Well, that was a disappointment!
I saw today’s Daily Prompt was going to be about fandom, and I was all YES! But then they said it was going to be about sports. I don’t really follow many sports, they just aren’t that interesting to me. I have too many books to read, too many games to play. Sports just don’t do it for me.
But there is a sport I participate in. HEMA.
Historical European Martial Arts – the recreation, study, and practice of the martial arts practices out of western history. Mostly I do longsword, because it’s a ton of fun swinging around a sword wtih two hands. It’s the best weapon ever.
But what makes this relevant to my mission here is that HEMA is a place where women have been made to feel very welcome, in a lot of ways. Some of our premier teachers and fencers are women – Rebecca Boyd, Jessica Finley, Meg Godbut, Meg Floyd. They’re awesome people, and you should check out their work.
The way that HEMA is approaching integrating women is a very good one, and it is one the gaming and fandom communities would do well to emulate. Sure, there are the inevitable “look, men are just stronger than women – not better, just stronger, so of course there should be separate male and female tournament leagues…” discussions, and yeah, sometimes they get a bit tetchy. I worked as a member of the governing council of the HEMA Alliance (a big group that exists to promote HEMA activities), so I’ve seen a lot of this. But they remain DISCUSSIONS. Sexism and bigotry on the vicious scale I’ve seen it in the GAMING community do not seem to exist in the HEMA community, and we’re at LEAST as nerdy as any gamers about the stuff we do. Seriously, we are. Compare any argument about two maneuvers from DnD 3e to an argument about Ringeck vs Fiore, and tell me if you can discern any goddamn difference. But we seem to have avoided the microaggressions, and I find that awesome. I hope the gaming community can take a look toward the HEMA community and pick up some pointers.