Have you read ones of those ubiquitous "Women in Gaming" articles lately? If so, did you want to throttle the writer or did you merely roll your eyes?
Brit blogger Richard Cobbett offers male peers a humorous send-up of the genre in Writing A "Girls In Games" Article.
In the world according to Corbett, there is a 10-step formula for approaching articles about women in gaming. Number One is for the writer to consider himself a knight in shining armor or, what Cobbett calls a "champion of chivalry."
Once that's covered, the would-be journalist can move on to the next important topic of the day - deciding how to describe Lara Croft's boobs. Of course, in order to be recognized as a politically-correct correspondent, the formula requires the writer to over-generalize about female gamers and throw his arms (or pen) up in disgust at the attractive Frag Dolls. Keep in mind that the appropiately disgusted male writer should also post pictures of the Dolls, preferably in tight, short skirts.
The writer should quote only one female gamer, and above all, be a harbinger of doom. It's also important to blame the game industry because they are too commercial and only think about their bottom line.
Behind the wicked satire, Cobbett takes a hard look at what's become the standard for articles of this type. By continually pointing out issues that could even remotely be considered sexist, are the increasingly prevalent women-in-gaming articles doing more harm than good? Cobbett implies that journalists should avoid the common traps these articles always seem to fall into because readers are bored and no longer responding to such an overdone topic. While Cobbett doesn't offer advice on how authors should approach the topic, his article certainly covers enough of "what not to write about."
Both male and female readers seemed to react well to Corbett's message. One woman wrote, "As a female game writer who has had to try to tilt at this particular windmill a couple of times, I salute you! I'd like to hope that I didn't follow too many of your rules." Blogger Game Dev Gal added, "Brilliantly written. As a woman game developer people are constantly shoving articles under my nose about my importance as a female gamer, and this is SPOT ON."
MV: As a female gamer, I've read a number of these "women in gaming" articles in recent years, and I have to agree with blogger Cobbett. There have been times I feel like I should wear a t-shirt that reads "I have boobs and a console." I also feel like saying, "Why does it matter whether or not I'm female? If you make a decent game, I will play it." Hopefully more authors will take Corbett's advice and adjust their approach to female gamers accordingly.
-GP Correspondent Monica Valintinelli
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