The Status of Women in Magic: An Optimistic Prognosis

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Fellow Magic: The Gathering players, we need to talk.

To continue to nurture the healthy growth of our community and to maintain a sense of accountability to those who actively participate (and to those who would like to!), we need to be self-reflexive and introspective about the status of women. Aside from attending GP Orlando this past fall, I am rarely ever in a room with more than two other women players.

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This article (and those I intend to publish in its wake) is an attempt to sustain a mutually beneficial dialogue that has recently become more salient. I have ruminated on this issue for nearly as long as I have been playing Magic, but Gaby Spartz’s April 7 article “6 Things You Can Do to Get More Women in Magic” on Channel Fireball motivated me to finally organize and articulate my many thoughts on this topic.

While future writings will provide examples of the experiences I believe we should strive to minimize as well as explore specific areas for improvement, the goal of this article is to set a positive tone by praising existing efforts.

Who I Am

Before I commence outlining some areas where I see the Magic community succeeding at integrating women, I would like to briefly introduce myself. I purchased my first introductory deck during New Phyrexia and by Innistrad was drafting weekly. I have faded in and out of Standard, as no deck has captured my attention and excited me as much as Nephalia Drownyard Esper Control during Innistrad/Return To Ravnica Standard, but the emergence of a viable Sidisi-Whip build may lure me back.

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Limited formats and Commander are my true passions. In terms of Mark Rosewater’s psychographic profiles, I align most closely with Johnny Jenny (more on this below!) but like any competitive player, I have Spike streaks! Sultai is my favorite color combination, though I tend to enjoy any two-color pairing contained within that triad. Outside of the Magic community, I am a Sociology PhD student who studies social movements and mass media. Now, onto my primary purpose!

How Magic is Different

I firmly believe Magic the Gathering is a unique gaming environment in that sexism and misogyny are not endemic to the game itself. Unlike videogames, which sometimes are structured in such a way that exclusion is built into the design, Wizards of the Coast employees have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to fostering a welcoming community. High-profile designers and directors like Doug Beyer and our beloved Mark Rosewater routinely discuss the issue of women in Magic. Most recently, throughout the week of April 13, MaRo featured a different woman employee, each representing distinct departments, on his Tumblr Blogatog. In March of this year, MaRo expressed that he regrets labeling the player archetypes he pioneered with male-gendered names and proposed alternatives (Tammy for Timmy, Jenny for Johnny, Mel for Melvin, while Vorthos and Spike remain gender-neutral).

The culture of inclusion extends beyond a few public figureheads, too. Some of you may recall the controversy surrounding the Triumph of Ferocity art, which portrayed Garruk looming over Liliana and forcibly pressing forward between her thighs. Though Wizards initially fumbled, they swiftly acknowledged their error, apologized, and pledged to prevent similar mistakes in the future (and, as of yet, have maintained that vow!). When the card was reintroduced in Duels 2015, new art was even commissioned.

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While employee composition and responses to mistakes are solid indicators of WOTC’s dedication to constructing a gaming environment where women can comfortably participate, what is most notable, in my opinion, are the cards throughout the history of Magic featuring depictions of widely-varied women in diverse roles with rich characterization. Across all segments of the color pie, women are regularly featured as warriors, priestesses, bureaucrats, sorcerers, healers, necromancers, spies, leaders, followers, and more. Recently, Wizards has even introduced a trans woman (Alesha, Who Smiles at Death) and an agendered character (Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver )! As I stated above, the presence of all of these factors leads me to believe the issue is not inherent to the game itself.

Community Figureheads

Professional players and commentators have contributed to keeping the conversation about women in Magic alive, too. Patrick Sullivan, Luis Scott-Vargas, Drew Levin, and Marshall Sutcliffe all cultivate productive and interactive conversations on Twitter, in their articles, and on their streams. I am also fond of Sam Black’s Facebook group “Story Time with Sam Black!” It is filled with passages where he genuinely reflects on gender. Even though many of the writings are not directly relevant to the Magic community, it is encouraging to see a professional player with high visibility exhibit sensitivity to the inequity commonly faced by women and the negative consequences of restrictive gender norms and roles for all people.

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Even amongst those of us who constitute the average player base, there are those who have established enclaves for women players. The Lady Planeswalkers Society (started by Tifa Robles), the MTG Diversity Twitter account, and the FEMtg and Lady MTG Tumblrs are all spaces intentionally created to facilitate women becoming more involved as well as commiserate and process negative experiences. The internet’s ability to connect people across time and geographic space reveals a consensus: current players acknowledge women’s relative absence and want to rectify it.

So What’s the Problem?

The dearth of women who play Magic competitively does not seem to align with WOTC’s informal and direct efforts to broaden the appeal of the game, the attitudes of tastemakers in our community at large, or the overall tone of the conversation online. So why does the issue persist?

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Anecdotally, I have the perception that there are many women who restrict themselves to kitchen-table casual play. I do not believe the gulf is attributable to women’s interest in Magic or in table-top gaming more generally. I am inclined to refocus my attention on the micro-cultures of local game stores and the average player base. Accordingly, in future editions of this column, the avenues for improvement I will explore (including but not necessarily limited to: general “othering” of women in Magic, the way we discuss female professional players, exclusionary language, and sexual harassment) will be overwhelmingly oriented toward the environment in which many of us are playing Magic: smaller-scale tournaments like the FNM you may attend weekly. The standards we collectively set in our respective LGSs inform how people behave when they attend Pro Tour Qualifiers and Grands Prix.

Being deliberate and conscientious goes a long way in terms of alleviating potential concerns. The examples I have described above make that much evident. As my title suggests, I am hopeful about the future of the status of women in the Magic community. I look forward to reading your responses and I am confident our discussions can be respectful and constructive.

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Haley Gentile

Haley Gentile is a fast-talking dame who enjoys gardening, painting, participating in legislative advocacy, and reading the news when she isn't playing Magic. She is a sociologist who studies social movements, media, and inequality, particularly as it pertains to sexualities and race.
Haley Gentile

30 comments

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    • Tiacha on April 27, 2015 at 11:29 am
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    Yet you have issues like the trolling of Brenda Smith @ SCCLE over Twitch and you wonder why women don’t play magic. I do, but I’m one of two regular women who visit my shop. I think its that sexist culture that’s prevalent at big events is what keeps women from playing magic. I know I’d be terrified to be trolled like Brenda if I were picked for a featured match.

      • Haley on April 27, 2015 at 11:48 am
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      I will be discussing the Brenda Smith issue and other similar incidences in future articles. I will note that it was VERY disheartening to watch in real time.

        • Swedebit on April 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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        I watched this too, and I was ashamed, angry, and sad. And I let @scglive know.

    • Wabbajack on April 27, 2015 at 11:33 am
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    I’m all for having more people, regardless of gender, play more MTG. But I do take issue with you bringing up the art of the card Triumph of Ferocity. If MTG art is going to be directed by a victim mentality, then existing players should feel cynical about the lengths WoTC would go through to be inclusive at the expense of good flavor.

    Let’s focus on keeping the game authentic, and let that be the reason more people pick up the game.

      • Haley on April 27, 2015 at 11:46 am
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      In regards to ToF, I would challenge the notion that R&D being responsive to player perceptions is “inauthentic.” Do you not feel the updated art has solid flavor?

        • mike on April 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm
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        I feel like both pieces of art are flavorful, but thats not his point. I was on hiatus when this card was released and this is my first look at it. I saw nothing wrong with the art. I saw a very powerful character overpower another very powerful character. I see a lot of emotion portrayed in this piece. Leg placement has nothing to do with this, and in fact if it wasnt brought up in this article I wouldnt have even noticed.

        Other than that, I agree with the rest of the article. More people, men or women or otherwise is a good thing. Having a secure, enjoyable environment for all players is a great thing. Both sides need to give a little for this to happen though

          • Haley on April 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm
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          What ‘sides’ do you perceive as existing? And what do you think they should each acquiesce?

          I disagree about the leg placement. He could have been towering over her without producing an image of sexualized violence.

            • mike on April 27, 2015 at 2:42 pm
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            The sides such as they are would be those do not acquiesce to most of the rules laid out by Gaby and those who feel like the rules should be there.
            I feel that the former should be more inclined make an attempt at being more inclusive and accepting deodorant into their lives. The latter needs to accept that small things like vernacular may never change. For example, here in the midwest the term “guys” when referring to a group of people is unisex. Other more outrageous examples include not trying to change “man-land” to “person-land”.
            As for the art I see no sexualized violence on the surface. In fact, given this situation and the choke hold Garruk has on Liliana, the leg between her leg positioning helps to prevent escape and is functional.

            As an artist I know(and love) that art is subjective, but to my point I think as long as there is a REASONABLE story for the content of a picture then it should be acceptable. I by no means want to see sexual violence on Magic cards or anywhere. I just think that if this card depicting Larry instead of Liliana the pose would be just as acceptable. I think its a believable development in a fight between two powerful beings regardless of gender. I also think that since you (rightly) agree with women being depicted as all manor of warrior or wizard, then you should equally agree with them dying or being injured the way a warrior or wizard would be.

            Again, let me emphasize that Im not saying you are wrong in your perception of this art, and I may not be right in mine. You see what you see. Im just saying that if a case can be effectively made then there should be no apologies.
            Also, Im writing this on my phone, I apologize for any formatting or grammar mistakes

              • Haley on April 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm
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              My sole issue with the original art is the positioning of his thigh between her legs.

                • mike on April 27, 2015 at 7:48 pm

                We may have to agree to disagree, but I think it would look very awkward for him to assume this position by stepping to the side or even straddling her. An argument could be made that the whole composition could be changed, but the artist I’m sure had his reasons and I choose to trust his process. I would be interested in hearing your comments about the other issue I brought up concerning the two “sides”

        • Ben on April 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm
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        I do not believe that the updated art has good flavor. The flavor text does not match the art at all. He is in a triumphant pose, but the flavor text describes a situation in which they are actively fighting. Its flavor is also lacking in that it is no longer a proper companion piece to Triumph of Cruelty, which shows Lilliana in a victorious pose over a defeated Garruk.

        The moment in the story the art was trying to capture was one where one immensely powerful male character had the upper hand against an immensely powerful (and immensely evil) female character. This isn’t some man roughing up some random waif just because he’s a misogynist. Garruk has every reason to hate and kill this woman. If Wizards doesn’t have the backbone to stand by their story elements in the face of criticism, and they’re just going to cowtow to every complaint, then that is very sad indeed.

        You call it an image of sexualized violence–I don’t see it. Your eyes flow straight from his raised hand all the way down his other arm to his fist around her throat. His knee being between her legs could be incidental, but even if it’s not, it’s not sexually explicit. It would be one thing if his hips were thrust forward and his member was bulging through his pants and the focal point of the artwork was his junk, rather than his arms. But it’s not. Also they were careful to include a defiant look on Lilliana’s face and a spell in her hand to show us she’s not taking this lying down. This is a fight, not a rape. (We wouldn’t want to run into anything like a woman just straight up being a victim of violence–oh no. That would put us in Batgirl alternate cover art territory and that would just be…unmentionable!)

        What’s ironic though is that Lilliana’s Caress exists. She is sensually rubbing her hands on a male victim’s face as though she’s going to kiss him, while his mind basically shatters. The flavor text has very rape-y overtones: “This might hurt less if you don’t fight so hard. But I doubt it.” So here we have a card that is *absolutely, undeniably* an “image of sexual violence,” but no one got up in arms about it because the victim is a male. I’m not just being trite, there, either. I think it’s very sad how we’re not willing to view women on the receiving end of pain and suffering very much in anything, MTG included.

        When Slave of Bolas came out, people complained that it was oversexualized and rapey, essentially because it was a female angel (fully clothed, by the way…) who had been mind controlled. But Dominate, and many other cards that do control magic effects depict men being, well, dominated. In fact, a few cards reference Sirens (Seasinger, Siren of the Fanged Coast), which are absolutely sexual in nature. Sower of Temptation leads away a male victim with a glamer left to the imagination. But no problem there, because the presumed target is a man, not a woman. But as soon as a female angel gets mind controlled and is depicted with tears because of how she’s being forced to fight for such a monster, well, certain groups make the leap that it just *has* to be sexual domination/rape.

        I think we need to get over this hump, where it’s okay to show one sex as a victim but not the other. The alternative is to never, ever portray women as victims, and that’s not fair either. Then the pendulum just swings the other way, and women are put on this untouchable pedestal where they have to be protected. We can’t have a situation where women are only ever depicted as winning. Magic has lots and lots of that already, and it’s great. We also have the vast, vast majority of violence on cards being done to men. Wizards can’t just skulk away and bow to the whims of whiners every time a card comes out that has a man directly attacking or killing a woman.

        TL;DR: We need to be equal opportunity about portraying both men and women as victims of violence. Anything else is sexist. Gotta get past the old fashioned sexist knee-jerk reaction to seeing women getting attacked.

    1. The ‘lengths’? Like, I dunno, maybe having Garruk beating up a giant wolf? Or fighting a dragon? There were limitless options for that image, and they settled on a big man pressing himself over a small woman wearing a low cut dress – and I find it incredibly uncomfortable that your go-to ‘good flavor’ is the word ‘ferocity’ attached to an image evoking sexual violence. Traditionally, in Magic terms, ferocity makes *me* think of bears.

      That image, in particular, is not ‘authentic’ Magic by any stretch of the imagination, which is why it was so roundly criticized – themes of rape and violence against women are things WOTC has done a pretty good job avoiding, over the years; and you coming out to defend a mistake they already admit they’ve made is worrying.

        • mike on April 27, 2015 at 2:47 pm
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        Im not disagreeing with you, I just saw it differently. Please see my long winded second response to the author above. I would like to point out that its unfair to point to her wardrobe as it was already established in previous branding and artwork. If you take issue to her revealing attire (which I would understand) then that is a different issue and one that might be addressed in the future of this article.

      • Sara on April 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm
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      I don’t really see a problem with the art. I’m a victim of domestic abuse and sexual assault, and I don’t understand how this art is so bad. It’s part of the story and lore, not just designed to be sexist and inappropriate. If we are so afraid of offending people, we will never be able to tell the full story or start a healthy conversation about that topic.

        • Haley on April 27, 2015 at 6:51 pm
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        I don’t think its the end of the world. I literally just bring it up because I appreciate Wizards reflecting and being responsive to the community. Also…are you really claiming this card art is overall contributing to a dialogue on sexual violence?

          • mike on April 27, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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          She isn’t saying that at all. What she is saying is that if we keep over responding or censoring things to keep everybody happy we will miss out on compelling story opportunities. Also by allowing extremes on both sides to rule the conversation, we don’t allow healthy, logical, or compromising conversation to grow completely.
          This card does nothing for the dialogue on sexual violence, but the controversy over the card stunts the growth of that dialogue.

            • Haley on April 27, 2015 at 8:08 pm
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            To rely on a slippery slope argument is to admit you have no compelling evidence in your favor. WOTC has proven themselves judicious but in tune with the community. It’s not as if WotC regularly amends cards or flavor at the expense of storytelling. The narrative that Garruck bested Liliana could be communicated without that specific art. The only way the conversation around the card stunted the growth of a legitimate discussion of sexualized violence is if you (the proverbial you) permitted it to. Do you truly believe there was healthy constructive dialogue the conversation about the card inhibited? In what way? People can be attuned to multiple discourses at different levels in a variety of sites. Being vocal to the company about an upsetting card image doesn’t preclude other dialogues. But anyway, as I noted, it was one small example of how the company demonstrates it considers women in its intended audience.

    • Sean on April 27, 2015 at 4:55 pm
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    I think this is an important topic and one that too many men and boys will have a hard time effectively participating in due to privilege. I didn’t see sexual violence in the Triumph art until I read about it on Reddit, but being a man, I’m less likely to see underlying sexual violence than a woman is (much like being white blinds me to some overt and covert racism). I am not satisfied with the revised artwork from a flavor standpoint, but understand why many members of our community are not okay with the original artwork. I wish there was a better recommission.

    I hope that women in our community continue to challenge, behavior, language, stereotypes, and privilege so that MTG becomes a more diverse and welcoming, while still challenging and competitive, community.

    1. The worst part for me is that when I write on the topics, my reach gets a ton of eyeballs on the piece and more people take me seriously and debate the topic (and come out of the woodwork to attack me personally, but that just makes me laugh) and I can’t help but think it’s because I’m a man, which sucks. Why wouldn’t we be more interested in what a woman has to say?

    • steve on April 27, 2015 at 9:58 pm
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    I think one of the biggest issues with Magic that people underlook is that the community is conservative as hell. This is probably due to Hasbro getting involved since Magic is starting to learn more towards being a “family-oriented” game unlike in the past to where it was for young adults. Even the art design and female representation has gotten shittier. Outside of Elspeth, none of the woman in characters in Magic have any real depth or character. Tamiyo was kind of cool since she had somewhat of a backstory, but when you look at Liliana, Chandra, Kiora and Nissa, there all boring and dull as hell.

    I hate to be that guy, but I cant stand the “community” take on any of this crap. All the “pros” tell everyone a bunch of generic bullshit and nobody really has the balls to tell anything like it is. The Magic media is pretty shitty since everyone tries to act “professional”, but in reality its more like “hey, we need to tell the public what it wants since this decides if we get to put food on the table or not”. You look at the Chapin incident which was clearly bullshit and you got everyone backing the Magic judges since they cant bite the hand that feeds. There is no universe where the Magic media can criticize its own workers since that would not be good for ratings, selling products or viewership.

    It would be cool to see more chicks play Magic, but as long as Magic still spews this family PG-13 bullshit, its kind of an uphill battle since the game doesnt really do much to pull woman in. Also kind of funny that people talk about more chicks in Magic, yet this game also has a shortage of minorities in general. I dont see a terrible amount of latinos, or blacks playing Magic, which is surprising since they are two of the largest minorities in America. There is probably more female representation in Pokemon than there is Magic, and honestly thats kind of sad considering Magic is way better game. If I wanted to pick up a chick in Japan, Id go out and buy a gameboy haha. I think Pokemon attracts more woman than Magic since the game in general is more woman friendly. The franchise has things that would interest most woman than men. If Magic wanted to attract woman, it would probably need to do that. The game probably needs more female roles in the story that are actually relevent and not a bunch of shitty gimmicks (like M14 Chandra).

    1. Magic as a game doesn’t need to do anything to attract women, the game is a good game and women will play a good game if they’re inclined. The issue is the rest of the community dissuading women, not Wizards failing to engage them with what you call “PG-3 bullshit” or “gimmicks”. I think you’ve missed the point.

        • steve on April 27, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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        Yeah well what do you do when the community in itself is broken? Like I said, most of the Magic community is a bunch of over conservative white people who basically sell a bunch of christian values nonsense. How the hell are you going to get any sane females into this game when thats basically the forefront of your game lol? Trying to add diversity to a community where diversity is already self-limited is like fighting fire with grass, its a terrible and senseless idea.

        Magic definately needs to think about females when they make their lore. You could have had some sexy Dragon planeswalker chick that made the Dragons in Tarkir her bitch, but nope instead we get boring ass Narset and another shitty Sarkhan. Advertising is one hell of a drug if done right, but I think as long as WoTC is tied up with their daddy/mommy hasbro, the game is never going to transcend into anything more than it is.

          • Jason Alt on April 28, 2015 at 6:13 pm
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          “most of the Magic community is a bunch of over conservative white people who basically sell a bunch of christian values nonsense.”

          What? That’s insane! You just made that up!

    • abc on April 28, 2015 at 2:33 pm
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    Disclaimer- I’m gonna talk in generalities here; I know there are always exceptions, gray areas, ranges, etc. And for the record I’d love to see more women in Magic and gaming overall.

    I’ve been discussing the issue of women in other subcultures with a colleague lately, and I think part of that conversation applies to the discussion of women in MtG. I think some people just assume that it’s only misogynists, perverts, and brain-dead morons who disparage women in MtG, and while some of those do exist I think the reluctance of many to accept women into MtG is more complicated than that.

    MtG is largely populated by young men who do not fit into mainstream culture very well. They’re too nerdy, too smart, too slovenly, too skinny, too quiet, etc. In general, such men do not interact with other people well, especially women. Whether they’re just too shy, or have been ridiculed by girls, or can’t find a date, or whatever…. in the MtG community you’re dealing with a lot of men who are just not comfortable/good at interacting with the opposite sex. So at best, they’re gonna do/say awkward things on those occasions when women enter the scene. At worst, they will actively try to drive women out of the scene because they do not want to deal with a social dynamic that they aren’t good at- it kinda steals your thunder if the rest of your playgroup sees the local master of the Sligh deck turn bright red when a woman walks into the LGS.

    People can write articles, send tweets, and what not, but don’t expect a quick fix or an easy solution, especially by using tactics such as calling out guys’ hygiene (Gaby’s article) and policing card art (the Triumph of Ferocity debate). Those are the kinds of complaints that many guys want to use Magic to escape from, not be confronted with at the draft table. Not only do such complaints generate highly visible backlash from the true Neanderthals, but they can also sour the outlook of some of those who are neutral on the topic. For every person who re-examines ToF and thinks, “I guess it does kinda look like sexual violence”, there are two others who will role their eyes and think, “it’s a fight between planeswalkers, not a statement passively condoning rape culture- get a grip”. You’ll get some folks to come around, but you’ll drive away others. I’m not saying that the topic should not be pursued- by all means go for it- but it’s not something that can be fixed by telling a bunch of socially awkward guys to stop being socially awkward. Wish I knew the answer.

    Note that I’ll not be checking back in on this comments list; I just thought I’d throw in my two cents.

    • William Armstrong on April 30, 2015 at 2:26 am
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    Why would we want more women in Magic, though?

    • Mike Y on April 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm
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    Great article. Glad that there’s some positive response to the article, with the exception of some MTG players who clearly haven’t developed a critical analysis around sexism and misogyny. It’s not as surprising that the MTG community’s “leadership” (e.g. WoTC staff/developers, high profile players) is ahead of its general player base (you had provided some good examples – I have been pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a trans woman and agendered character, in particular) – this is usually the case when it comes to social movements, for example.

    The general perception of MTG’s player base, like other similar hobbies, is that it is to a larger degree comprised of non-mainstream / nerdy / outcast / introverted / etc. types of people. One optimistic view of this reality is that this community would be able to better identify with progressive values related to oppression, non-conformity, etc. However, I would suggest that this an idealistic perspective. The MTG community reflects the broader American (in this case) society – one that is systemically sexist, transphobic, racist, colonial, xenophobic, classist, ableist, etc.

    I’m glad that you’ve injected this broader dialogue into this small forum, relating it to a specific context that is MTG. Hope to read future articles :)

    • t on May 1, 2015 at 10:33 am
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    “I’m not a feminist, I’m a Humanist.” -Madonna

    I used to like this site, now it looks like it is turning into the Feminist’s MTG outpost. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a misogynist, but I don’t understand how women choosing not to play magic is somehow my fault. There are about 6 women at my LGS, one is a judge, one is the shop owner, one is my wife. They seem to all have had vastly different experiences than what I seem to be reading about here. Actually, of all the many women I knew who played magic, only 1 quit because some creepy dude was being creepy. MOST of the women I know who tried magic, just never got into the game. I don’t think you can blame us awkward types tor that. Why don’t more men go to get pedicures? Is it because of all the misandrists who don’t provide a warm, inviting atmosphere?

    And don’t get me started on the pseudo-intellectuals who pretend that discussing (what appears to me and many others) fake misogyny is going to make a real difference in the world. ”
    “You know people’s children are being killed with bombs and guns?”
    “Aww thats a shame. But did you hear that a woman played MTG at the LGS and was complimented by some awkward
    nerd there? Totally ruined any opportunity she might have had to play in the big leagues.”

    As a woman, is there ANY place you can go, with more than 1 male present, where you won’t be hit on, talked to, leered at, complimented or any number of such things? Do you know what I would do for that kind of attention from the opposite sex?

    1. If the experiences of the women you know in the MTG community have been positive, that’s great! However, for many women this hasn’t been the case.

      One person quitting the game because someone else was acting creepy is too many. I don’t know how many magic playing women you know, but “only one” seems like a very odd choice of words.

      The fact that there is such a low percentage of women in the game isn’t “just variance”. It’s not because “women aren’t interested in games”. I go to a lot of conventions where I teach people Magic, and the ratio of male to female people who try the game out and enjoy it is a lot more even than at your avarage LGS.

      I don’t think misandry is the reason more men don’t go get pedicures. With Magic however, I believe what I’ve seen, and I’ve seen problematic attitudes affect the community. I take it you have too, as with your friend who went so far as to quit Magic after having been mistreated.

      If you’d rather focus your energy and attention on helping children in poor countries, that’s great! But I don’t think that dismissing an issue because “others hav it worse” makes for a productive mindset.

      As for your last point, I see where you’re coming from. The problem however isn’t merely women receiving compliments. Women are often made to feel excluded as it is made clear that they aren’t part of the norm. It’s probably better if a woman elaborates on this issue, sharing her experiences, rather than having me retell the stories and try to explain it.

      Hopefully I’ve managed to get my points across. P.S, just wanted to share these comics:
      http://cardboard-crack.com/post/80131321528/sexism
      http://cardboard-crack.com/post/116006262746/just-wanna-play

    • Malber on May 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm
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    It’s interesting that you bring up the comments of Magic commentators, but you fail to point out that they are all male. Magic needs more female voices on the scene and these are two things that both WOTC and Star City Games could quickly rectify. When ESPN a brought in more female presenters on their programs, all major sports saw an uptick in female participation and fan following. Having more female voices in the Magic community content would have the same effect in helping it make women feel more a part of the community.

    Another thing that could help female participation is if every female player would teach a girlfriend how to play and get her interested in competitive play. After all, this is how the bros got into playing!

    • ILL-iterate on May 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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    This article is hand-wringing pure and simple. It poses women in Magic as a problem kind of like how it’s a “problem” that fewer than 50% of computer programmers and woodcutters are women and fewer than 50% of kindergarten teachers and nurses are men. (And why stop there right – fewer than 50% of death row inmates are women, someone should do something about that…)

    Here’s the reality: men and women are different, and they enjoy different things. Magic is like engineering – most of the world has no interest in doing it, but of the few people who do, the vast majority of them are men. There will be some women try Magic and find they enjoy it, at some level be it casual or competitive… which is great. More dollars for wizards of the coast right? The fact that they become upset at how they are treated is a problem for another article, I’m sure, but the simple answer is that the blame is twofold. Many men who play Magic are more socially awkward and immature than average, while many women tend to have thin skin and complain more often than anyone cares to listen.

    But the over-arching point here is that people need to stop denying reality. Magic is a:

    1) fantasy-themed
    2) highly competitive
    3) game
    4) with rules (lots of rules)
    5) populated by a disproportionate amount of unattractive men

    … where you don’t play once taught; first, you have to do your homework and peruse thousands of cards to build a deck. Are we really gonna sit here and scratch our heads pondering why there aren’t more women voluntarily choosing to play? Yeah, it’s the artwork on Triumph of Ferocity – that’s been the problem all along…

    I can sympathize with the author’s point-of-view. I’m sure any woman who enjoys Magic enough to stifle the gag-reflex of interacting with the community wishes there were more other women who did the same. And it’s easier to blame imaginary sexism than admit reality. Nature goes on whether you acknowledge it or not.

    http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222193

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