A Man’s World? My Ass.

I just got my speaker evaluations back from AGC. Primarily, I discovered that no one could actually hear any of the four panels I was on. The bulk of the comments were “Door kept opening, very distracting.” (This is not a slam on the commentators, by the way. The way AGC is set up is that there is always one really popular panel every time slot, and everyone who decides not to sit on the floor for the Cool Panel comes in ten minutes late to whatever panel still has seats. And, since only one of my panels was actually in a room larger than your basic public restroom, there was no room in mine either. So the door did indeed keep opening.)

One person wrote: “A women (sic) has to work very harrd (sic) in a mans (sic) world.” The rest of the comment was an invitation for me to act smarter compared to the men. Since this anonymous comment came from someone attending the panel where the august panelists were in a punchy mood, I will take a part of the criticism and bow in silent apology for my part of the shenanigans.

As for the first part of the critique… you have got to be shitting me.

This, y’all, is why I don’t attend pink panels, pink conferences, pink hoe-downs, or any other Yay Girl Power horseshit that this industry sees fit to shovel out in our periodic bursts of self-flagellation. The battle for respect is lost the minute you stand up to demand it – or admit in any way that you need to do more to achieve what someone else achieves by being born.

For one thing, it is a giant waste of time preaching to the converted, and the handful of industry leaders who bother attending Pink Panels are already convinced of the value a woman’s perspective can bring to design and implementation. The men who need to be convinced that women have something unique to contribute are attending general conference panels that appeal to their interests. I accomplish a hundred times more for my gender by speaking on one of those panels – not as a woman, but as someone with a unique perspective.

Of course, accomplishing anything for my gender pisses me off, because I don’t actually speak for my gender. I can’t, any more than my better half speaks for all handsome scruffy white guys with facial piercings. Women take a long time in the bathroom, but it’s because we’re in there washing our hands, not in there holding general elections on who gets to represent the entire population of females.

(As a side note: Gentlemen, if you work in an office in which the employee restroom is shared, and nestled amongst the cubes as opposed to out in the hall? Everyone can hear when you don’t wash your hands. And we all know what you were just touching. If you hooked up with that one young lady with the blog – right, her – we even know where it’s been. Wash. Your. Fucking. Hands.)

There *are* challenges in the gaming industry to women. I have heard people recommend that women switch to PR or marketing where the girls are already hanging out. Certainly women who think nothing of strip clubs or dirty jokes have an advantage over women (and men) who find these things a bit crude. And I’ve heard men that seemed so intelligent on the outside say in a sad voice that it’s too bad so-and-so is a woman, because she’ll just quit her job when she has her baby. All of these things (witnessed personally) are from within the last two years.

(Another side note: The reason “she” is likely to quit her job when she has her baby, dipshit, is because you pay her ten grand less than her male counterpart, which makes it hard to justify day care when it’s family finance time. Even if she does the really long term math and realizes that taking time off will destroy her retirement savings and Social Security check, she will still have to put up with you giving her the stinkeye for leaving to pick the kid up from day care some time before midnight. That grinds someone down in a way that is proscribed by the Geneva Conventions, not that we have to read those here in this country anymore. In short, I suspect women will quit less often when the men in their lives grow actual balls, and insist she be paid equally and that her partner take on an equal share of the kid fetching and your stinkeye. If you were less of a selfish, self-entitled prick, you’d have noticed that you pay your nanny more than you pay your level designers, and that therefore your level designers do not have nannies.)

And news flash, dumplings – HR is there to protect the company, not you. If protecting you saves the company from a lawsuit, peachy keen, but they weren’t put on this earth to make life fair, or to make assholes thoughtful, or to save orphan kittens. The person with the power to address the situation is you, not some surrogate mommy. Ask HR questions about health insurance and leave policies, and leave the tattletale bullshit to that one associate producer who gets off on it. I don’t say this because the men in question don’t deserve to be slapped back to the Dark Ages – I say this because the only one who suffers in this scenario is you.

So yes, things aren’t perfect. But saying “it’s a man’s world” is part of the goddamned problem. When you concede the battle with your opening salvo, you’ve already lost the war.

I do not concede that this is a man’s world. I don’t concede that the world is particularly anyone’s. I have friends and colleagues who have lost opportunities for being fat. Or pimply. Or shy. Or gay. Or short. Do you think all men have an automatic advantage? Ask the little guy with the high voice what a big honking advantage his genetics threw HIM. Hell, even advantages aren’t always what they seem. The tallest, richest guy I know is utterly dependent on that height to intimidate and that money to bully, because he’s got nothing else in his life… at all.

If my ideas, my character, and my value are somehow perceived as lesser by some idiot due to my gender, the loss is not mine. I am under no obligation to be smarter, more serious, harder working, better dressed, or anything else to “compensate” for something that is not a fault or a lack. I am absolutely under no obligation to be a credit to my gender. My obligations are the same as anyone else’s in this life: Do a good job at an occupation of value, contribute more than I consume, treat good people well, treat bad people with contempt, and to not hog both armrests on a cross country flight.

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27 Comments

  1. Skeetarian said,

    October 17, 2007 at 5:12 am

    It’s a world.

    Beyond that, it’s what you make of it.

    I’ve long held that trash is, trash. Matters not if it’s gender/race/religion/sexual preference/culture. If you are going to act like trash, expect me to treat you like it.

    I’ve never cared much for people that try to convince me that their viewpoint is more relevant than someone elses…or their plight is more dire than the next ‘group(s)’, blah, blah, blah.

    Produce positive results and hope that someone notices. If they don’t, keep producing until they do or you find somewhere else that appreciates the fact that you don’t just ‘show up for work’ every day.

    Some people waste time at work talking about sports, others about the latest reality show, another group is talking about their kids and another is whining about soandso or thisandthat…and then wonder why they’re not considered for the cube next to the window or the better position or why their sales territory isn’t doing better, etc.

    STFU and get some work done already!

  2. Mitchell said,

    October 17, 2007 at 5:56 am

    Well said.

    It was only today I was looking at a notice for a “Women in Games” meeting and questioning how it would be received if I started a “Homosexuals in Games” conference. I’m not saying I would want to do that but I think the reality is that just cause your a man doesn’t mean you slot into the games industry (and just because your a woman doesn’t mean you don’t).

    I get the feeling that a lot of the panels have more to do with creating a perception of acceptance rather than actually acting on one.

  3. Gabor said,

    October 17, 2007 at 11:12 am

    And this Dilbert comic goes up on the same day :

    http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20071017.html

    :))

  4. mystery said,

    October 17, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I am absolutely under no obligation to be a credit to my gender.

    You may be under no obligation, but you pull it off superbly anyway! 🙂

  5. Alec Bings said,

    October 17, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Hear hear! I recently wrote about how asking “What women want from games” (http://castle-in-the-air.com/2007/09/27/chess-for-girls-%e2%80%94-what-women-want-from-games/) is the wrong question. Asking what people want is far more useful.

    The corollary, of course, is that, as Skeetarian said, “It’s a world.” Identity politics so often betrays those who embrace it, and while the “Girl Powerz” does grant its participants a sphere in which they can claim hegemony over those excluded by their gender, it only reinforces the participants own exclusion from mainstream power.

    I’d go see a panel with you on it any day, but I’d definitely choose a general interest panel over one that focuses on gender . . . because I want to hear what you say not as a woman, but as an game insider.

    Again: hear hear!

    –Alec

  6. October 17, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    […] Sanya Weathers over at Eating Bees says that asking women in the game industry to talk constantly about their role as women instead of gaming professionals is the wrong thing to do to. Go read what she has to say. […]

  7. Moorgard said,

    October 17, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    My gosh, you broads sure know how to gab!

  8. Jason said,

    October 17, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I think in some ways that statement is right, look at how long it has taken for a woman to even run for president? I honestly believe that the country(some not all) has a problem with successful woman. I think there is validity in that statement, not saying it is correct, because its not, but it is the truth for a majority of situations.

  9. Georgia said,

    October 17, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    A-freakin-men!

    Coming from N.C., I’m always on the look-out for the gender discrimination. I can’t help it. It’s what happened at my last job (all women, 2 who were pregnant, were laid off in the first wave along with 3 token males — women were never given raises).

  10. somedude said,

    October 17, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    You, miss, are a very wise girl, and has earned even more of my respect.

  11. nikka said,

    October 18, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Actually, Jason, quite a few women have run for president. Hillary Clinton is just the first to be considered the front-runner of a major party. i’m not saying our culture doesn’t have some dissonance concerning powerful women, just that this particular factoid needed correcting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_United_States_presidential_and_vice-presidential_candidates

  12. October 18, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Yep. I’d love to see us drop these divisions. They’re meaningless. People are people.

    *Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes once asked Morgan Freeman, “How can we get rid of racism?”

    Freeman replied, “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”

    Same thing goes for “grrl gamers”, pink panels, etc. Can’t we all just play together?

    *[source: AARP]

  13. Ideas said,

    October 18, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Just a quick response to all the women who say things like “Everyone can hear when you don’t wash your hands. And we all know what you were just touching.” — No, you apparently don’t. It’s quite easy to piss without touching anything other than the zipper on my pants. Why do women think men fondle their penis while pissing? It’s quite easy for a male to piss (and not piss all over themselves, the floor, and the wall, although you might not think that judging by the state of most urinals) by unzipping and holding the clothing open, bounce once or twice when you’re done and pull it back in and zip up. If the urinal is not automagic, you might need to kick the handle to flush, but the business really can be done with no penis-finger interaction.

  14. Phaltran said,

    October 18, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    /applaud

    Hell yeah!

    By all means, let’s do what we can to get rid of divisions. I dislike the fact that there exist associations for the advancement of X people, yet, if I tried to start a group for the advancement of the white male, I’m being sexist AND racist. It’s based upon the assumption that the “old boys” are still in power. They’re only in power if we give it to them.

    I completely agree that salaries are rarely, if ever, based upon skills, responsibilities and merit. I encouraged my wife to find a better job because I knew she was underpaid. She quit earlier this week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a decent job finds her.

    As for Ideas suggestion about the no washing hands due to certain techniques… regardless you are in a germ-ridden area. Whether you touched yourself or not is irrelevant. You touched the doorknob on your way in didn’t you? Think the germs from the guy who DID touch himself and didn’t wash are gone? I mentally note the guys I see leaving the bathroom w/o washing and make sure that I never, ever shake their hand.

  15. Skeetarian said,

    October 19, 2007 at 1:06 am

    To further hijack this…

    Long time ago I heard some stand-up doing a routine and he was on the topic of oral sex and wanted to educate the ladies on the misperception that they are ‘icky, dirty’.

    He pointed out, that in fact, the male penis probably receives the MOST attention while showering (wink, nod)

    Then, it’s dried off with a clean towel and stored in clean pair of underwear where it sits, minding it’s own business…”When exactly does it get dirty?”
    😉

  16. October 19, 2007 at 7:10 am

    […] is rare that I feel that Sanya (blessed be her name) is wrong on an issue, but the particular sentiment expressed in her recent […]

  17. Maskedfencer said,

    October 19, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Phaltran, if you dirty your hands walking into the bathroom, then doesn’t it follow that your hands are once more dirty when you open the door to go out?

    On topic, though, I agree. Confrences for stuff like this is like university politics. It’s cutthroat only because it’s so inconsequential. Nobody that thinks differently ever hears it. I didn’t even know there were women’s conferences!

    I think our modern culture has lost the capacity for debate. We all just want to sit there and argue over wether to save the dolphins or the whales first, instead of topics with actual merit.

  18. =j said,

    October 19, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Hell, I’d love to quit my job after the wife has her baby. But I can’t lactate, so such a career change would not be very effective. What I would like is a little time off to take care of mother and child after the birth. I’m not sick. It sure as hell is no vacation. But is vitally important to getting mom and kid off to a good start.

    For the record, the wife got off at 6 and I got off at 5, so I was the one who got the stink-eye for sprinting out the door at 4:59 to trek across town and get the kid out of jail^H^H^H^H daycare. I have pretty thick skin though. Just because THEY can’t do a day’s work in 8 hours doesn’t mean I need to come in early and stay late.

  19. October 20, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Sanya.. Wow.. Way to rant. -_-
    Seriously though, you may not be obligated to be a credit to your gender – but you definitely have managed to be a credit to your industry.

  20. mythago said,

    October 21, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Do you think all men have an automatic advantage?

    Why yes, they do. The fact that they may also have disadvantages doesn’t mean the advantages go poof in a cloud of orange smoke. That’s why you have to worry about being seen as A Credit To Your Gender. That’s why your male colleagues don’t sorrowfully talk about what a shame it is that Joe in Accounting is probably going to quit to stay home with the baby once Mrs. Joe gives birth, and why Mrs. Joe isn’t getting paid $10K less a year than he is.

    It’s important not to let this shit rule your life, but it’s also important not to pretend that if only we don’t call the boys on their bullshit and perhaps if we try not to talk about being girls, maybe they’ll be nice to us.

  21. Odwalla said,

    October 23, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Lucky for me I never used the bathroom near Sanya’s desk when we both worked at Mythic….

  22. Dvord Direwood said,

    October 25, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    More Former Mythic employees to post:

    http://www.destructoid.com/restructuring-layoffs-forthcoming-at-ea-mythic-studios-50896.phtml#comments

  23. poena.dare said,

    October 25, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    This blog is a slap in the face to non-penis-touchers everywhere.

  24. MattF said,

    October 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I never realised my wangdoodle was this powerful. I mean, I knew it was mighty and all but… wow…

  25. Xanthippe said,

    October 30, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Nice post, couldn’t agree more. I don’t care about pink panels, don’t want to read about what pink panels think. I want creative people making games, not people picked due to gender.

    Enlightening comments too. Despite being married for over a decade, I had no idea that touching is not required. I remain skeptical, though. Sounds fishy.

  26. November 10, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    A little glimpse into how the industry treats women, particularly those in positions of authority: http://www.filmspot.com/users/jervo/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25194576

    While Jade Raymond is not hard on the eyes, it’s unfortunate that the creeps in the game industry, particularly at the larger sites, seem to focus on her instead of the game. How much of this is the fault of the game publisher/developer putting her in the spotlight? How much of this is the fault of the “journalists” writing these pieces? How much of it is based on the stereotype of gamers as lonely male losers who have never touched a girl?

    Still not something I’m particularly proud of, though.

  27. dbananza said,

    December 10, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    ‘Yay Girl Power horseshit’… i love it!!

    Other countries have perfectly sensible child care worked into everyday careers and lives as, simply, a necessity, which it is. i don’t know what the problem is in america.


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