So, I’ve noticed a lot of posts around the media about the PS4 reveal and its poor representation of women. I just wanted to get my thoughts down before I forgot them.
The first point of focus was that not one of the presenters were women. I’ll admit, I actually didn’t notice it until it was pointed out to me and I’m seeing a lot of dismissive comments from people in the same boat. A lot of people claim that it is just to sir up trouble but I feel this is an ignorant and unsympathetic way to assess the situation. Even if the writers are stirring up trouble, it still doesn’t excuse the fact that the only women in the reveal was a character model being beaten up in about five seconds of game footage and a couple of people playing instruments. Seriously, that is the only representation of 50% of the world’s population in one of the biggest gaming reveals of the year. Is it so hard to imagine that this might actually not be a positive thing for women in or looking to get into the industry?
I saw other comments dismissing the criticism, saying that no other console reveal had women so why should we care this time? We should care, because like it or not, women are playing games, they’re making games and their criticising your terrible representations of them in the industry. For goodness sake, it wasn’t until a women started getting sexually harassed and threatened with rape for people to wake up to the idea that maybe the culture doesn’t treat them very well, which is simply disgraceful.
I guess what I’m saying is, how do people not see a problem here? I’m glad people are getting pissed off and talking about it. It is the only way we’re going to get over these hurdles. If you don’t like it you can either deal with it or help eliminate the problem quicker by speaking up when crap like this happens, because like it or not, this is a problem that has been addressed and the discussions won’t stop until it is resolved.
As for me, my initial reaction was that the reveal was heavily male-focused. Like I said earlier, I didn’t notice the lack of women but I did get a sense of testosterone-fuelled gaming, such as that bruting new Dualshock 4 controller which just screams boys-toy. My favourite reveal was ‘The Witness’ from the developers of Braid, which, coincidentally enough, was probably the most gender neutral game announced. Maybe I liked it because there’s something in my biology that makes me prefer puzzle games but who knows.
Maybe we’re all over thinking it. Maybe there simply weren’t any women in the development teams appropriate enough to appear in the presentation. Maybe we’re so far beyond worrying about gender, sexuality and race that we don’t even have to care if every presenter being either an Asian or Caucasian male of roughly 20-40yrs of age because games are still for everybody.
…But something tells me we’re probably not there yet.