Video games are a cross-cultural phenomenon.
The industry generates more than $55 billion in global revenue annually. If that statistic doesn’t impress you, than how about this one: nearly 60% of all Americans play video games on a regular basis.
But is the industry promoting a dangerous culture of discrimination and bias?
Lilian Chen: Sexism in gaming
Retired gamer Lilian Chen, also known as the nickname “Milktea” in the gaming world, started playing Super Smash Brothers Melee when she was just a kid. She liked it so much she decided to start competing. While just 17 years old, she became one of the few females traveling to competitions and conventions. Lilian Chen not only liked the competition, she liked the community, too.
Participating in competitive gaming provided Lilian with a whole new world—one she embraced and appreciates to this day. But she hasn’t been immune to the ugly side of the gaming world. She was disturbed by the online scrutiny and gender disparities. As much as she loved her community, she couldn’t let the darker sides go unnoticed.
Although more than 50% of electronic gamers are women, they can still be treated as a minority and they face harassment. Lilian took on the problem head on with empathy.
Lilian Chen joins Mike Walter in our New York studio to explain why she decided to take a stand.
Maddy Myers: Feminism in gaming
The global video game market is exploding! Financial experts say it will reach more than $110 billion in 2015. Growth and profits are predicted to only increase in the coming years. Gaming journalist Maddy Myers has her finger on the pulse of the gaming industry.
She’s an editor at The Mary Sue, an online entertainment news site geared toward women. Maddy is also a host on a weekly gaming podcast called “Isometric” on Relay FM. Her objection to sexist representations in the video game industry raised both eyebrows and consciousness. Maddy says because she’s a woman, she’s been subjected to more intense scrutiny and harassment.
Maddy joins Mike Walter in our New York studio to offer a glimpse at what it’s like to be a woman working in a male-dominated industry.
Brianna Wu: Harassment in gaming
Brianna Wu is a video game developer and gaming aficionado who credits Princess Peach from “Super Mario Brothers Two” for sparking her passion for games. She says playing the female character made her realize equality was necessary in the gaming world.
Since then, Brianna has developed and released several hit video games, founded her own company and become the host of the weekly gaming podcast called “Isometric” podcast on Relay FM.
One of a very small percentage of female video game developers, Brianna has become an outspoken advocate for women in the industry and the unwitting victim of bullying, harassment and death threats by those involved with Gamer Gate — a misogynistic online campaign aimed at intimidating and silencing women in gaming.
Refusing to back down, she has appealed to law enforcement and government officials to strengthen oversight and punish perpetrators of online violence.
Brianna sits down with Mike Walter in our New York studio to discuss her experience and prove that she won’t be silenced.
STEM from Dance: Girls step to success
What do science, technology, engineering and mathematics have in common with the art of dance?
On the surface – not much.
But STEM From Dance, a New York City-based non-profit group, is using dance to expose girls, in low-income communities, to the opportunities available to them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – also known as STEM education.
Despite women and minorities being directed toward careers in STEM, they are currently woefully underrepresented. Women make up less than a quarter of the STEM workforce in the United States. Less than two percent of those numbers are women of color. This lack of diversity is creating a domino effect. The net result is sub-cultures of inequality, like what’s happening in the video gaming world.
But with nearly 80% of future careers requiring STEM knowledge and skills, STEM From Dance is using a creative approach to redefine access for girls and minorities and hopefully turn the tide of discrimination once and for all.
Connect with STEM from Dance on Facebook.