The anti-feminist backlash to #YesAllWomen is very disturbing to me. It’s clear the cultural norms of our patriarchal society are also damaging to men. A dismissive attitude towards women’s basic safety needs is depressingly pervasive.

We men need to go further than acknowledging the dangers to women in our society. We need to reexamine masculine ideals. But how? There is no progressive movement to raise awareness of male issues. Men’s Rights? Are you fucking kidding me? Where is the safe space to talk about male frustration with gender relations, while also embracing feminism and avoiding misogyny? Who can these angst-ridden men turn to for guidance? Who are our leaders? We need a new voice. The old one is dog shit and bad for all genders.

- Nathan Holt

Don’t crush the next giant of gaming

countrysidecrusherYou’ve heard it before: Don’t be a Dick! says Wil Wheaton… but you’re pretty sure that’s just exactly what Wesley Crusher WOULD say when he’s all grown up.

Besides, when you crush your opponent and tell them you just raped them you’re just enjoying yourself and having fun. There’s no reason that the one or two random girls in earshot should care. It’s not like every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the US or anything. It’s not like comments such as this could be even indirectly linked to why there are only one or two women in the shop in the first place, obv.

When someone plays yet another Dawnbreaker Charioteers it’s not it’s a problem to yell out “that’s so gay” because you’re not actually homophobic yourself, you’re JUST having fun. People should get over themselves and stop being so sensitive, right. (Or?)

When you see someone sporting butt crack, it’s fine to mock them, right. Some Magic players have a few extra pounds, this is just a fact. Those who do know it and you’re doing us all a favour by mentioning it, definitely not contributing to any body image issues they might have.

And when you see someone with a propensity for obscure hair products, it’s no problem at all to laugh that greaseball out of the store, right?

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No! No! No! Just stop!

Do you realize what you are doing with all these kinds of things!? What you defend as “funny” is actually just lazy. These things are NOT ok. The common attitude is that they are ok but that’s only because there are too many people who don’t speak up. Don’t be a sheeple. nyx

Just imagine if a young Brian Kibler had experienced one too many negative comment about his appearance that resulted in him staying away from gaming stores. With every derogatory comment defended as ok because of humorous intent, how many future stars, Pro Tour champions, and game designers do you put at risk of discontinuing their love affair with the greatest game on earth? Just stop, and when you see others doing it, just tell them to stop.

Stick with crushing your opponents IN actual games only please.

P.S. In case it wasn’t obvious, this post contains liberal amounts of sarcasm.

Peek #14: MJ Scott

Image (1)Peek is a series of brief interviews of Magic personalities who support Planeswalkers for Diversity. MJ Scott is widely regarded as a master of all things flavour including cosplay and fanfiction. A freelance editor, producer, and sometimes card alterist, MJ writes a weekly column for Gathering Magic and recently contributed flavour text and card names to Theros, Commander 2013, and the upcoming M15 core set.

p4d: First, a question we ask everyone: what is your Magic: The Gathering origin story?

MJ Scott is a Planeswalker native to–where else–Kamigawa. MJ spontaneously formed in a pot still, and was removed as an impurity by the Izzet expat distiller. Michiko Konda and the red bull from the Last Unicorn adopted her as their own child, and she was raised traditionally to be a prophet and gunslinger. Eventually she rejected the confines of her parents’ estate, stole a horse from their stables and rode off to make a name for herself, briefly training in hospitality as a bartender in Takenuma. After waking up one morning with a stubby sword clutched in her hand (not an innuendo) and a voice in her head calling for help, her spark ignited and she traveled across the aether with her companions Yellow Ranger and Zelda to battle Nicol Bolas at the Pools of Becoming and free Link from his servitude as Bolas’s cabana boy. MJ proved instrumental in the battle by making Bolas the best mojito he’d ever had, thus forcing the Elder Dragon to free Link in order to secure a steady supply of superior rum-based drinks from MJ’s deft hand. The two are now great friends and often conspire about Magic-related business. MJ currently resides on Ravnica, writing smut and flavor. She runs a side business that sells (via Dimir agents) the secret of luscious Asian hair to wealthy Ravnicans. Liliana Vess is a client.

p4d: Wow! No wonder you are a flavour writer with Wizards. How did that start?

MJ: I had a friend who did it, and inquired about how to work toward it. I basically got a referral, like any other job process that helps a lot. But it also helps if you have been writing in the MTG community or otherwise professionally/semi-professionally. It’s really rigorous and competitive, so you’ve got to have the chops already or you won’t make it. It was like an audition process after the referral, but that’s all I can divulge – we have to keep the mystery alive! (wink)

p4d: What is the most fulfilling part about writing for GatheringMagic.com?

MJ: At heart I’m an entertainer. Sharing stories with Magic players and putting smiles on the faces of my awesome readership is exactly what I love to do. My column is always going to be a safe space to explore flavor, debate ideas, laugh, and feel more connected to the greater community and all things magical in general. I am super happy to write for a site like Gathering Magic that goes out of its way to be inclusive and provide all kinds of content.

p4d: Vorthos refers to a player who loves flavour. How did you fall in with cosplay and all things Vorthos?

MJ: Well, I was dressing up long before I played Magic, but I would say my not-Magic-exclusive love of flavour and story and art came first. I mean, I had to read books and see TV and films that gave me inspiration for costumes. I would roleplay animals at an early age. I was a horse a lot, and would run around on all fours asking to be fed uncooked oatmeal in a dish on the floor. I also liked wolves and foxes, so I was “what does the fox say?”ing a lot and hiding in very small spaces–like the toilet paper storage cabinet. This cabinet was six feet off the ground, cut into the wall of the hallway, and I’d taught myself to climb up–by bracing a foot on each side of the hall–after I saw Spider-man or something. The animal “cosplay” was influenced mostly by Margeurite Henry books. I also did the Disney princesses. Apparently I could read when I was two.

Later I would sometimes be Link or Zelda, and there was a phase where I was always Tyris Flare from Golden Axe and I’d run around in an altered version of one of my mom’s old bikinis, making my family act out the entire game. My mom always had to be Death Adder. I don’t know how she coped. I mean, I have a feeling I was pretty hard to deal with–this intensely passionate, weird, creative, competitive kid and she just let me have free reign. At one point I think my wardrobe consisted mostly of leotards, swimsuits, cowboy boots and moccasins (to go with the full-size “teepee” in the backyard). I was proud of having the full Wonder Woman getup. One time I was being a cat, and actually ate some cat food out of the cat’s dish. My mom almost had a heart attack. I didn’t do that again–it tasted awful… which to this day baffles me, because cat food smells so good.

I appreciate all those memories more now that my son has reached the age where he’s into pretending. The other day we were play-fighting and he was alternately “Black” Ryu, Chandra, and Gutsman. I spent half of last month as Zero to his Megaman X. I love it. Who knew–all that weird creative passion is extremely helpful for parenting!

1528529_246394638872715_1805224962_np4d: What is it specifically about the flavour of Magic that appeals to you over other games?

MJ: It’s Magic. I’m somewhat of an elitist – I enjoy that it’s iconic, that it was the first of its kind, that it still best articulates what it would feel like to actually be a mage.

p4d: Do you have any advice for people who want to follow in your Vorthos footsteps?

MJ: The big one is do not be afraid to embarrass yourself. It’s unavoidable, anyway. Second, read fiction – it’s like a cross training workout for your brain. Third, work at it: you have to be willing to get feedback, surround yourself with people better than you (or at least, you know, as good as you or challenging to you) in whatever discipline you’re interested in, and you should always be challenging yourself to improve. It’s fine to have days where you say “this is all I’ve got, it’s OK as it is…” but most days you need to go 120%. I think a lot of people limit themselves with fear and bad habits. You can definitely overcome those maladies. I did..

p4d: Who is this Elliot person you retweet sometimes, other than an avid Pucatrader?

MJ: (laughing)–Elliot is my husband. If you want our origin story, it’s in my first ever Magic blog post: How MJ Met Magic. Elliot and I have a strange relationship. Sometimes I’m his maid, and sometimes he’s my executive assistant. I think the humans call this type of relationship “marriage.” Unfortunately, there’s a good chance I’m a Cylon and thus never satisfied. I’m always looking for ways to manipulate the relationship so it’s more like I’m a dragon and he’s a kobold, but damn his eyes, he is highly resistant to black magic and has an annoying amount of defensive artifacts.

p4d: You mentioned in an article that your parents don’t read your work because it’s fantasy, and that school didn’t support you to be a writer. What kept you going?

MJ: Reading other fantasy writers’ work. I’m the type who can’t stop reading a good book once I pick it up, and I would often think, “This kind of world is where I want to be. This is what I want to do. I

f I can give just one person the kind of experience this author has given me, I’ll be happy.”


p4d: How can players make their community a better place?

MJ: Don’t mistake this for a trite answer: people, you need to BE KIND. It’s way harder than it sounds. Funny how many folks pride themselves on being so damn smart but can’t wrap their heads around a concept like treating others with respect. Sometimes it comes down to just taking a moment or two to consider your words before you open your mouth. Our society really rewards sound bytes and shock tactics, and this value system has been deeply ingrained into us by now–moreso if you’re under thirty. Sometimes it’s just a matter of choosing to say something neutral or bland as opposed to gratifying yourself by throwing out the zinger or verbal fatality. We all want attention and accolade, and some people waste so much energy being mean to achieve this. I have a dirty sense of humour and know you need all types to make the world interesting, plus I like free speech–but abusing our liberty by being an asshole when it’s hurting people is really just a sign that you can’t adapt, have low emotional capacity and aren’t smart enough to rationally think through a real-life situation and choose the best play.

One thing I want to highlight is that players need to have zero tolerance for bullying in our community. And bullying isn’t… you know, verbal banter between two equals. It’s the purposeful victimization of someone or some group for someone else’s gain/gratification/validation. It’s a matter of having other players’ backs and elevating your role as a Magic community member over your role as socially maligned smartass or massaging your clique’s collective ego. If you see someone being bullied, it’s your responsibility to tell an authority, step in, or at least defray the situation. At the very least, never participate in this kind of behavior yourself. This applies to all communities, not just Magic. The real-world result of bullying is that little kids try to hang themselves because they like My Little Pony. Or maybe the kid goes and gets a gun before they go to school. It’s no fun to be lonely or maligned for our interests. We’ve all been there. Gamers should be ahead of the curve here, not trailing behind as the last holdouts. If we can’t find other ways than meanness to express our intelligence and angst, then I guess we’re not so smart, are we?

p4d: What would you like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity accomplish?

MJ: I WANT T-SHIRT. Seriously, I can has P4D shirt now? And socks. I want knee socks with the little symbol. I totally need branded swag on which to spend money I don’t have. I would like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity become an aggressively active voice in the community and a very visible organization at events. It’s a ton of work and this group has already made great strides, but the sky’s the limit. I think a lot of community members will continue to be happy to contribute to content and support the group, so that should be leveraged as much as possible. I would love to see something like a P4D Commander tournament series, for example. Something to gather players around a fun aspect of Magic as well as the cause.

p4d: Where can people find you online?

Fanfic and card alters: www.moxymtg.com
Articles: www.gatheringmagic.com/author/mjscott
Cosplay: www.facebook.com/moxycosplay or moxymtg.tumblr.com
Twitter: @moxymtg

Khinky’s Boots #4

Welcome to Khinky’s Boots, a weekly column where your resident know-it-all dispenses indispensable advice to everyone from Planeswalkers to Pegasi.

Our contributor is Khin Kyaw, a flavour text enthusiast, fashion nerd and inveterate science fiction fan from Johannesburg. She blogs about freedom and frugality at Osprey’s Lab and explores the South African MTG community at Manabond ZA.

The Multiverse has 99 problems… Khinky is in no way qualified to fix any of them, but it never hurts to try. In today’s column: merfish, lotuses and inventors.

kioraDear Khinky

All my life I’ve had a problem with seamen – they have a habit of suddenly exploding on the scene when I least expect it. The worst part is, I can never see it coming. Oh, and things have been heating up with Thassa lately so it would be nice to have some privacy! What can I do to keep the seamen at bay? (I’ve tried feeding them to my Kraken but she doesn’t like the taste.)

XOXO
Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Dear Kiora

The seamen situation seems to be a case of fated infatuation on their part. Unfortunately I don’t have too much experience in dealing with this kind of thing but the Sirens are world-renowned experts. Why don’t you pay them a visit?

All the best
Khinky

P.S. Send my love to Thassa (and also, I totally called it!)

ablDear K

I am so stressed out. My $ value is reaching epic heights, I never have the chance to socialise and I have not been out of a sleeve in decades. And what with the counterfeits running around, I feel like it could all come crashing down at any moment. I’m just tense and worried all the time, not sure what to do!

From
Alpha Black Lotus

Dear ABL

You have what I’d call a 1st Edition problem. Maybe you just need time to chill and enjoy life again. Why not get out of the vault, unsleeve yourself and spend an evening on the beach with a mojito? Take it easy. If you’re not careful you may end up like Blacker Lotus, who caved under the pressure and went to pieces.

Love
K

archibaldTo whom it may concern

It is with great pride that I introduce to you and your readership a momentous advancement in artificial wing design. Gone are the days of wax and feathers! My innovative manufacturing process utilises a lightweight and only slightly flammable paper-based compound, making bothersome melting a thing of the past.

You are hereby invited to witness a demonstration of this groundbreaking discovery, wherein I, Impetuous Archibald Sunchaser, shall catch the sun itself!

Dear Archie

That’s nice. What do you plan to do with the sun once you catch it?

Love
Khinky

How to Deal with Antisocial Behavior in Magic

Likely if you’ve played a lot of Magic in local game stores (LGS) then you have heard or seen some antisocial behavior.

Other than just bad toilets I have been made to feel unconformable at LGSs due to openly expressed homophobia, sexism, transphobia, bullying and sleeves depicting semi-clad prepubescent anime girls. I have seen grown men bullied and a first time female player walk out of a store before they even started playing.

When this behavior occurs it makes me incredibly sad, but what can you do?

  1. Talk to a judge: If your store is lucky enough to have a judge then you should bring incidents to their attention as they’re trained to deal with such things and are by far the best people to sort out problems. It’s their job.
  2. Talk to the store owner or the group organizer: Be polite and open, talk about how the environment makes you feel (and could make others feel) and specific incidents. Likely you’ll be upset and this can certainly be awkward. I believe the tone is key – give them the option to change and not retreat to defense by offering a solution such as “could you talk to this person?” or “could you make an announcement about being more respectful?”
  3. Start a local Planewalkers for Diversity group: P4D groups will help to encourage a more diverse group of players in your local area. More diversity at events will improve the environment as they lose their boys club feel and what is ostensibly acceptable making your store more welcoming and friendly.
  4. If none of the above are useful then speaking with Wizards of the Coast is a great course of action. You can contact them at http://wizards.custhelp.com/ with information on what occurred or what is occurring.

Speaking with Hélène Bergeot (Wizard’s Director of Global Organized Play) she informed me that the company takes this very seriously and that “every complaint is treated confidentially (when we follow up with a store, the player’s name is not mentioned). Confidentiality works also both ways, meaning that we won’t disclose the outcome of any follow up we make with a store; the same applies to any investigation we conduct.”

Whilst I play Magic to compete, it is also a social activity. I have met and kept great friends through the game and having a place where I can feel comfortable and happy to play is not only important but a right. You deserve to have it and can make it happen. If you see people making your store unwelcoming then take action for everybody.

Reposted from willbotmtg.tumblr.com