…Three things to think of
I’ve been off my usual browsing routine a little bit recently partly due to the awful internet at my parents’ house (they say it’s awful, I live in a city and I think it’s absolutely atrocious). This means that I haven’t been keeping up with all the blogs I follow. There’s better bandwidth late at night here so last night I decided to make the most of it and catch up with all the webcomics that I follow. Over on the Space Wolves blog they host a cartoon called Wolf and Sister, which, if you haven’t seen it yet, is well worth a read. Last night I noticed that I’d missed reading the article below the most recent comic which was about women and 40K. There seems to be quite a series of these right now, starting, I think, by one by Abuse Puppy over on 3++, which has now been responded to by Adam on the Space Wolves Blog and doubtless has been mentioned elsewhere too (the broadband speed here is too poor for much research, but feel free to add links to other articles in the comments). There are certain things in common with both articles, they are both written by men and they are equally passionate about what they think is the problem. The problem is that neither guy seems to have asked a female wargamer her opinion first.
Ok, it’s probably stretching it a bit to call me a gamer at the moment, as, although I’ve desperately wanted a game or two recently, either I haven’t had time, or I haven’t had anybody to play with, but I didn’t start this hobby just to paint little men a fetching shade of blue. I am also female, or at least I was last time I looked, so I guess I’m about as qualified as these guys to talk about women in wargaming. Of course, I bring my own bias, I’m not exactly normal, after all. I’m a physicist and I’ve never been a handbags and makeup kind of girl (in fact my shopping routine when I go to the next city is largely on the lines of bookshop, Games Workshop, English shop (I really miss crumpets) and then the train home). However, being qualified has never stopped anyone from blogging before, so here are my three things to think of regarding women and wargaming.
1) Do as you would be done by!
It’s as simple as that! Treat any gamer, not just female ones, as you yourself would like to be treated, and genuinely so, don’t kid yourself that you’d like to be flirted with by an overly aggressive stranger. Just be polite(ish), friendly and use appropriate language. We don’t bite, but neither do we want to be bitten. There are words that should not be used, but they vary from place to place and country to country, so I’ll let you be the judge of that (please note that although rape used to mean something slightly different, its meaning now is very clear, so unless you’re talking about a horrible crime, don’t use the flipping word, it’s not clever and it’s not nice. There are all sorts of swearwords that can be quite happily used instead, honest!). Also, don’t be patronising. The female brain is wired to do more than cooking and shopping and thinking that things are “cute”. Think about how you would feel if somebody tried to patronise you and stop it before you start. However, don’t worry if you do make a mistake, we all do. Just don’t do it all the time.
My local Games Workshop store is very good and makes me feel welcome every time I visit. I’ve also never had any trouble with The Overlords. It’s obvious that there are a lot of awesome gamers like them out there, so don’t be That Guy, letting the side down!
2) Let people play on their own terms
By this I don’t mean changing the rules just because your opponent is about to throw a tantrum, but about how you set about either playing a game or introducing somebody to the hobby. Whatever you do don’t try to force somebody into giving it a go, even if you think that it’s all nice and friendly. That’s not a good way to introduce somebody to anything, be it broccoli, bungee jumping or 40K. Instead be prepared to compromise. Rather than drag somebody along to a tournament or a store that they don’t want to visit, why don’t you try a different approach. You could lend them “this really interesting novel” or show them a model that you think they’d like or find comical.
3) Have fun!
At the risk of being lynched I am going to remind you that, when all’s said and done, it’s only a game. You’re not going to cure cancer by rolling dice, neither are you going to start World War 3 because your Leman Russ kills your opponent’s Leman Russ. If everyone is enjoying themselves, even if they are being tabled, or their models are wobbling so much that they might be drunk, then they are more likely to try again another day! The 40K universe is rich and grim and dark, it makes it rather special, but there’s still room for a bit of fun.
Anyway, I think that’s it for today. I don’t know if this article will have much of an impact in the overall argument, but I’ve put down what I think and maybe it’ll help somebody else think some day.