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.

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6 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: GDC Dancing Women, Sexist or SHUT UP?


On March 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Ask yourself this question – replace the dancing ladies with dancing dudes with pretty much just a sock on. Are you fine with that? I don’t think what happened needed to happen. The event company sound like they pulled the same thing before.

I think a line was crossed, but I don’t know how far it was crossed. The gaming industry seems like a boys club. And if it like that, it should change, as all the old boys clubs are just that old.


On March 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm

“The party was at a nightclub where women dancing is not unusual. ”

Disingenuous argument……the dancers were not nightclub employees, but outside hirelings.


On March 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

@Roman …

Thats hilarious. I think thats what the wanted or maybe they were mad because they didnt get the memo to dress like they did.


On March 30, 2013 at 1:22 am

In the previous article I made a joke, but the more I think about it, the more this whole thing smells like it was intentional. What guy just happens to forget that the entertainment company they hired employs dancing girls dressed like that? Who just happens to forget to inform either the company or the assistant to inform the company that they dont want women dressed like that when the company has been hired to entertain a meeting of woman’s rights and other similar topics?

This was intentional, someone knew what they were doing. Someone was sending a message plausible dependability attached to it.

Bernard Saint

On March 30, 2013 at 4:34 am

Definitely ‘shut up.’ A complete nontroversy stirred up for the sake of complaining, same as the laughable response to the Payday video. When these same people start moaning about how male gamers are wrongly portrayed as either lonely nerds or roided-up jocks, then I might listen. Until then, I’ll see this for what it is – a bunch of hypocrites looking for a shortcut to favouritism by crying discrimination every week. No line was crossed, no apology is required and nothing about the industry was reflected other than a small female/pseudo-liberal middle-class male subsection’s well-known hatred towards the current gamer stereotype.

Vacuous, PC bullsh** for trendy bandwagon-jumping sanctimonious sycophants. End of.


On March 30, 2013 at 5:32 am

Good thing Ian Miles Cheong didn’t post this one. It’s obvious that he’s nailed his colours to the mast on this issue and even appears to be moderating comments that call his views into question, even the most rational and evidential posts aren’t safe from his insecurity.

There’s no story here, it’s a PR -up at most.