[Christina Stiles Presents] Medusa's Guide for Gamer Girls


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Contributor

Oh, and I'm happy to say that I've had a lot of male supporters on this project! There will be male contributors, too.

Contributor

The project has met its initial goals! Thanks!

There are about 10 days left, so keep spreading the word.

Contributor

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Victoria Jaczko, your newest RPG Superstar, is contributing to the book!


What a scoop! Nice job CS!


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Congrats on the book, look forward to seeing the final product.

And this will ensure a 500% increase in the number of female player of course... :) (can never have to many ladies playing games.)


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Christina Stiles wrote:
Victoria Jaczko, your newest RPG Superstar, is contributing to the book!

This is fantastic news!!!

Contributor

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Margherita Tramontano from the boards here is joining the project! She will be writing about sex and pregnancy within the game--a topic a backer requested we tackle.

Did I mention Jen Page, Filamena Young, and Lillian Cohen-Moore are in on the project, too?

Contributor

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Oh, wow!!!! I just heard back from Nicole Lindroos of Green Ronin. She's IN!!!!


It's an honor to write with so many great women, and a pleasure to help you. ^^


Nice one Bardess!


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I'm happy to donate (and have done) and will read the book with interest. Although male, I like to play female characters and I hope that this book will give me an idea of both potential pitfalls and hints to improve my characterisation.

In addition, my wife has dipped her toe into the hobby and I hope that this book will give her the impetus to get more involved.


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This is relevant to my interests. My wife and I shall almost certainly donate some pennies.

Contributor

Thank you, guys!


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Supported. We do need more female voices in the RPG community - how much more great gaming material we could be having if this were so.

Contributor

We are down to the last day on this!


Thank you for the reminder. Donated. Looking forward to the PDF.

Contributor

Thank you, Jon!

Contributor

Down to 6 hours!

Contributor

Just an update here to let folks know that the majority of essays are in. I'm starting to write the pieces that will pull everything together around the essays.

I'm interested in hearing more about what problems women have faced as gamers (whether players or GMs), and from guys what problems they've witnessed/experienced with women at the table. How did you deal with the problems?

Let me know if you are willing to be quoted. Thanks.


Yay! How I want to see the complete book!

Contributor

Bardess wrote:
Yay! How I want to see the complete book!

I just read your piece. Very interesting. You should address why you are writing the book you are currently writing after this. :)


Mmm... maybe precisely because I want to show that passion can be shown in OTHER ways. In that book, Will is doing the "sensual" half, and I am doing the "spiritual" half (though things are not so neatly distinct ^^)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Christina Stiles wrote:


I'm interested in hearing more about what problems women have faced as gamers (whether players or GMs), and from guys what problems they've witnessed/experienced with women at the table. How did you deal with the problems?

Let me know if you are willing to be quoted. Thanks.

I've got to get offline soon and can't come up with something pithy and quotable off the cuff... but my gender-related problems I've faced as a woman include...

- The presumption I am a newbie. While it's never been explicitly said to be because I am female, I have sat at a table full of a mix of players, new and veteran, been the only girl, and I am the only person the GM or veteran player will "explain" things to (often explaining things I already know or even explaining them incorrectly--they're always REALLY happy when I correct them, too). The annoying thing of course is this is well intended... many women ARE newer to the hobby, and the male players are trying to be sure the new girl knows what's going on, but often the new girl is a vet who ultimately gets talked down to, while often newbie males are ignored. (So this hurts both genders.)

- Related to the above, the general presumption I need help without asking. When I am thinking about what I want to do in combat, I get lots of unsolicited "advice" in certain groups that is not offered to the guys, even when we are all equally skilled and experienced. I've seen this happen very specifically to other female players as well.

- Overprotectiveness. BS like male players playing male PCs who jump in front of the 18 Str female Paladin who is trying to get in a smite, because "we must protect the delicate wimmenfolk."

- Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f&%#ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick joke--and I will frequently make them myself. I do not need to be protected, god f%$@ing dammit!

- Summary: just the general presumption that women (and female PCs) are incapable, inexperienced, unskilled, delicate, fragile, plain old stupid, who can't handle the wind without blowing them over, who must be guarded from themselves and everything around them and all times and must have explained everything to them as if they were a child.

ETA: A kinder, gentler, summary: some male gamers show no confidence whatsoever in the abilities of their female counterparts.

- Specific incident of my writing an article about making games more inclusive to newbies, including women who are new to gaming, and the editor reworking it to make it about gamer guy's girlfriends (which thereby presumed all existing gamers were male and all girls were nongamers and were girlfriends). (Mind, I used the ubiquitous "how do I teach my girlfriend to game" as an example of what the article would apply to, but he took the example in what was meant to be an inclusive article, and used it to make it narrow-minded and exclusive.) The editor told me he would run his edits by me before he published and then did not---editors don't have to do that, but that he said he would then didn't was the problem. He did remove the article at my request. ETA: I will note this editor was someone who was generally vocal about wanting to be more welcoming and inclusive of women--but I think he still saw me and other female gamers as outsiders to be brought in, not already part of the community, and his acts versus his intent did not always reflect each other well.

- Online harassment. Not even going to go into that.

- People telling you you're a terrible person for objecting to online harassment.

- People telling you you're a terrible person for wanting to create a safe space for female gamers (remember that thread here, y'all?).

Contributor

DeathQuaker--What happened to this article? I would be interested in publishing it within this book.


DeathQuaker wrote:
- Overprotectiveness. BS like male players playing male PCs who jump in front of the 18 Str female Paladin who is trying to get in a smite, because "we must protect the delicate wimmenfolk."

My Pathfinder party Paladin is the one who usually needs to protect others (self-healing as a swift action is great tanking tool). Sometimes her boyfriend puts his character in protective position but that has nothing to do with their relationship or her being wiomen and lots with a fact that his fighter has explicitly defensive and defense-improving build focused on Bodyguard and In The Harm's Way.

Quote:
- Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f$$~ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick...

This might be overreaction to other side of the coin - lots of women being repelled from the hobby by more crass behavior of male gamers (and sometimes female gamers as well).

Shadow Lodge

It's the old holding the door problem:

Some women get offended if you hold the door open for them.
Some women get offended if you don't hold the door open for them.


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Many women are still engulfed in stereotypes themselves. We often overreact blaming men, when we are restraining ourselves.


Drejk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
- Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f$$~ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick...
This might be overreaction to other side of the coin - lots of women being repelled from the hobby by more crass behavior of male gamers (and sometimes female gamers as well).

To clarify: I mean that might be overreaction from the males side.

Also, there is noticeable segment of male gamers that are just much more reluctant to be rude or vulgar than a regular male. Personally I have periods of not using vulgar words for long time, sometimes at all - females present or not. To the point that once during a session when I dropped a pencil and said #$%^ my players' jaws dropped from surprise and were like "you said what?!" and not because they were offended - they just never before heard me saying that.


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Kthulhu wrote:

It's the old holding the door problem:

Some women get offended if you hold the door open for them.
Some women get offended if you don't hold the door open for them.

I don't mind if someone holds the door for me.

I'll hold it for others as well.

Quick Edit Add-on: I don't see it as sexist, more as polite.

Scarab Sages

This sounds like a cool project and I look forward to seeing it and getting a copy for my daughters (both of them are gamers, too).


Drejk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f$$~ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick...
This might be overreaction to other side of the coin - lots of women being repelled from the hobby by more crass behavior of male gamers (and sometimes female gamers as well).

I generally think it's a bad idea to swear or make crude jokes in front of anyone you don't know well enough to know they won't be bothered by it. Male or female.

At a PFS table or with new players at a home game, I'd try to avoid. Once everyone is a little more relaxed, start scaling up and see if anyone reacts badly. It's a little harder with one new player in an existing game, since you're likely to slip into normal habits.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

thejeff wrote:
Drejk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f$$~ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick...
This might be overreaction to other side of the coin - lots of women being repelled from the hobby by more crass behavior of male gamers (and sometimes female gamers as well).

I generally think it's a bad idea to swear or make crude jokes in front of anyone you don't know well enough to know they won't be bothered by it. Male or female.

At a PFS table or with new players at a home game, I'd try to avoid. Once everyone is a little more relaxed, start scaling up and see if anyone reacts badly. It's a little harder with one new player in an existing game, since you're likely to slip into normal habits.

For what it's worth, my examples were regarding people I've known for years and years, in well-established groups where the tone of conversation is very casual and often rowdy, to say the least. Of course you don't speak with vulgar language to strangers, regardless of gender. Sorry I couldn't just assume that was a given (no, in fact, I am NOT a complete barbarian). Anyway, my point was holding back on a way of speaking SOLELY because of someone's gender is annoying---WHERE OTHERWISE SPEAKING THAT WAY IN THE GROUP WOULD, ACCORDING TO THE GROUP'S ESTABLISHED ACCEPTED PRACTICES, BE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE BY ALL. Saying, "You're new, I can't say that in front of you because I don't know what you are comfortable with," versus "You're a girl, I can't say that in front of you because you are a delicate flower who will wilt at a hint of a suggestion of a cuss word," are two different things. Do I make myself clear?

ETA: I'd also like to meet the mythical unicorn women who are "repelled from the hobby" by an off-color joke because every gamer woman I've ever met generally are the ones making the most jokes (maybe we're the ones repelling other women?). The only repulsive commentary, i.e., of the kind that would scare someone away, that I've seen from gamers are outright harassment (commenting about a person's own body, hitting on them or making suggestive comments to them inappropriately, etc.), which is a whole different animal.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Drejk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
- Overprotectiveness. BS like male players playing male PCs who jump in front of the 18 Str female Paladin who is trying to get in a smite, because "we must protect the delicate wimmenfolk."

My Pathfinder party Paladin is the one who usually needs to protect others (self-healing as a swift action is great tanking tool). Sometimes her boyfriend puts his character in protective position but that has nothing to do with their relationship or her being wiomen and lots with a fact that his fighter has explicitly defensive and defense-improving build focused on Bodyguard and In The Harm's Way.

Quote:
- Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f$$~ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick...
This might be overreaction to other side of the coin - lots of women being repelled from the hobby by more crass behavior of male gamers (and sometimes female gamers as well).

Here's another thing that really annoys me: when someone (usually female) talks about frustrating things she encounters, and someone (usually male) takes it personally (even though the concern expressed clearly had nothing to do with that individual) and replies defensively, "Well, I NEVER do that, or I do that for a TOTALLY valid reason..." and generally completely ignores or discounts any of the concerns expressed by the first person...

... rather than, say, express sympathy or acknowledge the first person's pain or frustration at all in any way.

Is it really that hard to just listen and show some compassion when someone is upset?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Christina Stiles wrote:
DeathQuaker--What happened to this article? I would be interested in publishing it within this book.

Wow. Thanks for the invitation! I will see if I can find a copy--and as it was in some form published elsewhere (even if removed later), I'd have to doublecheck to be sure it would be okay to print it somewhere else. (I believe the editor said it would be but I would want to be sure.)

Alternately I could write something new along the same lines. If you are interested, please PM me and let me know if you have any length/format guidelines, etc.

I'm actually traveling and should not really be on the Internet at all (I'm supposed to be on retreat in fact and not getting myself worked up about things on message boards) but I'll check back in a few days.


Quote:
Here's another thing that really annoys me: when someone (usually female) talks about frustrating things she encounters, and someone (usually male) takes it personally (even though the concern expressed clearly had nothing to do with that individual) and replies defensively, "Well, I NEVER do that, or I do that for a TOTALLY valid reason..." and generally completely ignores or discounts any of the concerns expressed by the first person...

I know of that phenomenon but I would prefer if you would mention that without quoting my post which neither was written as personal defense and doesn't discounts concerns expressed. Explaining possible reasons behind some (but certainly not all) instances of behavior you are concerned is nowhere near close to ignoring or discounting your concerns about the behavior.


DeathQuaker wrote:
Of course you don't speak with vulgar language to strangers, regardless of gender. Sorry I couldn't just assume that was a given (no, in fact, I am NOT a complete barbarian).

And I seen exactly that things happening everywhere, including gaming sessions in club. It isn't as obvious to lots of people or even gamers as you might think.

Quote:
ETA: I'd also like to meet the mythical unicorn women who are "repelled from the hobby" by an off-color joke because every gamer woman I've ever met generally are the ones making the most jokes (maybe we're the ones repelling other women?).

Isn't that self-fulfilling statement? Women gamers by definition are those that weren't repelled from gaming when they were starting. I won't compare level of tolerance toward jokes and certain types of behavior between gaming and non-gaming women because I don't have significant amount of knowledge of women that would not be gamers or at least somehow interested in fantasy/SF, but I would not be surprised that the tolerance would be at least a bit higher.

About women being repelled by women - one female gamer I know almost managed to repel a newbie or two with her rude behavior - and she was friendly toward those newbies... Lots of gamers, both male and female reached the point of deliberately avoiding playing with her (or GMing for her), including me. I wouldn't call it a rule and more of rare but occurring phenomenon, though.

Quote:
The only repulsive commentary, i.e., of the kind that would scare someone away, that I've seen from gamers are outright harassment (commenting about a person's own body, hitting on them or making suggestive comments to them inappropriately, etc.), which is a whole different animal.

I have seen women coming to gaming club showing a few times and then leaving - sometimes just showing signs of disinterest in the hobby, but sometimes showing negative reactions to behavior presented by some of the gamers - not harassment (as far as I know), just occasional high-school-locker-room-grade humor not targeted at the woman in question. They do exist.

Contributor

Wolfsnap wrote:
This sounds like a cool project and I look forward to seeing it and getting a copy for my daughters (both of them are gamers, too).

Thanks much!

I'll be releasing some of the book in sections via PDF first. Those go to backers for free. I'm hoping to have a full book by GenCon.


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I'm very late to the party and the book is likely closed, but I wanted to mention: I have 2 daughters. I've taught them both to play the game, though neither turned out to be the rabid gamer their dad is. Still, they took their training in PF and went to a con recently.

My older daughter (age 11 at the time) was able to articulate that the attitude she got by the boys at the table was repulsion, not protectiveness. There were 3 boys at the table and she said they all acted like she wasn't supposed to be there. Of course, it doesn't help that she is already at an age where she's constantly self-conscious as it is. As a result she had a terrible time feeling like the outsider even though, in one combat, she knew more about using spells (she'd played a wizard in our home game) than the other boy did.

Now the reason I bring this up is because it happened at a PF gaming table. But later in the con she screwed up her courage to sit at a couple board/card games and she had a blast with boys AND girls of different ages. She played Munchkin; almost won the whole thing. She played some indie board games - we ended up buying 2 of them because she had so much fun.

My younger daughter (10) was just thrilled to be there and didn't really pick up on the gender differences. But my older daughter, and her reaction at the PF game... it really made me think. I hope that when this book comes out some boys out there read it and realize: women are not a threat, a challenge or an inconvenience. Nor are they such rarities as need to be stared at the whole time or so delicate they need male protection. Girls are people, just like boys. Now some might PLAY differently than the gentlemen at the table, but show me a SINGLE group of home gamers on the planet that don't have different play styles.

On the flip I am looking forward to this book being in print. I missed the chance to support the KS on it but when it comes out I want to get it and give it to my daughters. I don't need them to be gamers like their old man - I think that ship may have sailed already. But I would like them both to know that it's OK for them to be. My daughters both struggle with that, even in this day and age.

My friends with boys the same age say that their little guys are raring to go out in the world and be anything and everything. My girls, even now in 2014, are struggling with gender roles and stereotypes. C'mon boys, let the girls sit at the table.

Contributor

Thanks for the comments, Mark! A lot of adult gamers have kids their bringing into the fold, so this is very much a topic we are covering. I do hope some guys read the book, as well.

The Exchange

Though I doubt I'll ever see the publication, I bet it will be an interesting read. Since I don't really care what gender shows up at the table, I've never really shot for a parity of genders. (Don't see that it's all that important - we're all going to be pretending to be somebody else anyway.) It used to be almost impossible to find female gamers out my way, but things have "improved" now to, oh, say 20% female. And it wasn't the game itself that was scaring 'em off - it was the gamers. ;)

Which brings me to one point I hope was covered - the not-uncommon and not-particularly-desirable scenario in which one female player has to deal with an entire table of male gamers. I don't think I could write a good one myself. Aside from the fact that I'd have to try to write around my own blind spots, I'd almost certainly jump from categorizing male gamers to general mocking. It's who I am.


*Reads original post*

But what if I view women as objects... Of fear and authority?

The Exchange

Then tremble and obey! Duh.

(Incidentally, "Tremble and Obey!" Sound like a good T-shirt to anybody else?)


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Lincoln Hills wrote:

Then tremble and obey! Duh.

(Incidentally, "Tremble and Obey!" Sound like a good T-shirt to anybody else?)

I concur. Make it so.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Then tremble and obey! Duh.

(Incidentally, "Tremble and Obey!" Sound like a good T-shirt to anybody else?)

Sounds like a good rock duo.

Tonight only! Tremble and Obey!

(That's Mark Tremble and Don Obey)

Contributor

Lincoln Hills wrote:


Which brings me to one point I hope was covered - the not-uncommon and not-particularly-desirable scenario in which one female player has to deal with an entire table of male gamers. I don't think I could write a good one myself. Aside from the fact that I'd have to try to write around my own blind spots, I'd almost certainly jump from categorizing male gamers to general mocking. It's who I am.

Thanks for your post.

Yep, I've shown up at many a table as the only woman there. My most unusual game was where there was one guy, the 5 other women player, and a woman GM. It was a Savage Worlds game of Ponyville Horror.


I seem to remember a writer called 'Shelly Mazzanoble' writing articles (and later possibly even books) giving accounts of her experiences as a first-time female gamer. I also remember a certain amount of derision being poured upon them from some quarters of the gaming community.
I think some of her articles may have been posted on the Wizards of the Coast dungeon/dragon site during the period that the magazines were online but there was free access to online content; I don't know if they're still there (or accessible).

Contributor

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

I seem to remember a writer called 'Shelly Mazzanoble' writing articles (and later possibly even books) giving accounts of her experiences as a first-time female gamer. I also remember a certain amount of derision being poured upon them from some quarters of the gaming community.

I think some of her articles may have been posted on the Wizards of the Coast dungeon/dragon site during the period that the magazines were online but there was free access to online content; I don't know if they're still there (or accessible).

Yes, I'm vaguely aware of that book. I think it tried to take a comical approach to the topic. We are dead serious. :)

Sovereign Court

Christina Stiles wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

I seem to remember a writer called 'Shelly Mazzanoble' writing articles (and later possibly even books) giving accounts of her experiences as a first-time female gamer. I also remember a certain amount of derision being poured upon them from some quarters of the gaming community.

I think some of her articles may have been posted on the Wizards of the Coast dungeon/dragon site during the period that the magazines were online but there was free access to online content; I don't know if they're still there (or accessible).
Yes, I'm vaguely aware of that book. I think it tried to take a comical approach to the topic. We are dead serious. :)

I picked up shelly's book for a friend of mine I was trying to get into gaming. I had no idea who shelly was, it just seemed to fit the need I had at the time. I did read a bit of it and don't remember it being as problematic or terrible as a lot of folks make it sound. Shelly did write it from the persepctive of an outsider being converted to a player. I dont know, maybe because she wasnt a full blown hardcore gamer so she was getting some of that fake gamer girl stuff going around the net. This was like 2006 so my memory might be fuzzy on the subject.


I enjoyed many of Shelly Mazzanoble's articles on the WotC DnD site - she mixed equal parts wonder with a keen eye for real social mores and missteps. Additionally, her intergenerational observations (to whit: her parents understanding of RPGs) added some grounding in a hobby that often focuses (not surprisingly) only on the fantastic imaginings of its players.

Later articles seemed to lack punch, perhaps due to the fact some of the wonder had worn off, or perhaps the source material had worn thin. I wholeheartedly enjoin anyone who wants to see a girl's experiences in RPG-land to pick up Shelly's book or read her articles.

Contributor

I will be doing a related t-shirt fundraiser. For those who missed supporting the creation of the book, I will have a tier to acquire the PDF when it is complete.

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