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A proposed solution        Posted by:  Skelflesh
5/26/99    01:11 PM

In general, gaming seems to be something you have to get hooked on early to really be serious about. By the time people 'grow up', if they've never gamed before they tend to have too many mental barriers erected against it. They look at it as 'immature' and 'silly' - though in my experience, a good, role-playing intensive game (in any system) is more complex and significant and interesting than most of the novels people read and take seriously.

What keeps girls out of gaming is probably just the fact that not enough of them are exposed to it at an early age, or if they are exposed to it, it's to shrieking teenage boys whose games have little depth and who look at females as some kind of alien being. I was lucky: I was given a Basic D&D boxed set when I was too young to even understand how it worked. I kept it under the bed for a while, but it always held a sort of romantic allure for me, until one day I actually opened it up for a closer look... and have been hooked on RPGs ever since.

So here's my solution: if you have any young female friends or especially relatives, buy them RPG books, sets, magazine subscriptions! Anything you think will encourage them to be interested. Fantasy books probably contribute to it a lot as well. I'm not ashamed to say vast parts of my life would have been wholly different if I hadn't read Tolkien when I was a wee one. Young girls need to be encouraged to exercise their imaginations as wildly as they can, because the only thing TV and ordinary society will teach them to dream about is a pretty face, a white wedding, and a house full of kids.

Re:  A proposed solution        Posted by:  K. K. in response to A proposed solution
5/26/99    02:08 PM

I agree that young girls ought to be more exposed to gaming if we want more female gamers. I think that the main problem has to do with how girls play, though. RPG:s are made for playing in groups, girls mostly play two and two. I had three 'best friends' when I was eleven - they almost never met each other. When I decided I wanted to try out roleplaying, because of a favourable article in a Swedish youth magazine, I was faced with the problem of finding people to play with. To actually get my three friends in the same place was hard enough without trying to face them with a new concept (And no, the halfnaked girls in the rulebooks didn't help.)

Untitled        Posted by:  G. R. in response to A proposed solution
5/26/99    02:37 PM

I agree! When I was a kid, while my friends cried reading romantic novels in which the lady never met her lover until the last page, I read Tolkien, which opened my mind.

I knew about RPGs in a magazine article, and thought they never had come to Argentina until one day when I found a hole window in a bookstore full of D&D books. I almost started to jump in the middle of the street! And I was 30 by then.... Seven years ago.

I believe that if you like fantasy and prefer to use your imagination, RPGs are always an option... The problem is that "adults" has always other priorities, in general. And even if they liked it, in general grown up people won't admit it openly. It's childish.

Greetings from the south of the world!

G. R.
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Re:  A proposed solution        Posted by:  J. R. in response to A proposed solution
5/27/99    12:32 PM

To my experience (considerable less than others I'll note), the interest in fantasy or sci-fi must be present first. I am not sure how that comes about, since I grew up in a household where the only fiction was horror.  But either way, I agree that the key is early exposure. I know a local woman who says she's been attending conventions since she was 3. She doesn't role-play, though she used to, so she doesn't have a negative nor anti-woman viewpoint of role-playing.  Another thing, which I believe tends to be instilled in _all_ our youth, male and female, is to be too passive about things. Cognitively passive, I mean. Let's take a young fantasy reader; s/he probably has not imagined him or herself in a role in book past maybe 10 seconds. I think that's what attracts players: liking a genre, and wishing the opportunity to try things your way in them.  I am feeling that I am being totally unclear on this. Am I making any sense?

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