by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology
I'm not sure what - or if - you've heard about the recent challenges of game developer Jade Raymond or not.
If you haven't, click here for the link to the full, controversial story.
And, if you don't want the full story, here's the short version: Jade Raymond is a successful video game developer. She's the
creator producer of Assassin's Creed. Jade is also female (as you can see). So, she's a woman working in a male dominated industry - what woman isn't, I know - but, she REALLY works with ALL guys, ALL the time. Recently, a comic was distributed online that depicted Jade performing sexual acts with 'gaming geeks'.
I was able to locate the comic (so that I could know what the hell I was writing about) and it wasn't the imagery per se - although that in itself was putrid - it was the dark, twisted intent behind the images. The sad part is, whomever created the images doesn't even realize that they are a marionnette for the patricarchial matrix - they just thought it was 'cool'. Knowing is half the battle and if people can't even see how their actions mirror society's ills, it's that much harder to break the cycle.
Society always attempts to reduce women to hyper-sexualized versions of themselves when they reach a high point in their career. Which is why I feel it's very important for women to be as inaccessible as possible personally before their career hits its peak. In other words, even with Twittering and blogging, keep people out of your personal business.
I'm reading Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup, and in the book she talks about the patriarchial society in which we live. A woman can't even have a baby without doctors worrying about the "husband's stitch". Sadly, I am not surprised by this.
Many women believe in a 'use what you've got to get what you want' and 'I was born a woman, so why not flaunt it' and 'if you've got it flaunt it' mentality. I believe that, too, but not when it comes to business. It might work for awhile, but it'll bite you in the end (pun intended).
Here are the unwritten 'rules' that have worked for me:
- Don't hang at non-business parties and try to make friends with guys. (Playing golf is a MUCH better route to getting deals inked.)
- Always wear pants. Let them focus on business - not your legs.
- Arrive early to conferences and leave early. Real networking goes on before the conference, the suggestive come-ons usually happen after everyone's had drinks at the post-conference reception.
- Never let anyone know where you live. Don't have anyone stop by 'just to pick-up files' - if you don't have office space, meet them (even women) in a public place.
- Don't let anyone know if or whom you're dating. Keep your man out of your public business.
- Stop trying to be 'friends' and get down to business.
By no means am I saying that what is happening to Jade - or any woman - is her fault if she DIDN'T follow these unwritten rules, of course. For all I know she may have done so. I'm just saying these rules have worked for me.
These lewd images attempted to reduce Jade. But, she's not reduced at all in my eyes. And, in fact, her team was ON IT and slapped the offending website with legal papers so fast their digital heads spoun in their sockets. I admire her swift and scathing response. They'll think twice before doing something like that again - and they'll be more vigilant about imagery what they allow on their servers.
Bottomline: Sometimes I do feel like I want to write more about women who 'make it' and then are, in some way, dogged out by their male counterparts, but I know that where our attention goes, energy flows. I'd rather write more about solutions than the problems - although SOMEONE needs to write about the challenges to even start a dialogue about the solutions. *sigh* Have you had an experience like Jade? What was the outcome? How did you publicly and personally triumph over it?