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AlphaKennyThing

Calling All Women!

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Aye, the difficulty is building that group - when you've only got 1 teenager or 1 adult or 1 woman or 1 anything within a group (or none) its harder to build that sub-group within the larger whole. First off the larger whole has to change its attitudes and that can be hard because a lot of the behaviour is subconscious. It's the kind of thing people don't realise that they are doing. 

 

It's rather like casual swearing in that people who do it don't realise that they are swearing so its harder for them to stop. Same for in-jokes within male or female groups. Most of the time the people doing it don't realise its what they are doing and when challenged it can be hard for them to respect that they are doing it or that its "bad". Plus a lot of the time its not actually hurting anyone and in isolation most of the banter isn't that bad. It's the repetition and the situation that is changing and that can be hard for some to adapt too. It's something each club has to deal with in their own way - GW can lead the way by making the game more accessible and by using more women in their advertising etc.. They can build subtle guides and hints that way, but they can't march in and change groups - even changing armies won't change group behaviour - which honestly seems to be the greater barrier rather than the actual models themselves. 

 

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wow, this has taken a turn for the depressing.

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I don't see how - if anything identifying that the issue is "more" the club scene than the game scene is a very good thing. Because it means its social rather than inherent to the game. Social is something we gamers can tackle and it is a change that can be done without losing anything in the lore and game and setting itself. It's a very positive thing. 

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27 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

This is exactly what I was trying to say earlier on. You get used to the idea that over a few years you see the same guys every week down at the local and have some banter over a game. It becomes a space where you go to do a "male" activity with other men. It's the same kind of urge that a group of friends gets to leave the Wags at home and go to the football. There is no rule excluding women but the focus and dynamic of enjoyment is male bonding.

I am by no means socially awkward but neither am I a massive extrovert, but I don't like the idea of having to censure my behaviour around women. Not telling certain jokes etc. It's kind of the same with kids, I'd prefer my gaming experience to by and large be free of under 18s.

I think ideally having two or three women involved in a local community is the best bet. That way they can establish their own group identity and that can form a subculture within the wider local area. 

An interesting point towards the end, and whilst I certainly don't think you hold any disdain for women, what behaviour do you feel you need to regulate around women? 

For example, everyone regulates their behaviour around new people when they first meet them. When a new bloke comes to the club and I offered to show them the ropes, I certainly don't dive in with my finest toilet humour, as hilarious as I am. When you work out what kind of sense of humour each person has, you both open up a bit and start having a laugh. It is exactly the same process with women I've served alongside, and there are very few who ruined the atmosphere with their presence. Plenty have told some jokes that pushed even my boundaries.

Totally legitimate wanting a male space, so to speak, as it is important to get some bonding in, same for women doing some activities together. I just feel that you get best of both worlds at a gaming club. Playing my first game against an opponent I've known for years and relentlessly making fun of eachother and then switching to a game of Blood Bowl with a new girl at the club having a laugh about something totally different just isn't going to detract from my fun - quite the opposite.

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I got my GF into playing and hobbying last year.. she is an artist already so it didn't take too much convincing. But she painted a beautiful Stardrake played a few games, then nothing.. :( 

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3 minutes ago, Túrbóbelja said:

I got my GF into playing and hobbying last year.. she is an artist already so it didn't take too much convincing. But she painted a beautiful Stardrake played a few games, then nothing.. :(

What put her off? Did she say?

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36 minutes ago, AlphaKennyThing said:

An interesting point towards the end, and whilst I certainly don't think you hold any disdain for women, what behaviour do you feel you need to regulate around women?  

For example, everyone regulates their behaviour around new people when they first meet them. When a new bloke comes to the club and I offered to show them the ropes, I certainly don't dive in with my finest toilet humour, as hilarious as I am. When you work out what kind of sense of humour each person has, you both open up a bit and start having a laugh. It is exactly the same process with women I've served alongside, and there are very few who ruined the atmosphere with their presence. Plenty have told some jokes that pushed even my boundaries.

Totally legitimate wanting a male space, so to speak, as it is important to get some bonding in, same for women doing some activities together. I just feel that you get best of both worlds at a gaming club. Playing my first game against an opponent I've known for years and relentlessly making fun of eachother and then switching to a game of Blood Bowl with a new girl at the club having a laugh about something totally different just isn't going to detract from my fun - quite the opposite

You're probably right, when you put it that way it does sort of echo reality in  a more sensible way than what I was originally suggesting. That said for me personally I've always felt that I could have a laugh "with the guys" in a way which I couldn't if there were women present? It's difficult to quantify I suppose, a lot of it probably does come down to making sexual, un-pc and so on jokes. The kind of thing a friend of mine and I can have "banter" over but if our partner's saw us we'd be getting stern looks. Perhaps part of it is a somewhat sexist assumption that women aren't "fun" or "cool" in the way you expect a group of guys to be. Or maybe it's just a way to let off steam by not having to regulate behaviour we would otherwise have to censure when around our partners?

I think it's probably a little bit of both, my partner pointed out to me that I always groaned about female comedians on panel shows going on about "feminism" but didn't have an issue with male comics making other kinds of political jokes. Ultimately when challenged it came down to my own biases rather than any logic to my original argument that comics "should focus on the comedy". This may be the same. 

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24 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

You're probably right, when you put it that way it does sort of echo reality in  a more sensible way than what I was originally suggesting. That said for me personally I've always felt that I could have a laugh "with the guys" in a way which I couldn't if there were women present? It's difficult to quantify I suppose, a lot of it probably does come down to making sexual, un-pc and so on jokes. The kind of thing a friend of mine and I can have "banter" over but if our partner's saw us we'd be getting stern looks. Perhaps part of it is a somewhat sexist assumption that women aren't "fun" or "cool" in the way you expect a group of guys to be. Or maybe it's just a way to let off steam by not having to regulate behaviour we would otherwise have to censure when around our partners?

I think it's probably a little bit of both, my partner pointed out to me that I always groaned about female comedians on panel shows going on about "feminism" but didn't have an issue with male comics making other kinds of political jokes. Ultimately when challenged it came down to my own biases rather than any logic to my original argument that comics "should focus on the comedy". This may be the same. 

You may well find there is a marked difference between banter around women who attend the club (when that hopefully starts to happen more) and banter around your partner. I think it doesn't take much at all for people to admit that they are slightly different around their partners (male and female) than around their friends. My wife is different around her friends without me, and vice versa. 

Of course there may be some topics that you may avoid in the interest of keeping everyone involved, but I highly doubt I'm going to find myself talking about how attractive I find Jennifer Lawrence whilst playing Age of Sigmar. 

I would place a substantial bet that if you ended up playing games against @Enoby or another player, you'd have just as much of a laugh as if you played 'one of the lads' for a lack of a better term.  There's just not a huge amount of exposure to it right now as it's been the hobby of blokes for such a long time.

But hopefully we can chisel out some bullet-point ideas to change that as the discussion progresses and more ladies join the fray to throw in their two cents.

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I've been digging the direction GW has been taking with more females models lately. It just makes the world feel more "real" to me. The lack of female dwarf models (or really any mention of women in the Fyreslayer battletome) has always bugged me a little. Like, I can get that men do most of the fighting but can't we get a women or two at least? Maybe a support hero? Dwarfs don't reproduce by spores (I think) and I've seen female dwarfs done well in WoW and DnD so I don't think it would be hard. It would just make those Rune Fathers and Rune Sons "feel more real" to me if we had a Rune Mother character or something.

Side note: I kinda want a female Great Unclean One too since GUOs are basically perversions of those old fertility statues.

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It's actually interesting about the dynamics of men and women interacting with particular social ques because even children cartoons tackle this issue. Usually the lesson is "just because someone is gender X doesn't mean they don't like topic Y".

I think in the end while this may seem awkward, try to find out generally what the other person is like and their preferences. This doesn't have to be straight up "hey so can you tell me everything about you!" But jut trying to find points of common interest. If all else fails one could be blunt and go "so I might crack some toilet humor, is that ok?"

There are some women out there who find genitalia jokes hilarious, there are men some who are squeamish about anything sexual. After a period of time theres no reason to not treat a girl like "one of the guys" if shes into that stuff, while at the same time some men might like to crochet in their spare time and can't tell the different between a fair hit and a foul in baseball.

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I've never understood the attitude that people can't include women without somehow fundamentally upending their hobby or group dynamic. I've trained in mixed gyms, taught at martial arts schools with mixed mats, play D&D with a group that is 60% female and played at a rugby club where men's and women's teams did everything except contact training together. Other than the absence of one or two toxic individuals there was absolutely no difference to the group dynamic or camaraderie whatsoever in comparison to exclusively male groups. 

Women only gyms don't exist simply because other gyms are fundamentally off putting to women. They exist because of the behaviour of a small minority of male users make the environment uncomfortable. The same is true with gaming of any kind. Unfortunately historically gaming has tended to cater to this type of toxic person rather than half the population.

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I don't think its that gaming caters to the toxic people at all - the socially less skilled yes, but that goes for the men and the women. I think its just more true that its something different to some groups that have traditionally been very if not totally male dominated. Ergo its just change. People and groups resist change all the time, its natural even if the change is desirable because it promotes a state of the unknown - even if its going to be a good thing because more gamers means more chance of a game, more diversity, more skills etc....

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1 hour ago, Forrix said:

Side note: I kinda want a female Great Unclean One too since GUOs are basically perversions of those old fertility statues.

I don't really see how to make a "female" GUO. From a reproductive standpoint GUOs are willed into existence by nurgle then nurglings form in their rotting intestines. As for the model, it doesn't really have anything that says "male" or "female" as it's just a mass of bloated flesh hiding any bone structure to indicate either way. You could give it a boobjob so they are less saggy and more like the fertility statues you mentioned but that's about it

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Give her a "boob job" so that she's got more prominent female chest. One might be spilling open with sores, the other could be dribbling maggots. Then you could give her a tubular head of long hair like the beasts of nurgle have or have tubes that spill down off the head and behind. 

A more developed chest  and long hair would certainly make the model appear more female than male and the face/overlarge body wouldn't need any changes at all - though you could go "joker" style with some blood make up on the face. Though that might be pushing a little into the cheesy region - then again nurgle does dance that line between the utterly grotesque and the jovial. Heck the beasts of nurgle are basically really big labradors who just want to run over the battlefield and share their infections, lick your face and play fetch the arm. 

 

Edit - I always thought the older metal Great Unclean one looked rather feminine in the face whilst the newer has a more masculine face. 

Edited by Overread

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On 9/25/2018 at 10:45 AM, AlphaKennyThing said:

Yeah, every other female I know who has any interest in AoS has gone for Sylvaneth. Not sure what it is about them!

They're essentially elves mixed with trees. Most women when it comes to fantasy are usually drawn to elves I've found. There's exceptions, but just about every woman I've known who plays an RPG or MMO goes with an elf. 

 

Edited by Clan's Cynic

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9 hours ago, Enoby said:

Not the person you're replying to, but I may be able to help :)

One of the gaming clubs I go to has a regular who, on the whole, is a pretty nice guy, but he can be a little forward in his opinions. There was one example, I was waiting for my brother (who was busy trying to order something) and was sat near this guy who was painting one of the new Stormcast (a female Stormcast). Pretty much out of nowhere, he started talking to me about why female Space Marines would make him quit the hobby (he abhorred the idea of them). I can imagine that, especially for a new member, it may put a woman off to hear someone say they'd stop playing the game if an army added women. 

I don't think this guy was a sexist, and he likely had very valid reasons to not want female Space Marines (even if quitting everything is a bit of an overreaction), but from an outsider's perspective, it may be offputting. 

I've also noticed a higher than normal proportion of 'anti-SJWs' who bemoan the idea of greater representation, and may express fear of GW pandering to particular crowds. Regardless of if their arguments hold water, it runs the risk of alienating a group when it sounds like the 'anti-SJWs' would hate for them to take part. 

I've not seen an issue with people being offended at crude jokes, unless those jokes specifically focus on a certain group or use the word 'r@pe' (which is unfortunately pretty common). 

Obviously, this isn't the same for everyone and gaming group experiences  vary wildly all over the world - this is just what I've seen :)

 

Also, to the side, when I've tried to get my female friends into Warhammer, many have expressed a dislike of going into one of the shops as they feel they would get leered at for not belonging there. Just adding another perspective.  

I’ve got the perfect solution for you and your friends! Order online, have it delivered to your houses, build and paint at home and set up tables in your house and form a club :) now you don’t have to worry about not belonging or getting leered at by weirdos and you can play the way you want. 

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Hi folks. Woman gamer here, been lurking for a while but signed up so I could reply to this. I'm a newbie to AoS, but have been playing Shadespire regularly at my FLGS for the last 9 months with a community that is vastly male dominated, and have had a really good time.

My thoughts on the main things that have made this a good experience for me:

 - So far I've not encountered anyone who has said 'gosh, you're a woman!', or expressed surprise that I'm there, or asked if I'm at an event because I'm with my boyfriend (my partner doesn't play), or anything like that. The people I play with have treated me just like any other opponent. This has been a massive positive for me, and is something that I think is really important for making women feel properly included in a community. I was super nervous before I went along to the store for the first time, and it wouldn't have taken much to put me off from going back.

 -No one I play with regularly has ever complained about the existence of female models in the hobby. Clearly such people do exist, so I've probably been lucky here, but that's been another big positive for me. Personally I don't have a strong preference for playing with female models myself (I'm currently collecting an AoS Fyreslayer army!), but having female models in the range matters a lot to me as it helps me feel that women are part of the intended audience for the hobby. 

 - I've not yet come across anyone making jokes or using language that's made me feel uncomfortable. Similar to what another poster said above, crude jokes typically wouldn't bother me, but language relating to sexual assault definitely would.

In terms of other stuff that is important for attracting women into the hobby, I think having visible role models at GW and in popular hobby media is really helpful - I'm gutted that Ceri has stopped hosting WHTV, because I think she was a fantastic role model for women in the hobby. I'm not sure I've ever seen a woman in a photo from an AoS event, and that makes me less likely to want to go to one (I'm sure there are photos out there, but it's the overall perception that matters here not the exception cases).

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"I’m moving onto other things (which will be revealed soon)", according to her Twitter on 16th September apparently. Shame, I liked her on there.

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4 hours ago, Scops947 said:

Hi folks. Woman gamer here, been lurking for a while but signed up so I could reply to this. I'm a newbie to AoS, but have been playing Shadespire regularly at my FLGS for the last 9 months with a community that is vastly male dominated, and have had a really good time.

My thoughts on the main things that have made this a good experience for me:

 - So far I've not encountered anyone who has said 'gosh, you're a woman!', or expressed surprise that I'm there, or asked if I'm at an event because I'm with my boyfriend (my partner doesn't play), or anything like that. The people I play with have treated me just like any other opponent. This has been a massive positive for me, and is something that I think is really important for making women feel properly included in a community. I was super nervous before I went along to the store for the first time, and it wouldn't have taken much to put me off from going back.

 -No one I play with regularly has ever complained about the existence of female models in the hobby. Clearly such people do exist, so I've probably been lucky here, but that's been another big positive for me. Personally I don't have a strong preference for playing with female models myself (I'm currently collecting an AoS Fyreslayer army!), but having female models in the range matters a lot to me as it helps me feel that women are part of the intended audience for the hobby. 

 - I've not yet come across anyone making jokes or using language that's made me feel uncomfortable. Similar to what another poster said above, crude jokes typically wouldn't bother me, but language relating to sexual assault definitely would.

In terms of other stuff that is important for attracting women into the hobby, I think having visible role models at GW and in popular hobby media is really helpful - I'm gutted that Ceri has stopped hosting WHTV, because I think she was a fantastic role model for women in the hobby. I'm not sure I've ever seen a woman in a photo from an AoS event, and that makes me less likely to want to go to one (I'm sure there are photos out there, but it's the overall perception that matters here not the exception cases).

Thanks taking the time to sign up and respond! I have to say I am greatly heartened that your experience so far has been a positive one. Gamers who are less than agreeable are thankfully few and far between, which is cool. 

Out of interest, what sort of thing drew you in? Do you think - beyond making it clear via product lines and advertising including women - that there is something GW could do to bring more women in? @Enoby may have some interesting responses too.

I only ask this question in particular because if we take Warcraft and other MMOs as an example (as someone alluded to above), an overwhelming majority of women choose to play Elves or Humans, or generally feminine characters. Is there any substance behind the idea that if GW were to introduce an army that contained strong male and  female lead characters that are alive (i.e. not dead, rotting, blind or armed with tentacles), practically dressed and not oversexualised that it could serve as a good 'gateway' army to trying out other stuff? My wife feels it would - she'd only play WoW because of Blood Elves and Humans ? Obviously she is one voice amongst many, though.

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17 minutes ago, AlphaKennyThing said:

Do you think - beyond making it clear via product lines and advertising including women - that there is something GW could do to bring more women in? @Enoby may have some interesting responses too.

The only other thing I can think of is bringing themselves to a more public stage. While Warhammer is famous, it is still niche. In order to draw more people in full stop (and have women notice the female-centred armies) is to have Warhammer go fully mainstream. Total Warhammer has helped this a lot, but the hobby itself is still a bigger investment than a video game so it's a lot easier said than done. In order to become mainstream, a brand needs many easy to consume products. I reckon a very successful Warhammer role playing game (in the same vein as an Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age game) could make the cut, combined with books that were less wrapped up in themselves (e.g. The Horus Heresy part 3 billion won't appeal to someone trying to start up).

 

Going mainstream isn't always a good idea, though, as more people means more 'That Guys' - this is especially a detriment in a social game. In addition, while it may bring more attention to the brand, it may not bring more money into the modelling side of the hobby simply due to time, money, and effort differences. 

--- 

As a side note, both Dungeons and Dragons 5e and Pathfinder seem to have more women in despite starting as a 'boys game'. While both 5e and PF are very inclusive in their art, I doubt that's everything. Competitiveness may also be a role; not to say women are less competitive (in fact, I have a study that would suggest there's little difference in gaming) but rather, it's easier to get intimidated when having to compete against someone (as per wargames) compared to co-operating (as per table top RPGs). If a woman felt it was a boy's club, they may already feel a bit put off about going in, and may feel even less eager when opponents get passionate about a victory or a loss. There's also a lot more pressure to do well when playing competitively, and some women may feel even more pressure to perform well because they feel like they're representing their gender. There may be a study on this, but I am unsure. 

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GW got their taste of mainstream with Lord of the Rings - it hurt. Short term mainstream can be great in bringing in lots of money, but you either have to keep up and invest HEAVILY into mainstream otherwise it will vanish just as fast and I don't know if GW really netted a vaster amount more players than if they'd otherwise been more steady and focused on their core marketing and games.

Mainstream is very fickle and it either revolves around building a cult (Apple) around your products or chasing the newest and latest (most of the big toy companies - even Lego now chases many of the films). The computer game market I think is where GW has seen great leaps, but they are odd there. I think GW likes to keep a hold on its IP and how its used which turns away many bigger studios and instead leaves GW with a lot of smaller studios which might have good ideas, but often lack the polish and budget - so they remain niche. 

That said Dawn of War and Total War Warhammer are BIG games that get a lot of attention and I think generate a lot of interest for GW. I think TW Warhammer will advance into Age of Sigmar (they are already clearly setting up the TW world to end - doom hinted in the first game; the vortex destroyed in the second; chaos unleashed in the third). At that point the AoS line should be more cleaned up and it should generate way more attention for itself. 

 

 

 

I agree that GW doesn't have to do anything special; increasing the number of women in their stores and structure; increasing their advertising and generally building on what they've got. They are already in a strong position so it makes sense to not branch out too far ; but to build on that strength and solid foundation and broaden it out. 

 

 

 

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According to Blizzard’s design philosophy (with their own words so who knows if it’s true..) they just make fun games they are passionate about and want to play themselves. 

Is there any place for the “if we build it they will come” train of thought? 

Assuming GW makes lore because it’s something they’re passionate about and it’s not a cold calculated business decision to give context to models, and their primary motive is simply selling models period, but they actually really enjoy telling stories... is it possible that’s all it takes? 

I think there’s a fear they may compromise their artistic vision to be inclusive to people who wouldn’t be interested in the hobby anyway. Is there room to make what they want, how they want and be passionate about it and the stories they tell and the factions they’ve made and the type of people in those factions and that itself is the attractive part? 

Is it ok if there are sacred cows? Would it be alright if there were never ever female space Marines because that’s their intention and vision, but there’s also entirely female forces with no males at all because it’s also their vision, as well as mixed forces because it also makes sense in the universe? A place like Cadia probably had every single able bodied person recruited to planetary defense because of its location, but other planets may have the luxury of being more selective and thus have only 1 or the other gender or whatever. 

Basically, do they necessarily need to do anything differently or does their effort and vision have any merit in and of itself? 

If they (Gw) build it, will they (women?) come? Or does it require intentional intercession? 

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My girlfriend likes the Raging Heroes models, particularly the sisters of the orphanage line.

GW doesn't sclupt female characters particularly well. They are either ugly or over-sexualized. 

I have a feeling the new Sisters of Battle models will be super ugly so GW can avoid being labeled as 'sexist'.

Edited by 123lac

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@AlphaKennyThing

Another woman gamer here who lurked and made an account to make a reply.  

I choose Silvaneth for my army. I'm not even a huge fan of elves in other fantasy games/media. What I looked at a lot was the lore and strengths of the armies. I also like how the Silvaneth are just a bit more easy to personalize. Like Spring better? Pale green and bright buds everywhere. Winter? Frost and death! Also, who doesn't love Treebeard? Kidding about that last part.

Seriously though, this game involves super small, super detailed figurines, that take hours to paint. I wanted something I would enjoy painting. I also really was looking for an army I would be able to put on display when not in use and that I could put a bit of my personality into, gender aside.

I would be remiss if I left out that I do like to see at least a few female characters. Representation matters.  The Daughters of Khaine existence is what got me interested to begin with.  I loved their lore, and just thought they were bad***. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here now. No, I don't need an all female army, nor do I need a female in all armies. However, knowing that I can see a few or that I have the option is cool. Also makes me feel a bit more welcome in the community. 

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