A Woman’s Guide to Supporting Other Women in Magic

I am still trying to figure out woman/woman relationships, because they are complex. If by the end of reading you feel like you have constructive feedback, I would love to hear it. This is a bit of my journey from how I went “I’m not like other girls” to joining a podcast centered around promoting non-male grinders in Magic, AND THEN changing my attitude to supporting my fellow grindettes.

The first step: changing the mindset of women as competition to allies. When you feel like you’re not like other girls, you feel like you have to do something to stand out amongst the crowd, to distance yourself, to be better than the others. We’re all competitive–that’s a huge part of why we play magic. I understand that drive, but it’s toxic to see your fellow women as competition. I read a post after a woman qualified for the PT that was along the lines of “I was expecting [criticism] from men, but what really hurt was that it came from women”. That deep-seeded jealousy is driven from this way we only see other women as our competition. It prevents you from truly celebrating fellow women’s accomplishments. It turns you bitter. The other fault in this mindset is you devalue women and can even make you misogynistic. You want to put them down to raise yourself up. I had an ex-friend of mine who never truly respected or valued me. She told me I was flat-out not good enough to play a GDS for example. She didn’t trust my opinion on drug choice after explaining drug mechanisms which given that I am a pharmacist was a bit insulting. Her lack of respect for me and my intelligence was one of the driving forces for me ending the friendship, but I feel like this is a common trap woman/woman relationships surrender to. You have to value your fellow women as allies who can help you, instead of worrying that they will steal your spotlight or one-up you if they show their intelligence or skill. Not everything has to be a competition. At GP Richmond this past weekend, my friend Tania who was also battling in day 2 blurted out how she was convinced I was a better player than her. I told her to stop. We don’t need to compare ourselves to one another. I don’t want to be a better player than her. I don’t want us to be in competition. (AND side note she placed higher than me in the GP!) I wanted her to be there supporting me on day 2, and I’m sure as hell thankful I get to support her too after the rounds. It feels great to complain or rejoice depending how the round went to someone who just gets it. She gets every part of it–the fire to qualify, the setbacks, and the sometimes rampant misogyny. She was my strongest ally that weekend and it is MILES better than when I attended GPs without my woman network of friends. I used to read manga alone on my phone between rounds and eat by myself. There are so few of us, trust me it is so empowering when you do not have to deal with it alone.

The second step: being there and respecting your allies. I feel like often this gets confused with throw money at your fellow women content makers. And that could be a way to support people who have taken the plunge (Jamie “Topples” comes to mind) but I would argue this is almost gross negligence for the day to day fight we are making. Money doesn’t change attitudes. It doesn’t help stop sexist jokes or harassment. It doesn’t help create the atmosphere where we feel comfortable competing. I signed up for podcasting largely because I did not know what it was and it seemed like a great opportunity to get to know some serious grindettes. When you’re an adult, it’s hard to make friends. (We take these freebies). But the opportunity turned into me realizing how much I had to learn. Not only does it feel so good venting to those who GET IT, but it feels incredible to hear from fellow women with SO MUCH INSIGHT. And when you’re listening to their plights every week you just feel so in sync. It helped me be happy for them when they accomplish their goals, instead of jealous. Chantelle said something like there’s plenty of room up here for all of us and it’s fucking true. Because one of us qualifies for a PT does not mean she will be the only one to qualify, and the more of us who qualify I hope will mean the more space we take at the table. The more men will have to accept we have a right to that space at the table. It’s not zero-sum (as in it has to be me because it can’t be both of us—it CAN be all of us grindettes). If we want to change the attitudes of all of those in the game, we have to adjust our own first. We have to be in this together. I don’t know how many women feel this way, but I’m at my happiest when someone asks me about my opinion on a play, a deck, a draft pick, etc. Treat your fellow grinders like the smart, talented resources they are. And for those of us who are more experienced in the game, be a resource for the new blood. I see a world where we are a network of grindettes helping each other, coaching new blood, discussing deck choices, draft picks etc. AND making it so Wizards at least orders unisex shirts for the PT welcome bags because so many of us qualify.

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