April 1st, 2008

While I hate to play the gender card–ok, I love to play the gender card–I just have to say: thank God the Byron Report was written by a woman.

The work of Dr. Tanya Byron, a British psychologist specializing in parenting, the Byron Report is a 200+ page independent study on the affect of violent media on children released a few days ago in the U.K.–one the British government is apparently taking very seriously. I’m the first to admit I’m no expert on the subject, but from what I’ve read of the report it seems surprisingly level-headed, reasonable, and non-sensationalist. In it, Byron calls for a clearer ratings system for video games, a more astringent legal enforcement of the system, and more responsibility on parents to make sure their children are playing games appropriate to their ages. No “video games are evil”–just sensible, pragmatic suggestions for improving the relationship between violent material and children.

Is this a pleasant surprise? Yes. It is surprising that such an important document was written by a woman? No, but it’s great to see. Is it surprising it’s written so level-headedly? Sure, but for that we have to thank the calm, patient, open-minded virtues of “the fairer sex.” Of course it’s stereotyping, but as Dee Dee Myers points out in Why Women Should Rule the World, women have different strengths to bring to the table. My point is just that I’m proud and thankful to see a woman infusing hers into an industry and a discourse so lacking in female and/or reasonable voices.

P.S. Sorry for being an April Fool’s spoil sport. It’s just not my holiday. For a more festive spirit, head to Kotaku, where apparently everything’s coming up game cakes.

Tags: gender

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