*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 01, 2014, 04:28:03 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
Print
Author Topic: Re: What does role playing gaming accomplish?  (Read 45643 times)
MK Snyder
Member

Posts: 116


« on: December 01, 2002, 12:40:32 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young

It seems to me that in the 80's, the overwhelming majority of role players were guys. I know that every girl who played at my table was either the significant other or the sister of some guy who did, save for one game in which a couple of people wanted to see what the game was like on rather the spur of the moment. People thought that role playing games just didn't appeal to girls.



As a girl of that era, I want to speak up, that it may well not have been that it didn't appeal to girls; but that it appealed to guys who would do everything they could legally get away with to keep girls out of it.

Bear in mind the primary form of transmittal for *all* games: personal instruction. Not just RPG's, but traditional games, such as chess, poker, bridge, etc.

Boys (and men) did not invite girls (and women) to play; treated us like freaks when we did; ignored us in stores; and recoiled from cooties.

When girls did play, they never got to graduate from "girlfriend" to "gamer"--unlike the male friends recruited by guys. Try that sentence out with "The only guys who came were friends and brothers of gamers." Well, duh.

So don't you cootie hounds be talking about what does or does not appeal to girls. Because you just don't know. Women now play blackjack and poker in equal numbers with men; this was unthinkable a generation ago. We poor dears just didn't have the mathematical inclinations, you see, and that was repeated as Golden Truth for years.

Notice also the incredible sexism of the last sentence: who are the "people"? Why, guys.

Guys are "people". Girls are "girlfriends" and "sisters".

Read some of the posts about
misanthropy for some hilarious sexism.

This kind of unconscious, unthinking, thoroughly accepted and unquestioned prejudice makes *me* want to leave. Because it never blinkin' stops. When does the door to gaming get opened to me and my gender? What does it take to get you boys to grow up? How about pretending that some women might post here and read here?
Logged
thoth
Member

Posts: 49


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2002, 08:17:05 AM »

Quote from: MK Snyder
Notice also the incredible sexism of the last sentence: who are the "people"? Why, guys.

Guys are "people". Girls are "girlfriends" and "sisters".


Not to excuse it, but in all fairness this is a problem with our culture as a whole.

I also wonder if the perception of rpgs->geeky->chicks-hate-geeks factors in to how geekguys respond to geekgals. I think it did, and probably still does, for me.

[Edited for topic split]
Logged

Amos Barrows
ManiSystem
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2002, 09:13:05 AM »

Quote from: MK Snyder
This kind of unconscious, unthinking, thoroughly accepted and unquestioned prejudice makes *me* want to leave. Because it never blinkin' stops. When does the door to gaming get opened to me and my gender? What does it take to get you boys to grow up? How about pretending that some women might post here and read here?


MK,

(Edit: I've split this into its own thread, since it's way off topic.)

I get your point, and understand what you're trying to do, but you might want to tone it down. I can pretty much guarantee you two things:

a) There's no real sexism here. I game with women, work with women, am in a singular relationship with my partner - all of whom are equals. Ron - well, I imagine Ron's ideas on sexism are mind-blowing, considering his field, and we probably don't want to know. He's quite progressive, though.

b) That I will take control of any situation involving sexism on The Forge. The thought of it is an insult to me, and I - as the administrator - will take serious action in that case.

To your point, though: do you still have a problem being excluded from game groups because of your sex?

There is an obvious sex imbalance in gaming - anyone can see that. I have problems not finding enough women for my game group. (Most of my best role-playing experiences have been when there was a female in the group, even when I wasn't interacting with her. Maybe there's some reverse sexism at work here.) My point: I'm shocked that you're not actually sought out and begged to play in groups.

I've often seen self-described "geeks" become very defensive about being discriminated against before any discrimination happens. Now, I'm not saying women - or you specifically, MK - aren't discriminated against. I am saying that I can see your reaction to MJ Young, and wonder if your anger at past discrimination pushes away others.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Uncle Dark
Member

Posts: 215


WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2002, 09:43:57 AM »

MK,

Just to put out a (possibly) minority expereince, most of my best gaming experiences in the 1980s involved mixed-gender gaming groups, none of which had "girlfriends of the players" or other "day-trippers" involved in them.

Mind you, this was mostly becase I was picky about who I gamed with.  I did know a handfull of female gamers who prefered to game in mostly- or all-female groups because of how they'd been treated by male gamers in the past.

The games involved were D&D (2nd ed. and a mutant variant of the original brownbooks) and Amber, for the demographically minded.

Lon
Logged

Reality is what you can get away with.
thoth
Member

Posts: 49


WWW
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2002, 10:50:50 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon


MK,

(Edit: I've split this into its own thread, since it's way off topic.)

I get your point, and understand what you're trying to do, but you might want to tone it down. I can pretty much guarantee you two things:

a) There's no real sexism here. I game with women, work with women, am in a singular relationship with my partner - all of whom are equals. Ron - well, I imagine Ron's ideas on sexism are mind-blowing, considering his field, and we probably don't want to know. He's quite progressive, though.


There might not be a lot of obvious and intentional sexism, but there is sexism. The issue I see is the sort of overriding assumption that girls RP with dolls and fashion websites, and boys RP with RPGs. And saying RPGs just "don't appeal to girls" unintentionally falls back on 'girls RP with Barbie dolls'. It seems like it'd be a constant but subtle pin prick.


Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon

b) That I will take control of any situation involving sexism on The Forge. The thought of it is an insult to me, and I - as the administrator - will take serious action in that case.

To your point, though: do you still have a problem being excluded from game groups because of your sex?

There is an obvious sex imbalance in gaming - anyone can see that. I have problems not finding enough women for my game group. (Most of my best role-playing experiences have been when there was a female in the group, even when I wasn't interacting with her. Maybe there's some reverse sexism at work here.) My point: I'm shocked that you're not actually sought out and begged to play in groups.

I've often seen self-described "geeks" become very defensive about being discriminated against before any discrimination happens. Now, I'm not saying women - or you specifically, MK - aren't discriminated against. I am saying that I can see your reaction to MJ Young, and wonder if your anger at past discrimination pushes away others.


And all of this seemed very patronizing, unintentional but still patronizing. I mean, that last paragraph really does feel a lot like the blame is being laid on MK Snyder, and that it's all 'in her head'. Which might very well be example of sexism of the subtle, and sub/unconscious, variety.

But I'm a guy...and may be WAY off in what I see in these regards.
Logged

Amos Barrows
ManiSystem
talysman
Member

Posts: 675


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2002, 10:50:52 AM »

Quote from: MK Snyder

Read some of the posts about
misanthropy for some hilarious sexism.

This kind of unconscious, unthinking, thoroughly accepted and unquestioned prejudice makes *me* want to leave. Because it never blinkin' stops. When does the door to gaming get opened to me and my gender? What does it take to get you boys to grow up? How about pretending that some women might post here and read here?


I hate to say it, but I checked that thread again and could not find the sexism you are referring to. the only time gender was mentioned or suggested at all was when James West mentioned his wife swears she doesn't like roleplaying games but does like to play with the online paperdoll websites, which he considers to be a form of roleplaying.

we all know that there are women reading the Forge; there are even a couple other than yourself posting as well. observing that there was a gender imbalance in the '80s is not the same thing as being prejudiced against women -- if anything, it's questioning whether there is a prejudice lurking within the hobby. airing this prejudice, if it exists, and analyzing its roots is a good thing, because it implies the possibility of change. refusing to mention any prejudice for fear that a mere mention will offend someone, on the other hand, is an obstacle to change.

so, which do you want: a change in perception, or a pretense of fairness? I don't think they're the same thing.
Logged

John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
talysman
Member

Posts: 675


WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2002, 11:02:26 AM »

Quote from: thoth

There might not be a lot of obvious and intentional sexism, but there is sexism. The issue I see is the sort of overriding assumption that girls RP with dolls and fashion websites, and boys RP with RPGs. And saying RPGs just "don't appeal to girls" unintentionally falls back on 'girls RP with Barbie dolls'. It seems like it'd be a constant but subtle pin prick.


I didn't see anyone say that. I saw one person mention that his wife rejects traditional RPGs but likes the paperdoll websites, even though he considers them the same thing. he also mentioned that he didn't like football or stock market fantasies. he mentions in a follow-up post that he likes the paperdoll websites himself. the point he was trying to make was not that women like paperdolls and boys like pretending to be barbarians, but rather that the RPG market tends to focus narrowly instead of diversifying. in fact, he came right out and said:

Quote from: James V. West

Its a great big world out there and the potential markets for rpgs is phenomenal when you consider that we're talking about a medium that has just as much potential for diversity as painting, music, or anything else.


I would have considered it sexism if he had said something about "women like fashion websites", but he was talking about a specific person who happened to be female. presumably, he knows her well enough to have figured out her preferences.
Logged

John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2002, 11:08:20 AM »

OK.

Thoth,
I hate to do this, but I'm going to be upfront and say that you are wrong. I've been reading your posts, and they're full of jumped-to conclusions, including this one. If you want me to discuss this further, I don't mind.

You were right about my post being patronizing. It was intended to be, and asked a serious question. (It also was read by my female partner beforehand, so she could make sure it wasn't offensive.)

On the Forge being sexist, though, we're the most enlightened place around, bar none. There's no perception that "girls play with Barbies." If someone actually said something like that, they'd have me down their throat in a heartbeat. What James West said has already been explained; what MJ Young said is that there was a public perception in the 1980's that girls weren't interested in RPGs. He didn't say he felt that way - his wife plays, as I understand - and there was a public perception.

If anyone wants to discuss whether it still exists, then I think that would be a fine topic. I tried to start a topic earlier, and will again:

The perceived sexism in RPG's has led to a gender inbalance. Both Lon and I have mentioned that our best experiences RPGing were in mixed-gender groups. The imbalance in role-players has given us a problem: if playing RPGs (and socializing in general) is more enjoyable in a mixed-gender group, how does the (majority-male) RPG community reach out to females?

MK, your input would be awesome on this topic. What has attracted you to certain groups or games? Have you had to build your own group from scratch because of sexism in other groups?
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
talysman
Member

Posts: 675


WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2002, 11:37:10 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon

what MJ Young said is that there was a public perception in the 1980's that girls weren't interested in RPGs. He didn't say he felt that way - his wife plays, as I understand - and there was a public perception.

If anyone wants to discuss whether it still exists, then I think that would be a fine topic. I tried to start a topic earlier, and will again:

The perceived sexism in RPG's has led to a gender inbalance. Both Lon and I have mentioned that our best experiences RPGing were in mixed-gender groups. The imbalance in role-players has given us a problem: if playing RPGs (and socializing in general) is more enjoyable in a mixed-gender group, how does the (majority-male) RPG community reach out to females?


I'll chime in and say that I did, in fact, have mixed-gender roleplaying groups even back in the '70s (and the only "girlfriends" involved were actual gamers who were dragging their boyfriends to gaming sessions; the boyfriends would have been happier sitting at home playing "dress-up" with their football player trading cards.) still, there was a definite imbalance: most groups I played in were mostly male.

why?

to a certain extent, I think it had nothing to do with RPGs but with gender itself. most gamers start to game in their teens. most teen groups play games or sports in groups defined by gender, no matter what the activity is. when teen groups mix genders in equal proportion, there's usually something else going on, like a dance or party.

the reason why it seems like it's sexism inherent in the RPG is because of gender role issues in society at large. during the '70s, there was still a lot of "men like action/adventure, women like soap opera" gender brainwashing going on. I'd say there's still a lot of it going on today, but the boundaries are getting fuzzier. the point is that in the early days of RPGs, if a girl liked swords-and-sorcery, she was under tremendous social pressure not to admit it, in the same way that guys were under pressure not to admit liking soap operas.

combine that with teen akwardness around other genders, and you wind up with guys playing so-called "guy games" who are afraid to ask girls to join, and girls who are afraid to show an interest in a supposedly-male interest. and once you get started playing "all-guy" games, you get used to it, so that making a change and allowing girls to play seems creepy and scary.

one other thing: teen boys have dirty minds. they tend to start making leering comments towards girls that join their group, thus making the girls feel like going elsewhere.

I think you really start seeing the truth behind this when you notice that mixed-gender RPG groups tend to be college-age or older, when (presumably) the players are more mature. there's one thing I haven't figured out yet: the teen boys who stop playing when they reach college age because they're "too old for that". I suspect that this latter group might actually be the same group making the dirtiest jokes or demanding that girls be excluded entirely, but I can't confirm this.
Logged

John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2002, 11:58:35 AM »

Quote from: talysman
one other thing: teen boys have dirty minds. they tend to start making leering comments towards girls that join their group, thus making the girls feel like going elsewhere.


I always wonder if this is true.  Whenever you have an activity with a strong gender dominance (I can speak only for the male side), does sexual tension scare off new recruits?

In the martial arts I practice we'd love to have more women (for different body types, as well as simply adjusting the mix), yet they never seem to stay.  Is this because they don't want to practice? Or because they want to practice, but get sick of being 'babied' or their opponent looking at their sports bra instead of paying attention?
Logged

- Cruciel
Ziriel
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2002, 03:06:15 PM »

I was waiting to post on this thread because I really wanted to see where it would go.  After much thought and hesitation I've decided to speak up.

First of all, I am a female gamer.  I admit this with a fair amount of anxiety due to the fact that I have not once gained anything from telling others this online, actually rather the opposite.  It has been my experience that when I have expressed strong opinions and people knew my gender I was being "too emotional".  Funny how no one has ever said that to me when they assumed I was a guy.  However, I digress.

I agree with talysman in that the reason most roleplayers are male has nothing to do with the games themselves but with gender issues in general.  When I started gaming (in the mid 80's) I was never invited to join a group unless my boyfriend was playing.  My presence was threatening and akward for "the guys".  No, I didn't, and still don't, think they are sexist in an offensive way.  It was just an akward age to be mixing genders in a social way like that.

I got very frustrated with not being able to play and I ended up forming my own group in high school with two of my good friends.  These good friends of mine were both girls and they had never heard of roleplaying before, aside from the odd media story.  We played D&D for awhile and they liked killing monsters and building sword wielding barbarian characters just as much as the guys.  So, on that note, I really must reiterate that I don't think that it's the style of game that's important to drawing in female gamers as much as the group.

Now I am playing with a group that has survived for over five years.  There are five other players in this group, all guys.  Other players that have come and gone in the past have also been guys.  We often puzzle over the fact that it seems near impossible to recruit any women.  I have come to the conclusion that women enjoy gaming as much as men.  

So where are they?

Lots of them don't know anything about gaming.  Some of them are afraid that no one plays but creepy, unbathed, teenage boys, so they avoid it.  Others are out there but they are hiding, even more tentative to admit they play than their male counterparts.  I'm not saying this iz always the case, but I've seen it hold true a fair amount of the time.  To admit to other girls that you roleplay, especially when you are younger, iz like saying: I enjoy hanging out with nerdy guys in their basements in my spare time.  It's certainly doesn't have to be true, but to those not in the know it reads like that all the same.

One final note:  You don't have to leer or make rude comments in order to make girls feel unwelcome in a group.  (I'm certain this iz true for you guys too.)  General atmosphere can convey "boys club" just as vividly as anything outright rude.  Sometimes it's the little things that people don't even realize they do.  Other times it's simply being the only one there who iz different.

I hope my ramblings shed at least a little light on things.  I love gaming.  I love gamers.  I truly do.  Sometimes it iz hard being the "token girl" though.  

Thank you for reading my really long post. *sheepish grin*
Logged

- Ziriel

Personal Rule #32:   13 people can keep a secret  if 12 of them are dead.
Uncle Dark
Member

Posts: 215


WWW
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2002, 08:29:52 PM »

Talysman, Ziriel,

I don't think it's all just gender issues in general.  Some of it is (was) marketing, on the same level that markets "dolls" to girls and "action figures" to boys.  Of course, I don't think that marketing rules all, but it does play a part.

For instance, if a book's illustrations featuring women are mostly some version of damsel in distress, with the only women wielding power being obviously evil, what does that say about the game the illustrations appear in?

Art imitates life imitates art.  When more game companies started to notice their women customers, their marketing started to shift to appeal to women more.  This attracted more women to gaming.  Which made companies pay more attention to them...

Again, marketing and illustrations are not the only factors, but you get the idea.

Ziriel, I'm curious as to what atmospheric elements you see would warn women off.  One I'm aware of is communications style.  I had the unfortunate experience of gaming with some new people, and my female partner was turned off before the game ever began.  The guy who was going to be GMing seemed to ignore her, as if she was not a potential gamer.  He didn't seem to listen to her when we talking gaming in general, even when she made an effort to be a part of the conversation.  Is this the sort of thing you meant?

Lon
Logged

Reality is what you can get away with.
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2002, 09:15:29 PM »

Hello,

Oy. Is there any particular reason to continue the thread beyond these two points?

1) M.J., perhaps reviewing your phraseology and basic point is a good idea.

2) Maryanne, perhaps allowing M.J. a single "no blood no foul" opportunity for such a review is your best first step.

Plus a couple side points ...

- I see no merit to threatening to leave the Forge as part of an argued statement. Anyone is free to sign on; anyone is free to cease posting.

- Discussions of how sexist "all of role-playing" is are uniformly unfruitful. They suffer badly from lack of definition of terms, among other things.

As I see it, the floor is M.J. Young's to clarify his point (or not), amend his statement (or not), and so forth, as he sees fit.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2002, 09:26:51 PM »

Hi there again,

H'm, Clinton rightly pointed out that a general question had been raised that's worth pursuing:

"What behaviors attribute to the gender inbalance in gaming?"

With the addition of "if any" at the end of it, sure, let's do it. Regarding MK's initial objection to M.J., though, my previous point ("let M.J. talk") stands.

Best,
Ron
Logged
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2002, 09:44:36 PM »

Maryanne, I am sorry to have offended you; I meant nothing of the sort.

In 1978, having just graduated college, I moved with my wife of almost two years back to her home town, to be near her aging parents. That put us near her friends. Margaret, whose shins she had kicked back in second grade but who had always been a friend since, was dating a guy named Bob whom we had briefly met at the wedding; since we were now local, and they liked to play games (which we did), we started getting together. It quickly grew to weekly, and we played everything. Bob brought board games and war games, we picked up stuff that looked interesting when we were out, Margaret was incredible at cards and had the most amazing dice luck any of us ever saw. Bob also bought a pinball game, and was able to get the latest Atari chips in pirate copies through work, so we played lots of games, getting together more and more frequently for about two years.

Then in the fall of 1980 we stumbled on D&D, found a copy, and started playing. That meant two guys, two girls. I was the DM. My wife, Janet, scrounged a copy of Met Alpha and started running that; Bob dug up Gamma World at a farmer's market, so we started playing that; Jan didn't like MA and dumped it in favor of Star Frontiers. Margaret was never interested in running games, but played well with us, even if she wished we did more of the other games.

Michelle was the friend of a sister of a friend, and knew my wife that way. She was engaged to David. David heard that we played, and insisted on joining us. So the two of them created characters, and started playing--three girls, three guys. But David was the one who really got into it; Michelle just sort of played.

We had a lot of others come for a while and then leave; I can't remember them all. However, most were either couples or single guys. Maybe it was because the guys in the group talked about the games between play more; maybe we just had more exposure to people, I don't know.

Then David and Michelle got divorced, and both vanished from our social scene entirely; I didn't even know how to find them. Margaret broke up with Bob; and although Margaret had been our long-time friend, it was Bob who continued gaming with us. The three of us played into about 86, when I started Law School and life kind of went into major upheaval. So my experience always suggested that girls played (Janet was really into it, and Margaret didn't enjoy it as much but was very good) but that guys were more interested.

Then I got asked by a neighborhood kid to teach them how to play D&D; one thing led to another, and I started running a game for six fifteen-year-old boys and my eldest son (then in second grade, I believe) as their party leader. That burgeoned over the years to about thirty gamers, ranging from my second son when he reached second grade to then thirty-year-old E. R. Jones--and of all of these, I clearly remember one girl, the younger sister of two boys already playing. I never invited anyone; they invited each other. I still don't know who some of them were, and once confused a complete stranger with someone who had been there a few months earlier, handing him the other guy's character papers. There may have been a couple of other girls who sat in for one night here or there, but it was predominantly guys. We played on Friday evenings, when my wife was working, and wrapped up shortly after (sometimes before) she got home. I told them to bring girlfriends, sisters, anyone else; I would have liked that. They said the girls didn't want to come.

The kid who roped me into that was Jim Denaxas, now doing art for several games (including Multiverser, but also some of Dark Omen Games' projects and Little Fears). The girl he was dating then is now his wife, and served as Valdron's corporate secretary last year. But I don't think she's ever played a role playing game. She will; she's in med school right now, and hardly has time to say hi some days. But it never really caught her interest then, even though she probably could easily have convinced her mom to let her go up to Mr. Young's place and play in a game with Jimmy on Friday nights.

So I don't get it. Maybe that many guys in one place is intimidating. Maybe the guys really didn't want the girls around. Maybe the way I ran D&D appealed to guys better than girls. Or maybe there was already an idea prevalent in the neighborhood that this was a game guys played, like Pong and Tank (which in their day captured the male audience first--I was there).

I think men and women are different. I use to be able to cite rather credible authorities on that, although now all I remember specifically is Sociobiologist E. O. Wilson, and that there's some guy who styles himself a Darwinian Anthropologist, and someone who was very involved in the nursing community in New York City when I read about her. I don't think one is better than the other, or that they can't share interests; I do think that there are strong tendencies for some things to appeal more to boys than to girls, and the other way around.

If being sexist means you think that the sexes are different, well, viva la difference. If it means that you think one better than the other, I concede--I've always thought girls were better at most things that mattered in life; I just do my best to try to catch up.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!