As some hobbies become larger in recent years, it’s only natural to see a large influx of new hobbyists.
This can be seen in things like gaming, Warhammer, Gunpla, Magic the Gathering, and so on. A great thing about this is that, over the past few years, a large portion of the new participants have been women and girls.
This is something that most companies (like GW and Wizards of the Coast) have begun to embrace. Probably not for any other reason but the cash, however, it is something that some portion of the communities doesn’t welcome. I’m not saying all of the communities there are lots of great welcoming folk in these hobbies.
Sometimes these groups of unwelcoming folks tend to gatekeep the hobby in the form of sexism. Most of these hobbies are male-dominated. There’s no lie about that. So at times, it’s often isolated for a lot of women hobbyists.
I’ve been playing Magic the Gathering for nine years and Warhammer/Gunpla for the last four years. I’ve met a ton of fantastic people with a lot of fantastic moments but the interactions that have stuck with me the most are the unfortunate sexist moments.
I was fourteen when I first went into a TCG-based shop with my dad to buy some MTG cards for my birthday. I had gotten hooked on the cardboard a month prior thanks to my wonderfully nerdy theater arts teacher.
There I stood facing a counter of booster pack boxes, thirty bucks, and a dream of pulling a planeswalker. Wide-eyed and very much interested. So my dad stops the man working behind the counter. (I have no idea if this was an employee or the owner.) and asks him for the booster packs I want. I vividly remember the guy looking confused when my dad said his daughter wanted these magic cards. It even got to the point of arguing.
“Are you sure these aren’t for your son” and “We carry my little pony cards over there.”
I was confused because I really didn’t understand the problem at the time or the attitude received but I do remember my dad being pissed off. We never went back to that store, aiming for a better one a little long the way.
To quote my father, “That guy was a dick.”
As I’ve grown older and have diversified my hobby portfolio, it’s something that I have both come to witness and experienced more. It’s unfortunate.
Some of the most creative, talented, artistic builds and paint jobs I’ve seen are from women in both the Warhammer and Gundam communities.
Most of them can testify that they have received comments or DMS such as:
“Did your boyfriend build that for you?”
Why is this a go-to? Are women incapable of doing anything by themselves?
“Well, I’m a woman and I’ve never experienced it”
Great! Just because you haven’t doesn’t mean someone else didn’t.
“You’re only popular because you have your chest out.”
There’s nothing wrong with people having chests and building models. What do you want them to do? Cover themselves up completely?
“They’re ruining our hobby!”
They’re not ruining the hobby, you’re ruining the hobby for everyone. This is a common comment on a decent chunk of Warhammer content.
“They should just make their own space!”
Some of them do! A large portion of women in gunpla formed a group called The Gunplagirlgang. Guess what happened? They got met with backlash about having a female-only group. Luckily that mellowed down because the GGG is honestly such a welcome and warm group.
Why does this happen? Honestly, I don’t fully understand it but I think it does stem from learned behaviors and projection. It often feels like a projection from insecurities. Maybe they feel bad about how they build or are just generally intimidated. Maybe it’s societal expectations that women shouldn’t be competitive or do competitive things.
I saw this one on Facebook the other day. Not only is all the information on here wrong, but Umi also started her career as a model. She has a previous fanbase. Umi is extremely talented when it comes to models.
Most of the time, the content that these ladies put out is far more entertaining and better marketed than a good chunk of content creators.
The problem with this is that attitudes like that are draining. It’s annoying and honestly just juvenile at best. It drives people away from these hobbies, which is terrible. Everyone should be able to partake in them without any issues like this.
There’s a great article about the invisible ropes metaphor that women in the hobby face. I highly suggest it.
What can we do about this?
I think the first thing we can do is draw attention to these issues. Drawing attention to these issues can raise discussions to create an environment that can foster everyone.
There’s been a lot of great men stepping up to discuss this issue and be advocates for their fellow female hobbyists. That’s great! Male hobbyists have a privileged platform that can help to spread the message around.
Women who are reading this, please do not get discouraged. The best thing I found to do on social media is to block the person and maybe make some friends aware of the situation. I’ve tried to discuss this issue with the men who DM’d me messages but sometimes it doesn’t work. Frustrating and disappointing I know.
For in-person events/stores, talk to staff, and don’t be afraid to make the public aware if that doesn’t work. It’s gross when staff or owners won’t do anything about it. I’ve had to discuss it with owners and that’s been somewhat helpful in the past.
Warhammer is for everyone. Gunpla is for everyone. Magic is for everyone. Hobbies are for everyone.
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Have a happy Tuesday everyone!
6 thoughts on “Sexism In Our Hobbies (And Why It Ruins Them)”
There’s no room for gatekeepy misogynistic bullshit in this, or any, hobby. I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing, and I’ll do my part to keep boosting women in the space and call out wangrods when I see ’em.
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I got interviewed on Instagram live and some commenter said he didn’t mind if a builder was showing off their feminity as long as they had “the skill to back it up.” Specifically, posting selfies with gunpla.
Called that shit out because people can post whatever the hell they want on their personal feeds, you don’t get to set a rule that you have to be good enough to show your face with your own work, and just think how absolutely discouraging that is to new hobbyists trying to learn.
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Absolutely! The audacity of some of those commenters