Welcome to Lila!

Lila is a woman’s name of course, but it is also a compelling concept of Hinduism that describes the whole of the universe as a product of divine play. In our hobby, we recognize the transformative power of play: we hope to be touched by it, to be transported by it, to celebrate ourselves and each other within it. To me and all of us here at Lila it’s also vitally important that we recognize that everyone should have an equal and welcome place within the play.

Lila seeks to protect the feminist voices in the greater roleplaying community who demonstrate courage when working towards creating social change, fostering greater understanding and increasing the accessibility of gaming for women. We wish to bring awareness, to serve as a resource for those designers and publishers who are trying hard to create an environment of equality in their games and their game texts, and to advance feminist thought in game theory and design.

To that end, we will be exercising our voices as roleplaying consumers by publishing feminist reviews of games that are in the market. Recently I was asked what the difference was between a review written by a feminist and a feminist review. While all of us at Lila are feminists, what we are aiming to do is to review the game product from a feminist perspective. We will examine the text, art, structure, design and marketing of a product in terms of its accessibility to women, its representation of women, and its statements about women. A feminist review does not necessarily seek to examine the general things a game is reviewed for; instead it seeks to examine the product’s relationship to women as consumers and users of the product.

We will also be talking about gender and play, about gender and story, and about gender and design in posts apart form our reviews. We sincerely hope to expand the discussion and scholarship of game theory and design, and to use our feminist thought to foster new perspectives and innovation.

Our tagline, “where firewood meets fireweed” is an expression of activism. Fireweed is a brightly coloured herb native to the northwest of North America that wildly propagates and flourishes in lands that are in the wake of forest fires. Putting down roots in the acidic soils that follow calamity, fireweed is a pioneering species of flower that brings life back from the ash. While criticism is a necessary component to effecting change, it is our collective hope that bright and vibrant re-growth can come in its wake.

I am lucky to have on board to launch this project, the terrific minds of Jessica Hammer, Jessica Pease, Emily Care Boss and Matt Wilson. We each come to the project with our own ideas about feminism, roleplay, theory and design that are varied but are constructively committed to exploration and progress. Here on Lila, we will be having our conversations in the open, where you can read them and take away what you find helpful or insightful. We have also provided a forum where you can bring your own experience to us, share insight, ask for help or just discuss feminism and gaming. (We particularly hope that designers and producers will feel empowered to come to Lila for feedback where they have an interest in making their game more accessible, and thus more marketable, to women!)

We expect that a community will be fostered in the forum, and have hopes that it will be a positive place committed to growing the discussion. We ask that where people choose to join the community, they do so with that spirit in mind.



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