GenCon’s GoH are “diverse as the industry itself”? NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Credit Where It’s Due

Thanks to the people who helped me vet initial drafts of this post. I had harsh feels and made things tense and I’m sorry about that. Thanks also to Kimberley Lam, who is awesome and you should go buy Atop A Lonely Tower, which is an awesome RPG designed to be played online.

Before reading, it’s super-important for me to note that there are some words and ideas here that aren’t mine. In some cases, where people have commented publicly, I’ve quoted them here. In many other cases, I’m summarizing thoughts and ideas that came from behind-the-scenes discussions on Google+. As incidents like the J Scott Campbell/Mark Brooks-incited hatesplosion illustrate, you should not ever force someone to speak publicly on the internet. Especially when someone is making critical statements about a venerable geek institution like GenCon. When I am quoting or paraphrasing other people, those sections will be clearly marked.

Disclaimers. Several of Them.

1. Everything I write here is as someone who is a long-time attendee of GenCon. This year might be my eighth time attending GenCon. I say might because I’ve lost count, to be honest. Nothing I say here is meant to say that GenCon is terrible and must be destroyed with fire. I love GenCon. I love it and I don’t think I’ll ever stop going. So please don’t flame me. Okay?

2. This is not meant as an attack on or a question about the merits of any of the Guests of Honor chosen for 2014. Wait. That was important so I’m going to say it again. I AM NOT ATTACKING ANY OF THE GUESTS OF HONOR FOR THIS YEAR, NOR AM I SAYING THEY DON’T DESERVE TO BE GUESTS OF HONOR.

I’ll admit to not knowing a lot of people on the list. But the people I do know are eminently worthy of respect – especially the women[1]. When I express anger in this post, it is anger at the big picture, anger at the outcome, and anger at the decisions that the organization made to get to this point. I AM NOT AM NOT AM NOT expressing anger at the people who are choosing to participate in this year’s GoH program. PERIOD.

3. One thing I’m not even going to talk about here is the lack of queer diversity. That’s also a thing. It’s also a thing I don’t feel prepared to talk about, because that gets too much into discussing private things about real people which I really don’t want to do. 

Down to Business: The Lineup

GenCon recently announced the complete lineup of Guests of Honor for this year. As someone who has been pushing for increased diversity of Guests of Honor at GenCon, this is something I was very eager to see revealed. So I was pretty disappointed when the lineup looked like this:

  • Keith Baker
  • Lillian Cohen-Moore
  • James Ernest
  • Bruno Faidutti
  • Matt Forbeck
  • Andrew Hackard
  • Steve Hensley
  • Kenneth Hite
  • Jon Hodgson
  • Steve Kenson
  • Eric Lang
  • Nicole Lindroos
  • Jay Little
  • Jeff Martin
  • Ryan Miller
  • Luke Peterschmidt
  • David Preti
  • Mike Selinker
  • Greg Stafford
  • Elisa Teague
  • Richard Thomas
  • Allen Varney
  • Jordan Weisman
  • Ray Winninger

It felt like a punch to the gut. How. HOW could this happen? In 2011, a mere 1 out of 16 GoH was female – Margaret Weis. When the GenCon has made noise about wanting to increase the diversity of the GoH program, HOW IS IT that in three years they’ve gone from a humiliating 6% representation of women to a still-pretty-goddamn-embarassing 16% representation of women?

THE WORST PART, however, is this completely fucking tone deaf blurb that they included at the top of the page announcing the GoH lineup:

Our Industry Insider Guests are as diverse as the industry itself and have extensive knowledge and expertise.

That’s the part that REALLY has me seeing red. So here’s where I where I start tearing shit down. (But remember #2, folks. This is about the BIG PICTURE.)

Demographics: Why This is Really Not Okay (Gender)

So first, let’s take a look at the gender breakdown of this lineup.

Gender-wise, is this as diverse as the industry itself? Well. Unfortunately. Yes.

It’s really hard to find current demographics of the North American game industry, especially given that it’s so fragmented across different platforms. But this 2005 International Game Developers Association survey pegged the number of female game developers at a mere 11%. And while this post on Gama Sutra collects data about students currently in game design programs, the numbers seem pretty consistent with the IGDA survey, despite being 8 years later. So depressing as it is to contemplate, 16% is probably a pretty accurate percentage when you’re looking at game industry professionals.

HOWEVER.

Women account for FORTY-SEVEN percent of gamers. FORTY-SEVEN. It is absolutely ridiculous to have this kind of a lack of representation when women comprise such a huge part of the audience that you’re actually attempting to attract. Furthermore, while the percentage of women in the formal game industry is relatively low, there are a lot of fantastic women doing work related to games that would make them worthy of being a GoH.

And of course all of this is ignoring the fact that this year’s lineup is actually less inclusive of women than 2012! What happened? Did they look at 2012 and think, whoa! Clearly too many women up in here. We have to do something about that?

Well, considering that any conversation with more than 20-30% involvement by women is perceived to actually be dominated by women, that might actually be the case. (Science! It’s depressing.) Is this the “equality” that GenCon is shooting for with it’s GoH lineup? If so, that’s pretty fucking terrible if the most amount of space women can hope to occupy is a miserable 20%.

Demographics: Why This is Really Not Okay (Race)

All right. So this is where I’m going to step back and let some other people talk about their feelings on this. I think POC voices are more important than mine on the issue of racial diversity; there’s also the unfortunate complication that it’s not easy for me, as someone who is whiter than white, to decry lack of racial diversity without looking like I’m judging the racial identity of the people chosen to be this year’s GoH, which would be shitty.

So instead, I asked the previously-mentioned Kimberley Lam if she’d be willing to offer comment, which I place here without additional comment of my own.

I am a big fan of supporting self-identification and parsing ethnic backgrounds can be really hard. I’m the kind of person who uses, predominantly, “Asian” or “European” and hopes that the person I’m trying to figure out isn’t offended that I can’t get much more specific than a continent – and even then I stand a decent chance of getting it wrong.

So, saying that the Industry Insider GoH roster isn’t ethnically diverse isn’t exactly something I’m willing to commit to since I don’t know how the Guests of Honor identify. I will say, though, that it’s disappointing (and yet, utterly unsurprising) that there aren’t many visible minorities on the roster. Being able to pass as white, no matter how you identify, can lead to a lot of differences in your experiences. Passing as white affords the privilege of being able to put down the social burden of your ethnicity.

I’m ethnically Chinese. I can’t pass, so I’ve had the pleasure of being complimented on my English speaking skills, asked where I’m from (and then asked again when I answer that I’m from Canada), asked about insulting Asian stereotypes and assumed to have some sort of insight on the inner workings (and faults) of every Asian government or person in existence. I don’t ever get to put that down because I don’t get to decide when these interactions happen – the people who intrude on my life do.

When Gen Con touts the GoH roster as diverse as the industry, I’m worried that they’re telling the truth. That the industry really doesn’t have people who might understand what it’s like, even in a general sense, to never be able to pass as white and to have your ethnicity come up in the most surprising and often irrelevant places. People who might understand how hard it can be to feel like I have to represent a whole culture even though the one I grew up with is Canadian (and to feel like I’m never allowed to represent Canadian culture because of the way I look). People who try to maintain their cultural heritage in the face of rampant stereotypes and misinformation.

I’m not searching for sympathy. I’m searching for empathy, and empathy comes from a place of shared experiences.

Additional Context: Some Miscellany Worth Addressing

Note: some of this content will be cited. Some of it won’t, for previously-mentioned privacy concerns. Anything that’s not my words or original ideas will be italicized in green. Sorry for any confusion that might cause.

GenCon’s GoH are not like any other con’s GoH

Now of course, all of this is complicated by the fact that despite the fact that GenCon calls its program a Guest of Honor program, it’s really not anything that most people would recognize as a Guest of Honor program. Travel costs, lodging, food, incidental expenses – none of these things are covered. All that Guests of Honor receive are a badge and some marketing and possibly some other tiny perks.

Now recently, GenCon has started calling it the Industry Insider Guest of Honor program to reflect that GoH are industry professionals who would have attended the convention anyway. But that change doesn’t really go far enough, as “Guest of Honor” is a pretty well-defined thing in convention culture and comes with pretty concrete expectations.

One of the people behind the GoH program said that the program name should be changed further to something like “Industry Insider Select Speakers“, which I would certainly support. If GenCon has no intentions of changing the program, which it really sounds like they don’t, then it shouldn’t be called a Guest of Honor program AT ALL.

But perhaps a better middle ground would be something like having the program split into the Industry Insider track, which would basically represent what the GoH program is now, and adding an actual “traditional” Guest of Honor track for diverse speakers, new voices, and people working to expand the boundaries of the gaming community. Because it is disappointing to look at a program that is being advertised as a Guest of Honor program and see that what is being honored is whiteness and maleness. Such a program doesn’t represent gamers of color, who are made to feel unwelcome and ostracized by things just like this.

Lackluster enthusiasm for diversity of recruitment

Over on Google+, Nicole Lindroos – one of the GoH and also someone responsible for helping run the GoH program, commented publicly on the selection process, saying [emphasis mine]:

I personally reached out to female game professionals this year and last in an effort to get them to submit themselves for consideration. Many of them did not plan to be at GenCon (the first hurdle to participating). Many others gave some variation of the “I’m really not qualified” response, as I’d done myself in previous years (despite over 20 years of working in the game industry). Many very interesting, very qualified professionals aren’t represented because of those first two hurdles. I can’t bring people to GenCon, the participants on the Industry Insider track have to be pulled from attendees. I can encourage them to put themselves and their seminars up for consideration but again, we need to pull from people who are self-motivated to participate, not from reluctant speakers who have to be convinced it’s worth their time. There are enough people who are willing, eager even, to participate to fill the seminar slots several times over. 

(You can read the entirety of her post here)

Here’s the thing. I appreciate where Nicole is coming from, on a certain level. As someone who is working to increase diversity in a volunteer organization that I’m involved in, it’s disappointing when your efforts don’t have immediate results. But “well we tried” is NOT an adequate response. There are reasons, many of them, for why women are hesitant to even attend GenCon, much less put themselves forward as a potential GoH. The overwhelming white-maleness of the GoH program is in itself a large part of that, and if GenCon is serious about meaningful change, they’re going to have to do some serious work to overcome that.

The industry insiders who were going to attend anyway can pay their own way, save the money and support for the people who need the assistance to get there.[2] GenCon is a great convention, but it is also FUCKING EXPENSIVE. And hand-waving and saying “well we have to choose from the people who want to attend” is ignoring the fact that that privileges a certain class of attendee.

One thing that I’ve appreciated about Avonelle Wing and the rest of the Double Exposure crew is that the conventions they run have made a real effort to increase diversity. Their lineup of panelists for Metatopia in 2013 included 4 men, 3 women, and 1 non-binary transperson. Their schedule of panels was very much diversity-focused as well! And if a small convention that’s being organized by a handful of people can manage to put in the work required to have balanced gender representation, what is stopping GenCon from doing the same?

Well, it might be an unwillingness to talk about issues that would be uncomfortable for the majority of their convention attendees:

“One of the GoH sessions I proposed more than once was about tips on including more diverse characters in your games (even historical/medieval-based fantasy ones), which was turned down without comment each time. The only diversity panel was about SFF artists.” –a former GenCon GoH

Now I’ll admit that I don’t know Nicole or the other people behind the program, nor do I have any way of knowing how recently this was supposed to have taken place. But I would hope that a profit motive isn’t preventing these sort of conversations from happening publicly on the part of GenCon organizers, because there is A REAL HUNGER to see that sort of thing.

In conclusion

All right, I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll wrap this up by saying this:

We are here, women and gamers of color and queer people and non-binary people. WE ARE HERE. And we deserve to be reflected.

IT’S TIME TO STOP ERASING US.

[1] I was quite happy to see Lillian Cohen-Moore on the list. I think her project to collect the history of women in gaming is super-interesting and I’d like to see more of that sort of thing promoted!

[2] Not to mention that it’d be nice to see some NEW faces as Guests of Honor. Is Ken Hite cool? Yeah. Does he really need to be Guest of Honor again? Nope. Not really. He’s coming to GenCon no matter what, and it’s not like he needs the exposure.

About wundergeek
In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, I am an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.

22 Responses to GenCon’s GoH are “diverse as the industry itself”? NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

  1. assman says:

    [Seriously? D-.]

  2. Hoo boy, dare I jump into this issue again? I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to do it justice but I also have a lot of opinions and, perhaps, some additional perspective that would help the conversation along. I’m going to give it my best *very quick* try to throw out a couple of things that I think are important.

    First, I BEG people to take the “Our Industry Insider Guests are as diverse as the industry itself and have extensive knowledge and expertise” quote as it was intended. It is not my quote, I had nothing to do with crafting any of the messaging for the IIGoH stuff… that’s in the hands of the GenCon staff. But that quote is not about gender or racial diversity, it refers to a diversity of *games* being represented: miniatures games, board games, card games, family games, collectible games, roleplaying games, “indie” games that resist other categorization. Whoever wrote the blurb for the website was doing so in the context of their job and promoting the content of a game convention referring to the games therein. I’m positive they were neither trying to claim any other sort of “diversity” nor were they aware that the reference would be something that would make people actively angry. I’m also sure that if engaged, not just ranted at (or about) the GenCon staff would be happy to find a better way to both express their message (which is, essentially, gee look at all the different types of games you can learn more about here).

    Another matter of how this is structured that I’d like to bring up is how the people volunteering on the committee to help put together the programming from what is submitted are included in the “guest” list. GenCon is trying to express an appreciation to those professionals who are doing the work leading up to the con (and throughout, as we also volunteer to help moderate panels during the con as well), but like their expression about diversity, it ends up contributing to the impression that the same people are being chosen as guests repeatedly. I think it would help if we were listed as the advisory panel but not included in the “guest” count but I honestly don’t know how other (or future) participants on the advisory panel would feel about not getting that little bit of extra recognition. It’s not why I’m participating personally.

    I’d also like to say that slow change is still change. I was only invited to be part of the volunteer panel last year. This is my second year of trying to engage with more women and encourage them to participate. I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that this is not a “real” Guest of Honor program and I am STRONGLY advocating that the name be changed to avoid the hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and general snarkiness that erupts over the programming over the words “guest” and “honor”. The structure of this particular program (in that it pulls from willing participants already attending the con) is unlikely to change because what GenCon itself wants out of this program is a series of seminars, lectures, or panels with experienced industry professionals willing to engage with attendees on issues of interest to those attendees. That is definitely not to say that there aren’t more existing “industry insiders” who are people of color, women, or other under-represented groups who can find a place on these panels. I certainly intend to keep making my push for more inclusion, as long as I’m welcome on the advisory panel!

    I’d encourage you, or anyone else with strong feelings on the issue of diversifying GenCon to get involved. GenCon might not be sponsoring a diversity track at the moment but that doesn’t mean they’re hostile to the idea. And you don’t need GenCon management to anoint you in order to start something up on your own… just ask the gaymers who organized and have been running the Queer as a Three-Sided Die seminar for the last several years. They saw a need, they came together and they did something to meet it. I’ve been working in gaming since 1988 and going to GenCon nearly as long. When I started, it was not uncommon for me to be the only woman at a table with a dozen men at a professional meeting. It was very common for me to be mistaken for someone’s girlfriend instead of a professional in my own right. Women attending GenCon were rare enough to be noteworthy, their mere presence drawing comment. This goes double for gamers of color! That has changed drastically in my lifetime and is still changing. It’s certainly worthwhile to recognize that more can be done but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the trenches of gaming all this time is that this is one of the areas where it’s possible to go out and enact a bunch of change as individuals. The gaming industry has a very strong DIY ethic and MUCH is possible.

    Gah, I have so much more to say (SO MUCH) but I also have work that needs to be done. I’m sorry if this is disjointed or doesn’t communicate my points efficiently. It’s the best I could dash off in the time I had.

    • wundergeek says:

      Hi, Nicole!

      I appreciate you taking time to make such a detailed response! I’m going to take some time to digest this before I respond (tomorrow, most likely); I’m recovering from toddler-induced plague and want to make sure I don’t let that affect my response!

    • wundergeek says:

      Hi, Nicole

      First, I appreciate that you’re not the sole decision-maker in this situation and also that you’re making attempts to increase representation in the program. It’s also good to know that the “as diverse as the industry itself” tagline came from a different part of the organization.

      It sounds like perhaps some marketers are not as in touch with diversity issues in gaming and why diversity (or lack thereof) is a sore subject with many gamers. Unfortunately, that makes the tagline read as pretty tone-deaf, if not outright dismissive of the concerns of GenCon attendees who have been pushing for increased representation in the program.

      Language matters! And if GenCon is committed to the program in it’s current form, which it sounds like it is, then it needs to remove “Guests of Honor” from the program title entirely. “Guests of Honor” is a term that has come to mean something entirely different in the common parlance of convention speak, and the nuances of the outlines of this program are going to be lost on the average gamer. The language as it currently exists makes it appear that what GenCon is honoring is a lack of diversity, which I know doesn’t square with the actual goals of people like yourself who are working to counter that.

      So, yeah. Not calling it a GoH program would be great. Of course, I’d also love to see GenCon devote some actual resources to the GoH program and make it a real GoH program with some real diversity. Women and minorities are the fastest-growing demographic within gaming and I think it’s incredibly short-sighted of the larger GenCon organization to require the Industry Insider track to operate with so little support. That’s probably a tougher sell, though.

  3. Simon Rogers says:

    One tricky issue is demographic data. As you suggest, it’s thin on the ground. It would be truly marvelous if GenCon collected anonymous, voluntarily provided demographic information from their attendees. They would benefit from a marketing perspective. I could suggest this.

    One very simple thing someone on the advisory board could do is to go around and suggest to women and people of colour in the industry that they apply for the program. It would take a couple of hours, I imagine, so that could be a barrier.

    • wundergeek says:

      The problem with this sort of this is that, yes, getting women and minorities to apply requires active effort. Unfortunately, when a space is marked as heavily white and male as most gaming conventions are, people from minority groups often don’t apply. Not just because they don’t feel qualified, but because they’re considering their own fun. Would it be fun to go to a space where someone perceives they might feel unwelcome? Not really.

      Sadly, just saying that women can apply often isn’t enough. Active recruitment is often required to start shifting the balance in a less-than-diverse organization, because when people don’t see themselves represented they have to be told that they’re wanted in order to know they’re welcome in the first place.

  4. George Locke says:

    what is the citation for the “47% of gamers are women” figure? The only figures I can locate seem to refer only to people who play video games, which aren’t the main focus of gencon. I mean, if that’s the figure you’re using that’s fine, but you don’t say what your source is.

    • wundergeek says:

      That’s what I was referencing. Unfortunately, we just don’t have ANY data for other areas of gaming. And the problem is that the lack of visible participation by women doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, but then how do you quantify their existence?

      Frex, CCG games like Magic. I LOVE Magic but I won’t EVER attend a game store tournament. I also know lots of women who similarly love Magic and similarly wouldn’t go to a game store tournament. The same holds true with many conventions – I know women who love gaming but wouldn’t feel safe at a gaming convention. So how do you quantify the level of female participation?

      Or what about tabletop gaming? Well, shit. Then you get into indie versus trad and how you define a roleplaying game and… you know what? There are tons of women in tabletop gaming, but fuck if I know what percentage.

      So yeah, that’s a video games number. But that’s because it’s the only number that exists.

  5. Wundergeek,

    Why would you not attend Magic Tournaments? Last time I went to one I saw 30 young white men all playing together and I thought to myself that it seemed ridiculous. We definitely need more diversity in that area. I am puzzled when you say women don’t feel safe at gaming conventions. I have been to Dragon Con 5 years in a row now and I can’t remember a time when my wife felt threatened. If this is the case, the issue should be brought up to the promoters asap. The only way to get more women and minorities into gaming is if they feel safe and welcome to attend.

    In regards to the percentage of women that play video games I would put that figure lower unfortunately. When I attend video game tournaments I might see a few women out of a sea of diverse men. I think that 47% figure is factoring in women that play Angry Birds on their IPhones or something. Same goes with Role Playing night at the game store. You might see two women for every 30 males.

    I would think males would be more welcoming to female geeks. I mean…where else can you find women with similar interests? Please continue to try and get more women into gaming in general. The scene really needs it right now.

    • wundergeek says:

      Understand that I am not speaking for all women, but here is why I personally don’t go to Magic Tournaments:

      Because about 50% of the time when I enter a certain type of game store, men STOP and STARE at me like some kind of aberration. And I’m like LET ME TALK LOUDLY AND AWKWARDLY ABOUT MY MAGIC DECK TO THE CASHIER. And then I pay for my purchases and scuttle off because it’s like SSSSSSS. Seriously, that shit is NOT WELCOMING.

      Second, because of what happened to me at a game convention, as described here: https://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/1371/

      I still go to gaming conventions, because convention centers are large and open and not confining, but for someone who has a touch of claustrophobia already? The one pre-release tournament I went to crammed 30 gamers into THE BACK of a tiny game store. There was 1 other woman, who was on the other end of the room from me. And about 30% of the men there obviously had no idea what social boundaries were. Nothing happened, but it was still hella uncomfortable and not really very fun.

      And you know what? Magic is an expensive hobby. I’m not going to spend MORE money to have less fun in the name of representation. I’m a gamer because I like gaming; the social activism is just a side effect.

      Secondly, ANGRY BIRDS IS A VIDEO GAME. It is a game that you play on a screen that has objectives that are reasonably attainable and is competitive AND FUN. Saying that things like Angry Birds aren’t video games is moving the goal posts so that gaming = whatever parts women aren’t participating in. The moniker “casual” gaming is just another way that women can be dismissed as “not real gamers”, and is inaccurate to boot. (Seriously, Candy Crush players are NOT casual about Candy Crush. They’re so not.)

      That drawing the hard line and saying THIS OVER HERE IS A GAME and THAT OVER THERE IS NOT, that contributes to making unwelcoming environments for women. Does someone call what they play a game? Do they enjoy it? Then don’t crap on it. Unless it’s FarmVille, because that’s literally not a game, it’s a psychological manipulation device.

    • So here’s why I don’t go to Magic tournaments/FNMs/Events any more. (I’ve been playing MtG since 1994.)

      In my current FLGS I have been subject to abuse for: choosing my husband as my two-headed giant partner, playing with a play mat with an Angel on it (Gisela, because I have red hair, and she has red hair), building a deck around Chandra Nalaar because who plays a girl card like that, asking someone to change their deck sleeves because the image on them was pornographic (complete with nipples). In each case the store owner backed me up, which then subjected me to dudes grumbling that they had to shape up because a “chick was here.”

      In my last FLGS I was subject to: groping while in line for registration, dudes telling me how I built my deck wrong even when it pwned them because I’m a girl so I don’t know how cards work, dudes arguing I was cheating for asking a judge for a rules clarification and that I should go home if I don’t have the rules memorized, dudes talking about how they “bitchslapped” someone or how certain cards were for “pussies,” being asked to put on a sweater in July because my t-shirt was too tight (a t-shirt which, for perspective, hung straight down from my shoulders. Yes, it stuck out because I have boobs, but this was a t-shirt I’ve worn in public many times without so much as a second look). Oh, and one guy asking me to prove the maxipad in my pocket wasn’t extra cards. In front of the whole store.

      I don’t go to MtG events any more because I don’t have the energy to *fight* for my right to play cards. Not when I can play casual at home for free* (I mean, I buy cards but I don’t pay event fees) AND not take any of the grief.

      [Wundergeek: If any of my language is out of line, please let me know or edit accordingly. I know I used strong stuff in some of this.]

    • I also want to add something about gaming women, but I feel like I’m piling on, so I’m going to try to be generous.

      The same reasons I don’t go to MtG events have led me to not going to Pathfinder events at my FLGS. They’ve led to me buying my RPG books through DTRPG or from distributor sites directly. They’ve led to me going to the FLGS during the middle of the work day and praying that the guys who hang out have gone on a pizza run.

      They’re the reason I am afraid to go to cons. I do not feel comfortable going to a place where on an approved merchant’s table is the t-shirt “I like fangirls like I like my coffee. I hate coffee.” That says “you’re not welcome here.” I don’t feel comfortable going to cons where my #CarolCorps cosplay might be mistaken for a come on. I don’t feel comfortable going to cons where guys are critiquing RPG book art not because it’s unrealistic but because it doesn’t have enough boobs.

      Instead of *us* trying to get more women into gaming, we need *you* (and people like you) to get the douchecanoes out of it. Women are here. We’re just not going to make ourselves visible when visible == target.

  6. Wow! These stories are shocking and blow my mind. No wonder women never show up at these events anymore. It would seem the men that attend these events have never interacted with women before at any point in their lives. I can’t say that really surprises me with some of the neck beards I have seen. I feel like this may lead to a cycle in the sense that WotC will continue to put out cards that appeal only to males because they believe that is the only market for them to tap into. If women never attend these events, they will not realize it is demographic they should try and go after. Do you guys have any ideas on how women can attend events and still feel safe so that WotC knows they are out there?

    • I don’t want to derail too much, since this post is about GenCon and not MtG, so I’m going to wait for a clarification from Wundergeek before I post any more on the topic. I do have thoughts, but I’m not sure this is the right venue for them is all.

      (Spoiler alert though, the summary version is “top down change,” which is something I think has about as much chance of happening as an ostrich learning to fly. :-/ )

      • [High marks for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. However, minus points for weak premise, lack of originality, and meandering prose, so I give this troll a C+.]

        • George Locke says:

          I’m sure Captain Planet won’t mind if I shit in his bed, because he’s been working on fixing the sewage system in Port-au-Prince. Everyone agrees waste management in Haiti is a much bigger problem than one gamer’s soiled sheets. That’s why he doesn’t mind sleeping in shit and doesn’t care when people treat his bedroom like a toilet. I mean, sure it would be better if he didn’t have to sleep in shit, but ladies come on. Haiti is a fucking disaster zone. Do you really want to look back at your life and say “I made all reasonable efforts to keep my house clean” when you could’ve been aiding the poorest country in the world at the expense of your own comfort?

          • wundergeek says:

            Truly a masterpiece of troll deconstruction!

            I would have deleted the comment sooner, but I was avoiding the internet so that I could enjoy Mother’s Day. Apparently I made the right call.

          • George Locke says:

            Since CP apparently missed the analogy, I’ll just make the same point directly. There are women who like to game. They don’t like being mistreated and disrespected by the community. So they do consciousness raising and related activities to improve the situation.

            Few would suggest that the sexism in the gaming community is equal to the sexism in theocratic countries, but it’s BS to suggest that I shouldn’t be concerned with assholes in my back yard because there are bigger assholes two towns over. Gaming is my community, and I’m going to work to improve the situation in my community because I choose to live here.

            Simply put, pointing to disasters far away in no way excuses irritating issues that affect me where I live even if these irritations are in some meaningful sense lesser problems. Given that I care about the place that I live, there’s no sense in my shutting up about it.

  7. Pingback: Why the term “casual gaming” needs to die in a fire | Go Make Me a Sandwich

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