Gaming as a Female

The fact that I’m female influences my D&D gaming style much less than you’d think based on frantic forum postings over at the WOTC D&D forums. Apparently, possessing a vagina and a set of dice throws some male DMs into quite a tizzy. I’m not certain why. I’ve always been a competitive, ambitious person and so I work pretty hard at optimizing my rogue. I’m not a munchkin or a powergamer but I would be frustrated if the game never allowed me to show off some of my neater tricks. I like being able to punch holes in bad guys occasionally and I love being so slippery that while the tanks are spending their healing surges like its water, I  waltz out of combat with nary a smudge on my well-tailored clothes.

What I don’t understand is how frequently I’ve read posts that say if you game with women, then you must be careful to include a lot of fluffyness. Personal interactions. Cute little companion animals. Picking their own outfits. My biggest complaint about Shelly Mazzanoble’s book about women and D&D, Confessions of  a Part-Time Sorceress, is that it seems like she concentrates entirely on dispelling the stereotypes that surrounded D&D. She almost never addresses the way that female gamers are often treated. In fact, she frequently perpetuates a sexist view of women that portrays them as consumerist, clothes-obsessed shopaholics that only enjoy D&D if they can take their character to the nearest medieval shopping center.

Another strange view is that women possess some mystical power to instantly transform a game table to a higher plane. Apparently their vagina rays tame the savage natures of the men around them. Cheeto’s no longer litter the floor. The munchkin begins to roleplay. Jesus wipes away a single tear of pure joy. Putting women on a pedestal in this way is just as much of a disservice.

Ultimately, what I wish I would see is that women are treated just like people. Like regular old gamers. Some of them will be great. Some of them will suck. Some will love a story-oriented game. Others will fall asleep until they can hack-n-slash some bad guys. Women are gamers, too.

June 15, 2010. Uncategorized.

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