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Sexism in Table-Top Gaming: My Thoughts On It, and What We Can Do About It

Libertad

Adventurer
Sexism in Tabletop Gaming: My Thoughts On It, and What We Can Do About It



I've been thinking about this a lot, one I've seen emerge several times within the hobby, from message boards to published sourcebooks. Although not quite common, but still too common, a similar trend emerges: a poster starts up a thread about about Strength caps for women, women who know how to fight in historical settings (and even fictional ones!), DMs and players who act creepy, et cetera.

Many cases bear striking similarity; an uncomfortable attitude towards women gamers in various forms and degrees.

I believe that discussion of gender issues in RPGs is important, not only because acknowledgement of trends and portrayals in fiction are a valid form of critique, but because in recent years there is an elephant in the room: portrayal of women and incidents of sexism within the tabletop fandom. And while many gamers are decent people, there is a not-so-insignificent segment among the tabletop community which propagates an atmosphere unwelcoming to women. And is being discussed in many areas, both among fans and game designers.

Now, I don't believe that I can cover the whole issue with but a single post, but I will go over the major things:


Women Have Always Fought

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Oftentimes, especially in regards to historical RPGs, I've often heard the "women can't be fighters" said over and over. The reality is that women in many historical instances contributed to society beyond being baby-making machines. They were queens, business owners, scientists, philosophers, and even warriors. And not just the Joans of Arc and Annie Oaklies of the world. You know the mythical Amazons? The stories had more than a hint of truth: in ancient times the Sauromatians, mounted warriors, had about 20% of their military groups comprised of women. This has been observed through examination of over 40 burial mounds by archeologists.

Among the Vikings, it was legal for women to avenge the death of family members as part of a blood feud.

The Colosseum of ancient Rome had some skilled female gladiators, and Roman soldiers writing of their experiences in the war with Gaul told of women who fought just as eagerly as the men.

During the Mexican Revolution, women were a significant contribution to Emiliano Zapata's army, as writers, politicians, and soldiers and officers.

This is historical accuracy.


Rape, and Women Feeling Unwelcome

Make no mistake, tabletop gaming is primarily a male-dominated hobby. But there are many women gamers out there, from Vampire to Shadowrun. Most gamers are nice, decent people, but you know what they say about the squeakiest wheel getting the grease.


Examples of problematic behavior:


[1]CthulhuTech had not one, but 3 adventures dealing with graphic, onscreen rape, which the PCs cannot avert.
[2]Exalted 2nd Edition, Vampire the Masquerade, and even Call of Cthulhu included rape scenes (and even an illustrated picture!) in fiction or setting detail.
[3]James Desborough published several blatantly sexist RPG books laughing at women instead of with them. He excessively talked about rape, both as jokes and its inclusion in games. He even went so far as to write an essay entitled "In Defense of Rape" to attract controversy by making his point in the worst way possible.
[4]Maid the RPG's earlier printings did not omit incidents of pedophilia played for laughs as the result of poor editing.
[5]A booth in 2013 Gen Con was selling t-shirts and slogans making light of sexual harassment and date rape in easy view, and in violations of Gen Con's own rules. The material was reported by several people, but the booth continued selling the merchandise, even though staff said that they'd ask the merchandise to be removed.

Rape is a minefield in the realm of fiction. The problem is not the inclusion of rape itself so much as how it's handled. Tabletop gaming sessions are very risky, as a lot of people connect with their created characters, and the environment can get personal ("you attack the orc," "you find a hidden gem," you, you, you).

Rape is a common threat for many girls and women, in some areas as many as 1 in 4 women will suffer a sexual assault in their lifetime. Even worse, many societies worldwide (including the Western world) do not treat it with the severity it deserves, blaming women for their style of dress, asking why she didn't fight back harder, or even covering it up in the case of religious orders! And men have it bad, too: female teachers who rape male students are viewed as sex symbols and the boys as "lucky," while male prisoners who get raped are laughed about or said to "deserve it for being a criminal."

Rape is a major issue that our culture has not come around to fully recognizing as a horrible act (only if its a violent, stranger rape), and many people can suffer post-traumatic flashbacks when it's handled poorly in media, and feel isolated if they see people treat its portrayal as no different than any other sex act.

Which brings me to a common fallacy I hear, notably one of the CthulhuTech developers: "Why do we treat sexual violence even worse than non-sexual violence? Such a repressed culture!" Well no, rape is often worse than most forms of violence. It's something which cannot be brushed off so easily as something like killing a bandit in self-defense, or as justifiable as other forms of murder. Dismissing the feelings of those who get upset about it as "being unable to handle mature games," "repressed prudes," et cetera, sends a message (even unintentionally) that women gamers should stop complaining about a very common and very personal fear. Jim Sterling, a video game critic, discusses the issue far better than I ever can.

Problematic Does Not Equal
Irredeemable

Just because a game element is sexist, insensitive, ethnically problematic, et cetera does not automatically mean that you as a fan condone it. The thing about tabletop RPGs is that there are many games and many books written by different authors. And its decades-long history has progressed along with society. When Gygax and friends started playing the first D&D sessions, 2nd wave feminism was still progressing. In the 90s White Wolf was doing its best to be inclusive of all races and cultures in their games, but lack of research and exposure to said cultures resulted in flat stereotypes.

I love Dungeons & Dragons. I love Vampire. I love Shadowrun, Deadlands, and even Call of Cthulhu. But they all have content which if examined closely, is very troubling. Magical Native Americans in Werewolf, Neo-Confederate apologia in Deadlands, and even a creation myth for the Drow in Complete Book of Elves which is no different than the real-world Curse of Ham (evil people are marked by their dark skin).

These examples are problematic, but in many cases they might not be dominant in the campaign and can be ignored. Or changed and altered with little consequence. If I ever ran a 1st Edition AD&D game, I'd remove the Strength cap limit for women. Unless the RPG is saturated with problematic content (FATAL), it can be saved.

On a related note, quite a few of these things are buried deep in setting lore, not always caught upon on casual reading. Players of D&D were attracted by a world of fantasy and magic; I got into Deadlands because the idea of playing monster hunters and mad scientists in the Wild West sounded awesome. The other stuff was found later.

An important thing to keep in mind is that writers make mistakes. White Wolf screwed up with World of Darkness: Gypsies, but they since apologized and the original writers don't work anymore. I have no problem continuing buying from them. Gary Gygax later on said that the female strength cap was a mistake to include. Ewen Cluney forgot to excise problematic content from Maid RPG, but when it was brought to his attention he listened to the critics and removed it. Since then I haven't noticed any creepy sex stuff in his works. And I'm sure that in my years of writing stuff and homebrew, I probably erred somewhere.

Barring the irredeemable (FATAL), game designers aren't going to be forced out of the industry or lose their buyers if they make some honest mistakes. What's more important is how they react to criticism. A writer who doubles down on his stereotypical "noble savage" African nation while ranting about the PC Police is digging himself into a deeper hole.

Is World of Darkness: Gypsies racist? Yes. Is it sexist to impose an artificial limitation on female PCs in D&D? Yes.

But that doesn't make all WoD and D&D players racist and sexist. We can acknowledge problematic content, change it, and discard it. We all make mistakes, but we can try to make fewer of them, and hopefully stop hurting other's enjoyment by reinforcing systemic stereotypes and the imposition arbitrary limits on common fantasy archetypes. Xena, Warrior Princess, should totally be a valid D&D concept, and women and members of real-world ethnic groups do not need to be reminded in their gaming sessions of what bigots think about them if it makes them uncomfortable.[/SPOILER]

Particularly in regards to "realism." It's almost never about realism. An 18 in any ability score represents an individual who is highly gifted, the cream of the crop. Even in real life, there are many incidents of women performing acts of incredible strength when under stress, such as lifting a car off to save someone's life.

And it's not just one incident.

By 3rd Edition RAW, a heavy load for 18 Strength is 201-300 lbs. With this score, you lift 300 lbs. over your head, and push and drag 1,500 lbs. For world records of women weightlifters, all of them lifted at least 180 kilograms (396 lbs) with a snatch clean and jerk technique.

Quoting Awaken_DM Golem on another board in regards to 1st Edition:

1E used a nearly linear STR scale of 10*# = weight you can lift over your head.
So an 18 STR can lift 180 pounds over his(her!) head.
And who did the ancient Greeks call Amazons anyway.
I go google just a little.

2013 Junior Pan Am (hey tough guy it's "Juniors")
Ellen Kercher put 68kg on the more difficult lift, and 81kg on the 2 step move.
81kg * 2.2convert = 178.2 pounds
Now her performing class weight is available to google too, but hey look at her
... she's tiny, like smaller than that tough guy DM.

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And who said that 18 Str women are unrealistic?

I'll say it again, because it bears repeating: DMs who create this rule usually stop there. It requires little effort to make a blanket statement about "all women in my game are..." but it takes a lot of effort to make a plausible economic system or a health/damage track just like real-world wounds. It takes commonly-held assumptions about women and enshrines it in unbendable game stats. It never takes in the other side of the equation, like giving a Constitution cap for men for stereotypes of lower pain thresholds ("you'd never be able to handle childbirth!") and shorter life spans. This is due to the perception of male as the norm, which extends beyond games and into our culture: women characters in the media comprise around 5-20% of show casts, but are 50% of the world's population.


"It's just a game! How's it different than game mechanics for different fantasy races?"

It's different in the sense that elves, orcs, and dragons do not exist. Women exist, and comprise a significant portion of our population. We can afford some liberties with fantasy creatures because they're wholly fictional: if dwarves are strong due to divine blessings of Moradin, we can accept that as part of the setting.

When one crosses into reality is when things get problematic. When you deal with real people, inaccuracies are less tolerable. Particularly when we reinforce stereotypes.

We also play games to escape from the real world, where we can bust in the face of the evil lich with a spiked gauntlet as the conclusion to a satisfying adventure, where we can be real Heroes capable of feats impossible in our world. Wizards traveling the planes for hidden knowledge, Dragonriders leaping off their mount to soar through the air onto an enemy wyrm, and monks who can dance on the head of a needle are but a few things not only possible in D&D, but encouraged.

It's not escapism when a women who, after dealing with some sexist customers at her retail job, visits the FLGS at game night and is blatantly told by the DM that her Lady in Shining Armor character concept is invalid. Particularly after rolling that 18, a 9.34% chance with a 4d6 drop the lowest roll six times! You'd feel cheated, too, if the DM discarded your amazing success!

A women clad in full plate, pulling a dragon by the tail for a closer kill, or absorbing the blow of an ogre with her mighty shield might sound implausible to many, but it sure is cool and empowering, the kind of things PCs should be able to do.

Not gaming specific but relevant, Feminist insults

"Feminism is ruining gaming!" and "I don't mind feminists, it's the radical feminists I can't stand." When radical is not used in the proper terminology.

It's a common thing I see on the Internet, a regrettable one at that. There are feminists out there who are very rude and lack tact, but that doesn't make their ideological viewpoints extreme. The feminists I've read in gaming-related threads, and on several online blogs and prominent websites here actually have viewpoints in line with mainstream 3rd Wave Feminism and do not fit the typical man-hating stereotype.

Implying that hostility from feminists is "radical or hyper" implies that this is feminism's logical conclusion, that the jerks are the "most feminist" and that to be polite is to be politically moderate.

Going to radical feminism, its terminology is contradictory. Among feminists themselves, it used to mean feminist with anti-capitalist leanings, or feminists who focus on the hypothesis of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the assertion that male supremacy oppresses women. Nowadays, the term is mostly adopted by anti-transgender hate groups, much to the chagrin of what few pro-transgender radical feminists still remain.

Outside feminism, it's most often used as an insult to refer to feminists who get worked up and angry about gender issues, regardless of their actual viewpoints. Also as a snarl word to imply that most feminists hate men.

Feminist groups overall do a lot of good work. They support battered women's shelters, rape crisis centers, LGBT rights, access to birth control and abortion for women and girls, among many other things. The portrayal of them all as man-haters, and who shame fellow women for wearing make-up and dresses is inaccurate and harmful. While such types do exist, it really depends on what part of the Internet you hang out on. There are feminists who don't want the help of men, but there are many more who are all too happy to let male allies join their cause (including bell hooks, radical feminist in the anti-capitalist sense). There are feminists who put on make-up and dresses, such as Wendy Davis. When feminists criticize and challenge traditional and conventional gender norms, they mostly do it in the sense of systems which coerce and shame women into adopting restrictive roles.


So, What Can We Do About It?

As this is more than just a series of isolated incidents, you might feel worried that the problem feels too big to fight. Do not despair; as far as systemic issues go, the tabletop community is not as large, or as pervasive, as sexism within the the video game industry and larger nerd communities. In part due to smaller size, in part due to the relatively easy ability for indie tabletop games to break into things, and in part due to the popularity of LARPs and White Wolf games which (anecdotal evidence) attract a significant portion of women gamers. If anything, their non-negligible number should give many all the more reason to confront the issue.


Confronting problematic behavior at the table



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Gamers who are good friends know each other's comfort zones. They know their hobbies, what sets them off, and what they most enjoy in their games. People who are a nightmare to game with tend not to keep players for long. Confronting sexist and alienating actions in this instance is best done the way friends handle things: namely that certain things make you uncomfortable, and that you'd appreciate it if they were mindful of this. The comfort zones of players are very important to a conductive session. Communicating your feelings on the matter, and why they make you uncomfortable, is very important.

Gaming with strangers is an entirely different matter. I really don't do this, so I can't give any advice or tips on it at the time.

But whether with close groups or with strangers at the table, you should stick up for yourself when facing bad behavior which is making gamers feel unwelcome: you shouldn't let other players and DMs be horrible to you or your friends.


Confronting problematic behavior among game designers

I have less trouble with naming names when it comes to books and designers because they're the "face" of tabletop gaming and the closest thing we have to public figures in the industry. Giving examples in books and fiction only helps, not hurt, the cause of exactly what needs to be fixed.

Now, an important thing to keep in mind is the difference between one-time incidents and pervasive themes, both among the work itself and a line of products. The 3rd Edition Eberron Campaign Setting never made mention of sexual violence apart from a small part paragraph of a bandit gang in the Mournlands. Not even about the issue of half-orcs, as orcs and humans have far better relations in the setting and live among each other relatively peacefully in the Shadow Marches (where most orcs and half-orcs live). Monte Cook's Numenera is a very good book, and the Nibovian Wife monster (who only lives to be impregnated, and gives birth to a demon baby driven by the need to kill its father) is the only real sexually problematic thing in it from what I've heard.

CthulhuTech, on the other hand, is dripping with squicky content, which only become more prevalent as the series went on. 3 adventures with unavoidable rape (2 of which are performed upon the PCs); most people lose their virginity by age 12 "due to liberal and open-minded sexual mores;" and a chair-like device built by the Nazis which sexually violates people. And the authors themselves are incapable of handling criticism and see no difference between portrayal of sexual violence and sex in general ("Europeans wouldn't be complaining about this! They have topless women in commercials!"). No surprise, then, that the very people who go out of their way to defend these aspects of the setting are folks who think that gamers who can't handle rape are just "immature," and like putting that kind of stuff in their gaming sessions to make players uncomfortable.

CthulhuTech is far more worthy of scorn, both for its content and the author's handling of criticism, than the former two. The setting, and authorial statements on the matter, helped to generate a certain sort of fanbase over time, driving off a lot of people put off by the themes.

Treating problematic content differently is not hypocritical if it's based off of frequency, the magnitude of individual situations, and how sensitively the authors handle the matter. Not everything is equally worthy of the same kind of scorn, in that there is hope for some lines and not others.


Message Boards

The anonymity of the Internet is an entirely different beast. It can make the fringe seem mainstream, turn 50 voices into 5,000, and embolden bigots and misanthropes to say things they'd never do to another's face.

It's advisable and healthy to dismiss individual trolls. Especially when they're new posters on a message board just looking for trouble. But it's another thing entirely when you discover that a significant amount of fellow posters (or a respected few) sound off on sexist statements in an all-too-sincere manner. In this case it's not an obvious troll, but fellow forumites. And if it becomes more than a one-time thing and transforms into a repetitive theme, it contributes to an exclusionary environment.

Individual Incidents vs. Popular Views: This goes without saying, but just one guy made a sexist post doesn't make it the majority view. And a guy who said something 6 or more years ago, but has changed or doesn't say that kind of stuff anymore, should be treated differently than if he continues saying it (barring truly vile comments, like advocating rape/genocide/etc).

A good indicator of the tolerance of such statements is to check the site rules, and moderator action towards such statements. If you feel that the rules aren't being enforced, or that behavior is going unnoticed, report said posts and explain the matter. If the mods themselves don't care, you're not going to get as much progress. Most websites have rules against sexist statements, although it mostly covers genuine hate speech as opposed to 'old-fashioned' yet sexist comments ("call me old-fashioned, but I don't think that women should enlist in the military").


Show Support

It's not enough to call out bad behavior. Acknowledge when designers, artists, and figures in the fandom take positive steps. Not only does this show that you're not just fishing for outrage, but gives clues for people on what they can do right. Advertise RPGs which do things right, and if you can afford it and willing to play, buy some of the products in the line.

On that note, I'll practice what I preach and list some RPG I think have done well (or are at least making an effort to take these things into consideration).

The One Ring RPG have non-stripperific armor as the default design for women warriors in their artwork. This is progressive because many other RPGs (both tabletop and video games) design women's armor to be titillating.

The designers of Pathfinder RPG are making attempts to be racially and LGBT inclusive. And possibly one of the first RPG systems to have a transgender iconic (I don't know which one, though). Unfortunately it has stumbled in some regards (stereotypical gypsies and Darkest Africa pulps), but the designers took criticism into account and considered it valid.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition was the first Edition to alternate between masculine and feminine pronouns. Half of the PC class iconics were women (Druid, Monk, Paladin, Rogue, and Wizard). The Monk and Wizard outfits definitely veered towards the 'showing a lot of skin' end, but the other 3's adventuring garb are more sensible.

Legend is a 3rd Edition retroclone by Rule of Cool Games. It too alternates between male/female pronouns, and 3 of its iconics (Barbarian, Paladin, and Rogue) look cool without being cheesecake.


In conclusion, gender issues matter a lot, and not just for women gamers. Our community, both message boards and the wider tabletop fandom as a whole, is a great one. Our gaming sessions, RPG settings, homebrews, fanfiction, and Cons created countless decades of fun, camaraderie, and hundreds of thousands of new friendships. But just like every other community, it is not perfect, and it has problems which make our fellow gamers feel unwelcome and marginalized. Addressing these issues and confronting problematic behavior helps lift us up as a whole, and encourages newcomers into our hobby and keeps the existing ones who might otherwise leave from the negativity.

Let's ensure that our female friends and gamers feel a welcome part of the community!
 
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Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
I find the Varisians to be far more than stereotypical "gypsies." :cool:

I do not like feminists all that much, maybe because I've only ever ran into extreme ones. The type that makes derogatory remarks about men, blames them for about everything under the sky and doesn't even notice the reversed sexism. And those who noticed thought they were entitled to it. I wish the word in itself would just vanish. Who needs to be a feminist? We just need to be "humanists."

I'm shocked by the gen con story. Would be a reason for me not to go there. At German events, at least stuff I have reported in the past (not too many things and mostly Nazi related) were usually gone within the day, including a case where so many people complained that the vendor was kicked out. Of course, Nazi stuff is illegal over here to begin with. But I'm very sure that those underwear catastrophes would have been gone quickly, too. Next time, gals and guys, demonstrate. It's what would likely happen here. Block that boot so no one can get there and shout at them to leave. If the organizers do not act, you need to take matters into your own hand.

I believe if there was a poll among "the mundanes" about what sexual violence was, the answers would vary widely between the genders, and maybe even more so among gamers. Because, hey, it's all just a game, see?
 

Libertad

Adventurer
I find the Varisians to be far more than stereotypical "gypsies." :cool:

1.) I do not like feminists all that much, maybe because I've only ever ran into extreme ones. The type that makes derogatory remarks about men, blames them for about everything under the sky and doesn't even notice the reversed sexism. And those who noticed thought they were entitled to it. I wish the word in itself would just vanish. Who needs to be a feminist? We just need to be "humanists."

2.) I'm shocked by the gen con story. Would be a reason for me not to go there. At German events, at least stuff I have reported in the past (not too many things and mostly Nazi related) were usually gone within the day, including a case where so many people complained that the vendor was kicked out. Of course, Nazi stuff is illegal over here to begin with. But I'm very sure that those underwear catastrophes would have been gone quickly, too. Next time, gals and guys, demonstrate. It's what would likely happen here. Block that boot so no one can get there and shout at them to leave. If the organizers do not act, you need to take matters into your own hand.

3.) I believe if there was a poll among "the mundanes" about what sexual violence was, the answers would vary widely between the genders, and maybe even more so among gamers. Because, hey, it's all just a game, see?

1.) A lot of the ones you described are either trolls spoiling for a fight, 14-18 year olds on social networking sites who don't know what they're talking about, and fringe people on the Internet. Andrea Dworkin is a perfect example of what you described, and isn't very well-respected in feminist circles. More respectable feminist organizations are doing a lot of real-world work and don't blame men in general, just the ones who are perpetuating inequality.

Also, feminism is not incompatible with humanism or human rights. And it's still necessary in a world where there's still an unequal pay gap, tolerance of sexual harassment, and where societal double standards judge women more harshly for promiscuity and where physical attractiveness is continually held up as the primary means of self-worth for them.

2.) Physical interference will definitely cause a scene, but it's most likely to get you ejected and/or arrested. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're willing to risk it. There's also the problem that unless you have something like photographic proof, the booth vendors can turn things around and make you look like the bad guy. Skarka made the right choice in posting the photos online to a wider audience. It's very effective in terms of bringing this kind of stuff to light.

3.) That's part of the problem. Many people in the US sadly think that taking advantage of a drunk women who can't even complete sentences doesn't count as rape. And many rapists are aware of this, knowing that when a rape victim does go to the police it's likely her story will be blown off.

As for sexual violence in games, it's not a just game because sexual assault is a depressingly common problem for women. When a player loudly announces that his PC's going to rape a fellow PC to the laughter of other male players, or when a rape victim is told that she should "get over it" in regards to fictional examples, it creates and reinforces an unwelcome and hostile atmosphere. There's also the fact that many rape victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and just throwing it into a gaming session accomplishes nothing good but flashbacks. Many gamers don't want to be reminded of horrible ordeals in life, especially when gaming, and a lot of times rape in fiction is handled poorly and without forethought.
 
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Fetfreak

First Post
We never had those problems or occurrences at our table. Half of our group are girls and never anyone tried to rape them in-game. That is just wrong. There is a ton of different ways to hurt someone's character, a GM doesn't have to go with rape. I must admit I have taken advantage of a drunk male character. The party got drunk after a quest and the hunk in the group was "seduced" by a female half-orc. Other than that, we never had any sexism at the table. Limiting the female character stats is just silly.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Except that the feminists I'm referring to I mostly met in RL. And they were usually my age or even older.

I'm definitely glad I'm in Germany because if people gather to protest at a fair something will usually happen to get rid of the cause, not those protesting. Unless the people protesting have nothing to do with the usual fair-goers and have only come to protest.

Taking advantage of drugged people is a problem hard to tackle. I remember one case among my then-friends where the girl claimed rape and the young man was claiming she was setting him up because he (equally drunk) was absolutely sure it was all normal sex, and one case where the not drunk boy read the girl's signals totally wrong.

In games, this situation sometimes comes up in the standard tavern setting. I don't remember details but the elf tried to get the human barmaid drunk enough to get her to his room in one of my games a while ago. The paladin of the group stopped him ingame, and the elf claimed that this was were half-elves came from. This was all totally in character, however I had the clear impression that one player wasn't happy about it. When asked after the game he claimed it was fine, though, probably not wanting to be seen as a wuss or something. I solved the constant skirt chasing of the elf by making the country they were in very strict regarding sexual conduct but it continued to be an issue here and there.

"My char would totally do that" - how often do we hear this when relating to sexually inappropriate behavior? I now usually ask for a description of the char's behavior tendencies beforehand to disallow chars which overly play on their sexuality, but sometimes it just happens during char development.

If anyone ever would get with the "get over it" routine in regards to any sort of violence they'd likely be gone from my table. But then I am really trying to keep violence low as much as possible, big battle scenes excluded.

One of my campaigns needed to stay away from mentioning children in trouble btw, because one player had been abused as a kid. Best thing really is to know your players well, and with strangers at convention games and such I think it is best to play adventures where such situations do not arise - or make it very clear in the game description what the storyline is.
 

MrHemlocks

Banned
Banned
Not another leftist thread!!! Now watch and see if those that oppose the OP views are not labeled as Nazis and racist! ...................................................................Originally posted at David Horowitz’s Newsreal: American women have some of the best lives in the world. We can literally do whatever we want. American women can go to school where we want, we can go to college, we can work wherever we want, we can marry whoever we want, and we can choose to lead whatever kind of life we want to lead. Millions of women in oppressed countries around the world cannot even imagine the freedom that American women so enjoy — and take for granted. We’ve come a long way in less than one hundred short years, but a lot of women can’t see that.
We’re constantly told that we’re victims of an invisible patriarchy, that we’re slaves to our hormones, that without abortion on demand we can’t fully be women, that we don’t need a man but we need the government. The people that tell women these lies are the same people who pretend to be fighting for us, who have hijacked feminism: the fascist feminists. Whereas once feminists fought for equality, today the femisogynists fight for things like taxpayer funded abortion and universal health care. They fight for women to be able to sleep around like men and ignore the consequences. And most of the time, women don’t even know they’re being manipulated and lied to. Thankfully, once the lies are exposed, it’s easy to see the con.
Here are eight ways that fascist feminists are ruining America’s women.
8. Encouraging Promiscuity
Once upon a time, men had to earn sex with a woman. He would have to take her on a series of dates. He would have to enter into a relationship with her to prove his commitment to her. He would have to invest time, money, and emotions into their relationship. The woman held all of the power. Now, men don’t even have to take women onto dates. Often, dating happens after a couple has started sleeping together regularly. Men barely have to put any effort into it anymore, women just give it up hours after meeting random guys at a bar or a party.
This, according to the femisogynists, is called being “empowered”. It’s being in charge of your sexuality. As far as they’re concerned, all that you need to do is get yourself some birth control and you’re A-OK. Emotional consequences? STDs? No problem! As long as you don’t get pregnant, sleeping around is just fine, even if you’re still in high school.
The problem? Most women don’t feel this way, and especially not young girls. Two-thirds of teenage girls who have sex in high school go on to regret it. Teenagers who have sex are much more likely to be depressed or suicidal. 1/4 of sexually active teens have an STD. A whopping 8,000 teens get an STD daily. And, even when you use contraception, pregnancy is still a possibility. Teenage mothers have higher likelihoods of poverty and dependence on welfare. But do the fascist feminists care about any of this? Nope! It’s sexual freedom, baby. Who cares about the consequences? If it feels good, just do it. The problem is that sex has become so devalued that celibacy has actually become trendy. Women are realizing that sleeping around all the time with tons of different men does not bring you strength or empowerment or freedom or love. But femisogynists don’t want women to know that.
Feministing founder Jessica Valenti wrote an entire book about it called The Purity Myth. Expecting women to be abstinent is ridiculous, virginity is weird, and fathers wanting their daughters not to have sex is creepy. But casual one-night stands? Hook-ups? SO awesome! Just use a condom, because they’re totally foolproof. Abstain? Hold out? So for our grandparents’ generation and un-empowered, frigid, prude chicks.
7. Sanctioning Victimhood
If a woman loses to a man in an election, it’s because she’s a girl. If a woman doesn’t get a promotion, it’s the patriarchy trying to keep her down. If a man winks at a woman on the street, he’s just trying to keep her in her place. If a woman gets accidentally pregnant, her life is forever ruined and her only option is to get an abortion.
These are some of the attitudes you’ll find in the fascist feminist set.
Rather than encouraging women to take control of their own lives and be truly empowered, the femisogynists are forever trying to make sure that women always wallow in victimhood. Everything is sexist, everything, from jeans to office dress codes to the obvious fact that men like to look at boobs. They complain that there aren’t equal numbers of men and women committing suicide. Even having babies is considered sexist (but more on that later). Radical feminists see sexism everywhere, and the patriarchy is always trying to keep women down. But how does this do women any favors?
The reality is that sexism is not everywhere, and women cannot be truly empowered if they see themselves as consummate victims. The reality is that the victim act is really just an excuse for fascist feminists to be greedy little whiners who get special treatment.
6. Dabbling In Misandry
Feminism has gotten a nasty reputation. Radical feminists are to blame for this of course, and they whine about it incessantly. Ask anyone what they think of when they hear the word “feminism”, and they’ll almost always think of “man-haters”. And there’s a good reason for it, too. When radical feminists hijacked feminism, a great many of the people involved in the radical feminist movement do indeed hate men.
A large part of the man-hating movement from the fascist feminists involves domestic violence and rape, which are, of course, horrible. The vast majority of men do not beat or rape their wives or daughters and find men that do despicable. But fascist feminists paint all men with a broad brush, so that even men who don’t engage in domestic violence or rape are still somehow responsible for it. And if they aren’t angry, violent oppressors, then they are useless, worthless creatures who are inferior to women. You will find some of the most awful vitriol aimed at men in the fascist feminist movement. The depths of the anger that these women possess is disturbing. Maybe they didn’t have a father growing up, maybe they had a boyfriend who did beat them, but for whatever reason, many of the fascist feminists truly hate men. The only men they approve of are feminized-beta male-Michael Cera-types, who I guess pose no threat to them because they’ll roll over and do anything a woman wants them to do.
It’s sad and ridiculous that femisogynists spend so much time accusing American men of oppressing women, and then completely ignore the actual oppression women face in the Middle East. The radical feminists are almost completely silent about that. They’ll throw it a bone every now and again, but by and large, they ignore it. Women in the Middle East are raped and have no way of getting justice for it; they are sold into slavery through forced marriages when they are still children. Oftentimes they cannot get an education or work among men. They cannot wear what they want, practice whatever faith they want, or make their own decisions. And this is all because of actual sexist men. But radical feminists ignore them and set their sights on American men, some of the most enlightened men on the planet.
Ask any American man who has a daughter, a sister, or a wife what he wants for American women, and most of them will say that they want girls to be able to get an education and be whatever they want to be. In this last presidential election, Hillary Clinton came extremely close to winning the Democratic nomination for president — that alone shows how far we have come. But fascist feminists ignore that, because they have an anti-male agenda to push.
5. Destroying Chivalry
One of the easiest ways a man can show respect towards a woman is through chivalrous actions. Opening a door, pulling out a chair, giving up a seat for a lady… actions like these all show deference and respect for a woman. Being willing to protect a woman and put yourself at risk for her shows her value and worth. But for some reason, chivalry has come under attack. Men don’t practice chivalry anymore, to the disappointment of women everywhere.
Why not? Well, according to a poll taken of college men, it’s because of radical feminism. Chivalry has been dubbed sexist. There’s an attitude from women that they don’t need a man. Women act as if chivalrous actions are somehow disrespectful. So why should men continue to be chivalrous? Many, many women are completely unappreciative when men treat them like a lady. And, according to the femisogynists, things like holding doors open for women are totally sexist. Fascist feminists see chivalry as dated, sexist, and demeaning. It doesn’t matter that most women yearn for it deep down. They miss romance, they miss dating, and they miss being treated with respect and honor. How many times do women cry on the phone to their friends that they can’t find a man who treats them well? Killing chivalry has a lot to do with that. Women have been manipulated and conditioned to see chivalry as something antiquated and disrespectful, so they spurn it when they see it. They still crave it though. They’re wanting something better.
Chivalry gives a woman power, the very thing that femisogynists claim to be after. If a man is going out of his way to be chivalrous towards a women, it’s because he respects her, it’s because he sees value in her, and it’s because he wants to show that he is worthy of her. Chivalry is actually empowering to women, it elevates them, but it’s missing in our relationships today because fascist feminists destroyed it. It says a lot more about the worldview of the radical feminists than it does about the merits of chivalry.
4. Attacking Motherhood
What would women say their most important role is as a woman? Could it be high-powered careerwoman? Sexually liberated minx? Pro-abortion activist? Maybe these are the most important roles a radical feminist could play, but for most normal women, their most important role is that of mother.
Think about it. Motherhood is biologically hardwired into us. Most women feel called to have children, and feel that there is nothing more beautiful or precious than a child. It’s why so many women are devastated when they miscarry or can’t have children. It’s also why so many women are destroyed after an abortion — they realize that they’ve just killed their baby.
Fascist feminists, though, want to free women of their motherhood chains. Having babies is sexist and breastfeeding is creepy. Nuclear families are dangerous, and motherhood destroys your life. It’s their own agenda that is being pushed, not what women actually want or need.
3. Requiring A Feminist Litmus Test
Nothing angers leftist feminists more than combining the words “feminism” and “Sarah Palin” in a sentence. When Sarah Palin defined herself as a feminist, Jessica Valenti and the feminist left lost their minds. That’s because to the fascist feminists, only certain women count as “real” feminists. Amanda Marcotte even helpfully defined the specific issues that women are supposed to care about. Only women who cater to the liberal extremist agenda can be called feminists to women like Jessica Valenti and Amanda Marcotte.
Consider Sarah Palin, a feminist if there ever was one. She’s an empowered, self-made woman with a high-powered, successful career. She also has five beautiful children, and a loving, supportive husband. She’s even admitted to struggling with the thought of having an abortion, but chose instead to give birth to her son Trig. But because she is a conservative, and because she is pro-life, she is shunned by the fascist feminist set.
The truth is, they’re likely intimidated by strong conservative women. Conservative women don’t live in a world of constant victimhood. They don’t define themselves by their gender. And when conservative women like Sarah Palin and Nikki Haley endure disgusting misogynist attacks, they don’t wail about the patriarchy keeping them down. And conservative women actually represent feminism and the average American woman, whereas femisogynists represent only themselves and their own pro-abortion, sexist, anti-male, victimized agenda. When faced with true empowerment, fascist feminists can only try to tear the empowered women down.
2. Promoting Lies and Manipulation
The lengths femisogynists will go to in order to keep abortion legal and commonplace are shocking and despicable. The abortion lobby, and Planned Parenthood in particular, profits off of the lies and manipulation of women. Live Action has exposed the dishonesty in their Rosa Acuna Project, which shows how far clinics will go in order to convince a woman to get an abortion. They’ll tell women that there isn’t a baby inside their womb, they’ll lie about the heart beating, or how developed the baby is. Clinics routinely give out medically false information to women, and radical pro-abortion feminists never say a word about lying to women in order to sell an abortion.
But if you really want to anger the fascist feminists, bring up mandatory pre-abortion ultrasounds, which they call emotionally torturous. One mother interviewed by the New York Times about seeing an ultrasound before her abortion said that women “almost have to think of it as an alien” in order to keep the images from haunting them. Of course the images haunt women — it’s an image of their unborn child that they’re about to kill! Seeing that image will convince many women not to have the abortion. And this is why the pro-abortion feminists are so vehemently against making women see an ultrasound first. They claim to be pro-choice, but how can anyone be pro-choice if they can’t make an informed choice?
The femisogynists don’t want women making their own choice when it comes to abortion. They want women with unplanned pregnancies to choose abortion, always, and never to keep their babies. So they excuse the lies, cover up the manipulation, and fight an ultrasound which would force abortion providers to be truthful about the baby they’re about to kill. If women are going to have abortions, then abortion providers and the pro-abortion feminists owe it to those women to at least give them medically accurate information.
1. Glorifying Abortion
There is perhaps nothing more anti-woman than abortion. But the pro-abortion radical feminists have flipped that onto its head, claiming that to be against abortion is to be anti-woman. And this may be the number one way that fascist feminists are destroying women.
Right now, 22% of all pregnancies will end in abortion. But how does abortion hurt women?
Well, first there are the physical risks. Abortion triples the risk of breast cancer, and abortions also increase the risk of future miscarriages. Emotionally, there are also some horrific consequences. Women who abort are much more likely to commit suicide, with a suicide rate three times higher than the general suicide rate. Women who have an abortion are at a higher risk for long-term clinical depression. There is also a link between abortion and substance abuse, and it can even have an effect on the children who were not aborted (called Survivor Syndrome). There’s also been a connection found between abortion and subsequent child abuse.
But all of this is denied by the fascist feminists. Abortion is important, because an accidental pregnancy will ruin your life! It’s horrifying how much the radical feminists actively try to convince women to have an abortion, that it’s no big deal, that you won’t feel guilt, sorrow, and regret for the rest of your life. The facts are clearly against them, which is why they try so hard to cover those facts up.
The truth is that abortion is not just some normal little medical procedure; it’s a tragedy. Most women intuitively know that; it’s why so many women struggle so much after aborting their children, especially when they realize they’ve been lied to or manipulated into doing it. That is anti-life, and it is anti-woman. It’s a tragedy, for the life that was lost and for the women who have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
The radical pro-abortion crowd fights for abortion “rights” because they have an agenda to push. They don’t care about how harmful it is, and how it can absolutely destroy a woman. hist_women.jpg
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Not another leftist thread!!! Now watch and see if those that oppose the OP views are not labeled as Nazis and racist!

Remember which website you're on, please. That comment was entirely inappropriate. And please do not try to turn this thread into a political discussion; politics are not permitted on EN World. The topic is a suggestion to treat women in gaming with respect, a subject which you may politely discuss if you wish; if the suggestion of such compels you to copy and paste unrelated misogynistic political rants, I suggest you avoid such threads entirely. I believe I've had to say this to you before.
 
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Crothian

First Post
This is one of those internet problems to me that I've never seen at the gaming table. I'm sure it exists and I'm sure there are problems at conventions but it is hard to fix a problem that I never see. The important thing is if you are at a game and it gets uncomfortable to speak out. It doesn't have to be just sexism either, the violence of some players can bother people, the tone of the game can bother people, there are many reasons.

One of the biggest problems though is the internet. There are plenty of people being offensive here because they can with zero consequences. I don't think you can fix that in a way that would not cause a lot of other issues.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
1.) A lot of the ones you described are either trolls spoiling for a fight, 14-18 year olds on social networking sites who don't know what they're talking about, and fringe people on the Internet.

This hits on something very important in such discussions.

Dismissing folks for some perceived personal flaw is ad hominem. You know: logical fallacy, rhetorical weak sauce, and all that. You can't just go lump "a lot of" people together and shuffle their opinions off into a corner as a class. Either they have a point, or they don't, but you need to actually counter their points, rather than dismiss many (really, effectively all) folks who have the same opinion or behavior because in your personal estimation they all come from a common, invalid source.

If they're wrong, you can demonstrate that without the stereotyping.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I'm shocked by the gen con story. Would be a reason for me not to go there. At German events, at least stuff I have reported in the past (not too many things and mostly Nazi related) were usually gone within the day, including a case where so many people complained that the vendor was kicked out. Of course, Nazi stuff is illegal over here to begin with. But I'm very sure that those underwear catastrophes would have been gone quickly, too. Next time, gals and guys, demonstrate. It's what would likely happen here. Block that boot so no one can get there and shout at them to leave. If the organizers do not act, you need to take matters into your own hand.

One thing to keep in mind over here in the US, allowing free passage to a diversity of viewpoints, even questionable ones, is considered by most to be a strength of our society. While people do protest things all the time with the backing of the law in appropriate venues, I would consider an attempt to physically block access to a booth in the dealer hall to be worse than the offensive material in the booth itself. If you must protest - carry a sign, hand out flyers or pamphlets. Crowd vetoes are typically contrary to our methods and values.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I would consider an attempt to physically block access to a booth in the dealer hall to be worse than the offensive material in the booth itself.

In addition, it is usually illegal. If the business is not actually breaking the law, denying public access can get you arrested.
 

Dioltach

Legend
I must say, of all the difficulties I've experienced among my gaming groups, sexism has not featured, beyond the occasional obvious joke that will be met with and matched by similar comments from the women in my groups. Most of the banter touches on other subjects, though, and that's what it is: banter. I only play with friends, and we joke around. I'm pretty sure that anyone who is sexist -- or who discriminates on any other grounds -- would quickly find themself dropped from the group and most likely from any other form of contact.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
There are so many problematic points made in the opening piece that I don't really know where to begin. But I guess the most egregious one to start out with is...

You have every right to decide what you like, are interested in, and what your boundaries are. You have zero right to decide what those boundaries are for other people. You call out Cthulhutech for having material you personally find objectionable. I'm with you that far. I get that it's a game you might not want to play. I've never played it myself either...I'm more of a heroic fantasy roleplayer than a horror roleplayer.

Where you go too far is your insistence that, because rape and sexual assaults are something you cannot handle comfortably in a game, that means that no one else should be able to deal with those in a game scenario either. Uh-uh. Flag on the play. Go back ten yards.

Really, think about this. You call them out for having a scenario where Nazis have a device for sexual torture. Keep in mind, that in real life, Nazis murdered 6 million people! They tortured people, sexually and otherwise. And, you're talking about a game involving eldritch horrors that can literally make your brain explode!

Like I said, I personally prefer heroic games where the good guys (PC's) manage to stop the bad guys in the nick of time, so the really horrible stuff is only about to happen and never does. But that ain't any game with the word Cthulhu in the title. That's a clear signal that bad stuff is going to happen and your PC might make it out alive, but definitely not whole.

If you don't like that material (and it's not my cup of tea either) you are perfectly free not to buy it. That's the free market. If there aren't enough people who want that material, they'll quit making it. But if there are, you and I should have no right to stop them, or criticize them.

Not everything has to be for you.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall, summarizing Voltaire.

There is a fine line between telling someone they shouldn't say a thing, and insisting that they may not say a thing or acting to prevent them from speaking.

It is important to register our disagreement, but attempts to outright silence opposition are ethically problematic. On EN World, we have a prior agreement with every user that they have to keep speech in-bounds. But that does not generalize to the world at large.
 

Libertad

Adventurer
This hits on something very important in such discussions.

Dismissing folks for some perceived personal flaw is ad hominem. You know: logical fallacy, rhetorical weak sauce, and all that. You can't just go lump "a lot of" people together and shuffle their opinions off into a corner as a class. Either they have a point, or they don't, but you need to actually counter their points, rather than dismiss many (really, effectively all) folks who have the same opinion or behavior because in your personal estimation they all come from a common, invalid source.

If they're wrong, you can demonstrate that without the stereotyping.

Except that the feminists I'm referring to I mostly met in RL. And they were usually my age or even older.

Sorry about that. It's just that I've experienced a lot of folks take the worst examples (like Andrea Dworkin and the SCUM Manifesto) as the face of feminism while disregarding the others (such as Gloria Steinem and bell hooks). Which unfortunately does contribute to negative perception of feminism.


I'm definitely glad I'm in Germany because if people gather to protest at a fair something will usually happen to get rid of the cause, not those protesting. Unless the people protesting have nothing to do with the usual fair-goers and have only come to protest.

1.) Taking advantage of drugged people is a problem hard to tackle. I remember one case among my then-friends where the girl claimed rape and the young man was claiming she was setting him up because he (equally drunk) was absolutely sure it was all normal sex, and one case where the not drunk boy read the girl's signals totally wrong.

In games, this situation sometimes comes up in the standard tavern setting. I don't remember details but the elf tried to get the human barmaid drunk enough to get her to his room in one of my games a while ago. The paladin of the group stopped him ingame, and the elf claimed that this was were half-elves came from. This was all totally in character, however I had the clear impression that one player wasn't happy about it. When asked after the game he claimed it was fine, though, probably not wanting to be seen as a wuss or something. I solved the constant skirt chasing of the elf by making the country they were in very strict regarding sexual conduct but it continued to be an issue here and there.

"My char would totally do that" - how often do we hear this when relating to sexually inappropriate behavior? I now usually ask for a description of the char's behavior tendencies beforehand to disallow chars which overly play on their sexuality, but sometimes it just happens during char development.

If anyone ever would get with the "get over it" routine in regards to any sort of violence they'd likely be gone from my table. But then I am really trying to keep violence low as much as possible, big battle scenes excluded.

2.) One of my campaigns needed to stay away from mentioning children in trouble btw, because one player had been abused as a kid. Best thing really is to know your players well, and with strangers at convention games and such I think it is best to play adventures where such situations do not arise - or make it very clear in the game description what the storyline is.

1.) I do not know much about the situation, but that is definitely a problem of why it's so hard to deal with. Intoxication is problematic because it impairs communication and makes it that much harder to reaffirm or withdraw consent.

Edit In regards to misreading signals, well that can be closer to rape when the aggressor is not drunk. It's imperative to know that the person you're having sex with is giving enthusiastic consent.

But I do not entirely know of your situations and what happened in them, so I can't make a definite judgment. But there are many cases where clearly intoxicated women are unable to say no or fight back, and sexual predators take advantage of this.

2.) Agreed. Particularly with strangers, we do not know what they went through, so it's best to err on the side of caution.

This is one of those internet problems to me that I've never seen at the gaming table. I'm sure it exists and I'm sure there are problems at conventions but it is hard to fix a problem that I never see. The important thing is if you are at a game and it gets uncomfortable to speak out. It doesn't have to be just sexism either, the violence of some players can bother people, the tone of the game can bother people, there are many reasons.

One of the biggest problems though is the internet. There are plenty of people being offensive here because they can with zero consequences. I don't think you can fix that in a way that would not cause a lot of other issues.

The best one can do Internet-wise is the use of forum rules, IP bans of troublemakers, other users criticizing said content when it does arise, etc. Various message boards have ways of cutting down racist/sexist/homophobic/etc statements this way.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall, summarizing Voltaire.

There is a fine line between telling someone they shouldn't say a thing, and insisting that they may not say a thing or acting to prevent them from speaking.

It is important to register our disagreement, but attempts to outright silence opposition are ethically problematic. On EN World, we have a prior agreement with every user that they have to keep speech in-bounds. But that does not generalize to the world at large.

The US point of view is that the government restricting speech otherwise will just cause things to go 'underground.' Which is true, in a way. Still, socially unacceptable viewpoints while legal are still pushed down because the believer doesn't want people to yell at them. Or, you get cases where they coat their problematic viewpoints in things which sound more worthy.

In regards to behavior/speech which can make women and minorities feel unwelcome, social disapproval and criticism are valid for this.

There are so many problematic points made in the opening piece that I don't really know where to begin. But I guess the most egregious one to start out with is...

You have every right to decide what you like, are interested in, and what your boundaries are. You have zero right to decide what those boundaries are for other people. You call out Cthulhutech for having material you personally find objectionable. I'm with you that far. I get that it's a game you might not want to play. I've never played it myself either...I'm more of a heroic fantasy roleplayer than a horror roleplayer.

1.) Where you go too far is your insistence that, because rape and sexual assaults are something you cannot handle comfortably in a game, that means that no one else should be able to deal with those in a game scenario either. Uh-uh. Flag on the play. Go back ten yards.

2.) Really, think about this. You call them out for having a scenario where Nazis have a device for sexual torture. Keep in mind, that in real life, Nazis murdered 6 million people! They tortured people, sexually and otherwise. And, you're talking about a game involving eldritch horrors that can literally make your brain explode!

Like I said, I personally prefer heroic games where the good guys (PC's) manage to stop the bad guys in the nick of time, so the really horrible stuff is only about to happen and never does. But that ain't any game with the word Cthulhu in the title. That's a clear signal that bad stuff is going to happen and your PC might make it out alive, but definitely not whole.

3.) If you don't like that material (and it's not my cup of tea either) you are perfectly free not to buy it. That's the free market. If there aren't enough people who want that material, they'll quit making it. But if there are, you and I should have no right to stop them, or criticize them.

Not everything has to be for you.

1.) I never said that rape should be excluded from media, rather I object to poor handling of it.

2.) CthulhuTech handles sexual assault with little to none of the nuance and sensitivity. The authors usually frame it in the sense of fetish material or just for shock value, and this content only became more prominent as the line went on.

3.) There's nothing wrong with criticizing game designers for products they're selling. Lots of people bought CthulhuTech without knowing that things would get this way. And they have a right to voice their displeasure and tell other gamers what they don't like about the game.
 
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Salamandyr

Adventurer
1.) I never said that rape should be excluded from media, rather I object to poor handling of it.

OK. That's not the sense I get from your piece. I get no sense that you have aesthetic objections to depictions of rape in media, only moral ones. Perhaps you should consider taking that part out and not calling it "sexist" then, since that term is a profoundly moral attack and amounts, in modern parlance, to a call for the offender to be silenced, if not outright charged with criminality.

If your objection is to bad art, then we don't disagree. But perception of bad art is subjective, and even bad art sometimes finds an audience.

2.) CthulhuTech handles sexual assault with little to none of the nuance and sensitivity of real-world atrocities. The authors usually frame it in the sense of fetish material or just for shock value, and this content only became more prominent as the line went on.

And since they are doing so in an imaginary medium, who cares? Granted, it's not for everyone. You're pretty clear that you don't like it. It's not my thing either. But if it finds an audience who does like it, and can pay enough money to support it, they aren't hurting anyone.

3.) There's nothing wrong with criticizing game designers for products they're selling. Lots of people bought CthulhuTech without knowing that things would get this way. And they have a right to voice their displeasure and tell other gamers what they don't like about the game.

They absolutely can. I just lit a fire under WOTC for their recent goblin & kobolds article. And if you can show enough consumers who would buy their product, if only the got rid of the material you find objectionable, then you might get them to remove the material. All you have to show is there ismore money to be made without that material than they make currently selling to customers who desire that material.

It sounds, and maybe I'm wrong, but it sounds, like you're saying "the people who want that material are bad people, so they shouldn't get what they want, and you should make your product the way I say, even though you will lose money and customers, because I represent the good people."

That sounds like entitlement to me.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
And since they are doing so in an imaginary medium, who cares? Granted, it's not for everyone. You're pretty clear that you don't like it. It's not my thing either. But if it finds an audience who does like it, and can pay enough money to support it, they aren't hurting anyone.

You phrase that as a statement and conclusion, but that last bit - "they aren't hurting anyone" - is the debate, isn't it? That's the question, not the conclusion. That's what it's all about. I don't feel there's much interesting conversational mileage in "yes they are", "no they aren't"; so this debate should be about why they are or why they aren't hurting anybody by producing such material.

I say that not having seen the material, of course.

That sounds like entitlement to me.

Yes. "Entitlement" is perfectly appropriate when it's refering to things everyone should be entitled to. A basic level of respect is one of those things.

"the people who want that material are bad people, so they shouldn't get what they want, and you should make your product the way I say, even though you will lose money and customers, because I represent the good people."

Are there exceptions to your strong stance on this? Because I can think of at least one very obvious one. And if agree there's one, then we agree there's potentially more than one; it's just a question of where we choose to put that "harm" line.
 
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Salamandyr

Adventurer
You phrase that as a statement and conclusion, but that last bit - "they aren't hurting anyone" - is the debate, isn't it? That's the question, not the conclusion. That's what it's all about. I don't feel there's much interesting conversational mileage in "yes they are", "no they aren't"; so this debate should be about why they are or why they aren't hurting anybody by producing such material.

I say that not having seen the material, of course.

I have not seen the material either. But I object to the idea that engaging in fantasy role play has a negative effect on anyone except, possibly, the group participating. The very essence of freedom is to be free in your own mind. And the only way that freedom can exist is for others to let other be free. To insist not only on controlling anothers behavior but what someone else gets to think, is, to me, the worst sort of tyranny.
 

Libertad

Adventurer
The difference between personal fantasies and gaming products is that the latter is being sold to the general public and thus extends beyond one's home games.

Tabletop gaming is a collaborative effort, so what is personally fun for you may be deeply unfun for others. And many sensitive issues (depiction of real-world racism, rape, etc) hit too close to home for many gamers. It can hurt people in the sense of reliving traumatic memories, and lead to angry arguments when one or more players insist on their characters acting like misanthropic jackasses.
 
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Salamandyr

Adventurer
That's not a valid difference. Each party has voluntarily chosen to participate. The fact that something is available in the marketplace doesn't affect you at all, unless you choose to participate.

And knowing something exists isn't participation.
 

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