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Before we accuse Sony of being sexist, you should hear about G.I.R.L.

Matt-liebl-profile

Posted by: Matt Liebl

Earlier this week, Sony announced the PlayStation 4 -- a crowning achievement that marked the incoming future of gaming. For anyone who watched the event, there was one noticeable absence -- and I'm not talking about the actual PS4 machine. In the two-hour long press conference, there was not one female brought on stage to speak. It hasn't gone unnoticed either.

Here we are today, two days after the announcement of the PlayStation 4; rather than celebrating the arrival of a new console, we find ourselves enamored with the fact that no female developers were brought on stage -- a seemingly sexist move on behalf of Sony.

There's obviously a problem in the gaming industry, or else we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. In all honesty, Sony probably could have brought a female up on stage during the show. As Kellee Santiago pointed out, there are plenty of women at Sony in high positions who are qualified enough to speak at the conference. They chose not too, and while that decision can be construed as "sexist," I'm not so sure the company should be labeled as such.

PS4 Sony Men

It's so easy to look at this one mishap and immediately jump to conclusions about a company, or how gender is handled in the industry. I'm admitting there is definitely a problem that must be addressed, but to be fair, Sony is trying -- and they do deserve some credit.

Of the many articles published that draws attention to Sony's alleged sexism, few of them point out G.I.R.L.. Oh, what's G.I.R.L. you ask?

G.I.R.L., or Gamers In Real Life, is a scholarship created by Sony Online Entertainment LLC "to positively impact the way females are depicted in video games and create and influence content to be appealing to women."

"Another purpose is to help raise awareness of the serious female gaming audience to the media in an effort to encourage the gaming industry to positively promote women throughout all facets of games, game production and into game management."

The G.I.R.L. Scholarship is a program "designed to educate and recruit more women into the field of video game production and design." As such, it provides a unique opportunity with an internship at SOE, plus $10,000 towards "tuition and other educational expenses at the school at which the student is currently enrolled."

It certainly doesn't sound like the type of program a sexist company would offer. It's easy to paint the picture of an evil, sexist corporation, but isn't it possible to talk about some of the good things they are doing to present females with an opportunity to get into the gaming industry? Why must everything be said with such negative bias? I suppose it makes for a compelling headline.

Let it be known, in no way am I saying Sony should be forgiven simply because they offer a scholarship. We shouldn't view this scholarship as an even trade. There's a much larger problem in the gaming industry regarding sexism and glass ceilings. It's a problem I'm not ready, nor equipped to tackle appropriately. That's because it's bigger than me; it's bigger than you; it's even bigger than Sony.

We must look at the overall picture and never settle for the at-hand. At the same time, we should give credit where credit is due. This scholarship has been around since 2008, long before this PS4 fiasco. I think that shows Sony's commitment to bringing females into the industry. Let's try to look at the big picture. 

Tags: PS4, PlayStation 4, Sony

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