Manabu Terao
Japan
Tokyo
flag msg tools
Shion no ou is an Anime where the main character is a female shogi professional player. I found a blog written by Hye Yeon who is a Korean female professional Go player mentioned about Shion no Ou.
http://loveku.livejournal.com/22417.html

I think this is an valuable evidence on the topic of Women and Gaming from an actual female professional point of view. The word Baduk in her phrases is equivalent to Go.

I'm picking up her interesting phrases.
Quote:
As a matter of fact, this work was exactly the one I always needed and was longing for.
Unlike 'Hikaru No Go', 'Shion No Oh' showed the life of female professional players.


Quote:
Whenever I saw Hikaru No Go, I wasn't happy because female Baduk players always lost to male players,
like the real situation.



Quote:
The strongest female player in 'Hikago', Nase Asumi was weaker than males.
I couldn't help it, but I sometimes thought that
it would have been a fun if Nase had beaten Hikaru or Akira.
It was also very hard for me to defeat male players and maybe that was the reason.


Quote:
I am way too old compared to Shion but I am still dreaming of competing with the male players.
That's right, Shion.
Both of us will walk the same path together.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guru Gaku
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
That was an interesting journal entry. I can only imagine what a professional Go player's life is like, nevermind being a female in what would appear to be a male-dominated field.

It is nice to see that the author could find inspiration in the anime. I enjoy Hikaru-no-Go, but being that it is in a publication generally targeted towards young males, I can see where the author may not be able to relate.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
North Wales
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hmmm... interesting. I've never been fond of Hikaru No Go (the concept of a show being about Go... just puzzles me). However, I wonder why females do far worse in competitive Go championships. It must be something biological -- I would assume. Maybe females, and I suggest this in good intentions, are not as adept at long term abstract problem solving skills? Not sure. Could just as likely (if not more likely) be the lower number of females playing Go in championships and therefore a few pool to compare?

Are there any competitive games that females do much better in than males? Just curious.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Bush
United States
Radiant
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
It depends on the female. Susan Butcher was the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Champion four times.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
Stexe wrote:
However, I wonder why females do far worse in competitive Go championships. It must be something biological -- I would assume.


Indeed, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with cultural pressure from infancy to conform to the idea that women are not as good at technical and intellectual pursuits, or that women should be weaker than men and subservient in various ways...

Most men and women both buy into these roles to some degree, regardless of how much they intellectually don't want to. E.g. I'm often surprised how many otherwise seemingly enlightened equality-minded people of either sex don't want to be in a romantic relationship where the woman is taller or physically stronger than the man - not because the potential partner isn't attractive to them, but because it would feel socially uncomfortable or awkward to them. Or think about how many couples have stress when the woman earns more than the man, but the reverse situation is considered normal and unremarkable. There is always some cultural pressure to conform to these ideas, even when one knows intellectually that they are BS.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As a Hikaru no Go reader, I will point out that Nase does beat strong male players. And Hikaru does lose to female players, when he begins as an insei. (If memory serves, his first game as an insei is against a girl, and he gets crushed.) Akira doesn't, but then, Akira has lost to exactly three people on camera, and all of them were titled professionals. I don't feel that Nase is portrayed as a weak player, just not as strong as the star of the show.

russ wrote:
Indeed, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with cultural pressure from infancy to conform to the idea that women are not as good at technical and intellectual pursuits, or that women should be weaker than men and subservient in various ways...


While that could certainly be a factor, professional players can start young. No, not as infants, but close to it. I would put it up to Go-playing cultures being more patriarchal, but AFAIK we see the same pattern in Chess. When you're talking this many sigmas from the mean (maybe a thousand people out of the world population are professional Go players?), all sorts of normally irrelevant factors are going to pop up. Don't dismiss the biological ones out of hand. (And note that I'm not dismissing the cultural ones out of hand, I just don't know that they predominate.)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
North Wales
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:


Indeed, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with cultural pressure from infancy to conform to the idea that women are not as good at technical and intellectual pursuits, or that women should be weaker than men and subservient in various ways...

Most men and women both buy into these roles to some degree, regardless of how much they intellectually don't want to. E.g. I'm often surprised how many otherwise seemingly enlightened equality-minded people of either sex don't want to be in a romantic relationship where the woman is taller or physically stronger than the man - not because the potential partner isn't attractive to them, but because it would feel socially uncomfortable or awkward to them. Or think about how many couples have stress when the woman earns more than the man, but the reverse situation is considered normal and unremarkable. There is always some cultural pressure to conform to these ideas, even when one knows intellectually that they are BS.


While that might have been the case 20+ years ago, I find it less and less of a factor. Personally, I'd prefer a stronger female with more money (I mean who wouldn't want more money that you don't have to work for). I think it is more of an interest factor, there just doesn't seem to be as many female game players as there are males. I'm sure there are countless males who are horrible at games, so I would be interested in knowing a % base of "skilled" players to the whole. It might be a lot closer than people would think (I'd hope so).

Also, the whole biology issue where males and females are different is a very touchy subject (I don't know why, it is obvious there are both physical and mental differences that you can NOT dismiss). Just saying that it is because they grow up in an enviroment that says male should be superior should not have such a strong influence and I think it is ignorant to think that people "buy into the roles" as a reason why there are no true top tier female Go players.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
badge
I've got an 808 and a 303 and a record collection like the ABC
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
russ wrote:
Indeed, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with cultural pressure from infancy to conform to the idea that women are not as good at technical and intellectual pursuits, or that women should be weaker than men and subservient in various ways...

Interestingly, go used to be one of the four skills that Japanese women were expected to cultivate (the other three being calligraphy, music, and painting). So there was a time when go was encouraged as a female pursuit. Shogi was also encouraged.

When I was in Japan this January, I visited several go salons as well as the Nihon Kiin building, and didn't see any female players.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
badge
I've got an 808 and a 303 and a record collection like the ABC
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
Stexe wrote:
Also, the whole biology issue where males and females are different is a very touchy subject (I don't know why, it is obvious there are both physical and mental differences that you can NOT dismiss). Just saying that it is because they grow up in an enviroment that says male should be superior should not have such a strong influence and I think it is ignorant to think that people "buy into the roles" as a reason why there are no true top tier female Go players.

Men and women are definitely different, but it's wrong to say that there are no top tier women go players. Look at Umezawa Yukari 5p, who does the go tutorials that bookend the Hikaru no Go anime. And she's not alone -- there are enough strong female players to have pro circuits in Japan, China, and Korea.

I'd be interested to hear from BGG's endless supply of strong female chess players on this topic.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
Stexe wrote:
Just saying that it is because they grow up in an enviroment that says male should be superior should not have such a strong influence and I think it is ignorant to think that people "buy into the roles" as a reason why there are no true top tier female Go players.


We'll just have to agree to disagree then, as this is one of those debates that goes on forever. You may think it's ignorant to think societal pressure could be a reason to explain sex imbalance in various fields, but I think it's ignorant to think that it is not a reason. E.g. I've known women who a couple decades ago were interested in science or math in high school (and good at them) but were dissuaded from pursuing that in college by school counselors who told them these fields were too difficult for women.

And just because someone is encouraged from an early age by a supportive enlightened parent to do something against their traditional sex role does not mean that they will then automatically be resistant to all the external programming of society. Talk to more women.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
I've known women who a couple decades ago were interested in science or math in high school (and good at them) but were dissuaded from pursuing that in college by school counselors who told them these fields were too difficult for women.


We're talking about people who are further up the curve than that, though. They aren't discouraged by schoool counselors in college, because they already have the gaming-equivalent of an MD by the time they're leaving high school. I'll buy that you don't hit that level of achievement without family and cultural support, which are lower for girls than boys. But by talking about professional players, you've removed those without support from your sample set: the lion's share of cultural bias will be against becoming a professional player, rather than determining performance once you get there.

Is all the bias gone? Possibly not. But I've never gotten the impression that professional women athletes are "letting" men win, and I doubt that professional women gamers are any different.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
Bwian wrote:
Is all the bias gone? Possibly not. But I've never gotten the impression that professional women athletes are "letting" men win, and I doubt that professional women gamers are any different.


I didn't mean that professional level women players "let" men win. I meant that there is always some cultural pressure that they can't be as good anyway, so why bother trying, plus they have a duty to do more womanly things like be a loving supportive wife, and be a mother (or take care of their kids if they already are a mother), blah blah blah.

There is a lot of sex role rigidity in Japan, for instance. (I just happened to read this article recently.) I cannot imagine such continual mass-culture messaging not having a demoralizing discouraging effect on female go players there.

I don't disagree that there may be biological causes as well. But to me, the cultural factors seem more evidently real/demonstrable. I see them everywhere, and I talk to women who tell me about them frequently. I've met a lot more women who are very intelligent and talented than women who seem immune to the cultural programming that tells them what a woman "should" be (just as many men seem to fall prey to gender roles of their own, e.g. that "real men" don't show sadness, but luckily for men most of the decreed roles seem to work out better overall for men than for women, e.g. that a man who has a lot of sex is a cool macho stud or whatever, while a woman who has a lot of sex is a slut or worse).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jorge Montero
United States
St Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag. With Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
russ wrote:

We'll just have to agree to disagree then, as this is one of those debates that goes on forever. You may think it's ignorant to think societal pressure could be a reason to explain sex imbalance in various fields, but I think it's ignorant to think that it is not a reason. E.g. I've known women who a couple decades ago were interested in science or math in high school (and good at them) but were dissuaded from pursuing that in college by school counselors who told them these fields were too difficult for women.

And just because someone is encouraged from an early age by a supportive enlightened parent to do something against their traditional sex role does not mean that they will then automatically be resistant to all the external programming of society. Talk to more women.


Some are resistant, some aren't. I know my fair share of woman engineers , and they tell very different stories about society's pressure. What all the ones I know have in common is that they have a lot more trouble making friends with other females than with men. But is it because the women that don't fit the mold find your average teenage girl's clique boring and stupid, or is it because those that join those cliques end up being bent so that they can belong?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jorge Montero
United States
St Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag. With Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
Bwian wrote:

Is all the bias gone? Possibly not. But I've never gotten the impression that professional women athletes are "letting" men win, and I doubt that professional women gamers are any different.


I blame the sample size. The male US basketball squad tends to beat the French squad, but that's not because Americans have a natural tendency to be better basketball players: It's because the US has a much higher population, and playing basketball in the US has more inherent rewards than doing so in France.

The Polgar sisters in Chess are a good example of this. Take perfectly normal kids, and train them in chess constantly. Some will be very good. One of them happens to be good enough to play against the top men in the world. But for every Judith Polgar that gets the best training in the world, there's 100 male players in similar conditions.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
I don't disagree that there may be biological causes as well. But to me, the cultural factors seem more evidently real/demonstrable. I see them everywhere, and I talk to women who tell me about them frequently. I've met a lot more women who are very intelligent and talented than women who seem immune to the cultural programming that tells them what a woman "should" be.


Well, there are possible biological causes that are demonstrable. Take this article, linked on another BGG thread today: http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/02/07/men-l.... The basic summary: men get a greater "high" from winning a game than women do. I don't know whether this has an effect at the professional level: one might suspect that professional gamers would show some differences from the population mean in this area, for instance. But it is demonstrable.

And the cultural factors you mention do seem less real, to me anyway. Maybe I just run into the same crowd as P-chan above (that's hibikir, sorry), but I've run into more women who purposely butt heads against cultural programming than listen to it. Not to say it doesn't have an effect, but rather that it doesn't have the... calming effect you attribute to it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hibikir wrote:
I blame the sample size. The male US basketball squad tends to beat the French squad, but that's not because Americans have a natural tendency to be better basketball players: It's because the US has a much higher population, and playing basketball in the US has more inherent rewards than doing so in France.

The Polgar sisters in Chess are a good example of this. Take perfectly normal kids, and train them in chess constantly. Some will be very good. One of them happens to be good enough to play against the top men in the world. But for every Judith Polgar that gets the best training in the world, there's 100 male players in similar conditions.


Sample size is certainly a factor. Even in athletics, there are (I thought, no references to hand though) places where women are catching up to men in terms of absolute performance, as recruiting of women athletes improves. But there are also places where they aren't. Looking for biological foundations behind game-playing performance can only help recruitment, by focusing on what actually matters in a strong competitor. That might be memorization, it might be recognizing spatial relationships, it might be a dominant social personality: I've seen all three help in a Go game, even at my weak level. It's not straight "smarter vs. less-smart", and knowing which dimensions need improvement can only help a player, experienced or no.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Re: What a female Professional Go player wrote about Shion n
Bwian wrote:
And the cultural factors you mention do seem less real, to me anyway. Maybe I just run into the same crowd as P-chan above (that's hibikir, sorry),

As hibikir said, there's a difference in the numbers of men and women who even try to become professional to begin with. That seems pretty obviously culture-based to me - more boys are sent off to study go than girls - but YMMV.

Quote:
but I've run into more women who purposely butt heads against cultural programming than listen to it. Not to say it doesn't have an effect, but rather that it doesn't have the... calming effect you attribute to it.

The US is also a lot more progressive on feminist issues than most of the world, don't forget. Most pro go players come from Japan, China, and Korea, not the US.

In any case, butting heads against culture programming can be very exhausting and distracting, even if one successfully butts heads. I've also known women who successfully avoid falling into any of the standard stereotypical roles society imposes - and they usually pay some kind of a price for that. (Just as men who butt heads against the norm usually pay a price.) (That's not to say that it's not worth paying the price to resist cultural programming - I think it is - but there is a price, and those emotional resources could have been better spent focusing on playing go or whatever one's dream is.) If this cultural conditioning weren't so subtly pervasive and influential, we wouldn't even talk about "butting heads" with it. One shouldn't need to be butting heads in the first place, if things were fair.

For me, I'm content to say that there are probably both cultural and biological issues at play, and different people will have different personal experiences and arguments and intuitions about which ones are more important...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.