Comments on: Final Word: Thoughts from a Woman on Live Action Roleplay /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/ A feminist pop culture adventure Fri, 18 Nov 2011 05:30:34 +0000 hourly 1 By: seeherinthemovies /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/#comment-1946 Fri, 18 Nov 2011 05:30:34 +0000 Really a great article! I’m going to admit right now I’ve never actually participated in LARP games, but I’ve always found them interesting.

I totally agree, by the way, that there should be a separation between the intention of the game design and the intention of the person playing. Also, just because someone is portraying a sexist character doesn’t necessarily the player is doing it to be sexist, but sometimes to point out the sexism of that character. What’s nice about LARP is that it allows you to live as so many different characters with different perspectives on issues, in this case specifically sexism and feminism. If anything, LARP can be effective in showing the struggles of sexism, objectification, etc. depending on how they portray their character in the game.

By: DavidG /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/#comment-1945 Mon, 14 Nov 2011 17:22:34 +0000 These have been a nice series of posts, and I must thank Zim, for making me aware of them. There have been some nice thought out points and I have been meaning to post something here, but as I am terrible at posting on the web ( I meander through posts, rarely spell check, and I treat punctuation as a garnish) its taken me a while to poke the keyboard.

As one of the numerous white male lrpers I guess I could start by saying I have not been aware of any sexism in the hobby, but that would be untrue.
I do not think it is an endemic problem, but it does indicate problems with some of the people playing and the social settings they come from.

Part of the problem is one of education/training, we do have a lot of people in our hobby who may not be the most skilled or experienced at dealing with “real” person-to-person interactions, certainly its still something I see with people who are new to the hobby often it takes them some time to get to grips with the whole role-play thing (the hitting/spell casting thing they can figure out fairly quickly).

Most recently I have noticed a trend of increased usage in conversation of what many would say are offensive terms, words for different ethnic groups, sexualities and derrog terms for woman (and men) are becomming more commonplace. This usage is leaking in from the real world quite baddly as is the “net humour” with extreme “jokes” about rape ect.
Guildford train station is often full of a lot of school kids, and the use of “frape” “rape” “fag” “gay” “bitch” “ho” is rampant.
Its like listening to a transcription from the chat box of some online-games I’ve played in.
So its easy to see how it bleeds through into the hobby.

Saddly unless people make it known that it is not acceptable then it does tend to get ignored, thankfully a lot of our lrp systems are getting better at self policing and on the whole I think we are not bad at educating and teaching those around us what is good and bad behaviour.
Failing that Complain,complain,complain.

As a game designer who designed a game where character(note: Character NOT player) gender COULD give you access to different abilities, and as someone who has played some quite offensive characters, I tend to be forgiving of IC sexism if it truly fits with the game world/setting.
But it has to be more thought out than “RACE X: Matriarchal, men are slaves only used for combat and breeding”.
Equally I think it is up to the game designers to make it very clear how nations/factions/tribes are run and live to many are quite vague and dance around the issue.
Or just add a PR safe “everyone is equal ” stamp at the end.

Generaly I think the LRP gender divide is shrinking, rulers of nations, evil masterminds, brain-less thugs, womanising/man-seducing/construct seducing heart-breakers, quiet scholars,explorers, thieves, murderers, Warriors and Peasents. All can be the domain of woman if they so choose.
And as more systems increase their female staff roles, and modernise. Things can only keep getting better.


By: Stephen B /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/#comment-1944 Wed, 09 Nov 2011 23:14:35 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

Just as an almost-aside on High Elves and Wood Elves, two things:

1) High Elves are often based on Angels, fairies or ‘the taller, paler shining ones who went before’ which is a common myth to countries all over the world. It doesn’t excuse their always-whiteness, but might explain the origins.

2) Wood Elves are becoming much less white in many computer games such as “Neverwinter Nights 2” and the upcoming “Skyrim” ( – it’s prequel Oblivion had High Elves as a deep golden too). Some (and the ‘wild elf’ variant) are even described as having tree-bark coloured skin.

I wouldn’t expect this to translate to larp too soon though. Mind you, I play several larps which involve full-face masks of Badgers or such, so again I haven’t seen the ones where one skin colour = evil.

By: Miranda /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/#comment-1943 Wed, 09 Nov 2011 15:18:06 +0000 In reply to Meg.

I agree with this – hands up who else is sick of awful old school Drow-type “evil and dark skinned” stuff? Or the assumption in artwork that high/wood elves are uniformly white?

I’ve LARPed with people of colour in urban settings, but the galleries I searched for images to accompany these posts were a sea of white. Class plays a big role too as high fantasy kit is often expensive.

Also, LARP is, I imagine, often potentially difficult for trans* players depending on how aware and considerate venues and organisers are being. The issue of ‘toilet segregation’ was brought up on another thread and I couldn’t help thinking this would be something many organisers would not consider in terms of trans* issues.

By: Meg /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/#comment-1942 Wed, 09 Nov 2011 14:31:13 +0000 I’m really liking the LRP series, heh.

I wanted to take up something you said – that there is overwhelmingly a perception that LRP is a white male environment. I don’t think this is an inaccurate perception at all, and whilst a lot of work has been done in getting women involved, very little has been done with regard to involving people of colour. A lot of LRP games still use marginalised cultures and races as costumes and character ideas, for example, which is massively problematic.

We could look much more at how we design and publicise games, and I think there is a lot of potential active work that we could do about this, which all involves accepting that it is the case.

By: north5 /2011/11/09/final-word-thoughts-from-a-woman-on-live-action-roleplay/#comment-1941 Wed, 09 Nov 2011 12:54:03 +0000 Thanks for rounding this up with a great article – and thanks for giving me, and others, a chance to wax lyrical about our favourite subject(s). :)

I guess we can only fall back on our personal experiences of larp, and those of our friends – and by its very nature, these are going to be wildly different, between systems, characters, and even within the same event.

I’m sad that some have had bad experiences at larp events, but I’d be the last to suggest that there isn’t a way to go before it’s free of unfair gender problems. (Of course I could say the same about my workplace, or the local pub, or even taking the kids to school.)

Larp is a collaborative exercise, and after this I should make a renewed effort to hold game organisers, my peers, and myself up to as high a standard as we can manage.

Personally, I’d like everyone with an interest to give it a go, and bring positive expectations and attitude – that’s the best way to make the hobby better. You might not like it – or, you might just love it.