated but outright trying to alienate your audience is not exactly going to help now is it?

    Secondly, it is true that your gender (or any other label for that matter) is not an important factor but then why bring up Lisa Foiles? A woman who specifically uses her sexuality and nothing but to get her work noticed. Why mention Denis' article when he was inadvertantly promoting labelling by using the term "Gaymer"?

    Take a deep breath, go back to your desk and maybe try writing this article again so that the valid points you make don't get lost in a sea of ranting.

      Yep, it is a rant, but that fact in and of itself must mean we disregard the points being made, right?

      Angry nerd shut-in number one, perhaps?

        When in doubt, call someone an angry nerd shut-in. Good call, JS.

        He's not disregarding the points she's made, he's calling focus to the slap-shot nature that they were presented in.

        "try writing this article again so that the valid points you make don’t get lost in a sea of ranting."

        Just in case you missed it.

          Well, I'd be interested to read a summary of what you thought were her valid points, rather than just a criticism of her writing style.

            I saw som great points regarding respect for fellow humans and showing empathy. But it was lost in a haze of anger, which was put forward in the exact form of that in which she is trying to stop. It got a tad confusing

            That there is no need for labels, she doesn't need "female" at the front of games journalist. That just because she's a female doesn't mean she wants to talk about gender issues all the time. That we should just simply be respectful to each other.

            All valid points, but as I said, lost in a sea of ranting, hostile remarks and some very poorly chosen examples.

        Do you have anything to point out or refute? Calling someone an angry nerd shut-in doesn't exactly help anyone. He's made completely valid points.

    You hit the nail on the head - you can't expect the typical angry nerd shut-in guy to have a balanced view on the opposite sex (or anything really). Unfortunately, this particular variety of "gamer" is still one of the more vocal groups online, so I'm not sure anything can be done to modify the behaviour of these people.

    If you let one have it, there'll be a legion of line-minded nerds to back them up.

      "you can’t expect the typical angry nerd shut-in guy to have a balanced view on the opposite sex (or anything really)."
      So that's a bit harsh.
      Not saying people like this don't exist, but I'm not sure generalising anyone who disagrees as some sort of 4chan regular really helps.
      Things like this need to be written out rationally; You can't just resort to what essentially becomes name calling. What's the difference between someone saying "GET BACK TO THE KITCHEN, WOMAN" and being replied to with "GO BACK TO PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT, YA FAT NERD"?
      Certainly, it'll happen over on the Kotaku US site (from what I've seen anyway), but us AU folk are pretty good with big issues. Usually a few trolls, but plenty of valid points.

    "I am woman, hear me roar! Hear me, you bastards! What's that, you stopped reading? Oh.... "

    I understand where you're coming from. I really do. I am a woman, and I'm a damn good gamer. I work in IT, I attend tech conferences, I know my shit, I am great at my job, and every day I get asked, "Is it hard being a woman in IT?" or "I thought chicks didn't play CounterStrike?". So trust me, I know where you're coming from.

    That said, this article did not do us any favours, here. Half the time you're screaming, "DON'T MENTION MY GENDER!!!11ONEONE!", and the other half of the time you're telling us how pissed off you are because gender is such a big deal in gaming, and no one else takes it as seriously as you. From a lady to a lady, I suggest this article could have been trimmed down to one line:

    "Yes, I have ladyparts, and yes, I just killed you with a headshot, let's move on."

      “Yes, I have ladyparts, and yes, I just killed you with a headshot, let’s move on.”

      That my favourite quote of the day so far

      My god thank you.

      Leigh, I would be over gender issues in gaming if you just stopped bringing it up all the time.

    I think Kotaku is being professionally trolled.

    The first rule of journalism: Never insult your audience.

    I don't care whether your male, female, or transvestite. The lack of professional discipline in this particular article exemplifies exactly why there is backlash on Kotaku against commentaries on sexism. It assumes the worst of the audience without bothering to actually ask some questions of those it points fingers at.

    I noticed I am required to provide an email address to Kotaku to post this comment. Did the author of this article bother emailing the people who commented previously on the very specific articles she takes exception to in an attempt to get them to justify their positions and criticisms? To reach out and actually give field to the range of opinions of the perceived problem?

    I'd be surprised if the answer is yes, but I am happy to be proven wrong.

    If the answer is no however, well... I suppose that's why you're writing for Gawker, and not the Sydney Morning Herald.

    I understand where you are coming from, and as a woman in the games industry I sort of understand where you are coming from, but as a part of a Women in Games group I find it really important to show other women that video games is a viable career path.
    But I couldn't read this whole article because it was all over the place. It was a rant rather than talking about what? How you are annoyed that people recognise you as being a woman? I'm sure you can write about games as well as any guy but for people to ask about your opinion as a woman in relation to a game is fair enough. We are a minority in this industry. So is Denis, and I really enjoyed reading his article on how his sexuality was recieved in the workplace. Sure video games is still a bit of a boys' club, but that is slowly changing. Being female is not something to get ranty about, use it!

      You said most of what I wanted to say, but better. I just got bitchy. I salute you, fellow lady-gamer!

    Okay so you berate us and then sarcastically try to get back on our side by quoting "excellent" sources such as Lisa Foiles and Dennis Farr. I'm sorry but I can't sympathise with you. Some of the girls I play (as in play video games if your sexist mind can't take it) with online, they're used to the sexism on video games. This is something that you can't change.

    If you're wanting to change or get rid of the sexism, put a woman in charge as CEO or lead female developer. There are a few out there and you know what? They don't care let alone give a damn about sexism as sexism drives sales. No sexism is quite an impossible as there WILL be some sexism in the game in one way or another, implied or else.

    Being angry isn't helping. May I suggest a counsellor in order to get your feminist mind in track? Or perhaps better yet, get a boyfriend. I think you do need to get laid seriously...

    Oh, that was a joke by the way.

    I think that if you feel insulted by this article, you need to ask yourself whether you're part of the problem.

    These comments make me fucking ashamed to be in this industry.

    There is a sexism problem. We need to deal with it. End of story.

      Yeah. Its not like 2/3rds of the comments agree that there is a problem with sexism in gaming. I am sickened to think that people who take this industry seriously are attacking such a well presented rant.

      You should all go back to your gamer forums and die alone!

      Actually sexism is not going to get fixed, it's a human psychological trait. We counter it with another human trait: Tolerance.

      Also to the article writer, you seem to be interested in being treated on the same level as men, good start, you're already a dick.

    The irony is astounding.

    The reason most men "switch off" at any feminist "article" is that the stereotypical version of said article is often just hostile rants, offensive and generalizing to the Nth degree, often meandering or without clear thesis.

    So what do we get here after being assaulted with the writer's curriculum vitae?

    More of the same.

    I guess they can't all be Germaine Greer or Gloria Steinem.

    You're not winning your target audience onto your side of the argument, Leigh.

      How is it more of the same if the writer is trying to say she isn't there to be the feminist writer everyone is needlessly looking for?

      So many of these comments appear to be by people who haven't read the article at all.

    “You guys can piss off — go click on some new screenshots or a trailer consisting of a release date slowly fading into view. You’re hopeless.”

    I read somewhere that all the world's wounds could heal over if the offended parties would just stop picking at them.

    I don't know if I believe that applies universally, but I don't think this article is particularly constructive, unfortunately.

      Yeah, cause history and social revolution is littered with proud individuals who stood up and said, 'Hey, lets just go with it, no mess no fuss huh? nobody rock them boat".

      Heroes all, I salute them with tears in my eyes.

        That's... what?
        I guess that's one way to interpret that, I guess?
        I kind of read it as "There's an issue here, but it's not going to be solved by viciously aggravating the other side." I suppose in some cases it works, Arab Springs and all that, but all you're going to get here is just a bunch of stubborn people digging their heels in just to spite the other side.

        The amount of white knights here is staggering. The problem is that it wasn't an issue until Leigh Alexander made it one. This isn't even analogous to the civil rights movement (if that's what you're going for). It's more like someone with a persecution complex going out of their way to get outraged at insults real or imagined.

        "I read somewhere that all the world’s wounds could heal over if the offended parties would just stop picking at them."

        Clearly, the author knows how history works. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King managed to change things by keeping their heads down and shutting up.

    Murder me now. Appalling article, you really need to see a therapist,. The Kotaku forum shouldn’t be a place where the readers are abused and trolled by the authors of the site. You’re creating a divide yourself between male and female journalists by winging and complaining constantly with these nightmare ‘journalistic pieces’. Thankfully we don’t need in endure reading the crap from male writers.

    This article oozes in self-righteousness and elitism, but that's okay, in the end sexism will go away once more women are represented in the industry. Right now it's growing but it's still minimal, so it's problem, mostly everyone agrees.

    I like this part "If you really have anger issues toward women, get help"

    So basically don't disagree, care and respect each other, this is a utopia. If you do you have problems.

      So once women are not a minority, this author will stop whinging? I bet she wont accept that for that to happen, men need to become a minority...

    Typical rant from a typical man-hating feminist lesbian that really needs to get laid.

      Maybe one day Ben, when your'e big boy hair comes in.

        Uhhh... married with children buddy, try again.

          I love that show.

      Typical comment from a woman-hating, chauvinistic, ignorant pig of a man.

        I love woman, real woman... not whinging femdoms with bigger nuts than I have.

          Have you ever been in the same room as a female? Because it seems like you have a very one dimensional view of what is a woman.

    Even though I thought the opening was a little too hostile, I agree with the sentiment.

    Whenever the media applauds the appointment of a CEO / Politician as being a boon for equality (an African American President, a female Prime Minister, or a gay CEO); the fact that they're saying they're anything other than their position is evidence that society is delisional when it comes to equality.

      I'm sorry, a straight, white man doesn't deserve the same gratification?

      "society is delisional when it comes to equality."

      I think you could teach yourself a few things.

        No, you're missing my point.

        When Kevin Rudd was elected; there was no "White, Stright Man Elected as PM" headline.

          While you raise a good point, you also need to look at the real world context for these things.
          Australia has never had a female Prime Minister before. American has never had a black President. Neither have had an openly gay, asexual, or Martian leader either.

          The reason these things are highlighted or commented on is that they are ground breaking. Should it be surprising and of sad note that America has not had a black leader in all the years it's been a "Free" society? Yes.

          Should the fact that Australia has never had a female PM before be of note? Yes.

          As these things become more common place, the need to emphasise them will disappear. However, the positive aspect of the highlights is that it sends a messsage to everyone that "We have an X PM/Pres/CEO/Journalist" and that "THIS IS BREAKING THE UNREPRESENTATIVE NORM" and is establishing precedents and role models for others.

        Hi John,I've seen a lot of articles in Ezine Articles that made me wdnoer how they got approved.Low quality with spelling mistakes never does it for me. I almost feel ashamed for the writers and the directory too when I see articles like that.On the other hand I don't appreciate any words being excluded. That to me is nonsensical. Aren't all the words part of the language? Will people start omitting common and very useful words in their speech?The common words are not fillers and play crucial part. Which words are they going to exclude next? Which words will count in the end?In any case it shouldn't be the number of words that determines definitively how good an article is.A wordy 700 word article shouldn't be necessarily better than 380 word article that serves its purpose perfectly. When an effort is made to spell out all the rules and any small deviation from those rules is punished, the result can be less than a masterpiece.The more restrictions the less creativity.At least that's the way I see it.

    I agree that this article is unneccessarily hostile, even if there's valid points in there -- like others have said, it seems pretty black and white. Either your with us or against us. You make it seem like any one who doesn't see eye-to-eye with your EXACT sentiments is the enemy, intentional or otherwise.

    My sister is one of the biggest gamers I know, going all the way back to our formative gaming days on the NES. We're into the same games, routinely geek out about them and excitedly anticipate the next big one on the horizon. (She likes to occassionally look at the newest screenshots and trailers too, who knew? I wonder if she falls into your 'enemy' category?) I've never made a distinction between her and other gamers, she's just a gamer. I realize that there's people out there who do see women differently, but this article seems to put all of us into this one group.

    Angry Birds

      I laughed harder at this than I thought I would. Well done.

      This made my day

    Finally a confrontational article on sexism in games, then you go and apologise for being confrontational. You deserve to be mad about it, considering every time the issue is raised on gaming blogs its met with either a semi-retarded proud apathy or an over priveleged willy waving outrage (see almost every comment above this one for examples).

      Why does it need to be "confrontational"? How is that constructive? You know what confrontational speech creates? Arguments. Angry, stupid arguments where everyone gets louder and stupider until the whole thing is a big, dumb mess.

      There are a number of huge problems with the gaming industry and that certainly extends to gaming media. A completely backward approach to gender equality is definitely one of them. But honestly, how does being loud, angry and confrontational help? Ever?

      This article could've been excellent. Instead it will inevitably do more harm than good. Not because it apologises for being aggressive, unfocused and vitriolic, but because it is aggressive, unfocused and vitriolic in the first place. The author shouldn't need to apologise because they shouldn't have let something so unfinished out the door.

      We need this discussion and we need it yesterday. But we don't need it like this. This is to gender equality in gaming what protesting with signs (completely misconsrtuing an academic piece) saying "all penetrative sex is rape."

      It is aggressive in a way that completely removes any hope for a reasoned response. It causes those it is aimed at to become immediately intellectually closed-off and emotionally retaliatory. It loses all of its well-intentioned and completely valid reasoning in a matter of seconds because all the well-reasoned logic in the world cannot win against loud, angry noises.

      If Ms. Alexander rewrote this article as something focused, coherent and consturcitve, I would be the first in line to defend the work from the sea of insecure, moronic, privileged shitheads who are so scared of not being the total majority that they will scream and cry until the sun goes down. As it is, I feel that they were invited. So, here they are. Doing what they do.

        This is exactly my sentiment. Not only focusing on the cultural aspect, but delivering it though a concise argument that has some sort of substantial basis to argue upon. I've read this piece and all I saw was the truly disgusting avocations such as "THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE. WHY ARGUE ABOUT IT.", "And as a writer people still think I’m a novelty that needs “female” before my name.", more so upon the intro which I find a charmer and several more.

        As a 'civilized' reader, I acknowledge there are inherent problems, these things exist on a societal level. You can't yell "I HATE MEN DISRESPECTING WOMEN" and expect tomorrow we'd be all happy and holding hands. Not when you have the power of freedom and free speech, particularly on the internet where everyone exposes their opinions without so much as giving a damn about the response. But surely we can fix it though change, but not like what your advocating Ms. Alexander.

    So if people are so stridently against being potentially insulted, why the hell does Jim Sterling still get work?

      A pact with Satan, obviously.

    An angry rant to bring attention to an important issue is one thing, but it counts for nought if the underlying message (a very valid and important one mind you) is completely lost in the vitriol... Certainly makes me want to stay the hell away from Gamasutra, if this is the quality of writing you endorse at your site Leigh...

      Gamasutra is one of my favourite business of gaming websites, actually. Lots of insightful things there, just saying.

        id rather get my business news from Edge, at least you wont catch them writing articles this bad...

    "And I get all these notes from you guys wanting specifically to know “what I think”, to the point where I felt like if I were to say “I’m not offended” people would feel somehow vindicated about calling women bitches, and the reverse of that too, to where people just wanted me to use my status as a female to vindicate their views on sexism, whatever they may be. And this happens a lot."

    Now, do you know thats what they wanted exactly? Or are you just assuming?

    Perhaps they were just curious to hear your stance on the issue, simply because you would have the better insight as you rolled up a female character at the start of the game.

    I seem to remember an article a few months back where the writer was up in arms that people in the industry (And those who follow it) couldn't name a single female gaming-journo, and you're getting upset that people are asking you for your opinion on the matter?

    And then there's the whole "I dont wanna be known as a Woman in games, so here's an article on me being a woman in games." thing.

    Can we get Mark in here to write an article on how he doesn't wanna be known as 'A dude in games'.

      Cmon man, call Mark by his proper title;

      "Manly Scottish games journalist"

        I simply refuse to begin labeling people and throwing them in such arbitrary groups.

        After all, are we not all manly scottish gaming journalist to some degree?

    While this article is a good read and might touch on some important points, I do have to say that overall it reads like a very angry and intentionally confrontational (and not in the good way!) blog rant and strays off on tangents for no apparent reason - it really does make the article disjointed and...messy?

    From the opening to the conclusion, it really seems like the author is setting up anyone who might in whatever way disagree with something (even small) they wrote and categorising them in a way to encourage others to disregard their opinions entirely. That's pretty preachy and massively unfair - at least let your arguments stand or fall on the facts, not by running a smearjob on everyone else.

    For example: A fairly antagonistic opening, followed by casting those who might have a kneejerk reaction to a word as intellectually inferior ("go click on some new screenshots or a trailer consisting of a release date slowly fading into view. You’re hopeless."]. Even the use of the phrase ["You guys"] could be seen to by trying to preposition the responders as either young, immature, or intellectually inferior, and somehow resonate that with men - note the careful and deliberate juxtaposition of ["some of *you*"] in the previous sentence for those agreeing with the author to ["you *guys*"] representing those disagreeing with the author directly after.

    There are many people of both gender that either have sexists thoughts about the other gender *or their own* - it's not solely the preserve of men. Could someone argue that by implying or directly stating that the problem of sexism in gaming is solely down to males is, in itself, sexist against both men and women? Yes. And, it is somewhat surprising to find these thoughts expressed in an article about sexism.

    I am not a games journalist, but I would assume that the point of articles like this one should be to capture the attention of those who have an opinion you feel is wrong and convince them through good argument to change. How is this achieved by telling anyone who disagrees or doesn't immediate approve of your opening to leave? Aren't the ones that are LIKELY to be put off by your aggressive opening the very ones that you should be trying to reach?

    If so, then what is the point of this article if you are only "preaching to the converted"?

    The author states that they do a lot of work (which, presumably, all gaming journalists of a similar quality would also undertake, so the inclusion is curious) yet are referred to as a "female" journalist, and this is the label which annoys them. The author pines for a day where all journalists are only journalists, not indicated by gender, but does go on to point out that ["Gaming has been, forgive me, a predominantly nerdy shut-in white guy pastime for so long"].

    I would suggest that, if her statement is true, it is also the reason why her detested label exists. Perhaps positive change can be enforced in the gaming community and the community at large by drawing attention to the fact that yes, there are well-published writers in the gaming area who are also women, which is a positive way to challenge false preconceptions people may hold.

    By holding the "female" label, the author is enacting change by simply continuing to do their job.

    Yet, this is lost or deliberately overlooked. The author's main complaint seems to then change to be with the rate of change. It is more than fine to be frustrated that change isn't happening as fast as you might like, but to preemptively browbeat everyone who might offer the suggestion that "at least change IS happening" is, in my opinion, a shot misfired. The petulance and impatience in the article does more to undermine the valid points than any troll post could.

    I do not understand the side inclusion of the issue of homophobic language in gaming, especially in an article about sexism. Either the author is trying to piggyback on a separate issue, or is trying to suggest that only those who are homophobic would reject the premise about sexism the author puts forth in this article.

    Just for those of you keeping score at home, that would mean that the author is now positioning readers to accept that anyone who does not accept their argument totally and unreservedly is now: young, immature, intellectually inferior, male, sexist, and homophobic.

    Quite a characterisation.

    There is also a strange contradiction in the author's later complaints. They do not want to be labelled as a "female" journalist, they do not want to be invited to "female journalist panels."

    Yet, they still attend these panels. Wouldn't rejecting the invite and instead sending a written statement about their views on sexist labels to be read in their place draw attention to the problem? Doesn't accepting the invite undermine the viewpoint expressed elsewhere in the article?

    Also, if a journalist is seeking equality and genderless recognition in the industry, why would they then refuse to discuss any issues that may be somehow tangentially related to women or sexism in general? Are these issues not important? Should a journalist not discuss these issues regardless of their own gender? Does not rejecting all these issues simply draw more attention to the author's gender?

    I can not see the logical consistency here. It seems more like a cry for equality and change, but refusing to do those things that would lead to the desired result.

    The author also states that ["[perceptions of females in the industry] ruins my ability to communicate, because I’m combing the semantics of my writing, always paranoid that there’ll be something in there to misconstrue, to freak out about and attack me."] While this might be an issue, by discussing this in the middle of a fairly aggressive article, what is the author trying to achieve? Is it a "get out of jail" clause to premeptively respond to negative feedback about the article as being solely due to sexists "freaking out and attacking her"? Why can't they simply be taking exception to the points raised, the manner in which they were raised?

    There is another curious aside - a comment about a (female) person standing up and saying they find rape jokes offensive, and receiving death threats. I don't know how this is relevant to a discussion of sexism, although it is a sensationalist inclusion. Where is the reference for this? The homophobic aside at least linked to the article involved.

    Again, I'm not sure what the author is trying to achieve with this inclusion; it seems disjointed.

    I am also surprised with the allusion that an angry contribution to a thread is trolling. Perhaps the contributors are simply being passionate?

    A tertiary theme (and contradiction) in the article seems to be author's opinion that all journalists should be treated as the same, with not particular reference to their differences, yet at the start of the article highlights what a great thing having these multiple identified differences celebrated and highlighted is for gaming in general. I would argue that the author needs to make a decision here - either differences should be acknowledged and celebrated for the positive impact they can make, or they should be completely ignored and disregarded. However, you can't do both, and you can't have a different standard for gaming journalism than you do for the gaming community in general.

    Overall, I would state that the author has written an overly aggressive and divisive article that includes many random inclusions and tangents that do nothing to highlight, support, or add convincing weight to their arguments, and instead leads many people likely to miss what valid points might be raised as the article reads more as an angry blog rant as opposed to quality journalism.

      I skipped to the comments after the first half-dozen or so paragraphs and only went back and read the article after reading all of them. I found the article to be verbose, unreasoned and inflammatory. It seems like a person who is angry about something (they're not sure entirely what) and is writing a stream-of-consciousness piece that does little to refine or elucidate the position to them-self OR the reader.
      The only thing I personally take away from this article is that, by and large, the comments section contains more well-reasoned, cogent positional writing than that of the PROFESSIONAL WRITER we are all responding to. If you have a problem with being identified as a female (read, minority) in your industry, perhaps a piece about the rise and rise of the female gamer? Or maybe an objective article about the direction of the industry you're in as it responds to a changing zeitgeist?
      The simple fact that people have an inquisitive rather than dismissive attitude about your opinion (wildly aberrant as I'm sure it is :P) is surely a sign of progress? You are demonstrably a minority, instead of ranting that the world hasn't changed as quickly and in the exact manner you want, an article about the ways it HAS changed might serve to illuminate these perceived inequities .
      I'm sure it must be frustrating to feel as though people only see you as the label, however that's how humans work. We label things, it's the basis and function of our language and the way our brains process the world around us. I think you're attaching a negative connotation to an observational word and getting hand-wavingly angry because people care what you think. These seem like poor grounds on which to base an article.
      This piece will polarise people. The only people it will resonate with are people who already hold your position. I would suggest that, on this issue, this is a very small segment of your readership. If you do feel there is an issue that needs to be addressed an a public that needs to be converted, a vitriolic diatribe about how all the people who think a certain way have wronged you is not a great way to start.
      Embrace what is different about you. Not many people are in a position to influence both the industry they work in and the market that supports it. Sure there are trolls and small minded people out there, but they prey on the just and the unjust alike.
      Also, great comment ZAP (can it be called a comment when it approaches thesis-like lengths? :D)

        Thanks a lot :)

        I thought the article could use a considered, comprehensive reply.

        Glad you enjoyed it!

    I would think of you as a "feminist" or "female" write (which you are) if you didnt continuously whinge about it. I wouldnt even know your were female if you wrote about things relevant to a gaming website instead of how everyone but you are biased and sexist. I dont care about what is between you legs, just your attitude. Everyone has something that they dont like about how they are percieved, most of us are just old enough to know that its irrelevant to how we live and that most of the time we feel slighted, its us misconstruing other peoples words, not their intention.

    Oh fuck you. Maybe stop "playing the victim" and just get on with your job?

    GUESS WHAT? you're a chick and you're a games journalist... those things together mark you in a minority. That is a simple fact. it points you out as something unusual, people WILL NOTICE THAT.

    So get the fuck over it or find a new job.

      Fuck you right back.

      Being marginalised at work for having a different gender is wrong. Just as wrong as being marginalised for your race or religion. It's because of boneheaded idiots like you that gaming is perceived in society as the domain of pasty-faced man-child shutins.

        Given the list of things she is a contributor to and writer for, I would say she is hardly being marginalized. Her voice and opinion is being widely heard, it seems her problem is that it's being heard for the wrong reasons. I think if people listen to you and care what you think about things, and this makes you angry, then the problem lies with you somewhat.

          Did you read the same article as me?

          Her opinion is being constantly sought only because she's a member of a minority. Every day she clocks in she's inundated with people approaching her like "Hey Leigh, you're different, what do you think about X? ". How is that not marginalisation? She's not being asked her opinion on the basis of her expertise but on account of her breasts! WTF is that??

          I totally get why she's pissed off and I sympathise because she has every right to be. Saying it's her fault (to paraphrase) is a sentiment almost as boneheaded as the one put forward by Beb.

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