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Subject: Survey of female gamers: Your experiences at local game stores rss

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Marcie Dobyns
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I was just on Rainy Day Games facebook page and wanted to point out two things that I think show that they care about their female clientele as well:

1.) They have a ladies game night
2.) Announcements are routinely started with 'Ladies and Gentlemen'.
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Sarah Donovan
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1. In the last three years, it's probably been around 20 or so? Give or take. I love game stores. I also run and participate in gaming events geared specifically towards getting new people into the hobby, so I care a lot about brick and mortar stores as potential venues for that.

2. Oakland, CA; Alameda, CA; Berkeley, CA; San Francisco, CA; Hayward, CA; Manteca, CA; Stockton, CA; Modesto, CA; Portland, Oregon.

3-4. Several of the stores I've been to had women running the registers and seemed very welcoming (friendly, knowledgeable staff who could engage without being rude about it). Specifically Cloud Cap Games in Portland, It's Your Move Games & Hobbies in Oakland, and Dr Comics & Mr Games in Berkeley all had women working there and I immediately knew I'd want to go back.

One store I went to (Games of Berkeley) had a woman running the register who came across as rather hostile (though it didn't feel targeted towards me specifically so much as everyone, so she might have just been having a bad day). She seemed to regard people who walked in with suspicion, so there might be a lot of theft there, but I felt like she begrudged my presence right up through the transaction. I've since been in at times when she wasn't working and felt the atmosphere was what I'd call neutral (they leave you alone while you browse, answer questions if you ask them, and have a solid inventory that's laid out in a way that encourages browsing). I also don't find that store's basement gaming space very comfortable, so I don't attend events there anymore.

Most stores I've been in have been staffed by men. Sometimes that can lead to hostility/discomfort, but largely it's been neutral for me. I had a memorably bad experience at Guardian Games in Portland, OR, where the gentleman behind the counter ignored me outright until I asked if they had a particular game in stock, and then decided to be insulting about that game in question when telling me they didn't have it (unacceptable regardless of the game since tastes differ wildly). He also kept badgering another woman about every game she'd pick up to look at. There's a difference between offering an honest opinion about something to help a customer make an informed decision and just being rude. His behavior fell into the latter category, so I left pretty quickly because it was making me angry.

Endgame in Oakland is my favorite nearby store. Staff is all male, but they're all pretty welcoming from what I've witnessed. They also have a great mezzanine style public gaming space (anything that isn't "sequestered in a basement" or "banquet tables stuck in the back but still somehow positioned just right for players to turn and stare at anyone who walks in" gets extra points from me). The staff there are also honest about their opinions (also whether or not they've actually played the game that's being asked about), and have a large inventory including games that are for young children and casual gamers, which I feel does a lot to encourage people who might otherwise be intimidated. I'm a frequent customer there, and don't hesitate recommending it.

For the most part, I haven't encountered too many issues on the West Coast. If I walk into a shop and encounter people who are enthusiastic about the hobby and nice, then I'm happy to support it. Even if it smells like a MtG con and doesn't have the best inventory layout. If I'm ignored outright or subjected to poor treatment, then I just don't go back, but that has luckily not been my experience. One of the most hostile stores I've personally encountered closed its doors several years ago, which I like to think is a sign things are changing in a positive direction.
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Jacob Schoberg
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travvller wrote:

I think you're missing the point of the entire survey. I'm trying to isolate a specific variable - the experiences of women. If I wanted the impressions of everyone I wouldn't have posted to this forum.

I have stated my position up front, but I incorporated into the survey the question of whether or not women even think there's a problem with what they have perceived. If you don't think there's a problem specific to women then that's your answer about how welcoming stores are.

It feels like your post was a challenge to the entire idea of sexism at retail stores. If that's your opinion, fine, but it's not what I've witnessed and I'm clearly not alone. It just doesn't feel like you're just offering your opinion, it feels like you're challenging the very basis of the survey.

Yes, I have made a conclusion and I stated it right in the header, but I've said I'll include data that goes against that conclusion if that's the result. I simply stated what I've seen. I'm not stating my political views, I'm saying what I saw at close to 50 retail stores. I saw a ton of white male customers at stores that were generally negative environments for everyone else - non-whites, women, non-gamers, etc. I'm actually baffled that you haven't seen this. White males dominate this hobby. How could it not be reflected in stores especially when so many of them are run by serious gamers . . . who are typically white and male?

So I guess I shouldn't have posted anything about what I've seen and waited until most people had already posted. I'm affecting the data so to speak. So I'm going to bow out of this and check back later once I'm able to look at people's responses and see if I can quantify the results.


Asking for women's opinions on experiences in game stores and then telling them that their opinion is wrong is probably not the best way to go about collecting data.
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swmalone wrote:
Quote:
I bring this up just to say that being a woman doesn't necessarily have to do with whether a store is welcoming or not, and crappy stores are probably crappy stores to everyone.


I agree with this.


I want to echo this. If it's in a bad location, has an unkempt building, dirty bathroom, and/or untrained staff, those impression registers for everyone.
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chinagirl geek
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It's interesting that this 'survey' was created in response to Asmodee's plan to use bricks and mortar stores to sell in future, but apparently no-one but me has visited any of their stores.

And I have to say that it hardly matters what other stores are like for your purposes, when Asmodee does such an amazing job of making their flagship stores attractive and welcoming to all. I have visited other game stores I like a lot, but Asmodee's is simply in a different league. The only bad part about it is that they don't stock games by other companies.

But for what it's worth, here are my responses:

1) Around 10. I've probably forgotten the odd minor one on my travels.

2) Asmodee, Shanghai
a store/board game cafe in Shanghai
a nameless store in Suzhou, China
Jolly Thinkers, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Games of Berkeley, CA
Eudomania, Berkeley, CA
a store in San Francisco
a store in northern San Diego
the games store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis

3) I very much agree with another poster, who said that you should define your terms when it comes to what is/isn't welcoming. I think this is much less clearcut than you imagine, and culturally dependent.

For example, I HATE when staff immediately greet me on entering the store, especially if they want to start up a conversation or ask what I'm looking for. I feel that I can't relax and just browse. But from other responses, it seems that this is something many American women expect. So one person's comfort is another's discomfort.

For me, a good store should be clean, smell-free and (ideally) well-laid out, with a wide selection of games. Staff should let you be unless you seem lost or ask for assistance, but then should give knowledgeable, honest and NON-PATRONISING help. It's a bonus if they seem pleased to see you, and chat a little while you are making your purchases.

I really don't care if they are welcoming to non-gamers (who can go somewhere like Borders if they are just shopping for a gamer friend or looking for a gateway game to try), and would much prefer that staff initially assumed a high level of gamer knowledge and competence and then offered additional explanations if necessary, rather than starting off treating me as an ignorant newb (which, perhaps unfairly, I always assume is because of my gender and mainstream appearance).

Grades and explanations (using your scale, where D is good):

Asmodee: D+++
Very well lit; you can bring drinks in from outside and they also provide free water; plenty of unwrapped games to examine/play; non-intrusive but excellent staff who are hardcore gamers without being offputtingly geeky; several huge playing areas (no charge); no pressure to buy; the store is owned by a couple and a significant minority of the customers are female; they regularly hold sessions to introduce kids to games. A great place to spend an afternoon, whether you plan to buy or not. Minor criticisms: the location (badly-signposted in a somewhat out-of-the-way mall) and the external appearance of the store, which is not appealing.

Other Shanghai store and Jolly Thinkers: B-C
Both of these are the sort of places where you will probably feel a little uncomfortable walking in the door, and will have to wait a while for service, but the staff will soon warm up to you, and are helpful and knowledgeable. Jolly Thinkers is much nicer as a place to play games than to buy them, IMO.

Suzhou store: D
A strange combination of girly accessories and boardgames in one store. Far more female than male customers. Staff are extremely nice, but not very knowledgeable and occasionally give inaccurate information about their games. VERY low prices make up for the cramped layout and lack of professionalism.

Games of Berkeley: D
Friendly without being intrusive; helpful when asked; totally honest about their products, even when this will cause you not to buy something you were considering (this is a huge plus for me); well-lit; huge range; plenty of female customers and at least one female clerk.

Eudomania: B-C
There is quite a strong foot locker smell in the gaming area here and there are banks of teen boys playing video games at the back of the store, so I was initially put off, BUT the guy who runs it is actually really sweet, and once I got over my initial apprehension, I liked it enough to go back several times. They also sell water, candy, etc., which is nice for game nights (no charge for these), and there is no pressure to buy games.

SF store (whose name I can't remember): C
Definitely a gamers' game store. Staff are very well-informed and jokey with gamer customers. I went there with a non-gamer who was not uncomfortable, but a bit left out, and said he would not feel confident about going there again without me. A good selection of games and a good, pretty welcoming game night.

San Diego store: B
Great for regulars and confident hard-core gamers, with a huge playing area. I liked it, but not a place I would recommend to most of my female gamer friends. I never saw another woman there.

Mall of America game store: (for me) A; (for a non-gamer) B
Very arrogant, patronising, opinionated staff, who assume almost zero knowledge of games (at least among their women customers)
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Susan F.
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The problem with surveys like these is selection bias. People with negative experiences are more likely to respond than those with positive experiences (unless maybe it was the BEST! GAMESTORE! EVER!!!) This will likely be worse for the secondhand reports. We'll hear all about stores who someone's partner found unpleasant, but not so much about the ones that were fine.

travvller wrote:

The Survey

1. How many retail game stores have you visited in the last three years? An estimate is fine.


2. Where were these stores located? The state is fine but if you can include the city that would also be great. Also not necessary but helpful, feel free to name the stores specifically if you want.


In the last three years? Probably five. Three in Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) (both comic book stores plus the one at the mall). Definitely one in Calgary (Sentry Box); possibly more. Probably one in Edmonton (the one in West Edmonton Mall; I think it's been longer than that since I was in Mission: Fun and Games).


travvller wrote:
3. In your opinion as a woman, did the majority of these stores have an atmosphere that was A)hostile, B)not hostile, but certainly unwelcoming, C)Neutral, neither welcoming nor unwelcoming, or D)welcoming: to non-gamers, women especially? I hope this succinctly encompasses most perceptions. If none of these describe your experience then you can give a different answer than A through D. But please stick to these four choices if you can as it makes using the data much easier.


Somewhere in the C to D range - but I'll lean toward D if I have to pick. The mall stores were, well, mall stores. Very high prices (well over MSRP) but attractive displays and friendly staff.

The two local comic book stores are awesome. Decent selection that is well displayed. Both have friendly staff who are helpful but not pushy - including friendly female staff (which is probably one of the best ways to be "welcoming to women"). Better prices than the mall store, but that's probably because they have lower rent. They also host and run the sort of events that ANA is looking to see in stores. They are probably the type of business that ANA is trying to avoid hurting by focusing its price hike on the online stores.

The Sentry Box has amazing selection. I'll admit I found it overwhelming the first time I went in, but they have since rearranged to be more welcoming to newbies (the Magic and RPG stuff is no longer the first thing you see when you go into the store itself). They have massive play space and seem to host many events.

travvller wrote:
4. Are there any stores you'd like to shout out as examples of having good or bad atmosphere? For example, a store that was horrible and/or a store that was outstanding at welcoming non-gamers, women especially. Please give the store's name, city and state. If you can't remember the store's name then city and state will suffice.


See above. Kapow Comics is an especially great FLGS, IMO, but Showcase Comics and Sentry Box are both great too - as is Mission: Fun and Games.
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Robert Wyant
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I'm going to turn this on it's head a bit.
My Wife and I opened a store several years ago.
She did 90% of the work, ordering, everything really, it was pretty much her store with me backing it up with my Job elsewhere.

There were many occasions where male customers would talk down to her because she was a woman. Berating her about her lack of knowledge on Comic Books, Model Paint and supplies, etc. We had one guy who would only play D&D Encounters when I was running them.

My wife is a far better DM than I will ever be, She is an expert miniatures Painter, and could hold her own well in the comic book and games department.
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Celina
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1. How many retail game stores have you visited in the last three years? An estimate is fine.

6

2. Where were these stores located? The state is fine but if you can include the city that would also be great. Also not necessary but helpful, feel free to name the stores specifically if you want.

The Wizard's Wagon, St. Louis
The Fantasy Shop (2 locations), St. Louis
Game Nite, St. Louis
Miniature Market, St. Louis
Yeti Gaming, St. Louis
Some massive place in Dallas, TX

3. In your opinion as a woman, did the majority of these stores have an atmosphere that was A)hostile, B)not hostile, but certainly unwelcoming, C)Neutral, neither welcoming nor unwelcoming, or D)welcoming: to non-gamers, women especially? I hope this succinctly encompasses most perceptions. If none of these describe your experience then you can give a different answer than A through D. But please stick to these four choices if you can as it makes using the data much easier.

D to all of them.

4. Are there any stores you'd like to shout out as examples of having good or bad atmosphere? For example, a store that was horrible and/or a store that was outstanding at welcoming non-gamers, women especially. Please give the store's name, city and state. If you can't remember the store's name then city and state will suffice.

Since I like all of them, I am just going to tell you what I like about them & you can figure out if it helps you:

The Wizard's Wagon, St. Louis - This is the closest store to me. They run multiple game nights, our meetup group meets there, there's always Magic/Netrunner/L5R going on. The staff is lovely, has been very welcoming, and know their stuff. If they don't, they can look it up. They are always happy to special order games for me.

The Fantasy Shop (2 locations), St. Louis - These I went into as a non-gamer, accompanied by small children, when I first went. They were SO nice, the whole staff got involved in what I was looking for, figured out what I wanted, and even called the other store to get something for me. I was charmed.

Game Nite, St. Louis - This store is stuffed with games, and has a large playing area, along with some big mini/wargaming tables. The staff can be a bit distracted, but they always smile & are friendly.

Miniature Market, St. Louis - Mostly I have experience with their bare-bones ding & dent area, but I always see people I know, and a friend of mine works there. Plus, there are several other gaming companies in the same building, and I've met some very cool people.

Yeti Gaming, St. Louis - This is where my son games, I was not yet gaming when I first started going. The owner has created an amazing vibe there. The clients are mostly young, (sometimes it is a bit wiffy, as they are still figuring out grooming), and they sell mostly Magic/Yugioh/Pokemon. The staff is really, really nice, and extremely helpful to the mother who has no idea what her child needs, but wants the perfect birthday gift.

Some massive place in Dallas, TX - I loved this place, we needed special sleeves, had some odd other needs & someone took about 15 minutes to help us out.

5. Any comments you'd like to add that might be included in my article?

Yes.

I have always found the staff at these places to be charming. Sometimes a bit quirky, but hey. It may help that I am older, and willing to pressure someone into being helpful.
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Dosky A
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I'm really late to the thread so I hope that's ok!

1. Board game stores: The only 6 stores - there isn't a large board game community in Brisbane.


2. Location - an Australian perspective so probably not that helpful.

Australia, Queensland, Brisbane/Gold Coast
1. Mind Games (Brisbane)
2. Mind Games (Gold Coast)
3. Presents of Mind (Toowong)
4. Presents of Mind (Red Hill)
5. Good Games (Brisbane city)
6. EB Games + Zing (Brisbane City) + Indooroopilly Zing

3. D

4. I only had one hostile experience and it was at Presents of Mind in Red Hill. There was a mature aged lady and she didn't even acknowledge me when I was standing at the counter. I slid the game across to her and timidly said 'just that one thanks' - she didn't respond but kept staring at my jewelery and then when my husband came over she spoke to him. I vowed never to return but the following week I walked by the store and there was a young man working. He was so nice and welcoming and exhibited excellent knowledge of games (beyond just gateway games). The store is also neat and tidy but there is a limited selection(great range for Brisbane but comparatively bad compared to online retailers and not many euro games).

Good Games in Brisbane city is notorious for being loud and smelling bad - the old premises was much worse in terms of smell but the stench of body odor is still prevalent and unmistakable. Unfortunately you can't evict clientele for poor hygiene and with a limited following it's probably not economically viable. Nevertheless I found some of the previous staff to be amazingly helpful to me when purchasing games (they all appear to have left now R.I.P Sandy, Corey and Michael) and when I played Magic the Gathering they would assist me with deck building (noting that I am quite stubborn and not open to suggestion).

I had a bad experience at Zing in Indooroopilly where a sales attendant kept questioning my purchase. I don't like being questioned about what I'm buying. I just want to buy the damn thing and get out of there - just take my MONEY.

Mind Games in Brisbane is a good store in terms of cleanliness, I wish they had a larger premises but I also understand that the market for gaming in Australia is small and the cost of operating a store in the CBD is high. The staff are generally ok, they don't roll out the red carpet for you but I prefer to browse in peace and make my selection alone. When I do ask the girls about games they seem to be knowledgeable enough but I do have an issue with a young male sales attendant who will constantly ask if I need help. I think he's just a bit too eager to talk about what appears to be his favorite past time but I don't like being asked 'do you need help now' every 10 minutes. It makes me feel anxious and I end up leaving without purchasing anything

To summarise my experiences in all of these stores I would say the atmosphere is neutral.


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Jennifer Selig-moore
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I'm new to gaming and collecting this year and I visited my first game store while in Hawaii for work. I'm often busy with kids and house stuff so I figured I would use the alone time in the evening and check it out.

The name of the store was the Armchair Adventurer and it was located about 10 minutes from Waikiki where I was staying. I had to call the store several times on the way to make sure it was still open and to locate the store. The owner was super friendly on the phone and when I showed up greeted me right away. I felt a little weird since I noticed right away I was the only girl in the store but the owner was very nice and I was having a great time chatting with him about the games I had collected so far and what I have played/want to play.

He showed me some games and then introduced me to a group of gamers in the store and then I started chatting with them and got invited right away to play something they had brought with them. I was ecstatic since it was my first chance to play with real board gamers and not my family.

Anyway the owner played too and we played A Study in Emerald and Lord of the Rings into the night. I had not played either game so they taught me and were very friendly and even kept the store open after it closed so we could finish. I left and immediately said I would be back the next day.

Sunday I returned mid day and the owner was busy playing a RPG type game so could not chat as much but he looked up for a minute to say hi and introduce me to another gamer who had just arrived. I talked to this new person for a while before he asked if I wanted to play Beyond Baker Street while he waited for his friend. Again I was more then happy to try it and this lead to another great day of gaming. When his friend arrived we played Inis and we all learned the new game Last Friday.

I'm flying home in a few weeks and I just hope to find such a great store in Virginia where I live but reading some of these responses I'm feeling like my first experience may be an anomaly. I will post a follow up once I've checked out a few more stores.

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Reanna; just Reanna.
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3 in and around South of Pittsburgh. One myself, they greeted me and said goodbye.that was it. The other two I was with my husband. The one didn't engage much at all, the other engaged him only.
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Kimmy Woody
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Our nearby towns do not even have game store! shake I would have to drive to Dallas!! That is NOT going to happen!! Maybe soon a gaming store will open around Sherman, Texas!! whistle
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Naomi Ooooooooo

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My local game store is me. I live on the west coast of Alaska and what did they do before internet? I do love Rooks in Bozeman, MT over the summers though. It is very MtG centric but there are board game nights and lovely people who are patient with someone who has a history of screwing up the rules. It is friendly and I have always felt welcome there.
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Well I'm sure whatever article this info was for has long since been published but just to contribute to the general discussion I'll say:

I have visited two games stores in the past 3 years, both of them repeatedly. One is in Manhattan (The Compleat Strategist) and the other is in Bennington, VT (Gamer's Grotto).

As a female YouTuber who covers wargames and heavy fantasy games and indie-published games I end up having a lot of conversations with the staff at the Manhattan store about games that might be right for my channel and which they might have. (Their stock of old and new wargames is pretty deep and they carry many games by independent designers.)

I can pretty well say with certainty that I'm the only female customer who has walked in there asking if they have a 5-year-old back issue of Modern War magazine or the 1996 version of that North Africa skirmish folio game which just came back into print or the base game of a dungeon crawler published by that guy in Canada.

I've always been treated as the serious, knowledgeable gamer that I am and never experienced any overt sexism or anything like that.

My experience in the Bennington store--which is lighter in inventory and caters a lot to mini gaming nights and Magic as well as more mainstream games--isn't as detailed but I've always been treated as well as any other customer.
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Patrick C.
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Quote:
Well I'm sure whatever article this info was for has long since been published


No, I have been completely derelict in my duties in regards to this article and it has not been posted yet. Life, kids, work, etc. I do know I need to stop making excuses and get it done. I have continued to accumulate visits to more game stores in more US states which I intend to incorporate into my piece which is actually already 75% complete.

That being said, I've come to the conclusion that this particular piece of the picture is not feasible for my article and is outside my capability to quantify. I've decided to focus primarily on the issue of game stores creating a welcoming environment to anyone not already involved in the hobby and not restrict it to only the issue of women.

It seems like this did create a healthy environment for some folks to post their experiences and I'm happy about that. If people want to keep posting I hope they do so without hesitation.
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travvller wrote:
I've decided to focus primarily on the issue of game stores creating a welcoming environment to anyone not already involved in the hobby and not restrict it to only the issue of women.
That's a complex question. The Manhattan store I refer to is small, cramped, and lined with games floor to ceiling. It has probably looked this same way since the 70s or 80s. Is that unwelcoming, or just intimidating, or just a fact of midtown Manhattan rents?

They carry just as many light and family games (and Euros and Ameritrash, etc) as wargames and miniatures and legacy games but it might not *seem* that way from the outside. So in that way it is intimidating much as a used bookstore overflowing with inventory might be intimidating to a non bookworm.

I wouldn't say that makes the store 'unwelcoming' however. The staff is great and knows pretty much everything and I'm sure would direct any customer looking for any kind of game--light, medium, heavy, party game--to the right game. But it does't look like a cafe that sells games. It looks like the heavy-inventory game store that it is.
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Patrick C.
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emodiu5 wrote:
travvller wrote:

I think you're missing the point of the entire survey. I'm trying to isolate a specific variable - the experiences of women. If I wanted the impressions of everyone I wouldn't have posted to this forum.

I have stated my position up front, but I incorporated into the survey the question of whether or not women even think there's a problem with what they have perceived. If you don't think there's a problem specific to women then that's your answer about how welcoming stores are.

It feels like your post was a challenge to the entire idea of sexism at retail stores. If that's your opinion, fine, but it's not what I've witnessed and I'm clearly not alone. It just doesn't feel like you're just offering your opinion, it feels like you're challenging the very basis of the survey.

Yes, I have made a conclusion and I stated it right in the header, but I've said I'll include data that goes against that conclusion if that's the result. I simply stated what I've seen. I'm not stating my political views, I'm saying what I saw at close to 50 retail stores. I saw a ton of white male customers at stores that were generally negative environments for everyone else - non-whites, women, non-gamers, etc. I'm actually baffled that you haven't seen this. White males dominate this hobby. How could it not be reflected in stores especially when so many of them are run by serious gamers . . . who are typically white and male?

So I guess I shouldn't have posted anything about what I've seen and waited until most people had already posted. I'm affecting the data so to speak. So I'm going to bow out of this and check back later once I'm able to look at people's responses and see if I can quantify the results.


Asking for women's opinions on experiences in game stores and then telling them that their opinion is wrong is probably not the best way to go about collecting data.


This will whack the beehive, but this is in truth the primary reason I abandoned this particular angle.

The response I got was the equivalent of me going to visit a group of African Americans and asking them about how they are mistreated by the police and then being told off by a portion of those there that they are never mistreated by the police and there's no problem and how dare I speak for them.

Now, as a white person should be I be trying to speak for African Americans? Or, in this case, women? There's a valid argument there, certainly a red flag for any writer. So I'll grant you that. But that does not negate the privilege I saw in the remarks to my inquiry. I have now visited about 60 stores in states from Maine all the way down to North Carolina and as far west as Ohio. Telling me there's no problem is a non-starter.

This (sexism) is not an issue in which I'm unfamiliar. I'm a former activist myself and have worked with and for women's organizations. Arguing there isn't a problem is what people say who *oppose* activists fighting sexism. That's what someone like Phyllis Schlafly would have said.

If someone wants to accuse me of "mansplaining" so be it. But I will return with the charge of privilege. If you're a woman, at least in the US, and you haven't walked into a game store and been gawked at or been surrounded by posters of scantily clad women and felt uncomfortable you have been lucky. And some women don't care about these experiences and brush them off. Good for them. But that is in fact the norm.

To suggest that there isn't a problem - to basically negate the entire purpose of my inquiry - isn't about telling a privileged man to be quiet, it's about denying a problem that other women are experiencing. All of which believes me that the crux of this privilege is ideological and in fact, ironically sexist. IOW, the person who was responding to me was easily as sexist (toward other women) as I was being in response to them. I'd argue more so since at least I'm not trying to deny a problem that needs to be addressed.

Which reminds me of a recent experience I had in a game store in Ohio that stocked several hundred games - one of the biggest inventories I'd seen in awhile. The whole time I was there I could hear a rap song over the store's speakers. One of the lyrics that was repeated several times was something like "stop stepping on my dick." It was a crude song that shouldn't be played in any store that serves the general public. And yet this is what I had to listen to for the full 20 minutes I was there. They appeared to be playing an entire album of lewd rap music. Forget women, I wouldn't want a child in that environment.
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travvller wrote:


The response I got was the equivalent of me going to visit a group of African Americans and asking them about how they are mistreated by the police.


This question is equivalent to asking someone if they've stopped beating their wife. It presumes the answer that you are looking for. You get that, right?

Edit: Also, your original question equated women with non-gamers in a gamer forum. I understand why people felt like you were being insulting on several levels.
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Symath wrote:
travvller wrote:


The response I got was the equivalent of me going to visit a group of African Americans and asking them about how they are mistreated by the police.


This question is equivalent to asking someone if they've stopped beating their wife. It presumes the answer that you are looking for. You get that, right?


That's not what happened and you are misrepresenting my words and the response to them.

To use your analogy, I would be asking, "Have you been beaten by your husband" and then told, "No, and not only that, women aren't beaten by their husbands."

Of course many women haven't experienced sexism in gaming. I know that. But the person who responded to me was trying to negate the entire purpose of the inquiry - to basically argue there is no problem.
 
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travvller wrote:
Symath wrote:
travvller wrote:


The response I got was the equivalent of me going to visit a group of African Americans and asking them about how they are mistreated by the police.


This question is equivalent to asking someone if they've stopped beating their wife. It presumes the answer that you are looking for. You get that, right?


That's not what happened and you are misrepresenting my words and the response to them.

To use your analogy, I would be asking, "Have you been beaten by your husband" and then told, "No, and not only that, women aren't beaten by their husbands."

Of course many women haven't experienced sexism in gaming. I know that. But the person who responded to me was trying to negate the entire purpose of the inquiry - to basically argue there is no problem.


I thought that the poster you are referring to responded in an extremely cogent way to your misinterpretation of her posts at the bottom of page 1 and that you ignored her response.

Mashpotassium wrote:

I never said that there are no problems associated with being a woman, or that there is never a problem with sexism (I said that explicitly in my reply), I'm just saying don't conflate sexism with stores being crappy.

...

This is why I usually don't post in these types of threads; every time I do, it feels like my validity of having a woman's experience is challenged because my experiences may be atypical.
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Symath wrote:

Edit: Also, your original question equated women with non-gamers in a gamer forum. I understand why people felt like you were being insulting on several levels.


I didn't equate the two at all. You are again misrepresenting what I wrote!

I grouped the two because of the 60 stores I've visited a sizable amount have been straight up man caves for male geeks. They are hostile environments to women AND anyone else not involved in the hobby who isn't automatically repulsed by such an environment.

Ironically, I feel as if your response is just another example of privilege. Because if you were aware of these man caves you wouldn't have misrepresented my statement to mean that women were not "real gamers" somehow. You would have known that these types of stores are hostile retail environments for most people who aren't geek males and that I was simply making a list of likely groups of people who would be repelled by such an environment. But instead you took it as if I equated the two as being the same. Total bullshit.
 
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travvller wrote:
emodiu5 wrote:

Asking for women's opinions on experiences in game stores and then telling them that their opinion is wrong is probably not the best way to go about collecting data.



To suggest that there isn't a problem - to basically negate the entire purpose of my inquiry - isn't about telling a privileged man to be quiet, it's about denying a problem that other women are experiencing.


To be clear, I wasn't trying to say that sexism does not exist, or that this is not an issue. My point was that you asked for people's experiences, were given them, and then told those people they were wrong. This was the issue I have with your presentation here.

Even if you do think they are wrong for assuming that the issue does not exist because it doesn't happen to them, that doesn't matter in regards to you collecting data. The goal of your post was to take a survey regarding women's experiences in game stores. You did that. You collected data. Your personal views or experiences do not make their experiences not valid.

You're getting upset because you feel like people are saying "it hasn't happened to me so it isn't a widespread problem", and yet you're countering with "I've seen it happen so it is a widespread problem". You don't see the issue with that?
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Symath wrote:
travvller wrote:
Symath wrote:
travvller wrote:


The response I got was the equivalent of me going to visit a group of African Americans and asking them about how they are mistreated by the police.


This question is equivalent to asking someone if they've stopped beating their wife. It presumes the answer that you are looking for. You get that, right?


That's not what happened and you are misrepresenting my words and the response to them.

To use your analogy, I would be asking, "Have you been beaten by your husband" and then told, "No, and not only that, women aren't beaten by their husbands."

Of course many women haven't experienced sexism in gaming. I know that. But the person who responded to me was trying to negate the entire purpose of the inquiry - to basically argue there is no problem.


I thought that the poster you are referring to responded in an extremely cogent way to your misinterpretation of her posts at the bottom of page 1 and that you ignored her response.

Mashpotassium wrote:

I never said that there are no problems associated with being a woman, or that there is never a problem with sexism (I said that explicitly in my reply), I'm just saying don't conflate sexism with stores being crappy.

...

This is why I usually don't post in these types of threads; every time I do, it feels like my validity of having a woman's experience is challenged because my experiences may be atypical.


I didn't see the response because I wasn't going to participate in a discussion in which I was getting bashed over and over for the entire thesis of my article.

That being said, having read it now I disagree with her characterization about crappy not being related to sexism.

The hobby is dominated by men. Mostly male clerks, male owners, male designers, male dominated publishers.

A huge number of stores are located in strip mall type locations with very little foot traffic, bad lighting and poor security. Some of the worst stores I've visited looked as if they were porn shops on the outside. These stores don't even remotely look safe to someone who doesn't know what's being sold there.

I visit these stores and I see no women. It doesn't take a PhD for me to see why.

And I'm NOT supposed to equate crappy with sexism? I'm sorry, but that woman who responded to me was negating one of the central points of my piece. Maybe she's lucky in that she's never been to one of these man caves. I have. And there have been times in which I didn't even feel safe there. These stores exist in lots of places, they tend to have huge inventories and lots of male customers.

The store that I think has been the epitome of a welcoming store for all customers is Diversions in Portsmouth, NH. I've corresponded with one of the owners about their store and its welcoming environment. And that owner was . . . a woman. It's not a coincidence.
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travvller wrote:
Symath wrote:

Edit: Also, your original question equated women with non-gamers in a gamer forum. I understand why people felt like you were being insulting on several levels.


I didn't equate the two at all.


travvller wrote:

One of my major contentions is that the majority of stores are in fact unwelcoming if not outright hostile environments for non-gamers, women especially.

...

The crux of what I'm asking is: Would the average woman, especially a woman that is not currently a gamer or who is brand new to the hobby, feel immediately comfortable, if not at least okay, when first entering the store?

...

This survey is only about the atmosphere of local game stores and its effect on female customers which is its own issue outside of the recent changes by game publishers.


Fine, I agree. You don't directly equate them. But to me at least, your words imply the connection. And you can say my impression is bullshit all you want, but it's pretty clear that I'm not the only woman here who got the same impression from what you wrote.

You asked for our experiences (presumably you were asking for the experiences of gamer women, seeing as you are posting in a forum full of gamers and said you weren't posting a survey because you wanted to know we were women), then got offended when we didn't have the experiences you wanted? Or something?

Again, I'm sure you are going to say I'm not understanding you properly. And I guess that's probably true. But you aren't helping by telling me I'm full of bullshit when I don't understand you. Like I'm misunderstanding you deliberately. Because I'm not. I'm just reading the thread. And you getting pissed off at me because you aren't clear isn't helpful to anyone.

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emodiu5 wrote:
travvller wrote:
emodiu5 wrote:

Asking for women's opinions on experiences in game stores and then telling them that their opinion is wrong is probably not the best way to go about collecting data.



To suggest that there isn't a problem - to basically negate the entire purpose of my inquiry - isn't about telling a privileged man to be quiet, it's about denying a problem that other women are experiencing.


To be clear, I wasn't trying to say that sexism does not exist, or that this is not an issue. My point was that you asked for people's experiences, were given them, and then told those people they were wrong. This was the issue I have with your presentation here.

Even if you do think they are wrong for assuming that the issue does not exist because it doesn't happen to them, that doesn't matter in regards to you collecting data. The goal of your post was to take a survey regarding women's experiences in game stores. You did that. You collected data. Your personal views or experiences do not make their experiences not valid.

You're getting upset because you feel like people are saying "it hasn't happened to me so it isn't a widespread problem", and yet you're countering with "I've seen it happen so it is a widespread problem". You don't see the issue with that?


Jacob, I abandoned this discussion immediately after I was attacked. I am not saying "everyone is saying x" because I haven't read the discussion. I am responding specifically to initial reaction and that initial reaction only.

As already posted, that woman posted a followup explaining she disagreed with my characterization of sexism being tied to crappy. I still disagree with her and I still see her characterization as an attempt to negate the entire purpose of my thesis.

You can't say man cave stores aren't related to sexism. That's a denial of reality. If you want to say you haven't see a man cave store then fine, great, and I can take a note of that and see how many others have the same experience. But don't tell me the man caves don't exist or say that sexism doesn't play a role in their existence. That WAS an attempt to negate the whole point of my inquiry.

This is not about invalidating women who haven't experienced sexism. This is about how one particular woman characterized my entire thesis as incorrect because she didn't think the two issues, bad stores and sexism, were connected. My initial reaction might have been based on a small misinterpretation, but my reaction is the same.

This will sound unrelated . . . Back when I was director of a statewide politically progressive nonprofit within a nationwide governing organization I had to frequently attend meetings in DC. At these meetings rules were changed to accommodate the "inherent sexism" experienced by female staffers. One such rule was that men had to stand in line to speak, but if a woman stood up to speak she would pushed to the head of the queue. The result was that basically men had to be even more aggressive to be heard or give up. If a man was shy it meant he'd never be heard.

Any male who spoke up about these rules was labeled a sexist. Without exception these charges came not from women above the age of 35 - who knew what real sexism looked like - but from 20 somethings straight out of college.

I'm bone weary in terms of dealing with more bullshit like this. Am I sexist? Yes, and so are you and so is everyone in this discussion. We all have our blindspots.

The woman who posted to me thought I was being sexist. Well, I think she was being sexist.

I wanted to write an article about what I was seeing with my own eyes at game stores across the country. I'm not emotionally interested in being attacked because I equated crappy stores with sexism when that was damn well what I've been seeing and experiencing firsthand. Instead of viewing me as a fellow supportive gamer, I was yet "another man who didn't get it." Been there, done that.

My apologies to everyone who posted and didn't read their posts.

I feel as if I've characterized my position the best way I can. There isn't a whole lot to be gained by continuing to post. It seems as if some folks have enjoyed posting their experiences so I hope that will continue if there's interest.

 
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