"Find another hobby or you're going to die."
April 3, 2016 7:21 PM   Subscribe

 
God, this poor woman. I miss RPGs sometimes, but unless my actual friends and I get it together for a game of Fate as we've been meaning to, there's no way I'm engaging with gamers again. I was in high school once and it was enough.

I was shot directly in the face, in broad daylight and in front of witnesses, by another PC in my first and only game of CoC. He had an excuse for it, but it was clear to everyone that he had done it so that I, who was in reality no longer sexually useful to him and therefore tiresome, would have to leave our group of friends and stop talking for at least an hour.

I have, ever since, been loyal to the Deep Ones.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:34 PM on April 3, 2016 [62 favorites]


in tabletop gaming's defense, all sorts of gaming and other "nerd" activities have white male terrorism problems

wait I am just now receiving information that, no, that does not count as a defense, and is in fact generally regarded as, quote, "unbelievably damning"
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:34 PM on April 3, 2016 [146 favorites]


The reactions from the police... that's just more awfulness on top of everything else. Christ.
posted by Monochrome at 7:35 PM on April 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


It makes me wonder what other offenses might fall outside the scope of law enforcement when committed inside of a game store.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:45 PM on April 3, 2016 [26 favorites]


I do enjoy Free Murder with Purchase Wednesdays at the local shop, myself
posted by Countess Elena at 7:47 PM on April 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


Strange Interlude: Well if you're committing these offenses against a white dude, none of them.
posted by polychromie at 7:47 PM on April 3, 2016 [15 favorites]


the more I think about it, the more I think "this event is a safe event so make sure to never tell anyone about the fact that it is not" might have been one of the more Orwellian responses I've heard to anything, ever
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:48 PM on April 3, 2016 [96 favorites]


I literally had no idea that tabletop gaming was as bad as video gaming. I guess I had pictured it in my head as groups of friendly people playing fun silly games like Fluxx and Ticket to Ride. Clearly I was wrong.
posted by miyabo at 7:53 PM on April 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


I swear all my hobbies and interests take turns being the shitty one that needs burning to the ground.
posted by Artw at 7:55 PM on April 3, 2016 [85 favorites]


Well, here's the thing, miyabo. Individual white males can be just perfectly fine people, but when you put a whole bunch of them together in one place, there's really no telling what could happen
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:55 PM on April 3, 2016 [32 favorites]


I haven't been a table top gamer for many years, although I'd love to get back into it... but not if this is what I have to look forward to. I clearly understand that this is not, in any way, shape or form unique or limited to this area, but still... ugh... so revolting. I long for diversity, and for some reason it seems like the cross section of (often) intelligent, imaginative and creative people would be welcoming to diversity, and then sadly I realized that I'm not surprised when so many of the guys involved act like petulant, frightened, angry children (only worse.)

I applaud this woman for writing such a powerful piece and tip my hat for her courage and honesty. And also, this:

The owner refuses to expel the creep and fires me instead. Three years later I win a precedent-setting human rights case against him.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 7:56 PM on April 3, 2016 [24 favorites]


It's times like this that I think back with great fondness on my days gaming with the Toronto Area Gamers. As a woman, I could go to their regular meetups, play games, come home, and never at any point in that process have to think about the fact that I was a woman, except when choosing which toilet to use in the bar. (And even there, single stall washrooms, if the women's is busy, use the men's.)

There were a lot of women in the leadership of the club, and a fair number of women members, and they had pretty strict no bullshit rules on harassing people as well as on not including sexual content in games. You weren't even allowed to ask other members out, try to get their phone numbers to ask them out later, etc.

It didn't necessarily seem like a huge deal at the time, but whenever I read about shit like this, I'm grateful for how much it was not a huge deal at the time.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:59 PM on April 3, 2016 [42 favorites]


Think D&D and Warhammer, miyabo. RPGs, be they tabletop or video games, always seem to attract a whole lotta dicks with power fantasies. (I know #notallgamers, my husband is a tabletop roleplayer, but ugh. Too many.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:01 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I shared this on a Facebook community page I run. Within an hour had two men responding with comments saying she was making a big deal out of stuff that should be ignored, bad people in any area, etc. One of them, who is black, likened it to racism and said that you need to blow it off because it's "just the internet" and the person who drops an n-bomb on you today might sell you a car tomorrow. (I could not possibly make that up.) I've hidden/deleted the comments, and I'm wrestling with how to effectively deal with that sort of shit on social media in general, but even beyond that...

Something's gotta be seriously wrong with you to read a post like this and then decide it's all just made up. Even writing a sentence like that, I immediately think, "Yeah, patriarchy. Duh." But even so, I just...damn it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:06 PM on April 3, 2016 [22 favorites]


I literally had no idea that tabletop gaming was as bad as video gaming.

Actually, it isn't as bad. That's not a defense of tabletop gaming, but just a note of how awful video gaming is.

The thing is, with tabletop, in spite of the endemic problems with the hobby, it's possible to find groups and even game events that are not horribly sexist and racist. With video gaming that's simply not possible- Gamergate and fans are pretty much are everywhere online.

Tabletop still has huge problems though, especially in unmoderated communities. There is also a huge gender and race bias in publishing games- I know women who use basically given up on trying tip kickstart their own games. Progress is incredibly slow and incremental.
posted by happyroach at 8:07 PM on April 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


dang, I would really love to find a nice table top group, but that sort of thing seems a unicorn.
posted by Ferreous at 8:08 PM on April 3, 2016


Ideally tabletop gaming is seeing how well you can imagine your way out of a scenario in near infinite way with dice rolls presiding over the outcomes. That's something you can have in a totally non threatening way.

God damn, I just want to have fun!
posted by Ferreous at 8:10 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


What gets me about the "you need to get a thicker skin" is how much of this treatment isn't just people being dicks, it's literally assault, often sexual assault. But the community protects these sex criminals, and we're all liable for it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:11 PM on April 3, 2016 [33 favorites]


I don't know whether tabletop is worse or better than video gaming. As happyroach says, that's not a defense regardless.

But it's more than that. It's comics fandom and conventions and geek spaces in general. We create this whole "We're accepting of everyone!" myth built on a lot of "We were outcasts growing up!" thinking, and it's all bullshit.

Is there sexism, racism, etc. everywhere? Yes. Fandom puts an extra special cherry on top of it, though, because it builds up this whole lie of acceptance and openness, and then you find out that it's all conditional on your accepting this awful, abusive behavior.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:11 PM on April 3, 2016 [71 favorites]


in jr high to be able to join the tabletop gaming group - a group that was mostly my friends anyway - i had to read the dm's seven of nine slash that was filled with violent sexual fantasies and give him feedback (that wouldn't upset him). once i got past that hurdle - one i don't think the boys of the group were forced into - it seemed like my character would always lose her top or be felt up or have other humiliating things happen to her. i was also barred from playing a guy because "the story needs a woman and it just makes sense for you to play her." and then i stopped going and stopped identifying as a nerd for quite a few years.
posted by nadawi at 8:13 PM on April 3, 2016 [48 favorites]


I swear all my hobbies and interests take turns being the shitty one that needs burning to the ground.

Quoted for truth. I love tabletop gaming (with a selected group of friends), as well as video games and comic books and all of this nerdy-ass shit. But it's become clearer and clearer to me over the last decade that the negative social stigma that remains attached to what basically amount to huge, big-money mainstream hobbies isn't there because this stuff is too weird or intellectual for the quote-unquote mundanes. It's because there's a huge contingent of entrenched, entitled people in the hobby who have apparently made it their job to chase off two-thirds of the people who show an interest.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2016 [25 favorites]


At this point I think it's pretty obvious: If the scene or community or whatever around a given interest or hobby has young white men at its center, that scene will almost certainly be saturated with nastiness toward everybody else, especially toward women.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:18 PM on April 3, 2016 [55 favorites]


this is just another reminder that women don't get to move around freely in the world. it's one more thing we can't do, supposedly for our own safety. it's so exhausting to remember all the ways we're expected to constrict ourselves. it starts to feel like not even living...
posted by nadawi at 8:20 PM on April 3, 2016 [58 favorites]


I remember discovering tabletop gaming when I was eight, and spent the next four years collecting various rulebooks, imagining all sorts of worlds and all kinds of heroes that I wanted to be, but never having anyone to play with. Then, when I got to high school, I found other kids who had their own copies of D&D and could introduce me to Robotech or Rifts or GURPS and I was all, "cool! my people!"

But, then so many of my teenage gaming groups just got dominated by these players who just didn't care about the story or adventure. They were just interested in rolling up the biggest badass munchkin and showing how much better they were than everyone else. Most "adventures" wouldn't go further than one or two sessions before turning into a PvP arena where we all found reasons to fight each other and show each other who was boss. It was stupid and frustrating, and I more or less quit by my second year of high school, and only gave it another shot in my senior year when I met another bunch of kids who were actually interested in running a story. But then we all graduated and that was that.

I had a couple of roommates post college who were into V:TM LARP, and that was fun for a short time, but there was pressure to continue role-playing outside of game sessions, to turn any ordinary conversation with a friend into an impromptu opportunity for our two characters to advance whatever scheme that friend was cooking up for the next session, and I opted out again.

I found my current gaming group through an old apartment roommate who ran a Mage tabletop game, and I remember eavesdropping while one of their sessions was running and being impressed with the way the entire group, which was 4 men and 2 women, went through an hour of roleplay without rolling any dice. Just straight up collaborative storytelling. It was fantastic to witness, and finally, I could say and mean: "cool! my people!"

My experience is, as others have said in this thread -- gaming draws in a lot of people who want a power trip. I could understand why. Gaming fantasies give us something that may be missing in our lives, and it scratches an itch for esteem, respect, or authority. But, it's one thing to play act that authority against some fictional NPC that your DM concocts, and it's another thing to extend that play power against fellow players or other nearby human beings. It's a whole other thing to take the sort of persecution you may have endured as a geek, and just turn around and bully someone else just to salve your own ego.

I feel like so much of this toxicity just comes from that desire for power, coupled with the sort of easy reward cycle that exists in gaming. It's rare to find another medium where you could just say, "I want to do this thing" and a roll of a dice tells you if you succeed in doing the thing.

Nowadays, when I listen to a gamer tell me about their game; I do listen for whether the gamer is telling me about their character, their group or their story. I love listening to stories about crazy escapades or "this just might work" lucky rolls of the dice. I really savor when two different players come up with background ideas for their characters that can then be turned into an interesting plot twist by an enterprising GM. I also learn to distance myself from a person who just spends all their time talking about how awesome their character is, and how smart or powerful or game breaking they are. It's a generalization, and it's not a perfect metric, but the more I hear that, the less I'd want to play with them.
posted by bl1nk at 8:21 PM on April 3, 2016 [48 favorites]


With video gaming that's simply not possible- Gamergate and fans are pretty much are everywhere online.

I know that I'm not as aware of sexism and racism as affected folks but it might be worth giving /r/SRSGaming a spin.
posted by Jpfed at 8:24 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


While reading through this, I found myself thinking. "Wow I really am lucky to have such a great group!" But then I remember this one guy who I can never be sure if he's making racist/sexist/homophobic comments seriously or ironically. What's worse is I'm afraid that I'd be shot down by others in the group if I called him out on any of that garbage. He's the only person in the group who doesn't know I'm trans because he gives off so many bad vibes.
posted by BucketOBees at 8:46 PM on April 3, 2016 [27 favorites]


I'm in a weird place in my tabletop group. Our primary GM has this Southern Gentleman protectiveness thing going on with me, as the woman in the group, which is both patronizing and useful as shit. When one of the new guys made rapey comments, I called him out at the time, and after the game said, 'It's me or him.' Done. Out. But my heart was in my throat when I did it -- he and I joined at the same time, so I was just as new.

Now I'm part of the vetting of new members, and we have a game cafe in town now (run by a pansexual (genderqueer-ish?) dude!) so we have a neutral ground to do that vetting. But still...
posted by cobaltnine at 8:53 PM on April 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I keep wanting to contribute to this, and feeling like, as a dude, that I don't have a lot to add here. I try to treat women just like I would any other gamer. I like to think I even succeed at it. I'm sure I haven't been as active as I'd like to have been in asking others to behave appropriately.

Then again, maybe I just haven't been noticing it. Is that just -because- I'm a guy, or have I just absorbed that culture? It's a little tough for me to say, as a white dude.

This isn't the first time I've had this exact set of feels about a discussion, but it bugs me a bit for it to be about RPGs.
posted by Archelaus at 8:53 PM on April 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


My kid loves the kid version of D&D and while I'd kind of like to take him to gaming events, this kind of stuff is precisely why I don't. Shitty people ruin fun and cool things for everyone, part the millionth.

I also wonder about local LARPing groups. Their webpages appear to be stuck in 1997 and so it's difficult to get a bead on what they're like except Very Serious About LARPing.

Dammit, I want my kid to enjoy all the cool nerdy things, I do not want him exposed to sickos with power fantasies and a new and horrifying set of sexist/homophobic/racist attitudes.

Whether I myself am a nerd depends on who you ask, but I'm starting to hate nerd culture for sure.
posted by emjaybee at 8:54 PM on April 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm glad that I am lucky enough to be part of a couple of local gaming groups that - to me, at least, as a male - appear to be quite welcoming to women. There are certainly plenty of female gamers of all demographics who attend and there is, as far as I can tell, a "no strikes" policy - if you act like a jerk or a creep to people in general and women in particular, you are out.

I've never been in a position to see if that has been enforced, firsthand, but have heard enough secondhand stories that I am comfortable with saying that these are positive and inclusive gaming spaces where everyone is made to feel welcome and safe. Which makes me feel good.

On top of that, the most popular gaming café in town (Go Lounge) was started and is run solely by a woman, and it is doing gangbusters. Another, much further out of town (The Loot Room), is also run by a woman, and does very well too. Which leads me to suspect that, possibly, these women had simply had enough of the ugly male-dominant bullshit, but retained their love for games (thankfully) to the extent that they actually created businesses to furnish their love, where they are the ones who get to set the rules.

And they are great spaces to game!

On the ugly flip side, though...I have been in places that, merely by dint of the aesthetics of the space and the atmosphere, and the comportment of the people within them, are not only unwelcoming for women, but actively hostile towards them. They are small, dingy, smelly, gross places, full of dingy, smelly, gross men and boys. And in the dark days before Go Lounge and The Loot Room those would have been the only options for women who wanted to game socially - and I can only imagine how sad and unhappy (and, sometimes, downright scared) they must have been.

On a brighter note, 8 times out of 10 that I play a boardgame with a woman or women, they absolutely cream the guys at the table. Perhaps they're being pushed out because they're so damn good? (I know that's not why, but still.)
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:58 PM on April 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


Then again, maybe I just haven't been noticing it. Is that just -because- I'm a guy, or have I just absorbed that culture? It's a little tough for me to say, as a white dude.

I'm wrestling with this a lot myself in other fandom spaces--conventions and such. As others have pointed out for me, the people who do this abusive shit are often very good at picking their moments. It's important to stay aware and watch for it, and to speak up or come to someone's aid when this shit happens, but it's not weird to not see it.

This sort of shit comes from cowards who don't want to be forced to own up to their behavior. It's not careless. That of course only makes it all worse.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:58 PM on April 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


The owner refuses to expel the creep and fires me instead. Three years later I win a precedent-setting human rights case against him.

It looks like this was the case, which received this write-up in the Winnipeg Free Press: "A Winnipeg woman who won the biggest workplace sexual-harassment settlement in Manitoba history says blowback from the case forced her to change her name, confront dozens of threatening emails and relive a traumatic assault. Still, the three-year process that culminated in a rare Manitoba Human Rights Commission hearing was 'absolutely' worth it, she said."

This whole vile affair sounds like GamerGate ported to d20.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:02 PM on April 3, 2016 [35 favorites]


My introduction to tabletop gaming, at age 13, was "OK, so you've made a female elf cleric. OK-- so you've been captured by orcs and gang-raped for days. You're also -- (rolls dice) --now pregnant. And you guys-- (the other PCs) -- just have broken into the room where the orcs are raping this elf-- what do you do?"

Thankfully, it's been much better since then.
posted by The otter lady at 9:07 PM on April 3, 2016 [21 favorites]


One of the reasons I like historical miniatures games, particularly the Napoleonic Wars and ancient history wargames. It's mostly old, weird dudes who drag their kid, grandkid, nephew/neice or random kid they feel needs more History in their life. Lewd behavior is a non-starter because it's so explicitly kid-friendly, even tho the kids are bored out of their minds and not paying much attention.

I'm sure it happens anyway, but the weird old dudes would be "Carl, there are children here. Enough is enough." if they caught it. I've seen that in action - not ideal, but a lot better than what you'd expect for something trendier with younger players as its foundation.

On the other hand, British Empire nostalgia is a particularly noxious racist dogwhistle right now, and there are a lot of "British Colonial Forces vs. Natives in the 1800's" games floating around.

I'll still be fielding my Late Hittite or Sea Peoples DBA armies, but keep a closer lookout for creeps creepin.'
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:16 PM on April 3, 2016 [13 favorites]


All my gaming has been tied up with various romances. Part of the problem with being a geek girl is that eventually, when you've dated all the available, attractive geek guys in your friend circles in school, things start to get a little weird. That weirdness doesn't diminish when you grow to be a woman, even a genderqueer one, and get married. If anything, it makes it harder, because now the bar is higher—all the couples have to get along and not be creeped out by each other, and romantic history complicates things.

In college I started playing d20 Modern with a group DMed by a guy I was into at the time, and it was great fun. But that frisson was always part of the mix, and after we parted ways, I also didn't really get invited to play the game anymore. That group has all moved away now. Another couple exes from high school have continued to game together, and by all accounts their sessions are wonderfully and hilariously narrative-driven. But I'm not sure whether that's still happening now that one of their group recently married a woman who's not into gaming and moved to the exurbs.

I need to get out more, and I would go game with them, since I remain good friends with one of the exes and I think they're smart, funny people. But when we were at the wedding above, the other ex didn't speak to me (though I met his wife, also a gamer, who seems lovely). I'm not surprised, since this ex hasn't spoken to me since summer 2005 (aside from a one-off LiveJournal comment in 2007). But it makes it hard to think that gaming with that group wouldn't be fraught with weirdness and history. (I realize that this sounds like an AskMe in which everyone would be urging me to game with new people. But with the gaming culture in the article, that's easier said than done.)

And this is all the weirdness with a group of guys I totally trust and would actually feel 100 percent safe and good getting drunk and gaming with, if former romances weren't part of the mix. I wouldn't be worried about the basic safety issues in the article. But I fear even trying to get this group together would be a nonstarter because of history. So even when the past relationships were good and consenting and positive, the nature of close-knit geek communities makes escaping that history to play together difficult.

By the way, Slap*Happy, your comment makes me think of the model-boat club guys who build and run their boats at the local pond in the town where I grew up. A friend and I were there one afternoon and there were little boys hanging around asking these older men all kinds of questions and I thought this could be a really bad situation if any of these guys were creepers, and then I felt bad that I even was thinking that way. Creepers have—or the potential for creepers has—ruined so many otherwise fun things.
posted by limeonaire at 9:31 PM on April 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


You know I like to think my hobbies are immune to this sort of stuff, but then late last night I posted a comment about how I really appreciate one writer's book and how she brings a different perspective to the hobby. (Brewing, if you don't feel like sleuthing my comments) I also commented that was one of the reasons why I've always felt it's important to encourage diversity regarding gender/ethnicity/favorite beer style, etc.

Sure enough, a few hours later there was a cherry of a comment saying something along the lines of "oh her opinions are more valid because she has a vagina", blah, blah, blah.. for fuck's sake. what the hell is wrong with all these weak personalities that they feel threatened the second you mention that diverse opinions are a good and useful thing?

As for the author's trials, good lord. what the everliving hell? It's the same amazingly pathetic bs. Even if you wanted to try and tar her with the whole "drama" label and shout "not all men" - even if you only wanted to say she's exaggerating and only X%age is true - why should any of it be true and tolerated? Children - the lot.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:35 PM on April 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll still be fielding my Late Hittite or Sea Peoples DBA armies, but keep a closer lookout for creeps creepin.'

I had no idea there was late Bronze Age/early Iron Age miniatures gaming. This is so awesome.
posted by jb at 9:36 PM on April 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


all sorts of gaming and other "nerd" activities have white male terrorism problems
so this is semi-relevant
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:41 PM on April 3, 2016 [18 favorites]


.
posted by kalessin at 9:47 PM on April 3, 2016


" I would really love to find a nice table top group, but that sort of thing seems a unicorn."

Not a tabletop gamer myself, but my observation from many years of watching my husband and his gaming friends put together groups is that you have to be willing to expel the bad seeds, and nobody wants to do that. Nobody wants to be the guy who calls the creeper and say, "It's just not working out, please don't come back next week." Even if you do that sort of thing at work with a relatively clear conscience, it's terrible to say to someone, "Look, your friendship product is just not up to our standards."

So instead I watch them let games peter out because they cannot deal with the creeper but nobody's willing to be the CEO of The Game and fire someone. And they know they should, but being a nice person and actually having to friendship-fire someone is daunting thought.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:54 PM on April 3, 2016 [45 favorites]


Groan. So many nerds, so many arseholes.

I can't go five minutes over at the boardgamegeek forums without running into something written by 'That Guy' - the insecure, hostile, black-and-white, blinkered, sexist, arrogant little men who treat every aspect of the hobby like they're some sort of holy knight waging an eternal war against...fuck knows what. The imaginary black lesbian atheist who took all their jobs, probably.

Once in a while I'll check out a local gaming group, and there he (usually they) is again - That Guy. He comes in many forms, which makes him hard to detect (although I've found 'PC Master Race' is a good shibboleth). One second you're having a perfectly reasonable chat about Forbidden Island and the next he's saying something like 'that's so gay' or 'she can be the Diver, I bet she likes to go down' and I'm like fuck me, am I eleven years old again and it's 1985 and also Bizarro World?

So now we play with one other couple. One. It's the only way we can be sure nobody will say 'heal me you retarded faggot'.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:58 PM on April 3, 2016 [25 favorites]


Speaking as a long-time GM, I think it's worth thinking about the social dynamics of table-top games, because they help to explain why the worst-in-show contenders in this hobby are so very unpleasant.

The first major factor is that tabletop gaming involves a sizable commitment of time and energy. Finding or putting together a stable group is much more difficult than dropping into a multiplayer server, and once things get rolling, everyone has a vested interest in not derailing things. This gives any bullies in the group a lot of leverage over the rest of the players. If you've sunk dozens of hours into a character (or, as GM, into a storyline) and someone in the group decides to push the envelope, there's incentive to let that bad behavior slide to avoid "breaking the mood" or "interrupting the action." It's especially easy for a bully to use their character to behave badly toward other characters, since that's "in-game" and thus "not personal" (even if it's supremely personal). While this sort of behavior shouldn't be tolerated, there's enough player/character ambiguity at play that the bullying needs to be that much more egregious before it's self-evidently a red line that demands a response.

Secondly, tabletop's greatest perk is also its darkest aspect: The players themselves have control over which actions are "permitted" by the rules. Typical big-ticket video games, for example, disable violence against children, because no game company wants the bad PR of someone posting an "infanticide run" Let's Play video. In a tabletop game, however, just about anything goes. As a result, tabletop can scratch an itch among those with violent or depraved ideation. Particularly noxious types, who find themselves expelled from groups with functioning moral compasses, tend to then cluster in their own seedy agglomerations, which pride themselves on "realism" (because their groups permit activities that others are too "prudish" to entertain), but which are really just an ideological circle jerk.

When you combine these two, it's a perfect recipe for attracting classic Dark Triad types. The sunk-cost mentality of the gaming group gives genuinely predatory types a safe haven to dominate or lash out against people, and everyone else in the group (if they're not careful) will gradually lower their standards, until that sort of bad behavior becomes "normal." A lot of the complicit defensiveness from white male gamers who aren't active problems themselves stems from the norms that get baked in as you spend time at the gaming table: "Don't split the party," "don't take things personality," "keep OOC commentary to a minimum," etc.
posted by belarius at 10:00 PM on April 3, 2016 [46 favorites]


One constant for me (and the reason I never really got into gaming or comics or D&D or other nerd stuff) is that I have always been super creeped out by a lot of people involved. From the comic shop in Iowa in the early 90s to the Seattle game store down the street from me now. Just weird, smelly, anti-social, awkward assholes.

The fact this persona became some source of pride to nerds as they got older astounded me. It was always weird and girls had every right to reject you.

I am not the least bit shocked about any of the authors stories and it is very depressing.

Edit: I have been a giant basically my whole life and I never felt threatened or scared as the author did. I just felt... gross. Again, #notallgamers and all that shit, but it's #enoughgamerstobeapatern
posted by lattiboy at 10:14 PM on April 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, I suspect your husband & his friends may be suffering under the Five Geek Social Fallicies.
posted by fings at 10:21 PM on April 3, 2016 [28 favorites]


Even if you do that sort of thing at work with a relatively clear conscience, it's terrible to say to someone, "Look, your friendship product is just not up to our standards."

I think that maybe the issue is thinking of gaming as an extension of friendship.

I game A LOT. I love tabletop gaming. I've been doing it for more than 30 years. I back obscure kickstarters. I am a gamer.

And yet ... my gaming friends are not my rest-of-my-life friends. It's a different skillset. I choose gaming friends based on how fun they are to game with, and even really wonderful people who I care about deeply on a personal level are not necessarily fun to play with. Tabletop gaming well is a skill. It's a skill you need to have for everyone involved to have fun.

So telling your friend you don't want to game with him isn't a rejection of his friendship any more than telling your tone-deaf friend that you don't want him in your choir is a rejection of his ... but yes, optimally this skill triage would take place before they were an assumed member of the group.
posted by Myca at 10:33 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I didn't know any girls. I went to a single-sex boarding school. It took me a long time to know how to relate to the opposite sex. Having a girl drop into the library to play d+d with us, is like a unicorn rolled all 18's.

I grew up and became an adult and I suppose I got normal. I still love gaming, but I know half of all people are like me, with hearts that beat and feelings that can be hurt.

I stress that. Half of all people. If you can't play nice with 50% of humanity, I ... don't know. You're not playing with me or my awesome friends.
posted by adept256 at 10:33 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Drewbage1847 your comment reminded me that Beer Week in BC a year or so ago had a panel on women in craft brewing to celebrate women's day, and how stoked one of my beer reps (a woman) was about it. There was a doc about women and craft beer they showed then. They've kept up with the theme this year at beer week, too.

One day the outdated pigheaded misogynists will be run out of all the good hobbies and the rest of us will have a blast.
posted by chapps at 10:49 PM on April 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am reminded of my own experience about twelve years ago when first entering Catan tourney play. It was after tourney qualification times, but there were a few pickup games going on, so I settled in to play.

A guy at my board made rape and wife beater jokes the entire fucking game. Why? To "rattle" and "throw off" my play by getting under my skin.

I finished the game, losing terribly. I still wish I had got up and left. He would have never pulled that shit during tourney because he knew it would disqualify him. After the tourney play was over? He didn't care.

Enforcement of rules counts. Luckily, I haven't been harassed in play since, mostly because I: a) game at giant cons where that shit doesn't fly, b) am no longer a sweet young thing, OR c) game with other mature adults in homes.

I hope her campaign against this particular company succeeds. When others see the rules enforced, they'll hopefully STFU. The author sounds awesome and is welcome at our group tables. We have many more men than women, but they, you know, aren't assholes.
posted by EinAtlanta at 10:55 PM on April 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Our gaming group right now is 3 women, and three men. One of the women is the "tank" of the party. The rest of us hide behind her and snipe when the violence gets real.

Oh, and by the way, we play at the game shop of my best friend. He owns Just Games in Rochester NY. Very inclusive, warm, family friendly, and welcoming.
posted by triage_lazarus at 10:56 PM on April 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I make it a point to enforce the "rules" when gaming is happening at my house. I suspect that's why most of the rest of the group has generally drifted away and doesn't come over anymore.
posted by Scattercat at 11:01 PM on April 3, 2016 [2 favorites]




rpg.net discussion of this topic.

I was rather apprehensive of clicking on that, not being familiar with rpg.net. But I was pleasantly surprised.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:34 PM on April 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


I literally had no idea that tabletop gaming was as bad as video gaming.

From a male perspective, I imagine it's worse, because you can't really even be anonymous. So yea, miniatures is like, the pinnacle neckbeard hobby. Even if I thought spending a month's salary on pewter figurines was a good idea, the playerbase is a strong deterrent. The whole miniatures gaming hobby would probably have died long ago if not for a few business owners propping up their hobby store with Actual Jobs.

your husband & his friends may be suffering under the Five Geek Social Fallicies.

Even if your D&D group is completely isolated from your larger social network, the same dynamic can emerge. It's actually more of a sunken cost fallacy. RPGs run in campaigns -- multiple sessions over the span of weeks and months. Over time you discover Bob is sort of a grating asshole. Even assuming you can find someone willing to be the hatchetman, you're invested in the campaign. Kicking a player out can ruin the DM's planned story progression involving the character's background, and it seems unlikely that someone will join your story in the middle.

I'm now reminded of an experiment running on, of all places, reddit right now. Robin lets groups vote to stay, grow or abandon chat groups. I wonder how behavior would change if everyone knew an anonymous vote would come up at the end of every session to continue or not. It would at least make more visible the informal winnowing that happens, but might nudge the most antisocial members towards the group average.
posted by pwnguin at 11:35 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was rather apprehensive of clicking on that, not being familiar with rpg.net. But I was pleasantly surprised.

RPG.net is consistently one of the sites with the best culture and moderation I've encountered. It and Metafilter are probably my #s 1 and 2.
posted by Myca at 11:47 PM on April 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm really horrified to see that several of these were Canadian conventions, and within Canada. I'm less surprised to see the prairies were the location. I'm male, but I'm really glad most of the RPGA events I used to go to had women in their organizational structure; not all, but a lot of them. The first DM I had at a convention was a women, as were a lot of the members of the community in those days. It is sad that Living Greyhawk ended, as that community pretty much evaporated overnight. I wonder if part of the reason was it skewed older? Most of the players were closer in age to my Dad (then in his late 40s) then to mine (then teenager through early twenties).

Today my girlfriend and I went to our first Magic the Gathering event, at a local game store. She was the ONLY women there out of 10 players and the store owner. Luckily every one was super nice, treated (as far as I could tell) the same way as they did me, and made us both feel very welcome, but there was a moment when I noticed this that I was worried we were going to meet That Guy, since I've seen Wizards sending out messages that they know women aren't coming out to events, despite them buying almost half of magic cards sold, and are trying to figure out how to make things better for them at events.

Someone did tweet a blog that tracks game store safety reviews by women, which I think is a great idea. I've encouraged Mara to write up our local game stores from her view of how people treated her.

Also: RPG.net tends to be a good place for this sort of stuff. The mods are very open about using the banhammer if you insult anyone else, to the point a lot of game designers and other RPG rockstars aren't welcome there anymore.
posted by Canageek at 12:34 AM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is awful. I've played video games and read comics, but I never identified with those things. But I'm a pretty serious tabletop gamer. I really thought we were better than this. Maybe it comes from playing with other married couples that keeps me from seeing it.

Regardless, I 'm sorry our hobby and our community have let this vicious, poisonous environment exist. Hopefuly if more gamers become aware of the problem we can make things better, and make it known that sort of garbage isn't acceptable.
posted by pattern juggler at 1:31 AM on April 4, 2016


Well, I made the mistake of clicking the link on Tumblr to see what people were responding, so thanks for the RPG.net link for providing a counterpoint of gamer men not responding with "what a load of lies we don't have any problems feminism is evil tho"
posted by Cozybee at 2:00 AM on April 4, 2016


miyabo: "I literally had no idea that tabletop gaming was as bad as video gaming. I guess I had pictured it in my head as groups of friendly people playing fun silly games like Fluxx and Ticket to Ride. Clearly I was wrong."

A lot of time they are but a group of friends are low profile. The people like me who game with the same group (going on 30 years now) in our homes every week are so low profile as to be invisible. I haven't seen anything like was outlined at the tiny local game store near me (and they do have one long term female employee) but of course that doesn't really mean much.

Internet shopping and the web in general have been a great boon in avoid these anti social types. You never have to step foot in a physical establishment to get a group of friends together to start role playing or miniature gaming or board gaming. Heck in a lot of cases you don't even have to buy anything at least to get started. Plenty of systems are given away.

limeonaire: " A friend and I were there one afternoon and there were little boys hanging around asking these older men all kinds of questions and I thought this could be a really bad situation if any of these guys were creepers, and then I felt bad that I even was thinking that way. Creepers have—or the potential for creepers has—ruined so many otherwise fun things."

I was out this weekend biking and spotted this fella eating the grass along side the trail. I set up with my D80/300mm/MD80 and tripod to snap some pictures. It wasn't until I was leaving that I realized I was plunked down next to school playground where about a dozen kids were playing with a big telephoto lense. It was worrying while I was packing up.
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


We have to rebuild our culture from the ground up. This horror show is in our entertainment, our politics, our jobs, our schools, our homes. I hate reading articles like this, but as a straight white cis male, constant reminders do help. The world is set up to hide this shit from people like me, and people like me are desperately needed to help shut it down.
posted by rikschell at 2:41 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


"making racist/sexist/homophobic comments seriously or ironically"
Responding from way up way up

There was a big trend in British comedy for a while for ironic ...ism (still there, but less so) and I can't stand it,
especially the whole "duh, it's ironic, it's funny because you know I don't actually think that"
but the Vonnegut quote that has been bandied about recently in reference to Trump is a great riposte.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:53 AM on April 4, 2016 [26 favorites]


One of the things I find common in a lot of cases of sexism and rape in subcultures is a thread that conventions are frequent locations for sexual assault. In this case, I think that has relatively little to do with tabletop gaming. It really seems like conventions in general are a common venue that sexual predators use, and for the most part geeky white males are not aware of that. If you'd told me that before I went to Gen Con when I was 18 I would've been horrified. So I think there is a definite need to make people aware that conventions are particularly vulnerable and need to be spaces where people look out for each other and don't tolerate sexual harassment or assault.

The other problems specific to tabletop gaming are ones that are outside of my personal experience. I've been fortunate that the female gamers I've played with over the years are mostly women who do not get fucked around with. As a person who is usually the DM/GM, creating a culture where rapey and inappropriate in-game stuff doesn't happen is not particularly hard, and people who stepped over that line would no longer be welcome at my table. Good gaming should respect everyone and be in a zone that everyone wants to be in. It is possible, even with mostly geeky white males.
posted by graymouser at 3:33 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

...ouch.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:51 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


A response from Wyrd is copied in the rpg.net forums linked upthread, lifted from the SA gaming forums according to the poster.

(As others have said, the rpg.net thread is a pretty even-keeled discussion with no bullshit dismissals & any and all notallmenz/whataboutthemenz posters are (nicely) being told to wind it in & stop making the discussion about them.)
posted by pharm at 4:05 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


RPG.net is consistently one of the sites with the best culture and moderation I've encountered.

Given that the discussion derails within a couple pages into how it's unfair to claim this has anything to do with people being white or male, I don't think I'd be holding this up as a shining example of culture or moderation. I gave up continuing on, because it seemed obvious that the most important thing to a lot of the commenters was whether white men were being treated "fairly" by this woman who dared speak of things that actually happened to her.
posted by tocts at 4:06 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


It gets shut down pretty quickly tocts. The banhammer does have to come out a bit later though.
posted by pharm at 4:11 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Geek Behaviors That Drive Women Away. Left here for more truth.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 4:15 AM on April 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


I didn't know any girls. I went to a single-sex boarding school. It took me a long time to know how to relate to the opposite sex. Having a girl drop into the library to play d+d with us, is like a unicorn rolled all 18's.

I grew up and became an adult and I suppose I got normal. I still love gaming, but I know half of all people are like me, with hearts that beat and feelings that can be hurt.

adept256 -- I've been there too. The high school where most of my fellow players were just munchkin power gamers was all-male boarding. I get how one has these feelings that girls are weird and mysterious and foreign. I get how hard it can be to get over that. I also get how easy it is to feel like it's a personal assault when someone criticizes the behavior of a group that you identify with.

But as many of us have pointed out in this thread; there's a lot of toxic behavior that's bred within our little cloistered enclaves of nerd culture. While it's upsetting to be presented with examples of it and confront it, it's necessary in order to really understand that the other half of all people are also human beings, with hearts that beat and feelings that can be hurt.
posted by bl1nk at 4:20 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


bl1nk: I *think* you’ve misread adept’s comment, but I’ll let them clarify.

Still trying to work out if the company response is “we prefer to be oblivious”, “we don’t give a shit about anything that’s not actually illegal” or genuinely “we can’t do anything concrete because we’ve been given nothing concrete to go on”. The “we can’t be sexist because we have women working for us!” line is not a good place to be starting though.
posted by pharm at 4:24 AM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, this ask.me is an interesting read-through. Also, according to the a few of the women gamers that I know, go to meetups, not game shops.
posted by eclectist at 4:41 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


oh, I think you're right, Pharm. Pre-emptive apologies if that is the case. I had gotten caught up in seeing a similar argument occur in social media and carried it over here.
posted by bl1nk at 4:46 AM on April 4, 2016


Regarding ironic X-ism, I think that completely ignores what it feels like being a member of X listening to your "irony".

Without identifying what Xs specifically I belong to, every time I hear your hilarious joke I shrivel up inside. So, you're choosing to make me deeply uncomfortable, because... Because my feelings, as an X, are not important?

And that's somehow not Xism?

(the only acceptable "ironic" Xism I've ever encountered was made by members of the X group. And it wasn't irony, really. It was gallows humor)
posted by Cozybee at 4:52 AM on April 4, 2016 [26 favorites]


I don't have a ton of bad memories about this locally once we started making games invitation-only. My first experiences with tabletop tended to be free-for-all affairs: anybody who showed up got a seat, nobody got kicked out, and things could be fun or toxic depending on the mix. My closer friends and I, (hi Archelaus!), switched to just... not inviting problem elements once it occurred to us that the same people always caused the same problems, time after time. It was just us guys until later years, but it was fine when people started inviting their wives and girlfriends because only people with manners were left by that point - I thought of my last campaign as more of a variation on dinner theater than anything. We ate, we told a story, it was fun.

Stepping out of that when I moved to a different city for awhile was quite the eye-opener, though. I normally used to DM, and I set up a new group via Meetup. One of the guys rapidly turned out to be That Guy. He had some unspecified mental health issue, was deeply lonely, and started e-mailing me with a ton of stupid questions about character creation. When I told him to stop, he tried to pick it up by actually calling my house. I hung up on him and decided I wasn't having any of that.

When I broached the subject of booting him to the others, it was genuinely controversial. One of the women was glad to see him go - she felt skeeved out by his unwanted attention, as it turned out. A lot of them felt sorry for him though, felt he was harmless, etc. I had to explain that I wouldn't be running another session with the guy before everyone agreed to let me axe him in peace. The last holdout was a white guy who also turned out to be pretty toxic later on: homophobia, general assholery. When I booted him some months later, I learned my lesson: I didn't ask anybody what they thought, I just sent him a terse e-mail and let everyone know after the fact.

I miss tabletop sometimes - the improvisational quality of it is something I doubt computer gaming can ever truly match - but I don't think I'd ever try forming another new group. The Five Geek Social Fallacies really do run deep, and my patience doesn't anymore. Can't imagine what it would be like to navigate that crap as a woman, but I'm pretty sure my history with the medium would've been many years shorter. :(
posted by mordax at 4:57 AM on April 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


I had no idea there was late Bronze Age/early Iron Age miniatures gaming. This is so awesome.

De Bellis Antiquitatus is a hoot to play. Be sure to check out the Unofficial Faq, and bask in the Early-90's webdesign of the publisher, Wargames Research Group.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:15 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


"And yet ... my gaming friends are not my rest-of-my-life friends. It's a different skillset. I choose gaming friends based on how fun they are to game with, and even really wonderful people who I care about deeply on a personal level are not necessarily fun to play with. Tabletop gaming well is a skill. It's a skill you need to have for everyone involved to have fun."

Yes, but ... I mean, first, if they were already his friends they wouldn't be horrible people. Secondly, tabletop gaming is a huge time investment over a long period of time. Which means that once you've got someone in the game, there's a disincentive to kick them out. And perhaps more importantly, the more "real-life" responsibilities my husband and his gaming friends have developed (work, family, community roles), the more important it is that gaming ALSO serve as a place to gather with friends. Because it's a lot to ask your spouse to take the kids for six hours every Saturday so you can go spend time with people you don't actually like very much but are good at gaming. So, yes, he wants his gaming cohorts to also be his friends, and among our best couple-friends are people he met gaming, and most of the people he games with are also looking at gaming as their primary social outlet (mostly as their solo non-partner social outlet, but some as couples).

And that's part of why he, and a lot of his friends, have gradually fallen away from institutionalized gaming; cons became somewhere we really couldn't go together (because of men creeping on me, and him feeling hypervigilant about male bad behavior all weekend), and it becomes, "Would I rather spend time with my wife or would I rather spend time with sweaty man-children saying things about women that make me uncomfortable?" And now he has kids, and gaming has to overcome, "Do I want to take my kids to the zoo and spend time with my children, or do I want to give up an entire weekend to listen to socially-stunted men talk about how much they love vaginas while ostensibly gaming?" And our local gaming store just isn't a place I feel comfortable, and he doesn't feel comfortable with our kids tagging along if he goes to pick up a book, and institutionalized gaming has become this world that is incredibly hostile to the things most important to me (his wife and kids). And he's just not willing to spend his limited leisure time on something that's toxic and contrary to his values.

So, yes, he'd like a gaming group of people whom he also likes and feels comfortable having around his family, if he's going to spend six months or a year with them every weekend, who are ALSO fun to game with. "Able to spend 15 minutes around my family without dropping f-bombs in front of my toddlers or hitting on my wife," is really the BARE MINIMUM of behavior a grown-ass adult ought to be able to manage so the bar isn't really that high, AND YET ...
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:35 AM on April 4, 2016 [21 favorites]


As a little light in the darkness I thought I'd share the #Feminism nano-games anthology. It should be available for purchase publicly at some point.
posted by Erberus at 5:36 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Our local store had a big issue a year or two ago brought on by a dickwad assistant manager type who acted inappropriately towards a female employee. The store initially doubled down in backing him up, but are more information came out, they backed way the fuck off. Not sure anyone got an apology, though.

Still, this lead me to my new rule of Geek Shopping - Do Not Buy Anything From A Geek/Nerd Store that Does Not Have A Female Employee Working There. Small potatoes, I know, but if cultural prodding can't get some of these shops to wise up, maybe financial prodding can. I've left stuff on the counter and let the staff know why.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:01 AM on April 4, 2016 [23 favorites]


Sometimes it seems like every male-dominated subculture is basically a rock that when you kick it over you see a lot of terrible things scurrying away from the light.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:18 AM on April 4, 2016 [25 favorites]


Someone I know shared this on FB. So far we have:

"One time this one girl was creeped out but CONTEXT"

"But what about mah freedums to say what I want"

"Females"

"We're so liberal this hasn't happened often"

"One time this one girl hit on me and it was kinda weird"

C'mon, NOTALLMENZ. I need bingo.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:34 AM on April 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


scaryblackdeath "This sort of shit comes from cowards who don't want to be forced to own up to their behavior. It's not careless."

EXACTLY. This is just like the people that say "Oh, that horribly sexist thing I said was because I am socially awkward!"

If you are so socially awkward, how is it you manage to always make your repugnant statements when no one else was around to call you on it?

There is nothing careless about this It is calculated predatory behavior, even if the people doing it don't recognize it as such.
posted by das_2099 at 6:44 AM on April 4, 2016 [27 favorites]


I grew up playing RPGs with family members and my friends from elementary school onwards. When I was a teen I ventured out into the larger gaming world via game stores, I discovered a really nasty culture that seemed full of misanthropic assholes. When my high school gaming group ended (college!), I quit gaming to do other things.

I'm a guy, and I found the culture toxic. Best wishes to the author of the linked piece; I hope she can make a real impact, because I liked gaming a lot, and wish I could have continued.
posted by wuwei at 7:06 AM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


The only game store in DC is proudly "Mom-owned," and thoroughly excellent: http://www.labyrinthgameshop.com/

Great selection, plenty of gaming events run by the store, and a knowledgeable, friendly staff. Entirely welcoming of new/casual gamers, as well - if you go into the store and say, "I want a goofy, fun game my half-drunk friends can pick up in ten minutes," they'll sort you out, and they'll do the same if you want suggestions for your next campaign.

Labyrinth Games is exemplary.

ETA: I am not employed by the store, nor are any friends or family. It's just that awesome.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 7:20 AM on April 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Dammit. I LITERALLY just bought a copy of Shadows Over Camelot at the store in question last week. I had my 5-year old daughter with me. I will never set foot in that place again. Amazon.ca should send them a thank you card for ensuring all my future board game business.

I am so upset right now.
posted by joelhunt at 7:27 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


This makes me really sad; I've resumed tabletop RPGs in my middle age after a long time away. This past Saturday night I was with a group that consists of a few of the guys I used to play with in university and their wives. After play wrapped up, we shared some stories from past campaigns - what we're playing in now is really an offshoot from one campaign from all those years ago. And we were asked if having women at the table now made a difference. And we all agreed it made a huge difference and it made the game better in a number of ways.

I hate the fact that the gamer/nerd/geek subcultures that I belonged to when I was younger and felt comfortable in in large part because I was an outsider/"weird" kid are also places hostile to people perceived as different/outsiders. I hate the fact that they are still that way.
posted by nubs at 7:33 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


in tabletop gaming's defense, all sorts of gaming and other "nerd" activities have white male terrorism problems

That.... is a terrible defense.
posted by Paladin1138 at 7:33 AM on April 4, 2016


"That.... is a terrible defense."

Pls rd second line of 2-line comment.
posted by joelhunt at 7:36 AM on April 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


One of the things I find common in a lot of cases of sexism and rape in subcultures is a thread that conventions are frequent locations for sexual assault. In this case, I think that has relatively little to do with tabletop gaming.

as i and other women in this thread have said - tabletop gaming is absolutely part of the problem. i've never been to a con. i was sexually harassed out of the subculture before i got there.

I've been fortunate that the female gamers I've played with over the years are mostly women who do not get fucked around with.

i understand what you mean and i think it's great that you're surrounded with awesome gaming women, but your phrasing here makes it sound like there's something the women are doing to not get harassed instead of men not harassing them. when it comes to misogyny and sexism, we're not the ones in control of whether or not we're victims to it.
posted by nadawi at 7:42 AM on April 4, 2016 [43 favorites]


Pls rd second line of 2-line comment.

What, I gotta read both lines?

(seriously though, I did skim past that and should have read more carefully. Mea Culpa).
posted by Paladin1138 at 7:46 AM on April 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


as a DM I try to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. But running a current boys-only table, it's more difficult for me to work towards creating a good environment for the people who aren't present than when I had several women in a previous campaign.

We can't change people. And telling them to leave the table doesn't make them leave the community. But we can tell them to knock it off, and try to sculpt some fun times in the tiny venn diagram between all the players at the table.

Thanks for sharing the link and starting the discussion.
posted by rebent at 7:49 AM on April 4, 2016


We can't change people. And telling them to leave the table doesn't make them leave the community.

If everyone told them to leave every table it would.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:01 AM on April 4, 2016 [46 favorites]


I haven't played any RPGs since TMNT in elementary school, but I'm curious if there are any good metaRPGs about going to conventions or tabletop gaming with figurative trolls that address these fundamental problems.
posted by mattamatic at 8:04 AM on April 4, 2016


I often think about this ask.me question.

I miss RPGing myself but I know that it won't happen anymore. Every time I've tried to find a new group, I face the fact that a) I'd be the only woman there (and why is that? Oh, that is why - let me join all the other ladies in never returning to this table) or b) I get sidelined in the quest because this fictional character I've rolled up has a biological duty to look after the horses/make camp/whatever.

It's a nerd bro world out there & I miss my old misfit group of people who didn't care about gender.
posted by kariebookish at 8:08 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


While I get that a lot of people have had better experiences with private, invitation-only groups and not so much with institutionalized gaming where anyone could join, my experience has actually been kind of the opposite, and kind of interesting in the way that it worked out. I started playing RPGs in my mid-forties, with a group of players, who would sort of rotate in and out of games, that I met through someone at work. Since I was still new at this, for a long time, I'd let certain things slide, for example, the GM that ran most of the games didn't allow male players to play female characters, or that he'd often use materials from several different books that most of the players didn't have, or that he'd railroad fairly often, especially when he got tired of running a particular game and wanted to do something else, which was also fairly often. (Eventually he was asked to step down as GM, and although he was invited to continue as a player, he was an even worse player than a GM.) I continued on with the group, and mostly it was the same drama that you see in other RPG groups and really in hobbyist groups of just about any type: power gamers contriving to break the game, interpersonal drama bleeding over into the game, cliques forming and splitting off into their own groups, etc.

Eventually I got tired of a lot of it, especially when the power gamer who had broken one of our previous games got invited back in and showed a tendency to do much the same as he had before, only toned down just a bit. By that time, we were using the Pathfinder system, and so when I found out about the Pathfinder Society, which basically organized pick-up groups for the Pathfinder system, I thought I'd try them out, although I had some trepidation both because of my experience in MMORPG PUGs and because my local group had long been kind of suspicious of people who just wanted to drop into games, to the point that some of the group didn't even like people watching us when we played in public, such as at the local game store. (The game eventually moved to someone's house.)

When I started playing PS games, though, I quickly found out that I had the opposite experience: I was having more fun at PS games than I was at my regular private group's games. Some of this was due to simple structural differences; I'm the kind of player that likes to roll and try out lots of different classes and races, which is one of the things I liked a lot about MMORPGs; when I played City of Heroes (RIP), I maxed out the character slots on my favorite servers regularly. Some of it, I'm sure, was just the novelty of playing new scenarios each session, as opposed to one in-depth scenario week after week. But I think that mostly it was just a difference in the local gaming culture. Something I didn't mention is that I was playing PS games in two different cities, neither of which is the one that I live in, and both of which are college towns. And, pertinent to the FPP subject, both of the PS groups that I play with have women who regularly participate who are not attached (at least in an obvious way) to any male player. (There have been only two or three female players in my local group, all of whom are spouses of male players; the one time two unattached women showed up to observe a game, with the possibility of joining, they didn't return.) Oddly, even though the city that I live in is big enough to have its own group, there isn't an active one here; from what people tell me, it's because the local "venture captain" (i.e. the local PS organizer) is just burnt out on trying to keep the thing going, and when I inquired further, the people in my local group were of the opinion--based, it seems, on stuff that they read online--that it was because Pathfinder Society play itself was broken. They didn't seem to have a reasonable explanation for why there were active PS groups in at least three cities nearby, though.

So, between having fun at these PS meetings/games, having other things in my life that are demanding my attention, and the aforementioned drama, I've decided to drop my private RPG group. It's really too bad, given that it at least was a lot more convenient to get to (one of the PS groups is about 45 minutes away, the other 90) and that it's where I learned to play RPGs, but it just isn't fun any more in the way that these other groups are.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also pertinent to the subject at hand, I should mention that one of the local PS groups has a female GM--the only female GM I've played with, so far--who makes a point of wearing T-shirts that proclaim her attached status when she GMs at local game cons.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:52 AM on April 4, 2016


I have a lot of complex feels about this topic.

When I first started gaming, it was the first place I was able to really shine socially. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin - poor, with an embarrassing booming ethnic family that people would give the weird side eye to. Pretty, but not traditionally enough for the guys interested to want to date me in public. I was a red hot social mess, until I found gaming.

And it became practically my only social outlet for the next five or six years. It was where I learned to flirt, to come to terms with the fact that I might actually be desirable. It was a haven, socially, in many ways.

And it was less sexually aggressive and harassing than the rest of the world. I'm not saying this is the case now, but I know when I started gaming in the early 90s, it wasn't my fellow gamers who were trying to rape or sexually assault me. It wasn't my fellow gamers who were waving a 20$ bill over my head and saying "You're poor, jump for it." It wasn't my fellow gamers who were locking me in houses and not letting me leave until I gave them something.

Now, that said, I know there were some dynamics that were ... They didn't feel harassing at the time, but I can't imagine them flying today. Romance was much more a part of games and it was normal to do so. Plots would center around romance and sexuality. Even in online MUSHing, people would pair off, and yes, TinySex. I'm still not sure I would view that as harassing, because it was consent-only, but at the same time, there's something about a dynamic where knowing to have sex as your character well while remaining in character is a high accolade. It was a way for us all to explore deep feelings and sexuality, but at the same time, there was some bleed over. Most of the people who romanced my character eventually tried romancing me. They took no for an answer, but it was clear that romancing as your characters was kind of a half world.

And I used to go to con mostly to sleep with people, when I was younger. As a woman, there was a lot more stigma about casual sex - you were viewed as a slut - but somehow cons were all right - this magical place where you could hook up and maybe wind up dating but either way it would be totally okay and you wouldn't get blamed afterwards.

I don't know when cons and gaming culture changed from this kind of friendly sexuality to this hostile one. It's a real change - things feel meaner these days. But I also can't help thinking of a black science fiction writer whose name I am blanking on, who said that yeah, everyone was cool with black science fiction writers, as long as they didn't make up a full ten percent of market share. And I wonder if that's the thing with women and gaming. As long as women made up less than ten percent of market - as long as we were unicorns, dazzling those we saw while not being big enough to be demanding changes - then we were fine and could be cherished and protected and targets of kindness. But now that women are achieving more proportional representation, it feels like we're taking over the club - and people are definitely fighting back.
posted by corb at 8:55 AM on April 4, 2016 [33 favorites]


I have done much of the RPG playing I've enjoyed since getting back into it several years ago thru various organized play systems (D&D Encounters and Adventurer's League and a bit of Pathfinder Society), and agree that Halloween Jack that it's at least potentially a positive force. Organized play for both systems seems a key part of the marketing; as many have noted, it can be hard to get a group together, but when several game stores around town hold regular organized play sessions, it's a lot easier to drop in casually and see what this RPG stuff is all about. And in that case, it makes sense for it to be as inclusive as possible; publishers don't want bad players scaring off potential customers.

Of course the same failure modes exist; if the hosting store welcomes creeps, and lots of creeps are at the table, bad things can happen. But at least officially, such nastiness is discouraged by the publishers, and I would imagine that the organizers could withdraw support if they get complaints.

For what it's worth, I don't think I've seen much nastiness at the tables I've visited, but articles like this one remind me that, as a white cis male, something may have escaped my notice, and I should be more vigilant.
posted by Gelatin at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, I don't think I've seen much nastiness at the tables I've visited, but articles like this one remind me that, as a white cis male, something may have escaped my notice, and I should be more vigilant.

Yeah, that is exactly how I'm feeling. And I include myself in that need for more vigilance.
posted by nubs at 9:08 AM on April 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I should add that being vigilant is useless unless I'm willing to speak up about it, but I am fortunate there -- my primary Friendly Local Game Store strives to be family friendly; it has a posted policy against using foul language. I have little doubt that if I were to call someone on their offensive behavior, store owner would back me up.
posted by Gelatin at 9:15 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the only thing that has really changed is that gaming is more interconnected. We're hearing more about things that have always happened; women are talking to each other more, and men who hate women are talking to each other (and banding together) too.

Since your individual experiences depend a lot on the social makeup of the gaming groups in your area, when the stories you hear from elsewhere are so different, it's easy to assume that it's because gaming culture has "changed." But I don't think it has. I think this has always been going on.

while not being big enough to be demanding changes

I think you've hit on something important here. Sexism is paradoxical; sexist men hate women but the straight ones generally desire them too. They want women around, but they don't want any lip. They "cherish" women who fit this role, can actually feel genuinely fond and protective, but in my opinion they're more protective of the fantasy than of the woman herself.

While reading your comment, I was thinking about some of the romantically and sexually charged nerd groups that I've been witness to, and how it would be fine that you were a woman -- until you said no. Until you said that you wanted to do something else. Then their apparent protectiveness toward women would quickly become a lie.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:17 AM on April 4, 2016 [23 favorites]


happyroach: "With video gaming that's simply not possible- Gamergate and fans are pretty much are everywhere online."

On the contrary, I can point out one single place it is absolutely possible - MeFight Club. It's a wonderful group of humans (many of whom are from MetaFilter, as the site's name would suggest) who have no tolerance for sexist, racist, or other -ist nonsense.
posted by komara at 9:23 AM on April 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


We're hearing more about things that have always happened

this is my impression. the story i told upthread about the weird sexually violent campaigns, that happened in the early to mid 90s. it's always been a problem, i think. i've also had a lot of great nerd friends, and figured out my sexuality among them, and had lots of fun flirty nerdy times. it just happened concurrently with gamer dudes rubbing on me and making me uncomfortable and having me be the stand in for "woman" before i was seen as a person.
posted by nadawi at 9:35 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


This makes me really sad; I've resumed tabletop RPGs in my middle age after a long time away. This past Saturday night I was with a group that consists of a few of the guys I used to play with in university and their wives. After play wrapped up, we shared some stories from past campaigns - what we're playing in now is really an offshoot from one campaign from all those years ago. And we were asked if having women at the table now made a difference. And we all agreed it made a huge difference and it made the game better in a number of ways.

One thing I notice, looking back at my high-school gaming experiences, is that the presence of girls definitely put the boys on better behavior. When it was all boys, weird rivalries and one-upmanship tended to happen in unpredictable ways. Also, there seemed to be a lot of trying to shock each other through what, at the time, we would have considered edgy "real talk", but, looking back, was probably just unsophisticated offensive jokes and stories with deliberately racist, sexist, and ultraviolent content.

With the introduction of a couple of girls, the games were just as much fun, but a lot of these digressions were blunted because what was considered edgy and cool in a group of guys just felt weird and over the line in a mixed group. None of the boys wanted to stand out as the one who pushed the banter too far and creeped out one of the girls.

Of course, because of the small size of the groups, once 1-3 girls joined, the sex ratios entered the double digits. I'm not sure if this would still happen with a handful of girls at a tournament or convention.
posted by theorique at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


None of the boys wanted to stand out as the one who pushed the banter too far and creeped out one of the girls.

I think this is a power thing that doesn't necessarily depend on how many girls are in the group - it's a culture thing. There are groups where pushing the banter too far and creeping out the girls is the desired outcome. Or being edgy is the desired outcome -- and if girls get creeped out, they're collateral damage, oh well, I guess girls just aren't cut out for gaming.

I suspect a lot of the worst stories are from games where the guys want girls to participate but also don't want to tone down the creepy banter in any way -- and so, if a girl is bothered by the creepy banter, she gets blamed for being too sensitive. And there's a lot of pressure on girls in nerd hobbies to be tough and not too sensitive, both because toughness is valued for its own sake and because they genuinely want to participate in the game even if the price of admission is putting up with edgy banter.
posted by Jeanne at 9:46 AM on April 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


how it would be fine that you were a woman -- until you said no. Until you said that you wanted to do something else. Then their apparent protectiveness toward women would quickly become a lie.

I think I want to refine my statement a little actually, thinking about this. From my experience, men were always very cool being said no to - as long as it was a specific, rather than general, no. Don't want to date them? That's okay, as long as they sense it's because maybe you want to date some other guy in their gaming group or another gaming group. Not wanting to date them as a /class/ may have been harder. The same with "whoa, why are we carving up women?" I feel like it always would have been okay to be like "okay, guys, this one thing is too far" rather than "okay, guys, the way you go whoring literally every time you come into some gold is just ... Odd."

So more "we are protective of you, as long as you aren't actually going to Ruin Our Fun."

And I feel like that has to be at least a piece of this. Because women getting powerful means they can make demands. You're seeing it in the video gaming, with less women-as-sex-rewards characters, and you're seeing it in tabletop, where women are like "I don't care if you have a power called Entrancement, I'm not going to let you make my character in love with you."
posted by corb at 9:48 AM on April 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


kariebookish: "I get sidelined in the quest because this fictional character I've rolled up has a biological duty to look after the horses/make camp/whatever. "

Da Fuk?!? No wonder you didn't return.

One other thing occurred to me reading your experience. My group is currently recruiting via guest player spots but this is a) the first time in 15 years and b) only necessary because one of our players died. Good campaign oriented groups don't churn through players while bad groups will. This means that the recruiting one sees is going to be dominated by groups that can't keep players (for whatever reason)..
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is there sexism, racism, etc. everywhere? Yes. Fandom puts an extra special cherry on top of it, though, because it builds up this whole lie of acceptance and openness, and then you find out that it's all conditional on your accepting this awful, abusive behavior.

I wonder if this is the thing that has given me gut-level NOPE feelings about most of fandom, and geek spaces in general. I always just thought there was something deeply wrong with me because I could always find something really uncomfortable and off-putting about the geeky social groups I've been involved with, and it always just seemed easier for me to slowly bow out of socializing with them instead of pushing through the discomfort. When you're 19 and going to parties at your boss's house and most of your social group is 10-20 years older than you and you're interested in learning how to play whatever it is they all get together to play every week but your acceptance into their inner circle seems to be contingent upon how comfortable you are having men 20 years your senior trying to grope you in front of a room full of coworkers and then shaming you publicly for not being "cool" enough to just let it happen instead of cringing and backing away, and you don't have the life skills to know that shit is NOT OKAY and that you have the right to shut it down without being called a frigid bitch or a cocktease or having your professional trajectory severely and permanently altered because of it...

With the wisdom of age and experience, it's easy for me to see how I internalized the misogynist bullshit and put all the blame on myself for not being somehow good enough to be let into the geek social world. I wish I could go back in time and tell 19 year old me what a crock of shit it all is.
posted by palomar at 9:53 AM on April 4, 2016 [16 favorites]


I wasn't allowed to join the local tabletop society back in the early 1990s because I was a girl.

Most of my early gaming history was about erasure of gender: my female gaming friends did not wear anything that would remind the nerd boys that they were girls (right down to acceptable hair styles & the (obvious?) no makeup). And yet so much unwanted sexual attention.

Looking back some of the so-called "initiation rites" into the gaming groups during my university gaming years clearly were gross and way over the line. I wish I had been more aware of these things as a 19-year-old and had been far more comfortable saying no. But, hey, I was a nerdy girl and I just wanted to throw some dice with people I hoped to call friends.

You know what? All this actually makes me really sad to think about these things today. I used to love gaming but it was always such bloody hard work.
posted by kariebookish at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


My Girl Scout troop has started getting into RPGs. We have a Dungeon Scouts patrol, and we sometimes reserve a table or two at a local game store to eat ice cream and play the open games.

I hope to get the idea in the girls' heads that they are people who deserve to be in the game store if they want to be, and that that the assholes they inevitably will run into are the ones who should be forced out of the game.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:59 AM on April 4, 2016 [41 favorites]


It's really striking to me how much of this stuff happens with people who are high-school-aged and college-aged, too. It's often before you've really started to get better at navigating setting boundaries, and standing up for yourself, and trusting yourself when you feel a little uncomfortable. And I don't have any gaming stories worse than "Huh, IN RETROSPECT that was sketchy and if it happened now I'd say 'Hell no,'" but I certainly wish I had had the social skills to understand all the social-group-dominance stuff that was playing out subtextually.
posted by Jeanne at 10:03 AM on April 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


My nephew is really into tabletop roleplaying. He's in high school, and plays with a group of guys there. His mother makes a point to play with him regularly at home, but soon he will be on his own in college, looking for a group of people to bond with.

One of his favourite games right now, he tells me, is Secret Hitler.

Should I be worried? And if I should, what can I do?
posted by clawsoon at 10:18 AM on April 4, 2016


I think this is a power thing that doesn't necessarily depend on how many girls are in the group - it's a culture thing.

I agree. I think if there had been one sociopathic leader who 'DGAF' and pushed the limits, the other boys would have probably followed along - because someone took that first step and gave them permission by example. I think it's better that this didn't happen, but I don't pretend it's because of some unique or exemplary moral sense in this particular group of high-school boys.
posted by theorique at 10:18 AM on April 4, 2016


The article just makes me cringe and almost want to cry a bit and get angry, and be so generally upset, but not in any useful way, I'm afraid. My experience has apparently been completely different, but everything I read here sounds like something I can definitely believe.

I played in elementary/middle/high school with a rotating group of a few friends, always three to five of us, all male. There were stories about another group which included a girl (who's now a journalist who pops up occasionally online, though I've never seen her writing about gaming). I never heard if she had any trouble with them, mainly we heard about that group played "evil" games, with characters who were much more vile than our fairly bog-standard adventurers.

In grad school, I joined a group in my department. This group always had at least a couple of women, and occasionally reached majority-female. From *my* perspective, I never saw any issues like any discussed here. On the other hand, I never saw any issues on the academic/professional side either, and I've recently learned that they were there.

Since grad school, I've run a few games for friends of my wife--our groups consist almost entirely of married couples, and I've never noticed any issues with us.
posted by Four Ds at 10:20 AM on April 4, 2016


"My Girl Scout troop has started getting into RPGs. We have a Dungeon Scouts patrol, and we sometimes reserve a table or two at a local game store to eat ice cream and play the open games."

Could that be, possibly, the greatest thing ever?

Yes, yes it could.
posted by das_2099 at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2016 [20 favorites]


Also pertinent to the subject at hand, I should mention that one of the local PS groups has a female GM--the only female GM I've played with, so far--who makes a point of wearing T-shirts that proclaim her attached status when she GMs at local game cons.

This is one of the reasons I loathe in-person cons and nerdly gatherings. Because when I went to them and inevitably got hit on, my "No thank you" was treated as an invitation to negotiate. Yet when I produced evidence of a male partner, suddenly my "no" was sufficient.

And on one memorable occasion, the lech who had been ignoring my increasingly direct and to-the-point refusals apologized to my boyfriend for insulting HIM, starting with, "I didn't realize she was taken" and then told me "I didn't respect your relationship." Because my association with a man was legitimate but my freedom to not associate with someone was not.

I love a lot of nerdly things, but one of the most poisonous tropes in fiction and game-playing is the notion that women are rewards for a job well done, not autonomous beings who are under no obligation to fulfill the narrative in your head.

A lot of the harassment I've seen comes from men who are infuriated by the idea that women think they have thoughts and feelings like they're actual people or something.
posted by sobell at 11:00 AM on April 4, 2016 [40 favorites]


One of my great joys has been that, over the couple of decades of running games at GenCon I have gone from feeling lucky to have a female player present to sometimes having full tables of women. (This does also have something to do with the fact that I run a self-written module called "Attack of the Beautiful Princesses" and have slowly honed the blurb to make it clear exactly the sort of game I am running.) It's still far from perfect, but at least the ratio of attendees has improved. (Also, for GenCon in particular, if you feel threatened, I recommend going to the "First Exposure" hall and finding one of the women giving orders. The high ranking women in that business have a thing about safe spaces and will back you up.)

On a less happy note, I've been slowly withdrawing from what used to be a Monday/Wednesday gaming group (four games, rotating on opposite weeks) until I am down to one alternate Wednesday because I have just about run out of patience with a particular blowhard. (another Mefite gave up years ago) And trying to have the conversation about it over and over again is just so tiring and gets nowhere.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:01 AM on April 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am a female gamer. I have had various professionals encourage me to make friends by going to conventions. And I'd like to, I want to meet people and make friends, but when I read things like this I have to ask myself what woman in their right mind would subject themselves to these things for a game. Women should not have to even consider putting up with this garbage. It scares me, and then it makes me furious for being scared of such a thing.
posted by koucha at 11:11 AM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't know when cons and gaming culture changed from this kind of friendly sexuality to this hostile one.

I'm not sure, because I've never been to a con -- largely because at that same job where I worked when I was 19 that I mentioned earlier, the dominant social group there was also heavily involved in cons. Several people I worked with were members of the con committees for, like, Norwescon and Rustycon. And I was sort of interested in going until one woman who was trying to pressure me into attending was like "but you HAVE to DRESS for con, you can't just show up in street clothes, you need a persona and costumes and with your big boobs maybe you should borrow one of my corsets, it would do this to you" and then grabbed both of my breasts and shoved them up toward my chin, egged on by our mutual boss (whose parties I stopped attending after the first one, when I learned that all of her parties are clothing optional and swinger heavy, especially her con parties). I decided right then that cons probably weren't for me.

This was 20 years ago. Maybe con culture was friendly and sweet and comfortable for you, but...
posted by palomar at 11:31 AM on April 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


Karmakaze: "I run a self-written module called "Attack of the Beautiful Princesses" "

What system is this for and is it published anywhere?
posted by Mitheral at 11:43 AM on April 4, 2016


One of his favourite games right now, he tells me, is Secret Hitler.

Should I be worried? And if I should, what can I do?

I’m not sure if you’ve looked it up, but Secret Hitler is a social deduction game a la Mafia or Werewolf; it has little to do with actual Hitler or the tenets of fascism. Further, the iconography is pretty clear that the “fascist” side is gross lizard people (although you could argue that the “liberal” iconography makes its members look like effete namby-pamby types). On the face, the most disturbing thing about it is that it was made by Max Temkin, one of the key guys behind Cards Against Humanity -a game about which Metafilter itself has been divided in the past- and so might be thought of as winking too hard at something that was/can be quite scary.

So, in short: I think the kids are all right. But if you think that being glib with serious issues is a problem, maybe there’s something to talk about. On the other hand, might be interesting to juxtapose his thoughts on Secret Hitler with his thoughts on politics these days.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:07 PM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


(In retrospect, that last link to Secret Hitler is a kind of weird, one-off review site. This is the official site, this is Shut Up & Sit Down’s positive preview (they don’t like CAH), and here’s a review from Ars Technica.)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:13 PM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


One of his favourite games right now, he tells me, is Secret Hitler.

Should I be worried? And if I should, what can I do?


I think social deduction games like The Resistance and Coup are in general a massive drag but Secret Hitler is apparently a perfectly fine game, and I do like the physical design of it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 12:27 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.

I mean, you not only have the "people problem" of (primarily white male) gamers diminishing/harassing/terrorizing/threatening female & POC gamers, but also the "game design" problem where some tabletop games contain super troubling elements (like this).

Of course these are not exactly separate problems, since (1) this kind of game design alienates a lot of potential gamers while reinforcing the "belongingness" of the dominant group and (2) if more game designers made a point of collaborating with diverse teams, hopefully fewer of the shitty, casually Othering game design elements would make it past the drawing board.
posted by duffell at 12:27 PM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah Red Dragon Inn is the fucking pitts. There is no redeeming aspect to that game whatsoever.
posted by turbid dahlia at 12:29 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


What system is this for and is it published anywhere?

It's a module I made specifically for D&D because back in the 90's if you weren't running D&D you could not guarantee enough players to run a table, especially at local cons. Thing is, D&D is not my system of choice, so I kept it low level and roleplaying focused. It started out in AD&D2 and I converted to 3.x, and then gave up on 4 because I just could not bend the system that way. The original seven characters and my attempt at conversion to D&D 5e are under the attack-of-the-beautiful-princesses tag on my random gaming stuff tumblr. I hit scope creep because I decided to make one princess for each of the twelve 5th edition classes instead of just the old core 7, so it's turning into a lot of work. I've been thinking of putting it on Projects, but wasn't sure if this was the right sort of thing.

I've never written out the module in publishable format because I tend to reflow the plot a lot on the fly depending on how my players interact. The basic story is that a wizard gets massive power (think of a wizard as the slightly under socialized engineer type) and wants to be "cool". What makes you "cool" in high fantasy? Having a huge castle and rolling fields, and, um, marrying a beautiful princess. In the stories, girls are always thrilled to death to get carried off and will fall in love with their captors, but he figures maybe random choice will result in a bad match so he'll kidnap a bunch and one of them is bound to like him! When they get angry, he figures it's that "playing hard to get" thing he's heard about. The princesses then need to rescue themselves from the tower with no equipment but frilly dresses, and discover the deeper evil manipulating all of this from behind the scenes.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:31 PM on April 4, 2016 [16 favorites]


More organizations like THIS need to exist. Gotta start them young, and on an equal playing field so that this nonsense will be eradicated in my lifetime.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:32 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


My Girl Scout troop has started getting into RPGs. We have a Dungeon Scouts patrol, and we sometimes reserve a table or two at a local game store to eat ice cream and play the open games.

Here's hoping "Dungeon Scouts" eventually becomes its own RPG, along the lines of Pathfinder (or Torch Bearer or Mouse Guard or whatever). Good luck!
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


:molotov:
posted by qcubed at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


"By that time, we were using the Pathfinder system, and so when I found out about the Pathfinder Society, which basically organized pick-up groups for the Pathfinder system, I thought I'd try them out, although I had some trepidation both because of my experience in MMORPG PUGs and because my local group had long been kind of suspicious of people who just wanted to drop into games, to the point that some of the group didn't even like people watching us when we played in public, such as at the local game store. (The game eventually moved to someone's house.) "

One of the EIC I had at the college newspaper got hired to work for Pathfinder about a year ago, and it's been a dream come true for her. She's always been concerned about women's participation in geek hobbies, being a big gamer and nerd.

I will say that the guy she married (at that time, her boyfriend) was the sports editor and someone who believed that political correctness was ruining gaming, etc. etc. It was always weird that he was popping off with pretty sexist, good-ol'-boy Republican talking point shit while dating his boss, a nerdy feminist. People facetiously wondered if he had her family locked in a basement somewhere, but she'd just roll her eyes and let it go. (I wonder how much of it was because they were high school sweethearts from a small Ohio town — maybe he was the best of a small lot.)

I dunno. Hopefully, he's grown up and gotten over his bullshit — I could totally see him being a gamergater — especially since I can't imagine that his wife doesn't have to deal with obnoxious sexism all the time. I never quite understand those types of couples, though. Wouldn't it get so fucking tiring having to deal with that shit at work and then get it at home too?
posted by klangklangston at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


My groups have been as inclusive as I could make them for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty happy about how often they have contained people of differing genders, sexualities, and races. If the game is going to deal with racial issues, I make sure we all know about it ahead of time and that any person has the unilateral right to veto without questions asked. My games do not deal with sexual assault, period, because too many people have that experience in their histories for me to feel comfortable even invoking the shadow of it, and I've never encountered a story that required it. Various people from diverse backgrounds have told me they feel comfortable in my games and would play again with me, and I think that's the highest compliment I can receive.

Nonetheless, I can't say I've always been as good at this stuff or that I couldn't be much better than I am. I can't say for certain that I've always shut down the shitty joke, even if I'm confident I would now. I can't say for certain that I've always avoided fridging women characters or have treated every one with as much respect as they deserve. I think I have and can't recall being called out for it, but I can't be sure, so it would be arrogant to believe that I haven't fucked up before or definitely could not fuck up again. I have certainly been with women friends as they got harassed at conventions, and even those times when it was in passing and over before I could do anything, I still probably didn't do as much as I could. One of my enduring unpleasant con memories is watching Anthony Daniels of C3PO fame MC a cosplay contest (Lady Death? Vampirella? Red Sonja? some kind of cheesecake deal) which 19-year-old me was very into, until he started fatshaming the women larger than size 0 and almost literally drooling over the people he wanted to fuck, all to an increasingly animated and cheering audience of dudes. It's one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. I felt so bad for them and so oily. I didn't know what to do about it then. I don't know that I'd know what to do now, but at least I've learned that you still need to do something. We dudes all have a lot, a lot, of work to do.
posted by Errant at 1:42 PM on April 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


The princesses then need to rescue themselves from the tower with no equipment but frilly dresses, and discover the deeper evil manipulating all of this from behind the scenes.

That sounds amazing. (I have also just watched Fury Road, which may have coloured my reaction, but I’m pretty sure it would sound great regardless.)
posted by pharm at 1:52 PM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I agree. And it would be a nice departure from wandering murder hobos.
posted by Mitheral at 2:10 PM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm both a gamer since just out of diaper days, and a white male. And I gotta say, this particular sub-breed of socially defunct white male gamers are basically the reason *I* avoid game shops and public pick up games. While not the target of this form gender-targeted ill-will, I would often see the sort of roiling cesspools that fomented its growth.

There's also the deep-seated insecurity that a certain type of person brings to the hobbyist scene, often from a young age - socially awkward to the point of ostracization, they found in gaming an arena both populated with their equally awkward (white male) peers, and a place where knowledge of the game itself was the path to dominance in these social engagements, both in and out of the game scenarios themselves. And they worked HARD to be gatekeepers and make sure that the 'outside world' and its 'mundanes' wouldn't come in and spoil the weird ecosystem they had developed as a shelter. This had a baseline level of toxicity back in the day, and as gaming became more and more visible in the mainstream, the reactionary efforts to gatekeep got all the more aggressive in some of these game-warrens.

I'm hoping in the long run, like any form of regressive conservatism, it will die off generationally as more and more kids come of age in a world where everyone can game by default and there's no need to hoard the precious and keep it from others. This will still require the stalwart efforts of everyone who can to stand up to the noxious social habits of bad gamers, willing to stand up and say 'knock that shit off man, it's awful and not making anything better for anyone.'
posted by FatherDagon at 2:26 PM on April 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. I understand the temptation, but if your impulse is to try to find the best possible interpretation for the comments the article describes, please rethink.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:06 PM on April 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


Pls rd second line of 2-line comment.

TL

DR
posted by Hicksu at 6:13 PM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wish we could bring back the older, more civilized tabletop gaming culture that I mainly learned from my grandmother, father, and aunts: bridge, cribbage, backgammon, Scrabble, hearts, etc. Cutthroat play: to be expected, even from old ladies; poor manners: not tolerated; misogyny: WTF does that have to do with playing games?
posted by mubba at 6:33 PM on April 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


"I have had various professionals encourage me to make friends by going to conventions. And I'd like to, I want to meet people and make friends, but when I read things like this I have to ask myself what woman in their right mind would subject themselves to these things for a game."

I have a friend who's a co-owner of a game store with her fiance and she hasn't mentioned having problems along these lines at the cons she goes to in Vegas...but then again, if her fiance's around, maybe she doesn't have those issues. At any rate, this is making me think I should ask her about how sexism at her game store goes. Since they also have a house cat and crafting going on, I'd imagine it's a pretty friendly place and the reviews online look good, at least.

sexist men hate women but the straight ones generally desire them too.

This is what I don't get: How can you hate women with all your heart and soul and yet still want to fuck them so bad?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:23 PM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


They probably don't have the healthiest ideas of how to go about fucking, either.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:10 PM on April 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


They hate women because they want to fuck them.
posted by benzenedream at 12:24 AM on April 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is what I don't get: How can you hate women with all your heart and soul and yet still want to fuck them so bad?

A gentleman adventurer performs challenging quests to earn good boy points, and expects to be able to cash in his good boy points for rewards. When the dispenser of the rewards doesn't dispense rewards, the adventurer gets very upset because the rewards are not dispensed.

Resentment and anger ensue: LOOK AT ALL THE GOOD BOY POINTS I HAVE EARNED ... WHY AM I NOT REWARDED ... AM I NOT A SUPREME GENTLEMAN? WHAT IS WRONG? THIS IS UNFAIR!
posted by theorique at 3:06 AM on April 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


How can you hate women with all your heart and soul and yet still want to fuck them so bad?

This a million times.
posted by jfwlucy at 7:57 AM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


as a DM I try to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. But running a current boys-only table, it's more difficult for me to work towards creating a good environment for the people who aren't present than when I had several women in a previous campaign.

It is unquestionably more work to be a part of creating a better culture, but I firmly disagree that women need to be present for it. Women-hostile shit can be called out even if women aren't there to hear it and my experience as a white straight dude is that some folks are way more likely to deploy that crap where I can hear it and women can't. Saying "that's kinda gross, dude" is unquestionably more difficult than shrugging it off. But it's necessary.

Hell, while I'm at it I'll also disagree that we're creating it for women (or PoC of whoever). We're creating it for all of us. As a man working in tech I am interested in making tech a more welcoming place for women so that it will have more diversity. Not just because it's the Right Thing To Do, but because that is a better and more enjoyable place for me.

Creating a game environment that would be welcoming if a woman just parachuted in is necessary if you ever want women to stick around. They're smart enough to tell the difference between a group where they're welcome and can belong from a space where people are just biding their time and tamping down their bullshit while they're within earshot.

How can you hate women with all your heart and soul and yet still want to fuck them so bad?

You're assuming they view women as people, whole integrated creatures that are comprised of a mind and body which exist and function as a unit. This is inaccurate. They view the women they interact with as the distraction/tax/hassle that prevents them from access to women's bodies, which they have a right to access by virtue of their own desire.
posted by phearlez at 8:11 AM on April 5, 2016 [22 favorites]


This is what I don't get: How can you hate women with all your heart and soul and yet still want to fuck them so bad?

There are a thousand answers to this: power, social approval, hormones, and whatever else lives in the heart. However, I do think that “hate”, while a perfect classifier for external evaluation, is a simplification of an internal psychodrama produced by the status quo. “Hatred of women” is less about women and much more about themselves. (MGTOWs, for instance, seem to talk far too much about women for people who don’t care about them.) I would also suggest that it’s a case of assuming that the specific is a bad model of the general. You don’t hate women: just this woman, and that woman, and this other woman…
posted by Going To Maine at 8:13 AM on April 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Resentment and anger ensue: LOOK AT ALL THE GOOD BOY POINTS I HAVE EARNED ... WHY AM I NOT REWARDED ... AM I NOT A SUPREME GENTLEMAN? WHAT IS WRONG? THIS IS UNFAIR!"

"A WYVERN HAS A CR OF 6 BUT THERE WEREN'T ANY ENCHANTED ITEMS IN THE LOOT!? IF WE TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO TRACK DOWN THE MONSTER DEPICTED ON THE TAVERN SIGN, WE DESERVE AT LEAST ONE MEDIUM ENCHANTED ITEM ALONG WITH 1D8 SILVER PIECES! AND THAT'S NOT EVEN COUNTING ALL THE KOBOLDS WHO TOLD US TO GO BACK TO THE INN WHERE OUR CONTACT WAS WAITING! NONE OF THEM EVEN HAD 10 COPPER! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW THE LOOT TABLES WORK?"
posted by klangklangston at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


And I was sort of interested in going until one woman who was trying to pressure me into attending was like "but you HAVE to DRESS for con, you can't just show up in street clothes, you need a persona and costumes and with your big boobs maybe you should borrow one of my corsets, it would do this to you" and then grabbed both of my breasts and shoved them up toward my chin, egged on by our mutual boss (whose parties I stopped attending after the first one, when I learned that all of her parties are clothing optional

You know, there's something complicated in there. Obviously, no one should ever grab your breasts without permission, even if they are a woman - but other than that, I could see that conversation happening, could see saying that, with no problem, and yet obviously it bothered you, so that's worth examining.

I think there was at least a subset of us women, back then, who while not being "fake gamer girls", who wanted to be very sexual and who felt that because of our previous nerd status, or because of how we looked in "traditional clothes", we had not been able to before cons. And it was really exciting to go to con scantily clad in a corset, and to be considered not just "tolerable" but actively a knockout - a target of attraction. It was really exciting to be able to know that even if you were single all year, you didn't have to be when con time came around. It was straight up thrilling to know you could smush your stomach and push up your breasts and have everyone know what you were doing and it was still hot. There was a subset of us who were every bit as much on the prowl as the fellas, who were socially marginalized much of the time and lonely as hell.

Anf I suspect from your story that it might have made it hard for those of us in that subset to just plain understand other women. The idea of not wanting to hook up at con, if single and an adult, is flat out alien to me, it was so much a part of all of my con experience. I mean, I get not finding anyone you liked, and I of course would defend any woman who felt like she didn't want that and needed some guy driven away, in a heartbeat - but I fundamentally still don't really understand it, at my core.

And I think in some ways those of us who were in that subset - which may have disappeared as it became more socially acceptable to be a lady nerd, like I may be talking about a historical relic - may have also unfairly affected gamer male perceptions of what we wanted. Created a culture of "date auctions" and clothing-optional parties and that everyone unattached is fair game to at least ask out. Those of us who were like me didn't push back on what I would call at least a constant low-level of sexual awareness, because it was fine in our eyes.

I don't know what you do about that, though. I don't know what you do when some people are saying "Yes kissing my hand is totally acceptable and even romantic" and other people are saying "what the fuck are you doing you cretin." Yes, tell people to ask first, but for some people I think even being asked "can I kiss your hand" would be really weird and offensive.
posted by corb at 9:37 AM on April 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is what I don't get: How can you hate women with all your heart and soul and yet still want to fuck them so bad?
A gentleman adventurer performs challenging quests to earn good boy points, and expects to be able to cash in his good boy points for rewards. When the dispenser of the rewards doesn't dispense rewards, the adventurer gets very upset because the rewards are not dispensed.

Resentment and anger ensue: LOOK AT ALL THE GOOD BOY POINTS I HAVE EARNED ... WHY AM I NOT REWARDED ... AM I NOT A SUPREME GENTLEMAN? WHAT IS WRONG? THIS IS UNFAIR!
The tone of discourse in society seems to be impacted by a general phenomenon and the "nice guy/good boy points" scenario described above appears to be a specific symptom.

In general, we've seen more of an emphasis on linear progression, on accumulation of "points" -- this is manifest in schools as we see more examples of standardized multiple-choice testing, "cram" programs and pressure to put children into the right preschools to get them started on a path to success. I personally believe that degree inflation is part of this emphasis as well.

More related to interpersonal reaction, there is a concept of one-upsmanship in conversation: "oh, but you have made an insightful and disruptive point." Conversation ceases to be a thing to enjoy but is a thing to be won: the "technically correct is the best kind of correct" mindset thrives in such situations. Ignoring for the moment that conversation is as much about metasignaling as it is about the data discussed, a general sense of "min-maxing" is seen, which turns online discourse into identity politics and shouting vitriolic echo chambers at the drop of a hat.

In terms of the battle of the sexes, the min-maxing mentality comes into play with seduction/pick up theory, as well as "Red Pill" vitriol. Relationships aren't a thing to be savored, they are a thing to be won; lest that horrible she-harpy turn you into a beta cuckold or whatever. Conquests are made - not for even the base pleasure of sex, but to prove oneself as "alpha" in a theoretical pack of people.

Gaming is an area where min-maxing is already a problem, relevant to playing the game itself; but when the min-maxing mentality becomes infections and appropriates other portions of thought, it becomes toxic to human relationships. It is probably more prevalent of a problem among the "nerd"/"gamer" community since the penchant for min-maxing is inherent to games, and the "competitive conversation" mentality is fostered by forums such as Slashdot, Reddit, etc, where voting systems lead to metagaming of conversation for visibility.
posted by baconaut at 10:24 AM on April 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


"Anf I suspect from your story that it might have made it hard for those of us in that subset to just plain understand other women. The idea of not wanting to hook up at con, if single and an adult, is flat out alien to me, it was so much a part of all of my con experience. I mean, I get not finding anyone you liked, and I of course would defend any woman who felt like she didn't want that and needed some guy driven away, in a heartbeat - but I fundamentally still don't really understand it, at my core. "

This echoes discussions I've had with real-life friends, and I think this is a pretty common thing. For a lot of the women I knew through geek pursuits, cons were definitely a place where they could be sexual in a way they couldn't necessarily on home turf — the idea of a new identity and lowered social boundaries at cons was really appealing. My brother's ex-wife went to anime cons specifically to hook up with women, something she (as a conservative Catholic Republican) didn't feel free to do in real life. And that it was in the context of nerds — presumably less conventionally (no pun intended) attractive than the mainstream meant that they felt like there was less judgment for being fat or pimply or whatever.

I'll also note that this is something that happens at all conventions as far as I know, not just nerd ones — there's definitely a culture of "convention wife" at library conferences, and the non-profit ones I went to had similar stuff.

As for the gaming or comic book cons, it was something that I know now that I had a total blindspot to — when I was going to them, I had no idea that people were hooking up, though I couldn't help but notice the revealing costumes. But I was very much there to game, and was pretty oblivious to anything going on outside of the actual sessions (I remember being told that I missed a naked party because I was unwilling to leave a GURPS session that went like seven hours over its scheduled time). And by the time I twigged to that sort of stuff happening, I was already in monogamous relationships, which I think discouraged others from inviting me (I wouldn't have wanted to hook up — I just wanted cool stories).

But because I was oblivious to a lot of that stuff, it makes me a lot more sensitive to complaints about sexual harassment now — I have to imagine that I was oblivious to that too. (About the time I stopped going to cons, I started going to a lot more concerts, and a lot of the stuff that went on there I can now recognize as deeply fucked up sexual harassment/assault, but , you know, it wasn't until a couple months ago when my wife said she'd never crowd-surfed because she didn't want to get groped that I even thought about that, so it's not like my obliviousness is totally gone.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on April 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


to go to con scantily clad in a corset, and to be considered not just "tolerable" but actively a knockout - a target of attraction. It was really exciting to be able to know that even if you were single all year, you didn't have to be when con time came around.

Yes, female agency! What this brings to mind though is the perennial PUA cry, "You're saying it's harassment only because I'm ugly -- if I were handsome and tall, you'd let me do anything I wanted!"

No. IF I LIKE YOU, you AND I can do anything we want TOGETHER.
posted by jfwlucy at 12:22 PM on April 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


You know - sometimes I feel like we cede too much when we bend over backwards to deny those guys and say "no, it has nothing to do with your quality, this is evenhanded." Like, yes, jerky PUA, good looking, charming, funny, tall guys have an edge. I will definitely grant those guys more leeway. But you know what, if you're making this complaint, you already know you're not those guys. You already know that you do not have a lot of success with ladies and they don't generally go for your lines, or you wouldn't be complaining about it. You have a lot of chances for success in your life as a result of being a dude. If this is not one of them, accept it with good grace the way women somehow learn to.
posted by corb at 1:26 PM on April 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


good looking, charming, funny are all in the eye of the beholder. that's just another way to say "if i'm attracted to someone, i will respond more favorably when they express interest in me." the problem with the way pua assholes (and run of the mill misogynists) express this is they utterly ignore consent and interests of women.

at the base of it, women choosing partners based upon their own interests and attractions is utterly offensive to men who think women are a prize they deserve.
posted by nadawi at 2:10 PM on April 5, 2016 [15 favorites]


(tall is a whole other thing that i'd need at least 2000 words on to discuss how height is coded both in attraction and internal feelings of self [and how sexuality and gender sometimes but not always changes the focus] and how the manosphere have taken the male height thing to brand new ridiculous lengths, while also touching on reporting of celebrity height and how that shows up in weightlifting forums - it's a fascinating thing, but maybe outside of the scope of straight men being offended at women expressing attraction)
posted by nadawi at 2:17 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I never felt unwanted in a comic store or gaming supply store.

I played a lot of live role playing games in the 90's. White wolf and others. Most events were held on Saturday nights but a locally created gaming system called sunfall had events that were long weekends events and required the players to camp over night at a camp ground we rented for the event. These sun fall events also had epic drunken after parties and in retrospect this seems like a recipe for horrible incidences to occur but I never heard of any that did. I was never harassed or groped even though the medieval events had pretty racy D&D style costumes. The guys always seemed pleased that there were girls playing that were as nerdy and as social awkward as themselves. I met a lot of cool people, some of whom became my boyfriends, and many who became life long friends.

Reading all these comments I suddenly count myself incredibly lucky in my experiences.
posted by Gwynarra at 2:39 PM on April 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


there's definitely a culture of "convention wife" at library conferences, and the non-profit ones I went to had similar stuff.


I... am doing tech conventions all wrong it seems.
posted by pwnguin at 5:48 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have to say the gamer guys were way less handsy, and much more polite than the comics guys, as a rule. To be fair though, a lot of the comic guys considered me an uppity bitch for daring to play in their walled garden without showing deference to their mighty peni. Also, I was a full on Amazon when fucked with, it was fairly well known that if you touched me, I would hurt you, and then do a Barbie giggle and step over your quivering body. I was twitchy in those years. I also had two very large Samoan friends who tended to keep the riff raff at bay. So, when I sat down at a con to run a campaign, everyone was well behaved. I have binders and binders filled with a campaign that ran for almost 10 years, until one of the players was killed by a drunk driver, and none of us have ever had the heart to pick it up again. Once that core group broke up, I've never found a group I wanted to spend that much time and energy with. I miss the good old days, but I'm kinda glad now that I didn't try to recreate it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:50 PM on April 5, 2016 [3 favorites]




I find it so weird that people are doubting what seem honestly like the super mundane aspects of the story. That "old enough to bleed, old enough to breed" shit was massively rampant within the gaming community, and the sf/f community before that. Maybe a legacy of the super misogynist 70s? Or as carryover from the "Everything goes" 60s? Either way, the fact that people are questioning that part of her story is like - dude, I experienced that call so many times I can't even remember a specific one. It's not even unusual, much less so egregious as to be implausible.
posted by corb at 11:39 AM on April 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Calling into question the validity of someone's experience is one of the most common ways of discrediting them; it's a very common move whenever men get challenged on their privilege - instead of coming to terms with the larger point of "there are things we do that make the spaces around us uncomfortable/hostile for anyone who isn't us", the focus gets put on disputing details. It puts the person on the defensive and creates enough noise that nothing happens.

So, yeah, it was a very common phrase, but in all honesty whatever was specifically said doesn't matter. She went into a game store as a teenager and was treated in a sexist, derogatory manner - that's the problem.
posted by nubs at 3:16 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


The weird thing is not that people are questioning the validity of her experience, it's that the Vox followup article specifically says it's "social progressives" doing so:
Due to the dramatic way Garland describes her experience with harassment and assault, several social progressives who would otherwise be supportive have joined Garland's detractors in wondering if she's a troll. For instance, here is how she recounts her first experience in a game store:
and then it relates the "old enough to bleed" story.

It would have been better if the article had linked to examples. I didn't see any of the "social progressives" I follow questioning her story.
posted by Lexica at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Really good section on the latest Ken & Robin about this.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on April 30, 2016


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