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"Women and table-top wars" Topic

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04 Apr 2020 3:56 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from History of Wargaming boardCrossposted to Wargaming in General board

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2020 10:00 p.m. PST

"H.G. Wells, when he wrote his legendary wargaming work, didn't exclude girls and women from the potential of playing those "Little Wars," so how did about 50 percent of the population slip away from the several genres that make up this hobby? I don't recall ever coming across a female wargamer in historical gaming. There are plenty out there who role-play and who game in the science fiction and fantasy genres, but I have never met a girl or woman moving her Bonapartist armies or her Roman legions across the table, or her ironclad fleets over the ballroom floor (that's an allusion to Fletcher Pratt, incidentally). Maybe things will change.

Is the problem the lack of female warriors and military generally? Women have been involved in warfare front-line warfare, not merely supporting roles since antiquity. Medieval Warfare issued a special on warrior princesses and heroines not long back, and there are some well known individuals in history. Not just Jeanne d'Arc and Matilda either! If you look at the modern era, in the Great War and the many conflicts referred to as the Russian Civil War these days, there were numerous all-women combat units. A photo of a group of British re-enactors of one of those units is shown here…"
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gunnerphil29 Mar 2020 1:30 a.m. PST

I have met several female historical wargamers, so I find this flawed.

But if the hobby does not attract some groups of society, the same can be said said for many other hobbies and pass times. Look at skate boarding for example, their demographic is almost polar opposite to wargamering.

Here is a fact that seems to get overlooked, people are all different

USAFpilot29 Mar 2020 10:01 a.m. PST

When you think of the great Captains: Alexander, Napoleon, etc; it is almost exclusively men. I think the hobby reflects that ratio of men to women. (Unfortunately)

Jeffers29 Mar 2020 10:11 a.m. PST

I've met – and gamed with – quite a few women into historical wargames, although I've met more who do re-enactment and living history.

Guess what: in the 20+ years I have known my mother-in-law, her cross-stitch group has never had a bloke join in. What is more, they don't fret about it. How strange!

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2020 12:00 p.m. PST

Look at skate boarding for example, their demographic is almost polar opposite to wargamering.

I'm not sure about "polar opposite." Both activities involve mostly white guys.

Skateboarders are typically younger and more athletic than most wargamers, but they'll become old and their sport will trash their ankles and knees over time, so they may become wargamers later in life.

Wargamers are mostly highly educated. I don't know anything about skateboarders' education.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2020 3:05 p.m. PST



Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2020 5:08 p.m. PST

There are examples of females in warfare, but they are few and not just in the euro-centric western world. So perhaps when God created men and women he made them different in more than just their Physiology.

That said my daughter will play any combat game that her brothers do. She can hold her own- she is my daughter after all. However she prefers fashion and design.

von Schwartz05 Apr 2020 9:56 a.m. PST

Years ago, Sears was criticized for not having women in Tools and Lawn and Garden departments. After trying several different options, doing a wide variety of studies, and trials, they discovered….wait for it….men and women are different. More specifically, they have different interests. My wife likes to read Victorian romances and I like military history and adventure novels.

Vive la difference!!!

PS, they also smell better

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Apr 2020 7:54 a.m. PST

Women have always been involved in combat, beyond just support roles, and at all levels. I have seen female historical wargamers. DOM has a history degree (she got it at the same time as her EE degree), we she focused on military history (WWI). I have female colleagues who are senior commanders in modern militaries.

All that said, the male/female ratio is skewed heavily toward the male, even in contemporary forces. At the senior commander level, it is even more heavily skewed toward the male side.

The idea that any population demographic (even one from a self-selected population) should mirror that demographic in a different selected (self-selected or otherwise) population is fallacious. However, you also don't ignore the heavy influence of source populations on a selected population.

So the low proportions are neither an indication of the inappropriateness of women for this forum, nor are they surprising.

If you want to address the issue (not "fix the problem"), you need to first address the reasons for the differences between the populations. Several of these issues are identified above:

– Wargaming is a niche hobby. When you talk about very low percentages of the population in general, you can't expect proportionality.

– The number of women in combat roles, especially senior commander combat roles is much lower than the number of males.

We may not have discussed:

– There are different social pressures on men and woman – and boys and girls – in society,

– Younger people have different "fitting in" dynamics in groups than older people.

– There are a lot of former military people in wargming. That professional background also creates some "cliquishness" (not necessarily intentional) that interacts with the social and personal dynamics.

Lots of other considerations, too …

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