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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry 962

Posted by Soulskill
from the requiring-a-cultural-shift dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Brianna Wu, leader of a game development studio, has an article exposing the constant harassment of women in the games industry. She says, "I'm not writing this piece to evoke your sympathy. I'm writing to share with you what prominent, successful women in the industry experience, in their own words." She goes through the individual stories of several women targeted by this vitriol, and tries to figure out why it happens. Quoting: "We live in a society that's sexist in ways it doesn't understand. One of the consequences is that men are extremely sensitive to being criticized by women. ... This is why women are socialized to carefully dance around these issues, disagreeing with men in an extremely gentle manner. Not because women are nicer creatures than men. But because our very survival can depend on it. ... Growing a thicker skin isn't the answer, nor is it a proper response. Listening, and making the industry safer for the existence of visible women is the best, and only, way forward."
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

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  • Re:Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fulminata (999320) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:36PM (#47511645)
    RTFA. It's not so much about workplace harassment as it is about harassment because of their work.

    Unfortunately, the summary doesn't really make that clear.
  • Re:Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by WarSpiteX (98591) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @06:42PM (#47511689) Homepage

    I invite you to visit any developer's forum. Particularly for multiplayer games that get frequent patching.

    Then tell me that they don't face harassment, irregardless of gender. People pick on whatever sticks out. Is the developer Russian? Russian insults. Are they of Chinese descent, and he comments? Expect some variation of "ching chong chow chee ho lee fuk sum ting wong chang chong ching wang chinky chong" in response.

    If it's women, they get picked on for being women.

  • by Loopy (41728) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @07:06PM (#47511855) Journal

    You wonder why we have so much dysfunction going on today?

    Pervasive culture of butthurt = CHECK
    Any perceived insult is by default true = CHECK
    Special protected classes that can do no wrong = CHECK
    Litigious society causing zero tolerance including honest mistakes = CHECK
    Rampant immaturity = CHECK
    General abdication of personal responsibility = CHECK

    Let's pose a hypothetical, here. Let's say you (Linda, a woman) work for a company A. A has Big Boss, Linda, Tom, Fred and David as employees. The four of you report to Big Boss.

    Situation A: Tom says something mean to Fred. Fred tells Tom to go fuck himself. Big Boss hears about it and calls them both into his office. Big Boss tells Tom to square his shit away or he's fired. Big Boss admonishes Fred to come see him about this in the future rather than responding in kind. Tom and Fred go on about their work and are a bit more careful about their interactions. This is a regular thing for Tom as he's brilliant but a loose cannon verbally. Big Boss talks to Tom and admonishes him that if he can't keep his asshole comments to himself, he will end up fired with prejudice.

    Situation B: Linda says something mean to Fred. Fred tells Linda she can go fuck herself. Other employees hear the latter half of the exchange. Linda goes to Big Boss and complains about Fred using foul language around her. Big Boss calls them both into the office. Linda tells her story and Big Boss asks her to return to her desk. Big Boss then lectures Fred about the sensitivities of women in the workforce and how the small company cannot afford to defend against a "workplace harassment" lawsuit. Fred complains that Linda started the whole thing. Big Boss says it won't matter because a jury will default rule in favor of the woman because of articles like the above. Fred points out that justice is supposed to be blind. Big Boss points out that in cases of harassment, lay-wisdom holds that when women harass men, the men need to grow a pair, but when men harass women, it is only right and proper to expect better decorum out of the men. Big Boss never says anything to Linda because it could be construed as the abuse of power in a workplace environment.

    Now, you may laugh at this but these are actual shit storms I've seen happen. The problem is that while most women aren't self-entitled whiners and most men are not adolescent assholes, we can't catch a break because the lawyers and bean-counters won't let a manager fire the shit out of someone just for being a prick/cunt. As George Takei said, we've reduced ourselves to the lowest common denominator of butthurt.

  • Re:Pft (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @07:20PM (#47511965) Homepage

    There's a bit of a difference in that one in every four women actually will be raped in their life, and a sizeable percent of those getting those threats already have been.

    Yes, men are raped too. About 91% of rape cases are male->female, 8% male->male, 0.8% female->female, and 0.2% female->male. Men are virtually always the perpetrator, but even when the victim is male (not nearly as common, but still way more common than we as a society should accept), the perpetrator is still overwhelmingly likely to be male.

    (and if the excuse for the stats is "men aren't as likely to report being raped by a woman because of shame"... so is there no shame for a guy to report being sodomized against his will by a man?)

    The basic point is: when you're threatening a violent crime against a person who may well have been a victim of such, and even if they haven't, very likely has friends who have and is more than aware of their vulnerability in this regard, that's taking it to a whole different level.

  • Re:Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by seebs (15766) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:10PM (#47512483) Homepage

    They're not even close to the same frequency. I know people of both genders in the game industry. The guys regard death threats as an exceptional event, and might not see one in any given five-year period. The women, if they're at all visible, get them pretty much constantly.

  • Re:Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by seebs (15766) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:12PM (#47512493) Homepage

    It's actually really easy to check this out, because you can use whatever name you want on the Internet.

    Someone decided to prove that women were just whining, recently. [reddit.com]

    What happened? He lasted two hours. Then he deleted the account, because he couldn't take it. The women I've talked to report that what he encountered is normal for them.

  • Re:Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:18PM (#47512533) Journal

    And just to make clear, the problem of insulting people isn't along the lines of "ching chong chow chee" or whatnot. The problem case is along the lines of: Scenario 1: Man: "What does that do? Sorry, I don't know perl." Crowd: "You don't know perl? Geez, you're stupid." Scenario 2: Woman: "What does that do? Sorry, I don't know perl." Crowd: "Geez, women are stupid."

    No, you're wrong, you didn't even read the article (should I say you are stupid?). Specific examples from the article, if you'd like to read it:

    "Only 1 out of 5 is hot, and that is Jessica. The rest need to be in the kitchen."
    "I have a guy who’s writing fan fiction starring me and him. It’s a pornographic fanfic, and he's on chapter 6. He anonymously submits chapters through my website"
    "Rape fantasies and pictures of dead children were coming faster than I could block individual users."

    That is the kind of thing we are dealing with.

  • Re: Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by ClickOnThis (137803) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @11:25PM (#47513147) Journal

    Freedom of speech.

    Irrelevant in this context.

    The first amendment protects you and me from the government. It does not protect you and me from each other.

    If a private enterprise (DOTA2, Steam, Origin, whatever) wishes to curtail expression within their own domain, they're perfectly entitled to do so. There are valid exceptions to free-speech protections (e.g., restaurants can't refuse service based or race or sexual orientation of patrons) but none apply to the current discussion.

  • Re:Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @03:18AM (#47513759) Journal

    There's a bit of a difference in that one in every four women actually will be raped in their life, and a sizeable percent of those getting those threats already have been.

    Not "raped" but "sexually assaulted". Rape laws have gone awry to the point that damn near everything is just classified as a "sex crime" now, so even a technical issue like statutory rape comes with the same stigma as being a major pedophile, and you really can't even get real statistics on the actual numbers of violent rapes.

    But don't take my word for it... The same study that claims 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted, claims 1 in 7 MEN have been sexually assaulted, too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12... [nytimes.com]

  • Re:Pft (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @03:26AM (#47513779) Homepage

    1, to the GP: RAINN says that 1 in 6 women has been [rainn.org] the victim of rape. That's different from "will be over the course of their life". That rate is guaranteed to be higher. 1 in 6 in the "have been" category would imply that 2/3rds of the average surveyed woman's rape risk is behind them to reach the 1 in 4 figure, which is not at all an unreasonable assumption.

    2. When you want to cite data, don't cite secondary sources. They tell you the name of the Bureau of Justice study, so let's actually read it [bjs.gov]. We immediately notice first off that annualized rate of rape for non-college students is 8 per 1000, not 6 per 1000, so they chose the lower figure. Being in college actually *reduces* a woman's rate of being raped. But let's just go with the lower figure. A rate of 6 per thousand over... oh, let's just say 50 years... is 1-(1-0.006)^50=26%. Now, we chose the lesser percentage (6 per 1000 instead of 8 per 1000), and the average woman lives a lot longer than 50 years, but we're again assuming a higher rate of rape in the younger years counters this. In no way does the cited data argue against the fact that one in four women will be raped over the course of their lifetime.

    3. I don't know what "Ali's study" is or who Ali is, but it's irrelevant given the above. However, I will point out (and shouldn't have to) that it *is* illegal to have sex with someone who is visibly intoxicated to the point that they cannot make a reasonable decision. I'm not going to dig up the laws on all 50 states for you, but just to pick the largest state, here's California's statute [justia.com]. If the person is slurring their speech and can hardly walk, they're not cogent enough to consent to anything. You can't give *any* legal consent in such a situation. You can't sign over your house, you can't transfer ownership of your car, etc. And that's a damned good thing.

    Note that this only applies to cases where the person has drank so much that they are visibly impaired to the point that they can no longer make reasonable judgements. As always with such cases, the courts apply a "reasonable person" standard - they're impaired suchly if a "reasonable person" objectively looking at the situation would judge their decision-making abilities as being that impaired. Being "a little tipsy" or "buzzed" does not meet this standard.

  • Re:Pft (Score:4, Informative)

    by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @04:09AM (#47513907) Journal

    The number is utterly bogus:

    http://aspiringeconomist.com/i... [aspiringeconomist.com]

    And a woman's actual lifetime chance of being raped, is more like 8%:

    http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1... [ncjrs.gov]

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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