[game_edu] Implications of students going into a male-dominatedindustry?
tony at dragonstalon.co.uk
Tue Sep 20 04:02:46 EDT 2011
I think we have thankfully outgrown parts of the 'longboat culture', as
you name it, with half of the developers I know (male and female) being
married, often with kids. The average age is probably creeping toward
30-something in many of the more established studios too. The stereotype
persists though and I think that it is the stereotype which has historically
put women off working in games.
The main discrimination I have seen is not overt sexism, not disparagement
of women's work or role, but rather a low level of sexualisation. In some
cases, it borders on sexual harassment, but it often appears to be more a
low level of unconscious flirting (sexual irritation?) which the women in
question just put up with. The worst part of this is that I am sure the men
in question (usually management and almost exclusively 40+) would be
mortified to discover that they were making anyone uncomfortable, but the
whole culture (i.e. Western culture, not developer culture) and some kind of
acknowledgement that thy are from 'a different age' seem to inspire a sort
of fearful apathy; nobody comments on it, because they don't like the idea
of making their manager uncomfortable and they know that the person in
question 'doesn't really mean it'.
For my part, I think the best argument for equality is simply working with
women. I have yet to meet a female developer who was incapable of doing as
good a job as her male colleagues, which is the only criterion I think
matters in a professional context. After a while, even the worst frat-boy
gets used to the fact that the developer sitting next to them has boobs and
just gets over his issues.
At least, I hope so...
On 20 September 2011 08:01, Adam Parker <aparker at qantmcollege.edu.au> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I agree that this is a major problem, and one that needs to be
> addressed. I noted Clint Hocking's recent characterization of this
> issue as being one of "longboat culture", of twenty-something males
> loosened by beer. There's a grain of truth in there - but if only it
> were as simple as that.
> One of the ways we deal with this issue is simply to enforce workplace
> legislation within studio practice. Being a professionally oriented
> degree program, we treat the studio space as a workspace, and thus
> apply the relevant anti-discrimination statutes and regulations in the
> shop floor. We have a zero-tolerance approach to all aspects of
> discriminatory practice as a result.
> Personally, I've also developed a focus on pushing development of
> games along craft and construction lines, which I find tend to shift
> designerly focus away from conflict and towards collaboration.
> We also run our game design in a creative media context, which means
> we have other streams (such graphic design) being taught alongside
> game design (including shared core units) with more female-oriented
> gender balances.
> Nonetheless, inappropriate behavior persists... Offering constructive
> opportunities and legislating against offensive behavior cannot be the
> whole answer. I'm keen to hear more suggestions from the group.
> For me, the real question is: where can we draw a line, saying "we've
> done our best" with the problem? Where does it cease being our issue
> and start becoming one where we rely on those outside our practice?
> And therefore what actual impact can we expect to have? This is not to
> abdicate responsibility, but to know our pragmatic limits and thus
> work within them effectively.
> Adam Parker
> Senior Lecturer, Games Design
> Qantm College Melbourne
> On 20/09/2011, at 7:05, "Bertozzi, Elena G" <bertozze at uww.edu> wrote:
> > I have a paper that addresses this issue that was published in
> Convergence and recently excerpted in Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A
> Critical Reader [Paperback]
> > Gail Dines (Editor), Jean M. (McMahon) Humez (Editor) 2010.
> > The paper is called:
> > 'You Play Like a Girl!' Cross-Gender Competition and the Uneven Playing
> > Many women have written papers that touch on this topic. I also have
> several female grads working in the industry who like to talk to people
> about their experiences. I can provide names if you'd like them.
> > Best, Elena
> > Elena Bertozzi, PhD. Associate Professor
> > Director, Digital Game Design & Development
> > C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University
> > (516) 299-2250 elena.bertozzi at liu.edu www.ardeaarts.org
> > ________________________________________
> > From: game_edu-bounces at igda.org [game_edu-bounces at igda.org] On Behalf Of
> Dan Carreker [danc at narrativedesigns.com]
> > Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 3:52 PM
> > To: 'Ian Schreiber'; 'IGDA Game Education Listserv'
> > Subject: Re: [game_edu] Implications of students going into a
> > Unfortunately, we don’t have a class devoted to this. There is one week
> in Intro to Game Design that deals with designing games with cultural
> differences in mind, but as far as I know, that’s the only laid out portion
> of the curriculum that specifically deals with diversity in games. As of
> right now, the classes that deal with ethics, sociology, and career planning
> are general in nature and group together students from multiple disciplines.
> > What I have done with my Intro to PC for Games class (which focuses on
> software such as MS Office) is create assignments that deal with diversity,
> particularly as research projects that focus on game developers who come
> from minority groups or who have disabilities.
> > --Dan Carreker
> > ________________________________
> > From: Ian Schreiber [mailto:ai864 at yahoo.com]
> > Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:23 AM
> > To: IGDA Game Education Listserv
> > Subject: [game_edu] Implications of students going into a
> > Hi all,
> > This (long but worthwhile) article has been making the rounds on Twitter
> recently, so I thought I'd bring it up here:
> > While it focuses primarily on the Magic:the Gathering player community
> (as that is what the author is closest to), I think the sentiment can be
> applied to just about any male-dominated industry, from video game
> development to mechanical engineering to business.
> > Personally, in my industry survey class I make it a point to spend some
> time talking about gender/minority issues. Students in these groups need to
> be prepared for potentially unjust treatment. Students who are not, need to
> not add to the problem. (I would actually just as soon make Women's Studies
> or Minority Studies a required course for all game dev majors until such
> time as the industry fixes itself, but so far I haven't had the power to
> affect curriculum that much, so I'm left to just make a "strong
> recommendation" that my students will go on to ignore.)
> > It makes me wonder though: the fact that the industry is predominantly
> white, male and straight, and that this lack of diversity is a problem in so
> many ways -- is this a problem on everyone's radar in the educational space?
> How do different schools handle this (particularly trade/vocational schools
> that are highly industry-focused)? Does anyone require students to take an
> entire class in understanding unequal societal power dynamics... or do you
> graft it on to a single class as an isolated topic, and hope it sticks... or
> do you try to integrate these discussions throughout the curriculum (say, by
> having game design students make games for target audiences other than
> themselves)... or does the topic never see mention in the classroom at all
> because it's seen to be outside the scope of game dev?
> > In short: where are we now, as a collective? Is that where we should be?
> If not, what do we need to change to get us there?
> > - Ian
> > _______________________________________________
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> > game_edu at igda.org
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