How office prank helped Hawken publisher's CEO see problematic pin-up

Feel-good stories in which everyone learns a valuable lesson are usually reserved for sitcoms, but once in a while they happen in real life too. Take the case of the Hawken pin-up, for example. After a poster made one female employee uncomfortable, she set about exposing the problem in the best possible way: office hijinks.

The Hawkeye Initiative is a blog that aims to expose the silliness of female comic book representations and poses by redrawing them with Marvel character Hawkeye in the place of ladies. This didn't have anything particularly to do with games, until yesterday, when the blog published a guest post from inside Hawken publisher Meteor Entertainment.

The anonymous fan said she enjoyed everything about her job, except for a large pin-up poster just outside the CEO's office. She teamed up with a co-worker, Sam Kirk, and enticed him to draw an equally silly male version of the poster. They nicknamed him "Bro-sie the Riveter" and switched him with the female poster, then waited for the reaction. After a few moments of panic upon hearing the CEO's shouts, he approached her having understood the message:

"That was a brilliant prank," he said, according to the writer's account. "You called me on exactly the bullshit I need to be called on. I put up pictures of half-naked girls around the office all the time and I never think about it. I'm taking you and Sam to lunch. And after that, we're going to hang both prints, side by side."

She said that while some people already sympathize with this kind of casual sexism, she learned that those who don't aren't necessarily boorish jerks. "Many of the guys who are behind that stupid, constant crap are totally decent, open-minded human beings who just don't realize they're doing it," she said.