Browsing the net tonight I found two articles that caught my eye , over on Feministing ,about a lesbian being chased off and effectively banned from x-box live and the other over on the F-word about female I.T workers quitting their jobs because of the industry’s sexism.
To be honest , at first, I thought the headline `Lesbian banned from X-box live!` was a headline straight out of The Sun in the `Freddie Starr ate my hamster` mould. It was absolutely ridiculous and laughed until I checked out the whole article. I started to think about the last x-box game I completed (Fable II ), its a role playing game with fighting,magic and relies on interpersonal responses with the game virtual characters in order to fully assess renown.
Did it matter if I was a male or female character? A main unlock achievement in the game is to get married and was it a problem if I chose a member of the same sex? No .So sexuality equality is creeping into some games these days ,so why does it matter if you express your sexuality or just simply experiment? Its the old chestnut `just think about the children!` panic , in other terms ‘I don’t want to explain why some people have different sexualities , it makes me uncomfortable’.
That comment pointed to me over to the furor over a disabled woman presenting kids TV. A women with one able arm is presenting toddler t.v . So what? most of the rational thinking population may think,but no, during a Radio 2 talk show a listener rang in and complained that this woman would give his kids nightmares. Well Mr phone man ,my kids are 3 and 4 and they didn’t bat an eyelid or comment on it!
Back to the game…upon completing the game I was shown the credits. How many female programmers were credited? Two ,that’s right two. Out of thirty five! WTF! Why is that I thought to myself? Maybe I’m being naive here but I thought we lived in 2009 , and that technology and jobs within the tech industry were about merit and not about gender. I’m wrong according to the excellent article over on The F-word. Sexism is rife in the I.T industry , apparently us ‘girls’ should stick to low paying call center jobs and making the tea at gaming studios.
I have now made a conscious decision to learn programming , I’m kind of into finding out what my p.c can do and regular readers know that I’m an advocate of open source software, and I like messing around with Linux operating system.
I used to work in pubs , I know that most men are socialized in a sexist manner but I thought that on-line we as women could be what we wanted to be , be it androgynous, lesbian, bisexual or a spider plankton from Mars. Who cares as long as you find liberty and kinship which under pins the whole ethic of the World Wide Web or even the supposed male dominated Hacker world :-
“Hackers should be judged by their hacking , not bogus criteria such as degrees,age,race or position”.(Levy,S.Hackers(1994)Penguin.New York.