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Jacqueline Spiegel explores and exposes the dark side of gaming, a world where abusive misogyny is a sport. This isn't a problem we can or should ignore. It isn't going away and is one we all, men and women alike, have to face up to and deal with.
In my own mind it had been a really good few weeks for women in technology – it was all coming together – the karma was palpable. Kimberly Spillman at Google I/O, ground zero as it were, was all over the tee shirt story that served as a rallying cry that went out over the web – we female geeks really mattered that day, I really felt the shift in ground, we were getting somewhere.
This week the Female Decade continues to be re-imagined at DLDWomen – a decade where both men and women come to the table in record numbers to change the course for the other 50% of the population and I was preparing to write an article on the landscape of support for women in technology.
But somehow, all that came to a crashing halt when my dear fellow programmer and CompScister/CompScibling Melody Bliss shared a link to the article Flash Game Makes Players Beat Up "Tropes vs. Women" Creator introduced with a graphic that was disturbing:
And at that point I was left only with William Wordsworth, who asked so poignantly in 1798 "Have I not reason to lament / What man has made of man ?"
Up until that moment I had been extremely sheltered and naïve. I had no idea that a world like this existed - and I will bet that I am not the only one.
Reading the first article Melody posted, I still didn't quite get it – so ok, some loser made a Flash Game that bashes in a women's face. There will always be immaturity, and that game unwittingly helped a ground swell of support develop and coalesce amongst male and female voices that are sometimes content and complacent, and often times too busy to really stop and weigh in on an important cause – so in its own way, it was even helpful.
Photo Credit: Helen Lawrence
It wasn't until I started wading past what Escapist Magazine euphemistically called "a campaign of harassment" into the stark world of Helen Lewis at NewStatesman – that it really dawned on me, that this battle is as ugly as Ben Spurr's game. This is the world within gaming and the Internet where people can say, do and act any way they want. And this is a very scary place, because it is real.