The notion of video games as boy’s club is an old and, unfortunately, resonant one. At last year’s GDC, during the #1ReasontoBe panel, famed developer Brenda Romero said that she dreams of the day she can bring her daughter to to industry events and not be ashamed of the environment. Less than twenty-four hours later she publicly resigned from her position in the IGDA after it co-hosted an industry party that controversially featured exotic dancers as part of the night’s entertainment.
But the issue extends far beyond just questionable taste at parties. There are very real issues of harassment that plague gaming.
Anita Sarkeesian has famously faced very specific death and rape threats, the personal hacking of accounts, the spread of her private information, a game designed to act out violence against her, and ongoing online harassment for her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series.
In the world of competitive fighting games this kind of harassment and boy’s club mentality can prove especially pervasive, with terms like “rape” being a casual part of the vernacular. Stories of sexual harassment at tournaments and online can be found just about anywhere. One gamer, Aris Bakhtanians, notoriously said that sexual harassment and fighting game culture are “one and the same thing.”
What’s a gamer girl to do?
Competitive Super Smash Bros. player Lilo spent the last couple of weeks compiling data and quotes from other female Smash players, in the hopes of conveying the experiences of these women to the greater community. Here’s what she found.