Tag Archives: leigh alexander

Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day is February 1 [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Leigh has called off the event. She writes about why here.

Leigh Alexander and Ben Abraham have started an event called “Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day.” Leigh and Ben ask participants to use compliments on a male writer’s physical appearance when linking to their articles on February 1st. For example: “Check out the always-lovely Phil Kollar’s Ni No Kuni review.” The purpose of this exercise is to draw attention to the way female writers are objectified by focusing on their looks instead of their ideas. Leigh writes in the New Statesman about how these compliments are essentially microagresssions that wear her down when well-meaning people compliment her hair or other physical features when she’s writing about the video game industry. And the compliments are not always well-intended but can be meant to be demeaning or dismissive.

There have been a number of well-considered criticisms of this event, namely that simply turning the tables won’t help men understand what the problem is really like–guys might just find this awesome since most male tech writers don’t get any sort of comment on their appearance (unless it is attacks for being fat). But the way I look at it, it is similar to The Hawkeye Initiative, a blog that posts art that replaces female characters in comics in ridiculous poses with male Avenger Hawkeye. Both projects are lighthearted turning of the tables to point out how gendered comic book poses and how we talk about female writers are. Neither will make privileged men really feel what oppression is like, and both run the risk of being taken the wrong way or devolving into homophobic humor. But I don’t think concern about the lowest common denominator is a valid reason not to do either of these projects–there are people out there who will take the wrong message away from literally anything. But there are also people out there for whom this will be the amusing internet activity that will make them see what the problem is, and maybe they’ll think twice about complimenting a female writer’s body rather than her brain next time they link an article. And that’s the entire point.

You can read more about #Objectify at this FAQ.

GDC Online Panel “Writing The Unsung Experiences: Gender In Game Storytelling”

A GDC Online 2012 panel entitled Writing The Unsung Experiences: Gender In Game Storytelling is now available streaming for free from the GDC Vault. The speakers–Leigh Alexander, Jenn Frank, and our own Mattie Brice–tackle the topic of gender and diversity in games by addressing it as a writing and storytelling issue. The panel gets beyond the usual issues that come up in “women in games” panels and offers ideas for expanding the kinds of stories games can tell. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Writing The Unsung Experiences: Gender In Game Storytelling — GDC Vault

Recommended Reading: Sexism Bingo, EDs in geek culture, and more

Feminist Bingo. For full text, click through.


Geek Feminism has posted a Sexism in Games bingo card made by @fireholly99 that is a must read.  I will definitely be saving this one to whip out in the future!

[Trigger Warning: Disordered eating, bulemia]
In an amazing, thought-provoking and powerfully personal story, Jezebel republishes an article from Geek Feminism about geek women having eating disorders.  This woman deserves a lot of credit for sharing her story with us, and some support to know she’s not alone.

I’ve grown up through both geek and jock culture and they’re both the same. Dominated by men, a thin varnish over pervasive misogyny. The only difference is where the jocks know the girls have eating disorders, but don’t care; the geeks genuinely think that this part of the world cannot touch them.


So it’s okay to make fat jokes, cos everyone knows you don’t mean them, not when you’re fat and 2/3rds of the room is too. And it’s okay to mock girls who are “stupid” enough to want to starve or puke themselves pretty, because we all know that geeks are too smart to succumb to such base stuff as the desire for control and perfection.


Nicole Leffel guest authors for Kotaku about how developers should not be passing the buck to Japan in terms of misogyny in gaming.  As always, avoid the Kotaku comments like the plague.

Blame Japan. And, well, why not? It’s easier to imagine that vicious cultural problems are solely the product of some Over There place halfway around the world. Within the same minute Killian made another joke, this time dismissing the gratuitously sexualized camera angles used for female characters as a sign of improving technology. Again, the crowd laughed.


I hoped for the “But seriously…” moment that sometimes happens after someone makes a joke about an inflammatory topic, but it never came. There was no sobering transition to give the issue the weight it deserves. No examples were offered to show what’s being done to address the problem. The moderator pointed out that this isn’t just a problem in Japanese studios or with fighting games, citing StarCraft as another example of a game whose representation and community struggles with sexism. When nobody stepped up to challenge Killian’s comments further, it was on to the next question.

Again at Kotaku, Leigh Alexander pleads for some acknowledgement of simply being a games journalist and not always a “female games journalist”.   She then followed it up with a post on her own blog giving more insight.

And yet on a regular basis I hear–-even from you guys who write to me and describe yourselves as my “fans” (sidenote: be fans of the people I write about who actually make things instead of people who just talk about them)… I hear myself described as “one of the most prominent female gaming journalists”, or as a “feminist writer.” When you guys come up to me at events you want to tell me about things you’ve read or games you designed that I might be interested in because they deal with gender stuff.


Which, I mean, okay, is fine. Obviously I’m concerned about gender inequity and prejudice in the gaming space or I wouldn’t have spent words to get us here. I’ve written a lot about sex stuff, too. But again, you guys: I work all day every day and have done so for years. I write about business models, gaming and art culture, gamified apps (just in the past couple weeks!)-–and so many of you still think my gender is my most important adjective.

What else have you read that we should be talking about?