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Doomtown: Reloaded» Forums » General

Subject: Women of the Weird West rss

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Sebastian Grab
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I noticed that there's a lot of women Lawman in the world of Doomtown, even more in the fiction and stories than on cards. This stands in contrast to a typical image of wild west in media, where the sheriff is a man, women usually in the background.

The question is - does anyone know what the reality of the wild west was? Was keeping law a job for men (statisticly) or was there a lot of women on these positions as well? I don't really mind either way, but it just made me wonder which image was closer to the truth and I couldn't find any numbers.
 
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mplain
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Somewhat related: how did Elander Boldman, a black man, got the education necessary to become a scientist? Maybe slavery was abolished much earlier in the world of the Weird West?
 
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Brett Satkowiak
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Nice thoughts!

Well, to be honest the real history of America during this time was highly xenophobic. If you weren't an Anglo man, you didn't go very far. Women didn't have the right to vote and were held to very strict social mores. I don't know of a single female lawman anywhere. As has been pointed out, slavery was still well in place and blacks were not welcome in any area of western life. The same went for Italians, Irish, Mexicans, and well, just about anyone else.

The world of Deadlands is quite different. Alternate history means alternate present and future.

Slavery was completely abolished everywhere in 1865, and by the time of the game, racism in general was basically a thing of the past.

The Civil War dragging on and on for decades took a heavy toll on manpower everywhere. As a result, women have had opportunities to fill roles that they never could have dreamed of otherwise. So in the Weird West, the sky's the limit for women everywhere.

It's a little less egalitarian for many Mexicans in certain parts of the continent, but that's more because of the political relationship between Mexico and those southwestern areas than anything racial.

And it's also a little less open with the Indians throughout the West. If you and your ancestors were driven out of your homes or killed in terrible battles, you'd still harbor a bit of a grudge against the white man too. That being said, the Reckoning has managed to level the playing field a bit, giving Indians the strength to stand, even against the military might of the governments, and carve out a place for themselves in this new world. So while white still kind of look at the Indians sideways when they come across them in their strange dress speaking strange languages, they know enough to mind their manners ... mostly.

If you guys ever want to learn more, Doomtown is based on the Deadlands RPG setting created by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Even getting your hand on a single core book will open your eyes to the wealth of cool stories and signature features of this new (old) world. I strongly recommend it.
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CalicoDave
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As Brett said, the American West during that time period was basically about white men. There are only a few women who were known for doing jobs that were typically male.

The ones I can recall are Calamity Jane who was a scout for the Army and part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Also part of the show was Annie Oakley who was famous as a sharpshooter. There was also Big Nose Kate who was the companion of Doc Holliday and was involved in some of his adventures. And Belle Starr was a member of the James-Younger outlaw gang.

Nat Love is one of the more known black frontiersmen. He was a former slave who went to Dodge City then became a ranch hand for a ranch in Texas. There's also Bass Reeves who was the first black marshal west of the Mississippi.

I'm sure there are more that I don't know about, but the American West, as reported in history, is vastly white and male.
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David Hicks
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As an US history buff and Wild West in particular I really wanted to comment on this.

Firstly, in regard to the west, I will agree with the above. White and male was the way to go in the wild west. Even the samples listed above of Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley were novelties at best. That is not to imply they weren't talented or skilled, they were just not taken as serious or given the tasks that their male counterparts were given. They were more famous for fame's sake. Kate "Big Nose" Elder is not even worth mention as she was merely a prostitute tied in with Doc Holliday. Apart from once securing horses for him to escape, she was actually a hindrance to him.

From the gender aspect, also remember women made major strides from 1900 to 1920 in terms of resourcefulness. The women of 1880 were largely sheltered and not a lot was asked of them.

That being said, the Civil War did not take place over decades. 1861-1865. The results of which were felt in the South for decades. It is also important to remember that not all black people were slaves at the time. Many were free and even business owning.

And as far as American xenophobia, that is conceptually muddy. From the time frame the Wild West started (roughly 1870) the four major landing points of immigration (New York, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans) were quickly issuing citizenship, even if you couldn't speak English. And many members of immigrated races (Italian, Irish, Jewish) even had successful political careers becoming Alderman, Senators, Sheriffs, and even Mayor.

But to the point of the question, the answer is simple. In today's day and age of gaming, women included in important roles makes the game more marketable to women. Therefore increasing the marketshare.



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mplain
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lokisfun wrote:
But to the point of the question, the answer is simple. In today's day and age of gaming, women included in important roles makes the game more marketable to women. Therefore increasing the marketshare.

This is obvious. The question is how it's explained flavor-wise
 
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David Hicks
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mplain wrote:
lokisfun wrote:
But to the point of the question, the answer is simple. In today's day and age of gaming, women included in important roles makes the game more marketable to women. Therefore increasing the marketshare.

This is obvious. The question is how it's explained flavor-wise


I dont think it is explained flavor-wise nor do they feel the need. It is pure demographic. Suspension of disbelief I guess
 
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Rob Tarr
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mplain wrote:
The question is how it's explained flavor-wise


Yep, and as someone else who's played Deadlands, as Brett said, it's spelled right out in the Player's Guide...

Deadlands Player's Guide, pp. 27-28 wrote:
Let’s get this out of the way early — whether in the North, South, West, or somewhere in between, slavery is a thing of the past. While it was a divisive issue in 19th Century America, and many on both sides of the Civil War cited it as a moral motivation to prosecute the war, the real causes of the Civil War were quite a bit more complicated.

In any event, it rapidly became clear to Confederate leadership that in order for the fledgling nation to gain international recognition, the “Peculiar Institution” must be discarded. In 1864, Generals Robert E. Lee and Patrick R. Cleburne proposed a plan to offer slaves their freedom in exchange for military service. President Davis quickly endorsed the plan in a Congressional address.

This helped convert the British Empire’s passive sympathy toward the Confederate cause into formal recognition of its independence, and French Emperor Napoleon III soon followed suit. In exchange for the aid of England and France in breaking the Union blockade of Southern ports, and an agreement with England to fix the Confederate dollar to the British pound at a very favorable rate, the British asked the Confederacy to abolish slavery altogether. The Davis administration complied, and on April 9, 1865, all slaves in the Confederate States of America were freed.

Fearful of losing the moral high ground (and “naturally anti-slavery” himself), United States President Abraham Lincoln quickly followed the earlier Emancipation Proclamation (which only abolished slavery in states in rebellion against the United States) with the proposed 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which would end slavery in America. The Amendment was ratified by the end of the year.

By 1879, racism is becoming a thing of the past in the Weird West. Progress has been made, and more will come as peace returns and folks resume their normal lives. The prospect of further integration of Confederate society is aided by a greater sense of community and shared values than in actual history. Circumstances are similar in the North. Just as in the real West, folks are willing to overlook the color of a person’s skin in favor of the content of his or her character.

Bottom line: just as in our own lives, bigoted and outright racist attitudes are the province of villains and the shamefully ignorant.

Now that’s clear, let’s get back to your character, amigo.


And regarding women...

Deadlands Player's Guide, p. 25 wrote:
In Deadlands, the Civil War has dragged on for nearly 20 years. Manpower in both the North and the South is at an all-time low. This is good news for women, because many of them are able to fill roles they could only dream about before the war.

Women in the Weird West can be most anything, from gunslingers and gamblers, to Indian shamans and warriors, or even politicians (though thus far, only at a local level).
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fightcitymayor
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"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
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The game is definitely not meant to be a history lesson, so I wouldn't read too far into it. It's simply that modern stories often have a varied & multicultural cast of characters for reasons of inclusion and, as has already been said, marketing.

Personally, I think the game world is more interesting with a varied cast, so bring on the female sheriffs, the black scientists, and the slightly effeminate androgynous Mestizo Mexican blackjack dealers!
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Davido
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fightcitymayor wrote:
The game is definitely not meant to be a history lesson, so I wouldn't read too far into it. It's simply that modern stories often have a varied & multicultural cast of characters for reasons of inclusion and, as has already been said, marketing.

Personally, I think the game world is more interesting with a varied cast, so bring on the female sheriffs, the black scientists, and the slightly effeminate androgynous Mestizo Mexican blackjack dealers!


This - e.g. don't think too long or hard about this quote from Jarrett Blake:

Quote:
My family has been raising horses
since my great-grandfather.
And lemme tell ya Elander,
that mechanical monster is
no horse.”


TL;DR - we're telling stories and playing games here. Deadlands and Doomtown:Reloaded have antecedents and parallels to history, but are NOT in and of themselves actual history.
 
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Konstantinos Thoukydidis
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From my perspective I'll say that it's not that notable women and people of colour didn't exist, but rather that history has been written by the white man and as such, thoroughly whitewashed. The achievements of those who were not white men, were simply ignored.

But even if that wasn't true, in a world of poker wizards and zombie cowboys, realism in racial or gender relations is very flexible
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Brett Satkowiak
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This is actually one of my favorite parts of Deadlands. We get the chance to PLAY with history. As a fan of history, I'd strongly recommend to ANYONE that they pick up some of the Deadlands materials. It's entertaining enough just to see what Shane and the others have come up with in describing the Deadlands landscape and the cast of real historical characters who occupy it.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of that come out even in Gomorra in the near future. whistle
 
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