Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Devastating Account of what Women in Games have to Deal with in 2012

Over the past 24 hours or so, a number of women working in the game industry (and some male colleagues) have taken to Twitter to share their stories via the hashtag #1reasonwhy.

An overview at Kotaku

How many female characters do you see?

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender Media Research is still out there working to ensure that a balanced representation of female and male characters are depicted in children's media.

"The more hours of television a girl watches, the fewer options she thinks she has in life. So, we're clearly not showing enough opportunities for girls, showing female characters doing and achieving things and being in leadership positions."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Swedish Toy Catalogs are the Best.

Swedish Toy Catalogs have been mixing up traditional gender roles in their imagery:
"With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It's not a boy or a girl thing, it's a toy for children," Top Toy director of sales Jan Nyberg told TT news agency.
Top Toy has produced catalogues in Denmark and Sweden for both Toys R Us and BR. Though the catalogues' page layouts are the same in both countries, the gender of the pictured kids is reversed in the Swedish edition. 
I know it would cost me way more than I can afford to buy all my Christmas toys from Sweden and send them here... but I'm tempted.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Doha Tribeca and TEDx Teusaquillo

Hey Everyone,

I'm hoping I'll get you all some meaty analysis and ranting this holiday season, but as you may well know I've been on a bit of a World Tour of talking about things. I just returned from the Doha Tribeca Film Festival where I spoke about Transmedia Storytelling and McCarren Park, and even more interestingly more than a dozen female directors and producers showed some really incredible work.


While there are more than enough things you should be looking at in there, especially this movie, I'm diving into my next presentation, my very own TEDx talk at TEDx Teusaquillo in Bogotá, Colombia on December 11.

The theme is Imaginadores and I'll be speaking about how imagination and creative collaboration have given me not only opportunities in the creative arts, but how those creative communities taught me how to be a functioning adult. I hope to be able to do the topic justice and am really excited about the incredible lineup of speakers who will be presenting with me on the day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How 'Twilight' Made the Movie Business Respect Girl Power

"It's actually remarkable what the 'Twilight' franchise was able to do for girl power," Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, told TheWrap. "Before this people didn't know if girls could carry a franchise like 'Star Wars' or 'Harry Potter.' It really did change the paradigm and perceptions about what people will go see."

Read the Full Story at The Wrap 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sesame Street: Sonia Sotomayor and Abby Cadaby- Career

Jennifer Lawrence Cares How Little Girls See her Weight

“I’m never going to starve myself for a part… I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner," she explained to the magazine. "That’s something I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong- not thin and underfed.”

From the Huffington Post

Is the Answer to Gender Equality in Gaming Parenthood?

"The father of one little girl decided he'd change the gender of one of Nintendo's most iconic characters so he hacked The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. While playing the 2003 Gamecube title with his daughter Maya, Mike Hoye had been reading the game's text to her, switching the pronouns to match her gender."

This article on Kotaku reminds me strongly of the article  "Why Can't I be a boy fairy?" that came out in 2010. Which covers some of the same ground. One of the most interesting things I find as my generation (and those near mine) mature is evolution of attitudes toward media over time. I'm part of the first group of people to grow up with video games, from arcade to Nintendo to consoles.

I'm a girl who enjoys playing those games but I'm a casual player and while I know my way around a multiplayer map, I know people who are way more hard core than I am, and people to whom I am an obsessed expert. For me, there is a level of trepidation that does come from the fact that even though women play in this space, keeps me from engaging in some ways. For instance I go anonymous in public multiplayer maps because I don't feel like even bothering with a whiff of harassment, even though I still chose female avatars when they're available.

The steps being taken, like the huge ones at Microsoft, to make the gaming environment more enjoyable for people of all genders are big, big steps. But they're coming at a time when the gaming industry is reaching maturity in a new way. There are generations of kids now who have never grown up in a world without Playstations and  XBoxs, and their parents are in my generation, now examining the games they love and the environments around those games with a very different, parental skew.

I've wondered for a while about the impact that having a daughter would have for many of my friends who might be described as trolls, or acquaintances who argue with me about gender identity in media. The simple fact is when you have a little person who is looking to you and wants to participate in the things that you love and you are responsible for what messages they are getting from that content. Every pronoun carries more weight. This is not to say parenthood is the ONLY way to gain different perspectives on content, but it is sure a powerful mindset shifter.

In the past, I've remarked that my own daughter thinks it's rad that I play video games, that I can vanquish monsters and the like. But every time she comments on the scary monsters, the robot potato game or the bad ninjas that Mommy is diligently slaughtering, it's a concern for me as a parent.  I want to be able to enjoy entertainments that I've always engaged in, but I'm thinking about them differently, and I take the games that she plays even more seriously.

I'm not particularly jazzed about getting her a hand-held gaming system like many of her friends because I'm not that enthused about her playing hours of fashion designer by default because that's what games are out there that aren't about slaughtering things. At the same time, the hunting sequences in Assassin's Creed 3 have led to some very important conversations about what eating animals means (in her words, "That's so Yucky" )

Video Games are part of my kids' environment, there's no getting around it, and I want to monitor carefully what it is that she's devoting her time to, as well as making sure that what I'm playing is appropriate for her to be seeing. For instance, we won't play war games or horror games when the kids are awake, and check in with the kids regularly to talk about the games we do play when they're around to see them.

It comes as no surprise to me that folks with the means to change games that they love in order to better engage their kids are doing so. While it might take parenthood to make many folks realize that the plethora of male-specific gender options are limiting I welcome the innovations that may come from it. It's exciting to see these new trends in the way gaming is evolving and while there will always be pockets of people who object to it, just as we find disagreements about gender and tolerance everywhere in human life... new perspectives, like those that parenthood brings, help us all make better art in the end.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why Battlestar Galactica’s President Roslin Defies Political Stereotypes

"With the U.S. Presidential election approaching, I'd like to take a break from all the current political divisiveness to talk about my favorite president—Laura Roslin—and her fascinating ideological shifts throughout the long road to a planet called Earth."

From Tor.Com

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Significant Other: Gender Signifiers in Video Games

"Depictions of gender in video games generally don’t work. Actually in most of geek culture they suck – yeah, I’m looking at you comic book industry. Why? Because they create hostility between two parties who really don’t need to be at each other’s throats."

This interesting article, among others can be found at "how not to suck at game design"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Time for Halo 4, Zero Tolerance Policies Against Sexism in XBox Live

I am literally so excited about this I forgot to post about it here until LAST.

"Kiki Wolfkill, the Executive Producer of Halo 4 and haver of the most glorious name I’ve ever heard, has teamed up with Bonnie Ross, the head of Microsoft’s 343 Industries, to make video games more fun and accessible to women. You see, these two very powerful ladies are fed-up with the rampant sexism in the gaming world. So, because they’re total bosses, they’ve issued a zero tolerance policy for Xbox Live, meaning any sexist or discriminatory comments will earn you a lifetime ban from the network."

Slut-o-ween 2012: Over It Edition.

So, while I've done a yearly post about Slutoween and this year, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the fact that I'm doing it on November 1 should be excusable; because in New Jersey Halloween is rescheduled to November 5 and the Halloween Parade in the East Village has become a week long re-enactment of Escape From New York (Lots of Snake Plisskin costumes this year downtown I'm sure)


This is a weird year for Halloween, and while there were many "binders full of women" out on the street last night, there were still a few news items that are worth mentioning in Slutoween news.

As we all know from the presidential debates, Big Bird was in the news this year, and was a popular costume for kids and adults alike. But let's be fair, there's only so much whorish Big Bird we can all stand, and Sesame Street has been paying attention to who is selling what and if what they are selling is WHAT?!?!?! and stood up not only the Obama Campaign for it's partisan political ad (the Children's Television Workshop is consistently non-partisan).

So Sesame Street sent out cease and desist letters to those who would profit from the sluttiest of unlicensed costumes.

So, while there were plenty of revealing costumes on the street this year, I think we're all paying more attention to more substantial things, like taking care of the East Coast and looking forward to rebuilding. It's great to celebrate making it through these huge events and I think Thanksgiving is going to be even more exiting this year as we'll all have many more things to be thankful for than usual.

And for this year's gallery, I'm going to share with you this link, to the most scandalous revealing costumes of the 1890s.
OMG she's young to be showing that much leg, and isn't the Maltese one a little racist?