|Claudette Colbert, "Cleopatra", 1934|
There's going to be a short pause, for a reflective moment, and then we'll get back to my series of posts on game styles.
I had done some one-sheet flyers for my upcoming open-table game in June, and I used this image from one of my favorite movies as an illustration. I was handing out some of the flyers at a friend's house, when one of the other guests informed me that this image was exploiting women, typically demeaning of them, and typical of my gaming interests and styles. I got my ass chewed, not to put too fine a point on it.
I tried to engage the person who was telling me this, asking for specifics, as I am genuinely concerned and curious as to why this particular image was offensive to her. That effort went nowhere, as I was told that as a man I would not be able to understand the issues involved.
I found it all quite odd, and startling. I had run the image past The Missus, as I always do, and she had no issues with it; I had also handed out the flyers to the members of a womens' game group that meets at my usual FLGS, and they had no issues with it - they thought it was funny and fun, from what they said to me.
The incident yesterday was, for me, a curious echo of the chewing out that I had gotten a few months ago for my Ancient Egyptian figures; I had been discussing the utility of the 'palace people' miniatures that I've been able to (finally!) get for games in both Tekumel and Ancient Egypt, when a person I'd known back in Ye Olden Days told me that if I used these figures - which are, when you get down to it, quite historically accurate - at a game at the FLGS he'd "have me run out of the store!" as he thought that they were obscene.
I did talk to the owner after this particular conversation; I've known him for over forty years, and I like both him and his store. He also likes the figures, but asked me as a personal favor not to bring them in for games unless the games are run after the place closes and he can control who sees them. His concern, which I appreciate and understand, is that as a retailer he can't afford to have people complaining about his inventory or events. I've also talked to some of the convention and event organizers I know, and gotten the same reaction and advice.
So, the net result? No miniatures games set in Barsoom, Ancient Egypt, or Tekumel at the FLGS or at conventions for me using these figures. As I've said before, Option Three seems to be the best course for The Missus and I in our gaming. The world, as The Missus remarked, is a very different place from the one we used to know.