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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Women and Gaming

Subject: How your gaming group treats you? rss

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Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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In all of my gaming groups that I used to belong to treated the women in the group with respect. My question is: Are the women out there ever feel disrespected, objectified, or insulted by your groups actions? What do you think about how women are portrayed in artwork in certain games?
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Cult of the Old
United States
Ohio
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I was once kicked out of a local group but they never even told me they were kicking me out. They just stopped inviting me. I tried to find out why and eventually one of them said it was because I didn't fit in with them. I had never noticed anything "off" or "weird" when we were playing except for their non-gamer girlfriends hanging around in the background being loud and obnoxious. Was I snubbed because I was the only woman? Or because they were just a bunch of jerks? Something else entirely or a combination of reasons? I will never know for sure.

As for representations of women, I've seen some pretty disgusting stuff here (even in officially sponsored contests) but I'm just too old and tired to fight over it. Far too often anyone raising even the slightest concern about gender issues (however sensitively it's done) gets her head shot off, so it's not worth the bother.

In the past month I was surprised that a game I was playing for the first time had a choice of *two* token females (out of about 8 characters) so I guess things are starting to look up. (Too bad I can't remember which game it was....)
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K S
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Tonawanda
New York
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CultOfTheOld wrote:
Far too often anyone raising even the slightest concern about gender issues (however sensitively it's done) gets her head shot off, so it's not worth the bother.

This!
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Kathrin
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CultOfTheOld wrote:
In the past month I was surprised that a game I was playing for the first time had a choice of *two* token females (out of about 8 characters) so I guess things are starting to look up. (Too bad I can't remember which game it was....)

You might like Women in Games -- Examples of Positive Representation.
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Petra
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My regular gaming group is awesome, and treat people with respect regardless of gender. I am (99% of the time) the only female there but they have never made me feel left out or disrespected in any way.

Since I moved to a new city two months ago I have been reluctant to find a new gaming group, mostly because I'm a bit shy and not really sure how I would be welcomed as a female.
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Rebecca Carpenter
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My groups are stellar. In some past experiences (outside of current core group members) I've noticed a few people being condecending to me. Instead of being insulted, I examined my behavior and realized that I wasn't being confident enough. I was inviting the condecending behavior. It doesn't help that on occasion I game in ultra feminine garb like high heels, and can I give off a ditzy vibe. Anyways, I kept my look but started playing more assertively. I stetch out at the table, and make bold moves. My attitude tweaking has helped enormously earn respect and when an outsider joins us with a condecending attitude, everyone notices because it's so outlandish now.
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Val Ofiesh
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There are so many variables to this question that each response must be stand-alone, vice generalized into a conclusion about how groups treat people.
What is the group composition with regard to age, gender, game focus?
What are the personalities?
What other contextual factors might be involved?
I've played games with about 140-150 different people since January. So, my three regular "groups" form only a portion of my experience.

For my part, if a "group" or combination of people create uncomfortable situations, then I stop playing with those individuals or groups...at least for a time. Some offenses merit a longer pause.

In the past year, I've only experienced one situation that would qualify as over the top cringe-worthy. I say that because the other men at the table cringed and objected to what the guy said to me. I shook my head, finished the game, and left.

The leagues I participate in for Attack Wing and MTG are great...helpful, competitive, but not condescending. They all (male and female) want to teach and improve the game experience.

I do think the portrayals of women in games is improving. The art for the latest release on Magic: the Gathering-Kaladesh set is far more believable and engaging than what was on posters two years ago. A number of games offer a balance of male/female options...games as different as Above and Below and IKI make it work. Yes, there are games showing bad taste, but I feel this is outweighed by the number abstract games that are gender neutral, plus the new family games that consider a broader audience.
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Daily Grind
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SpaceAlien wrote:
I do think the portrayals of women in games is improving. The art for the latest release on Magic: the Gathering-Kaladesh set is far more believable and engaging than what was on posters two years ago. A number of games offer a balance of male/female options...games as different as Above and Below and IKI make it work. Yes, there are games showing bad taste, but I feel this is outweighed by the number abstract games that are gender neutral, plus the new family games that consider a broader audience.

For whatever its worth, I've only been into the hobby for close to 2 years, so many of my games are recent releases, but I think I only have 2 games in my collection (about 100 games) which don't have equal representation. And those 2 err by omission rather than by being inappropriate.

(*) disclaimer that games with no characters at all, or only a single character (like Friday) were not counted in this

As you say, there are still many bad examples of recent games, but its nice to know you can build a sizable collection of the good ones.
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Adrian Schmidt
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Malmö
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Paedra wrote:
My regular gaming group is awesome, and treat people with respect regardless of gender. I am (99% of the time) the only female there but they have never made me feel left out or disrespected in any way.

Since I moved to a new city two months ago I have been reluctant to find a new gaming group, mostly because I'm a bit shy and not really sure how I would be welcomed as a female.


Hi! I've got a gaming group in Malmö which has two women as regular attendees already. It's a loosely formed group of friends who like board games. Who shows up differs from time to time, so there's no small, tight-nit group, that you have to "break into" or anything.

If you're at all interested in possibly joining, feel free to send me a geekmail
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Stephen Hall
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Tucson
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I hope I'm not intruding on this forum, but as a male, it brings me great joy to say that our game group is about a 50/50 gender split. I always get the sense that the ladies in the group feel respected and included. They are there to have fun, so are the guys. So we all have fun.
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Petra
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SpecularRain wrote:
Paedra wrote:
My regular gaming group is awesome, and treat people with respect regardless of gender. I am (99% of the time) the only female there but they have never made me feel left out or disrespected in any way.

Since I moved to a new city two months ago I have been reluctant to find a new gaming group, mostly because I'm a bit shy and not really sure how I would be welcomed as a female.


Hi! I've got a gaming group in Malmö which has two women as regular attendees already. It's a loosely formed group of friends who like board games. Who shows up differs from time to time, so there's no small, tight-nit group, that you have to "break into" or anything.

If you're at all interested in possibly joining, feel free to send me a geekmail

Thank you very much for the invitation, but I currently live in Jönköping, and will live there at least two years until I've finished my studies.
But if I'm in town I'll see if I have time for a game or two.
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Liz D
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North Carolina
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I actually come at this question from a different angle. Yeah, there are established gaming groups out there with some bad habits, but it's also possible to actively build healthy gaming spaces. When I play with my friends and colleagues, we have a blast. I'm lucky enough to have a good group made up of people I already know and get along with. But I'm also a teacher who co-sponsors a game club at my high school.

I have made a professional commitment to making our club a welcoming space for all students, and my co-sponsor (who is male) is equally committed. As a result, we've seen several more young women come into the club over the last year. But we also manage a bit of tension with boys who have some bad trash-talking habits, who awkwardly flirt, etc. (In fact, I blogged about it a couple of days ago at www.beyondsolitaire.net.) Although I'm not always successful, I'd say that my attempts to create a positive atmosphere are working—my classroom will be PACKED with young women and men this afternoon! "If you build it, they will come" is actually pretty true when it comes to attracting a diverse group of young gamers. The environment you create for them matters a lot.

It's harder among adults because there isn't always someone who "runs" a group. But I'd say anyone with any "influence" needs to actively work towards creating a welcoming environment, to speak up if something is wrong, and to listen if someone else voices a concern. It really does make a difference.
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Kathrin
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Very interesting blog, Liz. I'll have to come back for more later.
Thanks for sharing, and for the important work you do in the classroom.
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Shirley Sheak
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Thank you for sharing Liz, I almost broke into tears by reading the 2nd half of the 2nd last paragraph, I can feel what you've described there. Thank you for being a good mentor!
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Monica Elida Forssell
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The people I generally play with are always very respectful, both to gender, and to age. We play games together as friends, we get to spend good time with each other. On many occations I have been the sole female gamer at a table. I also once was the only female getting to the finales in a tournament, without that being frowned upon. Boardgame community in my experience has been very welcome in any and every way.

Even roleplaying; a friend of my cousin invited me to come along to a cabin trip where we would be roleplaying. It was me and four big dudes. Not having too much experience with roleplaying, I was quite the newbie. They took their time teaching me the basics, and even commented on my good decisions from time to time. It was cool!

However.....I have experienced how female Magic players can be treated. I was often the only female Magic player at tournaments, and I could meet men who felt really bad about having to play against me. The worst experience was a kid about 14, I guess. I myself was just over 20. He didn`t like the fact that he had to play against me. He tried to postpone the game. I told him that he could forfeit. Instead he started sighing getting off his chair, generally acting weird, and screwing up the entire game for us both. I beat him. And I think that felt bad for him... I was totally shook up afterwards, because I had never before experienced this type of situation.
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M E
Canada
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I can't think of any bad experiences but I don't keep disrespectful people in my social circle.

I was, however, warned several times by a male friend that I probably wouldn't want to join a certain tabletop group because they were crudely awkward about women. I took his advice.
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Ran Carnelaine
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I quit playing D&D because my group (made up of coworkers, 50% women) just made crass (mostly sexual) jokes and references constantly (I was the only one uncomfortable because I'm a prude, I guess yuk). In addition, they made snide remarks about other coworkers (once in reference to a coworker's sexuality). angry Other people joined and supposedly the group is much better now about staying on topic, but the DM is still rude and I no longer have any interest in D&D when I could just be playing board games (the scenarios weren't fun, the story my DMs created was shallow, and I'm shallow... I just want the loot! ). I do like some of the people in the group and wish I could hang out with them more, but losing the group meant I don't really have much of an opportunity to connect with them anymore, so oh well. Adult friendships are tough.

My board gaming group (also 50% women) is much better, and I think we're all at a comfortable level with each other now -- at least enough to sometimes let our brattiness show (or is that just me? ). The only awkward moment I ever experienced was when people just automatically assume me and my gaming buddy are a couple... (We're more like siblings, so ew. yuk)
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GeoffreyB wrote:
In all of my gaming groups that I used to belong to treated the women in the group with respect. My question is: Are the women out there ever feel disrespected, objectified, or insulted by your groups actions? What do you think about how women are portrayed in artwork in certain games?


My gaming group is all women.

As for the artwork, some games are fantastic, and others, not so much...
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Antonia
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Sir Melancholie wrote:
I quit playing D&D because my group (made up of coworkers, 50% women) just made crass (mostly sexual) jokes and references constantly (I was the only one uncomfortable because I'm a prude, I guess yuk). In addition, they made snide remarks about other coworkers (once in reference to a coworker's sexuality). angry

I actually find this statement very interesting. Because the dungeon master and our D&D group as a whole are a group of very open-minded people. So my experience is the complete opposite of yours. Actually our DM and his girlfriend managed to get a refugee from Syria as a room mate and helped him to get a job and his own flat with some of his friends. Although this is not related to sex it might mirror the character of them

So if you are interested in RPGs or D&D especially: It is a great system, do not miss out on the fun because of some jerks. In my opinion jerks are situated in many different aspects of life, also saw sexist idiots elsewhere, e.g. in boardgaming. No reason to not continue playing cool
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Trevor S.
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I don't game with disrespectful people.
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Antonia
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saint1012 wrote:
I don't game with disrespectful people.

Well, I do not either.

But I guess the real question is the following:
Quote:
How much are we willing to put up with for the love of the hobby?


Not everybody has good friends he or she can game with, so sometimes we find ourselves forced into a situation where we play with people who behave like jerks. And I guess there the question is what kind of behavior we are willing to put up with for the sake of playing. And when enough is enough.

I actually find another question additionally pressing:
Given you are gaming with good friends you get along with and they bring a friend who turns out to be a jerk or just not really compatible with you. How do you behave? Is that even important for the gaming aspect itself?
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Rose
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Cambridge
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"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." - Khalil Gibran
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Muad Dib wrote:
Not everybody has good friends he or she can game with, so sometimes we find ourselves forced into a situation where we play with people who behave like jerks. And I guess there the question is what kind of behavior we are willing to put up with for the sake of playing. And when enough is enough.


Since gaming is a very social activity for me, I would choose to not to game over gaming with jerks.
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Trevor S.
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Muad Dib wrote:
But I guess the real question is the following:
Quote:
How much are we willing to put up with for the love of the hobby?




I'd rather play solitaire then game with disrespectful people.
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