One reason why there's so few women in games. And another. And another…

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The video games industry is not the friendliest of places for women. Tales of misogyny behind the scenes abound, while most mainstream games themselves treat women as though they are still being made for an audience of primarily teenage boys.But the voices of the women actually in that industry are rarely heard, particularly in aggregate. Which is why the hashtag #1reasonwhy is so important.

#1ReasonWhy

Women take to twitter to explain why there are so few of them in gaming.

Storified by Alex Hern · Tue, Nov 27 2012 08:31:42

The video games industry is not the friendliest of places for women. Tales of misogyny behind the scenes abound, while most mainstream games themselves treat women as though they are still being made for an audience of primarily teenage boys.But the voices of the women actually in that industry are rarely heard, particularly in aggregate. Which is why the hashtag #1reasonwhy is so important.
It started with Luke Crane, a designer of pen-and-paper RPGs, who asked:
Why are there so few lady game creators?Luke Crane
And received an answer:
Because most women still have a second shift job waiting for them at home. #1reasonwhyMeguey Baker
And then many, many more:
Every post-release positive review I've seen of games I've designed/published has couched praise for it/me in sexual innuendo. #1reasonwhyElizabeth
I'm told I'm not a "real" professional if I'm not working at the same companies as men, producing exact same types of work. #1reasonwhyLillian Cohen-Moore
When I first started playing DnD, I wasn't allowed to look at the book. Not kidding. #1reasonwhyfilamena
#1reasonwhy because "Rape is historically accurate"Geek Girl What Rules
Because every disclosure of harassment feels like risking never being hired again. #1reasonwhyLillian Cohen-Moore
Eventually, the conversation moved beyond the indie RPG world into the broader gaming community. Here's just a small selection:
Because I got blank states when I asked why a female soldier in a game I worked on looked like a porn star. #1reasonwhyCaryn Vainio
Because if I succeed, I'm exceptional. And if I fail, I'm proof that women shouldn't be in the industry. #1reasonwhyRowan Cota
Because you have to worry when you make even one game for women or kids, that you have now lost any credibility in "real" games. #1reasonwhyLaralyn McWilliams
#1reasonwhy there are few women in game design: you can be brave 99% of the time, but be emotional once, and you get sideways looks.Shoshana Kessock
#1reasonwhy Having to have a debate about why we shouldn't 'sex up' a 15yr old girl character design meant to appeal to 12yr old girls.Tara J. Brannigan
#1ReasonWhy Because sweet fiery Jesus popsicles, have you looked on any gaming forum ever, ever, ever?Fred Zeleny
Men who are deeply embedded in the games industry but rarely think about the women/other minorities in it. And don’t hire them. #1reasonwhyLogan Bonner
Because there are calendars hanging in the classrooms of my game design students with naked chicks promoting games. #1reasonwhyAnjin Anhut
Because I'm still referred to as a "girl" gamer or developer, instead of a woman. At age 40. #1ReasonwhyCaryn Vainio
None of my women developer friends will read comments on interviews they do, because the comments are so brutally nasty. #1reasonwhyCharles Randall
Because when we have the nerve to talk about issues with sexism in games, men lambaste us for "scaring all the women away." #1reasonwhystrange  language
Because I'm constantly told by fellow devs that mostly guys buy games, so there's no reason to appeal to women. #1reasonwhyCaryn Vainio
Because guys think I'm "oversensitive" when I complain about 'rape' jokes in the community. #1reasonwhyMelnetta
Most telling #1reasonwhy? "Because I'm scared to post this on Twitter." http://bit.ly/112v6q8 See: How sexism creates its own invisibility.Laura Hudson

 

A screenshot from the game Arkham Asylum.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.