Seems that the gaming industry, as well as the advertising agencies they hire, still don't understand women too well. Or how to plan professional industry events without offending anyone, for that matter. The latest story of such comes to us from GDC, where a party hosted by the International Game Developers Association managed to upset a whole lot of people, thanks to entertainment in the form of scantily-clad lady dancers.
IGDA held a party some days ago, and had left the planning to social and mobile funding group YetiZen. Big mistake. Game designer Brenda Romero, as well several other members of IGDA, ended up resigning today in protest.
So what happened, exactly? Romero describes the situation:
"I went home last night to work on my Friday GDC talk feeling super uplifted by the turnout and support for the #1ReasonToBe panel. I woke up to DMs, texts and links to news of the IGDA party. It really saddens me. I have been a long-time supporter of the IGDA. However, my silence would have been complicity. I had no choice. And just hours after our panel, too."
One attendee, student developer Alicia Avril, snapped a photograph of at least a few dancers. She describes "at least three girls in white outfits -- one was in a skimpy t-shirt one was in this weird furry get-up -- dancing" up on stage. She also wrote:
"Knowing there are such concerned women as members of this group, you'd think that the IGDA would be more thoughtful in their own party and how they're portraying themselves."
At least two members have resigned. Romero's resignation was made public this morning via Twitter, stepping down from her position as co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games special interest group.
I resign as co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games SIG effective immediately. #1ReasonWhy.— Brenda Romero (@br) March 28, 2013
In response to a Facebook post by Romero, IGDA board of directors member Coray Seifert offered a personal apology. To Romero, he wrote:
"My personal reaction (NOT a response from the IGDA or representative of any other board members): This sucks and I'm sorry we let it happen. I would humbly ask folks to please come to the annual meeting today. Let's work together to make the IGDA a better org."
Independent programmer and developer Darius Kazemi also resigned, while also noting that his tenure as a board of directors member was about to end. He also took to Twitter to express his thoughts, and commented on his "reservations" over letting YetiZen sponsor IGDA a second year. Why? Apparently the organization pulled the same crap last year too.
I had massive reservations using YetiZen as our sponsor the second year in a row after they burned us last year by using scantily clad women— Darius Kazemi (@tinysubversions) March 28, 2013
Resignations aside, other groups will undoubtedly begin pulling support from IGDA over time. Courtney Stanton, founder of Women in Games Boston, reported on Twitter that the group would be withdrawing its support.
And hey just like that @wigboston is no longer promoting the IGDA anymore, fuck them.— Courtney Stanton (@q0rt) March 28, 2013
Is it any wonder that so many women find gaming inaccessible? Honestly, if this is a repeat offense, whose brilliant idea was it to let YetiZen take the reins another year?