Welp, I’m here- the most difficult article that I’ll ever write about Magic: The Gathering. Today, I will be discussing a very serious problem that has persisted in this industry ever since I picked up my first batch of these amazingly, wonderful black-bordered cards just a few years ago. The problem that I’m referencing is what can most eloquently be referred to as a serious lack of almost any female content creators at the highest levels of this industry and I’m hopeful that writing this will cause a ripple that permeates throughout the industry.
Why is this going to be the hardest article I’ve ever written? Well, to touch on the very large elephant in the room- I’m a man attempting to write about the female perspective in the Magic community. I’m almost assuredly going to miss things and there’s no way I could ever paint an accurate portrayal of what it really feels like to break into this community as a female. On top of this, I also think these sorts of articles are difficult to create on principle alone. Try as a might- I seriously doubt that any combination of 1,500 words that I can put on paper could ever convince someone that doesn’t agree with me that we need more women in Magic.
But I do have a very real opinion on the matter and it’s a problem that (for some reason) I’ve never seen brought up in the very white, male-dominated Magic content creation industry. Before I get into what this article is about, however, I should probably spend a moment telling you what this article isn’t about.
This isn’t going to be about laying the blame on our community. I’ve seen those sorts of articles before and truth be told- I just don’t agree with them. I’m not going to tell anyone how to treat women with respect when playing against them (I shouldn’t have to), nor am I trying to make any sort of claim that the Magic community has more misogynists per capita then you’ll find anywhere else. As I see it, the problems that are occurring are much more systematic then a few male Magic players that need to learn better manners. People being disrespectful isn’t a problem that should be ignored- but I just don’t think that’s what’s causing us to have so few women as high-level content creators.
To give you a better picture of what I’m talking about, all you need to do is complete a cursory search of one of the big name (or any website for that matter) Magic content sites that exist out there. The best options to choose from are the sites that have pictures of their content creators staring back at you- in effect giving a startling image to the transgressions that are occurring all around us. One glimpse and you’ll see a sort of homogeneity among them that is pretty difficult to ignore. Where the women, where are the people of varying ethnicity? #whyisitallwhitedudes?
Of course, someone somewhere is going to tell you that ‘women don’t play Magic’ and that’s why all the content creators are men. They’ll tell you something along the lines of ‘we’d love to have ‘em, but you know, they just don’t seem to want to bite’. There is a small grain of truth to these statements. Women are indeed underrepresented as players in Magic at about 38% of the overall player-base and it’s for this reason that I imagine that we are more likely as a community to have men creating content then women. With more men to choose from it’d make sense that more men make it onto the big name websites if we assume that the quality of content from the average male and female player is about equal.
Yet, this line of reasoning is completely ignorant to the actual reality of what’s happening all around us which is that women don’t get the sort of exposure on major websites that even comes close to the 38% of the player-base that they comprise, much less some sort of pie-in-the-sky 50% that an idealist such as myself would aspire towards. The real percentage of content creators that are women is closer to 10%. 3% of the content on the big name websites in our community is produced by women. Not 38, not 25. 3.
I brought this up on social media recently and I had a female streamer ask me what it is that these companies could do to get more women playing Magic competitively (and thus creating content) and my response to her was pretty blunt- ‘nothing’. You see, this problem of having more women representing Magic is nothing new, this has been brought up over and over and nothing has come of it and I think it’s about time we all started calling the kettle just what it is- which is white as hell. The question to me at this point is less, “what can they do” and more so “well, they obviously don’t care, who out there does”? We shouldn’t ever have to ask the companies in place to ‘do more’ to make women into stars in our community. If they fail to do so without our asking, then the only solution to me would be to find a company that automatically puts women on equal footing with men and let them be the ones running things.
Does this mean that I feel as if this is something that you or I has much control over? Of course not. But I also think to just sit there and idly ignore a problem that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon isn’t the correct approach either. Everyone has a voice and I’d ask anyone reading this to exercise theirs to the fullest extent. Tweet about it, write about it, and most importantly, let the heads of WotC know that you aren’t comfortable with companies representing our game that don’t uphold the values that we as a community uphold. Some of us, you know, actually like women.
Beyond just making a ruckus, I’d also ask you to look harder. I think one of the most telling experiences for me happened when I first created my social media account @realgoblinking and started getting connected with other small time content creators. At that point my eyes were open to just how many women are actually out there trying to make a name for themselves in the Magic community. Before I started I knew of three female names in the industry. Now, that I’ve gotten away from just the big name sites I’ve realized that there are simply too many female creators out there for me to count. There are women that you’ve never heard of who, at this very moment, are streaming and hustling and creating bomb ass content that not enough people are watching or consuming and it’s because they don’t get anywhere near the star treatment (or opportunities) that their male counterparts are getting. Find them, like them, retweet them. Please help these women make a name for themselves because trying to do it on your own is so much harder then when you have a whole company behind you. We need female stars in the Magic community. Please make sure to give the ones you like a little push as I’m sure they’d really appreciate it.
I should tell you that despite my initial hesitations, I do think it’s important that I’m coming at this from a male perspective, as I hope we can find some common ground that up to this point has never been discovered in the Magic community. Personally, I don’t care what the status quo is right now. I wish there were more of you in our community and I’m sure that A LOT of other men share those same sentiments. It’s not just about gaining a different perspective either, it’s more importantly about respecting people that are busting their asses and making great content and making sure that their great content doesn’t go completely unnoticed.
No amount of women that we feature on Magic cards could ever make up for that serious lack of female stars in our community right now. We need female stars, we need female role models. Enough is enough, it’s about time we took down this “no girls allowed sign” in perpetuity. Magic is 25 years old, and I’d say that’s just way too old to still be acting like this.
Tags: Ryan the Goblin King
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