The 20 Most Important White Women in GamingMay 26, 2008
Bonnie Ruberg blogged over at Heroine Sheik about her piece over at Gamasutra, “Women in Games: The Gamasutra 20”. Which is great! We need more pieces about women in the gaming industry – lord knows there aren’t enough of them (women, and pieces about them).
But, being the long-time veteran of the Internet that I am, I already knew what was coming before I even opened up the 21-page article. Click.
And so on, and so on.
From what I can gather, the article’s nominees were recommended and deliberated by a panel of Gamasutra editors. Now of course I don’t know who was on that panel, but I’m willing to guess they’re white, too. So we have a panel of white people in a white-dominant industry talking about some of the other great white people they know. I get that it’s also a white male-dominated industry, so I’m all for pieces like these that highlight the important work that non-white-men are doing in the industry, but it seems pretty shitty to give women of color the short end of the stick.
The tricky thing about all of this is, I doubt any of this was intentional in the least; I can’t imagine Ms. Ruberg calling a secret meeting of her local chapter of the Gamasutra White Supremacists to figure out Yet Another Way To Keep Those Pesky Colored Folk Down. In fact, I have no doubt that the article’s nomination process sounded like a perfectly good idea at the time, whatever it was – and it could have been something as innocuous as a few people getting together and talking about women that they really admired in the biz. The point to take away from all of this is not that the gaming industry is racist (if you’re taking that away from this article, you must be a newbie to this blog) but rather, if the status quo is an industry that excludes people of color AND women, doing a project aimed at promoting the women in the industry without any kind of thought for race produces a project that still leaves plenty of people feeling screwed. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The response to this kind of criticism is, inevitably, along one of two lines:
1. We would have more women of color on the list, except they just didn’t seem to measure up along our eminently objective standards of XYZ. This basically translates to, “women of color just aren’t good enough to hack it with us. That’s not racist at all!” Um, yeah.
2. Well, Pat, since you’re so smart, what women of color would you have added? To which I say, considering I don’t work in The Industry, I haven’t the faintest idea. But I wonder: was Nichol Bradford, Global Director of Strategic Growth at Vivendi Games (parent company to Blizzard Entertainment, among others) was ever considered for nomination? Considering her rather impassioned speech at last year’s GDC, and the work she’s doing with arguably the most influential gaming company of the last few years, I can’t imagine it would have been for lack of impact.
That’s enough from me at the moment – I’m currently still reeling from a bout with tonsilitis. Peace.