Harassment and Under-Representation in Gaming: How to Fix It

We over-complicate everything. The fix is simple, provided we're capable.

We over-complicate everything. The fix is simple, provided we're capable.

It’s a common topic these days, especially around these parts.

The events: A recent disgusting incident featuring a so-called “journalist” and his deplorable conduct, multiple editorials calling out the game industry for being behind the times regarding diversity, and a general call to arms for social rightness and political correctness.

Granted, one could write entire books on each individual subject. It appears to be complicated and perhaps even impossible. Is there a solution?

“Ignore it, maybe it’ll go away”

My grandmother used to say this whenever I was being annoying. I always laughed. Obviously, ignoring any of the aforementioned issues won’t solve anything and in fact, will likely exacerbate said issues. After all, turning a blind eye to problems is what I like to call “ostrich syndrome” and there’s no excuse for it. Ignoring the unfortunate realities of sexual harassment in the gaming industry and the under-representation of minorities and other groups won’t help.

Then again, in looking back at my grandmother’s unwitting words of wisdom…it actually worked. I mean, if she had practiced what she preached, it would’ve worked.

She never really ignored me; she just said that to make me – and others – laugh. Had she actually ignored me, though, it would’ve been quite effective. I would’ve invariably stopped doing whatever irritating thing I was doing. And I’d probably never do it again. I loved my grandmother; I wouldn’t have been able to stand for her to ignore me.

The situation I tackle in this article isn’t perfectly analogous. I don’t mean that ignoring the harassed and under-represented will be good for them, but I do mean that if we shift our seriously skewed priorities, that “call to arms” simply wouldn’t be necessary.

“I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live my life for another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” — John Galt, “Atlus Shrugged”

Here’s your answer, at least in some form.

The role of the individual is being crushed by a society obsessed with “social responsibility.” Such an obsession erodes personal responsibility; it eats away at the inherent capability of an individual. Yes, sexual harassment is a problem in the industry, primarily because it’s a big boy’s club and, incidentally, an immature boy’s club. We have to admit that. Yes, many of our protagonists and primary characters are straight and white. It’s starting to change and will continue to change, but I’m not interested in that.

I’m interested in achievement and accomplishment. I’m interested in people doing their jobs to the best of their ability. I’m interested in taking a vested interest in one’s life and running with it, regardless of what other people say or think. You take what God (or nature, whatever you choose to believe) gave you, and you use it. You use it every day for the betterment of yourself, which will subsequently better all of humanity.

Individualism and the snowball effect

Women are being harassed by men with major insecurity issues. Maybe they weren’t raised correctly, maybe they never learned how to respect women, maybe they’re just plan asses. If they focused on the betterment of themselves each and every day, harassment would be unlikely. It wouldn’t concern them. Why? Because they would see every individual as they see themselves: As fonts of untapped energy, ambition and capability. Doesn’t matter if you’re a woman; if you’re good at what you do, you will be respected. If you’re not, you’re just not that intriguing. Either way, harassment is not in the vicinity.

Under-represented groups and parties? If a homosexual individual writes a great script for a video game, it should be picked up. If a minority transgender individual is one hell of an actor, he should be given great roles. If there’s as much diversity in this country as people claim, and if they have all worked to better themselves – per their “moral obligation to be intelligent,” as coined by professor John Erskine – they will succeed. In that world, achievement will be acknowledged and rewarded.

What you are and who you are is irrelevant. If you can’t compete on the same level, it matters not what color your skin is, what God you worship, or how you prefer your waffles in the morning (all of it equally trivial). You just weren’t good enough.

Yes, the rallying cry of, “but not everyone has the same chances and opportunities!” Oh, but they would in a world where the individual achieves, where the epitome of “social responsibility” is personal achievement.

Damnit…this isn’t realistic, is it?

It should be but it isn’t. Maybe I am wrong. The solution, despite being absurdly simple, can’t possibly come to fruition. We just can’t get out of our own way. We like the drama, don’t we? We’re far more interested in dealing with the surface problems; it’s so much easier to say, “I’m offended” or “I’m not represented” or “I’m unfairly judged” and therefore, “I refuse to shut them all out and apply myself.” The only perfectly self-confident, unconcerned, carefree, life-loving individual is the individual.

Galt had something else to say when he was forced to address the nation at gunpoint. He was told to tell the people he’d save them, because he was the only one left who could. And so, he looked out at people who had ceased to function, who looked to each other for help, who expected others to fix their own problems and said, correctly-

“Get the hell out of my way!”

About the author


A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.