Second verse, same as the first. It’s a new year, but unfortunately not a new topic. I was hoping to bring you a Chatter: Spoilers edition with awesome content from across the web on our new toys coming to a store near you soon (Gideon: I love you, boo). However, I did what I always do. I followed a link (again, refer to first Chatter — I assume every link was placed there just for me). After I read the article behind the link, I was seething and wished I could walk into to every LGS in my country at the same time and scream: “Bless your hearts. We need to have a chat, again.”
Now. Now. Don’t make that face at me.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking this will be “another” men-are-sexist-pigs piece or that the empowerment of women should be paramount. It’s not. Stay with me.
The thing about rabbit holes is that they just lead to more rabbit holes. I saw this tweet from the lovely @CarboardNirvana:
I followed the link to this short, but very well written article about the expansionism of Magic. I highly recommend taking five minutes out of your day to check it out.
After reading this article I decided I definitely wanted to be part of the group. I love MTG. I love people who play MTG. Seems like a perfect fit. I joined their Facebook group, Planeswalkers for Diversity. While checking out my new group, I spied this little link to a piece on The Mary Sue:
One of the reasons I like articles delving into the psychology behind sensitive issues is that they aren’t just another “poor me” rant. They attempt to use reason, science and years of study to help people understand themselves better. Of course, understanding ourselves better doesn’t mean we will actually change anything about ourselves. It might, though. Diversity is an issue that Magic: the Gathering has been dealing with a lot lately. More people are playing MTG then ever before. This means women are starting to take up space at the tables. This comes with growing pains.
MTG has been and still is a largely male-dominated hobby. Let me break down how a typical introduction goes when I move and attempt to join a new LGS. This is not a complaint, just my reality. The top three questions I get from fellow Magicers trying to introduce themselves are:
- How long have you been playing MTG?
- Does your boyfriend go to this shop too? Did he teach you Magic?
- What’s your favorite MTG color?
Only one of these might seem like it could turn into a hot button issue. Honestly, I don’t mind when people ask me if I was taught MTG from my boyfriend. The human brain works with labels, categories and generalizations. It stores tons of information; generalizations and groupings helps it function better. As soon as people hear my Texas drawl, they assume I have 2.5 guns, cowboy boots and love country music. Two of those are actually true. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be more open-minded and not assume every girl that walks into a Magic store is there because her boyfriend made her. However, it does mean this particular question has never offended me personally (though I can see how women would find it degrading).
The question that REALLY brings out the “good ol’ boy club” is the first one: how long have you been playing MTG? When I answer with: “Beta is when I cracked my first pack, but Revised is really when I played my first games,” the fireworks behind their eyes start exploding. I have even had a guy call me a liar to my face. The most common response I get is, “Beta huh? I have never heard of you. Play in any tournaments? Do you know anybody? Who knows you?” It is always at this point that I begin to feel like I am in a scene from my favorite movie of all time: Miami Vice. In the beginning, when Dingus was just an egg , I would go through qualification debates. I would prove my credentials and we would all move on to bigger and better things. Sometimes, when they realized I was telling the truth, I would hear about how awesome I am and how they want to marry me, or someone just like me. Which is absurd. You should at least play a game against me before you decide on my quality as a life mate. I promise. You will change your mind.
Any of my close friends(@Cardboardwitch, @Justin_DZ, @Realevilgeinus, @Bluenu) can attest: I may have been playing MTG longer than most of you, but that doesn’t mean I am better at it. There’s no relationship between when you started to play and your competitive skill level. Also, lets throw some logic out there for all the “boyfrienders.” If the only way a woman could possibly learn MTG is by having her boyfriend introduce her, then doesn’t it stand to reason that women in 1993 had boyfriends too? So just comfort yourself with the knowledge that your universe is still safe. It is possible that women played during Alpha/Beta/Revised and it was most definitely because they had boyfriends.
Now when people ask me “who do you know?” or”who knows you?” I usually respond with, “well my mommy and my daddy know me”, then I laugh to myself and move on. I have decided that answering these type of questions only encourages the inquirer to ask them to the next woman. I find that the awkward period only lasts maybe one or two FNMs, and then everyone is over the novelty of a new girl. They have seen me play, understand that I love to durdle, and we all live happily ever after. I hope the article linked above helps bring a little clarity to the thought process that goes behind culture identity and grouping, so we can all be more aware of it.
We Interrupt this Broadcast to Bring You an Unbelievable Coincidence
The above portion was written before this was posted in the new Facebook group I joined, Planeswalker for Diversity:
Of course, I had to read it.
The similarity between our experiences made me outright mad. One of the big reasons I don’t play in tournaments or FNM is because I am a 33 year old woman with a full time job, two kids and very few free hours. I would love to spend those few free hours playing Magic. I don’t, though. I don’t because spending time with ass clowns like the people she talks about in her article is not my idea of fun. My time is valuable to me. After reading this, I decided I need a mulligan:
I do find your assumption that I am not smart, fun or able enough to play a card game on my own without promoting from a man, to say the least, insulting. If you are a “boyfriender,” it is time to make some changes or get left in the dust. The Magic landscape is changing. It is growing, women are playing it because they actually LIKE it and not just to please or placate some guy.
This, for me, is not about how men treat women. It is, and always will be, about how people treat people. I have sat in shops and heard men berate other men for being fat, playing decks that aren’t “killers,” and for countless other things from how their face looks too how tall they are.
If you are one of the mean, hateful, unhappy, angry people who spend your free time trying to make other people’s Magic experience as awful as your attitude is, then bless your heart. I want you to stop reading this right here. You can carry on with your day and I would like to thank you for visiting LegitMTG.com. We really do appreciate it.
Still here? Then the rest of this is most definitely for you. This is for the judges, shop owners and people who love Magic and Magical people. I am not under the delusion that anything written in any of the articles linked, or written in this one, will actually change their behavior. I do hope it inspires you judge, shop owner, or decent person, because there are people out there who behave like the person described in this tweet:
Strike 14: Store just bought 2 Thragtusk, 2 Temple Garden off a little kid for $9. #MTG— Arthur Halavais (@ahalavais) December 29, 2012
Let’s be like the person who made this tweet:
@bleighton1982 As a judge, I'm a community leader; sort of my responsibility to try to make things better.— Arthur Halavais (@ahalavais) December 29, 2012
This tweet made me realize my approach to the situation all these years has been wrong. Instead of just slinging cards at home with my friends to avoid dealing with these situations I should have been playing Magic like I wanted too. I should be confronting the people who think they can behave this way so that maybe the next person they encounter will be treated like a human being. Make good choices.
P.S. – Because of the rabbit hole I didn’t get to cover this brilliant article on GatheringMagic. I love my breasts too and thought her points were spot on. You should check it out, though, because we will be referencing it in our Reddit section.
P.S.S. – Lets talk about more breast, baby. @Natasha_lh tweeted a link to this article. It gives a deeper perspective on the depiction of breast in gaming and why some women should still have big ole boobies. If you don’t already follow Natasha you really should. I consider her my brain growing coach.
Since we are on the topic of behavior in the community, I want to make sure you saw a few of the tweets from notable judge, Arthur Halavais when he visited a new LGS:
Exploring FNM at a new location. Strike 1?Bags must be checked at front of store, and cannot be claimed until a player leaves. #MTG— Arthur Halavais (@ahalavais) December 29, 2012
Strike 2:3 players waiting in line for about ten minutes were just told that they were late to (6pm) event, and would get a game loss #MTG— Arthur Halavais (@ahalavais) December 29, 2012
Strike 5: "Listen up, guys. I'm only going to say this once." says pairings once, name. No posted numbers. Actually refuses to repeat. #MTG— Arthur Halavais (@ahalavais) December 29, 2012
I don’t know where this shop is or how many choices you have in your area, but demand better Magic players. Talk with your money. Take it elsewhere until corrections are made and you and your money are respected.
As I mentioned earlier, @moxymtg did this article discussing an artist’s perspective of the portrayal of women in MTG. Some topics, such as being a MEANY to strangers at sanctioned Magic events, I believe deserve commentary. Some topics, such as your views on art and the over-sexed art of fantasy women, I will just present both sides and leave you to your thoughts. I do encourage you to express your views, as I do, by up-voting or down-voting the topics and comments you support.
First we went to this subreddit:
Here are a few of the redditor’s thoughts on the subject:
In this subreddit things get a little more interesting:
The comment thread shot to 90 and climbing in no time flat:
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