Brenda Romero Resigns IGDA Post Over GDC Party - UPDATED

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Brenda Romero Resigns IGDA Post Over GDC Party - UPDATED

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/br/status/317321629149564928]​
A serious uproar has erupted in the wake of last night's International Game Developers Association party at GDC, which featured several female dancers in "skimpy" outfits.

The International game Developers Association is taking serious heat for its party at the 2013 Game Developers Conference, which one attendee said had "at least three girls in white outfits - one was in a skimpy t-shirt one was in this weird furry get-up - dancing." There were more women on stilts dancing among the crowd, according to student developer Alicia Avril, who provided photos to back up her claim. "I walked in there not expecting that sort of display," she added.

The backlash was immediate and furious. Board member Darius Kazemi, whose term on the IGDA was scheduled to end in three days, resigned rather than waiting it out, while the Women In Games Boston group withdrew its IGDA support. The most high-profile resignation came from industry veteran Brenda Romero, who was co-chair of the IGDA's Women In Games special interest group.

"I went home last night to work on my Friday GDC talk feeling super uplifted by the turnout and support for the #1ReasonToBe panel," Romero told Polygon, referencing an IGDA panel discussion about the many challenges faced by women in the videogame industry. "I woke up to DMs, texts and links to news of the IGDA party. It really saddens me. I have been a long-time supporter of the IGDA. However, my silence would have been complicity. I had no choice. And just hours after our panel, too."

Given the drive for equality and elimination of discrimination in the industry - a very righteous drive, mind - it's amazing that something like this was allowed to happen. Regardless of how you may feel about it personally, the optics are so obviously awful that it's absolutely mind-boggling that nobody involved in the decision-making progress put the brakes on the whole thing. It's a remarkable failure of leadership.

We've reached out to the IGDA for comment and will update if and when we receive a reply.

Sources: Polygon [http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2013/03/27/really-igda-party-at-gdc-brings-on-the-female-dancers/]

UPDATE: IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards has issued the following statement addressing the GDC party:

"As many of you know, the IGDA was a co-presenter of the YetiZen party Tuesday evening. We recognize that some of the performers' costumes at the party were inappropriate, and also some of the activities they performed were not what we expected or approved. We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation. We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people. One of the core values of the IGDA is encouraging inclusion and diversity. Obviously we need to be more vigilant in our efforts. We intend to be so in the future."


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Fappy

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Considering the atmosphere of the software industry right now I'd imagine this is one of the stupidest stunts you could pull. Did no one question this?
 

kajinking

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Are there any pictures of the incident? I'm really curious as to what could cause this type of backlash. I though these type of girls got hired all the time for PAX and all that.

I'm not saying it's right of course, I can understand having a girl dressed as Elizabeth for the Bioshock display but if your game doesn't even have female characters there's no reason to have girls in swimsuits holding M16s near your booth.

Edit: Ok above post just loaded, doesn't look terrible to me but I'm still not clear on all the details. What type of event was this suppose to be?
 

Fiz_The_Toaster

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That's just Goddamn sad and I find it disheartening that this kind of crap is still happening and no one thought that this was a bad enough idea to stop it.

I would be angrier about this, but I'm just so damn tired of this happening.

Way to go guys, way to go.
 

Legion

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Oct 2, 2008
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Fappy said:
Considering the atmosphere of the software industry right now I'd imagine this is one of the stupidest stunts you could pull. Did no one question this?
I'm not even sure what else can really be said, the lack of thought behind this is just completely idiotic. It's not that difficult to see that such a conference (even though it was the party, not the conference itself) is not really the place for this kind of thing.

If they'd been cosplaying as female characters, then while it'd still be a bad idea, it'd at least have some credibility behind the decision making process.
 

Church185

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I'm conflicted about the situation, mostly because I don't know all the details.

Were the women in question paid to dance there in those outfits? Even though I don't think the outfits are too terribly revealing, it once again sets a bad principle for women trying to get into the industry. Two guys who aren't important cracking dick jokes to themselves is harmless, but if the conference itself endorsed stuff like this by paying girls to dance around, then that is just shameful.

If the women weren't paid to be there and just showed up to party, then I think the people resigning are just overreacting.

Once further details emerge I shall pass judgement.
 

Legion

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Tenmar said:
defskyoen said:
The issue isn't that women were dancing in "skimpy" outfits, it was that they were hired dancers for the event. I doubt anybody would have complained if they'd been attendees (unless I am very much mistaken, but the wording strongly suggests they weren't).

The concept behind such dancers is in almost all cases sex appeal aimed at the male audience. It's not the kind of thing you'd expect at a professional event, even if it was at the party. I don't think the guys would appreciate if if they'd been topless guys dancing on stage for the women either.

As for whether or not it's bad enough to resign over? No, personally I don't think it was, but that's their choice, not ours.
 

Fappy

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Tenmar said:
Yeah umm sorry I think she is blowing this out of proportion. The pictures are public and it was just some women dancing at a party. This wasn't some business event or officially part of the conference but simply a party for individuals for the ability to unwind after conducting business.

You know what happens with parties where you expect the same type of professional atmosphere? It stops being a party.
I am pretty sure the party was part of the conference's itinerary... at least that's what I have extrapolated from the provided info. If it was just some after party not associated with the event I don't think this would be an issue.
 

ASnogarD

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Dont know enough to really comment, but I doubt the girls were strippers or pole dancer variety ... more cos play eye candy, and yeah I think the organisers should of put some up for the ladies to ogle at as well but it does appear to be blown out of proportion...

... or used as a stunt to highlight gender discrimination and power start a new career in 'lecturing on feminism' ?

So... do not hire any girl dancers, specifically tell the dance troupe that girl dancers are not allowed... and get more guys in ... ahh would that also be discrimination, would there be an equal outcry that men are being discriminated ? Or would the outcry go that women dancers were not allowed to be selected ?

BUT I dont know the whole thing, so its all speculative.
 

nignonymous

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How about the next time there's an event in the tech industry, all the women wear burqas.

That way there's no risk of offending anyone.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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Dec 25, 2008
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To summarize my reaction to the situation & reactions on this board:

Overreaction on her part? Eh, maybe. Details seem to be few at the moment, so it's hard to really judge the situation, but I'd be annoyed too. Not cool

Poor decision by the GDC? Uuh, ya think?! Seriously, at a time when gamers & the industry itself are really starting to question misogyny within the culture, who the hell thought this was a good idea?
 

jetriot

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Blargh McBlargh said:
Legion said:
The issue isn't that women were dancing in "skimpy" outfits, it was that they were hired dancers for the event. I doubt anybody would have complained if they'd been attendees (unless I am very much mistaken, but the wording strongly suggests they weren't).

The concept behind such dancers is in almost all cases sex appeal aimed at the male audience. It's not the kind of thing you'd expect at a professional event, even if it was at the party. I don't think the guys would appreciate if if they'd been topless guys dancing on stage for the women either.

As for whether or not it's bad enough to resign over? No, personally I don't think it was, but that's their choice, not ours.
I sincerely doubt the guys would've thrown a huge shitfit and quit their jobs over shirtless male dancers though.
This. By blowing up every little thing you detract from the real problems and quickly dilute your cause to nothing but nonsense. See PETA for examples on how to ***** about everything until no one gives a shit for a good way to ruin your plight.
 

kurupt87

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Mar 17, 2010
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Fucking pathetic.

Get male dancers, don't remove the female ones. Solved.