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This week was Comic-Con, the Dark Knight Rises came out yesterday and The Avengers is far and away the biggest movie of the year. The last release of the Call of Duty game franchise grossed $400 million dollars in its first day. By any measure, geek and gaming culture has escaped the basement. Despite its broad popularity, nerd culture doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to the depiction of women. Maybe you noticed that Scarlett Johansson was the only one on the Avengers poster whose rear-end was so prominently featured.
On the gaming side, the problems are well known. Many games, like the aforementioned Call of Duty series, don’t feature women at all. And then there are games like Grand Theft Auto where women are featured, but not in an empowering way.
In the last couple weeks there have a been a few examples of nerd culture showing is dark side and today’s guests found themselves right in the middle.
Stephanie Guthrie has, for the last couple weeks, been near the centre of a broad discussion on the gaming community’s attitudes toward women. She outed the maker of a game promoting violence against women and has spent a considerable amount of time since making her case to the trolls and goofballs of the interwebs. She’s a writer and organizer who founded WOMEN IN TORONTO POLITICS, a group which aims to generate ideas about how to include and support more female voices in online and offline conversations about Toronto politics. And Steph Guthrie is on the line from Toronto.
Emma Jenkin also knows what it’s like to experience the Internet Toughguy. Last week, a retweet from a high priest of geek religion led to flurry of abuse. She’s an accomplished designer, arts worker, and a marketing and communications specialist with a very impressive list of degrees. And, if I’m not mistaken, Emma is also a board member (coincidentally) of WOMEN IN TORONTO POLITICS. She also joins me from Toronto.
- Steph Guthrie: https://twitter.com/amirightfolks
- Emma Jenkin: https://twitter.com/indeedemma/
- Women in Toronto Politics: http://witopoli.com/
- Storify of Steph’s adventures with the gaming community: http://storify.com/WiTOpoli/why-is-this-conversation-necessary-ben-spurr
- Blog about Emma’s encounter with Simon Pegg’s fans: http://emmajenkin.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/an-open-letter-to-the-internet-simon-pegg-and-his-followers/