Jump to content
Nathan Caroland

All the things you want to soapbox and/or have debate about in Malifaux

Recommended Posts

It's not a blanket statement when it happens in every city, in every community when I try to wargame. I have never participated in wargaming without receiving harassment and abuse,

What backwards area of the world are you playing in? I'm sorry, but some of the things you say are extremely hard to believe...especially with the knowledge that that kind of behavior would not be tolerated in any LGS I've been in.

 

I mean, I'm not sure what Nathan is supposed to do about you getting "repeated slaps on your rear", but if it keeps happening maybe you're not making it clear that that is NOT okay.

With all the things in your list that have happened to you it sounds like you play in a male prison. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regard to generally poor social skills, harassment, or outright attempts to molest others; I think there's definitely some projection going on with products made by this company on this forum. It's not as bad as it might be, in that it's mostly sigh-inducing rather than actually upsetting, and it's certainly not limited to this lonely corner of the internet.

Unfair treatment of people due to race, gender, etc. is just wrong. Acting like a jackass when you think you can get away with it is childish. Crimes, such as rape or assault, are very obviously illegal. All deserve to be dealt with suitably.

With this in mind, the players or observers bringing these problems to Malifaux (which I do not disbelieve exist, but have never experienced or witnessed myself, thankfully - you are all rock stars to me) have problems of their own. These problems are the root of their awful behavior, and they're going to have these problems regardless of whether or not there are 47% or 62% of the females in the game being subjectively attractive. No amount of design prevents these people from being asses.

It's a question of "do our products attract a certain type of troubled individual?". I don't think so. In any case, I never feel like a tiny plastic model ever inspires or licenses any criminal behavior or social injury.

My 2 cents.

#takeadumponasoapbox

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must admit that I'm a bit disappointed that you called me out about not responding to stuff and when I respond this is all I get. Especially weird since it doesn't really address my point. Why is gender divide all important to realism while electric bass guitars aren't?Oh, and a Dalai Lama quote which doesn't really apply in any way, shape or form.Oh well, here's a good quote of mine, then:“You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.”― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science ;)

Multiple people have said the ratio of women to men seems realistic leading me into the quote, you're seeing something that isn't there. I'm so sorry for ferrosas experiences but they are down to people not miniatures!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) White men are OK to make villains because there are enough white males present so that they aren't shown exclusively as villains. If you have large enough representation, then one character won't pop out as much. 1/20 white guys being negative is not the same as 1/2 black women being negative.

2) Stop blaming Ferossa and her community. It's not just her. It's not just her gaming group. I also have seen it everywhere I go across the US. I've heard women and non-whites all saying the same things. Why are we ignoring all of their voices when we claim we are a loving community who welcome anyone who wants to share our hobby? Why are we shutting their voices out?

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) White men are OK to make villains because there are enough white males present so that they aren't shown exclusively as villains. If you have large enough representation, then one character won't pop out as much. 1/20 white guys being negative is not the same as 1/2 black women being negative.

 

This is exactly the kind of thinking that infuriates me. If it's not okay to make one a villain then it isn't okay to make any of them. Equality is equality.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt that talk of realistic ratios in a fantastical setting, where pigs - literally - can fly, is the best way to get a point across but YRMV.

 

Speaking from experience, I have steered clear of manufacturers which portray women (or races, or x, for that matter) in a -ist manner, because I would feel ashamed to actually put the mini. on the table. This is why I respect Malifaux as a game, while there are a few "but why?" minis./artworks for me, I still regard this game as far above the current curve regarding -isms.

 

That being said, it's not a perfect setting, but then again no game is perfect, and I suppose it comes down to a willingness from the designers, the artists and the writers to steer the game - or the representation of it - into better waters, because they see the need themselves, or because they see a need for it from their customers.

 

And these things actually matter, and it isn't as simple as saying blame the player, not the game.

 

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and poor representation (or misrepresentaion) in a game will effect those being misrepresented, and the vast majority will feel nothing of this, because they are the norm, and thus they will have difficulties relating, which in turn often leads to 'it's just a game' comments.

 

A vocal minority is not necessarily wrong just because it is loud. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is exactly the kind of thinking that infuriates me. If it's not okay to make one a villain then it isn't okay to make any of them. Equality is equality.

It's not that it's not ok to make one.  It's that historically certain ethnicities/genders have exclusively been portrayed as villains.  Because of that historical bias and the negative effects it has on social psyche we need to not let that be the only representation they have now.  Black people in the US historically were portrayed as villains or comedy relief sidekicks.  So now if you want a black character to be a villain you should make sure you have other black characters who are not villains present.  Again, this is why it's ok to make white characters villains "willy-nilly."  It's because for every black character there are 100 white ones.  1/100 is nothing compared to 1/2.

 

Similarly you can make sexy "slutty" (hate that word) women, but make sure there are enough women of other varieties so that you aren't only populating your setting with outdated eyecandy.

 

Having 100 women and 100 men is equality.  Having 100 white people and 100 black people is equality.  Having 100 white guys of varying background and body types and only 1 sexy lady and 1 drunk villain black guy is NOT equal.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're entitled to your opinion. 

 

I disagree.

 

By the way, what the hell do you mean 'stop blaming Ferossa's community'? The same people that slap her ass and play with their "knobs" in front of her? Those people are blameless because Malifaux made them do it?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fail to see how models are influencing someones behavior, either you are a person that knows how to interact in public and socially or you are not, if you are not there are many other factors at play rather than miniatures. I am sorry that your gaming groups seem to be a bunch of ass-Penguins that do not know how to interact with others of the opposite sex and or different socio-economic backgrounds. I'll extend an invite, if you ever find yourself in Toledo, Ohio drop me a line and I'll go the FLGS with you and show you how a gaming group should responsibly act, other than that, I got nothin'.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What backwards area of the world are you playing in? I'm sorry, but some of the things you say are extremely hard to believe...especially with the knowledge that that kind of behavior would not be tolerated in any LGS I've been in.

 

I mean, I'm not sure what Nathan is supposed to do about you getting "repeated slaps on your rear", but if it keeps happening maybe you're not making it clear that that is NOT okay.

With all the things in your list that have happened to you it sounds like you play in a male prison. 

 

While understand where this is coming from, this sort of thing isn't productive. "...maybe you're not making it clear that that is NOT ok." is pure victim blaming and is unacceptable, as far as I'm concerned. I have seen personally, working in a comic store, and a game store for years, and been told by many women who have actually experienced it about this kind of behavior, like my wife, a life-long geek/gamer, who I met at the comic store where I worked, which she said was the first geeky store she'd ever walked into where she didn't feel threatened by the attitudes, speech, and/or behavior of the men who dominated the atmosphere. I'm glad you're not seeing this behavior in your area, but calling out the experience of others like this, especially when accompanied by victim blaming isn't adding anything to the conversation, and while I don't think it's intended as such, is kind of offensive.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While understand where this is coming from, this sort of thing isn't productive. "...maybe you're not making it clear that that is NOT ok." is pure victim blaming and is unacceptable, as far as I'm concerned. I have seen personally, working in a comic store, and a game store for years, and been told by many women who have actually experienced it about this kind of behavior, like my wife, a life-long geek/gamer, who I met at the comic store where I worked, which she said was the first geeky store she'd ever walked into where she didn't feel threatened by the attitudes, speech, and/or behavior of the men who dominated the atmosphere. I'm glad you're not seeing this behavior in your area, but calling out the experience of others like this, especially when accompanied by victim blaming isn't adding anything to the conversation, and while I don't think it's intended as such, is kind of offensive.

Every body is offended by something. I didn't say 'you aren't making it clear', I said 'Maybe you're not'....implying that I really don't know the situation and I'm taking a guess at a possible reason as to why the behavior continues. I'm not there, I don't know, that's why I ask. There's always multiple sides of a story and in this case we only have one person's side....which may be 100% accurate...but it's been my experience with people in general that no one story matches another....I don't think trying to better understand a situation is "victim blaming".

 

My post is colored by the fact that I think part of the complaint is ridiculous....that these plastic models are making people act like jerks....so I guess it comes off more confrontational than it should.

 

To be perfectly clear: I don't blame Ferossa for having bad things happen to her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think people need to take a step back from blame language. This isn't really about who's to blame. Blaming Wyrd for the behavior of a few individuals is certainly ridiculous, but the argument about sexism in gaming isn't really about blame. What bigotry, ignorance, and cruelty people encounter in wargaming is not Wyrd's fault... but that doesn't mean that there's nothing to be said for the opportunity Wyrd has to try to push the paradigm in a different direction.

 

So what's the problem with sexy models? There is no inherent problem with them. The fact that a model is sexy does not, in itself, constitute a problem. If Wyrd wants to make sexy models until the cows come home, they have that ability and that right. And doing so wouldn't, by default, make them a sexist company.

 

The problem arises when a certain level of acceptance becomes prevalent within a culture to the point that something like sexism becomes ubiquitous. We can easily look to the income gap between men and women to see this in effect. Women make less than men for the same jobs. Is this any individual company's fault? No. I would go so far as to say that, in almost all cases, the manager responsible for making those pay decisions isn't consciously deciding to pay those women less. For him (and I'm defaulting to him, but it could just as easily be her), the things that he's been taught to value in business are things that are seen as more masculine. If a woman embodies those values, it is often off-putting, and if she doesn't she's not as qualified as her male counterparts... leading to things like inequal pay.

 

Is that manager making that decision sexist? In many cases, probably not. It's more akin to an ignorance of the cultural norms that are creating a pervasive generalized sexism. So back to wargaming.

 

Is Wyrd doing something wrong? No. It's not. But that also doesn't mean that it's doing something right. The fact is that wargaming is a male dominated hobby. It contains a certain history that makes it not only uninviting to women, but sometimes outright hostile to them. Culture is a very hard thing to change. As can be seen on this thread, for many there is no problem at all or it is not Wyrd's responsibility to do anything about it.

 

I would argue that the purpose of bringing issues of sexism in gaming to light is to help try to push toward change. So while Wyrd continuing to create models as it does is not wrong, it is also not right. It just is, and that's perfectly fine. But sometimes, we can also strive for more than fine. A continuance of the status quo is not going to begin to change the status quo.

 

The reason there are people out there who think it's okay to be terrible people is because they are on the extreme ends of a spectrum. And there will always be people at the extreme edges of a spectrum. Therefore, an attempt to eliminate ass-slapping rape-talking bigots cannot really be made with those people directly. Instead, the aim is to shift the center of the spectrum (i.e. the average wargaming) a little more to the inclusive side. As the average player becomes more accepting and inclusive, so too the extremes will begin to shift over time (and those that stay extreme will be marginalized to their basements instead of their LGS).

 

And that's really what we're talking about here. Shifting the average place of the conversation so that the extremes of the spectrum are not so bad. Because there will always be assholes, but maybe we can stop them from being sexist assholes.

 

Wyrd, as a company, has an opportunity to try to change some of the dialogue and social-acceptableness of certain things be showing what's important via their models and art depictions. Any individual Henchman can only influence their direct community, but Wyrd can influence everyone who plays Malifaux. And they can do this in subtle ways that hurt no one: including more diversity in general. This sends the message that diversity is the norm in very subtle, subliminal ways... and that shifts the spectrum.

 

To me, that's what's being called for here. To ask a company that has done nothing wrong (and in fact has done many things right) to keep doing what they're doing and maybe take it a step further where they can. Wyrd has a fairly unique ability to shape the message and the conversation for a subsection of the wargaming community. And they can choose not to do that, and that is perfectly okay

 

But they can also try to take a step out there and do more than just be okay. They can try to be better and better, and they can try to be great (well, they are great, but great as it applies to inclusivity).

 

As I said at the beginning, it's not about blame. It's not about what Wyrd did wrong (which is probably nothing) or those assholes around the world that makes things worse. It's about the chance to consciously shape a message that shifts a paradigm so assholes are assholes about losing and not about something like gender.

 

That's my take on all this discussion, anyway. Thanks for reading.

I really like your thesis and takeaway here.  It mirrors what I said in the beginning of this thread:  Wyrd has been doing a good job, but now people are mentioning that they could do even better.  What produces threads like this is the backlash those voices receive from the community.

 

Wyrd is wonderful, but there is always room for improvement.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Dgraz, for a measured and thoughtful response. I don't know that anyone is saying that plastic models make people act like jerks. People are jerks, in my culture, in the US, men are often jerks who act as though either they deserve to have control over women's bodies, or who either don't understand how to interact with women, or are threatened by female invasion of "male spaces" like video or tabletop games, and so, act in such a way as to exclude them. Look at the "fake geek girl" phenomenon, the need for the "Cosplay is Not Consent" movement, Gamergate, etc.

 

The models, and the game are a part of the culture, and both reflect the other. Yes, historically, women are far less prevalent than men in warfare. Women are prostitutes in real life. Reality, history, etc. have a lot to do with what's cool in Malifaux, but so do blind swordfighters, necromancers, and three-headed tigers which are totally fantastical. A great statement was made earlier in this thread, something like, "It's fantasy, so it should be a fantasy for everybody...everybody gets their power fantasy." That's great. People get way more out fictional experiences when they can identify with characters. Malifaux already gives us a broad spectrum, and I expect that spectrum to broaden with time, because I have faith in the people who create the game.

 

I love Malifaux. I love the characters and the models, and the story. I think the Malifaux is doing a better job than just about any game out there at encouraging women to enter/stay in the hobby. But, here, in this thread for open communication, we have a woman sharing her experience, one I've heard from female gamer friends, my own wife, and all over the internet, and she's very nearly being called a liar, accused of exaggeration, and to some extent, dismissed. This is an example of the problem.

 

It's often very hard for men to understand the difficulties women experience entering into traditionally male spaces. I see it in court, when my female colleagues are disrespected by judges, by other attorneys, even by their own clients. I've seen in the comic shops, when women have things "mansplained" to them, or are quizzed on their credentials in a way men never are. I've seen it in the game store where women are ignored, or disrespectful comments, jokes, etc. are bandied about that make them uncomfortable.

 

At both of the stores where I've worked there was a constant, thoughtful approach to making all people feel comfortable there. Gaming and comic stores didn't make the world suck, either, but they can make the community better by enforcing positive standards. Wyrd, and other game manufacturers can, too. I think this thread is a step in the right direction, but there is definitely room for improvement. It's a small community. It's a small fandom. It's a tight market. I want Malifaux to be the best it can be, and to last forever, and getting there, I think, includes taking a thoughtful approach to inclusiveness.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What backwards area of the world are you playing in? I'm sorry, but some of the things you say are extremely hard to believe...especially with the knowledge that that kind of behavior would not be tolerated in any LGS I've been in.

 

I mean, I'm not sure what Nathan is supposed to do about you getting "repeated slaps on your rear", but if it keeps happening maybe you're not making it clear that that is NOT okay.

With all the things in your list that have happened to you it sounds like you play in a male prison. 

 

Dgraz, at which point after I was roofied was I able to "make it clear that's not okay"?

 

That exact attitude is why the man who raped me is a welcome presence in the wargaming scene and I am not. Nobody else saw it, so I must be lying, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I'm trying to wrap my head around the endpoint of the "wyrd is misogynist/racist" side of the argument.

 

Is the goal to have an exactly equal male to female ratio with all the varied female body types as well as an exactly equal number of all races represented in the models?  Genuine question, because that's the natural endpoint of this argument.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the issue is that you paint it as if that is every gaming club/lgs everywhere. It's not. Jerks exist, not matter what you do. Groups tend to defend their own (assumption said rapist was part of the group before you were and buddies with the members). I will say that a lot of gamer culture is appalling (people throwing around phrases like "I raped the bleep out of something or other."). Females do tend to be over sexualizing in many circles. I do think the make up of the group matters, as does the age of the players. My group (and most people I play with) are married, many with children, and don't act like a bunch of immature jerks.

So when you approach a community saying "you're all jerks and rapists." It tends to be offensive and put people on the defensive. I would argue that most males in malifaux are far more "ideal" than your typical man. Is there ahigher percentage of less than ideal male figures than female. I would say so but it is not like men are super varied and women are all models. But keep pushing for more interesting sculpts. More cool models that offer variety is a good thing.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that I've seen anyone in this thread say, "you're all..." anything. This is the "not all men," response, that, while natural, isn't useful. Of course not all male gamers are horrible. In fact, most probably aren't, but many are, and many more aren't willing to confront negative behaviors. To tell someone who has the strength to discuss being raped, harassed, etc. that discussing it is offensive is...well...I don't know a way to talk about it without being offensive myself. Not all men are rapists. Not all rapists are men, etc. Sure, sure. However, gaming is a male-dominated space that can be very difficult on women who want to engage, and though many of us may not have experienced it, others have, and all of us have a responsibility to support those who have had negative experiences and help the community improve.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What backwards area of the world are you playing in? I'm sorry, but some of the things you say are extremely hard to believe...especially with the knowledge that that kind of behavior would not be tolerated in any LGS I've been in.

 

I mean, I'm not sure what Nathan is supposed to do about you getting "repeated slaps on your rear", but if it keeps happening maybe you're not making it clear that that is NOT okay.

With all the things in your list that have happened to you it sounds like you play in a male prison. 

Wow. I'm actually embarrassed on your behalf because I find it highly unlikely that you will earn the trust or respect of anyone on these boards after such appalling unjustified rudeness (Victim Blaming, prison rape jokes, the list goes on). 

 

But back on topic, no, there's no need to establish quotas. But It's... not difficult to increase the variety of models. That's all anybody is asking for. A better mix. When future boxes come out, make a point of making qualitatively more of the models women. Make 'em doofy, make 'em tall and imposing, make 'em terrifying. I mean you've been so good at making doofy, imposing, and terrifying models in the past, no reason why making new models that also happen to be female should be challenging, difficult, or even require much effort. It's a simple solution?? I'm confused why there's even resistance, given that expanding the range of what gets produced can only increase your fanbase. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Justin for what is possibly the best use of Mod Hat the internet has ever seen.

 

In answer to your questions;

 

1) Yes. Wyrd is in a position of power in the gaming community because you're a company that we love, and you produce a game that we enjoy spending money on. The fact that there are people with strong opinions about your product makes it pretty clear that you are in a position of influence. No one expects you to "solve" sexism, but you can take steps to move the community in the right direction.

 

2) I think I addressed this in my previous post. If you're writing a story and your main character is male ask yourself, "Why? Is there a reason this character is male?" If the answer is "Yes, because so-and-so," then fine, carry on. If the answer is "Not really, just happened to be that way," then consider changing names/pronouns. Extend that sort of mild self-examination to other characters, for example in my recent Iron Quill entry one of my main characters (the only woman to appear in the story) is a whore, obviously that could be an issue, I went back and forth on it but ultimately I am (in my own clumsy way) trying to draw thematic parallels between human trafficking and soulstone trafficking, all of the characters I'm following have been (or are being) forced out of their homes and into conflict with each other, and there are several major female characters in the series that don't have "traditional" roles. 

Getting to the point where you can say, "I realized this character's gender doesn't matter, so I flipped a coin," is - I think - a good place to be.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Justin for what is possibly the best use of Mod Hat the internet has ever seen.

Clearly, you aren't privvy to the exploits of one, mythicfox. His most purpley of purpliness.

I fully respect dgraz. His beautiful Cojo makes me weep everytime I look at it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2) I think I addressed this in my previous post. If you're writing a story and your main character is male ask yourself, "Why? Is there a reason this character is male?" If the answer is "Yes, because so-and-so," then fine, carry on. If the answer is "Not really, just happened to be that way," then consider changing names/pronouns. Extend that sort of mild self-examination to other characters, for example in my recent Iron Quill entry one of my main characters (the only woman to appear in the story) is a whore, obviously that could be an issue, I went back and forth on it but ultimately I am (in my own clumsy way) trying to draw thematic parallels between human trafficking and soulstone trafficking, all of the characters I'm following have been (or are being) forced out of their homes and into conflict with each other, and there are several major female characters in the series that don't have "traditional" roles. 

Getting to the point where you can say, "I realized this character's gender doesn't matter, so I flipped a coin," is - I think - a good place to be.

 

Not speaking for anyone but me, but when I did writing for Chronicles and Crossroads this is the approach I took to things. If I didn't have a specific reason for the character to be male, like the Lone Marshal, I tended to go with a female character as primary PoV. A part of it was because of representation factors, because I fall into the camp that more steampunk/fantasy/scifi stories should have women in important roles, but also because it cost nothing to do so. I agree with people who say that this hobby is about power fantasies, because it really is. That specific fantasy can mean different things to different people, but the fact remains that we play video games, roleplaying games and even wargames as a sort of escapism. There's a lot of Straight/White/Male characters out there, it doesn't cost me anything to write about people who aren't that. In some ways, it's even more fun to do so because it gets me out of my head. Strong female characters has always been a draw for me in wargaming because it says something about the perspective of the company that I like. This is why Malifaux and Warmachine (Deneghra notwithstanding) are two of my favorite settings. There's variety in people who are represented, in the cultures shown, and it makes things more realistic for me. That's a tradition that I not only want to see maintained, but expanded.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...