Gen Con: Step Aside, Boys 

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Gaming is often thought of the exclusive territory of guys, but more and more women are taking their place at the table.

In the seven years Jondi Soper has attended Gen Con, she’s seen a marked increase in the number of women attending.

“Before, it was guys dragging their girlfriends around the convention,” she said. “Now you see a lot of women dragging their boyfriends around.”

Jen Corbett said her Dungeons and Dragons-playing father got her gaming nearly 20 years ago. It’s a family affair — her brothers, sisters and several cousins also play.

“If you don’t dress like your typical gamer geek, like in jeans and a T-shirt with your hair pulled back in a ponytail, some guys (who don’t know you) might think, 'Oh crap, we’re going to have to teach her to play,’” Corbett said.

Corbett’s younger sisters are more casual gamers, and she feels they may be concerned about the potential negative, geeky stigma attached to gaming. She said that’s perhaps the largest obstacle most women need to get around. However, the emergence of role models such as The Guild star Felicia Day has made women freer to enter the male-dominated community, and that’s led to a backlash, said Soper.

“You always have to prove yourself,” Soper said. “Some guys will ask you all these specific or obscure questions, and if you can’t answer them, they won’t think you belong. Guys don’t ask other guys those same types of questions, but we have to? If you like games, you’re a gamer.

“We just want to sit at the table and play. We don’t want you to treat us differently or watch your language or anything. We’re gamers, just like everybody else.”

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