Sunday, August 28, 2016
Ignorance Isn't Bliss
I've observed much of the discussion of misogyny in Role Playing on the Interwebs, but have obtained from entering the fray due to, apparently, being both steadfast in standards of who I game with and lucky that I who I started gaming with weren't jerks (in that way, at least).
Last night I went to a friend's birthday party, she and her husband are in two games I run and I play with her in a third. I met her other game master from a different game, and was shocked.
Let me give you some background first:
I was raised by a really, really strong woman. My Mom is no shrinking wallflower and not being a kid who was into sports or really being outside much, I was around women more than men. My wife is the smartest and toughest person I've ever met. She is no wallflower, either. We raise our daughters to be independent people. Period.
Additionally, while my original gaming group, through it's many iterations only had two ladies in it (my wife and oldest daughter), it was only because we didn't now any ladies who role played. As guys, we joked and insulted each other, but we never crossed certain boundaries, it was simply understood. The once incident we ever had was in a champions game where an invisible player lifted the skirt of a female reporter and the whole game stopped and we chastised the player for a about half an hour. When my wife and oldest daughter joined our table, nothing changed because there was no poor behavior tolerated.
My friend's GM, we'll call him George, started immediately talking about his games and gaming experiences and somehow got around to talking about that time my friend's character was raped and impregnated by a minotaur. My wife and I sat there. He emphasized that it was a natural progression of the story, after seeing the look on our faces (and telling us how doesn't care what people think, while also explaining his actions for our approval). My wife asked, "Would you have raped a male character?"
He asserted he would and has, with much gusto. And then he said this, "I will admit that I generally don't understand why girls get so upset about rape though."
My wife turned red and said "Girls? Gena (my friend), is a woman."
I said, "Don't you think that's misogynistic?"
He proceeded to tell us a story about how his buddy's wife "who was only at the table because she wanted to spend time with her husband", in her first role playing game got so angry when he cut up her characters face. Adding, "She's very beautiful in real life and I think it made her insecure."
Before either of us could reply, Gena said, "No, she got mad because she sank a bunch of points in the Beautiful advantage and you indiscriminately made those points useless, it was central to her concept."
He simply said, "Women."
My wife left the table to cool down. We both simply decided to stay for a bit more and not make a scene at Gena's birthday party. It might not have been the right decision, but Gena plays in his weekly game and considers him a friend.
After way too long a story, I'm sad to say that I've finally encountered this type of jerk and am very glad that I don't game with those types of people and wouldn't let them at my table. I occasionally forget how deep tribalism is within our hobby.