Misogyny in videogames and their corresponding communities is something of a volatile topic at the moment. From Anita Sarkeesian falling victim to an online hate campaign, to Australian games journalist Rae Johnston having her gaming credibility personally questioned by a stranger; there are plenty of examples of sexism and misogyny to find. Evidence of this can be found in the 2012 online Twitter campaign called #1reasonwhy that showed just how widespread misogyny really is in the video game industry, community and culture.
The #1reasonwhy movement bears multiple similarities to the #mencallmethings movement, which served to empower women by giving them an online platform to share their hardships, voice their concerns and support one another (Evans 2011). The hashtag itself is supposed to be answering a question posed in a tweet by pen-and-paper RPG designer Luke Crane (2012), “Why are there so few lady game creators?” (in Hern 2012). Yare (2012) identifies a number of recurring issues the tweets raise, such as the attitude that women land their roles in the industry based on their appearance, that the female audience is often overlooked in regards to game design, and simply that men are hostile or dismissive towards women in the industry. In fact there are any number of examples of Twitter users who joined in the discussion only to dispute, dismiss and make light of the issues being raised in it.
What the #1reasonwhy movement does is remind us of a broader troubling trend we are seeing online; that women who are seen to be challenging or participating in “men’s spaces” can expect aggression, abuse or may just simply be dismissed as unimportant (Filipovic 2007). According to the latest ESA (2014) statistics, 48% of gamers are now female, so the issues raised by the #1reasonwhy movement are only going to become more significant as the games industry and community negotiate to create a more inclusive space for everyone.
Evans, K 2011, ‘Men call me things: It’s not as romantic as it sounds’, The Drum, 11 November, viewed 11 May 2014 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3659712.html
Hern, A 2012, ‘One reason why there’s so few women in games. And another. And another…’, New Statesman, 27 November, viewed 11 May 2014 http://www.newstatesman.com/media/2012/11/one-reason-why-theres-so-few-women-games-and-another-and-another
Yare, B 2012, ‘1 Reason Why: Twitter Examines the Stunning Lack of Female Game Designers’, Feminspire, viewed 11 May 2014 http://feminspire.com/1-reason-why-twitter-examines-the-stunning-lack-of-female-game-designers/
Filipovic, J 2007, ‘Blogging while female: How internet misogyny parallels ‘real-world’ harrassment’, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, p.295-304
Entertainment Software Association 2014, ‘Game Player Data’, ESA Entertainment Software Association, viewed 11 May 2014 http://www.theesa.com/facts/gameplayer.asp