I won't go into a deep treatise on this, since I have a feeling I'll be preaching to the choir, but the sexism in the gaming industry and the gaming community has got to stop. After I'd read various reports during the event of the "booth babes" phenomenon, yesterday Katie Williams of Kotaku posted yet another story that outlined the casual sexism pervasive at E3 2012 (and presumably all prior E3 events). By casual, I mean the casual assumption that she didn't know what she was doing or couldn't possibly really be interested in covering the world of software based gaming. That is huge mistake given recent studies about who exactly is gaming these days.
It's one thing to fill your game with ridiculously sexy outfits for female characters as a "sex sells" fantasy for horny men. (Protest all you want, "horny man" is a redundant phrase.) It's another thing entirely to casually dismiss 47% of your potential market.
And the gaming community is even worse. In the comments section of the Kotaku article, Ms. Williams was blamed by many for putting up with the situation. What her reaction should have been is not relevant to the issue. The attitudes of the booth presenters were unacceptable. No one should have to put up with that sort of treatment.
Reactions to other women who have tried to bring up discussions about sexism in the industry have ranged from dismissal of the problem to death and rape threats, including sharing the woman's address in a public forum. Those threats, by the way, constitute assault in most jurisdictions of the United States.
The reactions to women in-game also range from mild disbelief to full on sexual harassmen tthat would not be tolerated in any workplace or most public venues either. And I haven't even begun to address the topic of homophobia, racial epithets, etc., in voiced game chat.
I got into two discussions on Twitter yesterday about the meaning of words, and how the choice of some words over others influences the thoughts and quality of a discussion. I added the George Orwell quote to the top of my page to illustrate my point. "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Using improper terms can exacerbate problems in civil dialogue. Whining about "political correctness" is not an effective argument when you're talking about how people should be treated. Even the term "Girl Gamer" which is often used, much like Woman Doctor a few decades ago, shows a sexist bias. They're just Gamers.
I'll have more on this tomorrow.