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Thursday 28 April 2016

Classic Rant: How to Get (or Not To Get) Girls Into the Hobby

People keep fucking this up. And again, the reason is simple: you can't CHANGE THE HOBBY to get more women, or Asians, or blacks, or senior citizens, or left-handed redheads, or any other particular group into RPGs. This is a backward and pointless way to do something; if a person from a certain group would not be inclined to your hobby in the first place, no effort is going to lead to that, all you're going to end up doing is fucking up your own hobby.

On the other hand, if there are people, regardless of what identity-descriptors you can put on them, who might be interested in RPGs, getting them into the hobby is as easy as them finding out it exists. That's it.

So something like the recent Forge Swine game "Awesome Women Kicking Ass" (ironically, bound to be played mostly by self-described "male feminists", no doubt, if it ends up being played at all) is a perfect example of how NOT to do things. No, women will NOT be more interested in RPGs just because you make a game about "awesome women kicking ass", or because you make everyone play a girl in the game, or because the theme is (and I quote) "defending the land of Herstoria against an attack by the pernicious forces of the Patriarchy" (I swear to fucking god, that's their actual description, in their words). I have to think, to pray at least, that there's at least some minor element of tongue-in-cheek there, even for them this is just too far over the top not to be. Isn't it?

I mean shit, I don't even know anymore, these motherfuckers are so deranged that they think gaming about throat-raping a dead cabin-boy is good wholesome fun which they take in all seriousness, so in comparison actually believing this to be an entirely straight and serious game about defending the land of Herstoria from the Patriarchy is not a big stretch. Maybe they really do think this is fucking genius or something; but even if they are being slightly facetious, the real mentality that underlies this game is "if we bend over backward to show how "sensitive" we are, and make games where women get to put a big emphasis on the fact that they're women, then we'll get more women gamers".

And that's absolutely wrong. Women don't want to play feminist heroines fighting the patriarchy. They either don't want to play at all, or they want to play exactly what everyone else wants to play: dwarves, elves, rangers, space cops, superheroes, occult investigators, etc etc. and making a big show of pseudo-feminist sensitivity is going to get you fucking nowhere.

So let's look, on the other hand, at an example of how to do things right. That would be this video right here. WoTC could post this video as-is and it would be the best advertising for the female market you could imagine: its a group of teenage girls who all play D&D, and make no big deal about being girls, or play differently. In other words, they're just gamers.


(Originally posted October 7, 2010)


  1. The number of topics I that actually agree with you on, I could probably count with one hand.

    But when it comes to tabletop gaming, you are spot on every single time.

  2. OMG that video was awesome, why are they not spamming that everywhere... and good article.

    1. Well, its an old article and an old video at this point. But they didn't spam it back then, either.

  3. The follow-up video is also good. Thank's for (re)posting this classic rant.

    A few years back I actually tried to play "Awesome Women Kicking Ass" (what? I play *everything*.) I really could not get it.

  4. Hear, hear! Spot on!

  5. My impression is that such games are not created to be played but rather to assert political bona fides. They all seem to disappear quickly and never get mentioned again. Of course that could also be because they suck.