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Women at the forge

Started by Thomas Tamblyn, April 20, 2003, 08:59:14 PM

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Quote from: Jeffrey Miller
Quote from: greyormHowever, all you need is one woman to get the "female perspective," though that brings to light the question of whether the "female perspective" is so different from the "male perspective" that gender is an actual issue in regards to an individual's response.

I don't think so at all.  An individual can in no way speak towards the experience of an entire class of people.

this is the problem right here.

there is no such thing as a "class of people". it's an abstraction, a fiction. individual human beings have experiences; classes of people don't.

and the experiences of "an entire class of people" do not matter when it comes to either designing or publishing or playing role-playing games, because "an entire class of people" does not play role-playing games. only individual people play role-playing games. you can ask as many different kinds of people why they don't play game X or why they like game Y and might be able to gain some insights from that, but you will not discover why "women as a class" play or don't play a game or how they feel about certain behaviors, because classes don't have feelings.

classes are not people. they are made up of people. and none of them agree completely on anything.

this isn't just a word-game. a class is a thing, an object. ever hear the saying "I don't want to be treated like an object"? if you were to walk up to a woman and say "you represent the class of women as a whole; how do women feel about violence in role-playing games?" she might ignore the insult and answer your question as if you were asking about her feelings, or she might laugh/get angry about the question. as would anyone else, if you lumped them in with a large group of other people based on one or two traits.

in fact, you may notice there are many role-players who object to games based on invariable character classes -- so much so that even heavily class-based  games like D&D have added extras (feats and skills) to differentiate characters ... and it still isn't enough; practically every month there's another d20 suppliment with another 10-20 prestige classes and 500 feats and skills to introduce even more variation.

on another front: I had an interesting discussion recently on another rpg forum about GNS, and some people raised the objection that GNS labels people, putting them into three classes of role-player, and they explained that they don't like that. now, I don't believe GNS actually does this, but this was the perception people reported as a reason why they don't like GNS: they don't like being lumped together in a class.

this all comes back to the same point that has already been made: you can't really find out why a "class of people" is staying away from the Forge or why they aren't posting as much as other people ... because they aren't here, or are here but not posting their feelings. any reason you make up as to what this hypothetical group of people is feeling is just that: made up. you can ask individual people "do you post to the Forge? do you read it? why not?"

I guarantee there will not be a definitive answer. it will be a collection of answers: "I'm too busy", "I don't like debating role-playing in the abstract", "I was there once and got mad at a particular person", "I never post to web forums", "I hate signing up for stuff on the web"... and so on. lots and lots of answers, for women, men, or any other "class of people". and some of those answers will be contradictory. you won't be able to fix everyone's objections; you won't even be able to ask everyone. no one has enough time to find out everyone's reasons for not participating.
John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects:

Jeffrey Miller

At this point I'm going to give up attempting this discussion in this forum.  If anyone is interested, I'm more than happy to take it offline, but I think the community has pretty firmly spoken that this is not an issue of importance.



Jeffrey, as this discussion isn't really on-topic and you've seriously misunderstood a number of my points and discussing my statements would be even further off-topic, I'll take that to private with you.

Julie, in her last post, nicely summarizes precisely why the whole "gender perspective" issue is not only moot but useless to discussion in a community as a basis for anything. Following, John's comments about the "class of people" is precisely what I was getting at in regards to my statements about gender perspectives and individual perspectives.

EDIT: I've been informed that the first paragraph sounds like an attempt to "get the last word in." I admit it does at that. Apologies.

My hope with the scond paragraph was to quickly clarify for anyone reading my statements the same way Jeffrey did. Anyone with problems about what I said or how I said it should PM me and we can discuss it.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Matt Wilson

Hey, I hope this doesn't pour oil on the fire, but I just wanted to make an observation.

Julie posted to disagree that there's any big deal on the matter. More than a few posts used that as really strong evidence. Isn't that kind of like getting the female perspective on the matter?

I hope that doesn't sound pissy. I don't mean it that way. What I'm inferring with it is that there's no reason why she couldn't be in that five percent Clinton talks about, but she kind of got some special attention on this thread.

Maybe I'm making a gross exaggeration, but it sort of stood out to me. If you disagree, let me know. I kind of think it's interesting.

Emily Care

As has been pointed out, the only info I can give is why I post or don't post here--not why anybody else of my gender might do so or not.  I personally have never experienced any sexist behaviour towards myself on the Forge, and that may be part of why I continue to choose to participate here. When I don't post, it's much more about the rest of my life, rather than having anything to do with the Forge.  

There are a number of women who post on the Forge. This may be hard to tell from a casual look at the Forge roster. Julie is not the only female poster who uses an inconspicuous moniker.  I chose to use my full first name in part because I wanted my gender to be clear--because of the perception of gender imbalance in gaming.  Also, I did so because it is safe to use a female name at the Forge, unlike other online forums (I'm defintely not implying any particular ones, I simply know that it's a common situation in the online medium) where people will pester--you regardless of your real sex--if you use a female gendered name.  

Given that, the overwhelming majority of posters here are male.  Same with the industry.  The group of those who participate in the hobby altogether, if that could be measured,  probably has a less skewed gender split.  Just my impression.  If I totalled it up I believe I have gamed with more women than men.

As far as why there are no women on the top 10 posters roll, Ron pegged it.  I don't think I'd say it's pathological, but it sure ain't gonna be everybody that has that much time and energy to devote to it.  I lived with at least one woman who had did, back in the old FRPG.advocacy days, however.  As I recall, that community had several women who were top posters.  This one doesn't.  I personally don't have any cause to believe that is more than an accident of history.  If anyone has experience otherwise, I'm sure Ron & Clinton would be interested in hearing about it.  

Anyway, in my opinion, keeping the level of discourse high, and atmosphere respectful are the best things that could be done to encourage people of whatever variety to participate here at the Forge.  

Emily Care
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


Quote from: Matt WilsonJulie posted to disagree that there's any big deal on the matter. More than a few posts used that as really strong evidence. Isn't that kind of like getting the female perspective on the matter?
Heya Matt. Good question.
I think, however, it's Julie's perspective on the matter. Very easily, I believe, you could find a woman with an opposing viewpoint on the issue. Hence my statements above about the issue and actual usefulness of "gender perspective."
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


Julie, Talysman, Jeffery Miller and greyorm all have debate-worthy albeit differing views of the relativity of the whole issue. I have to agree with Emily Care and Ron about time spent here being mostly male, and thus the major posters appear to be male. I think a better question, perhaps, is 'where are the women game writers?', which of course raises all the same points rasied by those above (where are the gay/ asian/ disabled/ etc. demographic X people).  Personally, I think there are two answers. First, we're not as likely to have the time and / or access to be on-line at the same volume as posters here seem to have (lower tech jobs, whatever), and second, we may not be designing the same sorts of games.  There's a third in there about the extreamly high level of the work around here, and plain ol' intimidation. :)  I'd have to second whoever said to troll other boards and advertize.