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RPGs: Why Women Need To Play

womenOkay, so here is where I am going to break off a little and dive into a more gender-exclusive topic. Let me start with a bit about myself, to sorta get things rolling. Let me also state that this is entirely my opinions, and bias, based entirely on my own life experiences. I was always one of those girls who was in the room with a bunch of dudes. I grew up with four brothers and always had lots of guy friends. I can say I have a pretty abstract and rare viewpoint on most situations when it comes to being around “the guys” as a woman, and how that raised me to be a more rounded individual in the social and gender aspect of things. Not only did I have four brothers, I also had six sisters, just to stir it all up a bit. Crazy, right? Growing up I remember how different the day-to-day life and worry of the girls vs. the boy was. Men just had a system of going about doing what they did and when they were done it was always something super fun, like ending the weekend with a camp-out or a biking trip or a hike or some guy activity involving good movies, pizza and video games, and I loved being around them. No matter what was happening in life, the aspect of fun was something never forgotten. On the other hand, I remember my mother (a single mother of 6 children) constantly stressing, working or sleeping, my sisters obsessing with appearances or class or some crazy drama that involved lots of screaming and fighting or even worse, the bored stagnation of doing nothing, or the longing look in a young woman’s face of “what the hell do I do with myself and how do I end this sadness I’m feeling.”

womenI was in the middle of two older and two younger brothers. My older sister was six years ahead of me and, to be honest, I can’t remember a time we ever played imagination together with toys, games, or a time when we just got together to hang out.

Life was always thrown away to some care of the day that involved the famous words, “doing what I have to do” or “I’m too busy.” This is something that saddens me to this day, and our relationship has never advanced since. Perhaps “hanging out” was much more important than we could have ever known.

Growing up, playing with my two younger brothers was something to get out of bed for, something I looked forward to with a leap in my chest. No matter what was going on in the world, we could always come back to “us time,” that special place that healed whatever was happening by just simply getting together and seeing things in the same way for a few hours. I feel like most of the disconnection I have had with my sisters and my girlfriends is simply the lack of fun time together. guysI never wanted to hang out with girls too much because it always seemed like such a serious time where there was only jealousy or drama of some kind. Even my best of friends always seemed to disappear from me because of stupid bullshit that never even mattered. Growing up, my most memorable moments were when my siblings and I were together, when my mother made us come together for family night and we all did something fun just for one day a week. But eventually those days passed as outside events pulled us further and further from home and “togetherness” faded away. The greatest thing that I saw men around me accomplish together, as friends, was this sense of hanging out and making moments that made the rest of life’s worry pass by. In this day and age, where phones and technology seem to separate us so much from real “face time,” I find this sad reality of my past  something that is becoming almost a pandemic in our society as well. Where did night games on the corner with all the street kids go to? Where are the weekend town events where people would dance or play music and all get together as a community? Why are these things gone? What is left for the next generation to learn from in terms of socializing and connecting? Gaming and D&D specifically have really drawn attention to me in my adult life because I see it as something that connects people through “thought” again; not through technology, but through tangible thought.

So, coming back to the point, why do women specifically need to connect and get together more to play as well as in the gaming community. Because from around the ages of 11 to 13 years old (at least), women in our society are to be kept in check as far as imaginations go. We are not to speak our minds so as not to embarrass or make men look inferior to us. Gaming really breaks these crazy barriers. It seems like for most “Mericans,” and other closed-minded societies (specifically in Utah, where I was raised), women are this “ideal” of mother or just a slut who gets with lots of guys, and this indoctrination  is taught to the next set of boys watching fathers act certain ways and mothers treating it as casual or normal. The raw authentic, and dare I say educated, woman is something that is not as common, especially in most guy circles, and I think a lot of girls are really intimidated by the gaming world just because it seems so much to be another “guy circle.” But ladies, I know that not all men are like this and actually most aren’t, especially in the nerdy clicks and groups. Those nerdy men are dying to have you play with them and just be around to share your ideas or views, even if you don’t know every single rule to the game. Just show up and hang loose. This ideal of not being around a guy with a crazy huge paycheck and a convertible needs to die away and, honestly, just be forgotten, because ladies, let’s just remember, he worked for that and he gave time for that, which is probably his most base, fundamental mindset and worry, not much else. Cars and money, and that is all. This is just not enough when you are all alone with no one to add color of heart and mind to your life. We as women need this color and this flare so much more than just another night out to eat and a fancy car ride home! Let’s at least try to keep the gene pool somewhat awesome for the next generation, eh? Let’s shoot for creative and awesome guys who have ideas and spunk of a new kind (nerds are “hawt”). So please! Just try getting together with these guys that are different from you and the “social norm,” and start really understanding the delicious substance of respect instead of attention. The majority of gaming groups I know are full of intellectual and good men who are simply overlooked by the fact they seem too “nerdy” because “gaming is for losers,” the story you were told by your mom, right? In my opinion, I would much rather be around a bunch of nerds who have open minds than a gym rat that just wants to talk about sports, trucks or his money, and how it makes him a “desirable superman.”

guysNow, I know I am really generalizing here, and I may sound cruel but (bare with me) I know that lots of men and women are different, and lots of girls do game, and lots of guys see women as equals without fear. Yes, I know this because I have many friends from both genders as well, plus I happen to be a woman, obviously.

The point I am making is that in “society” and in the attitudes of our children, men and woman are expected to be something that is very opposite from each other, ie. the typical “be a mother, shut up, sit down, be pretty, not smart, you can’t do guys’ things, etc.” sort of thing. And then the endless “stop being such a pussy or stop being such a girl!” You know what I am saying. It’s absolutely insane the way society has women pasted as either models or mothers. It has hurt our little girls’ hearts so much. In no way is a woman of 13 years a woman, and in no way is a 16 year old a woman.

RPGsNo matter what has happened to her, she is still so young and the child- like mind inside of that girl is still very much alive, and something to be fueled, not stomped out. I know this to be true because when I was introduced to D&D as a 16 year old, I was struck with fascination and I longed to imagine again so badly it hurt! I was so tired of being “grown up” and not being able to just “be” or pretend to be something else if I wanted to through my own mind and imagination.

Women have too much on their minds and shoulders these days. WAY TOO MUCH! I am not talking about work overload. I am talking about “cluttered cobwebs in the head.”  Men, I find, are quite good at playing and letting go of clutter when it comes to being in the game, or being in the moment, to put it more clearly. Perhaps that has something to do with how their minds work, or maybe it just seems easier for them to be more authentic because not every moment is a fashion show for other men to come and adore (Omfg, is my makeup running? Am I good enough? etc.). Too many women are blocked by thoughts of what others are thinking of them (specifically from men), or by their ideal of their own self-worth, which more than not are flawed and inaccurate.

womenI am sure men suffer from these things as well, but as a woman, and from my viewpoint, I see this to be true for so many, if not almost all the women I know. There is this mental block of “oh, I don’t have time” or “oh, I have to do this and this and this …” The endless things we put in front of the moment is what makes us sick. I am calling to all the women out there who miss being “in the game,” who miss adding something more than just drama to a group of people. I know you may think that it’s too late, but it truly never is. Men want and need more women to play with them! I hear men say this all the freaking time! Together, men and women create this awesome connection of different ideas and emotions, and not just at the gaming table, but in all aspects of life.

women I think the more we can connect as women, get together and share ideas, talk and listen, using our hearts, our artistic natures, our intelligent creative force boiling over within us, we can add so much to the gaming communities and our families. We can inspire other young women who are looking to us as an example. We can change the hearts of all the women out there who feel lost or trapped in their minds and hearts. But most of all, we can play. We can play! Get yourself back and start imagining again.

Remember ladies, get nerdy, stay nerdy!! Much love to you all! <3<3