Re: "Don't mention the gyrda!"

From: donald_at_eINeTayOnykK6B34S_w4r-VyVZIg4JGkkEv75VtOObMuZ9UBfv3h2pBbemLaPq-KhmjF8
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 16:41:55 GMT

In message <> Alison Place writes:

>On the "Don't mention the women" front, you can look at it as a losing
>battle. Probably even lost. Women's lib has much farther to go in the
>gaming community than it has in real life, as far as I can see. (For
>a spoof of the whole topic, anyone ever played 'Macho Women with Guns'?)
>We have almost no female writers, few female gamers, we live in
>male-dominated societies, and that, unfortunately, seems to be
>that. Most of the cultures on which Gloranthan societies are
>based, whether consciously or unconsciously, are also patriarchal,
>as you've noted in previous posts. Malkioni, Dara Happan, Kralorelan,
>Carmanian, etc. The big exceptions are possibly the Orlanthi (still
>named for a god, though) and the Lunar Empire, who worship a Goddess,
>but are led by Moonson to appease the Dara Happans. There's also the
>Uz, but they're rarely PCs, most often they're the foes, or NPCs at best.

I think the Orlanthi are a balanced culture with male and female roles different but equal. If you talk to a man from that culture he'll call them Orlanthi, if you talk to a woman she'll call them Ernaldans.

Although the Dara Happens and Carmenians are patriarchal I feel several of the other major cultures of the Empire aren't. The nest based culture of the Rinliddi implies a matriarchy and the one ruler we know of, Deezola, was female. There are signs of female leadership in some other writeups as well. Nor does it make sense that a ruling goddess should appear without some tradition of female leaders.

>Four out of the five characters that I've played have been female,
>but that's probably because I am. Ditto, most guys play guys. We
>did have a guy playing our Uleria priestess in the Cinsinan freeform,
>but that was a last-minute fluke. Though rather a fun one.

Personally I find it fun to play female characters. I avoid doing it all the time though.

>What can be done about it? It's not possible to mandate that x% of
>new characters or NPCs be female. Ain't gonna happen. There's no
>international governing gaming body that can demand well-rounded
>female characters wearing sensible armour (or other appropriate
>personal protective clothing) in every campaign. We can't force
>everyone to analyse their efforts from a feminist viewpoint, and
>edit accordingly. But, boy (or should that be 'girl'?), I'd like
>to see the effort once in a while!

I don't think a modern feminist viewpoint fits well in most of Glorantha. Simply because it isn't the modern world. Equally I find a modern sexist viewpoint imposed on Glorantha cultures by default to be equally grating. In cultures like the Heortlings and Praxians without women's magic everyone would starve and you can bet they all know it.

>There's another way to look at it, and that is that as society becomes
>more liberal and egalitarian, so does one's pastimes. In other words,
>perhaps the battle hasn't really been joined, yet. As the impetus for
>change in the gaming world is usually commercial, that would mean that
>Mongoose and other publishers would have to work at making their
>products more interesting to women, to get money out of us, too. Find
>women who can write, too. I doubt that most men would object to more
>gaming women. Lack of women seems to be a major plaint, in fact. Why
>would she sympathise with your urge to spend heaps of time and money
>on silly games, if she doesn't enjoy them, too?

It's not as bad as it was. When I started gaming the typical proportion of women was zero. Now it's around 10% with some groups up to 40%. That's a big change in the last forty years. With that change has come others - less emphasis on combat and winning, more emphasis on fun and story. The commercial publishers are still following rather than leading which is why there are vastly more publications catering for the teenage male gamer than anyone else.

Donald Oddy


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