From the Trenches- chicks in roleplaying and other stuff.
I'm a chick and I role play. I'm a chick and have been roleplaying for 20 years. I'm a chick and I GM games. I'm a chick and I design games for conventions. I'm a chick and I live in Australia.
Yup, the odds are stacked against me....
I have been reading the other articles about women in roleplaying. There certainly is a cross section of ideas about the role women play in the hobby. Everything from the deep and meaningful to the bimbo based blonde, it's all there.
So what is really going on in the trenches? I can talk about what is happening here in Aus. It may come as a shock to some of the male gamers out there that women come in all shapes and sizes. The women who attended the recent convention in Sydney were of all shapes and sizes, colours and descriptions, some where hard core gamers, others were casual gamers, some like to roll dice, others like to emote and cathart. It depends on the individual woman.
Stop me if I am wrong...but isn't this the same with guys as well?
There has been a lot of talk about the differences between guy and girl gamers, but after reading all the comments, what has really struck me is the dis-unity that seems to be apparent in the gaming community.
Let's be real for a minute. Those of us who game, we like to use our imaginations, we think, we read, we think outside the corners, and to be really honest...we are different from the average Joe in the street. The fact alone SHOULD be enough to break through the gender barrier and unite us all as a community. It obviously hasn't.
For some reason, roleplaying has always been considered a boy's club. Right from the very beginning, boys have been encouraged to play, the vast majority of gaming product has been marketed at boys alone.
I suppose it is because of good ol' D & D. Adventure genre's whether it be in movies or in literature has always been the realms of boys. Why would a girl be interested in adventure? I mean, what with all those dolls to dress and tea parties to go to, why on earth would a girl want to play something that would involve pretending to be an adventurer?
Myself and my sister ran some D&D for our little siblings (a boy and a girl, ages 7 & 9), and the kids loved it. Funnily enough, my little sister loved the idea of running around and checking for traps, fighting kobolds etc...
Children respond to good stories, strong stories, despite their sex. I have seen it time and time again when running games, players respond to a good strong story, regardless of gender.
It seems to me, that there still are barriers that women have to confront, and to be honest, in gaming circles, it seems that gay men will get an easier time than women, when all folks should be treated exactly the same by everyone.
How to get around this?
For starters, it's time to stop talking about the differences between us and start focusing on the similarities. AS gamers, as free thinkers, as folks who read and use our imaginations, we can form a united front. I know that their are a lot of folks out there who do not understand our hobby, and would prefer that flights of imagination and fancy be very firmly buried. I can't really speak for anyone else, but here in New South Wales, we have an elected representative (Fred Nile and his party for those Aussies reading this article), who regularly places bills to our state parliament to have roleplaying treated the same as pornography, and sold in sealed bags to folks over the age of 18. He has been unsuccessful...so far.
We need to be showing the public that roleplaying is healthy, that encourages all kinds of literary and artistic expression and research, and that it is great for all gender groups and can break down barriers.
To do that, we need to break down the existing barriers. Fellas, this is not your last bastion of maleness, roleplaying isn't yours, learn to share, who knows you might just grow to like it. There is so much that we can all learn from each other, all these things can turn our hobby into something really, really cool.
Lady gamers are here to stay.