Inclusion Matters – 40K Edition

Imagine you’re in a city you’ve never been to before, and you’re in the mood to watch whatever sport it is you like. Your team’s playing tonight, and one of your friends has always told you to check out one of those big chain sports bars. There’s one in every city, always a place to waste a couple hours.

So you head out, sporting a t-shirt with your team’s logo on it, step inside…and every single person there is wearing another jersey. You’re conspicuous. Some of them are staring. Some of them are rolling their eyes. And everyone one of them knows you’re not from here.

Now imagine you can’t change your shirt.

Welcome to our hobby.

An imperfect analogy, to be sure, but it’s hard to underestimate the power of knowing that “people like you” are doing the thing you’re doing. Pursuing a certain degree. Working in a particular field. Moving plastic toy soldiers around a 6’x4′ table.

For me, it was the second semester of my freshman year. It was 8 PM, in one of the lecture halls of Olin Center. Ironically, for the purposes of the rest of this post, it was a feminist art history course. Women in Medieval Art and Literature. When I got there, I was the only man in the room (there would eventually be two, me and one of the co-professors). I was also the only freshman.

I was wrong. The professors were welcoming, the other students willing to hear my views, even when I pushed back on something, and in the end, it was one of the most enjoyable classes of my college career. But it also took time for me to really believe it, and feel welcome. And it took very visible effort on their part.

That’s why representation matters (or at least one reason). To get over that initial hurdle. That initial feeling of not belonging. To silence that part of your primitive rodent brain telling you that these aren’t your people. To have people to emulate, and to find a commonality.

In this hobby, I have a luxury – almost everyone looks like me. I look like I belong. I’m indistinguishable from nearly anyone else seriously considering buying another Wave Serpent, and I often just get a nod from shop owners. At most, “What do you play” or “Do you play?”. Never, in several decades and multiple continents, has anyone assumed I’m shopping for a partner.

I am welcome. And a great deal of that is because I am well represented.

But for women and people of color in the hobby, or looking to get into the hobby, that’s actively not true. They’re not well represented, and the experience of many of them (though by no means all) is that that lack of representation is a hard hurdle to overcome. Swimming against the current is tiring, and there are alternative uses of ones time.

Improving Representation

The deepest level of representation is something out of our control, at least in the short term. More women, and more people of color in the hobby is not a switch you can simply throw – otherwise, believe me, Games Workshop would have. The beginning is in something that can be improved swiftly: representation in art, in advertising, and in armies.

Art. Art is…getting better. But is far from good. There are two women pictured in the Imperial Guard regiments section of the new codex, an Armageddon Ork Hunter and a Faeburn Vanquisher. The guard do however remain…conspicuously white. In the brand new Eldar codex, a race that’s often depicted slightly more representatively, outside of mass battle scenes there are a handful, though they are noticeably outnumbered. Some of the best representation comes from licensed properties – the Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader etc. RPGs, as well as video game characters like Lt. Mira, who was one of the better parts of Space Marine and pretty much the spitting image of what I imagine a competent Cadian officer to be like.

In the fiction realm, representation is also somewhat better, with a number of prominent female characters, even in Astartes-heavy books, where this is an uphill battle, and better representation of PoC.

Advertising. Here, Games Workshop has been doing much better. Recall the ad for some of the getting started kits, featuring this pair:

While the commentary of many people in the community was a hugely disappointing “neither one of them play 40K” (that was the slur free version…and how do you think that made the women and PoC who do play 40K feel?), the ad is aspirational. These are people Games Workshop wants playing. It’s a welcome formed of economic ambition, but a welcome none the less.

Which gets us to the last one…

Representation on the Tabletop

Representation in armies and miniatures is where things fall utterly flat. Want to play one of those Guardswomen? Tough. Your options are limited to two figures, both ancient sculpts, in the Last Chancers set. No Cadians, and no other regiments, including the Gaunt’s Ghosts set, which is ostensibly about a decidedly mixed-gender regiment. The Space Marines are, of course, a lost cause (a topic for another day). The Inquisition – again, a source for some excellent female characters – right now, you’ve got Death Cult Assassins, and that’s it. For a setting where, as many assert, gender is irrelevant because we’re all cogs in the horrific machine that is the Imperium, half of those cogs are conspicuously hard to put on the tabletop.

But What About the Sisters of Battle/Silence?

It should be noted that, at least as far back as the 3rd edition Codex (I cannot speak for the 2nd, I didn’t own Sisters at the time), the Sisters of Battle have never actually been an exclusively female faction. The Ecclesiastical component of the army has been ever-present, and largely male. And on more than one occasion, these elements have been essential to make a stripped down army list work. But lets concede the idea that one could make an all-female Sisters of Battle army – it still doesn’t get us all the way there.

Tokenism – having one of something that’s notably exclusively for that trait – isn’t inclusion. A bit of the hobby set aside for you isn’t being welcomed, it’s being tolerated. To go back to the restaurant analogy at the beginning, it’s like a table in the corner. And given the level of support of the Sisters of Battle, it’s like a table in the corner where you never got a fork, the wait staff forgot about you, and somehow beer costs way more than it otherwise should.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Sisters of Battle. They’re just not a solution to the problem.

They’ve also got some deeply problematic elements to them, that even if they were enough, might still not be welcoming. Their figures universally have armor with very prominent and exaggerated secondary sex characteristics and the Sisters Repentia which draw very heavily on sexual imagery. More subtly, the very well fleshed out and evocative themes of the army – the notion of martyrdom, the way the Adepta Sororitas is deployed much more widely throughout the galaxy than the Astartes, etc. intersects poorly with them being the only notably female faction in the game. “Some women get slaughtered to show how serious everything is” is a well-worn trope in comics, SF/Fantasy and gaming, and it’s subtly pervasive in fiction (and not just fiction by Matt Ward).

TL;DR: The Sisters of Battle don’t mean we can rest easy.

But Girls Don’t Need an All-Girl Army!

No, they don’t. But if they wanted one – or even an army where there were fair number of female models in the army – they should have that option. Their own self-insertion characters. But again, representation is around that initial hurdle. People like you exist in this hobby. People like you exist in the setting.

And I have known women who have felt unwelcome because of the distinct lack of female figures in many lines. That all women might not feel that way is irrelevant – a loss to the hobby is a loss to the hobby.

But What About the Ungendered Armies?

This seems to come up a lot – the assertion that the Orks and Tyranids especially are ungendered, and thus somehow…”count”.

They don’t. One is an intelligent space fungus, and the other a bug.

I’d also challenge the idea that they aren’t gendered. Ghazghkull isn’t an “it”, it’s a “he”. So is Grukk Face-rippa. And Kaptin Badrukk. And Boss Zagstruk. Are you noticing a trend?

The Tyranids are more challenging. There are some gendered unit titles – the Dominatrix (in fluff), the Hive Crone, the Genestealer Patriarch, the Broodlord – but generally, the Tyranids are genderless. But again, this doesn’t really matter, because no one is looking for representation in insectoid horrors from beyond the stars. But that’s the thing – not everything has to be as long as there’s strong representation elsewhere. And right now, there’s not.

But What About SuperCoolSpecialCharacter?

Inquisitor Greyfax is awesome – it takes a special sort of person to give Greater Daemon of the Emperor Saint Celestine the side-eye and mutter about witchery. And Yvraine is awesome, a throwback to the Eldar ancients of old, and one of the few beings to spit in Vect’s eye and live to tell the tale (though not without getting a boatload of her allies killed, as one does).

But they’re also not fully the solution, even if you ignore some of the stylistic choices in many special character models (like say, the prevalence of high heels on characters heading into battle…). The problem is these special characters are exactly that…they’re special. Relying on them for female representation is suggesting that while any joker who can hold a lasgun can get a model if he’s a man, a woman has to be exceptional to be worthy of representation in the setting.

That’s a problem. First, it doesn’t actually solve the “I’d like to make the regiments shown in the Codex” problem at all, and second, it’s an uncomfortable mirroring of a common and pervasive experience of many women best embodied in the phrase “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.”

But What About Victoria Miniatures/Sculpting Your Own? Aka:”Buy A 3rd Printer Noob!”

I’ll confess when I started writing this essay, I didn’t see this one coming – it’s a particularly flawed bit of reasoning brought to you by Twitter. I love Victoria’s Arcadians. I’ve reviewed her stuff twice now (Link 1 and Link 2).

But if we’re talking about welcoming someone into the hobby, working from that common initial scenario of walking into a game store, do you really think “Oh yeah, we only carry male Guard figures. If you want women, there’s a site online you can order them from. Except they’ll be 73% more expensive, in resin, and oh yeah, largely incompatible with the rest of the Guard line because they’re at different scales” is a welcoming message to send?

That goes double for the suggestion that you can sculpt your own or go to 3D printing. Remember that bit about expecting women to be exceptional in order to be represented? Expecting half the population to come to the table with advanced hobby skills in order to be represented is pretty much the living embodiment of that. And flies in the face of everything GW has done to make the game and the hobby more accessible – easy build models in colored plastic, a pretty foolproof paint system, a vastly simplified ruleset…

It’s just absurd.

Why Is this a Thing Now?

It’s been a thing for a long time – like many things, social media has made it easier to find discussions that used to take place in smaller groups. But “why are there no female Cadians” was a thing more than a decade ago – I know because I went in on a proto-crowd funding campaign with someone who was casting some. The quality was…well…what you’d expect from home casting a decade ago, but this is not new. This has mattered to me, and the women I’ve gamed with, for a long time.

As to why this is getting posted now? Games Workshop made an announcement, a move in the right direction, and it brought some voices out of the woodwork. I believe it’s important for those who support increased representation to speak up and say so – silence is, effectively, an acceptance of the status quo. And it’s an effort (or, to use a somewhat jargon-y term “emotional labor”) that shouldn’t fall only on the shoulders of the women in our hobby.

So What Is the Solution?

The solution is one Games Workshop has already talked about – to a considerable hue-and-cry. Increasing the models (and, hopefully, the in-game artwork) that represents women. GW did a very good job of this with some of the new Tau sprues – some of those heads are female, and it’s just not a thing. I’d love to see a re-designed Cadian sprue with the same thing – enough heads to at the very least make a mixed gender unit.

And I’d like to see them in different styles. For the most part (though not exclusively) the female characters that do exist are highly sexualized. They’re wearing corsets and high heels. Someone who wants to represent a male Inquisitor has options from Hulking Dude the Size of a Space Marine to more standard power armor to the classic “Van Helsing” Inquisitor look. If you want to represent a woman? You’ve got Greyfax and a very particular aesthetic.

What I want is to be able to build Lt. Mira out of the box.

And those that think that that request is an attack on the hobby I’ve been a part of for a really long time?

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36 Comments


  1. I see you’re just going to ignore harlequins, craftworld Eldar, and dark eldar, which the warrior box has a decided 60/40 split on gender, and you can easily swap pieces with the wytch kits for full representation… the craftworld though, most of their generic troops are androgynous, you can’t tell if they’re male or female, they all wear the same armor, something that could be easily fixed with a female head sprue… but typically the Eldar like to keep their armor on. No one is arguing against plastic female guard or sisters of battle, many many people have been clamoring for them for a long time, they just weren’t very vocal. But the feminist 40k page has no respect for the lore or the setting, they decidedly shout “NO LORE” on their page all the time. They’re after female space marines, which would run counter to the lore that took root after rogue trader, which is obsolete at this point to everything that came after it. There is an in universe explanation for why there cannot be female space marines, and they ignore it. No one would knee jerk or bat an eye at more options for their armies, but female space marines are heresy, they’re not even really male anymore, they’re more or less genderless because their reproductive organs have been replaced. Also, as far as skin color, you can paint the models however you like, you also forgot to mention the salamanders, which have a huge fanbase, yeah, their skin is pitch black due to their evolutionary response to their planet’s proximity to the Sun… that’s how skin color works, if a colony of white people terraformed mars and were exposed to the radiation from it, within a certain number of generations, the offspring from these colonists would develop black skin tones… we are all the same inside… paint them however you please. Understandably the Eldar are pretty pale because they live in the craftworlds, the dark Eldar on commorragh, which seems like a pretty bleak planet tbh.
    Just no female space marines, goes against 20+ years of lore that has been constantly refined and expanded upon In great detail.

    Reply

    1. Tim,

      Looking at the occasional hobby stuff I post, you’ll find I don’t ignore them – indeed, most of my Eldar are a kitbashed 50/50 gender units. I’d argue that the generic troops *aren’t* androgynous – the male vs. female torsos are quite obvious. One reason I didn’t touch on them is the lore about Aspect Warriors, which muddies the waters a lot when you talk about gender representation.

      As for “no one is arguing against plastic female guard or sisters of battle” I will tell you that, especially if you have the temerity to suggest maybe less sexualized figures, people do vociferously argue against them. In the past 48 hours I have been told I am discriminating, going to destroy the hobby, must hate the game, and am “threatening the hobby at the barrel of a gun”. And I’ve *never* mentioned female Space Marines.

      On a few of your other points:

      1. “Pitch black with red eyes due to an exposure mutation” isn’t representing a person of color. You’d be better off pointing to the Celestial Lions…except the Inquisition killed them all. But the note on color was actually about the artwork of the game – the Guard Codex is conspicuously white. Even their Tallarn example is more “Lawrence of Arabia” instead of “Saladin”.

      2. Female space marines. I didn’t touch on these for a reason. But I’d argue in the Cawl-era, arguing “That’s not how making Space Marines work” is a particularly fraught concept.

      3. The Feminist 40K page is one of the most active, passionate 40K communities I have the privilege to participate in, and they have a deep fondness for the game and the lore. Some of them want to revisit what was an arbitrary decision made back in the early 80’s (remember…the science of Space Marines isn’t real and is…bad). I just can’t be upset by that idea.

      Reply

      1. And for reference, the delay in your comment being posted was an entirely a function of all first time commenters needing to be approved by me, and me needing sleep.

        Reply

        1. ONLY ONE NARRATIVE ALLOWED. APPROVED COMMENTS ONLY- said the nazi

          Reply

          1. Until this point, I had approved every single comment posted. Subject of course to little things like me being awake at the time. With this comment however, you have managed to change that.


  2. well spoken and articulate

    Reply

  3. Imagine if you had put as much effort into other, actually important, relavent and interesting topics

    You might have a site with an actual userbase, and people who have actually heard of you.

    Well, at least now they’ve heard of you… and will avoid you like the plauge

    Reply

    1. I am perfectly content with my life, my user base, and the reputation of this site.

      Reply

    2. You must find this site relevant and important. otherwise you wouldn’t bother to leave a comment.

      Reply

  4. Bloody brilliant. Spot on. Well said! And so on. I remember that proto-crowdfunding campaign I think; it was hosted on Portent I believe? Or maybe very early Warseer? About 2004, perhaps – not long after the plastic Cadians had come out. I missed out on it and regretted it for a long time.

    Shameless plug – I have a YT channel talking about this sort of stuff; Administratum Adept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOunrfoZQPo&lc=z23pvrr4bky0v325r04t1aokgtftuehsxmushnsnixpprk0h00410.1509299441102973 is the video talking about women and the Imperial Guard.

    Oh, and 2nd Edition Sisters of Battle? All the Ecclesiarchy priests were men – and so were the Frateris Militia, released alongside them. Also Redemptor Kyrinov and Uriah Jacobus. They got some cool art in the book, and there were also images of Sisters alongside Guardsmen.

    Reply

    1. I found them via Bolter and Chainsword, but I’m sure it was widely distributed.

      Reply

  5. I’ll say what I’ve observed with my wife regarding a different hobby, drumming. When I watch a video of a drummer giving a clinic, and most the time it is a man, she’ll watch for a second and then leave to do some other thing. However if the drummer is a woman, like Cindy Black, Anika Niles or Emmanuelle Caplette, she will sit down and watch for quite a long time.

    She doesn’t make a conscious decision to do this, she simply acts, likely without too much thought on the matter. However I can call this evidence empirical, because it is measuring her behavior in a consistent way. My hypothesis is that when she sees a woman doing it she has a better capacity to imagine herself doing it; or maybe she just likes learning from women more. Either way she’s not engaged with the male led programming in the same way she is engaged with the female led programming.

    There are plenty of women who play 40k, but there could be more. It’s good hobby, with many ways to participate. However lacking women models, or the few that do exist are for the benefit of male gaze, there is little to for her to want to engage with.

    There are some really easy solutions to these issues and defies logic that GW has struggled to take any step forward. Simply a small sprue of women’s heads included in a basic IG squad would accomplish so much.

    As for ethnic diversity in 40k, that is an issue too. Given how people who live in jungle environments on Earth are often very tan, why would the Catachan jungle fighters be so white? To this issue I’ve always just blamed the fact that GW is based in England, and all they must ever see is pasty white people. I think it’s an accident that keeps happening. And now, because they have decades of art featuring white people, when they go to find some art from their catalog, the vast majority over represents white people.

    There are women who really enjoy painting Pin Up girl type models, and I don’t want to take that away from them or the men who like it too. I think there exists women who would enjoy painting regular women models as well, and that remains an untapped market.

    Eldar are a cool army, with enough cool models, but time and again, people love the humans, whether space marine, chaos or IG. And in those factions the lack of women is ridiculous.

    I can’t speak to the Facebook group I hear so much about, who want female space marines. Female space marines don’t bother me at all. Frankly, Space Marines are sub human freaks, incapable of life outside of violence. Once the surgeon goes to town on the initiate, whatever gender they used to have is erased. One can safely assume that whatever jaw line they have as a fully formed space marine is the by product of sustained hormone treatments. If they ever had breasts, safe to say like an Amazon, those breasts were removed.

    Reply

    1. “There are plenty of women who play 40k, but there could be more.”

      This.

      Heck.

      “There are plenty of people who play 40k, but there could be more.”

      Reply

  6. Hahaha… The first time I entered a Retail Workshop in my regular outfit. I entered a room with 159 European managers looking at me in their black GW t-shirts.

    I know the feeling.

    (Vouwed to never wear it in store again)

    Reply

  7. I cannot agree more with this article. I’ve been a huge fan of the hobby since I was young, but as I grew older and more mature, I’ve been increasingly embarrassed by the aggressive lack of representation of non-white, non-male humans. It’s especially frustrating because my favourite part of the Warhammer universe, the Gaunt’s Ghosts novels by Dan Abnett and the Ciaphas Cain novels by Sandy Mitchell, are chock-a-block full of really, really cool women. But whenever I try to share any of my love of the hobby with my partner or female friends, they take one look at the enormous breasts and high heels and BDSM-wear on the rare female models and nope right the heck out. In the books, the Sisters of Battle are SO COOL to me. Jessi Banda and Regina Kasteen and Felicia Tayber can kick ass left, right, and center. I’ve got a copy of the Deathwatch RPG sitting on my shelf gathering dust because I’d be ashamed to even put it in front of the women in my RPG group. It’s gotten to the point where I have fully embraced cognitive dissonance in order to still enjoy the hobby: I just try not to look at, or think about, the lack of female models or art, and I can get by. People who aren’t straight white men don’t have that option. The reaction from the community on these kinds of conversations tend to be disheartening at best and disgusting at worst, as seen in some of the comments above. Video games, speculative fiction novels, movies, and RPGs have moved away from being so rancidly hostile to 70%+ of the population that are “minorities” (not straight, white, or men). I don’t know why the 40k game and community, despite such an emphasis on art, creativity, individuality, personalization, customization, and community, are so opposed to basic fundamental values of a liberal democracy. Thank you for taking a stand on this one, Variance Hammer. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of flak from people on it, but those people you’re better off without anyway.

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  8. I’ve come to realize that “You can’t have female space marines, it’s against the lore” is basically code for “I’m a misogynist”. Female Space Marines were in the lore long long ago, and they got retconned out. GW wants to re-retcon them back in? Who am I to argue.

    Thanks for putting such an eloquent explanation out there… never mind that a lot of folks will jump on it as ruining the hobby, there are a few folks out there who WILL be swayed by logic and reason and GW IS slowly getting the message. We’ll probably get plastic Sisters before we really see GW being inclusive, but they’re making baby steps.

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    1. I’ve said repeatedly that it seems especially silly in the Cawl-era, where “How does a Space Marine get made?” is answered by him shrieking in binary “I DO WHAT I WANT!”

      Reply

    2. > I’ve come to realize that “You can’t have female space marines, it’s against the lore” is basically code for “I’m a misogynist”.

      In other words, “everyone who disagrees with me is an inhuman monster.” Sorry, we have enough of that in the world already.

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      1. It’s a very curious line to draw when we’re already changing how Space Marines work, and have several times in the past.

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      2. > In other words, “everyone who disagrees with me is an inhuman monster.” Sorry, we have enough of that in the world already.

        Nope, not “everyone who disagrees with me” … just all the folks who are so opposed to women having representation that they can’t the possibility countenance a world were GW brings it back. It’s an argument based on a false premise for keeping women out of the hobby. I’ve never seen anyone who uses that as their logic for why better representation isn’t a good thing expose the slightest shred of decency or caring about any of the other topics with VH covered so well. If the next thing out of their mouth is saying that SOB/Tau/Cadians are “enough” representation I pretty much know there’s no point in even engaging with them further; That’s basically enough to tell that they are either a misogynist who can’t abide the thought of women in their hobby or a troll… and the long time usenet adage “don’t feed the trolls” still remains true to this day. And I’m afraid that if they can’t be bothered to consider the possibility of women having equal significance, I don’t really see the point in treating them like honest debate partners.

        Reply

        1. Yet people and groups like Feminist40k continue to act as if THEY have the right to tell GW (a multi-million dollar company) how to run their company and that “diversity will bring in more sales”, and continue to virtue-signal and ramble to further their own socio-political narrative. If these small PC-warriors would stop labeling the majority of the 40k playerbase as “racist, misogynist white-men” and actually bring to the table real facts, arguments and proof that these radical changes are needed, maybe the backlash wouldn’t be so hard and people could actually start a decent conversation. Yes, there are extremists in both camps, but do these small and vocal groups of “politically-correct 40k fans” really need to keep throwing mud at both the big company AND the fandom until one of them finally caves in to their demands? Seems a bit hypocritical to keep bashing and bashing this thing to death like it’s the most important move of our century. FFS, it’s a niche-hobby wargame with plastic and metal miniatures about an over-the-top sci-fi setting where war is the norm, diversity and equal-representation should be the least worries when billions upon billions of human, eldar, ork, tau and other humanoid aliens die each and every single day. Yet we can’t have even that because some people are offended by it… I swear it’s like a good chunk of the western world is getting more and more insane with each passing day, like this mentality of being “easily offended” and “everything should be PC-friendly” has softened everyone up to the point where they can’t even handle something different than their own views and this is too overbearing on their brain so they feel the need to change it to what better suits their PERSONAL BELIEFS… One final note, funny how most of these people who cry out “MORE DIVERSITY IN 40K!” are men and not actually women who could, you know, actually HAVE their own thought instead of having male feminists tell women and minorities what to do and what to be offended by….

          Reply

          1. I will reply to this comment – the other one I’m debating whether or not to approve because it’s replying to a series of comments that has been removed. I’m willing to indulge people I disagree with, but when you start calling myself, or my readers, rapists because they disagree with you, you’re not welcome on this site.

            But assuming you’re *actually* speaking in good faith, a couple things:

            1. Feminist 40K, of which I am a member, is one of the most active and positive hobby groups I’m in.

            2. I’ll note that I complain about GW *a lot*. I’m tepid about 8th edition generally. I hate the Primaris Marine concept. On other forums I’ve complained about wanting Forge World to support some of the Space Wolf kits so it’s not quite so hard to kitbash them for 30K, and I’ve called the Aspect Warriors for the Eldar appallingly out of date. The only time people accuse me of attacking the hobby, censorship, bashing the company, etc. is when I have the audacity to suggest that it would be nice to be able to model Imperial Guard regiments as they appear in both the fluff and codex, which includes some number of female models.

            3. No, this is not the most important thing in the world. But it’s something people care about, including myself, and I’m capable of doing more than one thing at a time.

            4. “…diversity and equal-representation should be the least worries when billions upon billions of human, eldar, ork, tau and other humanoid aliens die each and every single day” this is a red herring. We’re talking about diversity and equal-representation in the game as it is played by real people in the real world. Ironically, one of the complaints is that in the glorious, uncaring setting of 40K, where equal-representation means everyone gets to die in a trench clutching their lasguns, representation is better than it is in the figure line.

            5. “I swear it’s like a good chunk of the western world is getting more and more insane with each passing day, like this mentality of being “easily offended” and “everything should be PC-friendly” has softened everyone up to the point where they can’t even handle something different than their own views and this is too overbearing on their brain so they feel the need to change it to what better suits their PERSONAL BELIEFS…” I’d suggest you think about how this applies to someone writing several paragraphs of a response to someone saying “It would be swell if we had more female models.”

            6. “One final note, funny how most of these people who cry out “MORE DIVERSITY IN 40K!” are men and not actually women who could, you know, actually HAVE their own thought instead of having male feminists tell women and minorities what to do and what to be offended by….” This is a demographic inevitability due to our hobby as it currently is. I also touch on the idea, in the essay itself, that leaving the emotional labor of fighting this fight entirely to women and PoC is neither fair nor right, so I’m not going to do it. And if every female gamer in my life had gone “You know, I’m really content…” I’d worry about something else. But that’s not what they’ve told me.


  9. Very well said. Puts me in mind of a summary I saw of an argument about some Legend of Zelda game: “So, basically, the option to play as a female character is oppressing men, but only being able to play as a male character isn’t oppressing women?”

    I’ve been reading The Beast Arises series, and they’ve done a significantly better job with gender balance there, and it’s been making me want to see that even more in the Codexes and art and Models. And yes, more reasonable female models. Someone who’s in condition to be a soldier, and is wearing proper armour, is most likely not going to have a visibly huge rack. Lt. Mira up there is a perfect example. Athletic build plus combat armour means that the facial detail is all that’s needed to make her noticeably feminine.

    I’ve also got a half-done post about why all the in-game arguments against female space marines are bs. I should actually write that up and post it.

    Reply

    1. how is this well said? and why are you this concerned over a gender balance in a fictional, toy, universe?

      Reply

      1. This isn’t about the fictional universe. It’s about how the game and the hobby are played by genuine people.

        Reply

  10. When the crumbling edifices of the Imperium finally fall to the modern Tau’va and our Social Justice Fire Warriors, your repressed hive citizens of all genders will know true equality!

    For the Greater Good!

    (Also TY for stating this all more reasonably than I can while RPing ^^; )

    Reply

  11. So we need more Female Fascists in games? because you have to admit that’s what they are. Yet all the people cry misogyny and racist and whatever buzzword is popular today to shame people not wanting this idea.

    Hmm, it’s almost as if you’re doing this to make yourself look good. just look at this ass kissing. http://variancehammer.com/2017/11/01/inclusion-matters-40k-edition/#comment-27815

    but hey you have reaction gif images and tl;dr shit as you try to pander to the crowd that just wants to play games and is sick of your shit.

    it’s kind of funny too how ALL of anti-gamergate have been found sexual abusers as they tried to suppress their awful past but hey SJWs are the “good guys” right?

    Reply

    1. I am approving this comment because technically it isn’t spam.

      It’s wrong, in many, many ways, but it’s not spam.

      Reply

  12. A funny opinion you have here, but using your own reasoning, it doesn’t *really* count.

    Reply

    1. C- for effort, at best. The content of the article touches on this.

      Reply

  13. You’re a confirmed idiot.

    Feel free to delete your blog.

    Yes, Salamanders are “only black” because of GRIMDARK RADIATION.

    How the fuck do you think afrikans are black on OUR PLANETS?? RADIATION FROM THE SUN

    ITS EXACTLY THE SAME!

    SALAMANDERS ARE BLACK FOR THE EXACT SAME REASONS AFRICANS ARE BLACK!

    SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE.

    Delete it now. Everything from this point onwards is worthless.

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply

    1. The coloration of Salamanders is expressly called out as a reaction of their geneseed, hence the red eyes as well, not just the radiation. They’re also not meaningfully African in visual motifs, traditions, etc. beyond “They’re black”, which isn’t nearly enough.

      I’ll pass, thanks.

      Reply

  14. Look, you make some good points, you really do. I agree that some female heads and such for Cadians would be very welcome and that GW has been seriously mismanaging the Sisters for a long time. I for one have bought third party models for both sisters (from Grishnak) and female Guardsmen (from Raging Heroes).

    However, where I have to vehemently disagree is when you say:

    “People like you exist in this hobby. People like you exist in the setting.”

    First of all, exactly one kind of people exists in the tabletop wargaming hobby: nerds. Huge gigantic turbonerds. Wargaming is the kind of hobby where other nerds take a look and go “wow, that’s too nerdy for me”. It has not been acceptable within black communities to be a nerd for very long, that’s a new thing. It hasn’t been acceptable for women either to be nerds for very long. Expecting the people who have probably grown up in the least nerd friendly environment in the west to take up tabletop wargaming is optimistic but a bit unrealistically so. Give it some time and we might see some influx as the stigma slowly erodes.

    As for “people like you exist in the setting”, no they don’t. The people in the 40k setting are nothing like anyone today. The people of 40k are more like the people of the Dark Ages. You’ve got crusader knights running around, fighting people they don’t understand with swords and shields. That’s the joke, that humanity of the far future has regressed to the mentalities of what is arguably the worst time in human history. No one plays 40k because they relate to the people, if that was the case then Space Marines wouldn’t be so popular. Space Marines are the least relatable humans (if you can even call them human) in the setting but they’re still the most popular.

    As a final aside, I want to argue that the sexual nature of the Sisters of Battle designs is not a problem. It’s a part of their aesthetic identity just as much as giant pauldrons are part of the Space Marines’. It’s fine not to like it, to each their own, but something being sexual isn’t a problem in and of itself.

    Reply

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