Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Women Men Don't See

Maudie followed the same trail I did from Iggy's site to "about," and apparently had about the same level of enthusiasm that I had seeing that that the reviewers-that-is over there decided to break their "best" into "The Top Ten..." and "Top Ten Women" poker bloggers. It's nice she's #2 on the distaff list, but #2 what? And if you tossed "Poker Perspectives" into the "Top Ten" list, does that mean it places #12?

"Pfui," as Nero Wolfe would say.

Maudie's closing injunction that, "I am a poker player. I'm a poker blogger. If I am ever lauded or reviled for either, I wish my gender to be irrelevant." reminded me of Alice Sheldon who, if you're a science fiction reader, you know better as James Tiptree, Jr. For reasons she never made entirely clear, Sheldon adopted the male pseudonym and successfully concealed her identity until the late `70s. Her claim that, "I was tired of always being the first woman in some damn profession..." is a bit disingenuous, considering there were several well-known women sf writers - Kate Wilhelm and Ursula LeGuin come to mind - already at work when Sheldon started her career in the late `60s .

Robert Silverberg, another well-known sf writer, penned an introduction to one of Tiptree's collections, which became somewhat infamous in the community as Silverberg, who should have known better, spent much of the introduction making the case that only a male could have written these stories. Shortly thereafter Sheldon outed herself, as curious fans had determinedly tracked the mysterious Tiptree to a P.O. box in Washington, D.C. and were hot on her trail. Silverberg, it should be noted, was extremely gracious about the whole thing when the truth came out, saying that Sheldon had fooled him completely and had "called into question the entire notion of what is 'masculine' and 'feminine' in fiction."

Hang in there. I'll get to my point eventually. Ironically, one of the stories in that collection was titled, "The Women Men Don't See," which if you haven't read, I'll forgo spoilers and tell you to go find and read. And that finally brings me to my point. If Maudie took up the screen name of RockHard69 (or maybe BeefJerkie72O, in honor of Jethro Clampett), and went into an online game, I'd put money down that her playing style couldn't be defined as "masculine" or "feminine." I'd even put money down that there's more women than any of us suspect playing online under "RockHard-like" pseudos. But frankly, I don't spent a lot of time wondering about my opponents' gender, whether its a RockHard or a TiffanyBlow. I just want their money.

And, to extend my point, there's nothing particularly feminine about Maudie's writing either. Sometimes the subject matter could be argued as of feminine interests - I'd frankly wonder if Iggy, for example, started raving on the benefits of his "comfort flannel," - but Maudie's writing is just simply good writing; which is why I read it. If there's a masculine/feminine aspect to me about poker blogging, it's that I like to go to Maudie's and Felicia's blogs to get some relief from the testosterone-infused poker blogs, where you're too often as likely to get a story about binge drinking, pole dancers and crack ho's as card stories. Not that I have anything against booze, pole dancers, crack ho's or the like, it just gets tiring to wade through the same old stuff. And that's where my comment about "where the heck are Maudie and Felicia?" came from. Glaser offered a pretty good spectrum of poker blogs with Iggy, Otis, Pauly, and the Poker Prof. But he could have done better, I think. And the "About" split of "Top 10 Poker Blogs" and "Best Poker Blogs by Women" is insulting to both poker bloggers and to women.

And finally, I agree with Maudie. The idea of women-only poker events is ludicrous. It's like telling Phil Ivey that they've decided to have a "people of color"-only WSOP event because of concern that since he's often the only African-American at the table it must make him feel nervous.


Maudie said...

I humbly bow to you, sir.

FYI - for a time I had a Party Poker alias of "GTO-69"...

DuggleBogey said...

And Iggy's nick at Party used to be some variation of "AliMcBeal"

When you see a "masculine" or "feminine" sounding name on a poker site, I don't think you can assume anything based on a nick, least of all their playing style.