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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Women and Gaming

Subject: Just an interesting observation, hopefully leading to a discussion rss

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Brian Homan
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I have read (and not participated in) a few of the more recent threads in this forum lately, because they hit the front page and sounded like interesting reads.

Today, when looking at the front page, I noted that 5 out of 12 threads present there were from this forum. At first, I was surprised, and then I thought about it a bit more and made the following observations:

1. There is a strange dichotomy of subject headers on the threads. Either the topic is completely mundane (women's chat, microbadges you just bought, etc.) or the topic has to do with sexism in some form. I've checked the front page a few times, and there is about an even split between these mundane and charged titles.

2. Obviously, these hit the front page due to the amount of participation these threads receive. In a thread titled "Women's Chat" I expect that to hit the front page, as it's designed to be a non-specific place to chat. The microbadge one surprised me a bit, but that seems to be one of those hobby-within-a-hobby type things, so I can see the draw there. Of little surprise were the sexism threads being present. These threads tend to draw the best and worst from both sides(?) of the discussion and generate a frothing outflow of feelings, opinions, arguments and counter-arguments that almost never stay on task.

3. You have an interesting problem here. Several women have mentioned that this is the right forum for them to get advice on how to deal with issues they face when confronted with unsavory individuals at their FLGS. By and large, I would say yes, this is the best place to come and be heard and get advice/support for what you have been dealing with as well as get ideas to remedy the problem. Unfortunately, this is what happens:
d10-1Poster writes about their experience, asks for advice/help.
d10-2Readers look for clarification of the situation, or begin offering support/advice. Immediate response is high, thread hits front page and is seen by all.
d10-3In comes the flood. A deluge of posters(usually men at this point, unless they are regulars on the forum and already saw the article) come in and begin all manner of replies to the OP as well as other users who had replied earlier. Some of these are sympathetic, some empathetic, some caution against rush to judgement, some offer rationale for the situation, some just like to throw gasoline on a fire.
d10-4 Discussion immediately devolves following 8+ pages of opinions/replies, usually to the dissatisfaction of the OP. Meanwhile, in the midst of the thread, new fences are being thrown up between various users who spew their bile at one another (this happens for both ladies and gents alike, terms used loosely) and neither group helps to disarm or dissolve the tension (with some rare exceptions).
d10-5The last-worders jump in to offer their $0.02 after much of the action has passed and they are less likely to get skewered for their opinions because most people that originally cared, have already left the thread.
d10-6The OP makes some remarks at the end (usually thanks for support or a scathing rebuke for derailing their thread) or is never heard from again.
d10-7Somewhere between 4 and 6, Octavian jumps in with a reminder about flagging posts and stating that opinions of users are not the opinions of the website, etc.

Now, I know that there are women who would greatly prefer that men not participate in this forum, as they feel that it is because of the men that these discussions devolve. I also know that most of the men come here because they look at the front page, see a title like "How do I deal with sexism at my local FLGS?" and come storming in here to take issue with some one they don't know being called a sexist. You have a catch 22 situation here. Until these discussions do not show up on the front page, good luck keeping the guys out; but, are you really looking for a women ONLY discussion? If you really want to combat sexism, you are going to have to talk to men at some point. You are looking to challenge a view point, that in many well documented cases is well founded. As a father of three girls, I would not want any of them discriminated against because of their lack of a Y chromosome. If I may, though, I would like to have a discussion about these discussions to see if there is a better way we can discuss these things in a way that does not generate the vitriol seen in countless former threads.

I will attempt to discuss the perceptions of both men and women in this thread as they read the thread subject, the OP's post and subsequent replies. Much of the women's perspective I will generate based upon posts and my own knowledge of my wife and daughters.

Woman's perspective/experience leading up to the post:
"I felt very de-humanized the other day at our FLGS when my husband and I were shopping there. We both inquired about a game, but the salesperson spoke only to my husband. By his body language and demeanor, I felt that he saw me as a non-factor in the discussion and that the decision of whether or not we would buy the game rested solely with my husband. This was very frustrating and humiliating. What could I have done to remedy the situation?"

Everything at this point is good for discussion. This is the experience of the OP, her thoughts and feelings, and what she hopes to accomplish.

Here is where things go wrong:
Subject: "How do I deal with sexism at my local FLGS?"

Okay, the OP's perspective is that the clerk was being sexist. This is her feeling and opinion, and she is entitled to it. That doesn't mean she's not wrong or that the expression of that feeling won't lead to equal and opposite feelings being expressed by other individuals (particularly men).

My wife and I have taken a number of marriage classes and read several books to work to improve our relationship. Anyone who tells you that marriage isn't hard work is lying. We have a great relationship, but it wasn't always like that. Our first years were rough, and that was usually because we had incorrect preconceived ideas of the other. When discussing issues, we discovered that taking the focus off of the other person and putting it on ourselves made our dialogue a lot more productive. The use of labels in a discussion (regardless of whether or not they apply) is usually not helpful to the discussion.

The focus of what happened at the FLGS is that the OP felt de-humanized by a clerk's behavior and she needs to know how to handle that situation in the future so as to not continue to endure that treatment.
To understand that, I think you have to understand the real enemy. Many of these scenarios have been discussed, but these I will give you from a guys perspective (particularly, the ones we find present in our hobby:

1. "How do you know he's being sexist? He could just be shy or socially maladjusted."
This statement, when made by a guy, in response to the situation above, is usually met with a great deal of resistance by women. At this stage of the discussion, most of the guys and most of the women are thinking two different things. The women are often concerned with validating the feelings of the OP. This was her experience and she is expressing how she felt in that moment. It is wrong to detract or distract from that. Just answer the question the OP asked and do so with proper sympathy/empathy. The guys are thinking, "Wait, I know a guy who does EXACTLY that. He gets nervous around women and has trouble talking to them." Personally, I know guys who have trouble talking to women. The reasons for this are varied. Some are just shy and were never properly socialized. Others had some very bad and humiliating experiences with women and they don't trust them. Both camps have valid points worth discussing, because having that discussion can produce understanding, which is really the goal, right?

2. "How do jump to that conclusion? He might just be catering to what he perceives as his major clientele."
Sales people are funny. They should know who their customer is and never do anything to damage a sale, but I am guessing that most FLGS clerks don't work on commission, and never directly felt the effects of a lost sale, unless they were confronted by the owner/manager. Men probably do make up the overwhelming majority of customers at a FLGS, so men tend to understand/empathize with the clerk's the jump to talk to the husband, even if they believe the clerk was wrong in their actions. Many women see this attitude as direct sexism, propagating a mentality that comes straight out of the 1950's. Many guys see this as a form of profiling who the actual customer is. Either could be right, not knowing the clerk personally.

I don't think I need to go into more examples, because these two alone significantly contributed to the devolution of discussion. What's weird is that it appears that both men and women are looking for the same thing: understanding.

Many men would prefer that you not jump to the label of sexism, because their behavior does not stem from seeing one sex as better than another, but rather more comfortable than another in terms of communication. This is probably more true in our hobby than in society as a whole. A lot of guys take great offense to the label of "Sexist" because that label (and all the connotations that go with it) really do not accurately reflect these men or the reasons for their behavior. You can reliably expect that any post that has a subject line including the words "sexism" or "sexist" will draw in a flood of people less interested in solving the problem at hand and more interested in righting their own perceived injustice.

A shift in title to "How should I handle this problem at my FLGS?" makes the content seem much less charged and inflammatory, and will likely generate more productive discussion.

Additionally, re-read the paragraph I wrote expressing the problem from the woman's perspective:

"I felt very de-humanized the other day at our FLGS when my husband and I were shopping there. We both inquired about a game, but the salesperson spoke only to my husband. By his body language and demeanor, I felt that he saw me as a non-factor in the discussion and that the decision of whether or not we would buy the game rested solely with my husband. This was very frustrating and humiliating. What could I have done to remedy the situation?"

The paragraph uses "I" statements to describe how the OP felt in relation to a situation.

"I felt very de-humanized..." This statement focuses on how the OP felt. It does not label the salesperson nor make assumptions about them. It only describes the feelings of the OP.

"We both inquired about a game, but the salesperson spoke only to my husband." This statement describes the problem with facts. There is no inference here as to motive.

"By his body language and demeanor, I felt that he saw me as a non-factor in the discussion and that the decision of whether or not we would buy the game rested solely with my husband. This was very frustrating and humiliating." These statements focus on the specific actions that were questionable and how they made the OP feel. This is the crux of the issue and what the OP is asking for help in dealing with. We understand what the salesperson did and we understand how that behavior negatively impacted the OP. Issues of motive are irrelevant here because we don't have the mindset of the salesperson within our grasp. We only have assumptions which will hamper the discussion and keep the OP from getting a focused and serious discussion on what she should do to address the situation. It is in the addressing of the situation with the salesperson that she will be able to accurately and conclusively understand motive.

There is no victory here in labeling the issue as sexism at the outset. The discussion will not go as you hope, and your thread will go the way of so many before it. The situation itself, however, is easy to deal with in terms of both men and women. Nobody likes to be disrespected. Pointing out the issue of disrespect to the salesperson will result in one of the following:
1. You will be dismissed. The salesperson does not see your problem as valid. This could be due to sexism, laziness, apathy, or whatever. At this point, I would go to the manager/owner.
2. You will be heard and they will apologize, often with explanation of their actions. This is where you will understand where they were coming from and help them learn to value you as a customer.
3. You will be heard and they will have their manager/owner intervene. Conflict averse people will often hide behind their managers in situations like these. You might not get an apology, but you will at least have some insight into their behavior. Guys who have a hard time dealing with women will likely go this route.
4. You will be heard and disagreed/argued with. I don't know why I have to list this as one of the responses, but I have seen FLGS employees do some really weird stuff, including arguing with customers. They will listen to you at first, and then tell you all the reasons why you are wrong. Go get the manager/owner to deal with this guy. He might just be a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, or he might just be sexist.

In a normal place of business, you should expect response number 2 most of the time. We can all be jerks from time to time, most of us never intend to be that way, or sometimes we do in the heat of the moment. Some of us can be jerks for reasons completely unrelated to the current situation. We're just having a bad day. Getting to the root of the issue through constructive discourse is always better than using assumptions and labels, regardless of whether or not they have merit.

So what are your thoughts? I have rambled a bit, and will likely polish this post up a bit later, as I am sure there are some misspellings and word omissions in here, but I want to know what you thing will have a more positive effect on the public discourse of potentially sensitive matters.

This is in no way meant to be divisive, just to start a discussion based on outside observation. Please be considerate of others opinions when responding. Thanks!







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Mary Ann Harrison
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bmhoman1 wrote:

There is a strange dichotomy of subject headers on the threads. Either the topic is completely mundane (women's chat, microbadges you just bought, etc.) or the topic has to do with sexism in some form. I've checked the front page a few times, and there is about an even split between these mundane and charged titles.


This is just a peculiar feature of this forum. It pre-dates the guild system, and also far pre-dates my involvement with BGG. But, I gather that some years ago, some women wanted a forum to talk about board gaming and connect with other women in the hobby. So, the forum was created. Over time, it has evolved into a kind of women-centric 'Feel the love' type forum, where people (mostly women) engage in light chit-chat on board gaming topics. I'm not really an insider in this group, but it looks to me like it's kind of a social club of sorts.

However, because of the title, anything related to gender issues tends to get discussed here (unless it is dumped in Religion/Sex/Politics). If it is a victim of discrimination coming here, then in theory it ought to be a good place to talk about it, since the group that hangs out here is a very supportive bunch who would offer a lot of hugs and support. But, unfortunately, anything with the words 'sexism' or 'feminism' seems to guarantee that it will be a thread that will create a lot of anger and hurt feelings. And that is not at all what the forum is usually about, or what the regulars want it to be about (as far as I know).

I think it will be hard to get rid of this dichotomy. I do find that casual and inadvertent sexism appears to be unusually prevalent on BGG, and I'm not someone who goes around finding it here, there, and everywhere. That creates a strong desire for women to have a forum where 'feminine' values and norms reign supreme. And, it will also guarantee that any discussion of feminism/sexism will attract a lot of trolls. I think it just is what it is.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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As a female, I can understand the OP on the "Sexism" thread not speaking up at the time at the FLGS.

My personal experience is that I do not know how a man will react to me when I speak up to ask for recognition or proper behavior from him. Oftentimes, many men will simply ignore me or worse, become hostile and say something that escalates the situation to something worse. At that point, I have 2 choices: leave or put up with the hostility.

I am not being elitist when I say that many men will not understand my point/perspective because it has never happened to them personally.

Specific example:
I was at a school event several years ago in which a group of children--including my daughter--were performing. I arrived early and secured a choice seat near the front and in the center of the auditorium. My husband did not attend with me. Right before the show began, a man sat directly in front of me and proceeded to video the show by raising his arm and blocking my view with his phone.

At that point, I thought of politely asking him to lower his arm because I could not see. However, several conflicting thoughts went through my head: If he is doing that while sitting near the front, he has to be aware that he is blocking someone's view and perhaps doesn't care, or simply prefers his needs--to take the video--over the viewing enjoyment of other members of the audience. If I speak up and point out, however politely, that his behavior is unacceptable/needs to change, I may antagonize him. I also thought that if I said something he might simply ignore me and continue to take the video or worse, turn around and say something negative or vulgar to me. Both options would result in me either sitting there and taking it or getting up to stand--there were no more seats--against the wall to watch the rest of the show.

Now, some of you may think that I was over-reacting for nothing, but I know for a fact that my thought process was not futile, because these type of things have happened to me in the past. I also know, that if my husband had been present that I would not have been scared--yes, scared--of asking him to lower his arm. You see, in my personal experience, many men will treat a lone woman very different than they would a man or if a man were present.

I felt frustrated, powerless, and defeated. You may think it was all in my imagination, but these are the types of issues many women face daily and most of the time they are "no win" situations for us.
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Brian Homan
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Thank you both for your responses. While I don't believe that what always has been is the way it always must be, I certainly respect the opinions of those who think the current dynamic in the forum cannot change. There has thus far been little progress in that area, but that's why I wanted to have this discussion.

MMB, I appreciate you giving a specific example of how you felt powerless to handle a guy who was clearly being inconsiderate of you. I cannot say what would have been the best way to handle your situation, but can offer some insight on guys that might be useful in the future.

Not all guys are alike, that's true, but many of us suffer from similar issues:
Fear of failure
Fear of success
Fear of public humiliation
Fear of being "found out" as not knowing as much as we think we should or being anything less than an expert in our chosen field.
There are more, but this is a good short list.

Some guys have developed a pattern of being inconsiderate simply because no one has ever called them on it. Sounds crazy, right? Being called out in front of a crowd usually hits the fight or flight instinct of a lot of guys. You can see this a lot in high school boys if you are watching carefully enough. If you address this man's rudeness directly, and in an even tone speaking loud enough for only you, him and your nearest neighbors to hear, you have created a small group that has been made aware of his error. The group is small enough for him to feel some embarrassment or shame, but not large enough for him to feel humiliated. Being called out in that way usually produces the result you want. Most guys that I have seen in similar situations will back down. He may not even have been aware of his error until you said something. If, however, you humiliate him in front of a larger crowd, then you are really rolling the dice depending on the personality. Fight or flight instinct can become strong in that instance and things usually go very badly either way. I wouldn't advise taking that approach.

"So, wait, how can this guy not know he's being inconsiderate?"
I hear you thinking this. This would be rare, but it does happen. Never underestimate a man's single-minded pursuit of the perfect video to keep him from noticing almost everything else around him. (Most of us do laser-focus really well). Here are a few real examples for you to ponder to understand a man's actual or seeming lack of awareness:

1. He really doesn't get that he's in the way. Depending on the auditorium, seats are usually staggered so that no one's head is directly in front of someone else's. He may have been counting on this as he video taped the performance, figuring that if you didn't say something, he was in the clear. Long shot? Yes, but possible.

2. He knew he was in the way, but he was caught between a rock and a hard place. I have seen many a guy be told by his wife to go down front to get a good shot of their kid doing their thing on stage. They don't want to do this, as they know they will be in someone's way, but when choosing between the woman you don't know and the one you have to go home with, most guys side in favor of their wives. Some of these guys are hoping you will say something to give them an excuse to not be rude. This is less of a long shot than you might think. I have seen many a performance where the mini-paparazzi of fathers cram near the front and in the aisles to get the perfect shot of their kid, only to go back to their seats later and be reprimanded for not jockeying for a better position. Better smart phone cameras have helped this a bit, but it was crazy just five years ago.

3. He knows he is in the way and he's not moving unless you say something. This guy is counting on the fact that you won't stand up to his bad behavior. He usually gets away with it, so positive reinforcement has brought him to this point. This guy will disappear when more people take issue with the behavior and call him out on it.

4. He knows he is in the way and doesn't care what you say about it. Sadly, this is probably the guy that SHOULD scare you. If you escalate the tension, his response could be unpredictable. If you are at a school function, sometimes the best thing to do is to get a hold of one of the teachers or staff members that are organizing the event and have them deal with him. Men are less likely to resist people in positions of recognized authority. As a whole, we tend to respect that sort of thing (though there are outliers). I can't think of many guys I know who would want to be seen as a complete jerk in front of their daughter's teacher or principle.

Obviously, you can't go back and change what happened before, but hopefully this may help in some future situations.

I know that many women don't like that they need the help of a guy to handle situations like these, and I understand why, but having a friend or husband nearby to call a guy out on bad behavior does two things:
1. It sets things right. Your husband or friend takes issue with the bad behavior, establishing the moral high ground. You may hate needing the "white knight", but be grateful that someone was there to stick up for you in your time of need. I have had some female friends stick up for me when I was being harassed by another woman while I kept my mouth shut for fear of how I would have responded (we scare ourselves sometimes). There is no shame in having a good friend help you out of a tight spot.
2. It makes future encounters like this seem less worthwhile to the offender. Having your butt verbally handed to you can some times feel worse than having it physically handed to you. An effective chiding can keep a bad man operating on good behavior, even if he wishes he could do otherwise.

I hope you encounter less of the baser members of our sex in future outings, but hopefully what I said above will help you deal with the inconsiderate ones.
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That was a thoughtful post. Thank you.

I don't regularly follow the W&G forum, but I saw the thread that prompted this, and it leads me to ask:

Is "I was at the FLGS and I was treated in a way that I perceived as sexist. What should I do?" a meaningfully different question than, say, "I was at the car dealership and I was treated in a way that I perceived as sexist. What should I do?"

I ask that, because it seems that by seeking an answer on BGG, rather than a website about feminism, for example, the original post de facto implies that the answer might be yes.

If that is case, then it may well be legitimate to point out that one of the big differences is that your average person who would choose to work in an FLGS differs from your average car salesman in some notable ways, particularly extroversion/social fluency, and quite possibly NT v. autism spectrum. Done courteously, it's not actually minimizing the OP's experience to suggest that there may be some incorrect pattern-matching to behavior that would probably have a different explanation in other contexts.

One could have a separate discussion of the nasty streak of ableism against the non-neurotypical and socially awkward in contemporary online feminism, which has engendered (no pun intended) a certain degree of touchiness among male geeks when accusations of sexism are thrown around. Sometimes that touchiness will be misplaced, but prescribing a correct treatment for such behavior requires making a correct diagnosis. I don't wish to RSP this post, so I save that for some other time.

Separately from the specifics that prompted this thread, if you want to understand the dynamics of online debates in general, I suggest going here and reading all the posts from the paragraphs that begin "Although I acknowledge the danger" and "I'm also very interested in rationality."

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bmhoman1 wrote:
Thank you both for your responses. While I don't believe that what always has been is the way it always must be, I certainly respect the opinions of those who think the current dynamic in the forum cannot change. There has thus far been little progress in that area, but that's why I wanted to have this discussion.

MMB, I appreciate you giving a specific example of how you felt powerless to handle a guy who was clearly being inconsiderate of you. I cannot say what would have been the best way to handle your situation, but can offer some insight on guys that might be useful in the future.

Not all guys are alike, that's true, but many of us suffer from similar issues:
Fear of failure
Fear of success
Fear of public humiliation
Fear of being "found out" as not knowing as much as we think we should or being anything less than an expert in our chosen field.
There are more, but this is a good short list.

Some guys have developed a pattern of being inconsiderate simply because no one has ever called them on it. Sounds crazy, right? Being called out in front of a crowd usually hits the fight or flight instinct of a lot of guys. You can see this a lot in high school boys if you are watching carefully enough. If you address this man's rudeness directly, and in an even tone speaking loud enough for only you, him and your nearest neighbors to hear, you have created a small group that has been made aware of his error. The group is small enough for him to feel some embarrassment or shame, but not large enough for him to feel humiliated. Being called out in that way usually produces the result you want. Most guys that I have seen in similar situations will back down. He may not even have been aware of his error until you said something. If, however, you humiliate him in front of a larger crowd, then you are really rolling the dice depending on the personality. Fight or flight instinct can become strong in that instance and things usually go very badly either way. I wouldn't advise taking that approach.

"So, wait, how can this guy not know he's being inconsiderate?"
I hear you thinking this. This would be rare, but it does happen. Never underestimate a man's single-minded pursuit of the perfect video to keep him from noticing almost everything else around him. (Most of us do laser-focus really well). Here are a few real examples for you to ponder to understand a man's actual or seeming lack of awareness:

1. He really doesn't get that he's in the way. Depending on the auditorium, seats are usually staggered so that no one's head is directly in front of someone else's. He may have been counting on this as he video taped the performance, figuring that if you didn't say something, he was in the clear. Long shot? Yes, but possible.

2. He knew he was in the way, but he was caught between a rock and a hard place. I have seen many a guy be told by his wife to go down front to get a good shot of their kid doing their thing on stage. They don't want to do this, as they know they will be in someone's way, but when choosing between the woman you don't know and the one you have to go home with, most guys side in favor of their wives. Some of these guys are hoping you will say something to give them an excuse to not be rude. This is less of a long shot than you might think. I have seen many a performance where the mini-paparazzi of fathers cram near the front and in the aisles to get the perfect shot of their kid, only to go back to their seats later and be reprimanded for not jockeying for a better position. Better smart phone cameras have helped this a bit, but it was crazy just five years ago.

3. He knows he is in the way and he's not moving unless you say something. This guy is counting on the fact that you won't stand up to his bad behavior. He usually gets away with it, so positive reinforcement has brought him to this point. This guy will disappear when more people take issue with the behavior and call him out on it.

4. He knows he is in the way and doesn't care what you say about it. Sadly, this is probably the guy that SHOULD scare you. If you escalate the tension, his response could be unpredictable. If you are at a school function, sometimes the best thing to do is to get a hold of one of the teachers or staff members that are organizing the event and have them deal with him. Men are less likely to resist people in positions of recognized authority. As a whole, we tend to respect that sort of thing (though there are outliers). I can't think of many guys I know who would want to be seen as a complete jerk in front of their daughter's teacher or principle.

Obviously, you can't go back and change what happened before, but hopefully this may help in some future situations.

I know that many women don't like that they need the help of a guy to handle situations like these, and I understand why, but having a friend or husband nearby to call a guy out on bad behavior does two things:
1. It sets things right. Your husband or friend takes issue with the bad behavior, establishing the moral high ground. You may hate needing the "white knight", but be grateful that someone was there to stick up for you in your time of need. I have had some female friends stick up for me when I was being harassed by another woman while I kept my mouth shut for fear of how I would have responded (we scare ourselves sometimes). There is no shame in having a good friend help you out of a tight spot.
2. It makes future encounters like this seem less worthwhile to the offender. Having your butt verbally handed to you can some times feel worse than having it physically handed to you. An effective chiding can keep a bad man operating on good behavior, even if he wishes he could do otherwise.

I hope you encounter less of the baser members of our sex in future outings, but hopefully what I said above will help you deal with the inconsiderate ones.


Thank you. I appreciate your insight. I just wish that I KNEW what to do at the precise moment!

As to your option#4 above, I am unsure. If the school administration didn't lay down any ground rules for audience behavior then alerting them to the situation might prove futile (and maybe embarrassing to me?) Also, if the ground rules were stated to the audience then the man would be knowingly and willingly breaking the rules and I feel that it would be the responsibility of the school administration to enforce their own rules. In other words, I don't think I need to tell them to do their job or how to do it.

Sigh......I'm just almost 100% sure that had I been a man, there would not have been an issue with him or me.
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Dave Riedy
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An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.
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Matthew M
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muzzynyc wrote:
An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.


This forum needs A LOT less of these kinds of no-content dismissive responses right now.

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Dave Riedy
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Octavian wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.


This forum needs A LOT less of these kinds of no-content dismissive responses right now.



Funny, I think the forum could use fewer men telling women how to feel and act.
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Octavian wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.


This forum needs A LOT less of these kinds of no-content dismissive responses right now.



Sounds a lot like it also has a de-facto set of its own rules, too, which are quite different from the rest of the site. Perhaps they ought to be articulated for once. Perhaps pinned somewhere. But articulation is the main thing.

I'm not saying it'll necessarily help, but it can't hurt. And hell, it might even make your job here easier (or at least simpler).
 
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muzzynyc wrote:
Funny, I think the forum could use fewer men telling women how to feel and act.

Funny, I think you should read the OP of the thread that started all of this discussion, then point us to the posts where men tell women how to feel. (Hint, the original post asked about how to act. So, I would assume giving opinions about how to act is then appropriate.)
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I have seen variants of these incessant discussions on every forum I've ever been, even when there were no women, men were quite ready to take up both sides and flame each other till the end of time over it. In fact, men seem to be more passionate about it in general, which I always find amusing.

If I've learned anything though, its that no good comes from them, or any other effectively political discussion because the first thing people say to one another on an anonymous forum is the sort of provocative thing they'd not dare to say face to face. From that point onward its "forever war" in that thread.

Anonymous message boards are not suited to social justice discussion and if I was moderating a forum those sort of threads would be locked up in an instant because all they achieve in the long run is driving moderate people (lifeblood of any forum) away.

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muzzynyc wrote:
Octavian wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.


This forum needs A LOT less of these kinds of no-content dismissive responses right now.



Funny, I think the forum could use fewer men telling women how to feel and act.


Dave, you misunderstand. I am not telling anyone how to feel or act, but I am offering a possible solution to the continued vitriol that seems to spew from the charged threads. It's very counter-productive and divisive, which I am guessing most members of this forum would want to move away from. Finding a way to address a problem without setting someone on the defensive almost always works out better in the long run. That's what I wanted to discuss here. If you have a better solution to the problem we see thread after thread, I absolutely welcome your opinion. However, if your intent is to offer deriding remarks that have no substantive content, then I kindly ask that you find another thread to troll. Posts like that are part of the problem, not the solution.

Advice is just advice and a discussion is just that. As an observer, I saw what appeared to be the root of an ongoing issue, whether I am male or female should have no role in whether or not this is listened to or dismissed. I would like to think that we, as rational adults, should be able to come to the table and discuss the breakdown in our communication and fix it. I am offering suggestions that greatly helped my wife and I, but that doesn't make it the only solution. I would love to hear more thoughts from both men and women on how to fix the problem.
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Hast3 wrote:
I have seen variants of these incessant discussions on every forum I've ever been, even when there were no women, men were quite ready to take up both sides and flame each other till the end of time over it. In fact, men seem to be more passionate about it in general, which I always find amusing.

If I've learned anything though, its that no good comes from them, or any other effectively political discussion because the first thing people say to one another on an anonymous forum is the sort of provocative thing they'd not dare to say face to face. From that point onward its "forever war" in that thread.

Anonymous message boards are not suited to social justice discussion and if I was moderating a forum those sort of threads would be locked up in an instant because all they achieve in the long run is driving moderate people (lifeblood of any forum) away.



If anything, I have realized that real change happens slowly. I think we can all agree that the current model doesn't work well for these discussions, but no progress will be made on the issue if nobody tries. There is a segment of people who frequent this forum that ENJOY the arguments. They live for them, and are just looking for the next sexism (or other similarly charged) thread to jump in on and tell everyone they are wrong. I get that, but what if it wasn't a sexism thread? What if it was a situational thread? "What's a good way to handle this problem at my FLGS?" Without the labels, there is little to rage against.

Everyone understands the feeling of being disrespected by another, and most can empathize with another person's experience. What we dicker over most is not the resolution of the disrespect, but the cause of it. There is no way it should take eight pages of replies to come up with some good, thoughtful answers. Go back to the thread that prompted this one and take a look at the percentage of posts that were geared toward solving the problem and the percentage that were arguing over the label of sexism. Imagine all of the posts related to sexism being removed from the thread. The discussion would have been a lot more productive, right?

I cannot argue with the fact that there are a lot of trolls out there and a lot of people willing to feed them. I am just hoping that little by little we can learn to be more civilized in general and find better ways to get what we are looking for out of a discussion.
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EgorjLileli wrote:
Sigh......I'm just almost 100% sure that had I been a man, there would not have been an issue with him or me.


You may be right, but you may not be. I have seen guys like this be equal opportunity jerks who don't care who they are offending, regardless of gender. Some are MORE likely to cause problems for a guy than a lady, because they are HOPING to cause a problem. I've seen my share of that scenario as well. I am sorry that that situation left you feeling powerless, and yes, it is the job of the staff to keep order in situations like that, but sometimes they don't see it and sometimes they just need reminding.
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EgorjLileli wrote:
Right before the show began, a man sat directly in front of me and proceeded to video the show by raising his arm and blocking my view with his phone.


I can't tell you how much I can connect with that sentiment. I encounter it daily. DAILY. People who give the impression that they're either not giving a damn about making things more cumbersome for everyone around, or who simply don't notice – and frankly, I'm not sure the latter is easier to forgive.

Worst part is, it's usually so small, silly things – like standing and blocking the escalator, or sitting on the outer seat of a train, effectively blocking the inner seat, all the while people are standing, wanting to sit down – that you feel stupid and overreacting for even pointing it out.

And when you DO point it out, and the other person mumbles "sorry" and looks at you like "who're you to come here and suggest I should show respect to other people?", all you've achieved is a lousy air.

And if you don't say anything, then you're just getting pissed off.

If I knew how to deal with that… Maybe if I was more full of myself, I could just plain say "move in, you dork, there are people wanting to sit down here".

EgorjLileli wrote:
Sigh......I'm just almost 100% sure that had I been a man, there would not have been an issue with him or me.


I was about to typ "It doesn't help being a man", but obviously I can't see into your situation. Sure, I will probably have an easier time getting pissed off as hell should the man prove to be hostile, but that's not the part you want to go to anyway.

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Zimeon wrote:
EgorjLileli wrote:
Right before the show began, a man sat directly in front of me and proceeded to video the show by raising his arm and blocking my view with his phone.


I can't tell you how much I can connect with that sentiment. I encounter it daily. DAILY. People who give the impression that they're either not giving a damn about making things more cumbersome for everyone around, or who simply don't notice – and frankly, I'm not sure the latter is easier to forgive.

Worst part is, it's usually so small, silly things – like standing and blocking the escalator, or sitting on the outer seat of a train, effectively blocking the inner seat, all the while people are standing, wanting to sit down – that you feel stupid and overreacting for even pointing it out.

And when you DO point it out, and the other person mumbles "sorry" and looks at you like "who're you to come here and suggest I should show respect to other people?", all you've achieved is a lousy air.

And if you don't say anything, then you're just getting pissed off.

If I knew how to deal with that… Maybe if I was more full of myself, I could just plain say "move in, you dork, there are people wanting to sit down here".


I used to take the bus to work every morning, and if someone was sitting in an aisle seat, looking like they didn't want to share, that was exactly the seat I sat in. devil
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indigopotter wrote:
I used to take the bus to work every morning, and if someone was sitting in an aisle seat, looking like they didn't want to share, that was exactly the seat I sat in. devil


Well, obviously, that's my way of tackling it too. But it doesn't help, because what pisses me off is that they're outly demonstrating that they're not paying any attention whatsoever to their surroundings, or if they do, they don't care. I'm silently wondering what the heck those people (it's both men and women, probably quite equal ratio) are doing in a society.
 
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indigopotter wrote:
Zimeon wrote:
EgorjLileli wrote:
Right before the show began, a man sat directly in front of me and proceeded to video the show by raising his arm and blocking my view with his phone.


I can't tell you how much I can connect with that sentiment. I encounter it daily. DAILY. People who give the impression that they're either not giving a damn about making things more cumbersome for everyone around, or who simply don't notice – and frankly, I'm not sure the latter is easier to forgive.

Worst part is, it's usually so small, silly things – like standing and blocking the escalator, or sitting on the outer seat of a train, effectively blocking the inner seat, all the while people are standing, wanting to sit down – that you feel stupid and overreacting for even pointing it out.

And when you DO point it out, and the other person mumbles "sorry" and looks at you like "who're you to come here and suggest I should show respect to other people?", all you've achieved is a lousy air.

And if you don't say anything, then you're just getting pissed off.

If I knew how to deal with that… Maybe if I was more full of myself, I could just plain say "move in, you dork, there are people wanting to sit down here".


I used to take the bus to work every morning, and if someone was sitting in an aisle seat, looking like they didn't want to share, that was exactly the seat I sat in. devil


Ah......the joys of public transportation. I took public transportation to a temp job while 7 months pregnant. One morning there were no seats and I had to stand for the 20+ minute train ride. I had to quickly disembark several stops before where I needed to get off. I stepped off the train onto the platform where I promptly lost my breakfast. Not a fun time..... shake
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Zimeon wrote:
indigopotter wrote:
I used to take the bus to work every morning, and if someone was sitting in an aisle seat, looking like they didn't want to share, that was exactly the seat I sat in. devil


Well, obviously, that's my way of tackling it too. But it doesn't help, because what pisses me off is that they're outly demonstrating that they're not paying any attention whatsoever to their surroundings, or if they do, they don't care. I'm silently wondering what the heck those people (it's both men and women, probably quite equal ratio) are doing in a society.


I think you hit the nail on the head. It seems that people in general have become more self focused (thank you selfies and Facebook) and less aware or less caring about those around us. One thing I love about our hobby is that it is done face to face. It's the perfect form of socialization for me, having fun playing a game while chatting with friends and family.

When my girls got smart phones, I saw a change in their demeanor almost immediately. They became obsessed with taking selfies and checking profiles on Facebook, Instagram, etc. They spent most of their free time with their nose buried in their phone. We nipped that in the bud pretty quick. It's not just teenagers, though. Plenty of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have similar issues. In an age where we have never been more connected to people around the world, we seem more disconnected than ever from the people around us in our daily lives. I believe this is where a lot of the inconsiderate behavior stems from, an unhealthy sense of self and a lack of true community with those around us. I hope that changes, because I see a lot of inconsiderate people hanging around these days.
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Thank you for a very thoughtful post. I will abstain from telling anyone what to feel or think and just mention that I as well
bmhoman1 wrote:
...have seen FLGS employees do some really weird stuff, including arguing with customers. They will listen to you at first, and then tell you all the reasons why you are wrong. Go get the manager/owner to deal with this guy. He might just be a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, or he might just be sexist.

In a normal place of business, you should expect response number 2 most of the time...

This also applies to comic book stores as well as record stores. It might just be Geek Entitlement Issues ("I know more than you") but it sure feels like sexism to me. These jerks will not decide who is part of the hobby and who isn't.
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bmhoman1 wrote:
In an age where we have never been more connected to people around the world, we seem more disconnected than ever from the people around us in our daily lives.


It's pretty simple, actually – as those we connect with on the web are people we have (mostly) chosen to interact with, whereas the ones around us on a train are complete strangers.

The less healthy part of this tendency, however, is the prevailing sense of "I must be online, or else I'll miss out!", which I have heard is a real and actual problem in some school groups. If you're not replying on chat stuff within minutes, you might miss whatever's going on.
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bmhoman1 wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
Octavian wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.


This forum needs A LOT less of these kinds of no-content dismissive responses right now.



Funny, I think the forum could use fewer men telling women how to feel and act.


Dave, you misunderstand. I am not telling anyone how to feel or act, but I am offering a possible solution to the continued vitriol that seems to spew from the charged threads. It's very counter-productive and divisive, which I am guessing most members of this forum would want to move away from. Finding a way to address a problem without setting someone on the defensive almost always works out better in the long run. That's what I wanted to discuss here. If you have a better solution to the problem we see thread after thread, I absolutely welcome your opinion. However, if your intent is to offer deriding remarks that have no substantive content, then I kindly ask that you find another thread to troll. Posts like that are part of the problem, not the solution.

Advice is just advice and a discussion is just that. As an observer, I saw what appeared to be the root of an ongoing issue, whether I am male or female should have no role in whether or not this is listened to or dismissed. I would like to think that we, as rational adults, should be able to come to the table and discuss the breakdown in our communication and fix it. I am offering suggestions that greatly helped my wife and I, but that doesn't make it the only solution. I would love to hear more thoughts from both men and women on how to fix the problem.


I don't think Dave was trolling the thread at all.

Your answers of "It could have been sexism; it could not have been," and "they could treat everyone like that" are the same responses that white people always give when a black person enters a store and is followed around and eyed suspiciously and I'm sorry Brian, it's just garbage.

Maybe they're that way with all customers? Maybe, but it's rather unlikely.

I think the fact that women can't have a conversation about sexism without a bunch of men coming in to "mansplain" to them where they've gone wrong illustrates the problem in this community. There is no real safe place for women to discuss such things here and it is unfortunate.

BGG is not a safe place for discussion because of the choice to let rampant misogyny continue masquerading as difference of opinion.
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debiant wrote:
bmhoman1 wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
Octavian wrote:
muzzynyc wrote:
An entire thread dedicated to mansplaining. Lovely.


This forum needs A LOT less of these kinds of no-content dismissive responses right now.



Funny, I think the forum could use fewer men telling women how to feel and act.


Dave, you misunderstand. I am not telling anyone how to feel or act, but I am offering a possible solution to the continued vitriol that seems to spew from the charged threads. It's very counter-productive and divisive, which I am guessing most members of this forum would want to move away from. Finding a way to address a problem without setting someone on the defensive almost always works out better in the long run. That's what I wanted to discuss here. If you have a better solution to the problem we see thread after thread, I absolutely welcome your opinion. However, if your intent is to offer deriding remarks that have no substantive content, then I kindly ask that you find another thread to troll. Posts like that are part of the problem, not the solution.

Advice is just advice and a discussion is just that. As an observer, I saw what appeared to be the root of an ongoing issue, whether I am male or female should have no role in whether or not this is listened to or dismissed. I would like to think that we, as rational adults, should be able to come to the table and discuss the breakdown in our communication and fix it. I am offering suggestions that greatly helped my wife and I, but that doesn't make it the only solution. I would love to hear more thoughts from both men and women on how to fix the problem.


I don't think Dave was trolling the thread at all.

Your answers of "It could have been sexism; it could not have been," and "they could treat everyone like that" are the same responses that white people always give when a black person enters a store and is followed around and eyed suspiciously and I'm sorry Brian, it's just garbage.

Maybe they're that way with all customers? Maybe, but it's rather unlikely.

I think the fact that women can't have a conversation about sexism without a bunch of men coming in to "mansplain" to them where they've gone wrong illustrates the problem in this community. There is no real safe place for women to discuss such things here and it is unfortunate.

BGG is not a safe place for discussion because of the choice to let rampant misogyny continue masquerading as difference of opinion.


Gary, I understand your view point, and I am not saying that sexism isn't what's happening here. I am saying that the framing of the conversation is important and sets up the probability for useful and rational discourse or the propensity for things to go south really quickly.

The problem I see is a rush to assume motive. This happens everywhere (the Furguson issue, which happened about 20 miles from where I live, is a perfect example). We take our assumptions of wrongdoing and bad motives and place them onto an offender and label them as such without every really getting to the heart of the issue. We do this because of our past experiences with people and we believe that the current offender is no different than the last one or the last ten. The more negative encounters we have of a certain type, the more ingrained this behavior becomes. This mentality is not healthy for either party.

People are very quick to play the race card today, but there are many things that people complain about that have nothing to do with race, but are ascribed to that, because it's part of a stereotype. If someone is being a jerk, I don't care what their race, culture, gender, orientation, or whatever other thing we use to divide ourselves into groups. I have no problem letting said person know they are being a jerk based on their own behavior, not because of the group they belong to.

The store clerk did appear to be sexist. I am not denying that, based on the representation we have of the situation. However, I have been in enough game stores to know that some of these guys (a higher than average proportion) are very socially awkward and that definitely plays into the problem. If you misdiagnose the problem, then your assumed solution may only make things worse. Simply asking the question, "Why are you only talking to my husband, when I asked you about the game as well?" generates enough quick introspection for someone to realize their error and apologize. People often do things without thinking, which is where the unintentional sexism comes in. Knowing how they made someone feel, in the moment, is usually helpful in changing a person's behavior. If the clerk becomes more awkward when challenged on his behavior, then you might have a little more insight into the situation and his reasons for not addressing the woman.

Since you brought up racial profiling in stores, let's discuss that. If you were shoplifted from 20 times in a month and 19 of those times were by a white customer, you would likely be more suspicious of white people in your store, but maybe not. If 95% of your clientele is white, then your shoppers are just equal opportunity thieves. If your clientele is 5% white and 95% other nationalities, your natural instinct-based assumption, is to keep an eye on the 5% of white customers, because they are the major source of your monetary loss. You know it's not all of the white customers that are stealing, but when you catch them, they are predominantly white. You have set for yourself a sterotype based on your own observations and determined a model for predictable behavior based on a given set of data. Is your model unfair? To the other white customers, it will feel unfair, because you are giving them the same scrutiny as you would a criminal, and they feel it. They don't want to shop at your store because they are treated this way, but maybe they don't have a choice. You have two injured parties here, and possibly no effective solution to the problem, depending on the store's ability to install ample security measures or their ability to observe everybody in the store at all times. The store owner is mad at the criminals because they force the store into adopting these measures to keep crime down. The customers are not mad at the criminals, but rather at the store for treating them unfairly. Is racism present in this scenario? If so, is it justified based on experience? How would you solve the problem?

There are countless examples of scenarios like this that exist between people of two seemingly opposed groups, because the root of the problem is never really addressed. The root goes largely unnoticed while the two (or more) groups become diametrically opposed to one another through mutual suspicion and assumption of motive. I happen to believe we would all be better off dealing with the behavior that caused the scenario rather than ascribe reasons as to why the behavior occurred. Not all blacks think one way as a monolithic group and the same goes for whites, or men and women, or gays and straights. True, people of various groups may have "tendencies" to think alike in certain areas, but that does not mean that they are all the same. Ten people can do the exact same thing and all have different reasons for doing it. You won't really know any of their motives until they tell you why they did what they did. The sooner we learn this as a society, the better off we will be.

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Ugh. Sorry. I knew I shouldn't have checked this thread again. The flesh is weak.

bmhoman1 wrote:
People are very quick to play the race card today

If you're legitimately trying to argue in good faith, it's probably not a great idea to use casually dismissive phrases like "playing the race/sex/whatever card". You're just a short step from there to telling people they're "looking for something to be offended by".

bmhoman1 wrote:
There are countless examples of scenarios like this that exist between people of two seemingly opposed groups, because the root of the problem is never really addressed. The root goes largely unnoticed while the two (or more) groups become diametrically opposed to one another through mutual suspicion and assumption of motive.

You're not getting it. Most people aren't saying that a salesperson who talks past a woman in their store is motivated by sexism. Nobody thinks that that guy got up this morning, rubbed his hands together with glee and said "Wow! I can't WAIT to oppress a woman today!"

But at the same time, female musicians get hired at a greater rate if they audition behind a screen that obscures their gender. Studies have shown that identical resumes are viewed more favourably when they're presented with a typically-male name than with a typically-female one. 25% of players in the English football league are black, but only 3% of managers are. Store security disproportionately targets black customers for harassment despite shoplifting not being a crime that's mostly committed by black people. Unconscious biases and prejudices are basically invisible on the micro level but become obvious as soon as you pull back and look at all the points of data on the graph - or if you're on the receiving end of them on a daily basis. In most circumstances, arguing the toss about whether this incident or that incident constitutes Properly Proper Sexism misses the point utterly.

The fundamental problem here is that you've spent a million billion words trying to tell people who're legitimately hurt by systemic prejudice and oppression that they wouldn't get people coming into their space and being arseholes to them if they'd just hedge their words a bit when they're talking about their upset and if they'd try a bit harder to see things from the other person's point of view. That's wrong on so many levels.
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