Female Video Game Exec Says It's a 'Cop-out' to Claim the Industry is Sexist

Illustration for article titled Female Video Game Exec Says It's a 'Cop-out' to Claim the Industry is Sexist

Gabrielle Toledano, executive vice president and chief talent officer of Electronic Arts, doesn't think the video game industry is sexist, according to her recent Forbes op-ed. Moreover: she thinks it's a "cop-out" to "blame men for not creating an attractive work environment."


Toledano is likely referring to the numerous female game industry employees who contributed to the Twitter hashtag #1reasonwhy a few months ago. Examples: "The worst sexism is the 'harmless' assumptions. I'm sick of being told art is the only appropriate career for a woman in games." and "Because the folks in marketing don't bother doing their jobs when the video game stars a lady."

So all those frustrated female gamers should get over it?

Basically. (In other words: "Sorry, feminists!") Toledano argues that the real reason why there are few women working in gaming is because "women need to start by recognizing that we are, in fact, gamers" and because there just aren't enough of them to hire:

If women don't join this industry because they believe sexism will limit them, they're missing out. The sky is the limit when it comes to career opportunities for women (and men) in games. If we want the tide to turn and the ratio of men to women to really change then we need to start making women realize that fact. From foundational employee benefits to playful and creative work spaces, the culture of video game design that I know embraces the values of all our employees like nowhere else.

In other words: ladies, it's your fault if you feel like the video game industry is inhospitable to women!

What a missed opportunity. It seems like Toledano is delegitimizing the views of her female peers who clearly do think sexism permeates the industry in order to prove some larger (and dumb) point about how she's "above" sexism. Blaming women for the lack of women in gaming isn't going to convince more of them to jump in; it's just going to make more gamers hesitate before combating sexism in the workplace. High-powered female gamers need to encourage women to speak out instead of trying to shut them up.



Image via Sergey FurtaevShutterstock.


Jane, you ignorant slut.

As a soldier, I make my career in an overwhelmingly male environment, and I've had to prove myself a lot in that career field.

I do think there's something to be said for the attitude of "So what if they're sexist? It's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna do it, and ain't no person, male or female, gonna hold me back from it."

Yes, it's harder, and yes, that's unfair. But don't let someone else's attitudes hold you back. Fight for it. I do get tired, sometimes, of the idea that we as women have to have our hands held every step of the way, and the way cleared for us by men.

Ultimately, I think Toledano's main point is that if women avoid a career field all together, there's going to be nowhere there to fight for those changes.