Erik Mona's Question in Dragon 333


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I am currently reading my copy of 333 and just finished reading Scale Mail. At the end of the section Erik asks the question, why aren't there more girl gamers?

I am a girl gamer and have my own take on it but before I say anything I was curious to see what others have to say about this, particularly the guys out there.

Liberty's Edge

I'm a male gamer, and I've been playing for a long time. I've easily gamed with 60 individuals over these long years. In all that time, I've only gamed with 7 women, so between 10-15% of all the gamers I've played with.

I think there are a lot of reasons. Some have to do with some of the 'boys' playing D&D. I've seen people fixated on fulfilling a sexual fantasy through role-playing. I've seen guys keep hitting on a girl (not in the creepy or offensive way) even though she made it clear she isn't interested. And I've seen more rampant power-gaming and munchkinism than I care to admit.

So, in many groups I've played in, the group dynamic didn't make the woman feel comfortable.

There is also the issue of recruitment. I have a number of women friends, but many of them aren't interested in D&D. The same is true for many of my male friends. Still, I know more men than women, so even if I successfully recruit 10% of the people I know, that will still probably yield 3 men for every one woman.

So, I think those are all part of it. I personally think I'd like to hear it from a woman's perspective. It is funny - most of the 'girl gamers' I've known haven't made much effort to bring other women (or other people for that matter) into the group, while most of the men do a little recruitment.

Contributor

As a girl gamer, I can honestly say all my groups have had lots of girls in them. And I've gamed in Canada, Seattle, Austin, Dayton (Ohio), the Caribbean...the list goes on. So I don't know why other people don't seem to interact with girl gamers as much. Maybe it's a big conspiracy?

-Amber S.


girls just dont want boy cooties! ;)

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

barrowwight wrote:
girls just dont want boy cooties! ;)

Finally, we get to the heart of the matter.. Cooties..

Ugg.. it is too late at night for me to post on boards. :-)


My group is fifty/fifty male/female (I DM, 1 male player and two female players). IMO Girls tend not to game because of the way *most* girls are brought up and the attitude toward fantasy and escape therein - boys get free reigh pretty much, but girl's play is often tailored towards them aspiring to realistic (or at least semi realistic) female archetypes - Boys can want to be like Han Solo, but girls are encouraged to be like their Mom; this is reflecte in the toys they get - boys get D&D or GI Joe, girls get toy kitchens or vaccuum cleaners.

The flipside of this is:
a) Girls who bypass this and go for the still socially acceptable "Unicorns and Princesses" fantasy often find their way to D&D. Where they go from there, and if they stay, is a different matter.
b) Times are changing. We're moving into a few generations of girls who wanted to be Princess Leia or Buffy.

Not sure where I'm going with this now - but - check out B1 Palace of the Silver Princess (original version, DL'able from WotC site) for a good, early example of bringing in "girls fantasy" to D&D.

M


I am actually surprised how many girl gamers I see now compared to 15 years ago when I knew only one. Now 20-30% of the gamers I know are gamers. I was surprised how many Air Force and Army women are gamers. Things have changed in the gaming world a great deal from the 80's. I think a lot of it comes from PC and Console games. There are a lot of D&D type games out there, so if the word gets out to enough people, I think there will be a lot more girl gamers. One game I played with women, I was the only male, their were raunchier and more violent than any all guy groups I have played. I guess what I am saying is that there is a growing industry for female gamers.


This is undeniably an issue. However, personal experience gives me some hope that there is movement toward gender parity in gaming. Out of the five ongoing campaigns I've been involved in since 2001, only one was all male. My current game is half women. I have to take that as a good sign.

Morrow

Paizo Employee CEO

Tatyanna LePierre wrote:
I am currently reading my copy of 333 and just finished reading Scale Mail. At the end of the section Erik asks the question, why aren't there more girl gamers?

I agree that it is mostly about the recruiting. When I was in college back in the early 80's, my D&D game had 50% men/50% women. I attribute this to the fact that I, as a female DM, was able to make these women feel comfortable. I also stressed the roleplaying over the hacking (though we did our share of the latter). It was a great group of folks from all walks of life, and a group I wish I had to play with today.

My current group is pulled mostly from Paizo and I only have 1 woman in a group of 8 players. I miss the dynamic that more women would bring to the game. We have way too many rule discussions for my liking. :)

My favorite game was 100% women, when we were playtesting the original Vampire: The Masquerade. Now THAT was a game! We didn't think anything about spending three game sessions roleplaying without rolling a die.

Anyway, my 2 cents...

-Lisa Stevens
CEO
Paizo


Perhaps some male gamers have wives/girlfriends who do not game and wouldn't appreciate female gamer at the table.

Have you ever gamed with a DM who's 'soft' on his playing girlfriend or girl he admires?


Dextolen wrote:

Perhaps some male gamers have wives/girlfriends who do not game and wouldn't appreciate female gamer at the table.

Have you ever gamed with a DM who's 'soft' on his playing girlfriend or girl he admires?

My wife does not mind other female gamers, unless they are prettier than her, which I personally do not believe is possible. I love you, Babe. Hopefully, that gets me some brownie points. Anyway, I think girls in groups feel more comfortable roleplaying than singly, when they are known as "the chick."

I have seen a DM that break up their relationships in D&D because they went too hard on their girl. One time we saw an ogre pass through four AoO to get to "the Chick" and beat her "til the white meat shown." He did not want to be percieved as soft, so he is alone again.

One thing I enjoyed playing with women is the team dynamic. It seemed that they spent less time "jockeying" for roles in the group. They were very team oriented and surprised me with the resources they used, each other. I took a valuable lesson to heart with them; In gaming, you can be the a guy with a sword standing against the horde of orcs or you can be the team that stands by and watches that guy get chopped up as you lite the explosives to collapse the pass. I liek the explosives part a lot...I mean team.


Well, my wife is part of my gaming group and she will vehemently deny that she gets ANY special treatment during the game (except that I will get up and fix her a drink when I get one for myself).

Our gaming group includes 3 females, two school teachers and my wife, the title insurance lady. We've always had females in our group and there have never been any problems or issues at all.

Part of being a good DM is not giving your significant other special treatment and being fair and part of being a good player is recognizing that special treatment for one player damages the game.....but that's a tough one to adhere to.

Unfortunately, my wife is naturally argumentative and very competitive, but doesn't hold things that happen in the game against me for very long--especially now after seven years of gaming she recognizes that I won't back down from her or any other player.

Contributor

There have been about 3 different groups I've gamed with in the past that have had female gamers in the group. The experience was much funner for having them. I wish there were more. Why there aren't more, I don't know. I honestly think there would be more if they were approached about it. Of course, most women will assume that we (men) are just trying to pick up on them (in a very nerdy way). Women are the best at recruiting women. Plain and simple.

As far as the dynamic that women gamers bring to D&D... They seem to be much better suited at role-playing and problem solving. Men are much too hung up on competing with each other. Also, women gamers are very well suited for being party leaders for the same reason as above.


Dextolen wrote: Have you ever gamed with a DM who's 'soft' on his playing girlfriend or girl he admires?

My answer: I am a girl who was brought into the game by my then boyfriend. He was the DM at the time and he was not soft on me AT ALL. In fact he was a huge jerk to me and our last big spat we had before I dumped him was when he snapped at me at the table for no good reason in front of everyone. Some guys I don't think can handle girls at the table and my ex is one of them.

I have now played in 5 games over the past year and I have never been soft on anyone I liked nor have any of the male DMs been soft on me if they "admired" me.

Contributor

My husband is kind of famous in our gaming groups for killing my characters off. Once he killed my character on Valentine's Day! But it doesn't bother me because he's a "killer DM" and often has high body counts in his games. By now it's just a running joke between us.

I know Zherog has killed his wife's character, too. Boy was she mad! :-D

-Amber S.

Dark Archive Contributor

Most groups I've played in through the years have had only one woman gamer, if even that many.

In an encouraging turn of events, however, this past weekend I gave a seminar on writing for Dragon at a writer's convention. Of the roughly ten people who showed up for it, only three were men. If we can get more women to write for our magazines maybe we can get more women to become gamers.

Contributor

Medesha wrote:

I know Zherog has killed his wife's character, too. Boy was she mad! :-D

-Amber S.

It was her own fault - she opted to stand from prone right in front of the orc chief when she only had 5 HP left. He had just power attacked that round, too - making his AoO a power attack. :)

Every group I've been in since 3e came out has been near 50% female.

-- my first group was three couples; four of us had played previous versions of D&D, and two had never played (though they'd played other RPG's). So that game ended up being a "let's learn the new rules" type game, and a lot of us took turns DMing.

-- We got to level 20 after about a year or so, and started a new group. Same three couples, and then one of the women invited a friend of hers to play - bringing that group's total to 4 women and 3 men.

-- I played in an on-line game with Amber where she was DM, and my wife was one of the other players. The other two players were guys, giving that group a total of 2 women and 3 men.

-- I DM a game on-line on Saturdays. That group also has 2 women and 3 men.

-- I play in a new on-line game DMed awesomely by Amber; that game is 2 women (Amber and my wife), and two men.

-- Finally, I play in a game on Thursdays that my wife DM's. There's only two players, both guys.

I've always been a bit surprised by all the groups out there that say they can't find female players at all. The "norm" for me is for the group to be roughly half female (give or take on either side).


Why aren’t there more female gamers? Not meaning any offense, but I think this is a fundamentally silly question. This question has been asked so much and for so long, I think it has lost nearly any meaning or ability to engender meaningful discussion. The answer is obvious and just as strongly resisted by the male dominated status quo that, when any change to the status quo is proposed, becomes immediately hostile and protective of the game "just the way it is."

The irony is that too many male gamers, who say that they want female gamers, will not do anything to bring that about. They just want female gamers to suddenly appear at their gaming tables without the need to do anything, particularly with respect to how the game is played or designed, to make it happen.

Charitably, too many male gamers who say they would like to see more female gamers really mean, I think, they would like see more female gamers who play like men and enjoy the same type of game men enjoy. Sorry. At that rate, the level of female participation will remain low. Most potential female gamers are unlikely to game precisely as men game, if they did, there would be more of them already as D&D is not like a secret or anything.

If you want more female gamers, there has to be a willingness to see the game change in terms of design and how it is played. Without that, male gamers will have to be content with playing by themselves, except for the low number of female gamers who enjoy the game "just the way it is." And women who enjoy the game "just as it is" are, for the most part, probably already playing.

The question, “Why aren’t there more female gamers,” is the wrong question. The better question is “How must the game change in its design and play to attract more female players?” No one asks that question, however, because the answer will inherently disrupt the status quo by some measure. And we all know (regardless and despite three different editions, plus original D&D, that are not identical) that the game is perfect "just the way it is." Right? Riiiiiiiight.

My suggestion - you really want to engage the question of female participation in D&D, ask the right question in the pages of the Dragon. Prominently. Just be prepared for all those “the game doesn’t need to change, it’s perfect, if only those girls would realize it” non-answers or variations on that theme. And so it goes . . .

Contributor

GVD wrote:

The question, “Why aren’t there more female gamers,” is the wrong question. The better question is “How must the game change in its design and play to attract more female players?” No one asks that question, however, because the answer will inherently disrupt the status quo by some measure. And we all know (regardless and despite three different editions, plus original D&D, that are not identical) that the game is perfect "just the way it is." Right? Riiiiiiiight.

My suggestion - you really want to engage the question of female participation in D&D, ask the right question in the pages of the Dragon. Prominently. Just be prepared for all those “the game doesn’t need to change, it’s perfect, if only those girls would realize it” non-answers or variations on that theme. And so it goes . . .

Alright - so let me ask you: How must the game change to make it more inviting to women?


Zherog wrote:
Alright - so let me ask you: How must the game change to make it more inviting to women?

The question "why don't more girls game" has been asked over three editions, plus OD&D, and 30 years, give or take. The answer "the game is just fine the way it is, girls just need to realize that" has been the implicit answer for all those years, as nothing is ever changed about the fundamentals of D&D to try to make it more attractive to women. The need for change will not even be acknowledged in most quarters, despite the failure of multiple editions' status quos. The idea that "word just needs to get out," after 30 years, is even more ludicrous. In the face of both propositions - women continue to not play in large numbers, but the same, now silly question keeps being asked in exactly the same way with, more or less, the same silly answers that time has proven to be no answers at all.

My opinion is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Better to ask the game designers for D&D or the managers and executives in charge. My bet is that, if they have bothered to think on the matter at all, their responses will be variations of - "the game is fine just the way it is, girls just need to realize that," though some few may think that "girls will just never play D&D," not stopping to consider that D&D is hardly an immutable constant. Most probably won't acknowledge the question at all because they see no need to change anything, despite the continued failure to attract women under the status quo.

If Dragon wants to start a real discussion, they have the power to ask the right question in a very public way and to force the issue toward actually meaningful consideration. They do that and I'd be pleased to join the discussion. Otherwise, its all just "sound and fury signifying nothing." Pass.


I dunno, I think the game itself has already changed to become more accomodating to women. Women tend (and holy CRAP is this a huge generalisation, but we are dealing with the population as a whole so I guess I have no choice) to be more interested in character-building and role-playing... They tend to want a more thoughtful, less kick-in-the-door style of play. The 3.x rules have definitely made that a lot easier to accomplish.

I think the problem isn't with the game, it's with the gamers. It's a traditionally misogynistic hobby, for whatever reason, and even the guys who don't have a problem with women playing D&D can be a little startled and even a bit confused if a woman joins a game session. (Unless they've played with women before, of course.) Also, a lot of role-playing guys use their games as a bit of time away from their wives and girlfriends... Most couples I know like to have some time apart, and I know a few guys who use role-playing as their excuse to get that time apart. It's not a problem per se, but if part of the fun of the role-playing game is time away from daily life, having a big part of that daily life sitting right beside you tends to interfere... ;-)

Personally, I would think that the best way to encourage women to play is to have other women bring them into the game. It's a lot easier to get someone to join a group when they're already friends with the people in the group, and they're comfortable with the situation. Even if you've got a female friend who's friends with everyone in the group, it can be a little awkward to have the group dynamic suddenly change... When my wife started playing, it was largely because the group was predominantly bisexual or gay men -- she didn't have to worry that she was going to be especially hit on, or that it would add a sexual dynamic that hadn't previously existed. She knew she'd fit right in.

My wife's also gotten a couple of her female friends to consider playing with us if we start a new campaign. They'd never have even considered playing if any of the men we know had invited them, but since it's a woman, they're a lot less worried about what the game would be like. It just makes them a lot more comfortable with the idea not to be the only woman in a group of guys.

Contributor

Otter wrote:
and even the guys who don't have a problem with women playing D&D can be a little startled and even a bit confused if a woman joins a game session.

Heck - women confuse me in every aspect of life, not just gaming. :D

Liberty's Edge

Well, I haven't read all of the above posts, so this might already be said (I am sure of it anyway ;)

The girls I had in my group, with the exception of two (I played with 6 girls in all, presently with none) are all the better ROLEplayers. I made the experience, that girls/women (however you like it, I consider myself still a boy ;) don't care too much about combat, or getting better stuff. For me as the DM it had always been a challenge, because story and pc-npc interaction was extremely important when girls were sitting at the table.
Now all you "boys" out there - I know that there are as well good ROLEplayers, but they are also "fighters" ;)


I would never do anything to make a woman feel uncomfortable or unwelcome at my game table. I suppose that's all anyone can do to encourage female gamers. In my experience, when women who are initially interested in gaming later become alienated from it, it's a result of the people they met and interacted with at the table, not the game's rules or art direction or indeed anything that you can point to in a rulebook. Even if somebody has a "pet peeve" about sexualized characters in art, it's never a major factor, especially when everything in American society is hyper-sexualized anyway. Both men and women are exposed to idealized and unrealistic physical ideals in every area of film, television, advertising, etc. Still, most women watch films and televison anyway. No, I think it comes down to the individual people that a female gamer meets at the table.

Furthermore, roleplaying as a whole seems to appeal to "outsider" types who don't have social skills as well-developed as their peers and are not considered to be as "cool." This doesn't mean that all roleplayers are total human train wrecks and irredeemable dorks, but it does tend to mean that we're on the low end of the social scale on average, both in terms of our interpersonal skills and our percieved place on the cool heirarchy. Since women in our society are more encouraged to develop their social skills and protect their images and reputations than men, you have the situation where a mostly-male hobby where the participants are characterized broadly as outsiders with underdeveloped social skills is trying to attract and keep a female demographic that is traditionally much more socially-developed and sensitive to the opinions of their peers (who are sure not to approve of participation in such an "uncool" activity).

So basically, most women would never consider coming to the table because it's not socially-acceptable among their peers and many that do have bad experiences with poorly-socialized male gamers that drive them away.

Sadly, I don't think there's a gosh darned thing a game designer, magazine editor or professional illustrator can do about this.

Scarab Sages

I'm curious to know how much effort has been made to attract female gamers. For Dragon magazine and WOTC, how much of their market research do they devote to female gamers and potential gamers?

I'm a woman DM. In my regular campaign I have 5 women and one man (my fiance). This is because I go to a women's college :). My parents introduced me to D&D when I was in elementary school and very soon thereafter I began DMing for my younger siblings (we lived in a tiny, heavily religious community in Alaska and my parents didn't want us getting ostracized, so we only played in the family).

My experiences have been heavily personalized and separate from the gaming world as a whole, until now when I've started visiting messageboards. Except for my fiance, I don't actually know that many guy gamers. Until this year, when I started DMing 3.5 after a long hiatus from the hobby, I hadn't even realized that 2e had more than just the core books for it. I think that this is a good thing, because if I'd come into the hobby from the other direction...well, I probably wouldn't have.

Since being out of Alaska, I've encountered hobby shops and the (all male) gamers in them. I've bought tons of rulebooks and looked at Dragon magazine, as well as many, many websites. I'm interested in the content, but I have to say that the presentation took some getting used to. If I had never played before, I would not really feel welcome. It just doesn't seem like the publishers - or retailers - are interested in a female audience. I'm a very feminine girl; I know some girls prefer "guy stuff" for its own sake, but I wasn't introduced to D&D as a "guy thing," and if I had been I might never have given it a second look.

That "guy thing" introduction is all that's available to most girls. It's not one big thing, it's a multitude of little things. It's hard to pin down, but there is the sexualized art, the crudity at an all-male table, the lack of other women gamers...a general atmosphere more than anything else, and I think it has everything to do with marketing.


"That 'guy thing' introduction is all that's available to most girls. It's not one big thing, it's a multitude of little things. It's hard to pin down, but there is the sexualized art, the crudity at an all-male table, the lack of other women gamers...a general atmosphere more than anything else, and I think it has everything to do with marketing."

How so? Obviously, female gamers don't want to play Fluffy Pink Pony Quest the RPG. At least most don't. So how would you address this gender disperity with game design and marketing as opposed to addressing the social climate created by mainly male players?

I'm not convinced desexualization is the answer. Remember, idealized male and female sexuality is a constant in literally every aspect of art, advertising and media in America today. That means almost anything that any of us read or watch every day of our lives. Yet virtually all women are still able to enjoy movies, television and magazines with supermodels and celebrities on their covers. Unrealistic depections of sexuality for its own sake don't drive them away in droves from other forms of popular entertainment (quite the opposite; sex sells, to both women and men), so I don't see why RPGs should be any different.

Finally, what exactly is a "female-designed or marketed RPG", anyway? What distinctive characteristics would it have? And considering that all women are individuals, would your ideal "female RPG" be any other woman's?

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

GVDammerung wrote:


The question, “Why aren’t there more female gamers,” is the wrong question. The better question is “How must the game change in its design and play to attract more female players?” No one asks that question, however, because the answer will inherently disrupt the status quo by some measure. And we all know (regardless and despite three different editions, plus original D&D, that are not identical) that the game...

The point of printing the letters on the subject at all is basically to churn up discussion like this. Send us a letter at dungeon@paizo.com asking that question, and I assure you we will print it.

--Erik


Yamo,

I will hold up the crudity of my 50% female/50% male gaming table up to an all-male table any time. Females are just as crude and rude and belligerent as males once they feel comfortable.

All these statements about the fairer sex that are being made here just are too general and not backed up by the anecdotal evidence I've collected over 25 years of gaming.

Every female gamer I've played with in the last 25 years has enjoyed a good hack and slash dungeon romp as much as most male gamers, although several of them make a point of pointing out that their female characters go seek hot baths and pretty gowns when they get back to town.

Why? They're good role-players, all of them have been and still are.


It pains me to generalize but I've had nothing but bad experiences with female gamers. Being a long standing member of the RPGA, I'm often forced to share tables at conventions with people with whom I'd never normally associate. Invariably, there are always 1-2 females at the every con I attend. They all seem to think that they either deserve special treatment, must be the center of attention at all times, or they can get away with being incredibly obnoxious without any consequences.

They tend to either come up with character concepts too dumb to survive (challenge ratings are calculated for four COMPETENT PCs of the same level) or have their boyfriend/husband sitting at some other table at the convention make them a killer PC whose abilities they have no idea how to properly utilize. I play Living Greyhawk a lot and I tend to get suspicious of female players automatically. I had a female at a table at a con not two weeks ago with her 11th level fighter who thought that Power Attack meant that she got an automatic crit.

The bottom line is, I find that I am annoyed by a much higher percentage of female players than I am male players. I'm sure there are great female players out there...I've just never met one...

Vincenzo


...now before I'm lynched...

This is just my experience...

Gaming is something of a sacred cow for me. I've had girlfriends who wanted to try gaming and I wasn't to thrilled about letting them play with me. This is my escape. Other guys go to the bar with their buddies after work, some have poker night...me, I game. The last person I want to see at a table is whoever I'm dating.

Also, I did come off rather harshly with my scathing commentary on female gamers. I meant absolutely no offense to any female gamers on this board (unless I've played Living Greyhawk with you, in which case, I recommend that you find a hobby that doesn't involve human contact because, quite frankly, it's not your forte'!). I'm sure you're all excellent gamers.

It's like going to a restaurant repeatedly and ordering things off the menu that I end up hating...

There may be something excellent there but I wouldn't know...

Peace,

Vincenzo


Erik Mona wrote:

The point of printing the letters on the subject at all is basically to churn up discussion like this. Send us a letter at dungeon@paizo.com asking that question, and I assure you we will print it.

--Erik

Tish-tosh. Letters to the editor are slightly more effective than hollering out a window. Or posting to a message board. ;-D

I'm sure you have read the posts to this thread. "Its fine just the way it is" or statements to that effect rule. For example, and not picking on anyone, "Its the guys'fault" is just a nice cover for "The game doesn't need to change, the players do - the game is just fine the way it is." A letter to the editor isn't going to get past these obfuscating non-arguments.

Here's what I would do were I editor for a day -

(1) Declare a "women in gaming" issue. My preference would be the Gencon "swag bag" issue.

(2) As editor, you write an expanded 2 page editorial on the topic setting out the parameters of the question. I sense many people with 15 years or less gaming don't fully grasp that this issue is old as the hills and that time reduces many otherwise seemingly plausible explainations to the rubbish pile, given that the same question keeps being asked and supposedly "answered," yet women still don't game in any numbers despite these "answers."

(3) Every article in the issue is written by a woman. I'd personally recruit:

Gwendolyn Kestral
Ann DuPuis
Anne Brown
Julia Martin
Andria Heyday

but pick your favorites.

(4) At the end of the issue I'd publish a transcript of a roundtable (conference call?) among these women, you get to moderate, discussing two questions:

a) Why don't more women game (just to be fair, not because it is not a silly question with an obvious answer) and

b) How can the game design and its play be reconceptualized to attract more female gamers.

If you really want to cause a dust up, bring in a "name" male designer too - watch him defend the status quo. Bet me.

You do this and I guarantee three things -

(1) You will be the talk of the Con and very shortly thereafter the talk of the Internet and the gaming community, having crossed from asking the silly question that can be easily batted aside to asking the hard question that any number in the industry will find uncomfortable because it questions 30 years of design - 30 years of design that has failed to attract a female audience;

(2) The sales of this issue will go off the charts; and

(3) You will watch any number of "name" designers - all male - piteously cry - "The game is fine just the way it is, girls just don't realize it."

Only one problem with this idea - if the editor feels - "the game is just fine the way it is, girls just need to realize that." ;-) And so it goes . . .


I don't think I would be comfortable in an all-male game ever again. The last time I played with just males was in the late 80's. It was okay, but it was so long ago, it would just be kind of "odd" now. Having my wife play D&D in my game means that I get to play more often. If she put me on a guilt trip every time I left the house to play D&D with my buddies, I wouldn't game as much, because domestic peace and "benefits" outweigh D&D by a long shot.

Females are the spice of life...they're also the pepper mace, but I digress.....


bythegawds wrote:

It pains me to generalize but I've had nothing but bad experiences with female gamers. Being a long standing member of the RPGA, I'm often forced to share tables at conventions with people with whom I'd never normally associate. Invariably, there are always 1-2 females at the every con I attend. They all seem to think that they either deserve special treatment, must be the center of attention at all times, or they can get away with being incredibly obnoxious without any consequences.

They tend to either come up with character concepts too dumb to survive (challenge ratings are calculated for four COMPETENT PCs of the same level) or have their boyfriend/husband sitting at some other table at the convention make them a killer PC whose abilities they have no idea how to properly utilize. I play Living Greyhawk a lot and I tend to get suspicious of female players automatically. I had a female at a table at a con not two weeks ago with her 11th level fighter who thought that Power Attack meant that she got an automatic crit.

The bottom line is, I find that I am annoyed by a much higher percentage of female players than I am male players. I'm sure there are great female players out there...I've just never met one...

Vincenzo

Being a female gamer, I have to chime in on this. :) This post here, while you meant no offense, kind of irks me. YOu are generalizing chick gamers as dumb. I, for one, have the core books for more than just looking at the pretty pictures. ;)

My fiance Dm's our game. He gives me no special treatment, and has actually told me that while we're at the table I'm not his girlfriend, I'm just a gamer. Fine, no problem. I look at it the same way when I feel he's in the wrong and commence a rules argument. But I play to escape life. All my frustrations are taken out on those poor monsters when I sit down. You can't hack, slash, maim, and kill in real life. So I use this instead. I tend to be an "accumulating" ( want more magic items, stat boosting stuff), butt-kicking player (From DMG II). One of my favorite things to say to my fiance is, "Why aren't I killing anything yet?" Do I think there is anything wrong with the game? NO. I don't think there needs to be any accomodations made for female players to be drawn in. I think that female expectations may be the hindrance here, also men's unwillingness at time to sit and talk it through. This all depends on the level of involvement on the part of the male who's trying to bring them to the table. I think men generally think that women wouldn't want to be gamers. I don't have a problem with men who use it as thier "private time." Also, alot of women roll thier eyes at the guy talking about it, thinking, oh, lord, he's (insert age here), and still plays that game? To me it's no different than a video game, except it's more of a social setting instead of staring at the dummy box for 8 hours. Hey it could be worse, my guy could be out at the bar drinking his money away, instead of buying supplements. Who loses on that deal? I get something to read that I'm interested in, and I'm not on his case. Winners all 'round.


"For example, and not picking on anyone, 'Its the guys'fault' is just a nice cover for 'The game doesn't need to change, the players do - the game is just fine the way it is.' A letter to the editor isn't going to get past these obfuscating non-arguments."

No, a non-argument would be asserting that game design needs to somehow change without making any specific, productive suggestions as to how. To wit:

What exactly is a "female-designed or marketed RPG", anyway? What distinctive characteristics would it have? And considering that all women are individuals, would one woman's ideal "female RPG" be any other woman's?

Start tackling this and they'll be a real discussion.

"Gwendolyn Kestral
Ann DuPuis
Anne Brown
Julia Martin
Andria Heyday"

I would definitely add Cynthia Celeste Miller to this list. Maybe Rebecca Borgstrom, but I don't personlly care for her work at all.


Hmm,

I run a game with a woman and two guys in the group and I don't think I'd really like it any other way. She doesn't particularly like the hack and slash mindset of one of the guys or the loot and pillage mindset the other guy has (Thank you Dragon Magazine for the Pillager's Handbook article, heh).

Like a lot of DMs I run a PC in the group too. Only have three regular players so that much needed fourth PC is run by myself. Something that aggravates the girl and I is the oneupmanship that constantly occurs between the two guys. This is a common 'problem' and a big reason my younger sister doesn't play with us (and won't let her fiance try it either), even though she does hang around and watch (and occasionally offers input).

I tend to try and balance our gaming sessions with slightly more story then combat. I find that both the males and the female actually prefer this to pure dungeon crawling, though you'd likely not ever hear either of the guys admit it.

In my opinions it's the totally unnecessary aggression and arguing that guys bring to the table that deters a lot of women. Most of the women I know are pretty aggressive though. A lot of them also like online RPG's and role-playing console video games. A few of them also really like movies and books with a high body count and lots of explosions. It'd be difficult to get any of them to really sit at a gaming table, however. The constant bickering and showing off the guys do doesn't sit well with most. It's also somewhat daunting for any new player to come to the table not knowing exactly how to play. Combine this with a few guys who know the game fairly well and absentmindedly berate the females and you have an unintentional "No Girls Allowed" game pretty darn quick.

As a guy myself I had really gotten used to the arguing and need to 'look better' in front of my guy friends. Now after DMing at a D&D/d20 Future game for the past few years I find it extremely annoying in any setting. Not that women don't do exactly the same thing, it's just their tactics are not as obvious. You could say DMing with a girl in the group has helped me relate to women and get along with them a lot better in general then I ever did in the past.

So I think that if an all male or mostly male gaming group wanted more females, both the DM and the players need to change their playing style ever so slightly. Work with each other a little better maybe. Rules Lawyers should quit being like that, and those who don't know things as well really should take a little time and figure it out. The few women that game should really encourage their female friends to give it a shot too. Good DMs know how to make things easier for new players, or at least we should (a small stack of pre-genned character sheets works well). I know the little folder I store dead character sheets in would be a little less thick if my players actually got together behind my back and worked out any kind of team plan for taking on what I throw at 'em. And many of my female friends would be a lot more interested in playing.

-Aaron


Because of the historical accident that RPGs derived from wargames. This created a mostly male playerbase that has ever since slowly and gradually become more even, but never fast because of social inertia and because D&D has always been sold as a souped-up boardgame or variant videogame rather than a fictional medium like any other; and contrary to GVDammerung, RPGing absolutely is a secret, in that most people, though they may have heard of D&D, have very little idea of what roleplaying games are or involve since the medium has never been advertised to adults, and since the RPG industry is so minute no company producing a game that might appeal to women more than D&D (and there's no question that monster-killing, and the current edition's inbred rules-fetish spreadsheetism, appeal more to men than women in our particular culture) can afford to promote it significantly.


Faraer wrote:
RPGing absolutely is a secret, in that most people, though they may have heard of D&D, have very little idea of what roleplaying games are or involve since the medium has never been advertised to adults, and since the RPG industry is so minute no company producing a game that might appeal to women more than D&D (and there's no question that monster-killing, and the current edition's inbred rules-fetish spreadsheetism, appeal more to men than women in our particular culture) can afford to promote it significantly.

Hear, Hear. Though I think we can thank Vampire: The Masquerade in particular and White Wolf in general for giving us more social and less stategic games, which in turn led to the hobby's appeal (and perhaps sex appeal) with a boarder audience.

Whitewolf and Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu also gave the hobby some respectability by using mature themes and psychological complexity. Plus Vampire made the game look cool. Old timers might remember a time when personal appearance, eating habits and physical fitness really didn't matter to a good number of gamers. With the advent of Gothic Punk people started dressing like characters from that movie Underworld. A little bit of geek stigma disappeared. I mean really, who doesn't want to be a dark, beautiful, dangerous and mysterious creature of the night?

Since then gamers, in general have become less fringe looking (with the exception of that two-fifty-pound, hairy guy wearing the Sailor Moon get up I saw at a CON about ten years ago - Oh the nightmares! Where's my medication?!?) and more "normal" seeming. Gamers wear dockers, and polo shirts have respectable jobs and are more socially acceptable. Being a paper and pencil gamer is less of stigma now, so more people (including women) find their way to a table.

I wonder though, of all the fem-gamers who play how many girls, and women where introduced to the game via a guy player and how many just walked into a shop one day saw a cool source book, bought it, took it home and started gaming that way. I doubt the gaming section of most bookstores particularly back in the day when it would have been a comicbook store or other such den of maleness would have been anywhere near the aisles that most women would visit. I suspect in most places game material is/was nestled between the railroad models and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, right above the comicbook- excuse me - Graphic Novels. As a sidenote I have tried to involve all of my ex-significant others in the hobby, but so far no luck. Ah well, try, try again.

Male adult green dragon, 5' 10", 170lb., brown hair, hazel eyes, due to polymorph. Non-smoking (I'm not a red dragon after all), rarely drinking, Pisces, seeking several hundred year commitment from an elidgible nymph or drayd, or a quick virgin (or near-virgin) sacrifice. Still debating about having any half-dragons ;)

The Great Green God


Yamo wrote:
No, a non-argument would be asserting that game design needs to somehow change without making any specific, productive suggestions as to how.

Yamo,

It’s a case of carts and horses.

I am aware of the polarizing and potentially combustible nature of any discussion of “women in gaming.” I view this topic as one of the very few gaming related discussions where the outcome might be said to actually “matter” beyond the moment, at least IMO. I am then unwilling to “go down in flames” on the topic, not just because flames are just so unproductive but because, as I said, I think this issue “matters.” I thus place a premium on “getting it right.” Knowing I will (already have ;)) encountered opposition, I refuse to be feinted out of position by an invitation to leap frog the initial issue to get to the ultimate issue.

First things first.

The initial issue, as I see it, is “why don’t more women game?” I suggest the answer is obvious - Because the game is neither designed to attract women, beyond a small number who enjoy the game the way it is presently played (Witness - Firenice), nor is, even within that model, the play chartacteristics of the game made attractive to women other than the aforementioned small group.

Others suggest other answers -

(1) The game has not been advertised enough. I dissent. The game is now a cultural fixture. It has a 30 year history of continuous exposure, perhaps never moreso that in Vin Diesel’s widely published accounts of his gaming experiences.

(2) Girls just need to be recruited more fully. I dissent. The predominantly male D&D audience has decried the lack of greater female participation for nearly 30 years and “recruitment” has been easily and thus obviously commented upon. If it hasn’t happened in 30 years, I doubt it will occur now.

(3) Men/boys are ill-behaved. I will not deny that men/boys can behave poorly in the company of women/girls, such is hardly news or limited to gaming. However, such behavior in other areas does not preclude more meaningful female interest in and participation - sports being perhaps the prime example but not to exclude video games, poker etc.. Men/boys behaving badly being notorious is, in fact, a highly localized phenomenon and women are smart enough to recognize that fact - one bad apple . . . as they say.

(4) Women just don’t “get” gaming in any numbers and never will; it’s a “guy thing.” I dissent. This condescending argument presupposes that “gaming” is of one sort and may never change. This is the most disingenuous of all arguments that avoids looking at design features and the play of the game.

In substantial sum, after 30 years it is hard to maintain that oft suggested “solutions” or “answers” to the question, why don’t more women game, have any validity. If they have proven ineffective in 30 years of addressing the problem, it is not unreasonable to suppose they are not really the “answer” or “solution” at all. What then is left? What has been studiously avoided - consideration of how the design or play characteristics of the game might be modified to attract more female participation.

Once the non-arguments are disposed off, one is left to consider the design of the game and its play. As Conan Doyle, paraphrased, put it - when everything else has been eliminated, whatever is left, however improbable, is the truth. But it is, unfortunately, not that simple. Gamers defensive of the status quo and loath to consider the possibility that the design of the game and its play need to be adjusted are quite creative in coming up with variations on the theme of - “The game is just fine the way it is.” Any argument that would avoid admitting any need to consider altering the design and play characteristics of the game.

This is why it is not productive to move immediately to the second issue - How might the game’s design and it play characteristics be modified to become more attractive to women. The unreconstructed apologists for the status quo will derail any serious discussions by more variations on the theme of - “The game is fine just the way it is.” I think this is so because everyone here likes the game, more or less, how it is presently played, and too many see any alteration as a potential threat to that present enjoyment. Gamers, in too many cases, are also notorious for not liking to be “wrong” and, identifying closely with the game, would see a conclusion that the present design of the game and its play characteristics being responsible for not attracting more women as an indictment of themselves as having been “wrong.” Of course, this is not so as everyone is not always right and adjusting one’s perceptions is part of life - but not everyone may be mature enough to realize that and instead sees admitting a need for change, even to achieve a desired goal, as somehow “losing.”

It is thus necessary to deal with the initial issue (Why women don’t game) in a strongly affirmative way before proceeding to the ultimate issue (How can the game’s design and its play characteristics be adjusted to attract more women). How to do this?

The suggestion that ideas just be tossed out there is an invitation to ambush by the unreconstructed defenders of the status quo and ignores, in the context of the internet, that its is axiomatic that - to “win” an argument/discussion, you merely need to be louder with a higher capacity to hang in the fight to eventually wear down your opposite numbers willingness to continue in the face of your vociferousness. I take this issue seriously enough that I will not be baited.

This is why I suggest a more “open” process. The unreconstructed need to be identified and brought on board (and a good “follow the leader” opening would do wonders in that wise with the most uncritical thinkers for their thinking is that uncritical) or marginalized so the conversation may productively move on to the ultimate issue without their harping on the non-issue. This sounds harsh, and I’m not placing everyone who disagrees on the initial issue as an uncritical thinker because there is room for some debate at least to the point of acknowledging 30 years of “solutions” now proposed again that have already failed to produce results, but such is the dynamic as I see it on this particular issue - women in gaming. It seems this issue brings out the worst in a lot of people pretty easily and I include myself in that judgment as I am as strong in my beliefs as those I classify as unreconstructed. Not flattering but there it is.

The “women in gaming” Dragon issue I suggested would be trump to the whole discussion. I am aware that my belief is likely in the minority, especially when the larger issues go unexamined in the face of a strongly uncritical defense of the status quo. I doubt it, but perhaps I’m wrong. I will stand no chance of being right, however, in an enclosed space. Believing myself outnumbered, I (and my “fellow travellers” ;)) need to room to maneuver, so to speak, if my (our) ideas are to get a fair hearing and not simply see matters shouted down or obfuscated by the larger opposition. If I am in the final analysis wrong, that’s cool; I’d be happy that someone was right and that their “solution” saw more women enter into the hobby. What I have suggested to Dragon, I believe, would be a great step toward getting to a “solution” that might actually meaningfully address the issue of getting more women to game.

Let the entirety of the gaming community discuss the matter in many discussions. And Paizo leads the way and profits from that leadership. Works for me.

Otherwise, I’ll be content to note that no “answer” has been proposed to my knowledge as to “why women don’t game more” that has not been already proposed in the last 30 years and proven to be no answer at all over that period of time. Say something new that has not already failed or admit that what has not been tried, a design and play modification, is what we should really be discussing.

Sorry for being obstinate. :)


But you didn't address the most compelling reason of all for the lack of female gamers: Public perception of the hobby (it's for lonely male losers) coupled with the much stronger emphasis our society puts on women to mind their reputations and choose the social circles they travel in carefully.


I agree all that's a factor too, but at the same time I'd tend to think that the first of those (to the extent that it's actual, which I don't know) applies to men as well as women, and the latter is part of the sheer social inertia that rules in the absence of competing factors.


Once again I have to disagree with GVD. :-)

Certainly, gamers have been asking for years why there are so few women in gaming, and I would definitely agree that the previous editions of the game were very low in elements that would be attractive to a large portion of women. However, 3.x has, IMO, changed that. It's very, very easy to make a strongly character-focussed campaign these days. There's still a prevalence of monster-killing action, but a halfway-experienced DM knows how to adjust play to make that just one more aspect of the game instead of the way it was front-and-center before.

Look at the first video game to really capture the attention of women: The Sims. Pure role-playing. There aren't even any victory conditions... You just make your little person make supper, and meet people, and renovate their house, and so on and so forth. D&D is never going to be that pure of a role-playing experience, because part of the nature of the game really is the dungeon crawling and monster killing, but with the d20 rules, it's pretty easy still to make a very character-oriented game.

To me, claiming that the game itself interferes with women being interested is like claiming that the computers are the reason why so few women are into Linux. Women aren't uncomfortable with Linux, they're uncomfortable with Linux programmers (for good reason), and for the same reasons, women aren't uncomfortable with D&D but are uncomfortable with D&D players. And in the same way that you really need to go through Linux geeks to get Linux, you also need to go through D&D geeks to get to D&D.

Here's a link to a document (written by women) entitled "HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux":

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/

A lot of it is obviously computing- and Linux-centric, but a lot of it (especially a lot in section 3) is actually very applicable to D&D as well.


"Look at the first video game to really capture the attention of women: The Sims. Pure role-playing. There aren't even any victory conditions... You just make your little person make supper, and meet people, and renovate their house, and so on and so forth. D&D is never going to be that pure of a role-playing experience, because part of the nature of the game really is the dungeon crawling and monster killing, but with the d20 rules, it's pretty easy still to make a very character-oriented game."

So boys want to kick ass and girls want to play house?

I don't like where this is going at all...


The problem with some groups is if you have the player type: The Creep. This is the {generally un-hygenic} buffoon who stares at whatever girls there are in the group and makes them uncomfortable. if he stays, the girls leave... and generally don't come back.
That, and they tell the OTHER girls about... it, and then THEY get a bad idea about role-players in general...


Yamo wrote:
But you didn't address the most compelling reason of all for the lack of female gamers: Public perception of the hobby (it's for lonely male losers) coupled with the much stronger emphasis our society puts on women to mind their reputations and choose the social circles they travel in carefully.

I see this as something of a variation of "men/boys behaving badly" and "girls don't D&D." But I actually think there is more to this kind of argument.

Public perception. If a woman/girl finds something interesting to her, really interesting, I do not believe she will allow "public perception" to sway her choice if she is older than 14. To assume that a women/girl, who finds something really interesting, will forego what she finds so interesting because of "public perception" is to sell women/girls very, very short. Going against the grain is not a male's only presereve and it would be more than a little condescending to think so. Women/girls can be as assertive as men and if they are interested in something I do not believe they will let "public perception" stand in their way. They would have to be pretty gutless or suggestable to forego something they are interested in because of "public perception."

If D&D were such that more women found it interesting, I do not think they would forego it because some prude says its "unlady-like" or "just for guys" or "just for wimpy or nerdy guys" or "unChristian" or whatever. The women who play now, who play a game that appeals to more men than women, do so despite any "public perception." Why? Because they are following their interests and thinking for themselves. Other women would do the same if the game were such as to appeal to them, I believe. "If you build (D&D) it (so it is attractive to women), they will (play D&D in greater numbers) come."

I think there is no merit in the public perception argument and (I know/believe this was not your intent) I find it a demeaning and condescending toward women.


Vrykolas2k wrote:

The problem with some groups is if you have the player type: The Creep. This is the {generally un-hygenic} buffoon who stares at whatever girls there are in the group and makes them uncomfortable. if he stays, the girls leave... and generally don't come back.

That, and they tell the OTHER girls about... it, and then THEY get a bad idea about role-players in general...

Good point, that's why all new recruits to any of the RPG's that are run in my circle of friends are "closely screened" prior to being invited.

D&D isn't mainstream enough that a few bad apples like that can simply be dismissed. They really do have a widespread souring effect.

Liberty's Edge

GVDammerung wrote:
Public perception. If a woman/girl finds something interesting to her, really interesting, I do not believe she will allow "public perception" to sway her choice if she is older than 14.

I won't disagree with your assertion here, but I don't think women are becoming interested to the point where they're capable of forming an informed decision. I think a lot of women are somewhat curious about role-playing in general, but don't know enough about it to be sure that they'd like to play. This mild curiosity is not sufficient to overcome societal perceptions.

I have played with enough people to recognize that "the creep" is really a major roadblock to inviting more players. Besides, in relatively normal groups like the one I play in usually, we would serve as an ideal recruiting ground for female players, but we are basically full. We have 9 players at the moment, and the group resists being broken down into anything smaller.

And there are a lot of women that just don't see the point. My wife falls into that category. She has never played with me, and I don't think she will. She isn't interested in killing even a single monster.

Anyway, I think I'll be able to recruit 3 women into the hobby this coming year. That will be my personal goal.


Back when I played AD&D in high school, our group was all guys. I took a hiatus from gaming sometime during college and didn’t return to it until I was living my “adult life.” Since then, our groups have always consisted mainly of couples: 2-4 couples getting together and making up the group. The group is usually about 50/50 man/woman. We have an enjoyable game and the women add a lot to it. I’m always trying to introduce others to gaming so that we can build a bigger gaming circle. It seems to take longer to build a group of both genders than it does to accept anyone into your game who answers your post at the FLGS. This means I haven’t gamed as much as I would like, but they’ve all been good sessions.

Rooster


DeadDMWalking wrote:
GVDammerung wrote:
Public perception. If a woman/girl finds something interesting to her, really interesting, I do not believe she will allow "public perception" to sway her choice if she is older than 14.

I won't disagree with your assertion here, but I don't think women are becoming interested to the point where they're capable of forming an informed decision. . . .

And there are a lot of women that just don't see the point. My wife falls into that category. She has never played with me, and I don't think she will. She isn't interested in killing even a single monster.

As I see it, there are three factors involved -

(1) There needs to be an understanding that women don't game because the game is not designed (to include play characteristics) to appeal to women more generally;

(2) The game then needs to be designed to appeal to more women, to include play characteristics; and

(3) The "self-selects" need to be exposed to the redesigned game.

You are raising Point 3, I believe. Not all women will be interested in gaming, just as all men are not interested in gaming, or anything else necessarily.

In the main, women who do not now game but who might be attracted to the game if it were designed to be more appealing to them are likely some subset of -

(1) Female science-fiction and/or fantasy readers; and

(2) Female gamers who play other types of games already.

If your wife does not fall within either category, she is less likely to "self-select" to game, particularly as the game is not now designed to attract more women. If she does fall within either caregory, I would think she is a candidtate to "self-select" to game but likely fails to presently find anything attractive in the game. However, were the game designed to give her a more attractive experience, she might well decide to then game.

This is where modification to the game, and accepting that such is necessary, are musts. The status quo has failed to attract women in the main and will continue to do so. All the "explainations" that avoid coming to grips with the need for a modified game and gaming experience essentially protect the status quo, which we already know does not attract women. So, until people understand the need for modification and we get that, we cannot expect women to suddenly game.

Mona's question is pointless, a species of "trolling," if there is no follow up and then follow through.

As an aside - "The Creep" falls into the previously discussed "men/boys behaving badly" non-answer to the question of why women don't game more. Just like in any social activity, there will be people with whom we choose not to spend our time. Nothing gives "The Creep" a right to game. That he is encountered is no different than encountering the loudmouthed, lecherous etc. fan of any sport. If women can be genuinely interested in gaming, "The Creep" will not keep them from gaming. They will just not game with him and will avoid his sort. People, men and women, avoid "Creeps" of all sorts, in all activities, all the time.


Well, I read halfway through this thread and decided the discussion wasn't going to change much. So here's my take. I actually agree with GVDammerung's original assessment although I think the implications are a bit different. D&D simply appeals to men more than it does than women. But rather than suggest the game needs to change, I've come to accept the fact that men and women are wired differently. I like the game the way it is and wouldn't want to change it just to raise gender parity. I'm not talking about chainmail bikinis and sensual demonic consorts. I'm just talking about the focus of the game, high fantasy about heroes with big swords and powerful magics.

I've gamed with girls before. I like it because it encourages the males at the table to bathe and groom themselves, but other than that it doesn't have a big impact on things. My current group doesn't have the body odor/dissheveled appearance problem so I don't worry about it (I've only encountered this problem at conventions with people I have never met who I consciously avoid thereafter). They are mostly professional men with happy successful lives. A couple of us are college seniors (myself included) who will probably eventually become professional men with happy successful lives.

I would stop playing dungeons and dragons if it changed to a large extent just to attract female gamers. At least I wouldn't play new editions of the game. I like my game, and if girls wanna play, great! If they don't wanna play, that's great too! I enjoy my all-male group for a number of reasons I probably couldn't if girls were around (none sexist, it's just nice to hang with the guys).


GVDammerung wrote:
I think there is no merit in the public perception argument and (I know/believe this was not your intent) I find it a demeaning and condescending toward women.

Sorry GVD but here you're just being insulting. You're not the only one on here with a brain, and you're certainly not the only person to have considered this issue very, very seriously. Give the rest of us some credit for being able to think, OK?

And your argument against the public perception argument is fatally flawed. Certainly, many women who learned what D&D was all about and were interested would play regardless of society's perceptions. However, society's perceptions of the hobby are still very negative in a lot of places, and I'd suggest that most women would still stay away from the hobby as a result. After all, sex is a lot more pleasurable than D&D -- for most people, anyway -- but look at what happens to perceptions of women who look to indulge that hobby... ;-) Obviously there are differences, but I think you grossly underestimate the effect that societal disapproval has on most people. It doesn't seem to matter to you as much, but for a lot of people social standing really is very important.

That's not the fatal flaw though. No, the flaw lies in assuming that women are aware of what the game is. Very few women actually know what D&D is about, and very few of the remainder have any interest in finding out. It doesn't matter that they *would* be interested, the fact is that most women will never get to the point where they'd be able to make that judgement.

Have you ever considered knitting? It's a very relaxing hobby. While it can be expensive to continue purchasing materials, there's at least the benefit that you can make yourself new clothes, or even presents for friends and family. An experienced knitter can often knit while still watching TV or a movie, and even most novice knitters can carry on a conversation while they work, meaning that knitting doesn't even take much time away from normal activity. It can also be a fairly social activity in itself, with knitting parties growing in popularity. It's attracted a fairly strong male following in the last few years. It's quite possible that it's the kind of thing you'd enjoy. But I bet you'll never find out, because it's not the kind of thing that most men would consider looking into.

In the same way, most women wouldn't look into D&D. It doesn't matter whether the game's designed to be perfect for women or not, it's not going to attract a significant female following if most women won't even look at it.

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