In a weird way, I empathize with Wizard on this one. While I’ve never been magically sex-changed thanks to a complicated series of events involving a succubus and a dead archmage, I do know what it’s like to feel shocked and appalled by horror stories from the female gamers in my life. I’m talking everything from clerks at the local game store refusing to address them rather than their non-gamer boyfriends to full on hands-on harassment at cons. There’s a reason that you see Cosplay Is Not Consent signs up at major geek gatherings, and I don’t think it has to do with dudes dressing like Conan.

While Wizard is getting first hand experience of what life is like on the other side of the gender divide, the rest of the world’s male gamers don’t get that view. No, not that view. What I mean is that misogynistic comments, creepy flirting, and unwanted grapple checks can all seem invisible to the ~60% of gamers who identify as dudes.

“I just don’t see this stuff,” is the standard reply. I’ve said as much myself on occasion. But it’s important not to let the conversation stop there. Speaking as a male gamer, we’ve got to take a moment to realize that other people — generally people who pencil in “F” at the top of their character sheets — do see this stuff. So talk to them about it. Listen to their stories. And if you do see creepy behavior out in the wild, don’t just sit by and let it happen. Even something as simple as, “Dude, not cool,” can go a long way towards making formal anti-harassment policies that little bit less necessary.

Question of the day then! How can we as a community make sure that all gamers feel welcome at the table, not just the boys’ club? Sound off with your good-ambassador ideas down in the comments!


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