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Felicia day has launched a Twitch series titled WomenR, highlighting diversity among creators and content in a broad spectrum of entertainment fields.
Each week the Supernatural actress and gaming personality will host a panel of professionals, from pro-streamers and board game designers, to showrunners, comic book artists, voiceover actors and more, who will speak to the challenges they face as women in traditionally male-dominated industries and how they have pushed through obstacles.
“Visibility equals possibility for me,” Day tells The Hollywood Reporter, “so you never know when you’ll stumble upon someone who really inspires you to take a leap in designing a board game or becoming a voiceover artist — it’s so important to be exposed to it, because often ideas don’t occur to us as people unless we sense the possibility of it.”
Day, who has been streaming on Twitch for six years, goes on to explain that she initially approached the Amazon-owned platform with ideas for original content that went beyond playing video games. “This particular idea resonated with them because they’re really trying to promote diversity — not just on their platform but in the world — so it was exciting for me because part of my career has been trying to groundbreak, trying to change the way people see women in the geekier space and creative fields.”
She continues,”This is an opportunity for me to not only highlight, but also learn from other women in different areas, and hopefully inspire other people to pursue careers in those areas.”
The eight-episode show will highlight four guests each week who will speak on topics and challenges specific to their industry. Day describes the set-up as “frank and funny discussions” about what women go through in their respective fields and an “educational journey” into their backgrounds, with the conversations being fairly informal and unstructured.
“I certainly think we’re moving forward into a better place,” Day says of the current state of diversity in gaming and entertainment. “I’ve seen a big shift into having more diverse storytelling, but I feel like the cliches still abound, and a lot of the people who are gatekeepers are very much locked into reinforcing cliches because they’re comfortable for audiences.”
Giving an example, Day points to movie posters for mainstream comedies that include a wife character — “they’re all very cookie-cutter as far as what they look like [and] how they react to the character, so these are the kinds of cliches that we want to break and we want to show that we don’t always have to be secondary characters, we don’t always have to be portrayed in the same way over and over again in mainstream media.”
Guests on WomenR will include pro-streamer AnneMunition, comic book author Aminder Dhaliwal, video game designer Bonnie Ross (founder and head of 343 Industries), One Day at a Time showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett and board game designer Elizabeth Hargrave (Wingspan).
“For me, just the idea of a board game designer being a woman is exciting, and it’s exciting to introduce that to all viewers, whatever gender they are, to realize that they are enjoying the fruits of a very brilliant woman’s labor,” says Day, “so that it almost normalizes the idea that gender doesn’t matter, it’s really about the creativity that resonates with you.”
Day launched the multimedia production company and YouTube channel Geek & Sundry in 2012. It produced shows including Critical Role and Tabletop with Wil Wheaton. The company was acquired by Legendary Entertainment in 2014. She also created the web series The Guild, which offered an intimate exploration of gaming culture.
In her own words, Day has “vacillated back and forth between Hollywood and gaming” throughout her career and witnessed the struggles that gamers, in particular, have had as they strive to gain acceptance for who they are. “I don’t need to be labeled, I just need to be myself and be accepted for that, outside of all the preconceived notions people heap on you,” says Day. “Busting those cliches has been always the thrust of my career and my voice.”
WomenR kicks off Sept. 28 on Day’s Twitch channel with an episode focused on pro-streamers.
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