This year, I’m trying to make more of an effort to learn about gaming as an industry. Call it a leftover from what I do for work; it’s always seemed to me that when I know what’s going on, it’s much easier for me to talk about it.
I’m especially interested in things I find about women in gaming.
Well, for years, and especially before social media and streaming became so popular, it’s always seemed to me that women are a minority in the gaming world. That perception did change when I started spending time on Instagram and realized how big the community is—but it gets so little coverage and inspires so little conversation most of the time that it might as well still be my perception.
And naturally, I’m always curious about why that’s the case.
That curiosity is what led me to find Naomi Alderman a while back, who for years has been advocating both for video games as a positive thing rather than its damaging stereotype, and for women having larger roles in the gaming industry.
If you’re not familiar with her, her sassy remarks about the treatment she gets as a woman in the gaming industry are on point.
“I find it particularly irritating, if I go to a games conference to speak about my work, that often it’s presumed that I’m the marketing girl—that’s annoying.”
That same curiosity recently drew me into reading an article on Entrepreneur while I was looking for things to share on my day job’s Facebook page. It had a catchy title about being nice to people while you OHKO them, so I figured it’d be something about PVP manners because sometimes Entrepreneur does stuff like that.
It was actually a podcast recording of a rather unknowledgeable host (his words, not mine) talking to Stephanie Harvey, AKA missharvey, one of the top Counter-Strike players in the world.
In that podcast, she talked about how she’d been playing competitively for about 17 years, and is actually close to retiring from competitive gaming because as she explained it, she’s getting older and doesn’t react as well as she did.
She’s only a few years older than me, so I guess there go all my ideas of starting!
What caught my attention is that with the end of her career in gaming coming, she’d taken on a role with Counter Logic Gaming to help make eSports more accessible to women and kids, including teaching kids how to behave well and stay safe online.
Her reason for doing it? She wants to find ways to be there for women and diversity in gaming in a way she didn’t have when she was competing.
Now, I am not what you’d call a feminist.
At least, not in the modern sense of the word. I often joke to Shane that we women didn’t know what we were getting into when we decided we wanted to work.
But for all that, I am a feminist as it was originally conceived of back in 1796—I believe in equality on both sides, in creating fairness for everyone. I don’t believe in this whole modern nonsense that tends to come out of the more extreme forms of feminism that involve putting men down to raise themselves up.
All that does is bring everyone down.
Because that’s what I believe in, I’m glad we have women like these, who can bring such positivity to the idea of equality and diversity in gaming. They’re great role models for everyone, not just women.
They’re working to solve issues that we all know run rampant in the gaming industry in a positive way, focusing on solutions rather than the problem itself.
It makes me proud to be a woman in gaming, and it makes me want to learn everything I can from them. I hope someday I can represent as well as they do.