A new newsletter: More Seats At the Table

Hey all, there's an exciting project I really want to share here:

More Seats at the Table is an email newsletter designed to highlight games made by designers and creators who don't fit neatly into the gender binary, femmes, and women. This newsletter was the brainchild of Kira Magrann and Anna Kreider, who then enlisted Misha Bushyager and Kimberley Lam to help with planning and execution.

It's a biweekly email featuring a roundup of games and game designers by marginalized designers to boost awareness and help them reach new audiences.

If you'd like to sign up, click here: https://patreon.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=c71a6dc90e8b0c6728a9e2dcb&id=6eadbc8c82

If you'd like to support this effort, help them at their patreon: http://patreon.com/moreseatsrpg

And if there's a project you want to see boosted, submit here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-M9x-5NL5uCm2CRgcjaEe486stxI14UozcFFK3YxpSA/edit

Personally, I think discoverability and accessibility is really important, and really underserved in our community. It's why I ran the Story Games Newsletter for two years, and it's why I'm excited about this. Taking the loving attention we lavish on the most popular designers and spreading it around can really make a big difference: I have loved so many first games from new designers, and I know that just having some people give feedback or praise or even just their time can often mean the world to a person just starting out.

These are good people, and I can't wait to see their curated picks.

Comments

  • So this is a super cool thing, but the separation of femmes from women as a category is really icky, especially since it's redefined in that type of wording into "feminine non-women". Because like... femme is a lesbian-specific identity. So like, they're redefining what's a lesbian-exclusive identity into a way that it includes men. Which is really really shitty and awful.

    This project is cool, and I want to support it in theory, but like... as a lesbian, that language is very very much a hard "no".
  • That's how it goes - you define a nice theory term, and once it's released to the wilds, people are going to redefine it to exhaustion [grin].
  • Yeah, that's very much true.
  • @EmmatheExcrucian I suspect the people behind this would be receptive to your comments on language if you brought that up with them!

    For what it's worth, I've started seeing the word "femme" pop up in purely visual descriptions - such as illustration captions - a "femme person" broadly meaning a character in a dress, long hair, and/or other obvious traditional displays of femininity. I interpreted that as a way of attempting not to conflate gender presentation with gender identity - thus avoiding words such as "woman" which might be assuming more than meets the eye - which seemed thoughtful to me.
    It didn't occur me this was a redefining of the word "femme" as much broader than its original meaning in lesbian communities, and as such it might hurt people who identify as femme. Now that you point it out, that's obvious!
  • Ye!
    I probably should contact them about it, because you're right that they'd probably be receptive to it.
    I've seen it a lot in visual descriptions too, which is frustrating. Especially since there are already terms like the gender-neutral "fem" and just generally the word "feminine", which aren't gender-specific or sexuality-specific, but then instead a lot of people decide to use "femme" for whatever reason.
    I've also seen the same thing happen a bit with butch (which is also a lesbian-exclusive term), but not nearly as often as I see it with femme.
  • edited April 2018
    Is this the aggravating bit of text?
    designers and creators who don't fit neatly into the gender binary, femmes, and women
    I instinctively read that as three potentially overlapping, non-exclusive categories - that's the most "charitable" reading (which itself sounds like a terrible word here: who needs my charity?).
    So like, they're redefining what's a lesbian-exclusive identity into a way that it includes men.
    I'm pretty much sure the idea was to include anyone but men (to the point that the Patreon page has an explanation of why excluding men is necessary).

    Edited to note: this comment of mine was crossposted with Emma's one immediately above it.
  • Yeah, that's definitely the intention with it, but it just has a lot of unintended baggage.
    It's very very much a case of someone involved not knowing about the history and stuff related to those terms, and I'm not like, trying to say that the people involved in the newsletter are malicious and intentionally shitty.
    I'd be willing to bet that it's just a mistake due to not being aware of the issue.
  • I'm not like, trying to say that the people involved in the newsletter are malicious
    And I didn't mean to say you were saying that! Sorry.
  • Especially since there are already terms like the gender-neutral "fem" and just generally the word "feminine", which aren't gender-specific or sexuality-specific, but then instead a lot of people decide to use "femme" for whatever reason.
    Also, thank you for this! I didn't know about "fem" as a word. I'm gonna use it, starting now.

    (I guess "fem" and "femme" are pronounced the same in English, aren't they? This may be part of the problem...)
    I've also seen the same thing happen a bit with butch (which is also a lesbian-exclusive term), but not nearly as often as I see it with femme.
    As a digression, I've always found the term "butch" intriguing as a word, but I've just recently found out its usage in the modern, lesbian-exclusive sense comes from polari (something which, as a non-native speaker of English, I wasn't even aware existed until last month or so).
    Uhm... So what, Rafu? Well, just a digression, as I said. Perhaps I feel like sharing tidbits of arcane English-language lore with other people like me who only use this as the bizarre lingua franca or storygaming?
  • Thank you for the Polari link. @Hopeless_Wanderer may know about this.
    @Rafu Instead of "charitable" try "efficient". I believe that's the way it works for interpretation.
  • Hi, friends. This is Anna, one of the creators of More Seats. I'd like to kindly request that we not invest more energy in this line of conversation, as: 1) it distracts from the conversation we are trying to promote - which is how to promote the works of marginalized designers and 2) the insistence that "femme" is a term that only applies to cis lesbians is a staple of TERF rhetoric.

    It's true that femme was a word created by lesbians to describe the butch/femme dynamic. But language grows and changes! And femme is a VERY useful word to describe trans and non-binary experiences! ESPECIALLY when discussing non-binary trans people who are femme but not women. However, it's also a very useful shorthand when used as "women and femmes" to signify that a space is welcoming to NOT JUST cisgender women - but also trans women and non-binary people, etc, etc. The use of "femme" as a word that describes a wide variety of experience is a staple of inclusive non-binary and trans-inclusive language.

    Insisting that "femme" is a term that only can be claimed by AFAB cisgender people is binary-centric and transphobic and is very much against the spirit of what Misha, Kim, Kira, and I are trying to achieve with More Seats. This is especially close to home for myself as a genderqueer non-binary person - I am very invested in language that reflects me and my experience.

    If you would like more information on the evolution of "femme" as it pertains to gender conversations, there is a great piece on Autostraddle here. But I'll ask that people kindly stop distracting from the purpose of our project to boost inclusion by asking for more exclusionary language.
  • edited April 2018
    I didn't say femme only applies to cis lesbians. I said it only applies to lesbians.
    A nonbinary person can't be femme because a nonbinary person can't be a lesbian because to be a lesbian you have to be a woman.
    I'm by no means saying you need to be an cis woman to be femme. I'm saying you need to be a woman, and you need to be a lesbian.
    Also, I'm a trans woman, so the implication that I'm a terf is extremely unwelcome.
    But that happens when you come in guns blazing reactionary.
    The way that you read into things thinking that I meant cis women only tbh has me a bit questioning whether you view trans women as women, because the way you're putting it there, it feels like you're saying trans women don't belong in the woman category.
  • Thank you for clarifying the stakes in the use of those words. I have more than enough to make an opinion by myself at that point.
  • Hey there, I think @Emma and @wundergeek, if you want to continue this discussion, it's probably best done in private?

    I'm going to close this thread, but feel free to PM me if you think I should be keeping it open and I'll consider it.
This discussion has been closed.