YES!!!! Yes it is…..
Okay, I guess you came to this article for more than that, but I can tell you now that without a doubt there is Gender Bias within Games Press. How do I know? Because I’ve worked in this industry on both sides of the Gender Binary line, one side is significantly easier to get noticed on than the other.
Let’s start with a story of a person who once existed. I used to write about video games on the other side of the binary gender line under a different name. My writing was pretty poor compared to where it is now, the ideas were fairly bland and predictable and the content really wasn’t anything special. In spite of that, I managed to make some decent headway in getting published on some big name sites just through persistence. Getting into games writing,. at least as a freelancer trying to brute force their name out there, was surprisingly easy.
Then I finally made the jump and started writing under a new name. At the time I’d decided I didn’t want to come out to my editors as Trans, as a result knowing I was throwing away my past published experience and starting from scratch. I knew I wanted to go into this industry without people immediately associating me and my old name, as once people link your old name to you it’s very tough to be seen as anything but a Trans writer. It’s hard to have your chance to be truly seen as female if people start off viewing you as who you previously presented as.
So I started from scratch, sending pitch emails to editors who I knew responded to my pitches before and I assumed they would still respond to pitches of the same quality now. They did not. Editors who had previously liked my pitches were now not giving them even a glance. From there I dropped back to writing for free sites to build up my experience from scratch.
Weirdly, while my writing had previously been good enough for people to pay me for it, I was struggling to get work from even unpaid sites. I know looking back that the writing was somewhat mediocre in terms of spelling and grammar, but the fact remained that people were being much more critical to that fact than they had ever been before. Editors used to forgive those issues and fix up aspects of my writing because they liked the ideas I was writing about, not any more.
So I worked hard to improve the quality of my writing, making a significant effort to make myself stand above the other unpaid writers on sites I was applying for, eventually getting my first break in January 2012. Having published articles under my new name was certainly helping me to get back into the industry, but I was still finding it much harder that both my male counterparts and my old name had found it to get work. Articles I know would previously have found a home on bigger name sites just weren’t getting responses which was hugely frustrating.
Come back to today, 18 months on I’ve almost built my career back up to where it was prior to me changing the name I publish under, but not quite. I promise you my work is of a much higher quality today than it ever was before, but for some reason I find it much harder to get my emails looked at, emails that used to get me regular paid work with sites I’ve still not broken back onto.
It’s a sad truth, but my career would be much further forward today if I’d kept writing under my old name. I don’t know how much is subconscious, I just know that writing under a female name required me to have a much higher quality of work to get noticed than I ever had under a male name.