Dear Stylist team,
I read your magazine on a regular basis and I, as do many others in London, truly appreciate your campaign to celebrate the brilliance of women. Strong, empowered female role models make such a difference to the world and their confidence, leadership and accomplishments inspire us to be the best we can be.
Your recently-launched Under Her Eye competition is therefore what the movie industry has been waiting for. As said by Editor-in-Chief Lisa Smosarski last week: “The majority of film reviews are through a male gaze. That means it’s a man writing about what the film is like from his experience. They can tell you a lot of great things about life through a male lens… but they can’t tell you what it feels like to be a woman.”
So is this my 600-word entry in the hope of becoming a member of your new film review team? Unfortunately not (so at least that’s one less to go through on your huge pile). While I fully support the need to boost the number of female critics from a fifth, I’m not at all qualified and there are people out there who could do a far better job than I ever could. I can’t even sit through a 90-minute movie without becoming twitchy and fidgeting in my seat.
What I do know however is video games. I’ve been playing them since discovering at a young age that worlds I thought only existed in books were able to come alive through pixels on a screen. I get the impression that not many on the Stylist team are gamers (Portal isn’t a ‘first-person shooter’ by the way) but that isn’t important: I’m sure you know how visual mediums such as this and film are amazing ways to share incredible experiences and see the world through another’s eyes.
I also know the hostility shown towards women who play video games, and those who have the audacity to then go on to write about them. I’ve been blogging since 2013 and although there has been improvement in the past five years, the community still isn’t where it needs to be. I’ve been harassed in online games; sent obscenities through my blog’s Facebook page; told that a man could do a better job than I could on Twitter; and ignored at gaming events and conferences by developers and PR reps in favour of my male colleagues.
The same as with film, we need more female video game reviewers. But that’s just the starting point because we need more diverse reviewers in all aspects, not only gender. Each person touched by a story relates to it in a different way, and we can learn so much about both ourselves and the world around us by sharing those experiences with each other.
I count myself lucky at having found a place in an awesome blogging community where sex or any other defining quality doesn’t matter. I’m surrounded by amazing women who inspire me every day by sharing their thoughts on the games they’ve played and stories they’ve experienced. We may not be recognised by the professionals in the gaming industry or have millions of readers, but we’re doing what we can to make sure the female voice is heard.
I wish you all the luck with finding your new film reviewing team and look forward to reading about the competition’s progress. Whoever the lucky women are, I’m sure they’re going to do brilliantly.
PS: apologies for going over the word-count by four. I guess I’ve just got a lot to say on the subject.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.