Warhammer Wednesday – Welcoming WomenOctober 10, 2018
‘Respect for right conduct is felt by everybody.’ – Jane Austen: Emma
There is an often held misconception that women don’t enjoy the Games Workshop hobby. We are in the minority when it comes to online discussion, local clubs, and tournaments however this is rarely through lack of interest. To make your hobby spaces more open and welcoming here is a handy guide on a few things to consider…
Does your gaming club meet in a pub function room? Is it rather loud and crowded with drunken guys of an evening? Do you have to walk through the bar to access the room? This isn’t the most reassuring of environments to walk through unaccompanied. I don’t suggest you change venue immediately as suitable rooms can be hard to find, however I encourage looking at strategies such as venues with separate function room entrances or ensuring the bar has clear ‘zero tolerance’ policies for patrons who harass or cat call.
We have navigated the loud assembly of guys outside. Now we are faced with a room of strangers and no clear structure. Who is safe to approach? What is the etiquette here? Am I going to be entirely ignored/treated as an oddity? Having an experienced club member on greeting duty (they can play on tables near the door and stop momentarily for introductions) goes a long way to making a newcomer feel supported. It also gives a point of contact for any issues or concerns.
If your gaming club doesn’t already have an Equality Policy or Code of Conduct, it is time to get one and make sure it is publicly advertised on your website/message board. Set out clear terms for expected conduct towards other members, express zero tolerance for sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and harassment.
Most importantly you have to honour these policies. ‘I have known him for years and he is a good guy.’ ‘It was probably a misunderstanding.’ ‘You are overreacting.’ None of these are acceptable responses. Believe the victim of poor conduct and issue warnings/expulsions as appropriate.
Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice
Women have a simple yet elegant system for gaining the advice and opinions of other people. It’s called ‘asking’. If a lady at your gaming club hasn’t asked you for advice or opinion on any aspect of her hobby, she isn’t interested. If you notice other guys offering unasked for advice and opinions have a word with them.
This shouldn’t need explaining but invariably does. Respect a woman as a gaming peer and don’t test or question her knowledge. Respect a woman as person and not an alien presence. Respect a woman’s right to make her own choice of opponent/army/paint scheme/lore/etc. Respect yourself and the people who share a small, noisy room with you and practice good personal hygiene. Respect that whilst you are entitled to sexy miniatures, cheesecake card covers, and swastika decals on your troops, the choice to bring them to gaming nights will mark you out as problematic and unpleasant.
If someone is accused of sexual assault don’t make them club President or responsible for arbitration and decision making over club rules. I’d hope no one would be that disdainful of women in their society but it seems to need spelling out.