So this will probably get me a ton of Hate from the Internet…
I think we have a problem in the Gaming community, but especially so when it comes to Tabletop gaming, specifically pen-&-paper roleplaying. You see, while not all groups have been saddled with a bad player or GameMaster, almost everyone has run into them at one point or another. You know who I mean: The player or GM who is a bit creepy towards female members of the group, or outright misogynistic either in the way they play their character (or control their NPCs), or in their interactions with female players.
Of course, some of you will never have dealt with such a group member, because you only play with males. Or, maybe it’s because you are “that guy”. Regardless, in either case please just read what I have to say here, and take it to heart. These bad players exist, and they need to be dealt with, if our community is to thrive.
I don’t care what their excuses are, to be honest. When confronted with their poor behavior, often they will say they were “just joking”, or accuse those who were bothered by their actions as being “too thin-skinned” or of being “social justice warriors”. Maybe they try to claim they were just trying to be historically accurate, if the game is set in the Medieval period. But the truth is, none of these excuses are valid. The bad actor, be they a player or GM, is the person who is at fault, and needs to correct their behavior. Period.
Look, gaming (regardless of the type) is something all people should be able to enjoy. Tabletop gaming is no longer the “Boy’s Club” it once was considered to be, but really never was. While some groups may have been all-male for quite some time, I’ve been playing tabletop roleplaying games since the Seventies, and have had women playing in or running my games since we first taught my Mother, my Aunt, and one of my sisters to join the D&D group my brother and I had. To be honest, it is hard for me to remember a time when I’ve played a roleplaying game without at least one female in the group. And as such, they deserve as much respect and dignity as any other person in the group.
The goal of a roleplaying game is for everyone to have a good time, right? So why should a member of said group be made to feel uncomfortable by another player or the GM? Jokes are meant to be funny, not upsetting, and if you are told that your “jokes” are upsetting someone, they need to stop. Period. If you are told that you are leering at a female player, stop doing that. Period. And ‘historical accuracy’ is never a proper excuse for offending another player. Period.
But worst of all, if you see a player or GM acting in an inappropriate manner towards female members of the group, then you need to do something about it. I don’t care if this is the only GameMaster within 100 miles, and you haven’t been able to play a proper RPG for a decade, it is your duty to your fellow group-mates to stand up and stop the improper activity. Period.
To sit by and just let it continue makes you as much of a problem as the bad actor is.