Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Female Gamers: Ya Wanna Fight About It?

Ok, so maybe I'm a little late on this subject like Apple was late in realizing their phone doesn't actually work as a phone. Regardless, I feel like I should talk about this subject a bit even if no one gives a crap (which they shouldn't!).

So, neat. You spotted a female gamer throwin' some dice down. So what? Quite honestly, it is hard for me to understand what the big deal is about any minority demographic entering into a realm dominated by a different demographic. This, obviously, doesn't only apply to female gamers but as this is a 40k blog, I will limit myself to this very small aspect. Bringing attention to a minority demographic, like I am hypocritically doing now, serves only a few functions. The first is that is validates their minority status and becomes an almost impossible barrier to break down. This is not really anyones fault, but is more of a subconscious collective effort on the part of all wargamers because there is this stigma that cannot seem to be erased that wargaming is strictly a man's hobby. Second, it feeds the so-called "attention whores" who, more likely than not, are in it just for the attention of other males (this, I feel it should be said, does not apply to just females, but as it is the subject of this post it is the only thing I will address). Thirdly, and this I feel is the biggest problem in the wargaming community, is it highlights many-a-males severe ineptitude when it comes to talking to women.

Again, the general male ineptitude when it comes to conversing with women applies not only to wargaming (duh). Quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people reading this post right now are pretty bad at it (I mean, good enough to get by, but sometimes everything just comes out wrong). I'm definitely in this camp. In the correct setting or correct mindset I can easily talk to girls just like I talk to my male friends, and this is how it should be. However, sometimes a genuine hand at friendship can be misinterpreted quite easily as a flirt. Again, I am in this camp. In fact, a few years ago when I worked at a public library (as the only, and I cannot stress that enough, only male working there) a girl approached me and starting talking about one of my favorite authors, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and so naturally I engaged in harmless conversation with her. We became friends. No big deal, right? Well when I started dating another girl that works there (still am too! As far as I'm concerned she's way out of my league but I guess the drugs still haven't worn off after three years :p). Anyways, Dostoevsky girl was pissed because apparently she thought I have been flirting with her for the past few months.

Uh... what?

A simple gesture of kindness, becoming friends by talking about an atheistic Russian author from the 1800s, was turned into something else entirely. And this happens all the time.

Now, the problem with wargaming in regard to the subject at hand is that it is a male-dominated hobby. I am going to stereotype now, something I'm not a fan of doing, but I'm going to say that in general all of 40k wargamers have a much larger proportion of male friends to female friends. I will also make the assumption that, in general, this is due to a lack of perceived interests. Why, then, do male wargamers tend to suffocate female wargamers (whether in a club, or in threads on forums, or whatever)? Could it possibly be because the male wargamers lacking a good base of female friends (who are great to have because, honestly, they are incredible to talk to about a variety of subjects, mostly sensitive ones, that men are just terrible at. I know I am)? Could it be that they just are getting overly excited at the thought that they have found a potential female friend with similar interests as themselves? Absolutely! Are they sometimes overly aggressive? More times than not! HOW THE HELL DO YOU APPROACH THE SITUATION?

Be normal. Be yourself. Other than a difference in anatomy, there is no real reason to treat them any differently you would treat another male playing the game. Why should you, especially if you just want to be friends? The real female gamers (I say real because, as mentioned earlier, some are just out for attention. That is pretty unavoidable with any demographic in any situation, sadly) are the exact same as you. They love 40k. They either want to crush your army with cheese like Power-Gamer Joe or show off their stunning minis like GD Tom (or, you know, anything in between!). Why act differently if you really just would like to be friends or you just want to welcome them to a forum or what have you? There is no reason to. Treat them equally, not like they should be put on a pedestal and praised nor like they should be placed below us on the proverbial food chain. Treat them as a fellow gamer you have thrown the dice with countless times before, the only difference is, quite literally, on the surface.

The reason I posted this was just that I've seen so many disgusting blog and forum posts that just baffle me. Why talk about a subject that, honestly, doesn't really deserve a second though. Women are not all pretty-little-pink-princesses that play with barbies and watch Disney movies all the time. Just like men are not all beer guzzling "bros" who can't control their bodily functions and watch only sports and can't pick out the beautiful subtleties of well written screenplays instead opting for potty humor comedies. Phew. Humans are complex creatures with incredible ranges of emotions, interests and ideas. To stereotype (despite me doing it earlier, sorry) is to simplify humans into cookie-cutter forms that do a disservice to the amazing grey-matter that occupies each and every one of our skulls. No one person is alike, but we're all equal. Why treat one differently than the other?

And I leave you with a most appropriate xkcd comic:


Da_Sub said...

So I have just read what is IMHO the best take on the subject I have seen anywhere. You really nailed exactly what my thoughts are on the matter. Gamers are Gamers no matter the gender.
Yeah and I still have problems being an effective conversationalist with most girls. So I hear where you are coming from on that.

This should be in the must read posts on FTW!

RonSaikowski said...

I didn't know "girl" gamers caused so many problems.
They're just gamers right?

Kevin said...

Glad you agree with me Da_Sub!

@Ron- Exactly. They're just gamers. No need for any problems, or any extra acknowledgment based on their gender. That applies to my little rant as well, there should be no need for it. But there is. It's really stupid. A few posts on forums and blogs are just absolute gems (I use that sarcastically. They are in fact pieces of garbage that make me wonder if the poster is that completely sexist in real life) that really show what I'm talking about. One is actually on BoLS and, though the site can be good for rumors and other things, it really just highlights this ridiculous stigma that us down-to-earth wargamers can't seem to shake off.

It's a pity, really.

Daughters of the Emperor said...

Yay Great Post! It's much nicer than my gamer girl post.

Enter_Skitarii said...

You touched this one off for me in more ways than one. Great stuff.

The_King_Elessar said...

I know I'm very late to the party, and so I wasn't going to comment on this incredibly commendable and magnificent post...then I read the comic.

Honestly, that's one of the best non-Marvel (never really been a DC, Dark Horse etc reader) comics I have ever read...and I read several webcomics semi-religiously.


And yes, the reason for the brilliance is the accuracy to my own life. lol