Sexism has long been known to be a problem in the tech and gaming industries, but Microsoft has been forced to take responsibility for a GDC party which featured what are being described as “erotic schoolgirls” dancing throughout the party. After photos leaked of the Microsoft party and many were shocked, Microsoft apologized.
The Seattle Times is reporting that after pictures of the Microsoft GDC (Game Developers Conference) party complete with dancers dressed like provocative schoolgirls were released, a wave of social media criticism hit that Microsoft seemed not to be expecting. The women, who were obviously not actual schoolgirls, were scantily clad and gave validation to the criticism that Microsoft is a sexist environment that is not interested in the comfort of women or female employees.
Many of those who attended the Microsoft party objected to the women, dressed as “naughty schoolgirls” who danced on elevated platforms throughout the GDC party in San Fransisco, and posted promptly on social media.
“Making a formal complaint tomorrow. I will not stand for this. I’m trying to encourage women into the industry then this happens.”
Others then posted that they were about to do the same thing, and were disgusted by the misogynistic atmosphere that Microsoft chose for such a big event. At gaming conferences, women have been used as decoration, and the concept of utilizing “booth babes” seemed alive and well at Microsoft.
“This is how the games industry excludes women,” another said. “By pretending we don’t exist and having (developer) parties with strippers.”
Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox group, says the entertainment at this GDC event does not portray how Microsoft feels about women, and it is not aligned with their values.
IBN Live says that Microsoft is apologizing for the erotic schoolgirl dancers at the GDC party, but it might be a little too late. The scantily clad schoolgirl dancers at the Microsoft GDC event came to the attention of the higher ups at Microsoft after attendees posted photos on social media. Many people who attended the party and were disgusted called Microsoft out.
Phil Spencer said that choosing to have scantily clad women, dressed as schoolgirls dancing on platforms was wrong, but many women in the gaming industry who attended were beyond disgusted.
“I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft,” Tin Man Games editor Kamina Vincent tweeted.
Oddly enough, Microsoft had hosted a “Women in Gaming” luncheon earlier the same day, but any good that was done by the lunch was undone by the GDC party, which many considered intentionally disrespectful.
Crave Online says that many in attendance were angered at Microsoft’s “boys only club” attitude, and environment that makes many women feel uncomfortable. Though the article had an update that included an apology from Microsoft, it was clear that the party planning, which included “erotic schoolgirl dancers” went through many hands that saw nothing wrong with a sexist theme.
“Microsoft has reportedly decided that the best way to represent its brand at GDC is to hire dancers dressed as ‘erotic schoolgirls,’ because apparently no one in the planning committee for this particular event had the wherewithal to prevent this clearly awful idea from being realized.”
Ouch. And the social media comments from many who saw Microsoft’s impression of women in gaming made comments that had so much profanity, they couldn’t be reprinted. Others included videos, as if they could not believe what they were actually seeing. Even Microsoft agrees it was disrespectful.
Microsoft, through Phil Spencer, says that it will continue to strive to make women feel comfortable in the gaming industry.
Do you think that Microsoft really didn’t know what was being planned for their GDC party featuring “erotic schoolgirl dancers?”
[Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images]