Tuesday, January 22, 2013

EA, We Called Your Bull. But Thanks For Opening Up Discussion

I’m glad that I’m not the only one that jumped in on thistopic about EA’s Executive VP dismissing sexism as a reason why women are not in the gaming industry. It’s flaring up a massive amount of discussion, which is great! That’s what we need: logical, reasonable, non-flaming, dialogue.

The problem that I have with the article, as I mentioned before, is that Toledano doesn’t bring up new points in the discussion nor provide solutions. She comes out to say “sexism is a cop-out” which yes, sometimes that is the case where people are quick to assume sexism when it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Toledano tiptoed around it, but it does happen. Followed by: EA employees more women than anyone else in the industry. Women! We got them!

We need to look at the core of the issue of why women feel intimidated from entering the industry. Sexism is there, yes. But so are misogynistic attitudes, fear of failure, downplaying accomplishments, scare-tactics, and mind games. It’s no surprise that video game developers tend to be male dominated. From a young age, girls are told by teachers that we can’t do math and science. We’re not expected to like video games or want to be a movie director. We are told that we are not going to do well at math and if we want to go into the medical industry? Be a nurse. That’s an appropriate title for a woman. Why? These are the questions and problems we need to look into that can explain the low number of women in the business. It can be applied to minorities as well. How many non-white and non-Asians do you see working gaming companies? Take a minute. I can wait. Good luck working out the numbers.

I fully admit that I suck at complex math, but I know that a lot of it is because I was always told by teachers and one asshole of a vice principle in middle school that I would never understand it. That really messes with your head as a child. When you’re told to always listen and obey adults, if one of them tells you that you can’t do something, you’re going to have it trained into your brain that you can’t do it. It’s a powerful hold that sticks with you throughout your life. At 28 I still have difficultly overcoming it. All of those teachers and adults that told me that I would never be able to understand higher math concepts, it pounds at my brain. And of course I hate it, but you know what? There are millions of girls going through the exact same thing every day. It has been ingrained into all of us for centuries that boys are good at math and science, girls at literature and art. Don’t mix and match or you’ll cause trouble. Having said that, sexism lives on both sides of the fence. Boys and men are deterred from being an elementary school teacher, childcare, or things considered “feminine.”

These are the type of discussions that we need to be having. Let’s look at the cause of why sexism is an issue in the gaming industry and not dismiss it as a “cop-out.” There are real concerns here not just for gamers, but all businesses. Jobs shouldn’t be labeled as male or female.

Oh and EA is trying to act like they are gods again. You know. It’s EA being EA.

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