Controversy struck the internet yesterday over an all-female gaming event planned in Spain.
An event called Gaming Ladies was announced yesterday by King, the developers behind Candy Crush Saga, at their offices in Barcelona, and would host four panels about women in the video game industry. However, many people began to complain about the gender-specific nature of the event. Things only became worse when the biggest forum in Spain, Forocoches, picked up the news, sparking threads against the event, with some members suggesting they gain entry by disguising themselves as women and claiming to be transgender. King also began receiving pressure to cancel the event before ultimately giving in after a few hours.
As unfortunate as it is, geek culture has endured similar results in the past when it comes to all-female events. When DC’s Wonder Woman premiered, a Texas-based movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse made the decision to host all-women screenings of the film. This decision was met with a ton of backlash, from a predominantly male subgroup. It wasn’t long before social media was filled with complaints. The Cinema chain defended their choice for an all-women screening, instead offering more days to where only women could see the film in place an apology. Alamo Drafthouse did release a statement, however, stating that their actions were not to discourage others from seeing the film and that they want everyone to enjoy it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, companies like King and gamers have been taking small steps to increase gender equality in the video game industry. In 2014, a Finnish games tournament was ended over a decision to only allow male pro gamers. More and more all-female eSports teams have also been formed over years, promoting and encouraging more girls to express their interest in video games. It’s unfortunate that there are still large groups against welcoming people of all genders into the gaming community.