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how to choose the absolutely wrong person to write about girls and D&D [Jun. 17th, 2011|01:41 am]
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As part of their inexplicable series about D&D and kids, Wizards of the Coast has posted an official tutorial about girls & gaming, which starts with a disclaimer:

I am a man.

Despite living a rich and fulfilling life, one thing I never got to be is a woman. Therefore, some readers are likely to ask, “What gives you the right, as a man, to talk about women?”

First of all, this article is not about women, but about children of the female persuasion. Children rarely write pedagogic articles (and thank goodness for that!) and so this ungrateful task falls upon my hairy adult shoulders. So while I may not be female, you, my hypothetical accuser, are not a child, hence we’re both in equal violation of authenticity.

[blah blah blah]

Lastly, and this is my main point, it’s all about fun and games. So please, for the aforementioned goodness’ sake, don’t take anything I write too seriously. My aim as I embarked on this monumental project was to help DMs avoid some of the pitfalls into which I had stumbled in the beginning of my career and to tell some amusing anecdotes while at it, not to expose all the intricacies of the human spirit.

This is the same guy who wrote the tutorial about punishing kids.

At the time of that article, Uri had a public Google buzz feed. He's taken it private now; I made a screencap at the time.

Let's take a look at the guy who Wizards of the Coast thinks is the correct person to write about girls in gaming:

Uri: Feminism 2011: we got our rights. now we want yours! Lord Havoc: painfully true. I say outlaw the bitches. Uri: I say send to Gaza for re-education.

This guy has ideas worth sharing about girls in gaming:

Uri: Feminazis look for sexual harassment like witch hunters used to look for witchcraft. Their proposed treatment is also the same...

Here's the guy who Wizards.com features in their "D&D Kids: Girls at the Table" article, talking about the causes of domestic violence:

Uri: Instead of blaming men for violence, blame the wives who leave the men with no choice but being violent.

Annnnd here's Uri's idea of the perfect RPG, presumably for adults only and not for the immature:

Uri describes a game about raping and killing women. Someone says he should write it. Uri answers, 'Write? Hell... I want to live it!'

Now, I'm not saying that Wizards of the Coast should be in the business of censuring any of their contributors for their personal views. Uri's odious views on domestic violence, on feminism, on rape shouldn't automatically disqualify him from writing for Hasbro.

But I'm just thinking that maybe, just maybe, Wizards of the Coast should have hired a female gamer to write the article -- I know plenty of them who could write well about the topic and not just regurgitate a bunch of tired gender stereotypes such as the character statistically [sic] most likely to be attractive to girls is a female eladrin ranger -- instead of an openly misogynist apologist for domestic violence.

Just sayin'.


PS: As you might expect, the article itself is shitty.

Update: This post originally contained a sentence that cast doubt on other people working at Wizards of the Coast. That was inappropriate and I apologize for writing it, and hereby retract it. The sentence was: I'm sure there are plenty of men at WotC who might agree that women who are victims of violent abuse from their spouses deserved it for forcing their husbands to physically assault them. I apologize to anyone I hurt by saying that.

Update 2: Wizards of the Coast has removed the post, and posted a statement on Twitter:

We've removed the article. The opinions of the author don't reflect the views of Wizards of the Coast.

Here is the Google cache of the post (hat tip yendi), and a very large screenshot of that cache (Google caches eventually expire).
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-06-17 12:02 pm (UTC)

Friday!

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User shadesong referenced to your post from Friday! saying: [...] like whoa. * brings us "how to choose the absolutely wrong person to write about girls and D&D" [...]
[User Picture]From: skiriki
2011-06-17 12:43 pm (UTC)

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Holy shit, WotC really was holding the idiot ball when they picked this dude for the article. What, they couldn't ask some girl in Astrid's Parlor to write one?
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-17 12:49 pm (UTC)

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Those might be adults, and remember, an adult woman doesn't know any more about being a young girl than an adult man! According to Uri at least.
[User Picture]From: skiriki
2011-06-17 12:55 pm (UTC)

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I must say that this Bizarro World Logic is confounding. This is so wrong on so many levels. Words cannot express the level of fail presented.

Wait, I do have some words, but about 99.99% of them are expletives of most creative -- and unprintable -- sort. The rest is just 8,000 times f***, Spider Jerusalem style.
[User Picture]From: sk1mble
2011-06-17 01:06 pm (UTC)

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Should've got Mighty Mur Lafferty to write on the subject! She games with the Pink Tornado, I believe.
[User Picture]From: terraleon
2011-06-17 04:40 pm (UTC)

+1

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Or hell, Shelly Mazzanoble?

Mur would have been an outstanding choice.
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2011-06-17 01:13 pm (UTC)

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Jesus fuck. Actually, I think his views should disqualify him from writing in any reputable forum.
[User Picture]From: yendi
2011-06-17 01:44 pm (UTC)

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He pretty much already is. By definition, any place that would publish someone like him (WOTC included) is disreputable.
[User Picture]From: bryant
2011-06-17 02:47 pm (UTC)

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I am pretty certain that I do not want publishers doing background checks before they buy articles. But I do think that WotC should stop paying the guy to write about how to roleplay with kids now that they're aware.
[User Picture]From: bronxelf_ag001
2011-06-17 10:31 pm (UTC)

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Im not so sure WotC should pay him to do anything, ever.

He knew there was going to be trouble before he posted it- that's why the disclaimer was there. If he had been just a guy- an ordinary guy with no reason to give anyone pause past "Gee, you could have asked a woman for this." that disclaimer, the way it was written? Wouldn't have been necessary.

He was already projecting the fight before it existed.
[User Picture]From: sisterjune
2011-06-17 03:11 pm (UTC)

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This is how I feel too. He's such a fucking creep, I'd never wanna be alone in a room with him.
[User Picture]From: bravest_unsaid
2011-06-17 05:09 pm (UTC)

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I'd never wanna be alone in a room with him.

Fixed? :)
[User Picture]From: WyattSalazar
2011-06-17 01:40 pm (UTC)

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Hey Dazed/Kynn, get ready, idiots on the internet are already proving they are more willing to believe you are a photoshop deity than that this guy could be a repugnant human being.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-17 07:05 pm (UTC)

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I guess I should be complimented at their opinion of my skills.
[User Picture]From: drwex
2011-06-17 02:05 pm (UTC)

Oh come on

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"I'm sure there are plenty of men at WotC who might agree that women who are victims of violent abuse from their spouses deserved it for forcing their husbands to physically assault them."

That's an unfair and unnecessary sentence in an otherwise brilliant and necessary post. Please consider taking it out.

Vitriol delivered at people who write odious and hateful things is one thing. Vitriol delivered at whatever imbecile(s) ever let that man near this topic is another. I'd get that. But splashing everyone at WotC - or at least all men at WotC - is unhelpful stereotyping at best.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-17 07:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh come on

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You're right. I've updated my post to apologize for that and retract the statement.
[User Picture]From: drwex
2011-06-17 07:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh come on

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et bien. Thank you for considering it. As I said, I think your post is spot-on and needs to be said. How do we get WotC to hear it?
[User Picture]From: symbioid
2011-06-17 02:24 pm (UTC)

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Jesus fuck this makes me want to cry.
[User Picture]From: cacahuate
2011-06-17 03:06 pm (UTC)

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DAMN.
[User Picture]From: prog
2011-06-17 04:20 pm (UTC)

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Love the front-loaded "LOL, it's just a game, chill out" cop-out. You just know that anything that's gonna follow that is just gonna ooze magic.
[User Picture]From: Nullzone42
2011-06-17 05:09 pm (UTC)

Sigh.

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Kynn, I support you in the fact that Uri's post is atrocious and WotC is making a bad move to keep publishing him with these horribly polarizing and sexist statements; even as a man, I'm insulted by his insinuations of what men/boys focus on when playing. And that doesn't even begin to touch on the fact that these posts serve nothing toward the idea of bringing kids into RPGs.

But putting words in someone else's mouth is not a good way to make friends and get support for your position. Your statement about WotC's staff and abuse victims was uncalled for and insults the person, not the position, of a great many people that you don't even know.

If nothing else, I'd ask that you please be mindful of these sorts of extremist comments. You have right to be angry, but take it up with the people responsible; don't put a label on an entire organization or group because of a single person's missteps like Uri is doing.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-17 07:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Sigh.

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You're right. I've updated my post to apologize for that and retract the statement.
[User Picture]From: bronxelf_ag001
2011-06-17 05:15 pm (UTC)

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Im thinking maybe WotC wants to rethink this plan before DragonCon.

Where people can find them in person.

From: thatwordgrrl
2011-06-17 07:24 pm (UTC)

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Why wait that long?

I have two words: Comic. Con.

Coming to my 'hood this July, baybee!
[User Picture]From: bronxelf_ag001
2011-06-17 09:52 pm (UTC)

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They pulled the article, but I want to know if this waste of space has a job, still.
[User Picture]From: lokilokust
2011-06-17 05:28 pm (UTC)

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what a fucking piece of shit.
[User Picture]From: skiriki
2011-06-17 07:24 pm (UTC)

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WotC has now removed the article.
[User Picture]From: colliedlight
2011-06-17 08:40 pm (UTC)

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I can't even anymore
[User Picture]From: moonlithoughts
2011-06-17 10:22 pm (UTC)

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Do you mind if I link this around?
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-17 10:28 pm (UTC)

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Go ahead! Please do note that WotC did pull the article. I don't know if they're rewriting it or what.
[User Picture]From: colliedlight
2011-06-17 10:35 pm (UTC)

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I noticed, did you get caps?
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-17 10:52 pm (UTC)

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Yep, check the update at the bottom of my article. I got link to the google archive and I took a screencap too.
[User Picture]From: archmage45
2011-06-17 11:16 pm (UTC)

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Shared on my gaming blog http://towerofthearchmage.blogspot.com/2011/06/wotc-fail-girls-d.html and my facebook...

Thank you for collecting this in one place.
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-06-18 12:54 am (UTC)

Because the best person Wizards of the Coast could come up with

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User thatwordgrrl referenced to your post from Because the best person Wizards of the Coast could come up with saying: [...] to talk about young girls and D&D was the guy described here. [...]
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-06-18 03:29 am (UTC)

Linketies and Life

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User moominmuppet referenced to your post from Linketies and Life saying: [...] how to choose the absolutely wrong person to write about girls and D&D [...]
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-06-18 04:24 am (UTC)

Gaming links.

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User sosecsi referenced to your post from Gaming links. saying: [...] I have some gaming links. :) How to choose the absolutely wrong person to write about girls and D&D [...]
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-06-18 11:01 am (UTC)

Interesting Links for 18-6-2011

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User andrewducker referenced to your post from Interesting Links for 18-6-2011 saying: [...] How to choose the absolutely wrong person to write about girls and D&D [...]
[User Picture]From: brynndragon
2011-06-18 02:56 pm (UTC)

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Yea, that disclaimer screams "I am internet troll, hear me roar!". It's not expecting a fight, it's picking a fight. I'm shocked his editor let it get published in the first place.
[User Picture]From: mindstalk
2011-06-19 06:10 am (UTC)

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Y'know, the article itself doesn't seem that bad. Full of generalization but is he that wrong about the statistical modes? Interesting about his girls picking short characters; I wonder if that's an Israeli vs. US thing. Boys seem to get the most condescension. The Facebook shots are appalling but I wouldn't have guessed the article author would have produced them.
[User Picture]From: kensan_oni
2011-06-20 02:46 am (UTC)

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The article itself is horrible. It completely ignores Child Psychology and Gender Studies of the last 30 years, not to mention seems to lack a large enough sample of children to realize that a lot of inclinations are unfairly attributed.

For example, let's take the characteristic that he assigns to Women, the "Attack at Range" issue. That's not actually a female attribute at all. There is a age range in the game where children, boys and girls, tend to avoid physical confrontation when faced with large adversaries. They will find ways of tricking the monster, they will attack at range, they will run away. It's not really an issue of gender, but of being of an age where being small actually *means* something different than it does to an adult.

I can keep picking apart his post, even. his opening statements on girls. "Girls mostly play to express themselves in artistic ways and to see others doing it." is laughable. This has nothing to do with gender tendencies, and deals with intelligence types, and such a stereotype is hardly fair to anyone.

The article is crap, and was posted and accepted as filler due to lack of proper freelancers offering better content.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2011-06-20 04:26 am (UTC)

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The root of the problem seems to be that WotC decided to rely on a guy with no particular training in education or child development to write the "D&D Kids" series -- his only qualification seems to be a year of leading kids in an afterschool program. This is probably why anyone with actual knowledge of child psychology looked at the previous article on punishment and shook their heads sadly, too.
From: schroe
2011-06-25 12:36 pm (UTC)

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I haven't used my livejournal account in years, and I am posting here to say I agree with this post. The article was terribly written in the first place, outside of the drama of his buzz feed. I'd rather read an article that was full of real data on gaming kids (girls or boys) than opinion articles based on information haphazardly collected from friends and put together by someone who admits to not having much experience with it. Or I'd rather have an article that is the retelling (embellished or not) of a situation in which he was the DM for little girls.
I'm just not a fan of opinion blogs becoming "news articles".