October 26, 2020

Episode 231 – Bras and Board Games

type in your search and press enter.
Bras and Boardgames.
Jenn July 26, 2019.
I had just ensured a girlfriend of mine that her time that night was better suited towards self-care and not our weekly board gaming group when I heard a middle-aged man loudly bemoan “where have all the women gone?” It took every fiber in my loud-mouthed being not to assertively point out that the majority of the people playing his game were female and that I was at the next game over.
I marked the general confusion on the face of the woman sitting next to me before turning back to whatever heated battle for victory points I was involved in at the time.
Forgetting, for the moment, the creep factor of an adult man taking roll call  only on women in a very crowded room of gamers, consider for a moment what it feels like to not “be enough.”  That is the paradox that women live into when we (board)game.
We want to be “enough” at a table but we know that having more women (board)gamers in our lives would be a net gain.  “Why aren’t more women gaming,” while well-meaning, isn’t the correct question to consider when you look up from your Brass board or your Tichu cards and see three other men staring back at you.
“Why aren’t more women here” is getting warmer, but not quite yet on the nose.
Instead, we want you to consider “how can I/we make the most comfortable space for EVERY (board)gamer.”  My goal in this series is to highlight for you the major issues women face when they dedicate themselves to the board gaming hobby.
They start way before we even sit down at the table and linger with us sometimes as we journey home afterward.  This feeling of not being safe as a woman (board)gamer stems out into two broader themes.
1) I am not good enough to play at the “big boys” table and 2) I must accept open sexism and sexual harassment in the name of “fitting in.” These are not problems we face only when sitting down to kick some butt whether it be at Monikers or Castles of Burgundy.
These messages of not being “good enough” and of having to accept being gawked at run rampant in every aspect of our lives.  We do not want this at our gaming tables.
We deserve better.
If you don’t believe me that our broader societal ecosystem drills these messages into women and girls from all sides or if you are unaware of this fact, then I am happy you have come to me, because I would like to have this discussion with all the nuance and compassion it deserves.
If you are one of the men struggling to know how to create an inclusive space for women then I am grateful for your efforts and remind you that you will only be able to create those spaces with our partnership.
Whichever side of this scale that you are on, please listen to our stories, because there are many.  Too many.  Vicky Leta / Mashable Let’s come back to how creepy it is that an older man took notice only that women were missing from his group.
I don’t disagree that more women should (board)game, but this moment made me feel watched.
It also made me feel defensive: first, of not appreciating the company of the people that did show up and second, of women who prioritize their time differently.
This leads back to feelings of unworthiness and of being on display particularly for male enjoyment.
This reality is in stark contrast to why we actually game.
We game to be social.
We game as an escape from the world.

We game to win.  Contrary to popular belief: women (board)gamers are out there

We run game groups and game shops.

We participate in Magic the Gathering Tournaments

enjoy DND, and curate our tabletop collections.
We even design your games and playtest them.
Unfortunately, however, we are also sometimes wary of participating because of our own anxieties about the topics I mentioned above.  No one should ever feel scared to try out such a diverse and worthwhile hobby.
Nor should anyone already involved in the hobby feel unwelcome.
On this, I hope we can agree.
Because let’s be real.
(Board)gaming at its core already has the potential to be stress-inducing.
As (board)gamers, we choose to put ourselves into competition with one another repeatedly.

That’s the way this whole thing works.  Whether we like it or not

(board)gaming is easily susceptible to toxicity aimed at women because of its competitive nature.
Each individual players’ sense of self-worth and ego becomes tied to a series of wins and losses.
Some of us even get a thrill from tracking our statistics.
Seeing as insecurity about achieving “masculine” ideals is at the root of gender-based discrimination, it stands to reason that this too is at the heart of why the (board)gaming community frequently undervalues and harasses its female participants.  Womens March 500 Piece Puzzle.
Illustrator: Jennifer Orkin Lewis The Gloria Steinem quote around the edge of the puzzle pictured above is “We are linked, we are not ranked, and this is a day that will change us forever because we are together, each of us individually and collectively will never be the same again.” This sentiment, while true in a philosophical sense, falls a little short when you think about (board)gaming.

In this hobby we are linked AND ranked

We are a community constantly under the pressure of one’s performance being measured.
It is a human pattern to dislike when someone who we think is weaker than us might be better at something.
Especially, when being good at that something fills us with a sense of pride.
Just because it is understandable, it does not make it right to continue bogus and harmful patterns that send people home feeling unintelligent and unworthy.  At the end of the day, there are healthy and unhealthy environments for women to (board)game in.
Even in a healthy environment, there are outliers.
So the goal here is to help you see how words and actions play on the minds of women (board)gamers.
We can never fully avoid the toxic behaviors and societal pressures that I mentioned, .

But we can TOGETHER address them when they present themselves

The online gaming realm has reporting and blocking systems in place to prevent toxicity.
How can we work together as a community to care for each other and make more welcoming board game tables?  Footnote: In this article, I am using the term (board)gaming because these toxic behaviors are also present in the video gaming community and I want to acknowledge the intersectionality of women whose primary hobby is board gaming and those who also partake in online video games, like myself.
Moving forward, the articles are primarily about the board gaming community and will not use this format.
Episode 231 – Bras and Board Games.
ENGN Preview Series 46 – Adventure Tactics: Domianne’s Tower with Nicholas Yu and Dan Letzring.
Show Comments.
Pingback: ().

BGA on Patreon Join the BGA Newsletter Categories

Recent Comments on.
Recent Posts.
Categories Categories Select Category 2 Player Games BGA Podcast Blog Board Game Geek Cons Every Night is Game Night Featured Gift Guide Kickstarter News Reviews Top Lists Uncategorized Archives Archives Select Month September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 December 1.
Every week on the BGA podcast, .

We run a contest for Patreon backers that


Almanac of Games for June 22nd: Finger Futbol!

On June 22, .

1986 Maradona’s “hand of God” scored the decisive goal that defeated

June 22, .

2014 0 Shares

Board Gamers Anonymous is a network of board game lovers who write

record, and publish reviews and articles about their favorite games.
Featuring two podcasts, weekly written reviews, and an active YouTube channel, .

BGA is the place to be for all board game content

If you have a question about any of our publications or would like to submit an article tip or game for review, you can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *