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Author Topic: Re: What does role playing gaming accomplish?  (Read 65108 times)
Enoch
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Posts: 84


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« Reply #60 on: December 05, 2002, 01:52:28 PM »

Quote
Enoch, read the post above yours for an example of someone having a problem with "girls playing".


Umm... the reason I said no was because I had a huge crush on them.  Not because they were girls.  In 7th grade my group did have female gamers, and I had no problem with them playing.  In fact I taught them to play.

Anyway...

I'm not saying that there isn't any sexism in gaming.  I'm just saying I haven't noticed any blatant sexism in my experience.

I'm not sure what more to say as of now, so I'll just stop at that.

-Joshua
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omnia vincit amor
The Enclave
MK Snyder
Member

Posts: 116


« Reply #61 on: December 05, 2002, 02:00:59 PM »

This one thread is tearing apart the entire forum?

Isn't that a bit of an overbroad metaphor? Sure, it's a hot topic, and an important one, but quelling discussion is not the solution to the problem; and quelling the discussion by shooting the messenger is doubly not the solution.

Especially if it is a problem that you feel deeply about and want to solve. Women feeling uncomfortable isn't going to going to be solved by making the women who feel uncomfortable shut up or go away.

Is the metaphor I used a 100% accurate portrayal of every male-female interaction in the RPG community? Of course not, nor was it meant to be. Is it a good representation of the suffiently significant number of negative interactions to which female players are exposed? I think so; I would, of course.

The defensive response to this is interesting and deserves some reflection, in my opinion; I do think it is counter productive to your stated goals and I found it very surprising.

Okay, one example:

I pointed out that using "embarrass your mother" as a phrase to describe "no holds barred discussion" is sexist. Actually, pretty annoying to me as a mother *and* a gamer who is capable of no-holds-barred discussion.

That was an example. In this thread. The thread that you say has no examples.

To tell me that the examples I have provided are not examples...is an example.

How could that have gone better? Well, there could have been one post about, "Yeah, I've seen a lot of that kind of thing myself." or "I see how that could be annoying."

As for the whole "getting laid" subtopic. My mind reels at the cluelessness.

 Definite "Same planet, different worlds." experience there. May I humbly submit that conversation with female gamers could also lead to greater empathy?

That said, I respect the honesty a lot, and I think that it is much better to have honest discussion than not.
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MK Snyder
Member

Posts: 116


« Reply #62 on: December 05, 2002, 02:15:51 PM »

What is the value of venting?

Well, if you are interested in designing games that will appeal to women, or in designing games that won't actively annoy them, it's worthwhile to read some venting.

If there is interest in making the Forge more appealing to women, or at least not actively turning them away, it's worthwhile to read some venting.

If those aren't of interest to you, feel free to not read the thread. Consider it an activity similar to ripping the cover off a gaming supplement.

It didn't occur to me that so many of the male members of the Forge would take this so personally. I have never thought nor accused Clinton, for example, of being a Neanderthal fart lighting frat boy geek gamer.  Clay can self-identify as one if he wants. I suspect he isn't one, though.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #63 on: December 05, 2002, 02:17:21 PM »

Maryanne,

Thanks. I complimented your links when you posted them, but didn't back them up simply because they were on other forums. (That doesn't invalidate them, but trust me, me commenting on RPG.net or Gaming Outpost causes more flames than this ever could. Suffice it to say - yep, I've seen those links before, and yep, they are pretty bad. I did find it interesting that the two Forge links included one that derided cheesecake at conventions, and another that questioned the idea that attractive women depicted in RPG art is inherently bad.) I humbly disagree with you on the getting laid topic: I've already submitted that intimacy brings understanding, which we can discuss if you like, and I don't think the idea that less sexual tension might bring easier interaction is bad. I do think that we might want to be able to see through our sexual tension, or even use that in a positive way.

I apologize if you've thought I wanted to quell you specifically. Honestly, I want to quell anyone who posts attacking or negative posts on the Forge. I'm all about two things: concrete examples, and solutions.

I appreciate your honesty, as well. I do think the behavior exhibited by many people, to include both you and I, will tear apart the Forge if continued. That's not a topic for this thread, though.

Your point that just talking face-to-face with women roleplayers can help is an excellent one. I'd say that the majority of my understanding of the issue comes from interactions with women, both role-players and not. For example, my statement that mixed-gender groups can be more enjoyable comes from my long-time play with Lise Mendel, one of the best role-players I've met.

If I may, I'm going to restate some questions brought up in this thread (or just thought up by me), and I'd love it if you (or anyone) answered them:

 - Is the sexism in role-playing different than the sexism in society at large, and if so, how?
 - What can an individual role-playing group do to make themselves more appealing to women players?
 - I think it can be taken as a given that youths of both sexes are less sensitive than adults. Could part of the gender imbalance come from the fact that many role-players are introduced to the hobby in their youth? (I ask this because many female players I've met started in college or in their 20's, or even when they married a role-player.)
 - In your current group, what behaviors make you feel welcome, and what behaviors (if any) do not?
 - Why don't we see more all-female role-playing groups?

(Edit: also, I wanted to add one thing, because I don't think I've said it clearly yet. I apologize to Maryanne for overreacting earlier. I completely misread you. Understanding that you pointed out the extremes of behavior and not your opinion of the Forge's behavior, I realize my reaction was asinine.)
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Bankuei
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« Reply #64 on: December 05, 2002, 02:22:40 PM »

Ok folks, let's stop and take a breather, and re-examine the situation.

Sexism exists in our society, it also exists in roleplaying(it being a social activity after all).  Lots of socially unacceptable behavior that wouldn't get tolerated in society, gets put up with and sometimes encouraged in the gaming hobby(sexism, racism, out and out being an asshole, and more).


We could sit here and argue to what degree, or vent.  Neither will solve the problem.  Here's some issues that folks might want to examine for productive discussion;

•Gamers introduce each other into the hobby.  Women gamers can form their own groups(can you get 2 friends to play?).  This isn't about making gender exclusivity, but if your game group is 4 guys, 1 girl, you can get a lot of crap.  When the 4 guys see that it's not 1, but 3 girls who are going to be together, the social dynamic changes.  If the guys are still pricks, then the women still play without them, go have fun.  I'd say introducing more women into gaming is the first priority, and the only way to avoid the issues is for women to initiate other women into it. Only a women would know best how to make a woman friendly environment.

•All women gamers got into the hobby somehow.  What positive experiences made you decide to stay in gaming?  What positive experiences could be reproduced for other women?

•Large groups of mixed gender folks creates its own social contract.  Someone is always trying to impress someone, and you can't be an asshole to the person you're trying to impress and get very far.  Aside from LARPS, is there any other public manner of gaming that might introduce women into the hobby?

Chris
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #65 on: December 05, 2002, 02:26:45 PM »

Quote
I pointed out that using "embarrass your mother" as a phrase to describe "no holds barred discussion" is sexist. Actually, pretty annoying to me as a mother *and* a gamer who is capable of no-holds-barred discussion.



Yet I'm failing to see how comments like that are any different than comments about Italians and gangsters.  Should I, as an Italian American, be offended every time someone says something like "Hey, keep it up and I'll send Guido and Angelo out to pay you a visit".  Whats being implied by the statement could (were I so inclined) be interpreted even worse than what you're saying is being implied by your example.

Do you really want to live in such a sterile white washed world?  Damn I don't.

No offense...but if that's a big example of subtle sexism, I find it hard to get worked up about it.  In the grand scheme of global issues that one seems really pretty trivial to me.
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Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


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« Reply #66 on: December 05, 2002, 02:45:33 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
Quote
I pointed out that using "embarrass your mother" as a phrase to describe "no holds barred discussion" is sexist. Actually, pretty annoying to me as a mother *and* a gamer who is capable of no-holds-barred discussion.



Yet I'm failing to see how comments like that are any different than comments about Italians and gangsters.  Should I, as an Italian American, be offended every time someone says something like "Hey, keep it up and I'll send Guido and Angelo out to pay you a visit".  Whats being implied by the statement could (were I so inclined) be interpreted even worse than what you're saying is being implied by your example.



Depends on whether your being an Italian American also weighs on your mind whenever you go on a job interview, or when you walk into a retail store, or when you join someone's game. Did you not get that job because of it? If you did get the job, are you worried that people in the company might assume it was because of affirmative action and not because of your merits? Prejudice is one thing, and it's not a good thing, but it's a lot worse when it's backed up by power and consequences.
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Clay
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #67 on: December 05, 2002, 02:49:59 PM »

Wow, I think I hit a nerve somewhere.  

Vincent, thank you for your post.  You described exactly what I was driving at.  Although intercourse with one woman does help gain empathy with others in general, empathy with the women I game with isn't really the issue that caused trouble for me. I haven't noticed that making the bed squeak with my wife does anything to increase my empathy with the women I game with.  Knowing that my wife and I will be making the bed squeak keeps me from introducing unwanted tension into the game.  Ron can probably provide solid scientific reasons why this is so, but I notice that he's steering clear of this discussion.

What I'm looking for definitely is erotic release. Slapping the bald headed step child isn't the answer because  our little monkey brains are geared to have sex with other hairless monkeys, not hairy palms.  Orgasm is only part of the solution.
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Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management
quozl
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Posts: 534


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« Reply #68 on: December 05, 2002, 02:59:05 PM »

Quote from: wfreitag
Our current working theory is that female players find the following (among others) more appealing relative to males:

- A wide range of effective strategic options for problem-solving, including retreat, evasion, subversion, seeking allies, bluff, and negotiation, rather than rewards only being gained for "attacking" the problem head-on.

- Gaining power or other rewards by means of building and using social networks.

- Rewards based on subjectively good situational decision-making rather than successful manipulation of systems of abstractions.

- Walt


Heck, isn't that what all roleplayers want?  I sure find them to be the most appealing parts of RPGs.

MK,

I'm sorry you've been the victim of sexism.  I think most people here are also sorry but they're too busy being defensive to say so.  What are some things we can do to make things better?
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Le Joueur
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Posts: 1367


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« Reply #69 on: December 05, 2002, 03:04:32 PM »

Quote from: MK Snyder
Is the metaphor I used a 100% accurate portrayal of every male-female interaction in the RPG community? Of course not, nor was it meant to be. Is it a good representation of the suffiently significant number of negative interactions to which female players are exposed? I think so

...How could that have gone better? Well, there could have been one post about, "Yeah, I've seen a lot of that kind of thing myself." or "I see how that could be annoying."

Hey, I've been waiting for all of you to stop and take a breath.

Personally, I read the gay metaphor example as what I thought it was, a summation of every bad experience that could be had (gender issues turned on their head).  Not only do I applaud it as a basis for which one could compare their own treatment of others, but as well-written and concise.

I'm sad that it induced such a quick and firey response; definitely suggests this might be a little less coarse if people would wait at least an hour before posting a response (like swimming after eating).  I was somewhat surprised that the respondents seem to think it was some kind of map of how everything goes for every female gamer; I certainly didn't see it that way.

I saw a number of my friends (and myself; did you know that nobody ever talks about the views of the asexuals?  You got your heterosexuals, your homosexuals, and your bisexuals, but never anything about us asexuals; ever consider that?) in uncomfortable situations throughout the example and synthesized that it must be a laundry list of what can go wrong.

Not what does.

Not what will.

Simply what can.  That arms any who've read it with a 'short-list' to think about in terms of 'what is it like for the other person.'  Even better, it's formed on a metaphor, so you don't have to memorize the whole thing.

Is it useful?  I think so.  Was it needed?  Could be the 'a solution' sought.  Was it coarse?  Hard to imagine how not to be.  Was it a flame?  parts of the preamble were close.  But tone down the 'pitch' it was thrown with (not the shock of the specific examples), and it might make a good 'think about this' article.

Now could everyone step away from their keyboards for just a couple of hours and calm down?  There is plenty to discuss here, but the tones are not conducive to reaching any conclusions.  I believe all parties' have good points but the flames are obscuring the valuable content and interaction thereon.

And let's drop the 'you said I said' stuff right now; okay?

Fang Langford
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Le Joueur
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Posts: 1367


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« Reply #70 on: December 05, 2002, 03:25:26 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
I'd love it if you (or anyone) answered them:

 - Is the sexism in role-playing different than the sexism in society at large, and if so, how?

Whether I think so or not, I have a question.  How much sexism is desirable?  Sure, we can't be perfect, but can we at least be better?  Even a little better, than "society at large?"

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
- What can an individual role-playing group do to make themselves more appealing to women players?

I'm not sure that's the right approach.  Wouldn't targetting women be sexist?  Perhaps aiming for more diversity would be better.  Perhaps pulling down barriers such as exemplified in the gay metaphor (not that every group has all of them, but pulling down any your group has and drawing attention to those any other group displays.

I'm not suggesting a white washed world, just a little tiny bit more effort at understanding.  I don't condone or support the 'turn a blind eye to how you are oppressed' attitude; it doesn't do anything but purpetuate negative stereotypes.  Get to know people, learn to value them for their strengths and allow them any weaknesses.  This really isn't an all-or-nothing 'battle,' making it seem so will only cause others to 'blow you off.'

Let's just look at where each of us needs to improve and be willing to say 'I coulda done that a bit better.'  We only need a bit.

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
- I think it can be taken as a given that youths of both sexes are less sensitive than adults. Could part of the gender imbalance come from the fact that many role-players are introduced to the hobby in their youth? (I ask this because many female players I've met started in college or in their 20's, or even when they married a role-player.)

Of course, especially considering that most gamers are introduced to the hobby (and therefore the predjudices) by their peers.  Using the same approaches to increase diversity sensitivity amongst the youth should work just as well.  How about a little 'mentoring' attitude when you see someone making that mistake?

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
- In your current group, what behaviors make you feel welcome, and what behaviors (if any) do not?

I know this one was targetted at a female respondant, but I believe the gay metaphor pretty much listed all that could be a problem and therefore hints at what could be the welcoming behaviours.

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
- Why don't we see more all-female role-playing groups?

Perhaps because they don't 'advertise?'  My wife, over her carreer as a game master, has had three "all-female role-playing groups."  (If you want a taste of sexism in gaming, the first had to hide their Dungeons & Dragons books inside of Tunnels & Trolls covers because 'D & D is a boys game' according to one member's father.)  These groups have depended on very 'networking-based' methods for gaining new members.

As has been pointed out, putting gaming 'above' normal friendship is dysfunctional, yet that's how many groups do it.  My wife's groups got together for 'other reasons' and 'did a little gaming' as well.  This is also how they acquired new members (as I understand); they'd be together for any particular reason and, as these social situations do, gaming came up as a part of sharing experiences.  Intrigued, and supported by a network of friends, new 'recruits' were had.  You have to remember this was all during Pat Robertson's crusade against Dungeons & Dragons.  Heck one of their fathers, a lawyer, sounds like about the best gamemaster I've heard of (and few of his games had any combat).

My experience with most of my 'women gamer' friends is that it was either sibling or networking exposure.  I personally had to prompt someone to challenge me to a duel to the death to acquire my first player (we rolled up his character which promptly slaughtered mine); is that terribly functional or diverse?

I know these answers are likely to be taken widely out of context by the flames I see rising, but I thought it was worth adding a little 'cool air' to the conversation.

Fang Langford
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Irmo
Member

Posts: 258


« Reply #71 on: December 05, 2002, 03:39:33 PM »

Quote from: Le Joueur

I'm not sure that's the right approach.  Wouldn't targetting women be sexist?  Perhaps aiming for more diversity would be better.  Perhaps pulling down barriers such as exemplified in the gay metaphor (not that every group has all of them, but pulling down any your group has and drawing attention to those any other group displays.


Targeting women isn't necessarily sexist. Many male players have reported greatly enjoying mixed groups. As such, targeting women can be a win-win situation, thus discriminating against no one.


By the way, there's several, from my male viewpoint, very insightful articles on the www, e.g. "Saving Throw For Half Cooties" ( e.g. at  http://www.tasteslikephoenix.com/articles/women.html  ) though I'd be interested in hearing what Maryanne and other femal contributors to this thread think of it :)
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #72 on: December 05, 2002, 03:40:28 PM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
I know these answers are likely to be taken widely out of context by the flames I see rising, but I thought it was worth adding a little 'cool air' to the conversation.


Fang,

Actually, your answers were great. I think the flames are cooled off. (Considering I inadvertently started most of them. When you spent several years building something, you get sensitive to attacks on it. I'll watch it in the future.)

One thing I liked about your answers are that they pointed out "targeting at women" that was in the questions themselves. I think the most important thing you may have said, paraphrased, is that targeting women won't work, but targeting people will.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Uncle Dark
Member

Posts: 215


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« Reply #73 on: December 05, 2002, 03:45:46 PM »

Maryanne,

Personally, I found your example not only valid, but also funny as hell.  Honestly, you'd think some folk had never heard of hyperbole...


As to the "get laid" discussion, what underlies that is the fact that what turns many women off to gaming is being seen/treated as a potential sex partner first and a fellow gamer second.  Or so my female gamer friends have told me.  I think the theory here is that if a (het) gamer guy already has a girlfriend, he won't see female gamers that way.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.

Note, though, that the core of the problem is being percieved/treated as a sex object more often than as a gamer.  More effective than getting laid regularly would be to simply police oneself for such behavior and just not do it.

A general observation:  I have played in one group that was 3:1 male to female, and another that was 3:1 female to male.  It was my experience that (when I was in the gender minority) I had to deal with much less crap than the women in the mostly male group did.

Now for the interesting bit: both groups had equal amounts of sexual innuendo and blue humor, in game and out.  But with the mostly-female group, it was usually very clear that it was all friendly, all in fun, usually satire of people who are jerks about such stuff in real life.

Which is not to say that the guys in the male-dominated group were jerks.  Rather, it was much harder to tell when a guy was serious-friendly, serious-antagonistic, or just joking.

One factor was that the female GM of the female-dominated group was much quicker to step in when things were begining to get out of hand, while the male GM in the other group usually let things go, sometimes even joining in.

Mind you, I'm not talking about abusive stuff here.  In both situations the minorities gave as good as they got, and nobody ever walked off hurt.  But the overal quality of the interactions were markedly different.

Anybody else ever encounter this?
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Reality is what you can get away with.
Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #74 on: December 05, 2002, 03:55:49 PM »

A fair enough request, Fang, to look more deeply into MK's metaphor.

Doing so, I find there's one element that I just don't understand:

Quote from: MK Snyder
Strangely enough, you love role-playing. Sure, in the early days you had to adjust for the Bathhouse Stamina stats for characters, and the paragraphs about how all straight guys were really just closeted and latent and just needed a good lay to get over it.

[snip]

A large portion of the hobby involves the fantasy of "awakening" a latent homosexual to his identity. There is much discussion of the psychology of straight guys and what they like and don't like; the gay designers and posters frequently post their stories of straight guy reactions and thoughts. This is considered an accurate representation of straight guys, their lives, their reactions.


(emphasis added)

In this metaphor gay men represent (real world) men, and straight men represent (real world) women. So the fantasy of turning a straight man into a homosexual represents... the fantasy of turning women into men??

MK, are you referring to rape taking place in RPGs? (But inside the metaphor, that would be rape too, and wouldn't "convert" anyone in any way. Rape has been depicted or implied in RPGs, which has occasioned much controversy, but I've never seen or heard of it depicted as converting the victim to the attacker's lifestyle. I can't say it's never been depicted, but you seem to be implying a prevalent theme and I just don't see it.) Or are you referring to fantasies of male characters making love consensually to female characters? (But that's hardly comparable, even in a loose metaphor, to forcing a change in someone else's sexual preferences. In fact it wouldn't appear to be objectionable at all.)

I'm just honestly confused about what you're getting at with the "awakening" issue.

- Walt
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