Lisa Wong I've been working in games since the early 90s...so you know. I get to be old, and a woman. :). They're both bad. But with women, there's a different twist to it, because societally, we are judged and valued much more on perceived sexual viability. There is however, this tiny window for women, where that dude who sends out creeper vibes, switches it off like a faucet when he finds out you're closer to 40s. And then weirdly, starts talking to you like you're a colleague who might know what she's talking about! I figure, this is the small gap before invisibility, when everyone starts to resent you for showing up in public and being old.
Laralyn McWilliams It's especially tough as an older woman in game design. You get the "do you REALLY play games?" BS from being a woman AND the "are you REALLY up on what the market is after?" BS from being older. Woman designer over 50 in core/action games may be the most challenging combo.
Jen MacLean I have first-hand experience with ageism. An employer who had all sorts of harassment and discrimination issues told me not to hire anyone over 30-35 tops-because "we need people with lots of energy".
Jani Penttinen This is a real concern. I have always felt that I need to be accomplished by 30-years old, and then 40-years old, so that I don't need to be the guy who is too old and trying to get a job, or even worse, trying to get people to invest in a new startup when you're an old founder. Well, now I am over 40 and the accomplishments did not quite materialize yet so I guess 50 is the next barrier. I am not overly concerned of myself personally (being CEO is somewhat more age-permitting than my former career as a game programmer), but getting older makes it quite obvious that "old" people still have a lot to give. When I was 25 I think I would have considered 40-year old game programmer to be quite old, but now I would tend to think that by 40 you are probably starting to become mature enough to make smart choices that will save you and the whole team countless long nights of work.
Noah Dudley After a fairly long and successful career as a produce in the games industry, I absolutely STOPPED getting jobs when I turned 50. I went on about 35 interviews and as soon as they saw me the interview was basically over.
Patricia A Pizer I've been in interviews over the last couple of years that I could SEE these young guys thinking, "I am NOT hiring my MOM to be Creative Director."
Bryan Rocker Age discrimination is real, I have watched my very intelligent and highly skilled wife go to interview after interview and not get hired.
Luke Stapley Wow, I really don't know what to say. As a socially awkward guy, I have to agree with Jessica when we are in a business setting. I, like other men who are awkward with women, have zero idea how to act or deal with women at some times. I love gaming girls and that they are so into what I am, that I really want to have a great relationship with them. But I because I have no idea how to react I either have to ask too many questions or take things to some extreme or just brush it off. Maybe we need a middle ground. If women are more forgiving of our faults understanding them, we'll try much harder to be more in tune to what you want.
Tom Plunket Also statements like "men do it because it works" are lopsided. Even in a "traditional" power differential, a woman is playing her part because it works for her. Using sex as part of a transaction is not necessarily abuse. It could be abuse, it may often be abuse, I don't know, but it's abuse for reasons beyond the sexual transaction. Morality also plays a huge role; it is possible that there are men and women who just enjoy having sex with no strings attached. Identifying where our judgement of situations like these comes from can help us determine if that morality is really aligned with our beliefs.
Steve Crawford Jessica I want to thank you for posting this. I've observed something similar at times, with others and even occasionally with myself, and never really been able to pin down what was going on. Your post was a bit of a light bulb moment, so thank you for that! Not an easy topic to discuss.
Jani PenttinenThanks Jessica, what a great discussion you sparked. Nice to see people being able to discuss this topic in a civil manner.
I am not sure if this is appropriate, but my two cents: I think there are a lot of people in the games industry who are in the autism spectrum. I never really noticed this until I had a son who has Aspergers and I have learned to see what the symptoms are. One of the things is that people with Aspergers don't really know how to read other people's feelings. They lack empathy, and they also don't really know whether someone is annoyed, angry or happy when they look at their face or talk to them. I don't mean to say everyone in the games industry is autistic, or to say inappropriate behavior is somehow acceptable. But when I read comments from people in this discussion chain, some are saying they don't know what is appropriate when they are talking to a person of opposite sex at parties, etc. How to respond to flirting, how to know if you should let her go, and so on. When I see my peers at parties, I can clearly see many behave exactly as my son would.
Keith BoeskyThank you for being brave enough to write on a such a charged position. You are highlighting how much more there is to the issue than just some bad guys who overreach. Your point is well made when the situation is clear. A lot of times, especially in the world of people who are not world champion social cue responders, a perceived flirt is not a flirt either because the recipient doesn't understand or the sender did not realize they were doing it. Issues arise simply because boys and girls do not think a like. Once these signals go awry it is very difficult to unwind the situation and maybe even more difficult for the person who wants something to be secure enough to point it out at risk of losing the opportunity. This is the area where we need focus and support. Empower and support the people to speak up in the face of misunderstandings and bad behavior. This is not to say there is no intentional bad behavior out there, it is just not what you brought up in the post.
Jeremy BregermannI have nothing wrong with these tactics, it's a matter of recognizing the assets you have and best utilizing them to move forward in the game.
Nathan Mills Whether anyone agrees or wants to admit it, I think you've shown that you understand how men, in general, naturally and biologically think and respond. It's not popular to say it but I see that most men seem to be agreeing with you while most women do not.
John Dempsey You are on point and so refreshing too.
Jamie LeeceGreat post. The use of "sexy time" made me uncomfortable but I get the point.
Derek Smart Jessica, that was brilliant. And you're awesome (I asked my wife's permission to say that).