Methodologies for changing minds

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of rape and rapists.

DISCLAIMER: I drafted this sometime in June 2014. I didn’t finish it. I can’t remember what I was going to say in the rest of the post. But it seems worth publishing with that is there so far. This is very unfinished. Don’t hate me. Etc.


There’s been lots of discussions recently on the Facebook LRP groups about the volume of sexism present in games and how ‘the community’ should deal with it going forwards. One thing that hugely distresses me is when we forget who the real enemy is, as I said in my previous post. (Fuck it, I love The Hunger Games).

Feminism is an incredibly diverse set of ideologies grouped under a single heading. There is no ‘one true way’ to do feminism. You shouldn’t have a go at people just because they do things differently to you.

I’m not really one for shock tactics. I believe that they have their place when you’re initially trying to alert people of the problems. But once people are engaging, there is no point in trying to shock them further. The chances are that even if they’re denying that there is a major problem, they’re probably already aware that a problem exists to some degree. We just need to communicate to them how big the problem really is.

You don’t communicate to people that there’s a big problem by just saying the same thing at them over and over again. A great example of this is saying repeatedly to a group of people ‘I was raped, so therefore there is a massive problem and you must listen to me because I was raped’. I’ve seen this loads of times before. Unfortunately all the arguments and awarenesses that are being brought up regarding LRP, I witnessed this all in the photography community a few years ago.

Being raped is shit. There’s no doubt about it. But it’s also, thankfully, pretty rare at a LRP game. The numbers and figures mean that it’s statistically unlikely to happen, although when it does obviously it’s extremely serious and harrowing for the victim, their friends and the system as a whole. So in a game with 1000 players on the field, if one person gets raped at every event, that’s still just 0.1% of the player base saying ‘I’m not happy with this behaviour’. (And of course, one person is one person too many. Lets not forget that.)

When 0.1% of players says ‘I’m not happy with this behaviour’ that’s not a big noise. I mean lets put that into context here, you’re going to get more noise whinging about the toilets. It’s hard to make a difference when you’re competing against those numbers.

But imagine if you could get something like 30% of people talking about behaviour that they objected to.

When 0.1% of players says ‘I don’t like this behaviour that meant I got raped’ it’s very easy for every other player on the field to go ‘Well that’s not me or my friends, and you can’t stop a rapist’. I know, it’s wrong. Anyone could be a rapist. In fact statistics in America suggest it could be between 6% and 40% of men that are rapists. But the natural reaction is one of defensiveness. It’s very human and it’s ok to initially have that reaction. (Additionally, I don’t think that shouting at people about that very human reaction is particularly helpful either.)


A couple of years ago at the Tate Britain I saw a retrospective show by Susan Hiller. Within the rooms there was an installation piece called ‘Witness‘ – shown in the picture above.

39In this installation there are 400 speakers hanging from the ceiling that you’re encouraged to move within and listen to. Each speaker has someone recounting their experiences with UFO’s. (Stay with me, this will make sense).

Tell me. If you hear a single person fanatically telling you about their experiences about the time that aliens took them away, what do you think? You most likely think they’re a bit of a crackpot. Possibly you think they’re totally fucking insane.

You know what’s really powerful? 400 voices gently babbling about their experiences. Calmly talking to you about what happened to them.