I sympathize with those of you talking about Racefail and other instances of racial minorities in SF fandom. My own issue along these lines is women/girls in gaming, especially as it has many parallels to women in science.
Waaay back in 2006 I went to PAX (a con for video gamers) (back when it was only in Seattle) and had some quite uncomfortable experiences (REDACTED IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, summaries available to my friendslist here
) including both blatant sexism from employees/volunteers working the con, and from other women/girls attending. (My point being that sometimes when the atmosphere is the most sexist, women respond by becoming our own worst enemies.) Well I'm going again now that there's another one in my neck of the woods, and Jonathan Coulton is one of the musicians playing and the tickets for the whole thing were the same price as a Coulton concert usually is alone.
In case you are not familiar with it, PAX is a gaming con centered around three or so things: (1) webcomics and specifically the Penny-Arcade webcomic and its creators nicknamed Gabe and Tycho (PAX stands for Penny-Arcade eXpo), and any panels with Tycho and Gabe have a are HUGE audience; (2) the keynote speech is always some hugely famous geek, Wil Wheaton being this year's and a previous one as well; and (3) another major draw is the concerts, one held on Friday night and one on Saturday night, of "nerd-core" and other geek-centric music, this year MC Frontalot is the star of Friday's and JoCo is the star of Saturday's. These three events are majorly important, like (if I'm getting my analogy right) Arisia's Masquerade is majorly important to that con.
When reading through the schedule for PAX East this year, I was happy to see that there's a panel on girls in gaming:
Girls and Games: The Growing Role of Women in the Game Industry
According to the ESA, more than 43% of video gamers are female, making women the single largest untapped market segment in the gaming industry. Look at the milestones crossed and the hurdles to come as developers and publishers reach out to this previously overlooked demographic. Are current strategies effective? What does this mean for the game industry as a whole?
Panelists Include: Brittany Vincent [Editor-in-Chief, Spawn Kill], Julie Furman [Founder, SFX360], Jeff Kalles [Penny Arcade], Alexis Hebert [Community Relations Manager, Terminal Reality]
When I first saw this, I was relieved to think that PAX had apparently made some progress from their gaffes of 2006. And then I realized something I'd missed on the previous line.
Friday Night Concerts!
Break out your cell phone and handheld gaming screens to welcome our musical acts to Boston! The Protomen, Anamanaguchi, Metroid Metal, and MC Frontalot will all be rocking for the first night of our Nerdcore Concert Series. The first 4,000 attendees at PAX Friday afternoon will receive wristbands for guaranteed entry, with the remaining seats being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Yes, the Girls and Games panel is running against the Friday night concert, not only guaranteeing it a low turnout and showing that the people who made the schedule don't give a shit that it'll have a low turnout and revealing that they don't give a shit about the plight of women/girls in gaming, but also guaranteeing that anyone who attends the Girls and Games panel is unable to attend the concert and showing that the people who made the schedule don't give a shit that we can't attend the concert and revealing that they don't give a shit about including women/girls in the larger gaming community.
This pisses the hell out of me. Am I overreacting?
Edit: If your response is "yes, you're overreacting" and you're not yourself a member of a minority within a fandom please first (1) try viewing it from my point of view, then (2) if you still think I'm overreacting I'd appreciate it if you explained your viewpoint but be prepared for me to not respond. As usual, my rules for my journal are no bashing or insults or expressions of anger. Any such comments will be frozen at a minimum or potentially deleted.