So I wanted to give a bit shout-out to the awesome Contessa gaming con, which starts tomorrow! In case you don't know, this is its second year, and it is an online Con which is FREE, made/run by women gamers, but is FOR everyone (men and women alike). It is a celebration of women in gaming, where men are very much welcome to come and join women and participate in the games and panels being put on by awesome women gamers. I strongly suggest you check it out.
Now, as for the "controversy" part: recently a tiny number of critics have been highlighted as claiming that the Contessa event is somehow 'discriminatory' because only women are running the games and panels, even though anyone can engage in them as participants. This is a really stupid perspective. I mean, if I wanted to start a con where only D&D was run, it wouldn't be "discrimination" against non-D&D-players; and this isn't even that. This isn't "discrimination" in any way, its an inclusive non-political celebration of a certain group of gamers, and its stating a very important message.
The fact is, long before these few dudes were complaining about it, last year when Contessa was starting it got a lot of flack from another side: the Swine Pseudo-activists were criticizing the fact that Contessa was "non-political", that it wasn't going to waste its time and everyone else's doing panels about how horribly women are oppressed in the hobby, that it wasn't some event to criticize how RPGs are a tool of Teh Patriarchy, or spend all its time addressing "privilege" or "rape culture". The Swine were at best apathetic and uninterested in a Convention that proved the lie to their moronic claims that women can't possibly enjoy gaming as it is today. Now some of these same Swine have come out in tepid support of Contessa only because certain ultra-reactionaries that speak for no one but themselves have whined about it, and are of course pointing at these idiots as if they were somehow representative of mainstream male gamers. They have conveniently whitewashed history to forget that at last year's event they were the ones being aggressive and critical of Contessa while theRPGsite (that den of patriarchal iniquity, according to them) was one of its biggest supporters.
As for the stupid claims of "discrimination", if Contessa were all about "blah blah blah whine whine whine rape culture safe place for women panels on how awful men are" and didn't invite men through the door, the whiners might have some kind of argument to make, but the organizers of Contessa are actually doing the polar OPPOSITE of that. They're not about politics or pseudo-activism, they're about GAMING. They're not about complaining about some kind of "exclusion" for women, they're about SHOWING OFF how awesome women can game in the hobby exactly AS IT IS right now. They're the living proof that women can love gaming, and that gaming is totally a place where women can participate just as well as men can, without demanding that the types of games we play or how we play needs to be "radically revised" along someone's political-ideological agenda. That's the reason why some of the Pseudo-activist Swine were actually so critical of Contessa last year: It proves that many of their complaints are lies or exaggerations.
Contessa has my unwavering support; and if you're not supporting it because.. what? Because you can't GM a game there (would you really have if you had been allowed? Or is this just a 'principle of the thing' territory)? YOU are just being an idiot.
If someone really wanted to do a "Manly Men's Con of Manliness" (or alternately, say, a con exclusively for gay males), where they wanted to say that only men (or say, gay men) would run games and do panels but everyone was welcome to participate, I'd have no problem with that either (I'd find the former case of the "manly men's Con" to be a bit pointless unless it was being done VERY tongue-in-cheek).
And yes, probably some of the Pseudo-activist Swine would hypocritically be deeply opposed to the former; but what do you expect? These are some of the same people who didn't give a shit about Contessa (or even resented it for showing that women can actually - GASP! - participate in our hobby AS IT IS, rather than the picture the Swine want to paint as the hobby being a place of hopeless rape-culture where only a complete overhaul under their supervision could possibly allow women to be 'safe' enough to do something like Contessa). They didn't give a shit about it, that is, until certain individuals came out against it. NOW, suddenly, one year late, they're rushing to its defense.
None of this changes things, what side the hypocrites are on in this case, doesn't in any way change the fact that Contessa is:
a) a great thing
b) A proof of how awesome the hobby is RIGHT NOW.
A better comparison would be: do you insist if you go to a London production of Matilda or Jesus Christ Superstar that you should have an inherent right to get to go on stage and perform?
Is the Royal Shakespeare Company being "discriminatory" by only allowing you to sit in the audience??
For that matter, if you come to a gaming group, and it already has a GM, do you have an inherent right to "demand" that the group let you GM instead? If they are instead welcoming you to be a player, are they "discriminating" against you?
And what if the whole point was for said GM to invite everyone to her house to show everyone how well she can GM and to have a party about how much she loves D&D?
That is to say, isn't the guy who looks at that party invitation and says "no, if i can't GM then I'm being discriminated against" just being a total asshole??
So yeah, don't be an asshole: no one is forcing you to go to Contessa, but I'm betting those who participate will have a good time, if you're into the whole "playing tabletop RPGs through online chat" thing. Go check it out.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Rattray's Marlin Flake