Sitting down to write this piece has been a challenge for me.  It feels like such an intimate subject, and yet these are all things that I have experienced in public forums. It’s hard for me  to share my personal thoughts on something that affects me so deeply while knowing it will be heavily scrutinized.  But after my experiences of the last few weeks it feels necessary to address an issue that has been discussed by many other authors already.  Much like my predecessors, writing this article has been challenging; I’ve been drafting it for well over a month until I finally wrote out the following.  

‘You’re too pretty to play Magic.’

‘It’s nice that you learned Magic for your boyfriend.’

‘I had to lose to a girl.’

‘You would be playing Jund. It’s a self piloting deck and really good for people who don’t know how to play.’

‘I’d like to see those lips on my dick.’

These are just a few things that have been said to me at various stores and tournaments. It’s only a sampling of the many things I’ve heard, but it’s representative of the shit I’ve had to put up with.  And those are just the words, not the actions, attitudes, or the crap I read when roaming around Magic forums.  My “favorite” so far was  a couple weeks ago when there was an  announcement posted regarding Eternal Extravaganza.  


It was quickly removed by moderators, but the attitude is something that I deal with on a daily basis, and to be honest I’m pretty fucking sick of it.  Many of my opponents treat me differently than the rest of their opponents just because I have boobs and lipstick. It’s infuriating when someone will not take you serious because of your gender.  I am no different from the person that sat across from you last round, I am here to sling cards and hopefully do well.  

Here is where I open up a bit and share the deep dark secrets that I swore would never leave my closest circle of friends.  This crap eats away at me, slowly but surely, and puts an enormous pressure on me (and I’m sure other competitive female players as well).  When my friends or fiance lose a game it’s because they are having an off day or because they drew poorly or it was a bad matchup or whatever.  When I lose it feels like I’m letting down my whole gender.  That I’m proving that asshole right, that I’m just a pretty face.   Now, at the end of the day, I know that isn’t true, but the comments, pressure, and expectations are still there, lurking.  If I don’t work ten times as hard I’m automatically labeled a failure, and you can only have so many people tell you the same lie over and over again before you start to believe it.  I’ve had people tell me I’m overreacting, that no one actually feels this way, etc., and this infuriates me.  No one wants to feel this way, and I didn’t when I first started playing, before I noticed all the comments, the looks, and the attitudes.  But the burden is cumulative.  After a few years my experiences have left me jaded enough to understand that this is my reality as a Magic player.  

What really doesn’t help this problem is that other players don’t refute the lie, they reinforce it.  All of the statements I listed above, with the exception of the last one, were stated so publicly that several people overheard.  Not once has anyone who’s heard someone make an inappropriate comment to me stood up and stated it was inappropriate. Not once has someone stood up and said that these comments degrade the playing experience for everyone, not just me.  More often than not they just laughed at the comments or, even worse, laughed at me when I stood up for myself.  I’ve had a Judge blow me off (who did later apologized for not handling the situation properly) and every time I’ve complained to a store owner they’ve blown me off, despite the fact that I’m a loyal customer.  This type of rhetoric is awful, but condoning it is just as bad.  

I no longer go to tournaments without an escort.  When SCG Worcester was in town and I wanted to wander around Saturday to do some trading and meet up with some fellow Hipsters, I brought a friend. I paid for a friend to go to pre-release with me when my fiance couldn’t go because going alone scared me.  I just skip Magic if none of my friends are available that night and read articles at home instead or goldfish. No matter how much of a dick my opponent is being to me, I plaster on my best smile and try to be friendly. Even when I saw them treat their last opponent like a long-lost friend, despite never meeting them before.  And I’ve been phasing out a store where I don’t feel supported by the owner, even though that means giving up precious play time.  This might sound harsh, but honestly this is the reality I face as a woman who has high goals competitively.  As you can imagine, these defense mechanisms cut against my ability to meet those goals.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Magic, I still have fun most days, and I’m not going anywhere.  I want to keep practicing and become a top tier player, I want to sell my alters full time and write for any blog that will hire me to write about Magic.  At the same time, what I described isn’t an occasional thing, it isn’t an exception to the rule, it’s a reality for female players everywhere.  I know it doesn’t affect everyone equally, but it does affect us, especially those of us who play competitively.  A large part of the problem stems from the fact that many poorly socialized players don’t understand that what they are doing is both unwelcome and unkind.  A Magic tournament is not a place to hit on someone, especially right before, during or after match.  Your comments regarding my appearance are inappropriate and your assumptions about who I am and why I play are insulting.  To those of you who turn a blind eye when you see or hear this type of behavior, your inaction is a type of action that leaves you equally guilty.  

So can we just be nice to everyone?  Is that really so hard?  There is no such thing as too many Magic players so let’s stop discouraging people away from such a wonderful game.  Let’s be nice to our opponents and respect them no matter who they are and what they look like.  We’re all here for the same purpose, to play a game we all love and are passionate about so let’s focus on that and not what color lipstick I’m wearing or my cupsize.  

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