Being sick doesn’t allow you to stay on top of the latest that is going on socially. I can barely get five minutes between nose blowings. Yes, that was probably tmi. But I honestly feel horrible. What does warm my heart is this #1reasonwhy discussion that is happening on Twitter. These great articles summarize what has been going on today such as Buzzfeed and Bitscreed.
It all began with Luke Crane, who specializes in Gaming Projects at Kickstarter, posted a tweet asking, “Why are there so few lady game creators?”. This spurned a LARGE discussion on Twitter and this article Too Many Reasons Why, which makes my heart hurt.
Some people have asked for my opinion. Unfortunately, it may not be a popular one. In the last year, I have been stuck by the amount of what I call Passive Community Action. This is where people think that by liking a photo, or sending a RT, is the same as acting or helping the issue. While social media attention and spreading information is important, it can’t end here. But for so many it does. Because what’s easier than clicking on a button, or sending 140 characters from my comfy office chair. It’s much more difficult to act. To create a plan. To actually make a difference.
It boggles my mind how people can respond to the #1reasonwhy hashtag with how they are surprised by these claims of sexism and sexual harassment. That subject alone has been a huge issue after most of the major Video Game Conferences in the past two years.
I remember at SDCC this year, I remarked how many sessions were run by women and about Women in (fill in the blank). Many panels had the same women on them. I questioned one of the women on a panel, that while discussion is always great, what was her goal? What was she doing to help others? What are we all doing to help others? Are we mentoring? Are we acting and making a difference, or are we all still talking about our individual accomplishments?
I get it. We all like to be recognized for our work. GamingAngels has been running for over 9 years. At the beginning it was all about being the first and being loud. Making sure everyone knew about us. But in the last year, I have really struggled as to what we’re doing with GamingAngels. In the end, I’ve always wanted for us to be an informative, fun site, with an emphasis on showcasing women in gaming. At one point we had the most Women in Gaming interviews than seen on any other site. We wanted to help young women coming out of college to find their place in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, we haven’t really been able to do that.
We gave away one scholarship to a young girl to attend National Computer Camp. I was SO excited and proud that we were able to give that scholarship away. But when it came to this year, we did not receive one entry. I was shocked we couldn’t get five young women to apply for a fully paid scholarship to National Computer Camp. Here, we were trying to help the overall cause of encouraging young girls into STEM careers, and yet the response was crickets.
So what do we do? We slowly ran out of steam. We gave up. How do you fight for so long before you just figure that things will never change? Even following the discussion today, I ended up just nodding. These are stories, statements I have heard over the past 10 years over and over. I have been left examining and questioning myself and GamingAngels over the past year. What can I do more to act? It is no longer satisfactory to have the same discussions or panels over and over. It’s time to do more. But what can be done? I don’t know the answer yet. But that has become my focus.
It’s time for the discussions to be over. It’s time to act. Time to mentor. Time to get past the trolls and the naysayers. Time to change force the gaming industry to change. Time to stand up against sexual harassment at conventions. The discussion should not be about “if they exist”, but “what are we doing”. If we never change the focus of the discussion, we will never see change.
The jaded part of me wonders if #1reasonwhy will even exist tomorrow. The hopeful part of me thinks that maybe some women on the thread teamed up with each other to work together or to do something to create change.