The Daily Shot: Bethmo Had Better Deal, Dammit
A guy named Ron Vitale wrote something over at Brainburst about women and Magic. It was called"Whatever happened to Bethmo?" and he had this idea about what would have to happen if we wanted to get more female players into the game.
"If we're serious about changing the game, then we need to clean up our acts and invite women into the fold. What does that mean? To put it simply: Deal with issues of personal hygiene, act more mature, and be receptive to talking more than with"Magic speak."
So here's what we have to do: First, get all the unwashed jabronies to take a shower once in a while, maybe shave before people start mistaking their necks for Tiberium fields. And those two-day old, wrinkled shirts with Dragonball Z characters on 'em? Forget 'em. You show up freshly pressed or stay home.
I can see it now- a hygiene Gestapo in every store.
"Hey!"he'd yell, bridling. "Try picking the debris out of your dreads every so often, you greaseball." Then he'd turn to some other poor guy who just came in to draft.
"And you! Yeah, the guy with the stud in his lower lip. Shine that thing up! Were you raised in a barn? And get a razor- I can name at least five areas of my body with better-looking stubble than that."
Women who would take offense to the poor hygiene (at least, any more than we would) aren't good candidates to be Magic players.
The Magic community is very forgiving in this regard, and that is why some people find it a nice respite from the rest of society, where multiple eyebrow piercings and being two hundred lbs. overweight aren't very conducive to social interaction. I have yet to see one person make fun of the appearance of another at a Magic tournament. Same thing with odor. If I guy stinks, I might mention something to a friend, but I usually cut the guy a break. Why should we have to change this time-honored system just to populate our community with a few more sets of jahoobies?
Hell, maybe I should shove a Glade Plug-In up my ass and fill my deckbox with incense when I go to a tournament. That way little miss princess gamer will feel more comfortable. Come on. If women wanted to play Magic, they'd play Magic. I personally smell fine - and even if a couple of guys get ripe throughout the course of the day, the women have got to be able to deal with that.
Girls, it's not my job to get Sticky McStick to bathe his three hundred pounds in a timely fashion. You show up and see pit stains, you hold you nose like everyone else.
Then Vitale mentions that we have to be more mature. What? I play Magic despite all the morons and idiots that also play it - and I'm proud of my ability to do so. I think this ability in and of itself shows maturity. I'll tell you what doesn't show maturity... And that's an inability to deal with other people being immature. There are plenty of people, both men and women, who are guilty of this. If you play a game where the average age is fourteen years or so, you're going to have to deal with some immature people who have no social skills. I expect my male friends to deal with this on a daily basis, so why should I expect less of the women?
Jesus, why do we have to keep pampering these ladies? The male Magic players of the world have to deal with the occasional stink and the even more occasional idiot who thinks that fart jokes are the height of humor. Women, if they want to play Magic, should be able to cope with these things too. We're not doing them any favors by trying to"clean things up" in an effort to get more of them into the game.
What these damsels need is a trial by fire - Magic as it truly is.
It's not just Magic. Remember when O'Neal was given a step marked"female aid" to help her pass the obstacle course in"G.I. Jane"? Perfect example. All sorts of things get changed when markets want to cater to what they see as"women's needs" and the end result is that people resent any women that arrive, making things even worse. I don't know about you, but if I came to a store and was told to shave my burgeoning neckbeard because there was a woman at the tournament that day, I'd tell you to go f*** yourself. Is this a Magic tournament or a GQ photo shoot?
Like women look or smell that good all the time - that's a crock. You think female-dominated activities start initiatives in order to get more men involved? Do they put out bulletins asking their community to wax those upper lips, find a more flattering bra, prepare to talk about sports? Hell no.
Men don't avoid Tupperware parties because the women there leave something to be desired as far as hygiene and conversation (though it is most often the case).
Men avoid Tupperware parties because they think Tupperware parties are dumb.
This is the same reason women avoid Magic. They're either raised on Barbie dolls and the like, and therefore think Magic is dumb, or they're raised on"girl power" and therefor think that Magic is a waste of time - they could be out curing Cancer.
Finally, why should I be receptive to talking in more than"Magic" speak? Sorry, but I'll just keep saying"tings,""savage," and"end step," and it's not my fault if the airhead doesn't know what I'm talking about. Women are every bit the same as men, mentally - and just as you and your friends all eventually learned to talk the talk, so too will Molly McGamer and her ilk. I will not learn anything about Kotex, male models, or hair care in a vain effort to engage a female Magic newcomer in interesting conversation. Instead, it's her that should bone up on Magicspeak, and learn to fit in with us.
Here's another snippet from the Vitale article:
"We need to find a way to be more receptive to women in the Magic community or the game will simply remain a homo-centered playground of boys who refuse to mature. Why am I being so harsh? Have you been to a Magic tournament lately? Seriously, if you were a woman, would you be caught dead there? I didn't know so."
Ron, that's not my fault that many women (and a great many men, as well) are too shallow and thin-skinned to forgive a few unshaven faces, wrinkled shirts, and obscene remarks. Women are, by the way, every bit as prone to immaturity and stupidity as men. They wouldn't be caught dead at a Magic tournament? Screw them, then. They can go back to looking at themselves in the mirror or doing whatever it is that women do. It's their loss.
Ron obviously hates the fact that some boys at Magic tournaments act in a stupid manner. I don't like it, either. How does he deal with this? I'm assuming he shakes his head, mutters to himself"what idiots..." and then goes on with what he was doing. Is there any reason that female gamers can't do this as well? I think not.
I keep coming back to the same point time and again. Women, as a group, being every bit as dynamic, intelligent, and filled with potential as males, should be able to cope with the rigors of Magic. It just takes mental toughness.
Kudos to every woman who plays Magic and doesn't expect any preferential treatment. If you come into a tournament and keep an open mind, you will be accepted: I guarantee it. If I see a woman at a Magic tournament, I treat her the same as I would a male gamer - with respect. Most other gamers are the same way.
At my local store, the tournaments are competitive. Players hurl spells and trash talk with equal measure. Foul language goes back and forth across every table. (False) accusations of homosexuality are rampant. Obscene gestures are common. References to anal sex are frequent. It's all in jest, though, and quite good-natured.
I'm sure that given a few minutes to adjust, women can handle this. Heck, they could even get involved in some of the joking and ribbing, and have a good time.
The alternative is a set of gaming tables where people are playing Magic while they talk about the buns of Ryan Phillipe vs. those of Tom Cruise and how much it costs to get a haircut. God forbid. If I have to choose my trash-talk and the choices are"Where's your mom? I think she's in my room" and"I don't like your perm," I don't think it's much of a contest.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, well, if calling my opponent an"assmaster" in response to his Morphling is wrong in the presence of the fairer sex - then by God, I don't wanna be right.
Women, just like men, could learn a lot from being part of the Magic community. Tolerance for other shapes and types of people. Patience.
And those are not the least of the lessons. After the divided social hell of high school, you can learn a lot about how to act like a human being again. I don't know if it's societal pressure or genetic predisposition, but women are missing out on a lot because of it.
All shapes and sizes and colors, and yes, smells, are welcome. I don't particularly like the smell part, but that's the way it is. In its way, it's actually noble. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... And hand them a deck.
When women are ready to be part of that particular melting pot, have them give us a call.