Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Contessing the ConTessa

As I have returned from a 3 weekend stretch of convention romping, I was forwarded a link to another: ConTessa Online. An online gaming con by women for everyone, as their tagline reads. I was curious so I had to take a look at the site and see what was up.

ConTessa will take place June 21-24th via Google Hangout with panels, live gaming, and live drawing/programming events. Okay maybe Google Hangout isn’t the best option if you’re looking for audience participation. It’s fine for a handful of people, but if you’re looking for hundreds of comments, then you’re likely to see some lagging and/or crashing of the Hangout. They may need to put in a disclaimer that audience members should watch directly on YouTube and not through Google+.

In theory this sounds like a good idea. A convention made by women to include everyone and not have it focused on male-centric attitudes. My concerns are similar to what Zoe Hawkins points out on Lazy Gamer. Such as the “cute” avatars and banners to promote the convention showing hyper-stylized women instead of normal gamers. Or that they are trying to play the “neutral” card by not allowing ConTessa to be a ground for debate about gender issues in gaming. However the convention itself was made by women and all of the advertisements for it are female-centric, even if they are sexualized and prettied-up. We call this a conflicting position. On the one hand, they want to stand out and be female oriented, on the other, they want everyone to be included. You can’t do both. It’s one or the other.

I don’t want to come off as though I’m being sensitive about the topic. I feel it’s important to talk about the gender divide in video games, and that women deserve an equal footing as men. But I’m not really sure what ConTessa is trying to achieve. They don’t want to get into the debate and yet they clearly want to stand out and say they are female friendly. *scratches head*

I may watch a panel or two out of curiosity, but the conflicting point of views make it difficult to take it seriously.


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