Women in LARP Q&A – do women get a rough deal?

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Do women get a rough deal at LRP? Or is it champagne, sword fights and roses all the way?

Carrie: Even at the most balanced games only 30 to 40% of the players are female. A lot of the facilities are the same (toilets, showers, etc) for the Out of Character things and most of the time you are “just one of the group”, when setting up tents, for example. But In Character things can be different. There are certain stereotypes about female roleplayers, a major one being the healer-girlfriend – one who is there with their boyfriend and plays his healer. Another is group-cook – a woman who cooks for the group and ends up spending most of the game-time cooking meals over a campfire.

Bridie: It’s getting better. Possibly because the emphasis is shifting towards role-playing with politics and social interaction rather than just skirmishing and battles.

Lilian: It depends what you mean by a rough deal. In the system I run, the women are on a par with the men in terms of game respect and status.

Emii: I’ve never been dealt the rough deal in the time I’ve been LARPing. I also don’t reckon the men idolise us or anything, as people seem to assume as they think there aren’t many girlies in LARP – I’ve always been treated as an equal.

Rhona – I wouldn’t say women get a rough deal but I’m only young so I don’t really know. But getting your hair ripped off by a vicious tree is painful… but that can apply to men…

Clare: OK, there’s times when you’ll be flirted with and stuff because, well, lots of single guys! But I wouldn’t take people’s in-character personalities as their out of character ones. If you’re playing a stereotype (warrior princess, anyone?) then you need to make it unique and stand out so you become more than that stereotype – but it’s the same for guys too! Most of the time you’re treated as an equal (yes, including listening to lads’ idea of campfire songs!) and I can beat my fiance in a sword fight due to my distinct lack of fighting style! OK, so showers & toilets can suck at fest events, but it’s just one weekend and everyone’s in the same boat, or campsite, so it’s not a hardship. Babywipes and stuff are perfectly packable! I think the community and the sense that everyone’s working together to play means that usually it’s more a case of species-ism than gender prejudice! And most guys – and the organisers – would stamp on anything unsuitable quickly.

Lol – We too have our vulnerable bits to our bodies(chest) and most clubs will point this out. If you get hurt they will attend to you (usually before anyone else). I won’t lie, you can get hurt if you decide to fight, but nothing too bad. Usually my bruises have come from me throwing myself into walls and stuff in the heat of battle, though I took a blow to my back once that put me out of the game for a while – but it’s all worth it in the end. As for getting teased and such most guys are so shocked to see a FEMALE they kind of go all chivalryish. But don’t expect it from all the lads; most will test you to see if you’re a worthy opponent.

Heather: I will admit to having a few run-ins with the egotistical male, but LRP does give you the confidence to be able to deal with it, voice your own opinion, speak your own mind and if worse comes to the worse you can always beat them with a rubber sword.(On the subject of swords, I’ve been role playing for over 18 years and actually used a sword twice. It’s not always about the fighting. There is so much more to it than that.)

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