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Subject: Uncomfortable experiences rss

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Elwyn Chow
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I am part of a group of geeks. We play board games on a monthly basis. The leader of our group and I are in disagreement about a particular store that I shall not name. (I don't want them defamed and I don't want my questions to be leading in any way.)

She thinks we shouldn't be having events in this store, claiming it is "actively dangerous" for female members and that it is for me to do further research into how misogynistic the occupants/owners of the store are. She won't be specific about what has happened there but has pointed out how there are virtually no women there.

Admittedly, there are a lot of males there. I don't really play with them or talk to them since I just go to buy games and browse games. As I am not female, I cannot attest or deny her claims. To me, it just seems like another retail store with affordable products and helpful staff - presumably there's lots of security cameras to prevent shoplifting and it's well lit, not too cramped. I think it's a safer environment for people than a concert where men sometimes try to surreptitiously grope somebody; it's got less drunken or violent men than the pub or sporting events.

I am not saying that it's impossible for bad things to happen. I just have been trying to find out if there are claims from anyone else.


Have you ever had bad experiences in game shops such as experienced an assault, threat, something uncomfortable? Have you ever seen an act of racism, misogyny?
 
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Matthew Wills
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I am not really sure how my experience is going to help you at all.

You have a person in your group who isn't comfortable gaming in Place A.
So, if you want to play with that person, you are going to need to find somewhere else to play.

Telling her that 20 other people say it is safe isn't going to make her feel more safe. Telling her that it is safer than going to a concert isn't going to make her feel more safe.
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Wolfgang Kunz
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Even if there are 20 guys that find the shop ok -

you only need one other guy threatening her to make the place uncomfortable. And let us be honest: Some gamers are very weird...

Some of my neighbors are very suspicious when my buddies come around for a game - night with their tatoos / Black Metal Shirts...

So I agree with the former poster:

If you value playing boardgames with this person find another place.
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Michael B. Hansen
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Alphawolf wrote:


you only need one other guy threatening her to make the place uncomfortable. And let us be honest: Some gamers are very weird...

.


Could you point me to a location where you would be 100% sure not to run into weird people.

Getting slightly tired of the repeated gamer/nerd bashing on BGG. Mostly with an anecdote with a woman portrayed as a damsel in distress at the center, as if most women would not object to being mistreated in ANY kind of shop, and complain about it to the people in charge..
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Jerome Lapointe
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I find gaming stores are usually friendly open public places... this is surprising.

Seems like a very vague accusation and when 20 people show up in a location together I fail to see how any one member of that group would be in any threat... obviously you're dubious about her claims but like anyone put in that position, you wont be able to find out what happened and the insidious nature of claims like this is that you'll look really bad if you challenge them.

Either there is cause for concern and maybe at some point, if at all possible to do this without identifying her, you could ask to speak with the store owner and inform him that a female friend of yours has expressed discomfort about her treatment there. He's got cameras, he cares about his business... he might already suspect certain customers.

Either she does not care to tarnish people's reputations to have her way and maybe you should take your distance... but I'm sure the store owner would still benefit from being vigilant about his clientel.

You can't really assume it's one way or the other.

Now by "leader" I assume she organises the meet ups and tells people where and when it will happen? Let her have the burden of finding an alternate location if that is the case.

In the mean time since you guys only do this once a month... (without hijacking something she might be possesive of) maybe you can see if there's a subset of the group you are close to who'd be in for a more informal meetup for a game you guys all enjoy between your montly get togethers... and either have it there or host it yourself at a different location and eventually go back there if you can make it a regular thing and you're in a position to evaluate that it is in deed a place worthy of your business and activities.

Don't make youself a target for being culled from the group by her, just work on being closer with other people in the group.
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Georgina Dear
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Yes, I have been harassed at a game store so repeatedly and thoroughly that I stopped going there. But my experiences don't matter here. What matters are the experiences of your friend, and that you've decided that one woman feeling uncomfortable isn't enough to justify a change of venue. You want to know if there are "claims from anyone else".

Think about that a moment. A woman has told you that a store's owners and customers are making her uncomfortable. Instead of believing her, instead of respecting the way she feels and trusting that she knows her own emotions, you've come here, to a website that is heavily, predominantly male, and asked for opinions. You'd rather listen to random men who can only speak in generalities about an unnamed store than one woman who is telling you specifically that this particular store makes her uncomfortable.

I hope you'll consider why that is. And then I hope you'll move your meet-up to someplace everyone can feel welcome.

The most important thing you can do, as a man, when a woman tells you that a situation is making her uncomfortable? Believe her.
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Michael B. Hansen
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I have a hard time imagining a game shop being an "actively dangerous" place. I have never seen bad behaviour towards women in any game shop i have visited.
Now, in womens clothes shops, i have seen it on several occasions. Men standing on chairs to look in on women trying on clothes, is most prevalent. Once in a Hennes & Mauritz, i was told by the lady in charge that the guy who did it was from another culture and she didnt want the hassle of throwing him and his family out.

Furthermore, just because you are a woman does not make you incapable of exaggeration or lying, so my advice would be to make your own judgement about the shop described.

That being said, i am sure you can find a way of respecting the ladys sensitivities. As already pointed out, there must be other places to play games.
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Dean L
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DearGeorgina wrote:

The most important thing you can do, as a man, when a woman tells you that a situation is making her uncomfortable? Believe her.


That's totally right. If I were in her position, I'd do just that. But that means more than just running away and hosting my events elsewhere. That's not good enough. I might have other female friends that go to different events there. Even if I don't, there will be other women going there, unaware how actively dangerous it is.

Just stopping playing there isn't enough. But you'd need more specifics, if it's staff or customers, the manager needs to know. If it's the manager, that's another problem. But just leaving it to be someone elses' issue doesn't sit right with me.
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Ruud
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No amount of 'evidence' to the contrary is going to convince her to change her opinion about the game store I think. So, I think it's clear, you should listen to her if you want to play games with her (or the other female members as she describes). Hearing of many other BGG geeks that they cannot imagine she's not safe in a gamestore won't help here.

I do think she should be more open to what has occurred / what negative experiences she has heard of/had there, because clearly you don't understand it and 'you should research it' sounds like an excuse to get her way without having to explain/come into the open with what happened or the reason she wants to leave.

I am not sure how any public location can be actively dangerous with many other people around such as in a gaming store, but if she (and other people) are uncomfortable there, it's a good reason to look for another location. As she is the leader of the group, I think the duty ultimately falls on her to look for an alternative location and explain why you are leaving the former. Comfortable gamers are happy gamers.. you don't want the tension/angst in gaming groups regardless of your perception of the validity of her reasons, real (or imagined).
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Julian Clarke
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What Georgina said. A thumb was not enough.
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Another voice in support of Georgina: if your friend feels threatened, you MUST be supportive. Help her relocate the event without hesitation. If she is reluctant or scared to inform third parties about her concerns, offer to back her up but leave the decision to her.
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Jill Reid
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Architeuthis wrote:
I have a hard time imagining a game shop being an "actively dangerous" place. I have never seen bad behaviour towards women in any game shop i have visited.


That's right...you have not seen it, you can't imagine it. But she did experience it. Why not believe her? Gaming is supposed to be fun for everyone involved. The OP seems willing to look for a solution, so he values this other gamer friend. IMO one or both of them should actively look for another game location. It may be more enjoyable for all involved.
BTW, we have the best game shops where I live and I have not seen any bad behavior towards women, nor would I expect to. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
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Carl Marl
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elwyn5150 wrote:
I think it's a safer environment for people than a concert where men sometimes try to surreptitiously grope somebody; it's got less drunken or violent men than the pub or sporting events.


That's really not much of an endorsement. Your statement implies there are some drunken or violent men there. Maybe you didn't mean that literally, but should there be any drunken or violent men there?



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Elwyn Chow
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Thanks for coming from around the world to not answer my actual question about your actual experiences in Sydney.

I believe something happened but she has asked me to investigate on my own time and that's what I'm doing. Is there corroborating evidence that this store (or it's sister stores) have a history of issues? Well, nobody from the Sydney region is saying "At the Android's Dungeon, ____ occurred."

I have doubt that a normal retail store in Sydney, Australia, can be "actively dangerous". Yes - anywhere can be dangerous; anywhere can be visited by psychotic people. Is danger actually imminent? Is the problem more with the patrons than the store owner? I don't know. I want to gather data on people's experiences.


I suggested we go back there. I acknowledged that it's not the group's goal to change things but one way to change things is to confront them rather than leave the status quo. Yeah, somebody is going to tell me that it's not a woman's role to have to confront her own problems or something.
Anyway, she can't make that day of the week.

DearGeorgina wrote:

Think about that a moment. A woman has told you that a store's owners and customers are making her uncomfortable. Instead of believing her, instead of respecting the way she feels and trusting that she knows her own emotions, you've come here, to a website that is heavily, predominantly male, and asked for opinions.


I asked for people's experiences. I didn't ask for their opinions. I would rather have more testimony to form an opinion on what occurred. Ideally judgment of other people should not be immediate and should be based upon facts.

DearGeorgina wrote:
You'd rather listen to random men who can only speak in generalities about an unnamed store than one woman who is telling you specifically that this particular store makes her uncomfortable.


I really only want to hear the experiences from people in the local area. If I wanted a general response, I wouldn't have posted in a specific area based section of the web site.
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Jim Patching
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Sounds like you've already made your mind up
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Joe S
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elwyn5150 wrote:

I am not saying that it's impossible for bad things to happen. I just have been trying to find out if there are claims from anyone else.


Have you ever had bad experiences in game shops such as experienced an assault, threat, something uncomfortable? Have you ever seen an act of racism, misogyny?


It doesn't matter if anyone else, in your local area or not, has had bad experiences in a game shop or elsewhere.

She is telling you that it is unsafe, "actively dangerous" for women there and that the group should move. Believe her and move the group.

She is also asking you to investigate the shop regarding the staff and owners, which suggests that it is less the other game groups and patrons and more the store itself. Believe her. She's telling you that it is someone who works there. Move the group, then start talking to the managers / owners about how you have heard complaints regarding the safety of women. Pay attention to their responses. If they're dismissive, they may be part of the problem.

Please don't be part of the problem by not backing her up.
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Chris Whale
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elwyn5150 wrote:

DearGeorgina wrote:

Think about that a moment. A woman has told you that a store's owners and customers are making her uncomfortable. Instead of believing her, instead of respecting the way she feels and trusting that she knows her own emotions, you've come here, to a website that is heavily, predominantly male, and asked for opinions.


I asked for people's experiences. I didn't ask for their opinions. I would rather have more testimony to form an opinion on what occurred. Ideally judgment of other people should not be immediate and should be based upon facts.

DearGeorgina wrote:
You'd rather listen to random men who can only speak in generalities about an unnamed store than one woman who is telling you specifically that this particular store makes her uncomfortable.


I really only want to hear the experiences from people in the local area. If I wanted a general response, I wouldn't have posted in a specific area based section of the web site.
Wow. Way to pick the elements of Georgina's post that make you uncomfortable and ignore the bit where she completely answers your question:
DearGeorgina wrote:
Yes, I have been harassed at a game store so repeatedly and thoroughly that I stopped going there.


Clearly you care enough about the situation to post, so here is my experience:
My group moved venues and one of the new managers was loud and aggressive, making many members uncomfortable, especially the females and they understandably stopped coming. We approached management with our concerns, while exploring other venue options. Fortunately they responded to our concerns and we did not have to change venues. This week we had 33% female attendees.

The only thing I would add is to try and encourage your female friend to be explicit with her concerns, that way you can better understand her position and respond to the specific issue. But she will need to feel that you will support her, and not dismiss her concerns out of hand.

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Ruud
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You are being stubborn. If she's not comfortable there, ask her why as you are obviously clueless (or blind to it). Regardless, if you want to game with her, you'll need to listen because even if she has real (or imagined) reasons, she'll not go game there until either the problems are resolved or you switch locations.
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Bruce Murphy
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At this point, she should probably not conclude that you'll support her in any way. Where are you, perhaps a game group of more reasonable people us near her.

B>
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Bruce Murphy
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Architeuthis wrote:
Alphawolf wrote:


you only need one other guy threatening her to make the place uncomfortable. And let us be honest: Some gamers are very weird...

.


Could you point me to a location where you would be 100% sure not to run into weird people.

Getting slightly tired of the repeated gamer/nerd bashing on BGG. Mostly with an anecdote with a woman portrayed as a damsel in distress at the center, as if most women would not object to being mistreated in ANY kind of shop, and complain about it to the people in charge..


So sexism, harassment, no problem. Just think of the nerds? Buh?

B>
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David Janik-Jones
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DearGeorgina wrote:
Yes, I have been harassed at a game store so repeatedly and thoroughly that I stopped going there. But my experiences don't matter here. What matters are the experiences of your friend, and that you've decided that one woman feeling uncomfortable isn't enough to justify a change of venue. You want to know if there are "claims from anyone else".

Think about that a moment. A woman has told you that a store's owners and customers are making her uncomfortable. Instead of believing her, instead of respecting the way she feels and trusting that she knows her own emotions, you've come here, to a website that is heavily, predominantly male, and asked for opinions. You'd rather listen to random men who can only speak in generalities about an unnamed store than one woman who is telling you specifically that this particular store makes her uncomfortable.

I hope you'll consider why that is. And then I hope you'll move your meet-up to someplace everyone can feel welcome.

The most important thing you can do, as a man, when a woman tells you that a situation is making her uncomfortable? Believe her.


100% this.

Margaret Atwood's word here are relevant ... "Men fear women are going to laugh at them. Women fear men are going to rape them."

Okay, perhaps extreme for a game store, but given that there are very very few places women can go anywhere these days and not feel threatened, please take her word on this.

As a fit, six-foot tall man I can walk without fear in almost any neighbourhood in Toronto at almost any time. Women can not do this. Ever. Sadly, I don't know of a woman who'd walk home alone even in the best parts of Toronto at night without having to be alert for some level of threat. It's real. Violence against women is real and pervasive. Physical or emotional. Intimidation and tension is violence. Atmosphere creates tension. So if you friend is uncomfortable at that store, support her and don't dismiss her fears. Find someplace else to game, for Bastet's sake.

P.S. I'd go so far as to argue that the fact that there are some people who are insensitive/unempathic enough to wonder if this is even an issue, they are part of the problem in creating a misogynistic atmosphere, not unlike those who dismiss "gamers-gate" as just a bunch of feminist whiners.
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elwyn5150 wrote:
I believe something happened but she has asked me to investigate on my own time and that's what I'm doing. Is there corroborating evidence that this store (or it's sister stores) have a history of issues? Well, nobody from the Sydney region is saying "At the Android's Dungeon, ____ occurred."


I think you should have explained this better in the OP. Everyone thinks you are investigating because you don't believe her and you want to prove to her that its safe even though she feels uncomfortable there. If she asked you to check it out and see if other things have happened, then that puts a completely different spin on things. I would consider updating your original post to reflect this, as everyone here is responding to something different that perhaps you meant.
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Dennis Ku
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I've been to stores in Toronto where the language is so juvenile and sexist, I can imagine women not wanting to go there.
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Michael B. Hansen
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thepackrat wrote:
Architeuthis wrote:
Alphawolf wrote:


you only need one other guy threatening her to make the place uncomfortable. And let us be honest: Some gamers are very weird...

.


Could you point me to a location where you would be 100% sure not to run into weird people.

Getting slightly tired of the repeated gamer/nerd bashing on BGG. Mostly with an anecdote with a woman portrayed as a damsel in distress at the center, as if most women would not object to being mistreated in ANY kind of shop, and complain about it to the people in charge..


So sexism, harassment, no problem. Just think of the nerds? Buh?

B>


I sincerely believe my position is more respecting women, than all the posters treating them as if they can not think, respond, react and object to bad behaviour and mistreatment by themselves..
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DaveyJJ wrote:
DearGeorgina wrote:
Yes, I have been harassed at a game store so repeatedly and thoroughly that I stopped going there. But my experiences don't matter here. What matters are the experiences of your friend, and that you've decided that one woman feeling uncomfortable isn't enough to justify a change of venue. You want to know if there are "claims from anyone else".

Think about that a moment. A woman has told you that a store's owners and customers are making her uncomfortable. Instead of believing her, instead of respecting the way she feels and trusting that she knows her own emotions, you've come here, to a website that is heavily, predominantly male, and asked for opinions. You'd rather listen to random men who can only speak in generalities about an unnamed store than one woman who is telling you specifically that this particular store makes her uncomfortable.

I hope you'll consider why that is. And then I hope you'll move your meet-up to someplace everyone can feel welcome.

The most important thing you can do, as a man, when a woman tells you that a situation is making her uncomfortable? Believe her.


100% this.

Margaret Atwood's word here are relevant ... "Men fear women are going to laugh at them. Women fear men are going to rape them."

Okay, perhaps extreme for a game store, but given that there are very very few places women can go anywhere these days and not feel threatened, please take her word on this.

As a fit, six-foot tall man I can walk without fear in almost any neighbourhood in Toronto at almost any time. Women can not do this. Ever. Sadly, I don't know of a woman who'd walk home alone even in the best parts of Toronto at night without having to be alert for some level of threat. It's real. Violence against women is real and pervasive. Physical or emotional. Intimidation and tension is violence. Atmosphere creates tension. So if you friend is uncomfortable at that store, support her and don't dismiss her fears. Find someplace else to game, for Bastet's sake.

P.S. I'd go so far as to argue that the fact that there are some people who are insensitive/unempathic enough to wonder if this is even an issue, they are part of the problem in creating a misogynistic atmosphere, not unlike those who dismiss "gamers-gate" as just a bunch of feminist whiners.


Painting a picture of a world in which women are in danger everywhere they go seems to me to be misrepresenting reality. Sorry. I think that kind of hyperbole is counterproductive.
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