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Yet Another Example of Inculcated Stigma Regarding Role-Playing Gamers

by admin published Jun 13, 2015 03:20 AM, last modified Sep 29, 2016 09:48 AM
Yet another anecdotal example of RPG related stigma: I was getting a haircut yesterday at a chain in Spokane, Washington. The female stylist was about to speak, paused and then looked over at her co-worker, saying hesitantly "I love playing role-playing games like D&D"...
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Originally posted June 20, 2015 (updated September 29th, 2016). Yet another anecdotal example, remember this is just an informal blog entry, not a research report:

I was getting a haircut yesterday (June 19th, 2016) in Spokane, Washington, at a salon chain. During the usual conversation, the topic turned to my research efforts with role-playing games. The female stylist seemed quite happy to hear that, was about to speak, paused and then looked over at her co-worker, saying hesitantly...

She said, "Okay, what I'm about to say, you don't tell the others here at work" to which the other stylist stared blankly at her waiting, "love playing role-playing games like D&D," the other stylist snickered, "see, that's why I don't want you to tell anyone. Also, we like to LARP"  the other stylist snorted more loudly, and the one speaking looking uncomfortable, but was still excited enough to still speak with me about it.

We continued to talk at length about tabletop and live-action role-playing gaming. She and her friends had made their own weapons and would, after a tabletop game, just go out and "beat on each other" with the padded weapons, "I know others think it's dorky, but we have a lot of fun!" I then explained to her there was a "boffer" (she didn't know the term, so explained it) group in town on the South Hill called Amtgard and that they met weekly to do what she and her friends had come up with on their own (though she later elaborated they used their dice during LARPing too). She was glad to hear about the Amtgard group, but also still kept giving furtive uncomfortable looks at her co-worker who left with a smirk to go outside and smoke.

I gave the stylist I was speaking to some copies of my RPG Research brochures and cards to share with her friends. I let her know about other resources to find hundreds of other role-playing gamers in the area, and she was very excited to find out there were others in town, and less reserved once her co-worker was outside.

So still the negative inculcation against gamers remains strongly entrenched, both in those that enjoy the activity but are afraid to admit to it in public, and those that deride anyone publicly admitting to enjoying such recreational activities. :-(

At least this time she spoke up rather than remaining silent. I will be very glad if there is ever a day when someone's enjoyment of something as rich and rewarding as RPG is no longer stigmatized.

I have written a fair amount on this topic over the years. Yes much of it is anecdotal, but a number of the references in my essays list those studies that show this is a common experience for many, if not most, role-playing gamers in the United States and some other countries. This is now mostly related to tabletop RPG and LARP now that computer-based gaming is now considered more mainstream.

Here are my previous writings and videos on the same topic:

 

 

About Hawke Robinson: W. A. Hawkes-Robinson

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