No, I’m not about to welcome you to a circus or a wrestling show or anything. The board game Ladies & Gentlemen (as I believe I’ve mentioned) is one of the games that spurred my desire to create this class. I knew we could have excellent conversations around the topic of leadership and social identities through this game.
First, however, I should probably provide you with a way to learn what the game is about…and you read enough of what I have to say. So here is the Shut Up & Sit Down review and overview of Ladies & Gentlemen.
So-the game is set in Victorian times and encourages role play of the roles as they were in that era. The game features very stereotypical gender roles, but also have a few other things going on as well. Would people pick up on it? So after everyone was done playing I asked for an initial reaction. The perceptions were what I could hope for. That clearly it is a game and is fun. That it is largely satirical. At the same time-it clearly demonstrated many stereotypes, showed the sexist nature of society and many other things I wanted them to notice. So we put a list of social identities on the board and asked students to find out ones that came out in the course of the game, either through game mechanics or the interaction of players.
Gender: This clearly played a large role in the game.
Race: “Yeah-these were clearly all white people.” (That the game has you play)
Sexual Orientation: “If the game was set now it would be more acceptable that it could be Ladies & Ladies or Gentlemen & Gentlemen.”
Social Class: “Social class was there. These were rich people-poor people don’t care about elegance at balls. And in the game were the servants.”
Nation of Origin & Or Citizenship: “In my group I decided to say something in Spanish. One of the other other players, in character, said “Who let the foreigner in?””
Body Size/Type: “Clearly this played out as you could tell these were all supposed to be well off, beautiful women.”
The class reflection questions also did a good job of catching viewpoints. We asked “How would this game be perceived in general society?” Responses include:
“The reaction wouldn’t be great because even though it’s satire, people don’t understand or care for it and it leads to people being upset.”
“I think larger society would be kind of ok with it honestly. It’s a game, & it’s set in Victorian era. This is pretty much how it was back then, and no one will deny that. It doesn’t reflect society today, so I don’t see why people would care. Of course some would, but I think most wouldn’t.”
“Very negative. If the news ever got to a website such as Tumblr the amount of online yelling would be horrible.”
“I think society would be upset by the gender stereotypes perpetuated by this game. In recent times females have had a stronger presence in STEM, Business, etc and this game diminishes the ability of women to be involved in activities other than shopping.”
“I think people would enjoy the game, but I could see women being offended, especially when men play ladies and play it up and make stupid comments, it could get hurtful.”
“Shock and disgust. Someone would claim that this game is a way of promoting patriarchy or gender subjugation.”
“It would have a very mixed reaction. Many people wouldn’t look past the surface and wrongly assume the game is very sexist. Some would understand the satire.”
We discussed current issues faced by various social identities, both at Miami and larger society. Overall-the game served all the purposes I wanted it to.
As a side note, a photographer from the university was present and took pictures of the class for future Miami publications, which is awesome.
You should check out the photo gallery of the pictures Miami took to use in publications.
Another great week of the class!