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I will preface this with saying Mods if you think this thread is inappropriate please remove.

I was watching some of the recent GW AOS videos and  couldn't help but notice that they have introduced an attractive female presenter in Becca Scott. It got me thinking is this an attempt to get more  females interested in the hobby or is it just 'eye candy for the nerds'.

I for one hope its the former but even my wife associates the hobby with teenage boys and stale sweat. I've only been back in the hobby since Christmas and it'd still full of teenagers but perhaps more blokes now.

So how would we make the hobby more attractive to women? Strong female characters in programs like GOT won't hurt. My experience of female interest in the hobby  from the past has been more in the artistic side of the hobby, one girl I knew was a superb painter but she moved on to other things.

 

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Becca Scott does a board game show for Geek and Sundry and plays warhammer as well. She's not, in fact, eye candy. Being pretty doesn't prevent people from knowing a game.

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There may or may not be some flavour of that, but in this case I reckon it goes beyond just diversity.  They decided to get a professional presenter, rather than just using the best they could muster in-house (which isn't too bad, really, but doesn't compare to a real pro).

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Start at the ground floor; my 11yr old daughter plays shooty Stormcast and Seraphon. ?

Seriously though, GW is helping make it more mainstream accessible with simpler rules and more diverse and visually interesting units, but we can still do our part; be friendly, be enthusiastic (about the game), be hygenic, and don't buy into the "blue is for boys" ****** (or in the case of my daughter, "pink is for girls"... We got over that, then clocked diablo 3, and borderlands together).

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She's a popular personality from the world of gaming, which is part of GW engaging with community figures from live games, community articles, interviews etc and even to the point of popular figures getting figures first for reviews. Being female or whether people find her attractive is irrelevant.

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Even if it is for diversity (and not just because she knows what she's talking about), I think it's a good thing to include more women in the hobby scene. 

A little story time:

When I was a young girl (about 11-ish) I was briefly introduced to the 40K universe by the son of one of my mother's friends. He wasn't all that older than me (probably about 15), but he was really into the game and had a big army of chaos space marines (I think they were CSM). When I was younger, I remember being really sick of never having a female character with cool powers - we always seemed to get shafted with the helper 'mage role'. Bearing in mind I was 11 and didn't know films like Kill Bill or Aliens existed; my media consisted of Cartoon Network, where the coolest character was Raven from Teen Titans, but the vast majority seemed to be girly girls. Anyway, back onto my main point: I asked if there were any armies that had women in, and was told about the Sisters of Battle (he called them Witch Hunters - not sure if they're the same thing). When I asked about the others (the SoB didn't really sound all that cool, especially as he told me about how often they lose), I was basically told that there wasn't really much more out there (I remember specifically being confused about the whole no female space marines thing). As such, I didn't really become much more interested in 40K, and thought of Warhammer as just another boys club for a long time.  

I want to make it clear that I'm not saying that GW should force diversity in with 0 care for established lore, but from my anecdote, I can say that diversity can make people more interested in a product. I'm happy to see the direction they're going in at the moment :)

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@Enoby Wait but sisters of battle are exactly female space marines! I mean not exactly(if you read into lore) but for 11 - 15 year old kids just looking at models it shouldn't make a difference I think... Now the army being bad is another story :D

I have always found the W40k to be one of the most inclusive game ip's ever, much more so than AOS anyway.

I mean they have an all female army! And it was there super long ago, long before the whole talk about inclusivity started. Many gender neutral armies - Necrons, Tyranids, Tau(i would say orcs but they are kind of stereotypically male) and many armies which field both male and female troops(at least in the newer model ranges) like Eldar and Dark Eldar.  They even have an all black Space Marine chamber or whatever these are called.

The only culprits when it comes to using both gender sculpts are Space Marines and Imperial Guard but the first one could be justified due to lore reasons and second one kinda due to realism. We don't have many female soldiers on the frontlines in regular army either.

Regardless, AOS is not so bad off in this department. We've just had Daughters of Khaine released and I feel they will be in the spotlight for years to come :)

Edited by acadmo

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1 minute ago, acadmo said:

@Enoby Wait but sisters of battle are exactly female space marines! I mean not exactly(if you read into lore) but for 11 - 15 year old kids just looking at models it shouldn't make a difference I think... Now the army being bad is another story :D

I have always found the W40k to be one of the most inclusive game ip's ever, much more so than AOS anyway.

I mean they have an all female army! And it was there super long ago, long before the whole talk about inclusivity started. Many gender neutral armies - Necrons, Tyranids, Tau(i would say orcs but they are kind of stereotypically male) and many armies which field both male and female troops(at least in the newer model ranges) like Eldar and Dark Eldar.  They even have an all black Space Marine chamber or whatever these are called.

The only culprits when it comes to using both gender sculpts are Space Marines and Imperial Guard but the first one could be justified due to lore reasons and second one kinda due to realism. We don't have many female soldiers on the frontlines in regular army.

Regardless, AOS is not so bad off in this department either. We have just had Daughters of Khaine release and I feel they will be in the spotlight for years to come :)

I think it was less what they were, and more how they were decribed to me - I was basically told that they were women space marines but worse in every way :P

I should clarify my point a little better - it wasn't like 40K is a super sexist non-inclusive game, but rather it seemed like that to 11 year old me (even though I know better now). I think more presented diversity would help protect against this - if people who had a similar perception to me were shown that it's not the case, then I think it could help attract more women into the hobby. 

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I think the general population of females never is going to be interested in to stuff like table top gaming, those that do, don't really need additional entice, they just do the stuff like everyone else . 

The biggest barrier to playing is not what we do, but what other girls do to the girls that want to try stuff that is not considered a "girl" thing . Seen countless girls drop sports or hobbies, when other girls decided to bully them for it.  So in a way the only way to have a large population of girls playing AoS, is to make it so main stream that the majority of girls/women find it ok. Something like the GoT threatment should work., lower the competition aspect to minimum, make it less of a game and more of a social interaction. Stuff like that.

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5 minutes ago, blueshirtman said:

I think the general population of females never is going to be interested in to stuff like table top gaming, those that do, don't really need additional entice, they just do the stuff like everyone else . 

The biggest barrier to playing is not what we do, but what other girls do to the girls that want to try stuff that is not considered a "girl" thing . 

Thing is this also counts for boys too! 

Warhammer has always been a geeky hobby. Always. 

Now granted over the last 20 years geeky hobbies have had a VAST shift. Go back 20 years ago and the idea of being online all the time, of messaging people and playing games were all very geeky things only geeks would ever do. Now if you don't have your mobile welded to your hand texting you are the odd one out! 

Geek has taken a huge flip head over heels - computer games now have budgets in line with major Hollywood films; games like COD are mainstream and we've seen a huge rise in general inclusiveness and equality. 

 

40K will likely lag behind that curve but I think it will ride it the same as most other things Waiyuren has it right with attitude. If game clubs are fun, inclusive, properly run, not biggotted etc... then there's all the more chance of more girls getting involved. If GW s tart putting out female presenters and perhaps even focusing on the story of more of its female cast then that will be a big help. Lets not forget 40K was birthed in the same era that we had quite a lot of film female strong leads - Ripley and the like - so women have always been in Warhammer, just not as overt. I liken it to Lord of the Rings; they aren't historically front and centre but where they were present they were not weak. All we have to do is push them forward in the narrative (and GW is doing that in buckets, heck the front cover art for the Rule book has a female warrior) 

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My 7 year old daughter has always been a little curious, but nothing has caught her attention. Now, she’s watched the Scott videos (a very good presenter with full geek credentials) and looked at the new female Stormcast, and she’s in. 

Good news for me, and maybe playing into some wider corporate plan, who knows? All I know is that I now have someone to share my love of Warhammer with. 

LTR

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1 minute ago, Lost2Requiem said:

My 7 year old daughter has always been a little curious, but nothing has caught her attention. Now, she’s watched the Scott videos (a very good presenter with full geek credentials) and looked at the new female Stormcast, and she’s in. 

Good news for me, and maybe playing into some wider corporate plan, who knows? All I know is that I now have someone to share my love of Warhammer with. 

LTR

Really good for you, bud. I really hope my little 1 year old wants to do warhammers with his daddy. He's more interested in eating them right now, but he does find Archaon hilarious for some reason.

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Thanks, she dabbled with Eldar in 40k, but it didn’t stick, so it takes a couple of attempts!

As long as he’s not pointing and demonically cursing him for forfeiting the Mortal Realms and failing the lords of chaos, you’re probably ok...!

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Ignoring the political angle here, I would point out it depends on the reason someone does the hobby.

For the gaming aspects, males tend to be more systems oriented.  This would be the rules, systems, balance, and metagame.

Along with that, men tend to be more on the building side of things. 

On the pure painting, that can break more to the female side of things.

The social aspect and community building could go either way. But is not against females in the hobby.

Yea, I used qualifiers because there are sizable exceptions in both sexes, but regardless what the politics says, there are sex difference in interests. If you do not believe me, look up toy preference studies in non human primates based on biological sex.  

--------

The question then becomes; if GW or TGA is interested in seeing more ladies in the hobby, then should there be more focus on community and painting to encourage those who would not be tempermentally inclined to join the hobby normally to do so?

Personally, I have no issue with a female presenter as a face of AoS. I just dislike Geek and Sundry cast and shows across the board. So those videos do not do it for me.

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As someone who enjoys a select few shows from G&S, I am familiar with Becca as a presenter. I have absolutely no issues with her, but to be entirely objective, I see this more as a deal between two companies, with potentially very little to do with her. GW will have had a deal with G&S to promote their games such as shadespire. Clearly, GW was happy with that, and that's why they have gone again to an established group who have experience and knowledge in this field. I can't say for certain how much the actual presenter matters outside of being good at her job enough to encourage repeat business.

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another clever 'tactical' move by GW, if it makes more people get on board, power to them 

marketing is all about attention & they are winning i feel

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becca scott and the lades from geek and sundry are probably a better representation of nerds than many of us think. 

 

most of them are probably bigger nerds/geeks what ever you wanna call it than you are. 

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2 hours ago, acadmo said:

Regardless, AOS is not so bad off in this department. We've just had Daughters of Khaine released and I feel they will be in the spotlight for years to come :)

I've got to push back on this.

Daughters of Khaine features half-naked women, many of whom are half-snake/serpent. Not exactly a shining example IMO. 

In the days of WHFB, Lahmian bloodline Vampires weren't much better. Only High Elves and Wood Elves represented women fairly. 

I'm glad Stormcast Eternals seem to be moving in that direction. And Sylvaneth has Alarielle and female seeming characters/units. But there's a long way to go. 

I dig the new Nighthaunt character, but she represents grief. And I think that's it from armies with releases in AoS?

When you include so little female representation, portrayal of those females is important. 

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20 minutes ago, Cerlin said:

 

For the gaming aspects, males tend to be more systems oriented.  This would be the rules, systems, balance, and metagame.

Along with that, men tend to be more on the building side of things. 

On the pure painting, that can break more to the female side of things.

The social aspect and community building could go either way. But is not against females in the hobby.

Yea, I used qualifiers because there are sizable exceptions in both sexes, but regardless what the politics says, there are sex difference in interests. If you do not believe me, look up toy preference studies in non human primates based on biological sex.  

 

 

It's a very interesting topic, though I feel there's a danger to proclaiming that men generally like one thing and women generally like another, because that in itself perpetuates gender stereotypes which may be what's causing these differences in the first place. You mention non-human primate studies, which are indeed interesting, but there's quite a big difference between humans and even the great apes. To give an example, Chimpanzees are well known for infanticide (Arcadi, et al. 1999; Sakamaki, et al. 2001), but it would be dangerous to assume that the same is true for humans. We have many psychological similarities, but loads of differences too. Other studies (Stern, 1989) would suggest that how we treat human children in regards to gender stereotypes influences the children's behavior and reactions. To get back to the point, I'm not sure it'd help to create a bigger gap between men and women's hobbies in the case of GW - the more we think of games as "men's things", the more women will feel unwelcome about joining.  I understand the point you're making, but as a woman, I personally don't feel totally at ease when being told that my gender would be more likely to like painting - it makes me feel almost as if I shouldn't be enjoying the game for the sake of the game. I'm certain you didn't mean anything by it - you even mentioned outliers - but I feel it's not a particularly useful point. 

Cheryan el al. (2009) conducted a particularly interesting study which looked at women's participation in computer science. To quickly summarise their findings, they found that women felt less at ease in a masculin environment which reduced their sense of ambient belonging and stunted their interest in the subject. Now, Warhammer isn't quite computer science, but it may carry over - the more masculin an environment appears, the less likely women are to take part in it as they don't feel like they belong. 

 

 

Just to note, I'll apologise in advance if this comes off as confrontational - I just enjoy debates like this :) I'm not trying to attack you or anything like that! 

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14 minutes ago, Cerlin said:

Personally, I have no issue with a female presenter as a face of AoS. I just dislike Geek and Sundry cast and shows across the board. So those videos do not do it for me.

I agree with this. I have no problem with having a woman do the videos (I have/had no clue who she was though before the videos were put up and even now I only know her as the girl from the AoS videos) but the videos are dire. The camera work was shocking, constantly jumping between angles for no reason which had her then talking to the side which is both distracting and annoying. The whole background was poorly done as well, it looked like someone had seen a couple of youtube channels and tired to recreate the background bookcases. The channels that do this have interesting backgrounds as they add and remove things over years and have a mix of items and products, this looked like GW just had someone run round the office grabbing what ever left overs they could find.

Thankfully, I know these videos are not made for me, but I am glad I'm not being introduce to the game via them. I'd certainly not watch anything else from her based on the strength of those videos!

I have to admit, I don't really get this whole diversity thing (I grew up watching/reading mostly heroic women, which people now claim don't exist- bizarre!), I really don't see the need for it. If you make a strong, interesting product for one demographic that should be fine. The only reasons behind it is money, GW wants more. If you make a strong product in the first place it should appeal to people outside that original demographic, there shouldn't be a need to make changes to either the business model or the product to bring people in. I really don't understand the need for people to be 'represented' in a game to play it. I certainly don't feel that I'm represented by anything in any of GW products, I'm certainly not a huge muscled killing machine and I'm not a big shouty smashy green thing. I enjoy the warhammer universe because of the things they are not-they are an escape from modern life, I don't need to see myself in a game to want to play it. But that might be horse for courses!

I was always under the impression that the main issue with the lack of women in the hobby was (as demonstrated by some of the comments on social media) is that men can not act correctly when a woman is involved. Always reminds of the scenes in Tom and Jerry cartoons when a pie is placed on the window to cool.


 

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I think it's great there are more female models being introduced, and I particularly liked the AoS intro videos. I'd seen her introduce a different game before, and thought she did well.

Neave Blacktalon was a decent character, and the new female Sequitor is the reason I pre-ordered that box - fantastic sculpt!

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8 minutes ago, RexHavoc said:

I have to admit, I don't really get this whole diversity thing (I grew up watching/reading mostly heroic women, which people now claim don't exist- bizarre!), I really don't see the need for it. If you make a strong, interesting product for one demographic that should be fine. 

I'm glad I'm not alone! Although I think we did go through a generation gap when we were growing up where women seemed to take a few steps back or something. Then again I think the current push is mostly driven by a glut of younger generations taking up the torch once more. It's a good thing overall (barring the extreme nutty ends) though much of what they are after won't be realised for some time yet. We still have a male dominated society in many areas, but that's mostly because those are old people who have risen to high positions and held onto them. Basically they have to step aside and leave gaps for women in lower ranks to have potential to rise up. Indeed some areas of work are experiencing an almost total flip over from male dominated to female.

 

Many traditionally male roles are only like that because of how they were denied roles to women; or if not denied they were never encouraged.

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@Enoby I agree with the statements you mentioned. As someone working in an academic field which focusses a lot on human behaviour and language I often find it problematic if humans are compared to animals or if someone says that a certain behavior has genetic origin. May I ask you if you are also working in an academic field? The form of argumentation and citation seemed very familiar and I just wanted to know if I am correct with my assumption. ?  

Especially because you focused on the studies of Stern I would also assume that you are working in psychological or social science field, but this is only an assumption. But I would totally agree on what you said.

Edited by Infeston
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4 hours ago, stratigo said:

She's not, in fact, eye candy. Being pretty doesn't prevent people from knowing a game.

That's very true, but I think what makes the choice somewhat suspect is that her delivery makes her feel disconnected from the material. In other words, it feels lke she's not actually into the game.

It's not just her, though. There are other reviewers who have a similar style, male and female alike. It harms the presentation by making the viewer focus overly on the presenter since the actual content is seemingly not something they are genuinely into.

For a male example, see  Rodney Smith of Watch It Played. Polished, clean, good looking person ... but comes across feeling overly produced and not actually someone who has played, or even likes the games he is reviewing.

He and Becca may very well be bonkers for their games, but the content of their videos are pretty much just 'person reading you the rules well' as opposed to 'person with a passion for the game who wants to share that passion with you.'

I mean no disrespect to either. As someone with lots of experience directing on-screen talent, I can definitely say it's not easy to be on camera and be smooth. I'm just saying that maybe some folks are questioning the selection of Becca because of her apparent lack of genuine interest in, and passion for, the things she is saying. That leaves viewers perhaps overly focused on appearance.

Edited by Sleboda
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2 minutes ago, Infeston said:

@Enoby I agree with the statements you mentioned. As someone working in an academic field which focusses a lot on human behaviour and language I often find it problematic if humans are compared to animals or if someone says that a certain behavior has genetic origin. May I ask you if you are also working in an academic field? The form of argumentation and citation seemed very familiar and I just wanted to know if I am correct with my assumption. ?  

Unfortunately not working , but I do have a degree so I may as well use it ^_^

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