There’s been a lot of talk about equality in the game industry lately. Well, there has been a lot of talk about it for a long time. Now’s just the time when the issue has taken center stage, largely thanks to social media, GDC, and a bunch of amazing people brave enough to get up and talk about it. GDC week was so inspiring and provided so much to think about that I’m just now beginning to process it.
The concept of privilege has wormed its way through my brain for the past couple of years, and just recently I feel like I have a good handle on it. Being a white cis male who primarily dates women comes with a hefty serving of privilege, meaning the vast majority of people I come in contact with in the industry can instantly relate to me. That makes them more comfortable and confident in me, because I’m like them. That means it’s easier for me to get a job, get a promotion, or talk to a superior about problems I think should be addressed.
That part I understood, even if I didn’t like the implications. But I had no idea what to do about it, or even if it was my place to do something about it. Would the white dude trying to step in to help gender and race representation be just as insulting as the behavior causing the problem in the first place? Would I be treated with suspicion or mocked for my naiveté? I did nothing for fear of looking like an ass or pissing someone off.
Doing nothing is obviously not a valid strategy. In the case of institutionalized sexism, the problem is we’re in an industry that is overwhelmingly male. If only women work to right these wrongs, nothing’s gonna happen. Similar logic works for all the other representation discrepancies. The rest of us have to jump in and help if we want to see change.
It is the responsibility of those with privilege to use that privilege to achieve balance.