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Mikael Hasselstein

How can we be more gender inclusive in X-Wing?

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I'm not talking about white-knighting, or silently disapproving of "that guy." I'm talking about actively policing our communities for toxic elements and forcibly ejecting offenders. We have to accept that some ostracism isn't just acceptable, it's needed, no matter how much the memories of our own exclusion might pain us.

 

This works brilliantly unless and until the person who needs to be booted is a woman. Then what?

Boot them. It's not a hard decision.

Of course, it's important that the boot be because they're jerks, not because they had the audacity to assert themselves.

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A) The person that desires more female participation is a single male. 

I can completely understand that. I've been there. In high school and college, I watched as women simply passed by my life's passion and hobbies with zero interest. The last thing I wanted was to go out to bars or meetings for activities that I didn't find interesting just for the chance of finding compatible women. It's a treasure for not just X-Wing, but any hobby or passion, to have a significant other who shares your zeal. But, as this is a personal and rather complex issue, it is best solved through means other than "being more gender inclusive in X-Wing". That's not the purpose of the hobby - narrative and strategically interesting space battles are.

 

or

 

B) There must be more women in X-Wing for "social justice". After all, how could it possibly be that there isn't a proper ratio of women:men in this fascinatingly fun and captivating game we've created here?

 

Well, I can understand the appeal of championing the solution for something you perceive as a problem, but, like an impetuous white knight, one must be wary of charging off without any foresight or planning. How does one determine the "proper" ratio of women:men? From the posts here, I see such phrasing as "I see more than ample reasons to suspect [that the ratio isn't correct]", "I believe that the current imbalance is evidence [that the ratio isn't correct]", "the imbalance that we have is just overwhelming", etc. Not only have these observations come from a source which is undocumented, unstudied, and vague, but the conclusion is based purely on personal feeling. Unfortunately, even if the point invariably holds true, the necessary preparation of data collection has not been completed, causing people to (rightly) resist these theories. The scientific method does have a purpose. For these reasons, this motivation must also be discarded.

 

I'll choose 'B' - and I've already confessed to that earlier in the thread. And, because I don't want to charge off with foresight and planning, I create a thread in this forum asking how one might bring more women to the X-Wing gaming table. You're right that discerning the "proper" ratio of men to women, but I'm pretty confident that ten-to-none ain't it. Yes, that's purely based on personal feeling. I confess. Do you think that the ratios we observe are natural for an activity such as ours, which has absolutely nothing to do with gender?

 

What you say next, however, is just truly bizarre. If I may paraphrase: "Because ... science!... your motivation for social justice is invalid."

 

The question of "How can we get more women to play X-Wing?" is entirely missing the point. I see much talk about how FFG is "missing half the potential customer demographic" and how appealing to women will increase FFG's revenue and bolster the X-Wing product line's longevity. Great, and this is probably correct, but, I must ask again, why women? The question should be "How can we get more people to play X-Wing?" (Either men, women, Trandoshans, 'entities', or androgynous asexual elephant-creatures from Alpha Centauri!). Because getting more people interested in X-Wing, surely, is the key to it's longevity.

 

"Why women?" you ask? Because they're the missing demographic. For my sake, yes, social justice is my motivation for this thread. However, as seen in other spheres of life, there are economic rationales for wanting the inclusion of women. I don't see why that rationale should not apply here.

 

 

Or is there something special about women in particular? Luckily, that has been answered many times over in this thread: "I do think that the presence of women players has the potential to enrich the game." Alright, I agree with that, but I see no reason that the viewpoints, character, or personality of 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than that of 1 man. We are back to the women vs people question. Ah, but there's more: "Empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential." Now we begin to see the bias, and this argument starts to fall apart. Are women the magical spice that will unleash the full potential of our metaphorical X-Wing casserole, or are women and men actually equal? Remember that sexism, like racism, is harmful whether negative OR positive!

 

Oooh, that one's clever, except for the part where you miss the point.

 

Yes, the the empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential. I say that because they are human beings just as capable of economic activity as men, and their exclusion thus diminishes economic capacity. I guess you think of empowerment as making women more powerful than men. However, that's not what the term means in this or most contexts.

 

And ALL THINGS EQUAL; CETERIS PARIBUS, yes, I do think that 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than 1 additional man. Why? Because I perceive an imbalance and I want to see that imbalance corrected.

 

When evaluating an argument or review that someone is putting forth, one important question is "Can you guess the author's conclusion based on their overt viewpoint?". If so, then it increases the likelihood of confirmation bias and is going to require much more work to justify the conclusion. Unfortunately, when the main proponent of this cause admitted to "being the feminist here[, whereas their sister isn't]" (brackets are to show context), it became all too clear what the conclusions were going to be before they were even stated.

 

Except that you had to dig quite deeply into the thread to find that statement. Am I a feminist? Yes. So? What's wrong with that? Do you think that men and women should remain unequal in empowerment, and are you, thus, not a feminist?

 

Yes, I am a feminist, that's why I think that it's awkward that our community doesn't include more women. I'm not sure you're uncovering a particularly hidden agenda, here.

 

 

Conclusions like "I don't think women feel included in our game", that there is barrier of entry to the game (any tabletop even) that is significantly higher for women, and that women are being actively excluded from participating. And these conclusions come with solutions proposing that we specifically mention to potential new women that we don't stereotype them, we must ensure them that stereotype threat is absent here, introduce girls night, market towards them, etc. The theme here, common to arguments like this, is that the barriers are exclusively internal and that the people inside the activity must resolve it - in others words, us X-Wing players are actively excluding women and therefore we must solve the problem.

 

No, you're missing the point.

 

What's ironic is that these solutions specifically target and single out women at best, and are actively sexist and exclusionary at worst. If a woman is truly feeling uncomfortable for simply being a woman in a game of X-Wing, the last thing they want is further attention brought to the fact that they are a woman. Things like a girls night only encourage the further segregation of men and women (and also imply that women need a sort of 'gaming training wheels' before they can game with the men). Worse even is the suggestion that we need more female pilots as, again, it paints women as simple creatures who are interested more in the artwork on the cards or the sculpting of the models than the actual gameplay. What we really need are less pleas for those of us on the inside (who must be mostly men in this male-dominated activity) to come rescue the women and open their eyes to this whole new wonderful world of X-Wing. Instead, we should look at external factors.

 

Okay I did not call for girls nights, I did not call the balance of pilots into question (I praised FFG for that). So - you're building me into a straw man. Stop it.

 

Now, yes, I did call for explicit measures to reduce stereotype threat, and I've already acknowledged that this one needs careful thought and articulation unless we create the backfire that you suggest. So, yes, I take this criticism to heart.

 

 

To summarize, women (and a wider variety of men) will enter X-Wing and other tabletops when society as a whole opens their minds and changes their preconceived notions about them. And this is something that will only be changed by raising future generations differently than previous ones, not implementing policy that singles out women for, well, being women.

 

Okay, so you're clearly not on board with making X-Wing more inclusive. So, why did you bother to weigh in on this thread, unless your interest is to prevent X-Wing from becoming more inclusive? Clearly you've spent time wading through the thread and replying at length.

 

If it's to prevent me from doing even more damage to current ratio, then I'm all about working together with you to make my suggestions better.

Nicely said mikael.

Rithrin I've explained in my previous posts some things you have thought about. Go back and read. Also read about the issue before offering an opinion that isn't completely informed and using questionable logic.

There isn't a crazy agenda. Honestly the crazier agenda is why people don't want women to come play.

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 I play at the generic board game night at my LGS.  There are almost 50% females in the game store on those nights.  Almost none want to play X-wing and it's not because we are being unfriendly.  I just think they prefer the other games being offered.  They are usually in their teens or early 20's.  Most of their guy friends don't want to play either. 

 

This is pretty on point - not so much about the age identifier than it is the social identifier.  More often than not, I look to what my friends are interested in to determine what I am going to play because I want to have a social experience with them.

 

Think of it like a Venn diagram - the games I will play are those find themselves in the intersection of the games that my friends like and the games that I like.  Typically, I don't want to spend the greater part of the day playing a game without my friends being there - that's why I have "me" days that I spend by myself or at the spa - if I'm playing a game (which is a social experience by definition) I tend to want to do it with friends and family.

Edited by Kyla

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This is pretty on point - not so much about the age identifier than it is the social identifier.  More often than not, I look to what my friends are interested in to determine what I am going to play because I want to have a social experience with them.

 

I think it's a little bit of both.  I don't know that many 15-25 year olds that are REALLY into Star Wars.  Most males in that age bracket don't want to play X-wing that I've found, espeically if they are in a game store and there are other games going on.  Females tend to be social gamers (from my perspective) and like to play what their friends are playing.  So, I like to think that the age bracket tends to feed on the social aspect. 

 

I will state that at my LGS, most females prefer to play games that are more than 1 on 1.  They prefer group games.  That could be another factor.  Note:  There are always exceptions and examples of things otherwise.  I am calling out tendancies. 

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Okay, so - I've avoided this topic for a while now, mostly because I tend to ramble and the last thing that was needed was a long post.  However, I really respect Mikael Hasselstein and he asked very nicely to hear my opinion, and Rithrin definitely broke the single post ramble record, so I feel I can do little to damage the integrity of the wall of text.

 

Thanks for contributing!

 

 

In the framework of the first point, I can say that feminine interest in either FFG games or Star Wars is not the issue.  The Star Wars RPG's (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny) have many very vocal and active women not just playing, but acting as GMs and running campaigns.  In my experience with gaming at large I can say that I have run games with my sister for about 14 years now, from LARPs at PSU and HACC through weekly (sometimes multiple days in a week) session of games ranging from Pathfinder, to Star Wars, to Vampire and Paranoia (and pretty much everything in between).  In all these events, the ratio of women to men was fairly even, and in our tabletop games was actually exactly even to slightly more women than men.  The reason for this is primarily due to word of mouth.  My sis an I would speak to our friends about playing, and the gender bias of our circle of friends is very representative of the genders in the circle of gamers we end up with.  Ultimately, gaming is a social activity, so those that are introduced to it are typically representative of the group that is currently in it. This leads into the second point, as marketing and product exposure are very key to what one can expect of the game.

 

What I'm reading here is that in your social environment, Star Wars (&etc.) gaming was already balanced and you didn't have to 'break in', as it were. Your introduction to tabletop gaming was because of factors that were fairly peculiar to you - your want to paint miniatures (okay, that may not be too peculiar, but still rare), but certainly your connection to your father.

 

 

I can't speak for all women, but I can say that for the most part that I have a very laid back attitude about my gaming.  I like to have fun and even when I get competitive, I generally only do so when I am competing against or with people in my close social group.  I happen to know a number of professional women gamers (Xena of PMS is one) and can say that even the hardcore female gaming groups are motivated by their teammates more than they are prizes from winning.  Again, its a social thing.  I am not trying to say that men aren't similarly motivated, but I can say that when it comes down to it, to place in tournaments many participants will abandon lists that they play all the time a local game nights to adopt ones that will get them into the late rounds of the tournament.  That's not bad, or wrong or anything negative at all.  I'm pointing it out because it is the expectation of the "tournament scene."  This makes tournaments fundamentally different than the hobby as a whole - and this level of participation is not really what I look for in a social event.  I've played in Magic tournaments, and 40K tournaments - they were fun, but there really wasn't much social activity.  No kibitzing, no hanging out and talking really - there were a few quick breaks between what is otherwise a very intense, focused activity.  That isn't bad, it's just not my cup of tea.  Which means I enjoy playing the game with my friends and family - I just tend not to go to tournaments.  I really enjoy watching them though - because I love seeing all the amazing things happen during them!  Plus, when I watch them, I can talk about the ships with the people I'm watching it with and strategize and try to anticipate what they're going to do - it's fun to watch with friends!  That however, leads me to my last point - the anecdotal evidence that women don't participate.

 

I do think that the tournament scene (at least in the way that I've experienced it) gets a bad rap. In my community, a tournament is almost just like a more structured format of the Sunday afternoon or Monday evening FLGS get together. It's been an entirely cordial affair. Okay, I have seem some people be a little more fixated and nervous when they're in a pickle, but not overly so. Of course, that may just be because my particular community doesn't have as much vehemence as others might. But, just like your experience, there wasn't as much time for the social scene, because we had 3 timed rounds to get through.

 

But I would say that I do prefer the casual scene for the same reasons you do. That said, the tournaments are a place where you get to meet a wider group of people, since they tend to cast a wider net in terms of drawing people in. People come from farther away to attend a tournament. I went to one in Corvallis, OR a while ago already, and a woman was playing there. Regrettably, I didn't have the opportunity to face her, because I heard she's pretty good.

 

That said, to answer the question of how to address the imbalance of gender due to it not reflecting our social times - I would say that it is an attempt to fix something not necessarily broken.  If you feel your local circle isn't represented by women well, I would say change the argument to say that it isn't represented by families well.  Engage the parents (both mothers and fathers) to play with their children - make it a bonding experience by putting the mini's in their hands through "family game nights" and other events.  Once the visibility increases, you find a greater social experience happening - and that is what is interesting to many like me.

 

I think you make an excellent suggestion about working the (family) network. On Saturday, I'll be working the library network. My wife is the youth librarian and I'm doing a program that demos the game to teens.

 

 

Now, because I don't want to cherry-pick what you've said to match my preconceptions, I do acknowledge that you're on the it-ain't-broke side of the argument. At the same time, you're saying that your tabletop-playing community is balanced or even favors women. You are also saying that this is more of a friends group than an FLGS casual scene where people have no connection to one another other than X-Wing.

 

How frequently do you go down to your FLGS for a pick-up game? If so, what has your experience been?

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Your introduction to tabletop gaming was because of factors that were fairly peculiar to you - your want to paint miniatures (okay, that may not be too peculiar, but still rare)

 

 

you do realize that you both just cherry picked AND have a preconception as to what is 'normal'

I think this is a lot of the "problem" that people have had with your arguments is that they are entirely subjective to your perceptions of reality.

Edited by nathankc

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What I'm reading here is that in your social environment, Star Wars (&etc.) gaming was already balanced and you didn't have to 'break in', as it were. Your introduction to tabletop gaming was because of factors that were fairly peculiar to you - your want to paint miniatures (okay, that may not be too peculiar, but still rare)

 

you do realize that you both just cherry picked AND have a preconception as to what is 'normal'

I think this is a lot of the "problem" that people have had with your arguments is that they are entirely subjective to your perceptions of reality.

Also it's basically two people self congratulating themselves on their perceived moral superiority.

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I'd like to steer the conversation back a bit... If that's possible.

Here's the things I think everyone agrees with.

The amount of women playing X-Wing is not an issue for FFG to fix.

There may be things we can all do that will make people feel more welcome if they're checking out the game or even wanting to try it.

there is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing things we could to to make people feel more welcome, and there's also nothing wrong with considering things we might do that make women in particular uncomfortable.

That does not however mean this is something we can fix, even if we did everything right, there's a lot of inertia to deal with here, the most we can do is make changes that are possible and let time deal with the rest.

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There isn't a crazy agenda. Honestly the crazier agenda is why people don't want women to come play.

 

The crazy thing is that noone ever said this in this thread. Seriously it is really sad to read this kind of cheap rethoric and twisting words.

 

And by the way, yeah i don't want women to come and play, i want PEOPLE to come and play. I don't give a crap about gender like you do.

Edited by DreadStar

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Your introduction to tabletop gaming was because of factors that were fairly peculiar to you - your want to paint miniatures (okay, that may not be too peculiar, but still rare)

 

 

you do realize that you both just cherry picked AND have a preconception as to what is 'normal'

I think this is a lot of the "problem" that people have had with your arguments is that they are entirely subjective to your perceptions of reality.

 

Not to speak that's completely normal way to get into miniature wargaming in the first place, like half the people that i know that play miniature games got into it by model/paint hobbies.

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Thanks for contributing!

 

You're very welcome!

 

 

What I'm reading here is that in your social environment, Star Wars (&etc.) gaming was already balanced and you didn't have to 'break in', as it were. Your introduction to tabletop gaming was because of factors that were fairly peculiar to you - your want to paint miniatures (okay, that may not be too peculiar, but still rare), but certainly your connection to your father.

 

In the case of 40K, I was introduced by friends through their own playing.  I started watching, then saw mini's that I liked, and then started nosing around painting - it was a very slow progression.  With X-Wing - it was again seeing the game played - then buying it initially because I wanted the ships for my Edge of the Empire campaign, then playing it myself.  In both cases, I was in control of my entrance to the hobby - I think a lot of times there's a rush to introduce me to things by my  friends because they are into them and want me to be into them too.  This isn't the best way to get me hooked on something.  I may play once or twice to make my friends happy, but let me find my own way into it and I'll be an addict for it.

 

 

I do think that the tournament scene (at least in the way that I've experienced it) gets a bad rap. In my community, a tournament is almost just like a more structured format of the Sunday afternoon or Monday evening FLGS get together. It's been an entirely cordial affair. Okay, I have seem some people be a little more fixated and nervous when they're in a pickle, but not overly so. Of course, that may just be because my particular community doesn't have as much vehemence as others might. But, just like your experience, there wasn't as much time for the social scene, because we had 3 timed rounds to get through.

 

But I would say that I do prefer the casual scene for the same reasons you do. That said, the tournaments are a place where you get to meet a wider group of people, since they tend to cast a wider net in terms of drawing people in. People come from farther away to attend a tournament. I went to one in Corvallis, OR a while ago already, and a woman was playing there. Regrettably, I didn't have the opportunity to face her, because I heard she's pretty good.

 

It's not the aggressiveness of the tournament scene that is necessarily the big push away for me - but the structured aspect of it.  I can't speak for all tournaments, but from the few I've been to, the impression in my mind of what I can expect of a tournament is that I will get there, check in, and pay my entry fee (eh point #1).  I will then (if I came alone) go over my list to get ready one last time, and try to shake the "nerves" off and relax until they announce the pairings.  Then, once the pairings are set, I'll introduce myself briefly to my opponent, we'll set our stuff up then start playing, because we only have a limited amount of time until the next round.  This will repeat one or two more times, then the judges will announce the winners and there will be a general break down of the group and dispersing on to other things.

 

There's not a lot of social interaction there - yea, you can kibbitz with your opponent during the game, but really, all the conversation there typically revolves around the actions, angles, etc of the turn - not really socializing.  I'm more used to the Miniwargaming.com's Banter BatRep style of social gameplay than the tournament style - so that's a big detractor.  To be fair though - I've not been to a Star Wars tournament, I'm only speaking about the picture I envision when I think of tournaments.

 

 

I think you make an excellent suggestion about working the (family) network. On Saturday, I'll be working the library network. My wife is the youth librarian and I'm doing a program that demos the game to teens.

 

Thanks!  I feel that the strongest way to change the perception of anything is to give something exposure and invite families into it - by making it something that everyone in a family group can at least touch, see, and experience, you allow others to passively see it and become engaged.  That leads to greater change in societal perception and eventually it will take on a social norm.

 

 

How frequently do you go down to your FLGS for a pick-up game? If so, what has your experience been?

 

The night my FLGS chose for X-Wing is Friday night - which is also the night my friends can come over for our tabletop RPG's - so I haven't been able to go out often.  I do however have a meetup group that has many boardgame nights posted (including "TIE Fighter Tuesdays" for X-Wing miniatures) and I actually find most of those that come to play are couples!

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I'll choose 'B' - and I've already confessed to that earlier in the thread. And, because I don't want to charge off with foresight and planning, I create a thread in this forum asking how one might bring more women to the X-Wing gaming table. You're right that discerning the "proper" ratio of men to women, but I'm pretty confident that ten-to-none ain't it. Yes, that's purely based on personal feeling. I confess. Do you think that the ratios we observe are natural for an activity such as ours, which has absolutely nothing to do with gender?

 

It doesn't actually matter whether I think we have proper ratios or not. That was kind of the whole point. One person eye-balls 1:10, another 4:1, and I see a different number. The reason I caution away from using personal feelings about one's local turnouts is that no two FLGSs are going to be in the exact same situation. So your area has 1 woman for every 10 men? Ok, does mine? Does one of New York's game stores have the same turnout? I have no idea, but know enough about statistics to discard small sample sizes.

 

Without having an in depth study on this particular matter, then I can only assume that the ratios (Which vary wildly between locales) are quite natural.

 

 

What you say next, however, is just truly bizarre. If I may paraphrase: "Because ... science!... your motivation for social justice is invalid."

 

Yes, using social justice as a motivation for wanting to attract, specifically, more women, should be discarded, just like option A, for reasons already stated in my post. You can have whatever motivation for social justice that you wish, but I maintain that, if your goal is to specifically get more women into X-Wing, then pushing out policies that single out and target them for being women runs contrary to it and will have the opposite effect.

 

 

"Why women?" you ask? Because they're the missing demographic. For my sake, yes, social justice is my motivation for this thread. However, as seen in other spheres of life, there are economic rationales for wanting the inclusion of women. I don't see why that rationale should not apply here.

 

Right, but we are still not seeing what any of these economic rationales are, or how they are specific to women as a group. As stated before, more players of any kind will grow the community and FFG's bank vault. You do admit that you simply want more women in the player base, which is a personal preference, and why? Because "social justice". And then we're back to confirmation bias. Someone who is highly motivated by and looking to champion social justice will find a lot of "social injustice", even places where it is not.

 

I mean, I want to see more libertarian thinkers in all my hobbies, because I prefer them, but there's no point in me arguing that it'd make the game better or that there's an injustice that needs righting. I certainly would not expect the game's company or the player base to bend over backwards to bring more in.

 

 

Oooh, that one's clever, except for the part where you miss the point.

 

Yes, the the empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential. I say that because they are human beings just as capable of economic activity as men, and their exclusion thus diminishes economic capacity. I guess you think of empowerment as making women more powerful than men. However, that's not what the term means in this or most contexts.

 

See, now you've added the part that was missing from the theory. It is hard, though, to read "Empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential" without it sounding like women are the key ingredient. If I said "Empowerment of men is the magic that unleashes economic potential," I wouldn't be able to leave my house without being attacked by a mob. But "Excluding women diminishes economic capacity" is a much different assertion - It's also one that is true (for any group of people, for that matter). However, we've still yet to establish that women are being excluded from X-Wing. It's still all anecdotal evidence of eye-balled participation counts that doesn't even have a bar to measure itself against.

 

 

And ALL THINGS EQUAL; CETERIS PARIBUS, yes, I do think that 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than 1 additional man. Why? Because I perceive an imbalance and I want to see that imbalance corrected.

 

So it's not really about whether women bring an equal, superior, or even inferior enrichment level to the community - it's just that you want to see more. And you did mention just a paragraph ago that social justice is your motivation for wanting to see more women.

 

 

Except that you had to dig quite deeply into the thread to find that statement. Am I a feminist? Yes. So? What's wrong with that? Do you think that men and women should remain unequal in empowerment, and are you, thus, not a feminist?

 

Yes, I am a feminist, that's why I think that it's awkward that our community doesn't include more women. I'm not sure you're uncovering a particularly hidden agenda, here.

 

Actually, I'm pretty sure you said that about a page back. I do tend to read the entirety of threads that I'm interested in, though. No reason to go into something uninformed.

 

"Do you think that men and women should remain unequal in empowerment?" is, of course, a loaded question. It is prefaced on the idea that men and women currently have unequal empowerment. The idea that "feminism = empowerment equality" is also rather strange. You can be a proponent of equality without being a feminist.

 

"I'm not sure you're uncovering a particularly hidden agenda" is exactly why I, and others, are taking issue with these posts. Someone comes in, states they are a feminist and that social justice fuels their motivation, then investigates the question, "Is there gender inequality here?" and comes up with the answer that literally 100% of people expected to hear. When asked to explain how they determined that there was inequality, the response is essentially "I just feel it!" The main problem is that it is an agenda, not whether it was hidden.

 

 

Conclusions like "I don't think women feel included in our game", that there is barrier of entry to the game (any tabletop even) that is significantly higher for women, and that women are being actively excluded from participating. And these conclusions come with solutions proposing that we specifically mention to potential new women that we don't stereotype them, we must ensure them that stereotype threat is absent here, introduce girls night, market towards them, etc. The theme here, common to arguments like this, is that the barriers are exclusively internal and that the people inside the activity must resolve it - in others words, us X-Wing players are actively excluding women and therefore we must solve the problem.

 

No, you're missing the point.

 

Maybe it's just me, but perhaps a statement like that should be followed by an explanation of what the actual point is and how it was missed.

 

 

Okay I did not call for girls nights, I did not call the balance of pilots into question (I praised FFG for that). So - you're building me into a straw man. Stop it.

 

Now, yes, I did call for explicit measures to reduce stereotype threat, and I've already acknowledged that this one needs careful thought and articulation unless we create the backfire that you suggest. So, yes, I take this criticism to heart.

 

The reason I didn't use the quote function is because I was responding to the thread, in general. You likely have the highest individual post count, though, so it's natural a lot of the stuff came from you. I did not intend to put words in your mouth, though, so I apologize on this point.

 

 

Okay, so you're clearly not on board with making X-Wing more inclusive. So, why did you bother to weigh in on this thread, unless your interest is to prevent X-Wing from becoming more inclusive? Clearly you've spent time wading through the thread and replying at length.
 
If it's to prevent me from doing even more damage to current ratio, then I'm all about working together with you to make my suggestions better.

 

X-Wing (and really all tabletop gaming) is important to me. I care about the health of the game and participation levels. People, not just you, have laid judgement upon the X-Wing worldwide community based on some local turnouts and hunches. Since there aren't any actual statistics on the matter, or even a measurement stick to compare those statistics against, no structured argument is made, but only an appeal to emotion, to convince community members to take action. Action, which, I feel will actually drive women away from the hobby. That is something I wish to avoid because I value all players.

 

I don't really care about happens to the ratio, but I certainly wish to prevent damage to the player base. Honestly, though, I don't agree with your assertions, but I have absolutely no desire to silence you. I feel that all ideas should have as much light shone on them as possible, especially if you disagree with them, so that the 'marketplace of ideas', if you will, can decide which is correct.

 

But I am also happy to work with you to make your arguments better and my honest suggestion, if you really truly believe that there is a horrible gender inequality in X-Wing, is to get data. Poll gaming stores across the country for X-Wing turnouts, poll them for other types of board games, and also get poll data from activities both 'similar' and 'dissimilar' for comparison. You can see how X-Wing turnout compares to Warhammer, D&D, Bowling, Football, Quilting, Renaissance Martial Arts, any hobbies. And once you have that, present it with a structured theory for proper gender equality ratios.

 

Seriously, you mentioned that you have a PhD in Sociology. I'm an Economics graduate, and Sociology students were always in our Statistics classes, so it should not be a surprise that real change and real propositions stem from that kind of front work.

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If you think a game needs to chane because you think not enough girls are interested in it.., then I don't know what to say.

Sorry girls aren't as interested in table top gaming as you wish.

Most girls don't play with tonka trucks, or hot wheels cars, etc as boys. It's a GENDER thing. People have certain gender specific interests

I don't play with Barbies. Ever think it's a gender thing and not an issue with the product not being "gender inclusive" enough?

Don't force it.

It's sickening how "equal" and gender neutral people want things.

Do you want all baby rooms to be painted grey, not blue or pink?

Oh the color blue is too gender exclusive, it may offend the baby girls!

Weird

 

You don't really understand the concept of gender - gender norms are cultural and don't exist biologically. Gender specific interests aren't a thing.

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Okay, so you're clearly not on board with making X-Wing more inclusive. So, why did you bother to weigh in on this thread, unless your interest is to prevent X-Wing from becoming more inclusive? Clearly you've spent time wading through the thread and replying at length.

 

Mikael, I would reassess this assumption...to me, it doesn't look like you're being attacked or that ANYONE is making this claim.  

 

I just think people are questioning the comparison of:

 

Diversity of the X-Wing Player Pool

and

Social Justice  

 

Having a socially just society could result in diversity in the player pool, but having a diverse player pool does not make our society socially just.

 

It's like comparing a bus seat and a nation.  We can work and work to make the bus seat the way we want it, but it won't affect the rest of the nation that still has the problem.  No one is going to get upset if a surge of women increase the player pool.  I (along with others) are skeptical of this happening without some severe paradigm shift happening in our societal norms.  

 

 

And just in case I'm misunderstanding....Does anyone here have a problem with more women playing x-wing?  Anyone?  

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This is going to be the last time I post in this thread, and I have a pretty good idea how much I'm going to regret posting at all, but here goes.

It's really simple: the idea that gender doesn't matter is the fundamental expression of male privilege.

 

So it finally happened. You are free to say what you will in the forum, but in my personal opinion I don't think that only men think that gender doesn't matter.

Im not privileged for thinking one way. Any human being can think that way and I doubt that makes them automatically privileged. Does no one understand the "I have a Dream" speech from Martin Luther King Jr.

I disagree with the notion of privilege association with gender or race, but you are free to discuss it. I won't censor it.

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This is going to be the last time I post in this thread, and I have a pretty good idea how much I'm going to regret posting at all, but here goes.

It's really simple: the idea that gender doesn't matter is the fundamental expression of male privilege.

 

So it finally happened. You are free to say what you will in the forum, but in my personal opinion I don't think that only men think that gender doesn't matter.

Im not privileged for thinking one way. Any human being can think that way and I doubt that makes them automatically privileged. Does no one understand the "I have a Dream" speech from Martin Luther King Jr.

I disagree with the notion of privilege association with gender or race, but you are free to discuss it. I won't censor it.

 

There isn't enough being said here...gender shouldn't matter.  This day and age, most physical and biological obstacles can be overcome, so the barrier between man and woman is fading.  Everyone is capable of almost everything the opposite sex can do.  A man's life and a woman's life should have equal value.  

 

However, this isn't reality.  Men and women are not valued the same.  Just look around at any "group" that contains men and women.  More often than not, you will find men making more money, having more control, having more respect, etc.  I feel it's been getting better, but it's not 100% yet. 

 

So that's why I feel people get confused about these statements.  Women, on the whole, do not have equal footing, and believing they do is what people refer to as "privilege."  However, there is nothing wrong with believing gender shouldn't matter and people need to be valued the same.  As long as you acknowledge one is a belief and one is a (current) reality.  

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This thread is truly ridiculous. I totally agree with the posts I've read by wonderwaaagh.

Resisting culturally-imbedded sexism is a laudable life long goal, but to think some design element of this game needs to be changed is a strangely paternalistic red herring.

Women are not, statistically speaking, drawn to war games it seems. Endeavouring to change this by changing a single game which we all happen to be players of,is a strange and frankly quite condescending effort at best.

Take away message: don't be sexist in your daily dealings and resist categorizing interests based on gender. With enough time, we can assume an equal number of males and females to take interest in anything: x-wing,knitting, fixing cars, baking, whatever.

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I don't see race or gender when I choose to play anything. If you see someone based on their race and/or gender, whether supporting or against it, you are inadvertently viewing them on those grounds instead of who they are on the inside. That's why I don't think this is a problem. You may think it is, but I personally don't and have made my reasons clear. I had no idea that gamergate would eventually be discussed in any tabletop forum either. I guess it was inevitable.

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As somebody who is studying computer science and one day hopes to make a living creating games, I beg you dont ignore Gamergate as just a bunch of man childs screaming online. Its a real problem that doesnt have to do anything with Zoe Quinns lady parts. Please look up more information on the topic. I am more than willing to provides sources for both sides of the argument.

 

I don't want Gamergate to be ignored either. I agree with what they are trying to do and have found the press to lack the ability to express both views of the issue.

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It doesn't actually matter whether I think we have proper ratios or not. That was kind of the whole point. One person eye-balls 1:10, another 4:1, and I see a different number. The reason I caution away from using personal feelings about one's local turnouts is that no two FLGSs are going to be in the exact same situation. So your area has 1 woman for every 10 men? Ok, does mine? Does one of New York's game stores have the same turnout? I have no idea, but know enough about statistics to discard small sample sizes.

 

Sure, small sample sizes need to be taken with caution. No question. However, given what we know about gender inclusion generally world-wide*, and the fact that the small samples do not contradict the bigger reality, then I don't think I'm on some limb suggesting that there is an imbalance in X-Wing gaming that might go beyond any inherent gender preferences.

 

 

Yes, using social justice as a motivation for wanting to attract, specifically, more women, should be discarded, just like option A, for reasons already stated in my post. You can have whatever motivation for social justice that you wish, but I maintain that, if your goal is to specifically get more women into X-Wing, then pushing out policies that single out and target them for being women runs contrary to it and will have the opposite effect.

 

Okay, then help me with ideas that will not have the opposite effect. Answer my original question, rather than waging some jihad on my motivations and perceptions.

 

 

Right, but we are still not seeing what any of these economic rationales are, or how they are specific to women as a group. As stated before, more players of any kind will grow the community and FFG's bank vault. You do admit that you simply want more women in the player base, which is a personal preference, and why? Because "social justice". And then we're back to confirmation bias. Someone who is highly motivated by and looking to champion social justice will find a lot of "social injustice", even places where it is not.

 

I mean, I want to see more libertarian thinkers in all my hobbies, because I prefer them, but there's no point in me arguing that it'd make the game better or that there's an injustice that needs righting. I certainly would not expect the game's company or the player base to bend over backwards to bring more in.

 

"Bend over backwards....", where are you getting this? Do I think that FFG might think about their marketing? Yes, do I make any suggestions for FFG other than that? No. Beyond that, my post is about the player community.

 

 

See, now you've added the part that was missing from the theory. It is hard, though, to read "Empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential" without it sounding like women are the key ingredient. If I said "Empowerment of men is the magic that unleashes economic potential," I wouldn't be able to leave my house without being attacked by a mob. But "Excluding women diminishes economic capacity" is a much different assertion - It's also one that is true (for any group of people, for that matter). However, we've still yet to establish that women are being excluded from X-Wing. It's still all anecdotal evidence of eye-balled participation counts that doesn't even have a bar to measure itself against.

 

Maybe it is hard for you to read it that way, because you presuppose that men and women have equal footing in our society. Is that the case? In our broader society women and men are not on an equal footing. If that is not a fundamental part of your assumptions going into this conversations, then I can see that you might read me differently. But I would have to ask you what rare corner of the earth you're from to not share that assumption with me from the outset.

 

 

And ALL THINGS EQUAL; CETERIS PARIBUS, yes, I do think that 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than 1 additional man. Why? Because I perceive an imbalance and I want to see that imbalance corrected.

 

So it's not really about whether women bring an equal, superior, or even inferior enrichment level to the community - it's just that you want to see more. And you did mention just a paragraph ago that social justice is your motivation for wanting to see more women.

 

Yes, because when you have an imbalance (which I would like to see corrected) if you add one woman to the population, the imbalance diminishes. If you add one man to the population, the imbalance increases. I'm not sure how I'm contradicting anything I've said.

 

 

Conclusions like "I don't think women feel included in our game", that there is barrier of entry to the game (any tabletop even) that is significantly higher for women, and that women are being actively excluded from participating. And these conclusions come with solutions proposing that we specifically mention to potential new women that we don't stereotype them, we must ensure them that stereotype threat is absent here, introduce girls night, market towards them, etc. The theme here, common to arguments like this, is that the barriers are exclusively internal and that the people inside the activity must resolve it - in others words, us X-Wing players are actively excluding women and therefore we must solve the problem.

 

No, you're missing the point.

 

Maybe it's just me, but perhaps a statement like that should be followed by an explanation of what the actual point is and how it was missed.

 

True. I felt that I had addressed those elsewhere so when I rushed the post to publishing, I neglected to spell it out.

 

In general, I do not believe that X-Wing players are actively excluding women. I think that more could be done to include women. Now, the anecdotes that others have brought to the thread mention certain neckbeards who have exhibited exclusionary behavior, but I don't have those anecdotes to share, so it's not part of my argument.

 

X-Wing (and really all tabletop gaming) is important to me. I care about the health of the game and participation levels. People, not just you, have laid judgement upon the X-Wing worldwide community based on some local turnouts and hunches. Since there aren't any actual statistics on the matter, or even a measurement stick to compare those statistics against, no structured argument is made, but only an appeal to emotion, to convince community members to take action. Action, which, I feel will actually drive women away from the hobby. That is something I wish to avoid because I value all players.

 

I don't really care about happens to the ratio, but I certainly wish to prevent damage to the player base. Honestly, though, I don't agree with your assertions, but I have absolutely no desire to silence you. I feel that all ideas should have as much light shone on them as possible, especially if you disagree with them, so that the 'marketplace of ideas', if you will, can decide which is correct.

 

But I am also happy to work with you to make your arguments better and my honest suggestion, if you really truly believe that there is a horrible gender inequality in X-Wing, is to get data. Poll gaming stores across the country for X-Wing turnouts, poll them for other types of board games, and also get poll data from activities both 'similar' and 'dissimilar' for comparison. You can see how X-Wing turnout compares to Warhammer, D&D, Bowling, Football, Quilting, Renaissance Martial Arts, any hobbies. And once you have that, present it with a structured theory for proper gender equality ratios.

 

Seriously, you mentioned that you have a PhD in Sociology. I'm an Economics graduate, and Sociology students were always in our Statistics classes, so it should not be a surprise that real change and real propositions stem from that kind of front work.

 

No, my PhD is in International Affairs, which is a multidisciplinary approach to international human events, and includes sociology, economics, political science and cultural anthropology. And, yes, I've had my share of statistics.

 

Obviously that sort of data would be awesome in order to support the point, but who has that sort of data or the research grant to study it? If there would be a research grant for it, that research would much better be undertaken by someone with much greater understanding of the subject than me.

 

But even armed with actual ratios, that doesn't give you the 'proper' ratios, it only gives you the 'exhibited' ratios. Maybe by doing a cross-cultural study of different societies with different levels of women's equality you could approach an extrapolation of where the proper ratio might be, but it would remain conjectural.

 

But, for the time being, all I've got is my own observations of ten-to-none, and in my locale I'd like to see that balance out, which is why I asked people's input.

 

Also, your indictment of my appeal to emotion is one that I can answer as having been a practicing political scientist and political campaigner. Emotion just works better, and is much less costly. One would be irrational to rely on a rationalistic** argument. The very small number of people who require it are probably not going to change their minds anyway, and are too few to matter.

 

 

* Curses, I had a large swathe of text that was cut out by a user-error process. However, suffice to say I couched my observation that I come to this position deductively from a thorough reading of international differences of gender equality, and that my inductive observations do not contradict the pattern. So, I'm not just a schlepp who took one glance and arrived at a conclusion, which met my presuppositions.

 

** By rationalistic, I mean one that would appeal to people who want arguments couched in scientifically convincing terms.

Edited by Mikael Hasselstein

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Blail Blerg:

If any of you are going to reference GamerGate, I challenge you to bring substantive evidence that comparable actions are happening  in the Xwing community. I think at this point, if things are as dire as they are being portrayed there should be at least once well documented case of abuse or harassment. 

 

Stop hiding behind righteous talk and show us some proof.

 

I brought up gamergate because other people were talking about it. Also I can't tell if you are pro or anti GG so I don't understand which proof I should backup for whose righteous talk. I don't think it has a great connection to X wing or this forum topic per say, but I have the right to post my views on things. Even if you think it may have nothing to do with it.

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Does this really have to devolve into ANOTHER discussion of gamergate?  Or can we just have people who want to talk about getting females into the game talk about it?  Anything other than that is just going to slide downward and get locked.

This is the first time I've heard GG mentioned in a X wing post. I'm actually surprised there is more.

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Okay, so you're clearly not on board with making X-Wing more inclusive. So, why did you bother to weigh in on this thread, unless your interest is to prevent X-Wing from becoming more inclusive? Clearly you've spent time wading through the thread and replying at length.

 

Mikael, I would reassess this assumption...to me, it doesn't look like you're being attacked or that ANYONE is making this claim.  

 

I just think people are questioning the comparison of:

 

Diversity of the X-Wing Player Pool

and

Social Justice  

 

Having a socially just society could result in diversity in the player pool, but having a diverse player pool does not make our society socially just.

 

It's like comparing a bus seat and a nation.  We can work and work to make the bus seat the way we want it, but it won't affect the rest of the nation that still has the problem.  No one is going to get upset if a surge of women increase the player pool.  I (along with others) are skeptical of this happening without some severe paradigm shift happening in our societal norms.  

 

And just in case I'm misunderstanding....Does anyone here have a problem with more women playing x-wing?  Anyone?  

 

I don't think anyone is arguing for fewer women. That sort of argument would be socially unacceptable. However, if you're arguing against women's inclusion (goal, not tactic), then what does that say? Now, I'll take Rithrin at his word that he's trying to prevent damage by do-gooders. I totally embrace his argument in this regard.

 

But a ton of the nay-sayer argument here has been against the premise that more inclusion of women is desirable.

 

Cultural change towards a socially just society happens one interaction at a time. Women knowing that men think their inclusion is natural, and their absence is bizarre, is a part of that cultural change.

 

Resisting culturally-imbedded sexism is a laudable life long goal, but to think some design element of this game needs to be changed is a strangely paternalistic red herring.

Women are not, statistically speaking, drawn to war games it seems. Endeavouring to change this by changing a single game which we all happen to be players of,is a strange and frankly quite condescending effort at best.

 

And - once again - NOBODY is arguing that the game should be changed.

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I don't see race or gender when I choose to play anything. If you see someone based on their race and/or gender, whether supporting or against it, you are inadvertently viewing them on those grounds instead of who they are on the inside. That's why I don't think this is a problem. You may think it is, but I personally don't and have made my reasons clear. I had no idea that gamergate would eventually be discussed in any tabletop forum either. I guess it was inevitable.

I don't understand this sentiment, of "not seeing race" or gender or whatever.

It seems quite wrong headed to me. You can't simply divorce a person's "true self" from their outward appearance. The latter certainly influences the former.

It seems to me quite bullish to insist that a person's distinct qualities and appearances are of no influence on your perception of them. I am inclined to think this is usually said in the spirit of diminishing stereotyping and prejudice, but this statement seems to largely miss the point: equality is arrived at through comprehensive and fair appraisals of our inherent prejudices and expectations of normal - and not by simply insisting that there aren't any from ones own point of view. As vorpal sword pointed out, rather than being progressive, this way of thinking is in fact itself the expression of privilege.

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