As some of you may know, I recently started delving into video reviews for iPad Insight. I just published my second one, and so far things seem to be going pretty well. But there’s something I’d like to address: The difference between male and female video reviewers, or rather, how they’re treated.
This was first brought to my attention by a comment on my most recent review of Bastion for iPad. The fact that a reader was complaining about something I did or didn’t say was nothing new, but something else was:
That’s right, my cuteness got involved.
In my previous reviews, my appearance or attractiveness as a female was never mentioned in comments … mainly because they all were print articles. If I said something wrong or didn’t include a detail someone else thought was important, comments would just complain about that. Sometimes they would throw in my double-X chromosome as a possible reason for my lack of knowledge, but no one knew what I looked like.
Now, there’s a face to match the print, a “cute” face at that. It’s not so much a commenter thinks I said something wrong — now, it’s I said something wrong but am using my female attractiveness to distract from it. It puts me on par with the Olivia Munns and booth babes of this world who know little about gaming but use the medium to get exposure.
I’ve long been aware of how female reviewers, newscasters, politicians and other professionals who use the visual medium are received. For some viewers, a woman’s appearance can be seen as just as or even more important than her message. I don’t think this is okay in any way, but it’s not something I’m going to take to the streets to protest. It’s based on men’s biological responses, and I (regretfully) understand it.
But when someone calls my integrity into question by suggesting my appearance is a guise for my lack of knowledge or experience, that’s where I draw the line. If you think I’m an idiot, that’s fine — if you think I’m attractive, that’s fine, too.
Don’t ever think I’m using one to substitute for a lack of the other.