The Reality of Being a Girl Gamer
Let's discuss the elephant in the room. In my experience, unless you get lucky, odds are you will be the only female at your gaming table. If you get really lucky, half your table will be females.
I've gotten really lucky a couple of times in my life. Once because my GM actively recruited us and the other because it just worked out that couples were gaming together.
The reality is, most of my gaming friends are guys and I'm one of, if not the only, female at the table.
Why does this matter? Aren't we all equal?
Most of the time, it doesn't actually matter. We're all friends having a good time. I love my friends with all my heart, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much time with them. But there are times where I'll say something and they look at me like I grew a second head.
And those moments are really lonely.
I've run into the spectrum of reactions to having a uterus and being a gamer:
1. I'm a mythical unicorn. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Something to be in awe of. You know the type of reaction I'm talking about. The guys have a hard time wrapping their heads around a girl being in their presence. Awkwardly flirting with you.
2. I must only be there because my boyfriend/ husband is gaming. I hate this assumption. Yes, my husband is sitting at the table, but I don't have to be here if I don't want to play. I genuinely like gaming in all forms. I'm the one that introduced a bunch of our favorite board games to him.
3. The mansplainer. I obviously don't know anything about gaming because I don't have a penis so please tell me how to play my character. Or what I need to add to my die roll to find out if I succeeded. This one kind of rolls into the guy who thinks he need to tell you to get your ass in the kitchen and make him a sandwich.
4. One of the guys. Normally, I don't mind this reaction because it means I'm accepted, until being one of they guys means I have to listen to every crude woman hating comment that passes through their heads. Or deal with dick jokes all night.
Some of the comments I get at the table I can brush off because there's a reason certain stereotypes exist. Sometimes, I make the table really uncomfortable by going into detail why the guy is wrong (for real, you're older than me and don't know that periods aren't a girl peeing blood?). Most of the time, there is just that moment where you look around the table and wish for someone else to understand you.
Over the years, I've had the good fortune of finding a few groups with at least one other woman at the table, but it's still not the norm. It's getting better and I won't not play in a group because I'm the only woman.
But realize, you can make your own sandwich. If I need help learning a new system, I'll ask. And I don't have to game because my husband's there (we have a couple of groups we game with independent of each other).
My advice for new gamers is to be mentally prepared to be slightly lonely and know when to stand your ground.