Last week I shared an article by JP Kellam that made a link between Mainstream Gaming and the Male Gaze. There were many things that resonated with me in the article, particularly the idea of treating mainstream games as “low art” and the idea of adopting the language of genre film criticism to talk about it. Unfortunately, as a woman, I seem to be in a minority with my admiration of the piece as many women took exception to Kellam’s piece, dismissing it largely on the grounds that it was written by a man.
I can’t even begin to explain how angry and sad and frustrated this made me. While I agree that we can’t treat Kellam’s word as law on the subject and that there have been women arguing for similar approaches for years who haven’t gotten the same attention as Kellam, I thought it was an interesting perspective and worthy of investigation. Regardless of the gender of the person who wrote it. But the men in the comments for the piece also used it as an excuse to bash on women and “turbo-feminists.”
And then there I was, worried that by trying to defend the article I would be branded a “bad feminist.” I dunno, maybe I am.
I just don’t know any more.
All I know is that the more heated the debate gets, the more I want to tune out and establish the blanket-fort nation of Kittentopia: Where Nothing Bad Ever Happens. But I know that isn’t helpful.
So this is where the (other) new feature I’ve been teasing you all with comes in. Next week I’m going to be starting a series of interviews with women in the video game industry. It’s called “Dames Who Make Games” and it’s going to feature women in all levels of the industry, from QA testers, to artists, to VP’s and indie developers. It’s not about “women rule, men drool.” It’s not about “listen to how crappy women get treated in the industry.” It’s about letting women tell their stories in their own words. To put a face to amorphous idea of female gamers and give others an idea of the opportunities open to women in the industry.
You’re not going to agree with everything these women say. And that’s great.