Monday, October 14, 2002

Don't women play?
By way of Jill, I found, an interesting site about games and playing. Cindy Poremba, Monday sept 30th (no permalinks that I found) writes about women and games:

It never fails-- you bring up game play for women, and you'll find women pipe up "We don't play games. We do important things." I don't think its just a feeling any more-- there is a serious lack of play in women's culture. Somehow, where men are embracing play beyond childhood, there's a stigma against women who spend their time at play. Maybe we're still proving how responsible and intelligent we are, according to a feminist agenda. Maybe we're still clutching the lions share of the work, and feel we don't have time. Maybe we allow ourselves more unstructured interpersonal space with other women

In my experience women do play - they are just a little slow at getting to the computer games. The creative playfullness or playfull creativity is present in knitting, in cooking, in decorating. Decorating a modern house as if it was a farm house from last century is a role-playing project as serious as the recontruction/recreation works of live-action role-play gamers: hunting down the perfect pattern for the crochet lampshades in order to give the electric lights that home-spun touch, working on the store-bought furniture for days in ordr to make it look like it has been used for years, scrubbed with green soap every day and sanded twice a year for generations, camouflaging the television inside a rosepainted cabinet - and of course, she had to learn how to do rose-painting in order to decorate that cabinet after she had it rebuilt so the television set would go in there... This is a playfull make-belief, advanced games of dolls and house. Of course, to justify all the time and energy spent on such role-playing games (doesn't have to be farm house, how about lady of the manor, asian nights, japanese gardens...) women have to define their play as work, as absolutely necessary for the comfort of all.

I think they are right, too. I think this female playfullness is essential to the comfort of the family: Not because children and husbands, neighbours and relatives desperately need a crocheted doll to hide their toilet-rolls, but because they need a partner, friend, relative who expresses herself creatively in an activity which has social acceptance and gives status and satisfaction. And around here your skill of draping curtains gives you those things! (Me, I suck at lampshade camouflage and curtain draping... I play in different arenas.)

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