How Big of a Problem Will Sexism Be in the VR Industry?

Doree Shafrir wrote a thought-provoking piece about sexism in the VR industry that BuzzFeed ran on July 5. The piece is well worth reading, whatever industry you work in.

Here’s one of many money quotes from Sahfrir’s story:

Or as Taryn Southern, a YouTube personality who is now working in VR, put it: “We don’t want to end up with Silicon Valley tech bro culture shaking hands with Hollywood sleazy producer/director culture.”

And another:

“This is the third time that a big VR company or person has been the scum of the earth,” said a VR producer who asked to remain anonymous, referring to the most recent scandal at Upload. “I love VR for its potential, but these fucking man-babies are ruining it.”

At the risk of reducing the piece to a few bullet points, here’s what I kept thinking after reading it:

1. VR has, in many ways, grown out of gaming. The gaming industry has a sexism problem.

2. Gaming is related to both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Hollywood and Silicon Valley have sexism problems.

3. Hollywood and Silicon Valley are in America. America has a sexism problem.

4. America is on Planet Earth…

okay, you see where I’m going with this.

Reporting like Shafrir’s is incredibly important for many reasons. For the sake of Extra Real’s new, and still-forming raison d’etre, I’ll just say that if women are put off by the VR industry, the industry will suffer. Full stop. Sexism has no place in any industry, or society.