Since seriously giving tabletop role-playing game publishing another go, I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with several strong, independent, creative women who are either playing games, running games, or writing games. (And I’m not leaving out my wife Evelyn or my two daughters Mickey and AJ from that list, but they’re not the focus of this post.)
Back in September of 2017, I gained a number of new players in my playtest group for Aliens & Asteroids. We had four folks join us. John was first, then Shannon, Kae, and KT.
Now, I want to be honest here. I’ve never had many women at my game tables, until 2017. And it was a breath of fresh air. Each brought something new and exciting, whether it was challenging the system rules or simply being creative in the way they each played characters and dealt with various situations I threw at them.
Since then, we’ve gained even more — KB, Teagan, and Victoria — plus a few guys, Dan and Robert. And the creativity and fun we have at the table has never wavered.
I’ve been blessed with fantastic, wonderful people at my game tables. And I am forever thankful for that simple fact.
I am about as apolitical as I can be, but I feel that sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in. And I believe in inclusiveness over divisiveness, wherever possible.
So on this day where we recognize the unfair treatment of women in many walks of life, I just want to focus on something that bugs the heck out of me — men treating women unfairly in our hobby. I’ve been blessed by the fact that I’ve never run across it in my own experience, but I have heard some horror stories about what women have had to endure during some of those incidents. At best, it’s demoralizing and disrespectful. And at worst, we see so-called “men” treating women with disgusting behavior not worthy of anyone.
I hope I was never disrespectful to anyone along the way, but I was lucky to be raised by my mother who has always been a strong, independent thinker, and my sister is also a force to be reckoned with. I was also lucky to be surrounded by powerful women in my life who didn’t put up with much guff, so I think that definitely helped. I include my wife in that number, since she is a force of nature and I would almost feel sorry for anyone who got in her way. Both my daughters also fall into that category and the world has no idea what it’s in for.
That all said, I think we need to be more inclusive in a world more divided than ever. And women deserve to be treated fairly in all aspects of life, including in the hobbies that we all share.
To Shannon, Kae, KB, Teagan, and Victoria who I game with nearly every week with happy abandon, I say Thank You.
And any grognardian misogynists acting as gatekeepers to gaming, it’s time to open your eyes and accept that gaming is for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, skin color, or any other arbitrary method of discrimination you choose.
Someday we won’t have to argue about this stuff because it will be commonplace to accept everyone we can, because it makes us better as a result. But for now, let’s just tell those women thank you for all they have to put up with and try to make the world a better place in the process.