October 14, 2009

A Letter to the Gaming Industry

Filamena Young, who I had interacted with before on the RPG.net blogs, forwarded me a new blog on wordpress called A Letter to the Gaming Industry.  If you click the link you'll find an open letter to the gaming industry on the opinions of women in the RPG community focusing on how they are treated.

It is important, as the minority in a community, to know how a community reacts to you, and how to react to the situation at hand.  It seems the open letter addresses those kinds of concerns.  I think it's crucial to at least have an open discussion about how women are treated in the RPG community and how we feel about it.

I encourage you all to check out the other articles that are featured on this blog if you are interested as I am about the subject.  They're all short but interesting reads.

Also, a quick thank you for all of you who have been sending me very interesting links.  I'm looking them over and trying to post on all that I've received so far.


  1. This makes me wonder how would the hobby look like if women dominated the hobby? How will the material be designed differently? Will there be more books about social interaction, dramatis personae and role-playing different persona's instead of gear, vehicles, killer combos, and dungeons ?

  2. Maybe if women "dominated" the hobby, it might not be as recognizable as the same hobby. And who knows, maybe it could end up feeling as alien, or unappealing to some men as it now feels right now to some women.

    It's probably not going to happen...

  3. Shannon I completely agree about the risk there. While I find the fight for equality laudable, much of what they are asking for in this letter is ludicrous. Yes, I realize this is going to direct some flames my way, but honestly I don't care.

    Take a look at this paragraph:

    "Be aware of how your advertising effects us. Not just emotionally, but how your ads and events can put us in unsafe and uncomfortable positions when we game online, with new players, or at conventions. It is again, a matter of a minority making the majority look bad, but keep in mind when a choice you make as the industry might put the women who are a part of your community in dangerous or uncomfortable decisions."

    Are you serious? Advertising for gaming is putting women in danger? So me seeing a girl in a chainmail bikini on the front of an RPG book is going to make me attack them at a con? Or sexually harass them?

    Even if that preposterous claim were somehow true, it would mean women are doomed everywhere. Sexy advertising that objectifies women is hardly limited to gaming. You see it on nearly every product from coke to the NFL to lipstick. Sex sells. Period.

    This isn't just true for women either. Next to the incredibly well endowed woman on the cover of that RPG is a man built like Hercules with a face like Brad Pitt. That's because these are -fantasy- games.

    We want to play something that we are not. We want to be stronger, more beautiful and more heroic. That's the nature of RPGs. Do you really think a subgroup that plays them has a right to dictate to the majority what our games should be like?

    Why? And how would that make women any more equal? It would be the industry stepping in to give them special protection. Are women so weak that they need that preferrential treatment, or are they equal to men? It can't be both.

    I'm all for making a more comfortable environment for women. I am not ok with women being descrimiated against. But women like these coming into my hobby and trying to change the games I play to fit their own moral ideal will not be tolerated.

    They have no right to step in and dictate what's ok and what's not. If you like the games then play them. If you don't then make your own. If they are fun they will suceed and you'll have your own sub-genre of RPGs that fits -your- idea of what's ok.

    In closing I'd like to say this Sapphire. What you are doing is great. You are trying to explore the issue and find out if there even is a problem. You are raising awareness. These are good things.

    They are trying to neuter the hobby to fit their idea of what it should be. That's a bad thing and I -will- be there to oppose them. It's a fight I intend to see they lose.

  4. I'm with Chris on this one.

    Besides, women should vote with their cash, so to speak, and play or create games they like. Seems pretty simple to me.

    There have been advertisements, art, and story lines that made me roll my eyes. So i didn't spend money on them--not because they made me feel victimized, but because they were lame. I think making a fuss over stuff like that only proves that they're selling to their target audience. Why wouldn't the industry in general see female outrage as proof that they're putting out something most men want to look at?

    And i've never felt unwelcome or undervalued in any gaming community--men do of course say stupid things sometimes, but that has nothing to do with gaming, lol.