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Posted by on Oct 25, 2017

Men and Magic: Building community

Men and Magic: Building community

Just over two years ago, Jim Davis wrote an unfortunate article titled “Women and Magic” in response to a similarly-titled Meghan Wolff article. It started with a rather long and odd allegory about a South Park episode, eventually touching on a lot of points of contention in a rather heavy-handed way. While it was quickly removed and an apology was posted by the editor, there were some major lessons to be learned from both the tone and content of the article. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at the state of inclusivity in Magic in 2017 and use the framework of the Davis article to see what we, the male majority, can do to help.

The biggest problem with Davis’ attitude towards the social issues in Magic is that he essentially preaches inaction over action, as highlighted by the South Park allegory. He states that our objective shouldn’t be to empower women, but rather to give everyone equal treatment. This, of course, doesn’t work, but rather serves to passively empower the also-passive misogyny of the culture. When everyone doesn’t start on the same playing field, we need to take steps to fix that social inequity rather than falsely assume equality. Thanks to active efforts by groups such as StarCityGames and Wizards of the Coast, we’ve made a significant amount of progress on some of the issues brought up by Davis and Wolff, but many are still distinctly problematic.

Visibility is without a doubt the sector where the most progress has been made. Maria Bartholdi and Gaby Spartz are active hosts on the Pro Tour, notable players like Melissa De Tora and Jackie Lee have been visibly working on the game itself, and media projects like Vintage Super League include personalities like Erin Campbell and Rachel Agnes. Emma Handy and Jadine Klomparens routinely sit at the top tables of the SCG Tour, and the Play it Forward initiative highlights accomplishments of women and non-binary players on the Grand Prix circuit. Everybody stands to benefit from a diverse set of role models, and the visibility of women in Magic media has improved substantially since attention was brought to the issue.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, however. The average number of women at each Pro Tour over the past season has hovered around, well, one. It’s hard to highlight a diverse cast in the feature match area when there is no gender diversity to be found. I personally like to view this as the ultimate metric of success for all efforts meant to make Magic more welcoming. Until there are a bunch of women on the Pro Tour, any and all efforts have not truly come to fruition. Why, then, are there a ton of women personalities and players, but so few are able to translate their involvement in the community into Pro Tour appearances?

This brings us to the real problem: our competitive community is still overwhelmingly toxic. This serves as a massive barrier to women entering the scene, let alone being sufficiently enfranchised to consistently play on the Pro Tour. What makes competitive Magic so deeply sexist? Wolff and Davis both talk about the phenomenon of “girlfriendification”, the idea that any woman playing Magic is inexorably tied to their identity as the girlfriend of a male player. Why, after all, would they be interested in the game other than an effort to be more involved in the life of their partner? News flash: Magic is in fact an extremely good game, and it’s actually quite reasonable to like it and not be a part of the male hegemony. It’s actually quite difficult to overcome this hurdle. When I checked coverage of Grand Prix DC this year and saw the name Sarah Zyla at 9-0, my first reaction was, “Oh, that’s Alexander Hayne’s girlfriend.” Whenever I see Rachel Agnes on VSL, I remember that she’s dating Alex Bertoncini.

Having these thoughts cross your mind doesn’t make you a bad person. We think this way precisely because of the innate misogyny of our community. It is, however, on us to act in such a way that doesn’t perpetuate this toxicity. The next time you see a judge ask a woman trying to register for a tournament if she’s there to watch her boyfriend play, call them out. That judge isn’t necessarily a terrible person despite making that mistake, and it’s great to use situations like that as a teaching moment. We don’t think of LSV as Gaby Spartz’s boyfriend, and all women deserve to have their own identities rather than being defined by the men around them.

Language. There’s been a lot of buzz about language in the media and in social discourse as of late, with a focus, thanks to Jordan Peterson and the like, on the idea that social justice types are trying to censor language and restrict free speech to further their own agenda. Before we jump in to a discussion about gendered language in Magic, I’m going to start with a brief disclaimer. You can use whatever words you want. I’m not here to police your language. I’m asking you to consider being more compassionate and thoughtful about how you communicate, because while certain words might not matter to you, it’s entirely likely that they matter a lot more to someone else. If you choose to mock this effort to make language inclusive, consider having a less terrible take on the subject.

A hot topic for people to complain about is the move away from the phrasing of on-demand events as “8-mans” at Grand Prix and the like. This is part of a general movement to try to not use male-specific gendered language to describe groups of people that might include women. Not only is it improving the accuracy of the language, but it also serves to generate a more inclusive atmosphere. Also, it comes with pretty much no downside. Just do it. Call them 8-player queues or on-demands or whatever.

Speaking of free-rolls, you might have noticed that there are a lot of trans and non-binary people who call competitive Magic their home. They take a lot of hate and bigotry from the worst elements of our community, which is a shame not only for reasons of basic morality, but also because nerd cultures like our own have always been a refuge for marginalized people. It’s on us, cisgender men, to fight against this bigotry. We can do this in big ways, like calling out people when they use transphobic slurs or misgender a player. We can also take smaller steps, like trying to use the word “woman” when referring to people rather than “female”, a colder and more biologically scientific term.

Pronouns are an important subject to touch on as well. Just because someone’s appearance suggests to you that they are a man doesn’t necessarily mean that they identify as one or want to be referred to as one. Many trans people either don’t want to or can’t afford to drastically change their appearance for any number of reasons — and plenty of queer and non-binary people exist as well, who would simply prefer to not be referred to in a certain, gendered way.

Now, let’s get real for a second here. A common response to this topic is frustration. I’ve come across many Magic players who aren’t interested in putting effort into figuring out someone’s preferred pronouns before figuring out how to talk to them. I don’t particularly blame them, especially in the context of a Magic event. This game is deeply draining, and at the end of a long day, I sometimes don’t want to talk to my opponents at all, let alone worry about their life story. Try to view this from their perspective, however. While to you, it’s a minor inconvenience to ask someone who appears marginally androgynous what they prefer to be called, to them, it’s their life and their identity. You don’t have to ask every bearded white dude with a Rick and Morty shirt if they want to be called “they”. Use your brain, but also don’t be a dick. Ask. Consider changing your default way of referring to someone from “he” or “she” to “them”.

Now, I’m far from the first to write about this, but if you use the word “rape” to refer to anything about a match of Magic, or infer any kind of assault or non-consensual sex act to define a match result, you’re doing something very, very bad. When people talk about “rape culture”, meaning a culture that trivializes sexual assault, tacitly encouraging it, this is what they’re talking about. Your match of Magic was not analogous to a heinous crime that leaves survivors with a whole host of trauma. Say something else. Anything else. Tell your friends that you crushed that noob idiot, or that you got destroyed by that top-decked Glorybringer. Don’t trivialize sexual assault.

I firmly believe that language and conversation are the best approaches we have to improving the issues we have with a lack of inclusivity in Magic. Nobody who plays this incredibly difficult game is an idiot — except whoever’s passing to you in a MODO draft — and we all have the intellectual capacity to not only understand why compassion is good, but why it’s our responsibility to further that compassion. If you’re a man who plays Magic, and you witness someone saying something or doing something that contributes to the toxicity in Magic culture, be it talking about a woman’s appearance at FNM or mocking the Play it Forward prize, it is your responsibility as a human being to call them out and talk to them.

We can’t make Magic a better place by standing by and doing nothing. We have to talk about it.

  • Em Handy

    Fuck yes.

    • Daniel Fournier

      Wow, please don’t swear on my article.

      (Thanks <3)

      • mizter zebra

        wait a minute. why does your name sound familiar?

      • mizter zebra

        https://twitter.com/i/moments/851713200537993216 hmmm. i knew you sounded familiar.

        • Daniel Fournier

          What are you even talking about?

      • Jessica Henderson

        Daniel Fournier Yasmine • 5 hours ago
        What the fuck?

    • jball2k

      Fuck yes, let’s insert Social Justice into our card game!

      Literally nothing would kill the game faster.

      • Adam Carey-Mooney

        Promise?

      • Novus Ordo

        You probably should switch hobbies then, since the top item on Wizards’s list of corporate values listed in their offices is “Inclusivity.”

        • jball2k

          Way ahead of you there. This has been happening over the course of the past couple years. Politics has driven out a lot of folks. I’d rather play a game that doesn’t inject this crap. I talk politics all day, I play Magic to get away from all that.

          This is a children’s card game. We don’t give a shit what is between your legs. We want to play, and have fun. Sorry that 1% of the player base are assholes, you will encounter that in every hobby.

          I’m all for an inclusive environment, but they want to manufacture it. This article calling out men as being the bad guys is fucked. Lump us all together because an extremely small percentage or try hard Magic players are jerks.

  • theshortestpath

    This is a good article, thanks for writing it.

    • ThirteenthLetter

      No, it really isn’t.

      • Daniel Fournier

        Thanks for your input.

        • ThirteenthLetter

          Sure thing, anytime!

  • compandacube

    Another thing men might want to try and be aware of is that non-male players aren’t imperceptive. They see how you interact with other men, and therefore see how you are interacting with them.
    The first example that comes to mind; A question like “how long have you been playing” may seem innocent to you, and your intention may be to only make conversation, or try to be friendly, but they may experience that in a negative way. Are you hitting on them? Are you trying to suggest they might not be a good player? One way or another, it’s not something you’d likely ask another guy.

    • Manic42

      I ask literally everyone I play this question. I’ve never thought about it being perceived negatively.

      • Zack Ickowicz

        Was going to say the same thing. I don’t ask this question because I assume someone is new. I ask it to start a conversation which normally leads to why they play magic in the first place. I accept and think it’s totally reasonable for you to feel the way you do, but in my experience, this question is a lot more friendly than you are making it out to be.

        • Daniel Fournier

          Context is king! While it’s not really condescending to ask that question in general, it can have a different tone within the context of the infantilization of women in competitive spheres. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the question, but be aware that it can be taken the wrong way for a myriad of reasons.

          • Ken M

            Rather, context is “extremely important”

          • wow_dot_dot_dot

            oh snap

          • Jessica Henderson

            I have been playing magic for almost 23 years. At a competitive environment I dont tell people cause it gives me an advantage but If I am just talking to people I will tell them. Also I dont want to play with anyone who gets offended over something that trivial. It is a game and people should have fun not worry about something like that. If you really want to help then make real arguments. If a guy started calling me a bitch or saying he want to have sex with me that would be different and I would call him out but not over how long I have been playing. I have put my time in this game and earned the respect of the people who play with me by beating them and showing how well I play not because they were shamed into it.

          • Why is it my fault if you take something the wrong way? It is your fault that you are such a overly sensitive pussy.

      • mizter zebra

        maybe because you had no malice in asking it and you shoudn’t be shamed for making such a “mistake”? there’s a point where people will ascribe malice to your actions and falsely because of bitterness, not because of pervasive sexism.

        and it seems that the very people that want you to consider this have ulterior motives when it comes to “respecting women”

        https://twitter.com/i/moments/851713200537993216

    • Filstaff

      It is something I ask every Player when we meet at the LGS, it is our common ground, our shared Hobby, It’s an icebreaker to talk about nostalgia or about the coolness that they recently joined our Hobby.

    • mizter zebra

      that’s called reading in to it way too much. this is insanity
      that thinking is akin to mental illness.

      that’s a victim complex where everything is under a hypercritical lens and a selfish one at that.

  • The Resingorgon (Greg)

    I don’t follow magic columns a lot so I had a bizarre moment where I thought you were talking Garfield creatory Jim Davis.

    • Daniel Fournier

      I personally have to do a double take whenever I see the signature on a Garfield strip.

  • Eli Kaplan

    Solid piece, a fair thesis, good points. Nicely done.

    • Daniel Fournier

      Thanks!

  • FilStaff

    Hello Daniel,
    what’s your take if we compare the ProTour to the World Bridge Championship. Maybe there are other reasons for the numbers rather than the evilness of Magic and Bridge Players.
    Kind regards

    • Hank Carver

      Or maybe both are terrible at including women.

      • Keith Hubert

        Or maybe men and women have different interests?

        • Reyna

          Ahhh yes because interests are gendered and binary. Please be a better person instead of an imbecile.

          • Mike

            Yeah they are. Its well documented. Thats not to say that a woman cant do something thats considered a mans activity (or the inverse) but to say that there is no relation between gender and interests is just a lie.

          • PartyOfScience

            Brains are gendered and binary

          • Mat2580

            ROFL, of course they are.

          • MosesZD

            They are. Your post-modernist deconstruction to the contrary.

          • David Hendrickson

            Because most men love sewing and Barbie dolls right? I suggest you take your own advice on being a better person instead of an imbecile.

      • Neptunium

        Bridge is majority women.

      • jball2k

        How do you fix this Hank? Force women at gun point to sign up for events?

        Give them cheaper prices of entry? Better prize support for women?

        Really?

        • Hank Carver

          Gotta love that slippery slope.

        • peten16

          How about we start by just not being piggish douchebags?

    • Daniel Fournier

      I know nothing about Bridge, but I have a feeling based on the end of your comment that you’re not a fan of being compassionate. That’s unfortunate.

      • zaph

        More virtue signaling here. “Look at how nice and friendly I am, and look at how uncompassionate you are.”

        • Daniel Fournier

          There is no such thing as virtue signaling, only gamergaters trying to codify compassion as being self-serving.

          • zaph

            https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/virtue_signalling

            Better go ahead and let Oxford know that they’re gamergaters, then.

          • Neptunium

            You’re not compassionate. You’re a self serving spineless cretin. I’ve never met such awful human beings in my life as you left wing types. You do not practice what you preach online. Berating others, being snide and pushing your agenda is all you’re good for.

          • Zomburai!

            “Berating others, being snide…”

            “You’re not compassionate. You’re a self serving spineless cretin. I’ve never met such awful human beings in my life as you left wing types.”

            The irony is so heavy it took the wrinkles out of my laundryy.

          • CaptBackslap

            Virtue signalling is part of everything from “Support Our Troops” car stickers to celebrities being photographed giving oversized checks to charities. It’s really not possible to analyze political behavior, or social behavior generally, without accounting for it.

            That said, I don’t think that weaponizing the concept to say “YOU ARE VIRTUE SIGNALLING” is productive. First, virtue signalling is so ubiquitous that it’s almost like an accusation of breathing air (and certainly, no ideology has a monopoly on it). Second, it doesn’t actually address the argument at hand–it’s closer to an ad hominem than anything else.

          • MosesZD

            Exactly. Someone who gets it.

          • MosesZD

            Yes, there is such a thing. It’s well documented in psychology. You see it with the scum on both sides of the political spectrum. It’s not limited to A-GGs or GGs. It’s EVERYWHERE. And YOU ARE DOING IT!

          • David Hendrickson

            There’s a difference between being compassionate and acting stupid. For instance, if someone was trying to kill you, you could be compassionate and “give up the chase” or help them end your life. How far you take compassion becomes a level of how stupid that compassion becomes.

            What I mean is, I can open a door for you, but I’m not going to lift you up, piggyback you to my car door, and then put you in a booster seat. That’d be compassion but it’d also be stupid and a low expectation of said person.

            Second, you are literally denying a virtue signal?

            virtue (vûrˈcho͞o)►
            n. Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness.
            n. An example or kind of moral excellence: the virtue of patience.
            n. Chastity, especially in a woman.

            signal (sĭgˈnəl)►
            n. An indicator, such as a gesture or colored light, that serves as a means of communication. See Synonyms at gesture.
            n. A message communicated by such means.
            n. Something that incites action: The peace treaty was the signal for celebration.

            No. That fits perfectly, I’m not a gamer gater but it’s interesting that you feel fit to un-compassionately stereotype people you don’t know while preaching about compassion and inclusivity. Where’s your inclusivity to “Gamer Gaters?” Ah, but see this is where your hypocrisy shows. Maybe you should take your own advice and show compassion?

            Also, it’s not about being “self serving.” It’s about how stupid the magnitude is of the compassion you’re showing. It gets to a point where it becomes insulting than “true compassion.”

      • Yasmine

        Ha! Someone ends with ‘kind regards’ and you take that to mean they aren’t compassionate? You’re such a slimeball.

      • John Yossarian

        Oh look, it’s a male feminist! I’m just going to grab a tub of popcorn while the revelations of sexual harassment and rape you’ve perpetrated begin to unfold over the next several months and years.

    • Novus Ordo

      If you want a serious discussion on this topic, I recommend the following paper, which looks at competitive chess:

      https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2858984

      I also highly recommend this article from the MIT Admissions blog, which discusses the impact of gender and minority stereotypes on standardized test performance:

      http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/picture-yourself-as-a-stereotypical-male

  • mizter zebra

    I can’t help but think that this is all mansplaining and trying to cover one’s own derriere in fallout of the neogaf https://youtu.be/4sKn5DuWu1c

    Spare us and everyone of the “sexist and horrible man” is putting down women as you LITTERALLY argue against equality by saying “it doesn’t work”.

    Everyone that was vocally critical of gamergate are exposed of vile conduct because of their own misconduct and here you are giving nothing but benevolent sexism. I’m noticing a trend here.

    • Daniel Fournier

      I’ve now read your comment three times and still don’t know what you’re actually talking about here. Are you trying to get me to say that gamergate is in fact bad so you can call me a snowflake or did you have a message to get across?

      • Yasmine

        The point being made here is that all the virulently feminist men decrying sexism when Gamergate was a big thing turned out to be molesters.
        So when you make a big deal about sexism where none exists, it makes you look like a creep who is trying to avoid suspicion by virtue signalling.

        In case you still didn’t understand: your article is exactly the kind of thing a rapist would write. Are you a rapist?

        • Daniel Fournier

          What the fuck?

          • Yasmine

            Is your reading comprehension lacking?
            Your article looks like an attempt at deflecting attention from your own behaviour. I can believe you aren’t a rapist, but you must be able to see how this looks, right?

            Also, if you actually respected women, you’d let us raise such issues ourselves, rather than being paternalistic and explaining how to be more inclusive on our behalf.

          • Daniel Fournier

            I wrote an article about being nice, and you asked me if it means that I’m a rapist. You’re so deep down some rabbit hole that you’re equating reasonable compassion with rape. That’s fucked on a level I can’t even understand. Y’all are wild.

          • Vito Gesualdi

            We’ve seen it time and time again, that the kind of people who write these articles have maybe a 1/4 shot of being serial harassers themselves.

          • NewModelNo15

            “Y’all”? Now you’re appropriating POC lingo, on top of your mansplaining. Do you find women to be that weak and fragile that we won’t play a game because of ” toxic” banter? Do you think we’re too meek to stand up for ourselves, and instead need a man, such as yourself, to police other players’ speech on our behalf? Sounds pretty sexist to me, but then again “male ally” seems to be synonymous with “undercover rapist” so I guess I’m not surprised.

          • John Martin

            You’re not the first one to claim you’re just advocating ‘being nice’ and you won’t be the last. Have you ever met a Magic player who says you shouldn’t be nice to your opponent? Because I didn’t in three years of playing a lot more competitively than you do.

            Your most egregious assertion is that the lack of women in competitive Magic is inherently a problem. You’re making a truth claim, but you’ve failed miserably to meet your burden of proof. You chalk it up to ‘passive misogyny’, a claim which you fail to substantiate, despite the fact that we have a good scientific understanding of the difference in interest distributions between the sexes.

            It’s not egalitarianism that doesn’t work: it’s your ideology.

          • Anton Van Leeuwenhoek

            I really like this line “I didn’t in three years of playing a lot more competitively than you do.”. Fournier has like 3 GP top 8s in those years and I couldnt find your name to compare. Would you call that an egregious assertion?

          • John Martin

            Three GP top 8s? That’s adorable. I’ve watched him play and he’s awful. It’s not at all close. 🙂

          • Anton Van Leeuwenhoek

            cool opinion any results?

          • John Martin

            I don’t care whether some genius on the Internet believes that I was vastly better than some feministic wannabe-pro. My comment would stand even if I were as appalling at Magic as Daniel Fournier and you’re not even trying to engage with the argument.

          • Yasmine

            You’re welcome to confirm that you’re not a rapist. But dancing around the question with outrage instead of directly telling me you aren’t is just making you look creepier.

            Also, see the list MosesZD posted for comparison.

          • Erik Sjögren

            Exactly my thought. Is it real human beings writing this kind of shit?

        • SusanTheOdd

          Isn’t it a little early to be this intoxicated?

        • Paul Teevan

          Wasn’t it anti gamergate who turned out to have a bunch of rapists in it? They spent much longer looking for gg rapists but couldn’t find any

      • Yasmine

        Also, dude, were you that embarrassed by your response that you had to edit it this much? It did look pretty unreasonable, but better to re-state more clearly than hide what you originally said if you want people to trust you.

        • Daniel Fournier

          What are you even talking about?

          • Yasmine

            Your first response to mizter zebra. You’ve edited it, heavily, to make yourself sound more coherent and reasonable.

      • MosesZD

        Here are some of the Anti-Gamergate Journalists & Politicians who engaged in projections. I won’t list them all. It’s literally pages. But just some of the worst, not the multiple who were only minor harassers:

        MATT HICKEY “#GamerGate is a bunch of women-hating future rapists!” Hickey ran a fake porn agency and raped three women in order to get laid.

        DEVIN FARACI: “The losers in #GamerGate are mad at women because women want nothing to do with them!” Farci was a serial sexual-harasser.

        ROBERT MARMOLEJO: “We need to take action against #GamerGate and the ideology that spawned it!,” He has been accused of rape by at least 20 women and was one of Zoe Quinn’s people at CON. (And,really, you look into the CON logs, you can see it was appropriately named.

        JAMIE KILLSTEIN: “It’s about sexism, not ethics in journalism, and rich people ruining everything.” Lost his radio job after being found out to be serial abuser/harasser of women.

        JUAN THOMPSON: Fabricated fake stories about #gamergate supporters and was fired for it. Was later arrested by the FBI for making bomb threats to 8 synagogues.

        LEELAND YEE: Attacked gamers and #gamergaters over weapons and violence. Sentenced to FIVE YEARS FOR ILLEGAL WEAPON SALES and BRIBERY.

        SAM KRISS: Called gamers mentally incapacitated children who push buttons for fun, rape women and are racists. He was recently outed as a sexual harasser of women. One of two men at Vice (both AGG) who were outed.

        MICHAEL HAFFORD: Another VICE Anti-GGer. Multiple rape charges.

        CHRISTOPHER GOLDBERG (NeoGAF just one many pervs and sexual abusers there) 64 chargers of CHILD PORN.

        ANDY SIGNORE: Not a journalist, but one of the creators of ‘Honest Trailers’ on YouTube. Was very anti-GG and accused GG of being sexist. Fired for sexual abuse.

        And, really, it goes on and on and on and on. So many that I’ve literally lost count.

        Which gets us to the PSYCHOLOGY OF PROJECTION. Simply put, those who tend to be the loudest about certain things are projecting THEIR issues onto others. You should read up on it.

        Women don’t game in Magic because they don’t like it nearly as much as men. It’s like that in all competitive “I win/You lose” sports.

        • Anton Van Leeuwenhoek

          what percentage of all these outspoken Anti-Gamergate Journalists & Politicians does your list encompass?

        • gush

          And that’s only the men. You add up the women (including zoey who was evidenced and not only accused as sexual harasser and even accused of rape) you get up what this is all about.
          Just like the catholic church, these moralists are usually what they decry against.

        • Jeph Foster

          Jesus. This thread makes me want to wash my eyes out with bleach.

  • Keith Hubert

    Can you virtue signal any harder?

    • Daniel Fournier

      Yeah, if that was a thing rather than an anime nazi talking point, then I could do it much harder.

      • Block

        Right, because everyone that is against hollow virtue signaling for brownie points must be a Nazi. Way to persuade people.

        • Daniel Fournier

          The point of the article is to spur on change among those with the capacity for compassion, not you.

          • Mat2580

            Capacity for compassion? You think girls need your compassion for having different interests than you? You are a cretin.

          • Block

            Spur change? You literally said “Treating others as equals doesn’t work.”

            So what are you really trying to get at?

      • zaph

        It really isn’t just a talking point. Look at all the “male feminists” in the media lately who have been cheating on their wives, sexually harassing women, etc.

        They’ve been virtue signalling publicly for so long that everyone around them thinks “Wow, this guy totally respects women, what a champ!”, meanwhile in private they’re a hypocritical asshole.

        I am of the opinion that the harder you try to publicly show that you’re a good, honest, feminist, “woke” individual, the more likely you are to be doing it to cover up your own shitty behavior.

        • Daniel Fournier

          It’s why it’s important for anyone in a position of privilege to come at conversations of social justice in a way that isn’t designed to be self-aggrandizing. Calling yourself an ally or whatever as a straight white man is masturbatory. That, however, doesn’t mean that I have to shut up about social issues in order to pass a gamergate purity test.

          • zaph

            “It’s why it’s important for anyone in a position of privilege to come at conversations of social justice in a way that isn’t designed to be self-aggrandizing.”

            Justice doesn’t need the “social” modifier. Things are either just, or they are unjust, and adding in whether or not society’s opinion on the justice of things is a bad call, because a majority of society is utterly inept.

            “Calling yourself an ally or whatever as a straight white man is masturbatory.”

            Wholly agreed.

            “That, however, doesn’t mean that I have to shut up about social issues in order to pass a gamergate purity test.”

            No, I’m actually pleased you wrote this article, because of the opportunity for discourse it allows. I (and others) think that your opinions about the environment of MTG are incorrect, and certainly others agree with you.

            To be actually on the topic of your article, do you actually believe that women are such fragile creatures as to be driven away by being called “so-and-so’s girlfriend”, or by someone saying “Holy crap that deck just raped me.”? I personally don’t, myself, not to the point of having virtually *one* female Pro Tour player per year.

            To me, at least in high school when I played the most, MTG was largely considered the domain of the outcast, the nerd, the smelly kids, etc. Men are far more comfortable in the role of social outcast than are women, in our society, and as a result, there are more men than women who will start playing on their own.

          • Jay Eisenhardt

            I think it’s more boys will always be boys, even when they’re 102 still wasting money on stupid games. What woman would do that? A rarity. I like the game I would like to play but still aint wasting that much damn money to play a competitive deck.

      • Kyle

        Can I cast meddling mage targeting misogynistic, closeminded bigots, or do they have hexproof? Asking for a friend. P.s. awesome article

        • Keith Hubert

          Meddling Mage doesn’t target bro.

          • Kyle

            Even better, gets around hexproof!

  • Rich Stein

    Has it really been two years since the Jim Davis debacle? That was a big turning point in the community as far as content creation goes. Since then, as you’ve pointed out, we’re seeing much more representation for women, even in places that were traditionally devoid of female voices like Channel Fireball.

    Keep up the good work, men need to keep hearing this from other men.

  • David Lopez-Kurtz

    Excellent article – thank you for writing it. Also thank you to @emhandy:disqus for sharing a link to it on Facebook.

  • hurin

    There is no way you can actually believe the BS you’re writing. Women should take your article as a sign of danger and stay the hell away from you.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4da07b3d137e5760cc3ff4ab3ee3a55472f988dcdfe8dae5cbf34a9537f37044.png

    • Daniel Fournier

      I think it’s cool to accuse people you know nothing about of being sexual predators. It’s a good look.

      • Nick

        I mean you just tried to paint the Magic community and such with a broad generalization of them being sexists and stating that they’re the reason so few women are in the hobby, so you don’t exactly have the moral high ground here.

        Something you and your ilk never consider is that maybe women just aren’t that interested in it, not because of their gender or because it’s male-oriented (which I find to be a load of bull) but because they just don’t care for it.

        • Daniel Fournier

          I’m really deeply involved in competitive Magic, and have been for years. I keep seeing women be pushed out of it because of how absurdly unwelcoming we are as a culture. It’s ok to not be exposed to this and to believe that it isn’t happening, but every counterpoint I’ve heard seems to be some incoherent rambling about some webforum then calling me a predator. I’m just confused at this point.

          • Nick

            I’ve been involved in the Magic community in my state as well for quite a while, and I have never once seen or heard in all of my years a woman being pushed out because of how “unwelcoming” we apparently are.

            For the most part I think it really is just women just not being interested in it, and whilst I won’t immediately disbelieve the idea of some of them being driven out, I think for the most part its more due them just not being interested and possibly because these types of games were and still are slapped with negative publicity (such as how games like these get a bad light in media for being a game only “weirdo losers” or “neckbeards” play.)

            Also for that last you mentioned its people being jackasses and trying to paint you as a nefarious guy since lately there has been a trend in various media of men who say or show support of feminist ideals being outed as sexual predators, which in my opinion is an unfair attack on you considering there is literally no evidence of that being the case.

            I disagree with your views and all, but I’m not about to outright insult you or label you something your not.

          • Daniel Fournier

            Appreciate the well-reasoned take.

          • Brenda Smith

            Let me be the first woman to then tell you, I have experienced several unwelcome crowds at LGS across the country. Maybe not at your LGS (and thankfully not the ones I’ve come to call home) but it happens. And I have spoken with several women who decided to not get involved more in Magic because of those environments.

            I realize this might not change your mind, but maybe take a step back and see that your Magic experience may be different because your male…then read the article again.

          • David Hendrickson

            False. Many men are not instantly welcomed. People are there to play not sit around singing koombaiya. One anecdote isn’t really proof, and it’s also not proof of a mass problem. And no speaking with several women does not change that. The fact you think all these touranemnts pat other men on the back when playing is silly . Most people at tournaments are focusing on themselves. Sucks I know, but they are there to play not hold hands and play 20 questions.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            Way to invalidate this person’s experience. Super helpful.

          • David Hendrickson

            I didn’t invalidate it, most tournaments are not anti-women, they’re anti-new people. This is no different than high school … Maybe you should grow up and act like an adult and learn that just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true. Same crap happens with claims of racism. Most of the time it’s bull.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            Person A said “a thing happened to me.” Person B says “nope. It was something else.” That is the text book definition of invalidating a person’s experience.

            Given that you are not person A, we have enough evidence to conclude that you, the person in no way involved with person A’s situation, are not an authority about what actually happened.

          • Person A is also a histrionic whiner with a history of playing victim and exaggerating and lying.

            See, I can create a narrative, too.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            An. You’re like to invalidate a person’s experience too. Such an odd hobby to have.

            If it’s so hard to believe that sexism occurs in a male dominated hobby, it’s very easy to understand why women don’t feel welcome. But at least you know you’re part of the problem now. Knowledge is power.

          • ProgressivesRInsane

            Your experience of being a self diagnosed bi-polar, depressive otherkin, quad-sexual tranny with 31 head mates is completely irrelevant to the GAME of Magic.

            Take your delusions to your shrink, not your LGS.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            Wouldn’t all that be very relevant were I to play Magic and have one of those things come up?

            Cover up, friend. Your bias is showing.

          • Your experiences are irrelevant, period. It is a game. Play the game or gtfo.

            Unless you are a Nazi trying to demand that everyone act, say, and behave in the ways you deem acceptable, in that case, may you get punched in the face.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            Pretty cool that you get to play Magic in a vacuum where absolutely nothing happens before, during or after your matches that could affect your playing and enjoyment of the game.

          • David Hendrickson

            Bullcrap. I said there could be an alternatiee explanation. Only in your deraranged mind does saying “Use Occam’s razor” when evaluating a situation = Invalidating it. If I make an accusation that could potentially be wrong everyone should reflect on that situation to make sure the claim is correct. What if those people making Brenda feel unwelcome did so because of how she acted? Because of who she was, what she wore, whether she took a shower in a few weeks. There are multiple explanations that don’t devolve to “She’s a woman therefore she was mistreated.” Use your head, something you’d rather not do because it requires using logic.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            Ah, victim blaming too? Man, you’ve got range.

          • David Hendrickson

            Strawman thy name is Adam Carey Mooney. Pathetic.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            And I love the “because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true” argument. “Just because I said a sexist thing doesn’t mean anything.” Pretty convenient loophole you found there, pal.

          • David Hendrickson

            That’s not sexism you dingbat. Sexism is where you say something that makes an opposing gender or sex inferior. Saying women are mistreated because women requires proof. Most competitive areas are not friendly towards new people, because it’s based solely on competition. Discrediting someone because they happen to be a woman is also not sexist. It’s also why I posted discrediting the entire article made by a man. So get over it grow up.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            It is sexism but if it feels better to say otherwise, have at it.

            You can’t even find it in yourself to take this woman’s experience at face value. That’s why competitive play is so unwelcoming. That attitude right there.

            And the onus of proof is on you. She relates an experience she had. She gave you the scenario. You denied it. Now tell us why it can’t be true.

          • David Hendrickson

            IF a woman is attacked not because she is a woman but because of her personality or any other reason other than her sex, that is not sexism. You are flunking at understanding basic language. Sexism sexism (sĕkˈsĭzˌəm)►
            n. Discrimination based on gender.

            If someone attacks a man because he’s a man that’s sexism. If a person attacks a woman because she’s a woman that’s sexism. This isn’t hard. Only you seem to think this is rocket science or seem to be mentally unable to comprehend what sexism is.

            I’m not going to take what anyone says at face value. It’s up to them to prove there’s discrimination on any font. IF a man comes up to me and says people are attacking him because he’s a man, he has to prove it. Mind reading is not allowed because 1. Most of the time it’s stupid bullcrap. 2. Evidence . Otherwise you make assumptions and get faulty on deductions.

            No. The onus on proof is not on me. Because an anecdote is not proof. IT is on her to prove she was attacked MERELY because she was a woman. She has to have visible proof or a signed confession or a verbal proof of the harassers or whoever did it because “She was a woman.” or because she was “female” otherwise it’s not sexism. Period.

            STop being a progressive dimwit and use logic for once.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            Keep moving those goal posts, bro.

          • David Hendrickson

            That’s not moving the goal posts. IF someone isn’t attacked because of their gender or sex then it isn’t sexism. Keep mis-using terms bro.

          • Brenda Smith

            I never said many men are instantly welcomed. I wouldn’t make that claim. I was only speaking to the commenter who said he’s never seen an unwelcoming space for women. Like you said, “one anecdote isn’t really proof”, but I was hoping that by speaking up he could take a step back and see that his experience may not be the same as everyone else’s.

            I play at a lot of tournaments. I’m not expecting someone to “hold hands and play 20 questions”. However, it would be nice not to be told that I’m, “in the wrong seat” because “this is where the tournament is” and when I clarify I’m in the tournament the response is, “Yeah but this is table one, you’d have to be undefeated to sit here”. There are also the numerous comments about, “go and make a sandwich” or my favorite “where’s your boyfriend”.

            I know there are salty opponents at tournaments. I get that and (while not a good part of the community) something I’ve grown to expect. I feel comfortable making the statement that being female increases the amount and severity of the salt one is likely to see at a tournament. You don’t have to believe me….just don’t be part of the problem. But telling me that there isn’t a problem IS part of the problem.

          • Jay Eisenhardt

            how the fuck is “–“in the wrong seat” because “this is where the tournament is” and when I clarify I’m in the tournament the response is, “Yeah but this is table one, you’d have to be undefeated to sit here”–” all that BS against women? aint that just you fucking up and bitching about it?

          • Brenda Smith

            No, that was me being in the right seat and the person assuming I wasn’t (first) in the tournament and (secondly) couldn’t be undefeated. Do you get questioned if you’re in the tournament when you’re seated at a match often? Do you then get the follow up remarks (not questions) that you can’t be sitting here because it’s for players doing well?

          • Erik Sjögren

            To all you tiny men here – you should be ashamed of your behaviour.
            First claiming a) that there is no problem because women don’t play. And if there would be any women playing then b) there is no negative attitude towards women because you’ve played in tournaments and never experienced it and at the same time using the R-word. And when a woman writes about her negative experiences right here in the forum you all c) start talking down to this very woman, telling her that she don’t understand that it has nothing to do with her being a woman and at the same time telling her she is bitching?

            Your actions are a disgrace for us men. This is not what real men do. Now grow the fuck up and show some fucking manners.

          • David Hendrickson

            Erik, shut up. Competitive areas are not friendly towards anyone. It’s not a “anti-woman” thing. IT’s an anti-everyone thing. You either are appreciated in them or your not. I’ve known plenty of women in competitive card game tournaments that were well respected just like men as well. There are also men and women who aren’t respected. Trying to imply it’s only women who are disrespected is not only disingenuous at best but stupid at worst. Congrats, you found people use the “retard” word, so by your logic somehow that’s anti-woman? Get real.

            And stop pretending to be a real man, most real men use their head instead of using emotional knee jerk logic and yes people have a right to dismiss outright lies or incorrect statements. Just as I’m calling you out? Let guess in my brain I must have thought of you as a “woman” right? lol

          • Erik Sjögren

            Well David, at least you’re treating everyone equally bad. So it’s just a question of bad banners overall in your case. Too bad for your opponents though.
            Let’s guess, in my brain I must have thought of you as an arse, right?

            Where did I ever say that women are the only ones treated bad? But in this thread it is clear that none of the men take any notice of the voices brought forward, in this very thread.
            So now we can put a number 5 on my list; 5. We don’t treat women bad, we are all douches against everyone and don’t discriminate.
            A normal person would start to question if that is how it should be.
            But then again, you acknowledged being a douche and act as one, so please carry on. Your parents must be proud!

          • David Hendrickson

            “Well David, at least you’re treating everyone equally bad. So it’s just a question of bad banners overall in your case. Too bad for your opponents though.”

            Ooh bravo, bravo. So you can strawman and crybully too.

            “Let’s guess, in my brain I must have thought of you as an arse, right?”

            I’m not the one pretending to mind read now am I?

            Here you want me to deconstruct what you said? Fine.

            “a) that there is no problem because women don’t play. And if there would be any women playing then b) there is no negative attitude towards women because you’ve played in tournaments and never experienced it and at the same time using the R-word. ”

            First off you implied that there is a negative attitude towards women. The issue with this stupidity? If all people are treated equally bad in a competitive enviornment then they aren’t being treated worse off just because they are women. So your argument falls apart on its own merit.

            “You all c) start talking down to this very woman, telling her that she don’t understand that it has nothing to do with her being a woman and at the same time telling her she is bitching?”

            So, it has nothing to do with her being a woman, but when people point this out that’s talking down to a woman, but at the same time you have no problem talking down to men and straw maning what they’ve said.

            How absurd.

            “But in this thread it is clear that none of the men take any notice of the voices brought forward, in this very thread. ”

            False. What has been said is it is a rare occurence unlike what is implied in the article. Let alone the fact many women are not being targetted because they are women. Occam’s Razor destroys your argument pretty thoroughly.

            “So now we can put a number 5 on my list; 5. We don’t treat women bad, we are all douches against everyone and don’t discriminate.
            A normal person would start to question if that is how it should be.
            But then again, you acknowledged being a douche and act as one, so please carry on. Your parents must be proud!”

            So now I get to pointing out how much of a moron you are. One, it is not an endemic problem. It’s not about acting like a douche or mistreating people. It’s not a welcoming environment. You are in a competitive arena where people are there to win, not have a tea party. That means there are going to be negative evaluations of people. So then you either have to act befitting of the environment or you can act like a toddler pouting because people aren’t treating you like a prim proper noble.

            Second, I never acknowledged acting like a douche, what I did acknowledge was treating people with the same respect they treat me. Nothing more nothing less. Informal is best because you don’t know that person and they don’t know you.

            Lastly, your parents must be proud they raised a “real man” who can’t argue with more intelligence than a three year old, who contradicts his own arguments over and over again.

            At least I have the balls to point out how stupid you sound.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            I went to GP Providence and didn’t even get to play because of how unfriendly EVERYBODY was…

            …actually everyone I played ranged from delightful to neutral and my team managed to not be terrible humans the entire day.

          • David Hendrickson

            Brenda, what I’m saying is that it isn’t a welcoming space for anyone. It’s not meant to be. It’s a competitive environment. It’s not anti-Women. It’s anti-unsure people. You have to roll with the punches (not literally) or stay out.

            Heck when I first went I was made fun of because of some shit I wore, but by the end of my second tournament I was friends with quite a few of the same people who had originally mocked me.

            It’s just like high school, and I’m sure all of us went through that, everything in society is the same.

          • Diego Franco Ferreira

            Just invite all the swarm of girls wanting to play Magic and form secure, women-only championship. My guess? Would be as empty as a feminist skull.

          • Brenda Smith

            Does it make you feel better to be a part of the problem?

          • Diego Franco Ferreira

            There is no “problem”, except lack of interest.

          • Brenda Smith

            I (and many others) are saying there IS a problem. Why is our word that we’ve experienced harassment because of our gender not enough?

          • Diego Franco Ferreira

            Because you are an insecure wannabe victim. It’s a highly competitive environment. It’s not your gender. It’s your attitude. And, of course, not many women WANT to play. Grow up and leave us alone.

          • Brenda Smith

            You’re making a pretty big assumption that I’m an “insecure wannabe victim”. I’m sorry you’re so full of hate.
            I plan on continuing to get better at Magic, so no, I won’t be leaving this community. And I’m fairly certain I’m not the one that needs to grow up here. Empathy is a thing this world could use more of….I hope one day you can find the love and kindness that everyone deserves.

          • Evidence not anecdotes. #pussypass

          • Does it make you feel better to invent a problem where one doesn’t exist?

          • Zomburai!

            “I’ve been involved in the Magic community in my state as well for quite a while, and I have never once seen or heard in all of my years a woman being pushed out because of how “unwelcoming” we apparently are.”

            In my many, many years in the Magic community, I’ve known many women who play and very few who want to deal with the sexist crap they get in stores. And yes, I’ve seen the sexist crap happen.

            At least a couple of the perpetrators were peeps who sincerely and honestly believed they treated women well and bemoaned the lack of women in the game.

          • Women who wish to be involved with competitive Magic will adapt to the culture, the culture should not adapt to them.

          • Adam Carey-Mooney

            This is a pretty hot take when you consider the suffragette movement in the early 1900s, when women all up and decide to not fight for the right to vote and adapted to the culture instead.

    • Jackson Mccreery

      Because no one has ever believed in standing up for the rights of less-privileged groups that they aren’t a part of, ever.

      • hurin

        Female MTG players are less-privileged? What universe do you live in?

        • Jackson Mccreery

          The one where I have literally seen people make jokes about hoping they would face a woman, because they believed them to be less good BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T A MAN. The one where dudes come in to the LGS with playmats of scantily-clad women that make women super fucking uncomfortable and none of the guys says anything or has an issue with it. Hell, they tell her to shut up and stop whining about it. The one where I’ve seen dudes getting pissed and cursing women out for not dating them just because they shared a hobby. The one where stories like this are told ALL THE FUCKING TIME. The same fucking universe as all the rest of us live in. You just don’t pay attention to it.

          • hurin

            So are they? Are female MTG players less good on average? Do they on average invest as much time as male players?
            Those who start drama over a playmat have no real interest in the hobby, Their only purpose is to find some white knights who they can leech of by playing the victim.
            Nerdspaces are filled with easy marks, not all the women who show up have good intentions.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eddd57c5e85e13dd3435d9975ceff59d2451a9380eb516df35428f21720e1444.jpg

          • Novus Ordo

            Hurin, I want to thank you for volunteering to be the face of the problem of sexism in the Magic community.

          • Jackson Mccreery

            If you don’t see how that playmat is objectifying as FUCK, you’re part of the problem.

          • hurin

            What problem? It’s clearly a parody of Frank Frazetta’s art style. Maybe you all need to develop a sense of humor.

  • Amr

    As a counterpoint to the (expected) shitty responses: Thanks for writing this! It’s always great to see prominent members of the community trying to push things forward despite the predictable backlash.

    Also: “consider having a less terrible take on the subject.” might be my favorite thing I have ever read in a Magic article.

    • Daniel Fournier

      Thanks! I’m learning a lot about myself from this comments section. I didn’t realize that writing about toxicity made me a rapist. News to me!

  • Did LSV leave his wife & baby for Gaby Spartz? That would be hella toxic behavior.

    • Bassel

      I don’t think it’s any of our business what happened between LSV and his wife, it’s not like he’s the first person to get a divorce.

  • DarthDakka

    The stigma around things like Magic alone is enough to drive most women away. Women do not like being outsiders. Men are more prone to revel in it. For men, being an outsider means they might be on to it. It means that the other outsiders they deal with, though few, are more likely to be genuine people they can trust in the clutch. The crowd exists to shut men out. Conversely, the crowd exists to provide inclusion for women. Men have adapted to that, as have women. The downside being that women fear exclusion more than anythings which is why all this entryism we’ve been seeing is essentially driven by the urge to fulfill women’s need to be included in everything their whim bring

    • gush

      I don’t think men fear exclusion less than women, statistics don’t show that, it’s just that men have little choice on the matter.
      Looking at the boys that played magic, RPGs, CTGs in general, videogames I found during my youth that they were men who excluded and bullied physically regardless of what they did, including and sometimes specially by women.
      So it makes no sense to ditch a passion if it won’t help.
      But when it comes to things like CTGs, chess, wargaming, RPG and others, even among the excluded the orientation towards these things were marginal at best. Those things aren’t by nature popular, much to the contrary.

      And even when it came to victims of bullying, girls were way less likely to indulge in those things, and frequently when they did they did it for sexual gains.
      The sheer amount of girls who joined me in gaming just to harass me at the table was absurd. That’s how I learned that a bully could fake interest in what I liked, and why they would. Even the guys who did it eventually turned out to be in the closet.

  • Thomas Laughton

    Very well written. I thank
    you for this. Getting past the toxic misogyny and scary gamergate culture is vital to the health of the game and for everyone who wants to move us forward as people. I struggle with teaching my boys this game knowing how toxic the culture is. While improvements are being made the progress is slow at LGS level but I do see hope that it will get better.

    So dorry about the comments below. Reading many of them sickens me. You deserve better.

    • jball2k

      Strange how it’s the vocal anti-GG men who have been found to be the true sexual assaulter/harassers. Seems like every week we get someone new who has claims against them.

      How is MTG culture “toxic”? Care to give an example?

      The culture in MTG isn’t misogynistic. Maybe in your little bubble it is, but in real life it’s not. It’s a children’s card game.

      Funny how the game has started to decline since all this social justice bull shit has been pushed. Like Riki Hayashi wrote an INCREDIBLY BAD article (like this one) a few months ago on the MTG Judge site.

      Good thing people call this stuff out. It needs to be expunged from the game completely, like a cancer.

  • TheAsterite

    “Tell your friends that you crushed that noob idiot.” So you’re ok with marginalizing mental disabilities?

  • Captain Pipsqueak

    Ever considered there aren’t as many female Magic players because they’re smart enough to keep away from it? This game’s a worthless cash-sink.

  • Jeremy

    Little tip when it comes to journalism pal. This is something told to me when I first started in college and it’s very true. Never ever jump in and start arguing in the comments on your article; it does nothing but make you look unprofessional and petty.

    • Thomas Laughton

      Hey pal, it’s cute you think a Magic article is journalism.

  • Chuck_Woolery

    Whoever wrote this article sounds like an absolute creep.

  • Ricardo Cabrero

    Can someone explain to me, why is the author getting so much hate. I find his article to be mediocre but he advocates for a more inclusive experience, so why shit on him?

  • Kevin Johnstone

    1 these inclusion… Transgender… Blah blah everyone should win Everyone is equal articles are getting old fast.. But.. Or was hilarious that the OP replied to a comment with “what the fuck?” lol

  • Kevin Johnstone

    Also.. Stating women don’t have a thick skin and get pushed out is sexist lol. The article is a lose lose article with no upside.

  • Josh

    This is a good article Dan.

  • Jeremiah Smead

    Great article!

  • NID_Technology

    Summary “Women are vulnerable, sensitive children; we must make safe spaces for them so more vulnerable women show up to my card games.”

    Nope. Not buying it. Sensing sinister, ulterior motives. Why so creepy?

  • John Martin

    Compassion is great; peppering an article with SJW buzzwords as a failed subsitute for coherent arguments is not. I implore everyone to actually read Jim Davis’s and Meghan Wolff’s articles.

  • Lol had to stop halfway through the first paragraph of this cucksplaining.

  • Anonis Ymuso

    “Oh, that’s Alexander Hayne’s girlfriend.” Whenever I see Rachel Agnes on VSL, I remember that she’s dating Alex Bertoncini.”
    Maybe that speaks more about you then anything else. Generally the loudest voices when it comes to muh oppreshun are the ones projecting.
    It is too mean to teh womenz, they can’t handle it, sounds like you are the one putting women down and underestimating them.

  • Jack Walsh

    Assuming a women is at a GP or tour event to see her boyfriend play doesn’t make you a misogynist it just means you see it a lot and have a preconception that is probably correct more often than not. The toxicity of competitive magic is a turn off to everyone, both male and female. It’s been this way for a long, long time, and yet, no one seemed to really care until women started complaining about it? Do you think other males like dealing with smelly neck beards with over-inflated egos? If you want to talk about toxicity why not talk about the rampant cheating that goes on in competitive MTG? That drives away far more people than the occasional misuse of a pronoun…

    Frankly for someone who prefaces their article with, “I’m not here to police your language” you spend about half of it stating what is o.k. and not o.k. to say and furthermore anyone who uses any of these words is a “bad person”, “terrible” or part of the toxic cesspool that is the competitive MTG community….sounds like your typical SJW stance to me.

    I’m gonna let you and any female and/or LGBTQ readers of this article in on a little secret. You can legislate inclusion but not respect. You cannot make a rule that says, “You must respect _____ because we say so”. Because, in the end, it is all about respect. Ladies, if you can’t take a little harsh language and you cry to judge every time you hear some, you aren’t going to be respected. If someone is being grossly offensive don’t expect one of these “white knight” types to come stick up for you. You can do that for yourself. If you can come into an event that is dominated by men (or man-children) and show them that some of the crap they say doesn’t even bother you it will go along way to earning their respect. Again, there is no need to put up with blatant disrespect (and that goes for everyone reading this), but at the same time don’t expect to be treated like royalty because of your gender.

    • Jay Eisenhardt

      Whenever things get competitive toxicity is sure to follow.

    • JinDV

      If you have proof of said cheating then show it to WotC, otherwise you’re just repeating rumors you’ve heard… For your last two paragraphs I feel like you don’t understand that the words that come out of a person’s mouth reflect upon the views they hold about the world. There’s a different between profanity and language that takes for granted the sensitivities of a large number of people, i.e. language that degrades/belittles women and language that trivializes sexual assault. Being unwilling to have that level of respect for anyone shows a lack of empathy.

  • John Yossarian

    Harvey Weinstein donated a ton of money to feminist organizations. Since Trump won, he’s been exposed. Hillary Clinton took Weinstein’s money while protecting both him and Sexual Predator Bill. I smell another rapist here! Fournier, is that you?

  • Katelyn Holland

    As someone who stopped playing MtG because I felt unwelcome by some and patronized by others, I strongly identify with this. There’s a level of toxicity that isn’t always noticed and I’d be lying if I said it was just men that perpetuated it. One of the people who contributed to pushing me out was a girl who wanted to be the “unicorn” of the community. This article is mainly about bringing visibility to an issue, and recommending compassion and I think that’s one of the most important things that you can contribute, especially as someone who’s known as a voice in the community.

    • Diego Franco Ferreira

      Grab all the women wanting to play and feeling excluded and form a girls-only championship. My bet? Not enough players. Been there.

      • Erik Sjögren

        Or maybe try not to act like a douche?

  • David Hendrickson

    This is absurd for quite a few reasons. Let’s start with common terms, and pronoun crap. People refer to me as you. This is all I generally hear. I don’t care for their names and they don’t need mine. Unless I decide to chat them up later. I’m focused on winning not learning how to make them feel better. If someone wants to purposely call me any pronoun that fits, I don’t care. Nobody should. That match isn’t there to provide a protective bubble. I’m there to kick ass or lose miserably or come out about even. No two ways about it. IF they’re not there for that, then why are they there in a tournament? IF some guy wants me to learn some ridiculous pronoun like Xaxaviergener the third, sorry I’m not learning it. They can learn how to deal with it, just like everyone else learns. You’re just a passing face, stop trying to be a stamp in someone’s memory.

    “but rather to give everyone equal treatment. This, of course, doesn’t work, but rather serves to passively empower the also-passive misogyny of the culture. ”

    lolwhat? No it doesn’t. IF everyone is given the same protections and encouragements some people will be drawn to it some won’t. I stopped going to the tournament scene because of a money snag, not becauseof mistreatement, and most people are the same.

    “The average number of women at each Pro Tour over the past season has hovered around, well, one. It’s hard to highlight a diverse cast in the feature match area when there is no gender diversity to be found.” Even if you had 100 women, added to a tournament with 100 men, that does not mean everyone’s skills are equal. Thus an equal proportion or an increase from one female player may not increase from one. This is fallacious assumption jumping. If a woman, or man doesn’t earn their placings tough crap. IF that means one tournament all women are tournament players so be it assuming they have the highest skill in regards to ratio of the difference in numbers at the tournament. Identity has no place in skill, and it has no place in trying to level a playing field.

    “Why, then, are there a ton of women personalities and players, but so few are able to translate their involvement in the community into Pro Tour appearances?”

    Because you’re exaggerating and inflating numbers. Just like you do later with Trans and “nonbinary players.” Trans people make up less than .4 percent of the population. They do not make up a major amount of players and coincidentally (As in there is no correlation) women don’t either. Nonbinary is also a small amount of the population.

    “This serves as a massive barrier to women entering the scene,”

    Translation: we should give women special treatement and make them a protected class. Sorry, that’s not how it works. By that logic I can argue that they aren’t very compassionate to Men’s actions in the scene and should try to understand us better instead of trying to change us and how we behave at the scenes. That works both ways.

    “let alone being sufficiently enfranchised to consistently play on the Pro Tour.”

    Many men don’t play on the pro tour. You have to have skill. If a woman doesn’t it doesn’t matter if 1,000,000 join if none of them have the skills to match it. Just like currently most pro tours do not have a majority of male players because *shock* most players are not the most skilled. I know it’s terrible right that the test to be successful and majorly on the tour is abilities at the game not identity or gender.

    “What makes competitive Magic so deeply sexist? Wolff and Davis both talk about the phenomenon of “girlfriendification”, the idea that any woman playing Magic is inexorably tied to their identity as the girlfriend of a male player. ”

    This is mind-numbingly stupid. Women are not weak to insults. The fact you think they are shows your own lack of understanding of women or your bigotry of low expectations. Every time I play a game, or card game, or etc. with a woman they talk mad crap, just as I talk crap back. They are not “ZOMG someone thought I was another player’s girlfriend? How could I potentially ever play again?” That’s basically stupid. That would basically imply women are dumb, with that kind of mind set . It offends me that you think of women that shallowly.

    “It’s actually quite difficult to overcome this hurdle.”

    No. No it’s really not. I even used to play at Yu-gi-oh tournaments and I never once saw someone ask a girl player “Are you X’s boyfriend.” They came with cards, they played. They either won, or they lost. That was that, and the Yu-gi-oh tournaments are not much different than Magic. The same thing applies though is that girls just aren’t that interested. Some are, they are the exception to the rule. Just as most men are not fans of Barbie dolls, and don’t majorly participate in sewing contests. It’s not a because of “making men feel less inclusive.” I’ll tell you that.

    “Having these thoughts cross your mind doesn’t make you a bad person. We think this way precisely because of the innate misogyny of our community. ”

    No. You think this way. You do not represent all men or even a minority. You speak from your own shallow view of woman and weird assumptions. I see someone with cards, I assume they are going to play me and I’m going to try my best to win. Anything else male, female, other, is irrelevant. (Well no, what kind of deck they use is also relevant, and how they run it.)

    “The next time you see a judge ask a woman trying to register for a tournament if she’s there to watch her boyfriend play, call them out.”

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I’ve never seen anyone ask a girl such a question. Even back in 2005 at tournaments I’ve never heard anyone ask someone that was on a tournament if they were there to watch someone. They usually asked what bracket they were in, and whether they were waiting for their match. If they weren’t, they themselves would ask to watch. Such as my grandfather came to watch a few of my matches.

    “I’m asking you to consider being more compassionate and thoughtful about how you communicate, because while certain words might not matter to you, it’s entirely likely that they matter a lot more to someone else. If you choose to mock this effort to make language inclusive, consider having a less terrible take on the subject.”

    How about no. I’m not going to sit there and ask for a list of terms said person finds offensive when playing. If there are words forbidden in that tournament (such as one I went to the owner forbid the word “Suck” yes even saying a card sucked was considered forbidden lol) then I will abide, otherwise no. They get to deal with my personality, and my speaking antics. That does not mean I have a right to harass them but again harassment isn’t legal to begin with.

    “A hot topic for people to complain about is the move away from the phrasing of on-demand events as “8-mans” at Grand Prix and the like. This is part of a general movement to try to not use male-specific gendered language to describe groups of people that might include women. Not only is it improving the accuracy of the language, but it also serves to generate a more inclusive atmosphere. Also, it comes with pretty much no downside. Just do it. Call them 8-player queues or on-demands or whatever.”

    Except it doesn’t. I’ve had girls who were friends that played at these tournaments before. They called them 8-mens even when they were top placers. They didn’t care about the term. It’s frivilous, and again a shallow way to think women are that weak or sensitive. This whole article is basically a stereotype of how woman are insecure and weak. Really? Yet you accuse the whole entire spectrum of misogyny I think it’s just you.

    The only thing those girls cared about was what placing they would recieve and who they were facing and what deck. Heck some of them would call our group “guys” even though we weren’t all men and NOBODY CARED.

    “you might have noticed that there are a lot of trans and non-binary people who call competitive Magic their home.”

    Except, that’s not true. You’re exaggerating when .4% makes up a “lot of the population” then you may be right. Not now.

    “They take a lot of hate and bigotry from the worst elements of our community, which is a shame not only for reasons of basic morality, but also because nerd cultures like our own have always been a refuge for marginalized people.”

    1) Don’t care.They will be treated with the same respect and dignity I treat everyone else with. If they don’t deserve respect I will also reflect that in how I treat them.

    2) No, that’s not true. Comics were mainly bought by White men “nerds” during their most prominent days. Games were mainly a hobby for “White male nerds.” which are also accused of sexism alongside comics, and so has every other “nerd” culture hobby. Whether it be manga, comics, cult classic movie clubs, games, card games, table top, etc.

    Stop trying to revise history.

    “It’s on us, cisgender men, to fight against this bigotry.”

    Ah the bigotry of low expectations. “Women can’t handle how we act, so we should change and conform to how we think they want us to act.”

    The shallow limitations of someone who think’s they have a moral high ground.

    “We can do this in big ways, like calling out people when they use transphobic slurs or misgender a player. We can also take smaller steps, like trying to use the word “woman” when referring to people rather than “female”, a colder and more biologically scientific term.”

    Lolwut? No. How about if someone says “X sucks” I just don’t care unless it not directed at me. If someone says they hate [insert male slur or white male slur here] I just laugh at them and carry on with playing a game instead of playing “who has the most insecurities in the room.” The game.

    “necessarily mean that they identify as one or want to be referred to as one. Many trans people either don’t want to or can’t afford to drastically change their appearance for any number of reasons — and plenty of queer and non-binary people exist as well, who would simply prefer to not be referred to in a certain, gendered way.”

    Then they better have it pasted on their shirt, because I’m going to adress them like everybody else. You. If I do call them by their name,that’s that, I’m not playing this stupid pronoun game.

    “I’ve come across many Magic players who aren’t interested in putting effort into figuring out someone’s preferred pronouns before figuring out how to talk to them. I don’t particularly blame them, especially in the context of a Magic event. This game is deeply draining, and at the end of a long day, I sometimes don’t want to talk to my opponents at all, let alone worry about their life story. Try to view this from their perspective, however. While to you, it’s a minor inconvenience to ask someone who appears marginally androgynous what they prefer to be called, to them, it’s their life and their identity. You don’t have to ask every bearded white dude with a Rick and Morty shirt if they want to be called “they”. Use your brain, but also don’t be a dick. Ask. Consider changing your default way of referring to someone from “he” or “she” to “them”.”

    Interesting so, we shouldn’t stereotype but in the same paragraph you suggest we stereotype men who war Rick and Morty shirts. Interesting contradiction. How about no? Who cares if it’s their life. It’s my life to not be obstructed by stupid pronoun games. It’s my time they’re wasting to fill my head full of nonsense. Just like this whole article. Their identity doesn’t matter if it’s a delusion. If they identify as Santa Claus unless they signed up as Santa I’m not calling them that. Also no to that last part. If I’m asking someone from a distance if some groups game is done, I’m asking what I see, them not hearing me ask “IS she or he” done is not going to affect them and if they are that sensitive then I recommend therapy, and maybe a check into Bellevue.

    And before you ask, when I was younger, sometimes people thought I was female from a distance. It didn’t bug me for them to accidentally mistake me for a female. I corrected it if I played them or talked to them and moved on. Boom. No problem of wasting their time, and my time fretting over stupidity.

    “but if you use the word “rape” to refer to anything about a match of Magic, or infer any kind of assault or non-consensual sex act to define a match result, you’re doing something very, very bad. When people talk about “rape culture”, meaning a culture that trivializes sexual assault,”

    No. I don’t care to use the word rape, because it’s not funny or clever. But two things.

    1) We do not live in a culture that trivializes rape. We jail rapist. We instantly jump to conclusions when accusations are hurled about sexual assault and rape. Just because “rape” has become jargon does not change that fact. Just as calling a RPG character with high health and damage a “Tank” doesn’t trivialize war and those who die during it.

    “Anything else. Tell your friends that you crushed that noob idiot, or that you got destroyed by that top-decked Glorybringer. Don’t trivialize sexual assault.”

    What if that noob was a girl. Should I be calling women “noob idiot?” Sounds like misogyny to me by the logic you’ve presented and hardly inclusive. What if that’s their pronoun. Jeesh, I think someone identifying as a noob would be upset if you kept implying you beating someone down was rolling an egg on their face.

    “I firmly believe that language and conversation are the best approaches we have to improving the issues we have with a lack of inclusivity in Magic. ”

    In other words it’s shallow, misogynistic profiling that pretends women are insecure and sensitive and that by acting sensitive and shallow that’ll draw them in? lol. Wrong. Worse things are said in Wrestling arenas and funny enough quite a few woman wrestlers are drawn to them. Stop using the bigotry of low expectations. Stop thinking women are weak, you are the one thinking this, no one else. So it is you with the problem and thus I am calling you out.

    “Nobody who plays this incredibly difficult game is an idiot”

    Magic is not difficult. Complex, sure. That’s not the same thing.

    “nd we all have the intellectual capacity to not only understand why compassion is good, but why it’s our responsibility to further that compassion”

    Compassion and pretending women are as fragile as mirrors in a glass shop is not the same thing. Compassion and making protected classes are not the same thing. You want to be compassionate to women? Treat them like a human being, treat them like a person, stop treating them like some stereotype from Little House on the Prairie. Most women I’ve played with in tournaments would talk a sailor let alone myself under a table with their insults and vulgar language. Yet you seem to think all women are these innocent angels who are all sensitive on these issues. No just no. Stop.

    “If you’re a man who plays Magic, and you witness someone saying something or doing something that contributes to the toxicity in Magic culture, be it talking about a woman’s appearance at FNM or mocking the Play it Forward prize, it is your responsibility as a human being to call them out and talk to them.”

    No. It really isn’t. Most women can handle themselves when talking shit back to other players who insult them. On that note, men are criticized for their appearances. You don’t even want to know the statements I got said about my appearance after one tournament I walked in with Yugioh accessories. I was the laughing stock, but to be fair at a competing brand, that was my own fault for not changing before hand. Just as if some man or woman walks into the room and smells like they’ve never taken a shower. That’s on them not me. Personal responsibility. Even then everyone talks shit about everyone, so no one needs protected.

    “We can’t make Magic a better place by standing by and doing nothing. We have to talk about it.”

    We can’t make Magic a better place by acting like White knights sensitive over every word either. We also can’t make Magic better by acting bigoted towards women by pretending they’r all sensitive babies who can’t handle dirt, when they choose to play in the mud. Women don’t need YOUR protection, most of them don’t need mine . (Unless an actual physical altercation occurs) otherwise no, mind your own business. If a fair maiden needs your help or wants your help I’m sure she’ll ask for it.

    • Novus Ordo

      You somehow managed to use the gender-neutral pronoun “they” 50 times in that posting (no kidding), while maintaining that pronouns don’t matter.

      • David Hendrickson

        Me personally talking about a group, doesn’t equate to saying pronouns matter. I always use the word they and you. If I don’t know someone. I’m not doing it because person who wrote the article told me to, I’m doing it because that’s how I personally talk. There’s a difference. Just as how I post is not how you should post or anyone else. If you prefer to instantly start a comment with he or she or X then please do. I don’t care. I’m not telling you how to write. Understand?

      • David Hendrickson

        I don’t know why my other comment didn’t show up: But: Me writing they is not the same thing as pronouns matter. My personal writing style is my own. Me calling others “you” is my own. It’s not important. Because NOBODY should be forced to write like me or talk like me. It’s not important if I use they, or him, or her. What I choose to use is not the same thing as saying “It’s important.” If you wish to write differently than me (which would be normal) than please do. I’m not telling anyone how to write though, which is different from how the article explains it. I’m informal, I’m indirect, and I don’t care about a specific personal target .Therefore I use terms like You, they, those, etc. There’s a difference. Context matters. Edit: If someone wishes to use a specific name, he, she, her, him. Fine. But that’s why pronouns don’t matter. Xer, Xim is generally transgender speak. I will not use it, just like I will not call someone Xacviver the third on someone a pronoun. You get a you and that’s it. Don’t like it tough crap.

  • jball2k

    Social justice, literally nothing will kill this game any faster.

    Keep it up. Making the game more unattractive for people will surely help grow the community…

  • Javier Vega

    Listen to her story Its so toxic that the store owner who is a woman made her feel unconformable she quit playing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3LdRIOWdFI

  • Javier Vega

    When you have argument that divided a community people don’t realize how crazy both sides of the argument are.You want women to come and play Magic I am not against that ether but this is up to person to decide for themselves if they want to stay or go. I can’t force that person to stay because of there own issues with the game.

  • Antonio Zanutto

    Congratulations for the article and for the bravery to write this. 🙂
    Please, don’t be discourage by many others in the comment that are toxic

  • JinDV

    “It’s hard to highlight a diverse cast in the feature match area when there is no gender diversity to be found” Not the only kind of diversity

    “When I checked coverage of Grand Prix DC this year and saw the name Sarah Zyla at 9-0, my first reaction was, “Oh, that’s Alexander Hayne’s girlfriend.” Whenever I see Rachel Agnes on VSL, I remember that she’s dating Alex Bertoncini.” This comes across a little like ‘because I do it, everyone does it’ and is a personal viewpoint that doesn’t help progress the idea you’re trying to get across here.

    “We think this way precisely because of the innate misogyny of our community.” Or~ maybe because the human brain is all about making connections and patterns and when you knew the bf’s name first and THEN later learn about the gf, that’s probably the first connection she has in your brain, she’s associated with the player you already knew. In face to face, day to day situations after a couple is broken up you get to know them as individuals. Across the internet, this is harder so those initial connections stick around for longer.

    “We don’t think of LSV as Gaby Spartz’s boyfriend” Gaby became well known in the community before we were informed about her dating LSV.

    “Not only is it improving the accuracy of the language, but it also serves to generate a more inclusive atmosphere.” ‘Man’ has been and will be used as a gender neutral word, this is English. So more accurate? No, but it is more inclusive.

    “It’s on us, cisgender men, to fight against this bigotry.” This and your last paragraph should be addressing everyone helping anyone.
    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

  • peten16

    Well stated. And this is not just advice for MTG, but life in general.

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