In case you haven't heard, Contessa is an online gaming con. It's run by women, with only female GMs, although men can play. It seems to be having recruitment issues this year.
Part of it may be the idea that is is aimed (mostly) at female gamers. Maybe it's just me, but not allowing men to run games seems just a tad discriminatory. But then you can't discriminate against the majority (i think that's in the definition of discrimination somewhere) and men are definitely in the majority when it comes to playing RPGs.
I think the bigger thing that is holding it back is that all of the sessions are Hangouts "On Air". Sorry, I'm not going to play in a session with a bunch of strangers and have it up on Youtube until the end of time. Apparently the reason for the "On Air" part is so disruptive male gamers can be booted (which they can't be in a regular hangout apparently). It looks like male gamers have a bad reputation. I can see why one would want to restrict our access to running the sessions, as who would be there to boot us then?
Before it's even said, I have no problem with female gamers. I like to see them as an active part of the hobby, as it needs all sources for it to thrive and grow. Heck, one of the best DMs I ever played under was a woman back at GenCon in the mid 90s. She was certainly the best I played with at the con, and I was in way too many gaming sessions that year ;)
I just don't think excluding either gender from the organizing of a con and running the game sessions is the best way to encourage gaming with either sex. Segregation was a failure when it came to race and I don't think it fares any better when it comes to gender.
I'd actually like to see Contessa succeed despite the self imposed handicaps. We do need more organized play online and it is a well organized convention from what I can tell. I won't be participating though. The assumption that male players are bound to include their share of "creepy guys" and "that's why we have to record everything" creeps me out...
For those interested, here's the link to the games being run on Contessa. Looks like the OSR has made a showing :)
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