I haven’t really talked at all, here, about being a woman and playing magic or any sort of related topic. That’s partly because I feel like it’s a pointless endeavor- the people who would read it already agree- and partly because it’s not really what I’m most interested in. But after this post, I have a few things to say.
Side note: Evan Erwin and BDM pointed out that giving this post attention is counterproductive, and I agree. But once Jonathan Medina has posted it (with 1700+ followers) I think that ship has sailed.
There’s a lot obviously wrong with this contest. Women are already seen as a novelty in this community, and any attention that doesn’t dispel the notion that women are bad players and probably only want to play a vampire deck because you know, all women love Twilight is not the right kind of attention, in my opinion. The language is also pretty fucked up- “In your email include the picture, the name of the girl, and your email address that you can be contacted at.” In other words, they aren’t even assuming that “the girl” is the one sending in the photo. Just dress up your girlfriend in a Mirran shirt, fellas!
Sam posted a response later on today, adding a “Hottest Men of Magic” contest, which is really what I want to talk about. I get that Sam intended the contest to be light-hearted, but I don’t think he understands how women + appearance + the internet works.
Go to any celebrity blog, and watch AnonymousRando76 attack the appearance of obviously beautiful women like Alessandra Ambrosio and Scarlett Johansson. Do you really think that no one is going to say anything cruel about whoever enters this contest? The same isn’t true for men, at all, which is why adding a contest for men does nothing to make this symmetrical or not sexist.
I’ve felt reasonably comfortable posting a few pictures of myself here and on twitter, but there’s a big difference between that and actually asking strangers to decide how hot I am. I wouldn’t ask for that kind of attention, and I find it pretty troubling when it happens anyway.
If it was a given that the community would take women seriously, this whole thing would be on different footing. But as it is, when I go to my local store people ask my husband how he got me to come, and feel pretty comfortable congratulating him on the fact that I am an ok player right in front of me. If you want to “introduce more women into the public’s eye on Magic”, maybe find a way treat those women as people first.