If you were to go to the student center’s Game Zone, on campus here at Shepherd University – you will see a decent amount of students playing a variety of games, from League of Legends, to Hearthstone, to the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and finally, one of the most popular Trading Card Games (TCG) in the business, Magic: The Gathering. There is an abundance of students of varying backgrounds, ages and skill levels that gather in the Game Zone to play MTG matches against one another or in groups. Recently, we have been having female friends and onlookers gain interest in the activity or bring decks that they used to play, but lost interest in playing the game until coming to college and seeing how many players there are on campus.

A Casual game of Magic: The Gathering (Photo By: Joshua Kelley)

   This interest in the activity however, does have its undertakings . . . and sadly its an issue that has been in the middle of major societal and world stages: Feminism and its fight against sexism and misogyny in society. Feminism is about fighting for the equal rights for women, as well as all human beings in some echelons. This term is misunderstood, misinterpreted, and blown out of proportion so often that its goals and achievements are lost to the ignorant, misled, and those of the extremist nature of being for the issue, or against it.

   The arguments that “Feminism is only for those privileged white women” has caused divides in some groups leading to the formations of multi-cultural, as well as all encompassing groups of advocates for the cause.  The current third wave of Feminism looks to create a gender-neutral ground on which all people can relate to. Also, the feminist movement is trying to push governments around the world to pass stricter laws and penalties for crimes committed against women.

The Women Power Symbol

   To relate the issues of the feminist fight to MTG, there is the Lady Planeswalker Society. A club created by Jennifer “Tifa” Robles, a current writer for Wizards of the Coast (WOTC), as well as a feminist activist, Robles founded the group with the intention of making MTG an all inclusive game and not just something that falls by the wayside while men dominate the environment. Currently, according to WOTC, there has been a median of 38% of players at major tournaments that are women. Last year, that number was closer to 12%.

   In the Magic World Championships in 2012, one woman, Jackie Lee, made it to the Top 8 of the tournament, charging her way through the field to advance to semi-finals. Along the way however, she was bewildered, verbally attacked, and threatened on numerous occasions. This kind of behavior is never tolerated and stiff punishments have been handed out over the years by WOTC and the Judges of these major events.

  Magic: The Gathering is a game that is simple to understand, complex to master, and fun as hell to play. It connects people with a similar taste and interest and leads to other connections to be made through general chatter and conversation during play. What DOESN’T need to be said is hurtful, biased, and ignorant remarks towards your opponent, judges, spectators, etc. about who they are as a person, what gender they are, and/or their play group and their environment. It is a show of poor sportsmanship, blatant disregard for humankind, and flat out disrespect of their personal sense of worth.

TO BE CONTINUED. . .

References
Garfield, R. (1995, October). Magic: The Gathering Rules : Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Article.aspx?x=magic%2Frules
Hannam, J. (2008). Women’s history, feminist history. Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://www.history.ac.uk/makinghistory/resources/articles/womens_history.html
Martin, B. A. (2004). Using the Imagination: Consumer Evoking and Thematizing of the Fantastic Imaginary. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(1), 136-149. doi:10.1086/383430
Orsini, L. R. (2012, April 05). Female players of Magic: The Gathering face a daunting opponent-sexism. Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://www.dailydot.com/society/magic-the-gathering-sexism-misogyny-jackie-lee/
Robles, J. T. (2012, December 11). The LPS and Creating Play Groups -. Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg%2Fdaily%2Ffeature%2F225d
Robles, T. (2011). Lady Planeswalkers. Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://ladyplaneswalkers.weebly.com/

 

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