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Author Topic: Re: What does role playing gaming accomplish?  (Read 67015 times)
lumpley
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« Reply #75 on: December 05, 2002, 04:17:23 PM »

Uh oh.  The person I mostly agree with thinks I'm mind-reelingly clueless.

Maryanne, I'm not offended, and I'm just offering my own experiences from when I was an adolescent hetboy geek.  I have no real idea if anybody shares my experience -- sounds like Clay might, or might know people who do -- but I'm just saying, having a romantic relationship changed me as a person.  Particularly, key in fact, it made me a more reasonable, well-rounded, empathic person.  Which no surprise, I'd say, and I'd say it's a good thing, too.

A trivial little side benefit was that it made me less twerpy when it came to roleplaying with girls (and then women, later).

I would recommend having romantic relationships to anybody for whom they're at all appropriate, because they're cool.  A bit hesitantly, I don't think I'm being clueless in doing so.

-Vincent
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MK Snyder
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Posts: 116


« Reply #76 on: December 05, 2002, 04:57:18 PM »

Walt, I was just trying to get the "being viewed as potential sexual partner" phenomenon in; it would of necessity involve changing orientation so it's not a perfect fit.

I didn't even attempt to take on the aspects of roleplaying rape, having prostitutes as characters, actually being propositioned, repellent conversations, or attempting a homosexist version of Grand Theft Auto.

Good thing, too. It probably would have led to some real angry posts in response.

Personal favorite heterosexist klutzy RPG behavior experiences:

*Being invited back to a guy's apartment to look at UFO blueprints.
*Being told on a forum that I was lying about being a woman because my posts had been too rational and logically written for a woman to have done them.
*Salesman ignoring me and asking my eight-year old son what he was shopping for in crpg department of store.

It's really bad in the casino gaming industry, which is one of my areas of investment and expertise. There isn't enough money in the RPG industry to justify hiring female prostitutes as a marketing aid. There is in gambling and investment.

This works to my advantage as a blackjack player, however.

I would not be surprised if role-playing, like the computer industry, has a higher percentage of men with Asberger's Syndrome in the hobby than in the population at large.  Such individuals would have more problems interacting with females than they do males, and with people-as-strangers overall.

Lumpley, I have nothing against romantic or sexual relationships. I'd put it down as one "growing up" experience that would improve role-playing. Parenting is another. But it is a bit silly to put it forth as a solution to making women feel more welcome when one of the common complaints that women gamers have is being too often treated as potential sexual partners first, and gamers second!

I could just as well recommend to everyone here that they will be better players if they have children and raise them, volunteer to work with people with disabilities, get a job, travel, or join a sports team! All will add to one's knowledge of the human condition.
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C. Edwards
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Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #77 on: December 05, 2002, 05:07:53 PM »

Gareth,

contracycle wrote:
Quote
Now, this I take extreme and vigorous exception to. It may well be that I exhibit sexist thoughts and actions, despite my intent. And yet, the assertion that this is BECAUSE I HAVE TESTICLES is utter rubbish. There is nothing about your masculinity or your hormones or your morphology which mandates or justifies ANY form of discrimination whatsoever.


In your rush to throw bile you seem to have overlooked the fact that I said this:

C. Edwards wrote:
Quote
I think men and women are both, by their very nature, sexist.


Therefore, you having testicles is not the primary qualifier. Also, if you re-read my post you might notice that I wasn’t justifying sexist behavior.  People are hard-wired towards discrimination.  I was simply saying that we need to be aware of this on an individual level and regulate our behavior appropriately.

I would appreciate not being quoted out of context in the future.

Thank you,

-Chris
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MK Snyder
Member

Posts: 116


« Reply #78 on: December 05, 2002, 05:13:46 PM »

Valimar: many little slights can add up. Especially in something that is one's mental refuge. One of the joys of fandom (or religion, or any hobby) is the sense of being among "one's own kind".

It's jarring as a woman who games to be reminded, "No. You're one of the Scary Other."

I accept it in the X-rated bookstore; I put up with it in the boardroom (where I am the only female.); I give stockbrokers grief over it when they ask to speak to my husband; I had a great time being the only straight person at my job in college.

It's not just a problem for straight women, either; it's a problem for gays, lesbians, transgendered, polyamorous, bisexual and asexual individuals too.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #79 on: December 05, 2002, 05:29:02 PM »

Maryanne -

In case it's not clear by now - *I* think having your input in this thread is GREAT.  I think many other people here think having your input on this thread, and the issue in general, is GREAT.   Doesn't mean I agree with it all, of course, but that's not an attack on you, it just gives us stuff to discuss.  Some things (a lot, by my guess) we could work through and come to total agreement on, a few others - maybe not.  But if you think folks aren't appreciating what you're bringing to the thread - well, not true for me, and not how I'm reading other people's posts.

Clinton -

I'm admirin' the way your posting here, sir.  

Folks -

Appologies if I'm lapsing into boring pedant mode here - this may come across as "wise elder speaking," and I'm sure not claiming that - or any - authority.  But IMO - you've always got to remember, serious discussions about touchy subjects in a 'net Forum environment are HARD.  Maryanne has excellent points in her discussion, but people choose to comment on ("attack?") the more questionable ones.  Plenty of folks (I claim including me, in at least one post) brought up specific areas where gaming-in-general kinda messes up on the sexism issue, perhaps even moreso than society as a whole - but those posts don't get any response.  In my experience, you HAVE to focus on the points of agreement AT LEAST as much as on the points of disagreement, or the discussion is doomed.  I see LOTS of points of agreement here, and no one focusing on them.  Even the disagreement isn't formed in such a way to get a helpful response.

Maybe that's because the only response that makes sense is "Don't be sexist, in life or in gaming."  (Where I define sexism as inappropriate behavior towards the opposite sex, and DON'T limit it to males alone).  But maybe there is more to say . . . until/unless we get cogent dialouge going, we won't know.

So - I've encountered very sexist game groups.  Contrary to the experience of some here, my early (junior high/high school) groups were far LESS sexist than the environment in general.  Depending on which configuration I consider, my current groups fit that bill too - though when the group is all-male, sometimes it slides a bit too close to the "inappropriate" for my liking.  In between . . . I ran into some of the worst that "gamer culture" has to offer, and sexism (along with many other downright nasty behaviors) almost drove me out of the hobby.

The most positive thing I can take from the thread at this point is some more determination to keep that inappropriate behavior out of our group(s).  Not as some PC, "oh-don't-say-that" knee-jerk, but as a sincere expression of my "don't forget that's another fully-human being you're talking about" beliefs.

Again, hoping this is seen as a positive contribution,

Gordon
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #80 on: December 05, 2002, 05:57:45 PM »

A few quotes, for context:
Quote from: MK Snyder
Lumpley, I have nothing against romantic or sexual relationships. I'd put it down as one "growing up" experience that would improve role-playing. Parenting is another. But it is a bit silly to put it forth as a solution to making women feel more welcome when one of the common complaints that women gamers have is being too often treated as potential sexual partners first, and gamers second!

I'm not Lumpley, but I made essentially the same point, and I guess I wasn't clear - the point is, if you deal with your sexual partner issues seperate from gaming, it will become less of an issue in your gaming.  And it's only one strategy - I like the "just have the personal maturity to not let sexual partner issues interfere with your gaming" answer just as much.  But, having done just that successfully (I gamed with my girlfriend before she was my girlfriend, and when her then-current boyfriend was in the group, and when she was my girlfriend and an ex of hers was in the group),  I can say that the first solution is (for me, anyway) a better answer.
Quote from: MK Snyder
I could just as well recommend to everyone here that they will be better players if they have children and raise them, volunteer to work with people with disabilities, get a job, travel, or join a sports team! All will add to one's knowledge of the human condition.

In fact, that's part of what I was trying to recommend, too.  Of course, sexual partner issues can come up as problematic in all those situations as well.  But society does deem some settings as "appropriate" places to deal with sexual partner issues, and others as inappropriate, and . . . if someone were to claim that the gaming table was an entirely appropriate place to look at women as potential sexual partners AS WELL AS fellow gamers, I guess I wouln't argue.  Because that's how it seems to me.

But maybe I could be convinced otherwise.  What do you (or anyone else) think?  Do we need to declare the gaming table a prospecting-free zone to keep sexism out of gaming?  I know a number of women AND men who'd be disapointed if that were the case.  I guess that's a little flippant - people will fall in love (or whatever) in just about any circumstance - but it does seem valid to wonder how much tolerence the Social Context of RPGing could/should have for that.

That feels like a more meaty discussion to me,

Gordon
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #81 on: December 05, 2002, 06:43:31 PM »

Quote from: MK Snyder
I would not be surprised if role-playing, like the computer industry, has a higher percentage of men with Asberger's Syndrome in the hobby than in the population at large.  Such individuals would have more problems interacting with females than they do males, and with people-as-strangers overall.

First of all, it's spelled 'Asperger's Syndrome.'  Second, no, we don't have any more problems interacting with females than males; it just shows more because of how males react to a male who has any problem interacting with females.

This stems from what I've had to characterize as 'not learning body language' like normal people.  I've learned (the hard way) to 'speak body language as a second language.'  An Asperger's Syndrome case doesn't pick up on all the subtle cues and nonverbal signals that people give off; sexual cues aren't any harder than normal threatening cues.  A main problem is sexism expects young boys 'to go for' girls; this sets the Asperger's Case up for a fall.  No difference from facing off with bullies.

Fang Langford
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MK Snyder
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« Reply #82 on: December 05, 2002, 07:29:33 PM »

Fang,

Do males who have Asperger's Syndrome not respond to females with physiological arousal symptoms similar to those of stress? i.e., a response to females qua females similar to that of a response to hostile males?

Keeping in mind that Asperger's Syndrome has degrees of severity.

I have some other friends who have been diganosed with Asperger's; their experience has been that while all non-familiar humans induce anxiety and the desire to retreat or disengage, it is easier to overcome with fellow males than with females, and that it is easier for them to have male friends than female friends.

They are gamers and computer professionals. It has been difficult and frustrating for them; they are very isolated from the all-pervasive heterosexual emphases in media, social activities, etc. Their games have few to none female characters, either from the male players or as NPC's. Emotions, family life, romance...all that guff is non-existent in their games.

We may find that the RPG's serve an important role for individuals with biological/cognitive/social deficits. There are "Gamer Geeks". Instead of being ashamed, or hiding them, or laughing with the rest of society, we may want to be more aware and inclusive of them, too.

So far, Asperger's has been found to be more prevalent in males than females. This would be a biologically based imbalance that has nothing to do with RPG content with respect to math skills, violence, or gender roles; but instead, impacts gender representation in the recruitment of new gamers.
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Walt Freitag
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Posts: 1039


« Reply #83 on: December 05, 2002, 09:26:49 PM »

Quote from: Jon (quozl)

Quote from: wfreitag

Our current working theory is that female players [tend, statistically, to] 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.


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


Not all. What is hack-and-slash gaming, if not preferring not to bother with the alternative approaches mentioned in the first item? What is powergaming, if not preferring the opposite of the third item?

However, from all that I've read here I gather that most Forge folk share at least some of these preferences. (Not too fond of social networking myself, especially since I suck at it, but sure, give me the other two any day.) And perhaps that's related to the apparent fact that most (male) Forge folk who've weighed in on the subject report mutually satisfactory (to say the least) play with female players.

Also there's more than just a preference-for involved here. I wanted to word things in a positive way, but at least half the equation is that as a trend, female players are more likely to dislike the reverse of the three items listed (head-on inflexible problem solving, gaining results through solitary heroics, and manipulating abstract systems for rewards). So, for example, my wife and I both like video games with a wide range of workable strategies, but I also like games that require successful execution of head-on solutions that may take many attempts to succeed, while my wife quickly loses interest in such games. (This is an illustration, not supporting data; a sample size of 1 is meaningless.) To a casual observer it might not be apparent that when she watches me play a video game and says, "how can you waste your time like that?" she doesn't mean playing video games is a waste of my time, she means trying thirty-seven times to time a jump just right to land on a little bitty platform is, she thinks, a waste of my precious video gaming time. If the reason I'm doing it is that the game offers no alternative, she's not likely to play that game herself.

- Walt
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #84 on: December 05, 2002, 09:56:15 PM »

Hey Maryanne,

Quote from: MK Snyder
Do males who have Asperger's Syndrome not respond to females with physiological arousal symptoms similar to those of stress? i.e., a response to females qua females similar to that of a response to hostile males?

Depending upon the reciprocal amount of attention that sounds about right (hostile males may focus their attention upon the subject; disinterested females tend to eschew attention).  That's why I said there wasn't additional problems with females.

Quote from: MK Snyder
Keeping in mind that Asperger's Syndrome has degrees of severity.

I own it.  My case is further complicated by my intellect (rated around 150 IQ which is a poor measure of intellect, especially when dealing with Asperger's; I'll explain why shortly).

Quote from: MK Snyder
I have some other friends who have been diagnosed with Asperger's; their experience has been that while all non-familiar humans induce anxiety and the desire to retreat or disengage, it is easier to overcome with fellow males than with females, and that it is easier for them to have male friends than female friends.

Like you said, it varies by severity, but this hasn't been my experience.  Likewise, I'm not sure that "the desire to retreat or disengage" is a symptom or a learned behaviour.  There is a lack of interest in personal engagements, but nothing has been shown conclusively about social preferences that I know of.

Which means I don't know enough to say.

Quote from: MK Snyder
They are gamers and computer professionals. It has been difficult and frustrating for them; they are very isolated from the all-pervasive heterosexual emphases in media, social activities, etc. Their games have few to none female characters, either from the male players or as NPC's. Emotions, family life, romance...all that guff is non-existent in their games.

The reason I say that IQ tests may not be accurate for Asperger's cases has to do with one of the more central diagnostic criteria.  Asperger's cases tend to hold certain circumscribed areas of interest.  Most of the time these are meaningless to detrimental; however one of my early ones was reading.  Now I realize I have a phenomenal retention, but it doesn't border on photographic (I think it's called eidetic retention).  This means I had been exposed to, and had a chance to absorb more than my peers, which cannot have had a positive effect on measuring intellect by rote memory.

At some point around my adolescence I became fascinated by human behaviour.  During this period, I spent a lot of time observing people's behaviour.  This is when I learned 'body language' as a second language.  It also gave me something I refer to as 'the Zelig ability' per the classic Woody Allen film about a total social chameleon.  This was not immediately obvious until I finally left my hometown, and my eccentric reputation, behind.

Coincidentally, this means my games have fantastic non-player characters, that I emulate romance in a highly effective fashion.  I even discovered, even though I had relatively little interest in sexual attraction, either way, that I could be highly seductive.  I am also constantly finding myself in awkward situations where coworkers 'dish' about what rats men are, only to late realize that I am not one of their sex.  (I usually pull out a toy and explain that "it's alright, I'm not really a man; I'm a boy."  That's right I still play with toys; I do share them with my kids though.)  I have also found that my portrayal of serial murderers is said to be as chilling as Anthony Hopkins' Lector; Zelig is an interesting movie.

I like to think that anyone can learn this, but I realize I benefit both having fixed a circumscribed interest upon it and a 'genius' level intellect, so even amongst eccentrics I am an oddity.

Quote from: MK Snyder
We may find that the RPG's serve an important role for individuals with biological/cognitive/social deficits. There are "Gamer Geeks". Instead of being ashamed, or hiding them, or laughing with the rest of society, we may want to be more aware and inclusive of them, too.

I think it is possible that a range of causes of these deficits may attract males to the hobby; possibly a good approach would be to seek the balance amongst females.  Both sexes are subject to a wide range of social deficit causes.

Quote from: MK Snyder
So far, Asperger's has been found to be more prevalent in males than females. This would be a biologically based imbalance that has nothing to do with RPG content with respect to math skills, violence, or gender roles; but instead, impacts gender representation in the recruitment of new gamers.

Not only that but one of the major criteria for diagnosis has to do with language.  "Superficially perfect expressive language" and "formal pedantic language" are two criteria listed in Gillberg's Criteria for Asperger's diagnosis and gaming exists almost completely in a form communicated by language; that makes it seem more than just possible.  Another possibility has to do with a recent supposition that role-playing games require a great deal of 'work' upfront to learn; which could attract a circumscribed interest.  However, a circumscribed interest could just as well prevent acquisition of gaming knowledge; so that's inconclusive at this point.

I am very lucky to have found one of the rare females with Asperger's in my wife, we communicate in an usually verbal style and share many circumscribed interests; it makes for an incredibly close and fulfilling relationship.  I feel very, very lucky.

As you may have guessed, critical thought and role-playing game design are both among our circumscribed interests.

Fang Langford
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Evan Waters
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Posts: 40


« Reply #85 on: December 05, 2002, 10:02:05 PM »

Quote from: MK Snyder


I would not be surprised if role-playing, like the computer industry, has a higher percentage of men with Asberger's Syndrome in the hobby than in the population at large.  Such individuals would have more problems interacting with females than they do males, and with people-as-strangers overall.


Being an Asperger's sufferer myself I always bristle when these kinds of explanations are sought. Are we really that bad?

Personally I've always felt more comfortable interacting with women than men. Not quite sure why.
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #86 on: December 05, 2002, 10:03:48 PM »

Quote from: Evan Waters
Personally I've always felt more comfortable interacting with women than men. Not quite sure why.

'Cuz they're more verbal, duh ;)

Fang Langford
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A.Neill
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Posts: 62


« Reply #87 on: December 06, 2002, 01:08:18 AM »

Quote from: MK Snyder


It's not just a problem for straight women, either; it's a problem for gays, lesbians, transgendered, polyamorous, bisexual and asexual individuals too.


Okay so we're at least as dicriminatory as the rest of Western Culture at large.

How can we be better at making sure everyone has an equal chance of enjoying gaming and gaming culture at large?

Maybe some do's as well as do nots?

Alan.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #88 on: December 06, 2002, 01:33:27 AM »

Quote from: C. Edwards

Therefore, you having testicles is not the primary qualifier. Also, if you re-read my post you might notice that I wasn’t justifying sexist behavior.  People are hard-wired towards discrimination.  I was simply saying that we need to be aware of this on an individual level and regulate our behavior appropriately.

I would appreciate not being quoted out of context in the future.


I am well aware of what you wrote, and you were not quoted out of context.  You are now asserting a postion I regard as absurd; please provide some evidence to support your claim that prejudice is inherent to the human condition, and specifically that this arises from hardwiring.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #89 on: December 06, 2002, 01:58:39 AM »

Quote from: wfreitag

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??


That women will "come to their senses" if exposed to a Real Man.  Their petty and frivolous concerns can be replaced with concerns about real and serious topics, like the muzzle velocity of 9mmP or the appropriate sword to use when assaulted by Frost Giants.  

Quote
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.


How hard would this be to find in porn?  The sexual awakening brought by a man who Really Knows What Its All About to a women who is mis-informed; thus exposed to manly pleasure, by male will and against fatuous female resistance, the subject is converted to the joys of sex and the libidinous lifestyle.  IOW, realises throiugh thought and deed her primary role as a sexual object.

I think there's a lot of that running around in RPG, partly because geekdom has unprecedented access to porn and its extremely overt sexism.  

I provide this quote from the above linked attached article, which I thought was very good:

Quote
7. DO NOT RAPE THEIR CHARACTER.
    We hope this is the most blindingly obvious, what-the-hell-planet-are-you-on statement you have ever read, yet over and over we meet women with horror stories to tell. A friend of ours, now a successful gaming artist, was not three hours into her first AD&D session when one party member declared he was raping her. Rather than stopping him, all four other party members joined in. To this day, this woman will not play a female character. We only wonder that she ever played a second session.
    Another friend of ours describes a game that "I was lucky to get out of when I did." On the night after she left, the party got arrested by the city watch. After throwing the PCs into separate cells, the male gamemaster had the guards rape every female character. The women left in tears and never returned to roleplaying, while, as our friend described incredulously, "the GM never understood what he did wrong."
    In yet another game, a friend of ours ended up playing the self-described "town slut." Though this was not a role she wanted, she had felt so pressured that she "ended up giving it away before someone tried to take it."
    These three examples are from three different states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland) in three different decades (late '70s, mid-'80s and 1997), yet describe disturbingly similar situations. These women are not alone.


How hard would it be to find discussions on RPG bulletin boards (which will not be mentioned by name) in which men advance a "serious" argument that to FAIL to "accurately" portray rape would be a disservice to the game?  How hard would it be to find the Complete Slut or Total Bitch phenomenon outlined in the article?

There is a LOT of RP that cames across as a male sex/power fantasy of the particularly unhealthy variety.  And this is endorsed, IMO, by both text and artwork of RPG products.  If anyone here has been in the hobby for years and years, and really feels that they have never encountered anything which could be construed as a cause of concern, then I would have to opine that you simply have not been paying attention, or you feel that all of this is normal and legitimate.
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