Is the phrase "old ball and chain" sexist? Is it misogynistic? Is it a symbol of phallocentric patriarchy? Or is it just a joke?
For years, some of the larger conventions devoted to those who love games (specialty board games, historical miniatures, role-playing games, live action role-playing games, and video games among them) have offered "spouse track" events. A good portion of these events are geared towards activities women are, in general, more interested in; this makes sense, as gaming is an activity men, in general, are more interested in. However, others are more general interest. Examples for each would be crafts and a winery tour.
The most prominent convention, Gen Con, has had these activities for years. And also for years, they've used picture icons for broad categories of events. The role-playing games, for example, use a twenty-sided die, as that die evokes the well-known Dungeons and Dragons game (among others that use it). The spouse track uses a "ball and chain" icon.
Now, they've used this icon for years, but just now, someone noticed and complained. Many think women should find this offensive.
But it turns out the person who chose the icon, Jeanette LeGault, is a woman. And she's not offended by the icon.
I picked the icon. I consider myself an independent, liberal minded woman. I picked it not because I thought it represented who or what I was or as a reflection on women, but because I thought it funny and I liked the irony.
Some advice for Jeanette: I see you're pointing out that you're not offended. It's a nice try. But from personal experience, I know you won't have success in saying you're not offended when someone else thinks you should be offended.
Labels: Gen Con