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Author Topic: What can I do for my daughter? (split from Sexism)  (Read 4933 times)
quozl
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« on: December 06, 2002, 07:11:43 AM »

I am male, 30 years old, and married.  My wife games a little (she loves Hogshead's Baron Munchausen) and our only child is our wonderful girl who is almost 1 year & 5 months old and loves to play with dice.  

There has been a lot of talk about sexism in the "gaming world" and my wife and I both try not to raise our daughter in a sexist fashion.  What can we do for our daughter as she becomes exposed to the "gaming world" and its sexism?  Or more optimistically, what can we do to make the "gaming world" less sexist?  

(Obviously, this won't just apply to me and my daughter but I thought it might be best for this type of topic to have a narrow focus.)
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Clay
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2002, 08:56:01 AM »

The best advice that I can think of is to play in a way that encourages her to be a protagonist. I wouldn't try to shield her from the sexism that's already there.  Just make sure that she's self-confident enough to deal with it and avoid being dominated.  

I have friends who train guard dogs, and use the same technique on their animals.  All of their training emphasises building confidence in the dog, so that they can identify appropriate biting situations and know that they can take a large foe. The result is that their dogs will happily charge a screaming madman shooting off a gun (an acceptable biting situation), and providing they don't get shot, bring him down.
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Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management
MK Snyder
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2002, 09:05:35 AM »

RPG with your wife and daughter when she's older. Do stuff with your daughter. A father's involvement with his daughter is one of the biggest predicators of her future self-esteem and success in life.

That's pretty much all there is to it.
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2002, 09:18:31 AM »

Quozl,

Some ideas:
As she gets older and (presumably) starts showing interest in RPGs, encourage all her friends, male and female alike, to play together.  If you're GMing, make sure that the opportunities and rewards are fairly spread among the players.  Encourage protagonism, even when you think a prticular action or behavior would be out of character for a woman of that culture/time/world.

Lon
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Reality is what you can get away with.
quozl
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2002, 01:54:07 PM »

Thank you all.  So I need to build up her confidence and self-esteem (which is helped a LOT by dpending time with her) and encourage coed friendships.  Sounds like what I was going to do anyway but it's nice to be verified.

Now can these methods be extrapolated to helping reduce sexism in adults?  People (both male and female) need to build up confidence and self-esteem and develop coed friendships.  Sounds reasonable to me!
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Clay
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2002, 02:01:56 PM »

And lots of work with a bite sleeve.
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Clay Dowling
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quozl
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2002, 02:16:23 PM »

Quote from: Clay
And lots of work with a bite sleeve.


It took me a while to get the connection.  Training dogs - bite sleeve - got it!  

Let me see if I'm connecting this right:  When we are attacked with sexist behavior, we need to be not so offended if it will not hurt us (because they're only going for the bite sleeve).  Of couse, when they avoid the bite sleeve and try to take real chunks out of you, get the heck out of there!
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Clay
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2002, 02:47:32 PM »

I wasn't so much making a point as a smart assed remark.  Although the bite sleeve work is actually just role play to teach the dog how to determine when to bite.
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Clay Dowling
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2002, 11:00:20 AM »

Hello,

I emailed the text of the leading post to a friend of mine who, with his wife, is a life-long role-player and has been including his daughter and her friends in role-playing for some time. Here's what he sends me:

****
#1:  Children under 3 should never be playing with dice.  N-E-V-E-R!  They are a very real, and very dangerous choking hazard.  If he wants his daughter to live to an age where she even comprehends sexism, take the damned dice away!  Christ, some folks are boneheads.
 
#2:  If both parents want their child to grow up comfortable with gaming and role-playing at an early age, I'd suggest that the wife be more of a role model.  If mommy and daddy both participate in an activity, a child will be less likely to stick a gender-label on it.  That said, the gaming world is still >80% male, and that can lead to a very creepy sub-population.  As in any other section of our society that is traditionally overwhelmingly male (sports teams, fire departments, corporate boardrooms), the more females that enter the arena, the better.  Change takes time and commitment.  If 12 year old boys play with boys AND girls in a middle school fantasy game, maybe they'll continue to accept them all as equals later on...
 
#3: I didn't involve my daughter directly in my gaming until she was 11 years old and had a genuine interest in the fantasy/SF genres.  Friends of ours have played D and D with their kids as young as 5.  I think that you have to gear your games to the age of the child.  Some kids are better at the imagination or role-playing parts.  Some love to paint miniatures.  Others like to memorize all the rules.  Still others can add dice and combat modifiers faster than the adults.  As his daughter grows, he should see what aspect of gaming interests her and focus on that, understanding that that interest will likely change as she goes through different developmental stages.
 
#4:  Trust me on the dice.  If he doesn't get them out of her reach, I hope he knows how to do an emergency tracheotomy with a kitchen knife...
 ************

I'm not sure where the emphasis on dice/danger comes from, but this guy tends to speak from knowledge and experience as a general rule. I imagine I'd rather not know.

Best,
Ron
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John Wick
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2002, 11:02:17 AM »

Start her with storytelling. Get her to tell stories with you. Play storytelling games. When telling her stories, ask her to tell you what happens next.

And remember that storytelling is a skill, just like anything else. At first, she'll have no idea how to do it. Play along. Encourage her to be creative, even if her initial efforts aren't creative at all.

And buy a book called "Don't Bet On the Prince." It's a collection of feminist faerie tales. Some are better than others. My favorite is Tanith Lee's "Prince Alminec." A story about a prince trying to win the heart of a spoiled princess and the woodlands witch who teaches him the true meaning of love.

In short, avoid Disney at all costs ("Some day my prince will come") and teach her that real princesses go out and GET that prince. :)
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Carpe Deum,
John
quozl
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2002, 12:44:53 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

#1:  Children under 3 should never be playing with dice.  N-E-V-E-R!  They are a very real, and very dangerous choking hazard.  If he wants his daughter to live to an age where she even comprehends sexism, take the damned dice away!  Christ, some folks are boneheads.

Best,
Ron


I was wondering if I should have put a disclaimer in there when I posted that and I guess the answer was yes, I should have.

As to the other comments (John Wick's too), thank you very much.  That's some pretty useful and specific advice.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Clay
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2002, 08:37:46 AM »

On the dice thing, I suspect that a child under 3 can't really comprehend dice anyway, other than as pretty plastic things.  That's a good excuse to switch to very large dice, or cards to determine fortune.
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Clay Dowling
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Ozymandias
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2002, 02:43:07 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

If 12 year old boys play with boys AND girls in a middle school fantasy game, maybe they'll continue to accept them all as equals later on...


I'd like to second this point based on my own personal experience. Back many moons ago when I was in middle school and first started gaming, it was with a mixed gender group (albeit one where I was the youngest by about say 6-7 years) and the gm was always adamant about being inclusive in terms of gender, thus as I moved into high school and met other gamers there it actually seemed kinda weird to me that all the groups I encountered were either predominatly or exclusively male. Over the course of my time in high school the group of older gamers I had played with went their seperate ways or "grew out" of the hobby and by last year of high school I fell into gaming with one of those of groups. Welp, shortly after starting college (we all stayed local as the state of Georgia gives a full scholarship to anyone with a good GPA) I started dating a girl (to whom I am now happily married) who expressed an interested in gaming, so I talked to the guy who was GMing the game I were playing at the time and he seemed receptive to having another player so I invited her.

Well,  the experience that ensued startled me to say the least. In addition to myself there were three other players, all male. One ignored and refused to even speak to her, another was just a jack-ass, and the GM while on the one hand seeming to try to be polite mostly just stared at her breasts the entire time. (The last player was actually nice and polite and inclusive, but unfortunately the behavior of the others dominated the experience.) Needless, it was quite some time before she was interested in even hearing about an RPG after that.

As I said the experience startled me as it ran so counter to my past experiences. All three of these guys were perfectly nice reasonable people when dealing exclusively with other guys, but they had absolutely apparently had no experience in dealing with anyone of the opposite gender and became completely socially inept jackasses when placed in that situation. And as I see it, the way to stop creating generation after generation of male RPGers who behave in this manner is to make sure that at a young age that playing RPGs is seen as a mixed gender activity, whether we do this directly by running games groups for younger gamers in your area (something that those of who are married with children will get less concern from other parents about than single guys would) or by making sure published games are geared towards mixed gender groups in the hopes that will slowly become the norm. Of course encouraging older players to change their behavior is certainly needed as well, but it's much easier to just stop the problem before it starts.

Thomas
25 years old, male, and the father of a 2 year old daughter and 8 month old son.
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quozl
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2002, 05:44:41 AM »

I totally agree!  I am looking forward to the day when my daughter is old enough and invites boys and girls over to game with.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
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