Jim Davis’ Women And Magic dissected and explained

The original article by Meghan Wolff
The response article by Jim Davis that we’ll be looking at today
An alternative rebuttal from Anastacia Tomson
I’m AJ Sacher. You can find me pretty much everywhere as AJSacher
This is my take on Jim’s article.


As you can see, my notes will be in maroon Times New Roman, bold and centered, as we all should strive to be. A couple of disclaimers: I do not have all the answers, nor do I claim to. Second, this is a nuanced and difficult subject; if there was a simple solution, it would be solved. One of the ways to simplify it to allow for more accessible conversation is to assume binary genders. For the purposes of this discussion, feel free to read the female pronouns as to include anyone that’s not cis male.

The truth is, I would love to have a platform to discuss the issues further, but I will just be using this space for discussion on Jim Davis’ article. All I want to do with this is highlight the problematic thinking showcased in the piece in the hopes that people can recognize these issues and learn from the [very common] mistakes that Davis made and explain why they are so damaging.

I don’t think Jim Davis is evil. We get along and I don’t think his writing of this shows him to be a villain; he’s simply misguided and has some core misunderstandings about feminism*, [achieving] equality*, and privilege*. If you want proof of how pervasive these views are in our culture and community, look no further than at the fact that this article passed through several pairs of hands on its way to print with no one batting an eye (and that there were multiple comments applauding his work at the time, and subsequent confusion as to why it was taken down).

That isn’t to aim the pitchforks at SCG or Cedric, either–they made a mistake and did their best to rectify it as quickly and satisfyingly as they could–and even though I am no longer with them, they are hugely influential in the game. It should not be forgotten that they printed Meghan Wolff’s original piece just because they also printed Jim Davis’. It would be easy for SCG to never publish anything that could border on controversial, but they do anyway despite that it may not be in the direct, short-term business interests of the company. They do that for us. They do that to create social change (or at least spark conversation) so that we the community can continue to grow and improve. Similarly, it would be very easy for me to say nothing and let this whole thing blow over without ever poking my head out, but I believe I’m doing the right thing by speaking up, and that’s all I can really hope to do.

*If you cringe or get angry at words like “feminism,” “equality,” and “privilege” then please read on. I don’t have the time to get into it now, but snarling at those words or using them sarcastically or ironically is damaging to the real meanings and causes they represent. They are not bad words–they may simply be misappropriated sometimes and it’s important that one detaches themselves from the stigmas surrounding them for the purposes of social progress.


Women And Magic



#Select  #Community

One of my favorite episodes of South Park is a Season 4 episode called “Chef Goes Nanners.” In it, Chef (one of the town’s few black residents) is trying to get the South Parks official town flag changed because he finds it racist.

Some members of the town agree it is insensitive, but feel that its historical worth outweighs its lack of political correctness. Absurdity ensues, until the episode climaxes with the school children engaging in a debate about the flag in front of the whole town. Kyle and Stan are leading the debate team for “The Flag Shouldn’t Be Changed,” and Kyle gives a speech about why:

Kyle: Our main point is that the flag shouldn’t offend anyone, because killing has been around since the beginning of time. All animals kill. And the animals that don’t kill are stupid ones, like cows and turtles and stuff. So people should not be so upset about killing.

Chef: Whoa whoa whooaa! You just missed the point entirely!

Kyle: Huh?

Chef: I’m not mad because the flag shows somebody gettin’ killed, it’s because it’s racist!

Kyle’s Team: Racist??

Chef: Children, don’t you even know what this argument is about?! That flag is racist because a black man is being hung by white people.

Kyle’s Team: Ooooooohhh.

Chef: Ooooooohhh?!

Kyle: W-we really didn’t see it that way.

Chef: But that’s a black man up there!

Kyle: Y-yeah, but… the color of someone’s skin doesn’t matter.

Chef: Well of course it matters when – [catches himself] …Oh my God. Wait a minute. You children didn’t even see the flag as a black man being hanged by white people, did you?

Kyle’s Team: No.

Chef: [deducing, marveling] Why, that is – that is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.

Townsfolk: What?

Chef: Don’t you see? All this time I thought these little children had turned racist, when actually they were so not racist that they didn’t even make a separation of black and white to begin with. All they saw when they looked at that flag was five people.

Townsfolk: Awww.

Kyle: Yeah.

Chef: I’m sorry, children. I was wrong about you. I still think the flag needs to be changed, but now I realize that I almost let racism turn me into a racist.

If you’re not familiar with South Park, it is an American cartoon comedy for adults that is known for being inappropriate and beyond crass. It prides itself on its appropriation of current events, undertones of social commentary, and “gotcha!” heartening moments.

It seemed there were many people that strongly disliked the use of a South Park parable as the introduction to the article. It’s unclear whether that was hate from the rest of the article seeping out, or if people genuinely don’t think controversial TV shows can have poignant moments.

Either way, the real issue with this introduction is that it has little to nothing to do with the rest of the article. The scene in question, as far as I interpreted it, shows the innocence of children and how bigotry is taught and learned rather than simply being so. If anything, the parable applies to Jim Davis’ views on women more than women’s views on equality. In truth, it’s unclear what the stance the show even takes on the subject it brings up (it’s a not-so-hidden allegory for the confederate flag) other than using their platform to show the absurdities on both sides of the debate. But enough dissection of South Park.

One of the problems with trying to fight inequality is that we can often end up widening the inequality gap we set out to destroy.

Meghan Wolff and I want the exact same thing: for gender to be an absolute non-issue in Magic, and for there to be a happy and healthy population of women playing the game. I also want a Magic community that is classy, mature, and welcoming to everyone who wants to play the game in whatever way they see fit.

The challenge, however, is drawing people together rather than dividing them.

What is being proposed here is that, by pointing out the inequalities and injustices against them, women are creating an “Us against Them” narrative, which is in turn making their experiences within the community worse on themselves. We’ll get into how misguided this is as we go, but suffice to say, no sane person is driving a Men vs Women narrative or advertising an antagonistic relationship between the genders.


Why is it that often articles written by female Magic players end up being about females playing Magic? Why is it that people who aggressively support women in Magic want to place a woman in the coverage booth, or give women more leeway on feature matches? Why is it that we should be extra nice and accommodating to a woman who walks into a game store for the first time, just because she is a woman and not because it’s the right thing to do for any person? Why should I follow a bunch of women who play Magic on Twitter just because they are women?

Isn’t the goal for equality among genders? For gender to be a non-issue?

Yes, that is the goal, and the way you achieve that is by doing everything that Jim poo-poos in the paragraph above it. There is a very normal misconception that if you say that everything stone equal starting on the count of 3, everything will magically become equal. That is not the way it works, and I’ll give you a mental visual to explain.

Imagine there is a two-armed weighing scale representing male and female respectively; their comfort and rights, etc, within the community. The male side has 80 gold coins and weighs down heavily while the female arm has 20 gold coins and floats high in the air. If the goal is to have the arms be as balanced as possible (which it is), the solution is not to put exactly 100 additional coins each onto both arms.

However sexist it is for someone to say “man, you got beat by a girl?” it is also sexist for a woman to get a feature match solely because she is a woman. Melissa DeTora’s first big event ever was US Nationals way back in the early 2000s. She was 1-3, and at the start of round five got called up to the feature match area for her first-ever feature match. Obviously she was very excited to be featured, and she won the match, but it wasn’t until later that she found out she had only gotten the feature match because she was female.

Is that fair or right?

Yes. A key thing that people coming from a position of privilege often overlook about the issue at hand, be it women in Magic or Asian Americans in mainstream media, is the value and importance of representation. An overwhelming number of people that are the vast minority in their fields/communities have felt the power of something so simple that we easily take for granted (I say we, as I’m a straight, white, cis male in America. You could say I’ve had it pretty easy in regards to this type of thing). There are so many examples to point to, that I’ll just use one that is extremely illustrative of the importance of representation: Whoopi Goldberg (as told by the almighty wikipedia)

According to an anecdote told by Nichelle Nichols in the documentary film Trekkies (1997), a young Goldberg was watching Star Trek, and upon seeing Nichols’ character Uhura, exclaimed, “Momma! There’s a black lady on TV and she ain’t no maid!” This spawned lifelong fandom of Star Trek for Goldberg, who would eventually ask for and receive a recurring guest-starring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The idea that a black woman could be an actor and not just a trope or stereotype had literally never occurred to Whoopi until she saw it. And it resonated with her because she felt represented in that moment. You can see the power and impact something that seems simple to you or me can have.


Melissa would go on to have a great Magic career, playing in many Pro Tours, culminating in making the Top Eight of Pro Tour Gatecrash and becoming the first woman to ever Top Eight a Pro Tour. She earned all of her feature matches that day, as she earned all of her Pro Tour appearances, her writing contract with TCGPlayer.com, and her eventual job at Wizards of the Coast. In the end, she proved that gender did not make any player inherently different, and her accomplishments stand to show that equality is possible. While her Pro Tour finish was definitely a milestone in Magic, I am sure she always found “Pro Tour Top Eight Competitor” a much more fitting title than “First Girl to Top Eight A Pro Tour.”

For the sake of my own sanity, I’m going to gloss over the extremely off-putting fact that Jim very chauvinistically took it upon himself to talk for a woman on her preferences in regards to her own career accomplishment. This whole idea of “since Missy did it, and she’s a girl, girls can do it” is a logical fallacy of the utmost ignorance. I’ll put it in terms Magic players can relate to; this is the equivalent of playtesting a matchup ten thousand times, and when “Deck A” finally wins one match, the pilot of “Deck B” tells their opponent, “See? The matchup is totally winnable! You don’t need to sideboard at all.”

As far as a woman doing coverage is concerned, I’m sure there are qualified women out there capable of doing the job, but there aren’t exactly a ton of positions available. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t, or won’t.

See above about representation and its importance. The fact that this two-sentence throw-away at the end of the section shrugs passively at the issue is emblematic of the attitudes shown by the privileged towards the oppressed, most especially in regards to representation. Take this very believable and relatable hypothetical:

A young girl discovers Magic, hears about the Pro Tour, turns on the coverage. The options are: A) have someone there that looks like her that she can relate to, and thus become more engrossed in the coverage, the game, the competitive scene, etc. -OR- B) She sees a bunch of men talking about men playing the game and has it reaffirmed in her mind that she doesn’t belong there.

When you lay it out in such black and white terms, it quickly becomes obvious how silly it is to shrug off that “it just hasn’t happened yet.” The reaction of the informed and empathetic should be a distraught “WHY hasn’t it happened yet, and how do we fix it, ASAP?!”


While I am clearly a male Magic player and not directly affected by the problems women face in the community, I do have a bit of perspective here as my girlfriend also plays competitively. Nicole took an interest in the game after we started dating, and made her own choice to start playing and asked me to teach her. Nicole doesn’t play Magic so she can spend more time with me or to stay involved with me and my activities. In fact I initially didn’t want her to play, as I was happy with Magic being my own thing and separate from my relationships. However, she persisted and has shown herself to be a good student of the game. She genuinely enjoys playing and has gone to a number of events by herself.

This is not an argument that lends Jim’s words credence on the topic. “How could I be racist, I have a black friend!” If you know how silly that sounds, then you know how silly this should sound. Turns out, misogynists almost always have mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, daughters, etc. Hell, quite a few of them are women themselves! We’ve seen the “but I have a girlfriend!” argument in Magic before, and suffice to say, it was not very effective.

Nicole is my girlfriend, she plays Magic, and that’s okay.

People often see her and say things like “oh, aren’t you Jim Davis’ girlfriend?” Which is true, she is, but is also just kind of weak because none of them would think to ask me “oh, aren’t you Nicole’s boyfriend?” She has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last year, and soon enough when she is making her own Open Series Top Eights and putting up good results she will be known for her own reputation instead of just for her connection with me. Hell, if she starts doing well enough, people are going to start asking me things like “oh, aren’t you Nicole Callahan’s boyfriend?” It is much less an issue of gender than of notoriety. Just like in any community, you earn the respect of your peers – it is not handed out.

I’m not sure how a supposedly professional writer and editor let the phrase “but is also just kind of weak” through, let alone the use of “notoriety” to mean “well-known” (it actually means to be unfavorably well-known). Anyway, the problem isn’t about women not being well-known enough. There are tons of male players who are not well-known who never get asked things like “So do you play, too?” at tournament sites. That’s insulting, and happens exclusively to women.

Even with her connection to a fairly well-known player, she has definitely experienced many of the things that Meghan talks about in her article. Two short examples she has told me about:

  • At a Legacy Open, in the late rounds she was playing against a player we will call “John” for simplicity. In game three of her match she was about to make a lethal play when two of John’s friends walked over to watch. As she cast her lethal burn spell and John extended his hand, his friend leaned over and said “Dude! You just lost to a girl?” John looked up at Nicole, mortified as his friend repeated his sentiments. John apologized for his immature friend being a jerk.
  • At the Legacy Premier IQ a few weeks ago at the Season Two Invitational in Columbus, she and her opponent were having your typical pre-match conversation. He asks her “So what did you play in the Modern Open yesterday?” She responds by saying “Actually I was playing in Day Two of the Invitational, but I was playing Burn and Mardu Dragons.” Her opponent paused a bit before continuing, because clearly the thought that she had made Day Two of the Invitational (or played in it at all) had not crossed his mind as a possibility.


Nicole laughs these scenarios off because she feels it is easier and more productive to be amused than offended.

While I’m glad Nicole is able to take these things in stride, I disagree with the notion that this is somehow applaudable behavior. Demonizing being offended by offensive things is counterproductive and damaging. And the implication in this section that women should just “laugh it off” is patriarchal and condescending. Thankfully, there are people like John, who apologized on behalf of his friend and I can only assume pulled him aside and told him that what he did was not cool and why. That is the type of thing that needs to happen; that is a true ally of women in Magic. It is a supportive action being taken that places the blame on the perpetrator. By making the woman feel like it’s her job to laugh it off, you’re putting responsibility on her on top of the injustice she just suffered. That is not supportive.

While both of these comments have sexist undertones, the real issue is simply that some people in our community are poorly socialized and thus insensitive. What if, instead of being a woman, Nicole was a fourteen-year-old boy and John’s friend had instead exclaimed “Dude, you lost to a little kid?”

Not at all applicable. Also, I would argue that the sexism is pretty heavy-handed and not undertoned at all. Saying it’s just the perpetrator being poorly socialized and/or insensitive removes the blame and responsibility from them and places it on the victim (because it’s her job to just laugh it off). No progress can be made when the victim is being blamed and the perpetrator gets off on account of not being socially aware. If they’re not socially aware, help them become so! And you do that by writing and publishing articles like Meghan Wolff’s.

People are going to be jerks, and that is a macro problem with the entire community. If they’re not being sexist they’ll find something else to be a condescending jerk about. How many times have you seen a majority Magic demographic (a white, 20-30 year old male) be a jerk to another majority Magic demographic? It happens all the freaking time. And god forbid you ever take a peek at the Twitch chat during SCGLive®…

Jim seems to be under the illusion that there is “another majority Magic demographic” other than white males 20-30, which is confusing both in the sense that it’s gibberish and in that it’s wildly untrue. There are people being terrible to one-another for a variety of reasons, so we shouldn’t even bother trying to stop people who are doing it in a specific way? “Jerks will be jerks” is only acceptable if you are ok with the community being jerks to each other, which I am not.

There are two major takeaways from this.

The first is that we should be working together to make our entire community more welcoming to all players, regardless of sex, age, race, or whatever. The condescending tough guy who always 4-0s FNM and talks down to new players because he’s the big fish in his tiny local game store pond is doing nothing to help the game at all. Him being rude to a woman that comes to the store to play is just as bad as him being rude to some kid or to any other player. He will drive all of them away, he’ll just use somewhat different words for each one as he does it.

Yes, there are jerks that are going to be jerks no matter what. But no one likes those people, and they get squeezed out by people standing up to them, not by allowing them to continue. But this isn’t an issue of a bully being a bully–this is an issue of a much larger-scale, deeper-level inequality that is prevalent throughout the community. Look up again at Jim’s second story from Nicole. Does that guy seem like the obvious villain that drives newbs away from the game in droves? Hardly. He seems like a guy who is used to things being a certain way, has grown to have that schema solidify through constant reinforcement, and then was presented with new information that contradicted his preconceived notions, and it gave him pause.

‘There are default Magic players, then there are women.’ That is the perception that needs to change. That is the force that Meghan Wolff wrote about and what people are speaking out against. Not the one bully being a jerk; the intrinsic ignorance that comes from privilege.

The second is that life is about dealing with jerks, for both men and for women. If you think you are being disrespected, say something! If you feel like you are in a bad situation, make it better if you can! If you think your game store has a toxic environment, talk to the store owner or the people at the store you know. If that doesn’t work, you can find a new store or find your own group of players to play and travel with, and make sure everyone knows about the bad situation. Are you really going to let a few jerks ruin your hobby?

Well, Jim, they are saying something. What they are saying is that they want to feel comfortable, like they belong, and for a variety of reasons they often don’t. And those reasons are such things as a lack of representation; things that you seem staunchly against.

Body Image

One of the major points that Meghan’s article illustrated was concerning body image, people discussing a female player’s appearance in any public forum, and how this was a unique problem that only females faced in the game.

While the extreme of what kind of abuse is leveled at female Magic players (ranging from sexual threats, smash or pass, and so on) may be harsher towards specifically female players, male players face the same sorts of body image harassment.

To try and equate these at all is offensive and wrong. Again, Jim has likely never been threatened with sexual assault on a regular basis, or had his value as a person and player diminished to something as vain as his body type. Hell, the guy wears hockey jerseys to just about every event and has for years and I can assure you that a woman would never be able to get away with something like that because what she wears is a representation of what a woman is worth. That is not ok, and it’s not that way for men.

Few comments on this photo of our own Gerry Thompson are talking about him playing Magic or his deck choice. Most are making fun of his hair, saying it looks ridiculous. Amusingly enough, there is even a female player who is making a flirtatious comment at him! How offensive and disrespectful!

To make light of such things while equating what men face to what women face is the ultimate showcase of privilege. For someone who has had to deal with being objectified and devalued as a person based on their looks for their entire lives to have their struggle diminished because some trolls also made some comments about a guy’s looks…it’s just…asinine.

#Crackgate is a very obvious example, but all you have to do is tune in to SCGLive® at any point during coverage and if anyone who looks a bit different than anyone else is on the screen people are going to comment about it. Maybe they’ve got a neckbeard, are overweight, have blue hair, are transgendered, whatever. When it gets out of hand, like with #crackgate and with some of the awful sexual comments leveled at female players, the game’s moderators get involved and punishments are doled out.

Again, though, this is moreso a broader problem with the community overall than specifically just a gender problem.

I can’t help but feel like that blue hair comment was targeted at me…

Another thing that must be realized is that things happen when you put males and females together in the same space. Guys check out, discuss, and judge girls based on their appearance, and girls check out, discuss, and judge guys based on their appearance. It happens everywhere, every day, in all walks of life.

And this is okay.

Again, it is not the same. People of both genders can be attracted to one another (and each other), clearly, but women are regularly devalued to their physical attributes, and that’s it, full stop. And it’s not guys talking to guys; these thoughts and ideas are often verbalized to the woman! And being as outnumbered in these situations as they often are, and coming from the culture we live in, I understand how it can feel like being a lamb in the hyena den, and can relate to how uncomfortable that could be. Can’t you?

This is going to happen at Magic tournaments, and as long as we can all be adults about it and go about things in a classy, mature, and respectful manner everything is going to be okay. The issue is that the bottom 5% is a very loud bunch, and the anonymity of the Internet provides a cesspool for the lowest of the low to propagate in and be heard.

Again, Jim is looking at only overt, over-the-top examples that absolutely everyone sees, and near everyone agrees are not ok. It goes without saying that those things need to stop. That doesn’t change the fact that women have little to no representation. Nor does it help stop the perpetuation and reinforcement of the boy’s club mentality and the hurtful, stereotypical perceptions of females within the realm of competitive Magic.

Some Reflections

Meghan’s article was written with nothing but the best intentions, and is a pretty good look at the negative pressures women face with breaking into competitive Magic. The problem, however, is that while it’s great to enlighten people about the potential plights that women encounter in Magic, just doing that is not really doing enough to change anything.

On the contrary, it’s exactly what facilitates change. By shining a light on issues that aren’t always perfectly visible, and often not a joy to look at, you can show people the true problems that real people are actually dealing with, and that’s the way to win allies and generate conversation: by exposing injustices.

Even worse, it has the potential to place a subconscious thought into the minds of the readers that women need some sort of special treatment to be comfortable enough to enter the world of competitive Magic, which reinforces the stereotype of the “weak” woman in the “strong” man’s world. It also further perpetuates a separation between male and female Magic players, when the reality we are striving for is that we should all be one unified community that is founded on mutual respect and our shared interest in a fantastic game.

This is the epitome of mansplaining, by the way. A man in a position of privilege arguing in favor of maintaining the status quo, telling a woman trying to illuminate the issue and create dialogue that she’s not doing it right. No bueno.

Meghan does a lot of great things for Magic with her podcast, Magic: the Amateuring, and with her articles for The Meadery, and these are the kinds of things that are going to get more people into the game. Through them she is providing something beneficial to the community and that helps the community as a whole. More people, both male and female, should be following her lead.

So What Can We Do?

Say these things out loud with me:

I believe that women should be treated equally to men.

I believe in mutual respect between all players, regardless of sex, race, age, gender, or whatever else.

Did you say them out loud? Did the person next to you at Starbucks look at you funny? Don’t worry about it!

It feels great to say, and it’s a great thing to believe, but words and beliefs are not enough.

“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” -John Burroughs

This whole bit is beyond patronizing, both in tone and message. Everybody believes these things, and everyone wants to get there. The debate isn’t over whether or not equality is good, it’s about how to go about achieving equality. All these statements do is lend themselves to a polarization of “I’m for equality, so if you’re against me, you’re against equality!” No, Jim, you’re advocating the status quo, and we’re disagreeing.

Be classy, mature, and respectful. If someone is being a jerk, rude, condescending, or generally disrespectful, speak up and say something. Every time. If someone needs help, is looking for guidance or advice, or wants to learn, offer up your time to help teach them. If someone is looking to go out to their first tournament, or take that next big step in their development as a player, encourage them. If someone has a major setback or disappointment, support him or her.

Again, people are saying things, and Jim is telling them that they are incorrect.  The setbacks that people are facing are just not the ones that Jim is used to and easily grocks and relates to.

That’s right, “him or her.”

It shouldn’t matter what the gender of the person in question is, because if they are a Magic player then they are part of our community and we should take care of our own.

Jim’s right, we should. The thing he seems to be missing is that we don’t. Not all of us, and not all the time.  It’s easy to say we should all just take care of each other when you’ve always been taken care of.

And ladies? It’s time for a bit of tough love.

This is not women’s suffrage. This is not the civil rights movement. Nobody is denying you any right that is afforded to men.


If you are a female Magic player and you want to be a louder voice in the community, then get out there! Break formats and write about it! Top Eight an SCG Open! Show me why U/B Control is better than Esper Dragons in Standard! Teach me a brand-new way to draft my Cube! Show me your favorite Modern Masters 2 draft archetype! Create unique and interesting content that will get people’s attention!

“Ok, Jim, I’ll do that for you right after you let me play with cards instead of dolls as a child and make it safe for me to be out late enough to finish FNMs, and then we’ll talk about the stuff inside of Magic that hold me back.”

But seriously, this fails to take note of the self-perpetuation of this sort of thing on both sides. On the one hand, women aren’t numerous or super successful in the competitive scene. Thus, it is perceived that women don’t belong in the competitive scene. Which makes it less likely that women partake in the competitive scene, which means it’s less likely they’ll succeed, which lends itself to reaffirming the above preconceptions.

On the other hand, imagine a woman succeeds on the pro tour level. Other women see that and feel like maybe they do belong in the competitive scene. Then there are more women at tournaments, meaning more will do well. Then they will be seen by other women doing well and realize they do belong in the competitive scene. And the tournaments have growing female populations, causing the women to feel more comfortable, and assimilating the men into socializing with them like equals.

Two cases of self-perpetuation. So why are we stuck in the first scenario? Because of inertia. Inertia being maintaining the status quo when the status is not quo. How do you overcome inertia? By helping start the motion on the second scenario AKA pushing against the status quo. And I would argue that Jim’s article argues more in the camp of “it’s not actually that bad, you guys” than “Let’s move forward together.”

Is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. Will there be challenges? Of course. Respect in any community is earned, not given, and major impetus for me writing this article is because I believe women are every bit as capable of success in Magic as men are.

You heard it, ladies: Jim Davis thinks you can do it so now you can go out and do it! I know his heart is in the right place in saying this, but with the tone of the rest of the article it comes off weirdly patronizing.

When it comes down to it, we are all just Magic players. We tap lands, we cast spells, and we all want the same thing – a respectful, classy, and mature community. Let’s make it happen.

I got a little snarky at the end, and for that I apologize. This is just a frustrating process. I hope somebody out there got something out of this. Thanks for reading and keeping an open mind.



14 thoughts on “Jim Davis’ Women And Magic dissected and explained

  1. Erik says:

    Great read. I mainly stay out of the debate on the grounds that I firstly know too little on the subject and secondly, as a CIS gendered white male, have little to no experience worth mentioning of the hardships in questions. Really liked the whole makeup of the article and this may have been the most educative thing I’ve read on the subject so far


  2. Erik says:

    Great article!
    I hope that Jim and Cedric reads this.
    The worst part about Jims article being published is that it takes all the focus away from Megan’s article. It almost feels like that was the purpose…I hope not.
    Jim sounds a lot like I did before I became aware of my priviliges. His article is so wrong. While reading it I hoped there would be a turning point but he just dug deaper and deaper…


  3. Chris F. says:

    This piece is well written. I think that you accurately dissect what makes Jim Davis’s article particularly insulting to a certain group of people. I think your analysis of why some “supporters” of the article are incapable of seeing exactly why it is insulting is spot on as well. Lastly, thumbs up for being able to cohesively make this perspective accessible to those who don’t have a background capable of teasing apart such nuances and bridging that gap.

    I think the whole class of social change movements driven by historically ignited inertia is an enormously challenging issue. I don’t know that we (humans in general) have found a formulaic method of moving from a recognition that something is wrong to a physical realization of the ideals that that change would imply. We see the painful effects of inherited privilege carelessly damaging those underfoot daily in the news on a national scale- race, gender identity, economics, the list goes on. We blame the opposition for holding us back but legitimately, we don’t really know if our means for achieving balance really will have the effect we want it to or not- despite, mostly reasonable people, wanting the same thing.

    There is a valuable truth that Jim Davis attempts to illuminate (although as you accurately pointed out, the article itself is littered with logical fallacy and clumsy-to-other’s-feelings analogies). I think that the reference to South Park was an attempt to provide context for the underlying paradoxical nature of a thought he was trying to convey. I think that Jim, and hes not alone in this, is struggling with one of the most self-contradicting aspects of righting historically based social injustice. Jim, like myself, has an awareness that those who are treated fairly, are done so without conscious effort to do so. Unfair treatment unfortunately is equally blind and effortless. A conscious and stilted treatment of any class of people based on an indoctrinated social correctness can never be genuine and is therefore just another form of perpetuating inequality. It is very easy to derail this argument by calling into question the motivation of the argument being a conflict of interest. Clearly, being among the privileged, Jim’s opinion is easily tied to what he has to gain from it’s correctness and from there it is not hard to view every point he’s making with a tainted chauvinistic lens.

    I think that in order for anything to change, both sides, need to be prepared to truly understand both sides. Those who are treated poorly, have the unfortunate responsibility of needing to bare insult on top of injury until change can occur. Those who are treated preferentially, must willfully accept the responsibility of being stripped of something that they’ve had all of their lives and have taken for granted. From the perspective of the privileged who have lived their lives at the high end of the bar, it seems as though they themselves are being driven into the ground. I’m already aware that without further qualification this argument can easily be misdirected as another form of victim blaming. For true, effortless change- I have a sense that it’s not only pointless and meaningless to figure out who’s the greater victim but also counterproductive to anything changing at all.


  4. The remarks were very thoughtful. Throughout Davis’ article, I imagined him reading Meghan Wolf’s first couple of sentences going, “That’s sad, but here’s what I think…”, the way an adult patronizes a child.


  5. Thank you for writing this. You have explained really well the widespread misconceptions about gender issues. I don’t know much about the subject, and I am trying to educate myself. The articles like this are hard to come by.
    I hope that many people will read this and understand the message.


  6. Hi A.J.,

    Thanks for writing this. As the father of a 12-years old girl who plays with me and my friends, I certainly hope my daughter will find the community at large less toxic for her when she grows up than it was for other women as explained by Meghan.

    And yes, I think the onus is on the male players to make the environment much more welcoming, not on the female players to adapt. In my little community, due in part to the arrival of several younger players (including my daughter) we have started cracking down on all the stuff with sexist/racist/homophobic/disturbing undertones, and it is starting to pay off (baby steps, though).


  7. gandothebard says:

    A very succinct and eloquent elucidation of what I was feeling after reading the various articles involved. Inertia is indeed the biggest enemy faced when trying to enact change along with the resistance of those who have been tricked, fooled and otherwise bamboozled into thinking that their privilege is a right.

    The arguments Jim used reminded me very much of the arguments used by people defending the status quo in regard to other social justice issues: #gamergate, Baltimore, #wecantbreath, and more. These isms we struggle against are pernicious and vile and largely look innocuous to those who perpetrate them. Because that is what they have been sold.

    I came here by way of reading the background for this week’s Freed From the Real podcast (which I am looking forward to listening to even more now) and was expecting something different than what I read here. And I am glad that your article resonated so fully with what I was thinking already. Thanks for writing on this and thanks too, to Ms Wolff and Ms Tomson too. And thanks to Mr Davis for being the voice of all those magic players who don’t quite get it yet. We need them to speak up so that we can help them see where they are getting it wrong.

    The discussion has value even while it might generate some acrimony and misapprehensions in the process.

    Paul Emerson Leicht


  8. g6334476@trbvm.com says:

    Even though I don’t agree with you on many points, I feel I took away a lot from reading this. It was well written, well thought out, and had a calmness to it that lent credibility. Great job!

    One small thing that really bothered me: “Imagine there is a two-armed weighing scale … the solution is not to put exactly 100 additional coins each onto both arms.” Actually, this solution works amazingly well. You go from a 80-20 (4:1) to 180-120 (3:2) and eventually end up somewhere like 1080-1020 (~1:1). The real trick is finding a way to do it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s