Batten down the hatches! Get ready to repel boarders!
Back in April 2017, they reached the 500th episode of their podcast and in celebration, changes were made.
At first, Tom Vasel and Eric Summerer alternated between having a longer show with a “3rd chair” guest on it and then a shorter show where they talked about some games played and some gaming topic.
That change didn’t go over well.
Fairly shortly after that, the BIG CHANGE was implemented, with Tom & Eric doing the episode one week and then Suzanne Sheldon & Mandi Hutchinson doing the next week (with Tom & Eric doing a Google Hangout video show that week).
The reaction to that was…mixed may be an understatement.
There were a bunch of reactions on the Dice Tower BoardgameGeek guild, with a lot of
whining and moaning strong criticism of the move. People complaining that it’s taking away from Tom and Eric, that they should just get their own feed and have their own podcast.
And, yes, there were a bunch of “ewwwww! There are girls in my Dice Tower podcast!!!” reactions.
Now, to be fair, some of the criticism of the move is valid even if I don’t agree with it. I do think that some of Suzanne and Mandi’s defenders on the guild see misogyny in every criticism of the two, even when it has nothing to do with them being women. Sometimes a host just isn’t to your taste, and that’s ok. Feel free to move on.
Jumping on every criticism and shouting “SEXIST!!!!” is not helping the matter die down.
But a fairly sizable portion of the criticism was only because they are women. There seems to be this prejudice against women in boardgames, both playing and in content creation, that I just don’t understand.
Some of my favourite content creators are women. Some of my favourite game opponents are women.
If I see a woman talking about playing a wargame, my expression of surprise is because it’s so rare, not because I don’t think she can understand them. And I love that this is becoming less and less rare as time goes by (Katie at Katie’s Game Corner is doing a wonderful job of dispelling this myth, along with many other female boardgamers on Twitter and elsewhere).
I hear stories from women gamers on Twitter about how male gamers talk down to them when playing a game, trying to “dumb down” the concepts of the game or just assuming that she won’t be very good at whatever they’re playing.
Or a group of guys at a game night at a local store give off the “you’re not welcome here” vibe to any women who might come in, making them feel intimidated and extremely nervous.
I just don’t understand it.
I’ve been lucky that in my game group, none of this is there (or if it is, it’s not obvious when I’m playing). The few random game nights among strangers, or at various conventions, I haven’t seen it at the tables where I’m at.
But I’m sure it exists. And I don’t get why.
I believe men and women are different, of course. But I believe those differences should be cherished and that none of them make either one inferior. I’ve had my ass handed to me in a game by a woman many times, so I know they are quite capable.
This has digressed a little bit away from Suzanne and Mandi on the Dice Tower, but it all comes from the same source.
One of the criticisms of the Suzanne/Mandi podcast that I saw on the guild recently was that their voices made it impossible to listen to them.
While that is not an inherently sexist statement (I can’t stand Gilbert Gottfried’s voice, for example), it is pretty rude to say it publicly. People can’t help their voices (unless it’s a performance voice, playing a character).
There is a podcast (I won’t say if it’s even a boardgaming podcast) that I started listening to but had to stop because two of the contributors’ voice mannerisms drove me insane (one female and one male, in case you were going to call me a sexist).
But I would never tell them that. I just stopped listening.
Telling them that wouldn’t be constructive criticism at all. It would just be hurtful to those two contributors who can’t help how they sound.
So to publicly post that Mandi and/or Suzanne’s voice drove you away from the Dice Tower podcast is just uncalled for.
Why am I posting this now, when the change happened months ago?
Because this subject continues to come up in the guild every couple of weeks, and it’s getting irritating. Responding to the individual posts is getting annoying, so I thought I would just post something here.
Mandi, Suzanne, keep up the wonderful work you’re doing on the Dice Tower. You’ve more than earned the kudos you get.