Back from five days on the road. And working my ninth or tenth day in a row today. Not as bad as it seems since I only work part time, but I’m tired. I’d hoped my brain would be refreshed enough to do some quality writing today, but I fear that’s not going to happen. Just a blog post today, nothing thought out. You can tune out if you want. I won’t mind.
I keep running into things that should be dead. Stupid ideas are the real zombie plague. A braying jackass can spout crap and five years later it’s common wisdom. Oh Internet, you were the chosen one. You were supposed to destroy ignorance, not spread it. We thought you would kill the old-wife-tale syndrome with the speed of rapid communication, shining a new light. Instead you just showed us that the darkness can outrun the light.
The world of swordplay, as I’ve said before, is essentially geeky. Like it or not, we share some of the bad sides of geek culture. We immediately devalue the attractive. “Pretty” is an insult. The outcast mentality stunts our ability to appreciate things. We come from a bitter soil, and we think it normal.
I was at a boardgame convention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me less than two percent of the attendees were women. I’m sure it was quite higher than that, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear otherwise. Think of yourself as a man in that community. You are surrounded by friends. You all enjoy the same things. You are all nice, open minded guys. You aren’t sexist or racist or age-ist at all. You just all happen to be middle-age white guys. Not your fault. It wasn’t planned this way, and you would honestly love to have more women or people with different social backgrounds as part of your group. They just don’t seem interested, and you can’t figure out why, so you don’t worry about it.
No harm, no foul. Right?
Think of yourself as the young teenage male you , if you are a middle age man currently. You like boardgaming. You wander by a convention and look in the window. The entire building is full of middle-aged women. Not a man to be seen. It feels…weird. You have a very slight preference to not enter the room. It takes an effort, but you step in anyway. It’s not bad once you are inside. Everyone is friendly. A couple of people make cracks about you being not a real gamer because you are a cute young boy, but it’s just humour and you laugh along. There is only a minor twinge inside.
The minor preference to not attend another event stays minor, but presented with other options, statistically…the gaming world will always be middle-aged white women. Not from any intention on anyone’s part, not from actions that drive anyone away, but only from slight preference for people to be somewhere else. Most people have a slight preference for not being the outlier in a group.
But hey, if you announce a women’s only swordfighting class, that’s sexist, right? Giving special treatment or recognition is against equality! It makes things worse, you idiot! Equality is the goal, and we need to act as if that is the standard to make it happen. No special treatment!
Equality is a lie.
Preference has a momentum.
I suppose I should say equality is not a behaviour, it’s a result. Preference is one of the behaviors that skews against the result of equality. Effort needs to be made to overcome the momentum of preference, or the result will be inequality.
This isn’t psychology or political correctness or any other thing you might be tempted to call bullshit, but good hard physics. Math. If you want equality in your organization, you must put energy into making it happen.
So, ranting aside?
If you are a different gender than me, you are welcome at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly. Doubly so if you think your gender isn’t fixed.
You are welcome if you are a different sexual orientation than me.
You are welcome if you are a different skin colour than me, or even if you spell it color.
You are welcome if you are from a different culture or country.
You are very welcome if your body doesn’t work the same way as others, and you want to fence because of the extra challenge.
I will put effort into advertising and attracting you to our school, as soon as I can figure out a way to do that is clear and attractive. I would love help.