fredag 25 maj 2018

Interacting with Antagonists at Larps. - social bid theory.

War Criminal Alldis (Krigshjärta)
[Disclaimer and context: this is written for Nordic larp, and I as the writer learned to larp specifically in some of the Swedish larp cultures. When looking at the characters I've played a fair deal of them have been antagonists and dedicated to destruction, disruption and punishment of other.]

Have you ever played an evil character and the other player characters end up avoiding you, leaving you sad and alone at the larp?

Or have you planned some really nasty interaction with a co-player and then after the game realizing you both missed out because once in character it felt only logical to avoid the nasty interaction because that is what your character would do?

Here is some information that might help, both on how to proceed as the player of the evil character and how to initiate interaction with evil characters.

So first, some framwork:

Storytelling:
In a lot of the storytelling we interact with, there is some protagonist characters, and some antagonist characters. Avenger vs Thanos for example or Sherlock vs Moriaty. In most larps the "evil character" will be the antagonist and try to get in the way of or hinder the progress, wishes and wants of the protagonists.

Social interaction:
I'm going to be talking about making a "Social bid" or answering one. Social bid is something I read about in a article about couples who stay married for a long time and what makes them happy in the relationship (1). That article said it came down to how many social bids they did towards each other each day and if and how they responded to their partners bid. An example can be "oh dear, there is a bluejay in the garden" and the response can either be "that's lovely dear, you love blue jays" (responding) or the partner just going on reading their book (ignoring).
Social bids are very close to so called "play signals" but I think play signals in larp deserve a post of their own. They called this "turning towards" and "turning away". I'm going to call it "answering" and "ignoring" as even a "turning away" can still be "answering" in a larp setting.

This also builds on something Anna-Karin Linder(2) taught me about playing antagonists: One thing you can do to make your character seem less nice and cozy is to avoid giving of these little encouraging sounds to show that you are listening while the other person speaks. Be very conservative with how you express that you are listening.

I try to say that a larp protagonist is never cooler or harder than the level of resistance that they get from the larp antagonist. Sometimes the antagonist isn't a person but nature it self or an opposing army.

Another problem for those of you who are not playing the unpleasant character: sometimes we get a feeling in our gut that we need to stay away from the other player due to their in game behavior. I say it's ok to listen to that feeling but then remind yourself that this is what you are here for. Your character might be scared, but this isn't real. The behavior is only acting and it is an invitation to negative play (type B fun/ type II fun). You came to the larp for this. I sometimes as a player find myself feeling scared of the person who is supposed to play my antagonist, and then I circle away from them. I take a deep breath, remind myself it's not real and then I come up with a reason to go back and "larp in their vicinity". Maybe they are standing close to the coffee? Or they control the in game shop? We can't interact if we are not in the same area.

Some way's to listen as an antagonist:

  • If you look directly at the other player, don't do so nodding or humming. Hone your cold stare in a mirror. You want your eyes to look dead or at least dispassionate.
  • Don't accept being talked to just anywhere. Express you expect people to come to you or organize a space to your character liking.
  • Remember what they are saying, but don't repeat it imediatly. Keep them sweating. Ponder your answer, take things slow.
  • Remember what they said and use it against them at a later time at the larp. But preferably at that larp, and not the next one.
So now I will go into some social bids with some suggestions on how to initiate them and how to answer them. A problem that sometimes comes it is hard to act on in negative ways when other people are playing their characters as kind or subservient. But there are ways.

"Get them coffee"
  • The antagonist gets brought coffee. This is a social bid. 
  • Ignoring the social bid: just accept the coffee. Drink it.
  • Answering the social bid: taste the coffee. Look at the person delivering it. Either say something with words about the coffee or with your face. Dump the coffee in front of the person. Look them in the eye.
"Serve them dinner"

  • Everyone is supposed to stand in line for dinner.
  • The antagonist instead sits down that their favorite spot at the table, looks at someone and tells them to bring them dinner. This is a social bid.
  • Ignoring the social bid: either not answering at all or giving them food without any invitation to further interaction.
  • Answering the social bid: bring them their dinner either perfectly organized or messy and unappetizing. Serve them in a clearly submissive way or if you wish to be provocative, plonk it down hard in front of them.
"the knowing insult"

  • For common interaction, casual conversation gone bad.
  • Social bid: a protagonist states liking/disliking a phenomenon or action. "I don't like when you tell me what to do"
  • Answering the social bid: Move in close and, depending on physical interaction rules of the larp grab them a bit to hard on the wrist or other neutral body part. Stand in their personal space and look them in the eye. Calmly reflect what they said either enforcing or contradicting it "Oh but I think you actually do like it." Give them your full attention. To do intimate things like this it is best if you have read up on their character.


P.S Avoid playing a psychopath. I often say that psychopaths are boring characters. Because while we often play them as evil, if they do not have wants, needs and emotions of their own there will be no emotional resonance to play them either. People can be harsh, cold, violent and manipulative without being psychopaths or sociopaths.


References:

1. Masters of Love (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/happily-ever-after/372573/)

2. Linder, Anna-Karin - Writer and narrative designer http://annakarinlinder.se/
http://annakarinlinder.se/

tisdag 8 maj 2018

Suffering bragging block

For different reasons I was thinking I'm suffering a block against bragging about my artistic accomplishments and my skills. Not about showing them one by one, but all of them together.



The set up:
I've been having bad moods late at night when I'm tired, and sometimes my mood is so bad that I have trouble falling asleep before really hashing the issue over with a friend in private. Sometimes on chat and sometimes on phone. It's mostly negative talk and I mostly do it with my male friends because I don't want to dump on women who usually have to do the majority of emotional labor anyway and I have some guy friends who have had to share the burden instead. I try to not feel bad about doing this as I have supported them as well from time to time and they want to be good at emotional labor.

The problem:
I don't want to be this negative. I don't think it's good for me and I don't think it's good for my communities. Also negativity says very little about what I want to do about the problem I see and about the way we can move forward. If I instead could point at good examples, at how I solve problems and model good enough problem solving design for larps and other event then others can learn from me.

The goal:
I want to find joy again and I want to look forward to happenings and be exited about my own projects and other peoples projects. And I know so many creative people and I'm creative myself. Also, if I'm able to talk about what I'm good at and find joy from I will be asked to do more of what I'm good at. If I get to do what I'm good at other people will gain benefit from that as well. And it will also keep me from being destructive and disruptive.

How?
So how do I inform others about what I'm good at? And what I find joy in doing? Is that bragging? Is that ok? I sometimes see people with way less skill or experience than me promote themselves with very big words in the community. I think it's both a case of gendered expectations (men should be confident in their abilities, women should be humble) and of different cultural spheres and expectations.
I'm scared of the criticism, the "she just wants attention" and the "she thinks she's so good but she sucks" the "she's so full of herself". I will have to think about this for some time. I don't know what I will arrive at.

måndag 30 april 2018

Who do you organize your larp with?

[Disclaimer: I work within a Swedish context. I'm mostly writing this post to get my thought down and onto the internet, in case this becomes a discussion further on. I'm not writing this to harm or criticize individuals. These are just my observations and even if I have a very straight forward language I am almost always open to being wrong. No observation I make will ever account for all cases.]



I sometimes get the impression that male larp organizers mainly organize their games with men they "drink beer with" (socialize in a public or semi public setting, drinking alcoholic beverages). Women can be part of this group under a flag of being "one of the boys".
They also organize with women they have a close, sometimes even intimate relationship and once in a while they organize together with a woman who they find to be absolutely brilliant.
But to find a woman they don't drink beer with or have a close relationship with absolutely brilliant they also have to be reminded of her again and again and how good she is at what she does. Maybe she has a lively larp related Instagram? Maybe they are friends on Facebook? Maybe she is involved in several other larp projects this year? She must also not be scared of self promoting herself, something women are often not used to and sometimes think is shameful.

If you find you are a male organizer who might be in this pattern here are some suggestions:


  • Look around at who is active or about to go active in your neighborhood. At least ask them if they are interested in collaborating.
  • Take risks with collaborating with young women and non-binary people. Under 25, or with no larp organizing experiences?
  • Actively ask women and non binary people if they have any ideas or are already starting their own larp projects?
  • If your female and non binary friends are working away at their project, be the first one to contact them and ask once in a while how it's going. Larp organizers needs emotional support and you know this.
  • If you are methodical person, make a private inventory of "who you know" in your local larp scene. Look at how many are women/ non binary? What are they up to at the moment?
  • When you look at your social patterns and where you connect with people, are those arenas that are accessible to the people you want to organize with, or just to some kinds of people?
 A male friend of mine (I can name you if you like) said that the project of organizing a  larp can be used as an excuse to hang out and have an experience together. The larp organizing project helps you fulfill your emotional needs and need for feeling like a part of a community working towards a common goal. Instead of going "I like you and would like to spend more time together" - you organize a larp.

I have this theory that  you can also sometimes choose to organize larps with people you already feel emotionally close with. Because you got drunk together and you became more social and outgoing and came up with a project to do together. Or maybe oxytocin played in?

I'm not saying this is the wrong way to organize larps, we organize in different ways, but sometimes our methods doesn't wield the results we wish for and maybe an inventory of who we organize with can show us other ways to do it?

Next thought: If you are a woman setting out to organize a larp, who do you ask? If you are non-binary, has that affected who you ask?

tisdag 12 december 2017

The "physicality of larp" manifesto


In which I argue that without physicality a role playing event is not a larp.


Background to the manifesto: I have come across larpers who design games and then call them larps, because this is the gaming culture they grew up in and learned their trade. Calling it a larp they might get acknowledgement from their peers and also makes it easier to make other larpers try their game. I find this lacks a connection with gaming and role playing history as we rename and rebrand other games or forms of role play as larp. We don’t need to call a game or a role playing event a larp to make it valid. Other forms of role play is valid and entertaining and can tell a variety of stories. But they are not larps and don’t need to be larps.

Intro to the manifesto: Not all good things are larps, larps are not inherently good things. People can larp their way through things that are not larps, or even role playing games. A Role playing experience does not need to be a larp to be valid. Not every role playing experience a larper creates is a larp.


Larp will not save the world.

The Manifesto



A larp is an live action role play event that uses physicality as a way to tell a story and/or give the participants a physical experience. Physical experiences can teach on multiple levels, beyond the cerebral stimulation of an intellectual exercise.
Just as cooking a meal for the first time teaches us things about the recipe using more channels than reading the recipe or talking to a chef or a friend about cooking the meal.


To larp something is to use physicality and role play as a way to enact something.

A larp does not have to involve more than one person, but it needs to involve at least one person, who uses physicality to explore and experience.


“Internal play” might happen at larps, but is not an essential part of larping. Internal play lacks the physicality I argue is an essential part of larping. Without external expression of internal play there is no physicality.

What is physicality?

Physicality is experiencing things first and foremost with your body and senses and not only with your mind. Physical interaction between human beings also takes more than mere communicating information through speech or written information.

The physicality of a larp will not be and on/off switch but a sliding scale. I am arguing a larp needs have enough physicality for it to even be a larp, but I am not saying it needs to have everything listed below.

I will now give examples of physicality.

Physicality of the senses, sensuality.

Looking at many different things and people, not merely pictures or representations of these things or people. Perceiving them with your eyes.
Touching objects and people, perceiving them with touch. Being touched by objects and people, perceiving them as pressure, heat, cold, movement, vibration, texture, pain.
Tasting things and people, perceiving them with taste buds.
Hearing sounds made by objects or by other people or animals, perceiving them with your ears. Acceleration and falling might also fall into this category due to the workings of the inner ear.

Physicality of physical expression:

Relating information about in game events and facts through speech that is formed by what kind of character you are playing. Speaking as your character and not as yourself. Using a body language designed for the character that is not your own.

Physicality of bodily functions:

Eating in game food fitting the setting and the character you play when your character is hungry or choosing to stay hungry because it connects you more with your character. Eating food that fits the larp event. If the participants cook their own food it can be an exercise in physicality to cook the food using fitting methods and utensils.

Going to your characters in game bed when they are tired or postponing going to bed due to the characters having duties. Bathing and showering as your character in a bathroom that is in game or choosing to stay dirty because this is what the character would do.


Physicality of the expression of emotions.
Crying with fluid leaving the eye. Laughing audibly. Showing emotions with your face, relating feelings your character is having or is trying to make other character believe they are having. Showing that your character is experiencing a stomach ache or shaking hands of excitement or anxiety. Having cold sweats or simulating these with other liquids. Being drunk or simulating drunkedness.

Physicality of the body.


Either playing your body type or using physical representations that other players are is sensually able to experience. Such as using pads or prosthetics or a binder to change the gender expression, perceived weight or mimicking a pregnancy of a certain stage. Also simulating a menstrual cycle or tending to a real menstrual cycle using “in game methods” could fall under this.


Physicality of intimacy: Playing on attraction and desire for a character that fit your character sexuality, their sexdrive and their social standing. Seeking physical closeness with the person they desire and striving to enact (out of game consensual) intimate acts using the systems in place for doing so (these might however be void of physicality).

What is not the physicality of larp?



Any meta technique that removes the physical element of an interaction. (this can still be a part of the larp but not the physicality of it) such as resolving conflict through rolling dice or exchanging battle values or playing out intimacy between characters using a non touch technique.
Eating food that is not a part of the larp event, such as power bars at a dark ages fantasy larp.

Finding your out of game partner and being intimate with them when your characters are not intimate.

The grey areas of physicality.


Being dressed as your character if the clothes are something you would normally wear.
Being dressed as your character in clothes so comfortable you forget about wearing them.

Saying things your character would say, but without emoting them differently than you yourself would.

Any visible disability that you might have that you choose to not incorporate into the character. It will affect your own experience of the physicality of a larp while others will attempt to see it as an out of game circumstance.







Addendum:


Larping outside of larp


To larp something is to use the physicality of the body in a physical space and use role play as a way to enact something as someone other than yourself. You can larp your way through menial tasks of your everyday life, imagining you are a maid in another age and adopting the physical characteristics of the character.


You can also larp your way through some board games, although parts will still be representative and not larped.

Non larp role playing events might contain parts that are “larping” without that making the whole event into a larp.Larping can be an ingredient that does not turn the whole event into a larp.


There is also the larping happening outside of larps that is done at so called pervasive games. A larp can also have a possibility for the larpers to leave the larp event and go out into a non larping area for some pervasive gaming. This happens at city based larps such as Vampire where a venue might be fully in game but you can take your character out on the town and play with a smaller group of larpers.

Also there is Alternate Reality Gaming in which might fall under this or under the next title.


Being at a larp without larping


I argue that if a person is merely looking at other people larping, even while dressed in character clothing (clothes donned for the event that are not a part of your everyday clothing) then they are not larping. This is because this lacks the element of role playing. Internal play does not count, as it is merely Shrödingers larper.




At games where certain bodily needs are cared for out of game, I argue that a person seeing to that need, is at a larp but is not currently larping, because of the agreement that such bodily needs are managed out of game.

At Alternative Reality Games, you are usually not donning a character, and is not role playing and I would say not larping. But you might commit to doing physical actions that you would not do outside of the missions of the ARG , making the game have the element of physicality, if not role play.


Larping is something that some participants do during the whole larp event and that some participants start and stop, even if they are not removing themselves to an out of game area. I think this is the reason why some people have a need for out of game spaces while others find them less needful even if they might be practical for other reasons.

A brain in a jar has no physicality in its experiences.

fredag 15 september 2017

Support your local larp feminist

So after over three years of working with Larp Women Unite I notice and come in contact with other female outspoken larp feminists who have hit the same wall as I have done and suffered.

The first part of this post will be about recognizing some of the symptoms and to get some researchable names for different conditions and phenomenon. The other part is what you can do for yourself, some advice from me and finally what you can do for a friend who is suffering from feminist burnout. Here and there throughout the text I will refer to the local larp feminist as "she" but the content is for any gender identity.

 

Part one - Recognizing what is happening


Feminist Burnout: You can suffer burn out symptoms from doing activist work. You spend a lot of time on it. You might not notice the change you are causing. You might feel alone, shunned and hopeless. Symptoms can come in all kinds of forms but usually you suffer anxiety, have trouble sleeping or are dead tired all the time. There can be bouts of crying and feeling really hopeless about everything. You might wish you never became a feminist an long for days when larp was just "something fun" for you. You might need a break from the fight and that is ok. Make sure you have some other things to do that is not tied into you activism and maybe tell your close friends that you are "off duty". I even have people who fill in for me in the admin groups I'm in.

Compassion fatigue
One day you feel meh. Or you feel anger that you are doing "all the work" while "no one else is listening or fighting their own fight". You feel "screw them" and "whatever". At the same time you can feel deep shame that you really don't care and you no longer feel pleasure from doing what you used to love. Compassion fatigue was originally researched in nurses and social workers. It mainly manifests in larp feminists that work with traumatic episodes, such as workings with victims of trauma such as out of game rape in a larp context or a former abusive spouse. It is also known as secondary traumatic stress.

Wikipedia says:
"Persons who are overly conscientious, perfectionists and self-giving are more likely to suffer from secondary traumatic stress. Those who have low levels of social support or high levels of stress in personal life are also more likely to develop STS. In addition, previous histories of trauma that led to negative coping skills, such as bottling up or avoiding emotions, having small support systems, increase the risk for developing STS."


The Female Gender Role
In most countries women are expected to make others feel loved, accepted and welcome. If they are granted power they are more expected to use that power fairly and justly and to be more informed about social justice politics. Women are supposed to be both knowledgeable and skilled in the so called "soft values". A woman is expected to suggest and not demand and to be modest and if she is sure of herself, not show it. A woman is expected to smile more than a man, and to show at all times that she is not angry and that she is no threat.

Emotional labour / Emotion workWikipedia says this:
 
"Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job.  More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers and superiors. This includes analysis and decision making in terms of the expression of emotion, whether actually felt or not, as well as its opposite: the suppression of emotions that are felt but not expressed." (read more here)
When the same thing is done privately it is called emotion work, but in the larp community a lot of functions can be seen as jobs. Larp Organizer, community organizer, safety host, ombudsman etc. When you are the local larp feminist, over time people might see you less as a human being and more a s a person who has the "job" of being the local larp feminist. This can be especially difficult because if you are a woman, then you are fighting for your own rights to participate fully in the larp hobby, so you WILL have a lot of emotions on the subject.


Genderlect and sociolect.There is a thing called sociolect , it's about how members of different groups speak or are expected to speak. A common clash is when neurotyphical middle class white feminists encounter members of the working class and or feminists from other ethnicities. Often they are very preoccupied with the "correct" way so things and might feel attacked and uncomfortable with other ways of speaking and writing, even when it is done in the same language. They might want to "help" you by correcting you language so that it becomes more "effective at conveying you message". What really should happen is them learning that there are many ways to communicate.
Genderlect is when you look at how different genders are expected to sound and write. In many cultures women are supposed to use more softening words and speak about how they "feel" and not about how things "are". If you deviate from you genderlect people might see you as being aggressive or timid depending. People deviating from their genderlect will suffer social punishments for this.

Social media overwhelming / entering radio silenceYou might feel your heart race every time you phone says it has a message for you. Or you dread what the person you are having an online discussion with will say next. Maybe you start feeling like you don't "deserve" to be seen on social media. You stop posting and start lurking. Maybe you stop using your accounts at all. Maybe you close them down. Sometimes this is a good coping strategy, like the "Tap Out" described below. But if you notice that you or a friends suddenly dramatically changes their online behaviour, something might very well be up with them emotionally.
Or they could just be at a larp.

Part two - Supporting yourself / supporting the suffering


Radical acceptanceThis is a technique I didn't want to use at first. But I have found that sometimes it is the only thing that works. I stop what I'm doing and I kind of "look up" either mentally or physically. Then I say to myself: "It is what it is". Then I make a decision if it is something I have the time and energy to work on right now or if I should just go do something else. The something else is sometimes a simpler project, sometimes something that recharges my batteries. I've used radial acceptance for my body issues, for relatives illnesses, for bleed after larps, for doing a brain scan or a breast scan or for going into doing a test I am afraid I will fail. Or simply accepting that there are people out there who hate me and want to harm me. Some for valid reasons, some not so valid.

Take care of the bodySleep, eat things you enjoy, work out by doing cardio or lifting heavy weights. Also drink a glass of water when you get overwhelmed, maybe a cup of tea if that is you thing. A very basic thing can be go take a pee.
Taking a hot showing or a long bath might make muscles you didn't even recognize were tense lighten up. If you have energy to be social, call a friend or meet some people over a board game.

Tap outYou never have to stay online. You never have to hang around a space that feels unsafe for you. You don't need to go to a specific larp if it's not giving you what you need. You don't exist for any one else's pleasure. When the dark wave hits of self loathing, confusion, anger and maybe even flash backs for those of you who have suffered trauma like sexual abuse, rape and or/being beaten. You can practise self care and unfollow that thread o facebook, leave that instagram beef or quite simply ask the person talking to you to please leave you alone. If the interaction is online you don't even have to say you are leaving, you can just leave after you said your piece. (I call those "post and run" for those days when I don't have the energy.)

Choose a small, measurable goalI chose to work with larp feminism to follow the principle of "think globally, act locally" or the Swedish proverb "dig where you stand". Sure it's hard to be a prophet in my own home town, having heated discussions with people that could probably help me with my "larp career". To do this I often try to write down or say to myself what I want to achieve and what I will count as success.
"I want them to add a ingredient list to the home page" or "I want at least two other people to mail them about removing the rape joke" "I will go get the guard if there is another issue".

Ask for and accept helpIf you feel all alone in a discussion but maybe you notice you are getting some likes. You can maybe PM those people and say that you do feel alone. Beware of not starting a so called "dog pile" where there suddenly are a lot of people against one other.
Or maybe you are feeling like the worst person ever after having a disheartening back and forth with the organizer to your favourite larp. PM a friend you trust and ask to vent. Don't carry it all inside of you. Maybe write on your FB wall that you are having a bad day and would like some kind of encouragement. I often ask for "describe me with a gif" of "give me weird compliment".

Using mantrasHere are some mantras I use to self soothe or disengage and manage my energy.

"What other people say about you does not define who you are." I've also used this one to comfort people who have been threatened to that rumours will be spread about them
"People have many opinions" - just a statement to remind myself that is just all it is. Opinions.
"He's just wrong." - I use this when someone is using a clearly faulty logic or fact. I try to not engage or just engage on a basic level, like countering them. You can't join every argument and when people are wrong some other larper will often engage them.
"But he has a JOB!" This one I credit Christina Bodling. This is when others claim we can't expect some guy to act as a human being because he doesn't know better. If this individual has an employment he clearly knows enough to get hired and acts well enough at work to not get fired. So he should be able to act well enough even in the larp community.
"If they want to stop me, they are going to have to stop me." This isn't so much for when I'm nearing burn out, but more for when I'm getting back up. This is for handling people who are "warning" me about doing something that I truly believe is the right thing. I often use this mantra to give myself courage to ask for straight answers like: "What are your rules about male and female toplessness at the larp?" or "can you explain to me exactly why you don't think me, Johanna or Mia who applied for the character of the General would do the role well enough. Can you be concrete and specific?".


Focusing on your ethics

When there is a lot of critique against you and you are feeling the pressure pound down on you, walk trough your ethics in your head. You can understand and sympathize with the feelings others are having, while still following your own ethics. Maybe go through your ethics again. Are they still your ethics.

Forgiving yourself
So maybe you fucked up, I truly and deeply have from time to time. And maybe you feel like you don't deserve love. But a lot of feminists have very high demands they place on themselves. If you are also raised as a girl you are also under pressure to please other people and make them feel good about themselves. When demanding change in tightly knit communities you will often be seen as a trouble maker and sometimes you will be a trouble maker. Even if you have a set of ethics you are pleased with there will come times where you afterwards look back at your actions and feel shame of what you have done. When this happens, see that you stop the behaviour, back off, offer an apology and if welcome offer reparations that a possible for you to do. But try to move on. Maybe not immediately, but sooner or later. Especially if the people you acted badly towards have moved on.

Helping your friend


Let them know you are thinking of them.
Recognize when they seem tired and hopeless and express this online or in body language. Don't wait for your friend to ask for help. Throw them a PM or a text message mentioning "hey I saw what you wrote on FB, how are you holding up" or if you know they don't mind the phone, call them. Maybe offer to feed them their favourite food, at their home or at a restaurant.
Don't think they know you like them, tell them, especially when times are grim. Some people really really appreciate silly little gifts. Send them something nice in the mail. Named or anonymous.

Explicitly invite them to things.
When you are the local, vocal, larp feminist you can often feel like a hated outcast in your own community. Sure a lot of people send love your way but it can be hard to take that to heart when there is so many aggressive messages sent your way. You are made feel unwelcome and that you are "destroying the community" and "hurting people". This can lead to a reaction where you withdraw from even the social circle's where you are welcome by the organizers. So it can be nice and validated to be told "we especially want you to be here/there" even if they might not be able to make it due to time or exhaustion.

Don't hold them to impossible standards.None of us truly know everything that happens to another person. So when you local larp feminist either messes up, seems to be overreacting, seems to crack from something "small" happening, that can probably come from being under a lot of pressure for a long time. She might be getting straight up hate mail and threaths. Maybe she recently lost a close friend who said she was to "angry" these days or that they were "afraid" of her. Or maybe when she stays friends with "the wrong person".
Remember that she to grew up in the patriarchy, she didn't come to you from an alien planet where all genders were treated equal. Getting rid of internal misogyny is an on-going work and I don't know if there is a human born today that will get there in their life time.

Don't overestimate their strength
We have a cultural narrative of the "strong female protagonist". And I myself have often been told that the people who hurt me the most had no idea they even could hurt me, because I seem like such a bad ass. This is in spite of me being very open with being a vulnerable, emotional human being. They will crack and they will stumble and they will have bad days when they never want to larp again, or talk to another larper ever again. That is not because they hate you specifically, but because hey have been lead to belive "everyone" in the larp community hates them.

torsdag 17 augusti 2017

You don't need my approval

Hi, I'm one of the highest ranking larp feminist in Sweden*. And you don't need my approval to be a larp feminist. You can do your own thing and that thing is very seldom reliant on whether I like it or not. Do you take a risk of me disapproving if you don't check with me? Sure. But you are a grown up and you will just have to take your chances. I'm not your feminist mom (ok maybe to some of you I am).
Wanna check with me anyway? I have a donations account. All donations go towards a full plate armor, and maybe coffee now and then.
You mainly need my enthusiastic consent if you wanna to do stuff to my body (or my body of work), because bodily integrity is totally a thing.
To quote Elin Dalstål, take risks, play boldly.***

I don't wanna be friends**

I think we try a little too hard to all be friends in the larp sphere. And we really don't need to be. Now, not needing to be friends with a another larper, another larp critic or another larp feminist does not mean we have to be enemies either. Sure it's a human instinct to want to have friends that share some of our passions. But that does not mean we need to be friends with everyone who shares our passions. Few things can be as grating as someone who shares our passions "the wrong way".

I think that diversity in feminism is sometimes hindered by us wanting to be liked by our peers, maybe even be friends with them and how we sometimes mistake the social fall outs as being the same as ideological fall outs. Social fall outs happen because if life.
But feminism is not about being part of a special social circle made up of other feminists. Some changes sure are easier to make happen if you are part of a group, but to engage in group actions, you don't really need the group to be made up out of your personal friends. You don't even need to like the other people as long as you agree on ideological principles.

I have friends I disagree with on an ideological level (as long as they are not racists, transphobes or woman haters) and we are still friends. I have people who I agree with on a ideological level but that I don't have the energy to have any kind of relations with. I'm one of those people that don't see love or care as an unlimited resource. There are only so many hours to a day, days to a year and there are only so many social energy points I can give out in a day. First and foremost I owe those points to my children and my partner. I have a line of work that take a lot of my social energy points since I work with humans. Then I have close friends, and some people who I've taken a special interest in.
When those social energy points are gone, they are gone until they are refuel.

The demands for emotional work are already high on women.
The demand is even higher on emotional work and ideological "purity" on female feminists.

I am not pure

We can demand that to be a feminist you need to be in favor of the equal rights of women (since that is the basis of feminism). But to demand that female feminists are absolutely adherent to a standard, they might not even know you are holding them to, will end up with you punishing them for existing and surviving in a patriarchy. This is in part linked to my term PreUtopian Feminism which has to do with merging ideals and Utopian dreams and utilizing practical pragmatism to get forward towards a better tomorrow without burning out. This can be a way to avoid being crushed by demands to live like you are already in the utopian tomorrow. PreUtopian feminists believe in a better tomorrow but they allow themselves to live today and utilize tools and accept that they will find them self in circumstances that might be less than perfect.

And also like Elin Dalstål says "Self Care comes first"****.

I'm not here to be pleasant. And neither are you.

I'm just a person, a woman in the patriarchy. Basically surviving can be kind of activism some days and often leaves me grumpy and unpleasant. Every other kind of activism is extra. And I don't like when I have higher demands placed on me to also be emotionally available to a wide network of friends, to stay very informed on all kind of social justice categories outside of intersectional feminism (which are valid and important but there are other activist that are better at them.) I don't even know if I'm a intersectional feminist since I focus on such a narrow field as larp feminism, and by proxy those hobbies near larp. Well that and countering ableism as much as I can.

So how do I handle these perceived higher and higher demands, and from in my turn putting too high demands on my fellow larp feminists? How do I release them from the fear that I might disapprove of something they do or don't do?

By running away from them.

I feel some are trying to make me play nice and adhere to the way they think I should be. And I will probably never be that.
They are welcome to my events, they are welcome to take part my freely published thoughts (I'll try to be better at not just having them on social media). But maybe they don't need access to me on my private social media. Maybe they don't need to know the ups and downs of my daily personal life. I don't hate them. Some have disappointed me, but that probably had to do with me having the wrong expectations on them, and I will get over it as bleakness and time creeps in.

Let's just be feminist colleagues? Ok?


* The way to be highest ranking is by inventing your own category and ranking system.
** Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
*** Elin Dalstål  Play Boldly
**** Elin Dalstål Self Care Comes first

tisdag 15 augusti 2017

Facebook groups for larp activism



This post is just a list of different facebook groups where different kinds of activism is done in the larp sphere.

You feel weak, like you need support.
You need to unite, but with whom?

Gender Separatist groups



Larp Women Unite - International
This is primarily a group for Nordic larpers, but all nationalities are welcome. The main purpose of this group is to be a place for people who in part or completely identifies as women or who are interpreted as women by society.

Your are welcome regardless if you are a larper or thinking about joining the community. The group is a feminist group but does not demand that its members see themselves as feminists.

If you are trans or non-binary and your pronouns or name could be misinterpreted, you may find it easier to contact an admin or admins with a request to join the group - just to avoid confusion. You are welcome here.

National Groups:
Larp Women Unite - Sverige (Sweden)
Larp Women Unite - Danmark (Denmark)
Larp Women Unite - Norge (Norway)
Larp Women Unite - Suomi (Finland)
Larp Women Unite - France (France)

Larperinnen aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum (Germany, not a LWU group)

Non gender separatist group


But what if I don't fit the demographic for any of the LWU-groups or if I want/need to join a group which is not gender separatist?

Larp Feminists Unite - International

This is primarily a group for Nordic larpers, but all nationalities are welcome. The main purpose of this group is to be a place for people who in part or completely identifies as feminists.
Your are welcome regardless if you are a larper or thinking about joining the community but you need to be interested in larp.

Larp Feminists Unite - Sverige (Sweden)

Swedish version of the above. Started first by Karin Edman and Bim Åkesson Schär.

"Ett support och planeringsforum för lajvfeminister av alla kön. ...Karin Edman är huvudadmin och sköter administreringen av sidan tillsammans med Bim Åkesson Schär. Föreslå gärna medlemmar, men fråga dem först om de vill bli medlemmar.

Efter en idé av Bim Åkesson Schär i april 2017."


Larpers BFF (International, Knutpunkts-based, not an LWU group)
"What if, discussions on difficult issues started with the intention of creating solutions and understanding, maybe even friendship, rather than to sort out who's "right" ? Maybe that's a tall order as forums on the net fairly often tend to bring out the worst in people, the ones focused on the grand activity/hobby/interest of larp not being an exception. But still - on the official No hate day - This is what we propose.
The goal of this group is to take on the life and death questions of love, sex, life, despair, abuse, violence, gender, norms and much more.
The deal is this: Any person can become a member. Your gender, nationality, skin colour, function variations, socio economic background, sexual orientation and all that are totally uninteresting for your application.
Awareness of the sometimes stigmatised, under privileged and triggering aspects of some of these things (and what they entail) is very much of interest. Not that you need to know anything about it really. As long as you are willing do be kind and openminded and here to share and learn along with equals."


HBTQ- groups for larpers


Larp Women Who Likes Larp Women
For female identified larpers who are interested in dating other female identified larping women.
H*bbits and Other Fagg*ts

"A group for Nordic larpers who aren't the gender their parents first assumed, who (among other things do or would) enjoy fucking people of the same sex, or who don't want to fuck anyone at all."