I recently had the pleasure of visiting BioWare’s Edmonton office, where I met and had tea with a group of fantastic women who work there, and with a few male allies, too. However, when I shared about this pleasant experience on Twitter, a number of people took the opportunity to voice their disapproval of my presence there, some going so far as to declare it the death of BioWare!
Taken individually, such comments can sometimes be amusing in their absurdity, but when you’re inundated with a flood of negative, often-hostile tweets, it can be discouraging, to put it mildly. Studios may consider shying away from bringing in feminist voices in the future, if receptions on social media are so overwhelmingly negative. And that’s exactly what those people who tweet so negatively in response to events like this want.
I say this not to bring people down, but to encourage people to act! If you’re glad to see things like this happening, tweets expressing support can go a long way toward countering the torrent of negative reactions such occasions always elicit from those people who are still fighting to maintain the old sexist status quo of gaming, and who see it as a tremendous threat when a feminist drops by a gaming studio for tea.
It may not occur to you to think that your positive reply or supportive comment would matter, but it does! Too often we tend to be silent and let the angry naysayers dominate the conversation. Those of us who want to see games become more diverse and inclusive need to show those studios who are actively taking part in the ongoing dialogue our support and encouragement. So the next time you see a game studio welcome a cool guest or take action toward a more equitable gaming landscape, let them know you approve of what they’re doing! Because almost certainly, hundreds of other people will be letting the studio know they don’t.