Friday Flame Wars: GDC Dancing Women, Sexist or SHUT UP?
Friday Flame Wars is a recurring feature on GameFront. We present a hot-button issue, and then encourage a healthy debate within our community.
The Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco offered a look into the inner workings of the gaming industry, but not exactly in the way the organizers had hoped. On the same day a panel was held to address the issues facing women breaking into and thriving in the male-dominated world of game development, the organizers also threw a party that included scantily-clad female dancers.
The IGDA that puts together GDC has already distanced themselves from this, pointing the finger at the outside company they contracted with to plan the party, but the incident raised a number of questions about how women are treated in the industry.
On the one hand, women in a professional setting (and for the record, this is a professional event held to help those in the industry network) rightfully feel demeaned when trying to establish themselves as credible game industry professionals while the men they are trying to talk to are watching female dancers gyrate for their visual pleasure. And it’s usually much worse than that. Reports of bad behavior across the industry include blatant groping, unwanted texts with offers of sex, and the underlying implication that if women don’t keep quiet and endure unwelcome advances they may not be working in the games industry they love for very long.
On the other hand, c’mon. Women dancing at clubs is a concept that isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and not everyone shares the same moral values. In short, you can’t please everyone. The party was at a nightclub where women dancing is not unusual. Most men can tell the difference between a dancer and a fellow industry professional.
Clearly there are two sides (and more) to this debate. Let us know how you see it in the comments below. But don’t be jerk by posting misogynist rants or personal attacks. Really, don’t be that guy.