Recent posts

Transgender Character In A Fantasy Role-Playing Game

I’ve posted in the past about how gaming and geek culture can be sexist, even leading to extreme cases of harassment. Some game companies, however, are making an effort to include greater diversity among their character options, though, in terms of race, gender, and gender identity. Paizo, the creator of Pathfinder (an open gaming-licensed D&D spin-off), has included many more non-white characters in their rules books, though some have criticized their representation of women. Notably, though, Paizo recently released a character who is a transgender (male-to-female, a transition facilitated by a magic potion) half-orc paladin. Unlike other RPG characters in the past who have switched gender, largely by means of spells that unwillingly change the character’s gender, this paladin, Anevia, is apparently happy with her gender status, and is a pretty powerful character. Continue Reading →

Magic: In Paper or People?

As a sex educator, therapist, and Magic: The Gathering player, I almost gasped out loud when I was forwarded this Buzzfeed quiz that has you guess whether a phrase is a Magic card or a position from the Kama Sutra. I never really put these two things together, but I’m glad someone did. Try it out, see what you get. I got 100%. Well, almost. Continue Reading →

Book Review Of Violation: Rape In Gaming

Maybe you don’t think of the words “rape” and “gaming” being used together very often, but according to Clarisse Thorn and Julian Dibbell, co-editors of a new anthology, perhaps you should. They recently released Violation: Rape in Gaming as an e-book and paperback, and as we MSP readers know to expect from Clarisse’s other work, this is a thought-provoking foray into the collisions between sexuality and subcultures. Thorn’s introduction reflecting on game rape, feminism, S&M, and selfhood is one of the highlights of the book, giving readers some framing terms and concepts to accompany us through the rest of the essays. Thorn describes her involvement with feminism and with the BDSM/S&M/kink communities, and she draws some intriguing connections between the use of negotiated boundaries and safewords in BDSM and consensual reality in role-playing games (such as how the Mind’s Eye Theater system of role-playing emphasizes player boundaries even in horrifying in-game situations). Thorn also gives a history of gaming starting with tabletop role-playing games like D&D, and moving up through LARPs, MUDs, and MMOs. Continue Reading →

Gender, Gaming, And Safe Spaces

Gaming and geek cultures are increasingly a part of contemporary people’s hobbies, lifestyles, and social options. Notice that I said “people” and not just “guys,” because, as it turns out, many gamers are also women–around 42% according to some studies. However, a lot of these women don’t feel safe or welcome while playing in large online games, so they hide their gender, or otherwise try to downplay their real-life identities. Why? I’ve been reading posts by Lesley, a blogger who’s also a gamer, on this topic in an effort to understand. Continue Reading →

GameCrush: Online Playdates For Lonely Gamers

A look at the demographics of the website GameCrush reveals that there is still a large gender disparity in gaming. Users of the site can pay to play games via webcam with “playdates,” most of whom are female, in games ranging from board games to first-person shooters. This report emphasizes the interactive nature of the site, stating that paying to game with a hot girl is not unlike buying her a drink at a bar–simply a way to introduce oneself and ask for her company for a little while. Sex-chatting and raunchiness are apparently discouraged and could get one booted from the site. Continue Reading →