Interlude: Oh, But It Is Social Justice

I know that the dust has barely settled on my post about leaving WoW but I felt the need to say something, especially with this week being E3 and pretty much dropping jewels at my feet to talk about. There’s several large stories that I’d love to cover in more depth (and probably will on Justice Points) but given the lack of time this week, I just wanted to highlight someone who was saying these things, especially regarding Ubisoft’s admission that they did not include a woman in their upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity multi-player (or even as a main protagonist).

Ashelia is someone I don’t agree with sometimes, but I feel this article in particular hits a lot of right notes. The only thing I really disagree with though is this:

Honestly, it’s not even about women’s rights or so-called social justice at this point, either.

I hate criticizing women in games journalism but I feel this sentence really bears harping upon. I don’t want to speculate about why this was put here, but this is a common admission from quite a few women over the years. This isn’t unique to just Ashelia’s work, basically. But it is pretty untrue, in my opinion. I get not wanting to be seen as one of those “crazy” “feminists” that scream and cry about inclusion in video games, despite espousing feminist virtues for the other thousand words in the article. Not embracing that identity is someone’s choice, but to say that not including women in video games isn’t a women’s rights or is “so-called” social justice (by the way, social justice is an academic term that became more popular in the 1970s but has roots in pre-20th century discourse) is just flat out wrong in my eyes.

People seem to want to restrain caring about women to a couple of subjects like voting rights, the wage gap and possibly parental leave but do not think it includes media representation. As someone who has been hammering on these topics for almost four years now, I say that it does! How we feel about ourselves, whether we see ourselves as important absolutely demands that we see ourselves in the media we consume. It validates ideas that people internalize – if you fail to include women (or people of color, disabled people, trans people, etc) you are saying that they are not important, that their stories are less worthy of recognition. The fact that video games is one of the fastest growing forms of media (as well as experienced by an audience that’s 48% women) means that this absolutely is a crucial place for representation and diversity. This means that it is absolutely a social justice issue.

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This week has kinda gotten away from me, but I wanted to just say that I will be tackling some of E3’s offerings in the coming days.

Blizzcon 2013: Harassment Policy?

If you weren’t reading Twitter this weekend, I spent a great deal of time on Saturday thinking about how we’ve had a rise of incidents around some of the major gaming conventions with women and them being harassed or assaulted in some way. Lhivera brought up a good point about the stuff that the author John Scalzi has been working on with regards to not visiting conventions that don’t have harassment policies on the books, so I went looking for one for Blizzcon.

It should have one, right?

Unless it’s hidden in some obscure place that only an employee would know about, there seems to not be ANY conduct, safety or harassment policies for Blizzcon. This made me rather concerned as I know I’ve attended Blizzcon with the threat of being stalked hanging over my head, and I know of at least one person who was made to feel unsafe at Blizzcon for similar reasons. This seems like a place where a call to action is necessary! I meandered over to the official Blizzcon forums and made a thread detailing why a policy is very much needed.

Blizzcon – Harassment/Safety Policy?

Blizzcon attendees (all of them!) need to be able to attend the convention and feel safe – not just from assault, but from hateful language as well and I’m hoping Blizzard gets wind of the thread. So far it’s had some good, positive responses and I’m hoping it picks up steam as the week goes on. If you want to add your voice to it, or even just thumbs up my post, it’d be super appreciated. I feel this is a big issue – not only for us as attendees, but for Blizzard. Having a standard operating procedure for handling these sorts of events may be internal, but having it openly posted externally would go a long way to making con-goers feel that they are protected and have channels to go through if something happens to them.

I’m really hoping nothing EVER happens to anyone, but the reality of the situation is that things can and do happen and we need to make sure that Blizzard and their fans are on the same page: healthy, happy and respected.

I will also be writing up a guide about how to survive Blizzcon in the coming months so keep your eye out for that as well.