I don’t have time to get into it full on, but this list by Bill Ward called 15 simple rules for getting your girlfriend to play D&D actually isn’t as bad as it sounds. Partially because some of it seems like common sense for including a person new to your party, but also because it actually has a reason for being a list targeted towards women and not just first-time gamers.
1 – DON’T PATRONIZE.
All too often, male players tend to think that any female player at the table is a joke, or worse, as someone to drive off. Here’s a clue: if you want your SO to play, then treat her with respect, and don’t allow the other players to treat her poorly. It doesn’t matter if the DM does give you a special crystal. BTW, in a game at GenCon back in 1999, my wife, a veteran Battletech player who preferred lighter mechs, was picked on as the only girl playing in a tournament game. While three guys were picking on her (“She obviously can’t play if she chose a light mech!”) tried to remove “the girl” from the “man’s game”, she quietly fumedâ€¦ and when the time came, she self destructed her mech, taking them with her (she might have beaten any of them in a 1-on-1 battle; she’s good, AND lucky). They were, to use her phrase, “Losers in every sense of the word.” After reading this, she wanted it known that she ejected safely and saved her pilot. The other players, not so muchâ€¦.
Wow, dismantaling stereotypes rather than reinforcing them? Confronting sexism head on instead of playing off of it and pretending that you created satire? Could this be the fabled perfect list?
Well, I’m not ready to take that step quite yet. The capitalizing off of a “girlfriend” image when it’s a combination of advice for including new players and some specific points geared towards not driving off potential new specifically female players gets a “so-so” from me. I’m willing to give it a pass because Ward actually addresses sexism and doesn’t rely on stereotypes of women to make his point (even when the point would have made it very easy to do so). On the occassion that a stereotype does pop up there is at very least an acknowledgement of it as such, although there is one occassoin where he uses his wife’s agreement to backup his use of a stereotype (“heaven help me for the stereotype, but this is Rebecca’s thoughts, too”).
But! I digress. Overall the article strikes me as well written. In the end, I’m not sure if I’m giving it too much of a pass because of the kind of drek I see regularly (some links of which are waiting for me to look at in my inbox, submitted by a
sadistic reader) or if it actually did pretty much get things right. Either way, I’d recommend this as a pattern for people who can’t be pursuaded out of writing a Girlfriend List (or some equivalent).