Women's trophies - Opinions?

Matt Vince

Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2011
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#1
A question for all the women that play pinball!

For years now I have organised competitions and have awarded trophies to the best placed female players as well as for the overall competition and Juniors.

It has been brought to my attention that not all women care for these trophies (and in some cases think they are such an issue that they would no longer participate if I continue to award them).

I am polling opinions because speaking to a minority of women has resulted in very different views.

The aim behind the awarding of these trophies was only ever to encourage participation (as the gender split in comps i have organised is 21:1). I am pleased that we have some regular female players now enjoying the club and it's competitions. However, if the awarding of trophies based on gender is having a detremental effect I will of course stop buying them.

Please can I have you thoughts on the matter?
 

thelab

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Oct 8, 2012
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#2
I think it's a bit non-pc to award separate female trophies and agree it can be seen as a bit patronising,

But ultimately, I think this is a decision for the ladies who compete to decide if they want separate trophies.

Maybe at or after registration it may be possible to follow up with any women registrants to see how they felt before the trophies are purchased?

Juniours I understand..

Keep up the sterling work Matt, it's very much appreciated, and any complaints shouldn't be taken personally as it's all done in good spirit!
 

Durzel

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Oct 1, 2017
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#4
Womens trophies in sports where there is clearly a difference in physicality or whatever makes sense. Not sure it makes sense in pinball unless one is to assume that men (or women) universally play pinball differently than the opposite gender. Is that the case? I can't think of a compelling reason why it would be.

It would seem to me to be a bit patronising to be awarded a trophy for no other reason than because you were the best of your particular gender at pinball (but not good enough to get the "proper" trophy)
 
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Andypuk

Active Member
Aug 12, 2013
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Birmingham, UK
#5
I think it's a bit non-pc to award separate female trophies and agree it can be seen as a bit patronising,

But ultimately, I think this is a decision for the ladies who compete to decide if they want separate trophies.

Maybe at or after registration it may be possible to follow up with any women registrants to see how they felt before the trophies are purchased?

Juniours I understand..

Keep up the sterling work Matt, it's very much appreciated, and any complaints shouldn't be taken personally as it's all done in good spirit!
#MeToo
 

stumblor

Active Member
Sep 16, 2018
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#6
Your intentions are/were clearly in the right place Matt, and in the spirit of that - whatever encourages the most participation from everyone, male, female, kids - then that should be followed.
If you'd had complaints, I'd say drop them (I totally get why) - and try to identify other ways to encourage more participation across the gender/age spectrum.
Obviously would be great to hear from more women though..!
 
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Matt Vince

Matt Vince

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Jul 21, 2011
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#7
Your intentions are/were clearly in the right place Matt, and in the spirit of that - whatever encourages the most participation from everyone, male, female, kids - then that should be followed.
If you'd had complaints, I'd say drop them (I totally get why) - and try to identify other ways to encourage more participation across the gender/age spectrum.
Obviously would be great to hear from more women though..!
That was my inital reaction after the first 2 females I spoke to said they don't like receiving them. I then asked 2 more and was told that they would be discouraged from playing if they weren't there. Hence my post to get the opinions of a larger group of women.

Fundamentally I do not think there is a physical advantage in pinball as there is in other sporting events (with the possible exception that men are 'apparently' evolved with better spacial awareness, but I don't honestly know if this is true or not).

Not awarding these trophies is no problem for me (in fact it'll save money) but I was also planning to hold a womens competition next year which I have also been told would be unacceptable segregation.

I fully understand I can't please everyone on this matter which is why I am trying to get a majority opinion from as many women as possible.

Perhaps it isn't my place to organise a Womens event? I just want to encourage as many people to play pinball as possible and am trying my best to do so.
 
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Davey D

Site Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
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#8
Womens trophies in sports where there is clearly a difference in physicality or whatever makes sense. Not sure it makes sense in pinball unless one is to assume that men (or women) universally play pinball differently than the opposite gender. Is that the case? I can't think of a compelling reason why it would be.

It would seem to me to be a bit patronising to be awarded a trophy for no other reason than because you were the best of your particular gender at pinball (but not good enough to get the "proper" trophy)
This sums up exactly what I was going to say
 

stumblor

Active Member
Sep 16, 2018
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London, UK
#11
Perhaps it isn't my place to organise a Womens event? I just want to encourage as many people to play pinball as possible and am trying my best to do so.
Don't worry too much about being misconstrued - I don't think anyone could possible accuse you of anything other than inclusivity Matt.

For me, going to my first comp at Flipout at few weeks ago was slightly tricky in the sense I didn't really know anyone. You don't have the luxury of shared experience, so you have to put yourself out there and break the ice with as many people as possible in order to make friends. In what is essentially a male dominated hobby/sport, I imagine this is an even trickier situation for a woman.

I know that the STEM (Science, maths, engineering and tech) fields have been having a big push recently to try and encourage more women to pursue careers in that area. It makes for good reading and may shed some light:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/moiraf...ung-women-to-enter-stem-in-2018/#2cd706051cd7

https://www.womeninstem.co.uk/
 
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#12
Your views are spot on Matt.

I wouldn't worry too much - it's near impossible to 'do the right thing' these days on any front. Everybody has an opinion, everybody has an issue with something, everyone is encouraged to express their opinions on everything, then go mental when people have a different 'opinion'. It's the bloody social media hall of mirrors.

It's exhausting. And I'm sure it's doing our collective mental health as a society no good at all.

Slight rant over



Sent from my D5833 using Tapatalk
 

Replay

Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2011
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#15
Wading in feet first!

Probably anyone over 10 years old is capable of being world champion. Lefkoff was only age 11 and in the top 100.

Open tournaments seem best solution, unless there is a big enough entry to make a women's event meaningful and not a token event.
 

Durzel

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2017
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#16
Your views are spot on Matt.

I wouldn't worry too much - it's near impossible to 'do the right thing' these days on any front. Everybody has an opinion, everybody has an issue with something, everyone is encouraged to express their opinions on everything, then go mental when people have a different 'opinion'. It's the bloody social media hall of mirrors.

It's exhausting. And I'm sure it's doing our collective mental health as a society no good at all.

Slight rant over
Well said.
 

Leah Mills

New Member
Aug 27, 2018
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#17
Hello, as many of you already know, I’m one of the women who isn’t interested in receiving best ladies trophies. Some of you encouraged me to talk to Matt about it. Matt happened to bring up the topic as I was leaving the Monster Meet on Sunday, so we discussed it then. But I may not have expressed myself very well after two full days of playing pinball.

One piece of feedback I gave is that I would like to see pinball events include a bit more info about what to expect when they are first advertised, including whether or not there will be ladies/junior trophies. That way women who like the trophies will be more encouraged to attend, and women who don’t like them can choose to avoid the events if they would prefer. It’s also great when events have a lot of info about the format and expected machine lineup. There’s currently a lot of variation in how events are advertised and the descriptions can sometimes seem a bit vague to someone like me who hasn’t competed very much.

Events with best ladies trophies are not a good fit for me personally and they really suck the fun out of the day for me. I’m not interested in attending events that have them. I’m also very aware that some women like the trophies, because people like different things. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with liking the trophies; they’re just not for me. I don’t want to be the jerk who got the fun thing taken away from other people.

I don’t have an objection to women’s tournaments if they are optional, and if women are not excluded from the main tournament. It’s mandatory gender segregation that I personally dislike, which I may have been unclear about when speaking to Matt.

Some women may not feel comfortable sharing their views on this forum. I don’t think that should be taken as a lack of interest in the topic. If I was a woman who liked these trophies, I might not want to comment after reading numerous comments from men explaining why they don’t like the trophies. It would be great for event organisers to continue speaking to women one on one as Matt has been doing.

Also maybe don’t assume this will be just a like/dislike binary. There may be some women who like the trophies, but don’t enjoy every aspect of how they are currently awarded, and they may have suggestions for ways they would find the trophies even more enjoyable.

I told Matt that I appreciated the opportunity to experience a variety of different competition formats, and he said he had received a lot of other positive comments about that. I realise it’s a lot of work to put on these events and I do appreciate that. I hope I didn’t come across as completely negative. But I’m sure it can be frustrating for organisers to see people come to events and then not come back again, and never know why. So I wanted Matt to know why I’m not joining the next season of the London league, but I did emphasise that I am still very interested in continuing to participate in the weekly Flip Out league.
 

Durzel

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Oct 1, 2017
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#18
I guess the problem is gauging how many women are put off by "best ladies trophies" vs how many are incentivised to attend by them. Not sure it's possible to know this ratio, and therefore you're left in limbo - unable to make any decision without putting off at least some women.
 
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Matt Vince

Matt Vince

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Jul 21, 2011
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#20
Thank you for commenting Leah, you weren't the only female that expressed to me that you do not care for the ladies trophies and your opinion on the subject is just as valid as any other woman (and a lot more so than all of us men that have commented on this thread so far!).

I am pleased that you would be happy to attend a mixed event that offers an optional ladies side competition as this seems to me to offer the best of both worlds. When we spoke, it was at the end of a very long weekend and if I misunderstood you I apologise.

I hope you will continue to enjoy our events and also hope that you will continue to join us in the London Pinball League in future. As one of the clubs top competitive players I believe you demonstrate to other women that with practice and a little rules knowledge that there is no advantage to being a man when it comes to playing pinball.

I will also take on board your other suggestions as to how we can improve sharing information in future. I have to take the blame on that front as I have a habit of spreading myself too thin and not finding the time to do it all.
 
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johnwhitfield

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Jul 21, 2011
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#22
What is it that makes pinball such a male dominated hobby? Is it the themes of the games? The nerd like obsession of most of us? Sexist comments? The lack of deodorant at meets?

Is there anything we can do to make the hobby more inclusive? To a certain extent a group of middle aged blokes talking about increasing diversity is doomed to fail but should we be doing anything different if we want more women to join in?
 
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Hardboiled

New Member
Oct 15, 2018
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#24
Now I’ve got a minute to chip in...

I’ve not been playing long and have really enjoyed the tournaments because I get to meet more folks and most importantly, play lots of pinball.

But yes, I was given 3rd place trophy when I placed joint 16th? in the tournament, it didn’t really feel like I deserved it. And it’s pink. And it says ‘ladies’. So as a competitive female I don’t find it appropriate. My daughter loves it tho.

I fully appreciate the work that goes into organising these events and don’t see why you wouldn’t organise a women’s event. You have the contacts, machines, venues and experience at running tournaments. And the fact you are having the conversation in public (and thanks to Leah too) is really positive. You can only try to see it how it goes and keep asking for people’s opinions.

Interestingly, when I suggested I would feel more comfortable winning a women’s trophy by only playing women that was deemed to be segregation I see it as exclusive, so there’s really opposing views out there!
Either way I still just want to play.

Some interesting questions @johnwhitfield :)
Yes some of the themes and artwork are questionable, off putting and shouldn’t be used in open tournaments (or chosen as the icing on the cake)
 

johnwhitfield

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Jul 21, 2011
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#25
Out of interest which games do you think shouldn’t be used. I’m pretty certain Stern’s playboy would be one. BJM is possibly another but I’d have thought it’s a lot further down the scale of offensiveness. Scared stiff? The Helen version of AC/DC?
 

ChrisH

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Dec 5, 2014
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#26
The ratio of men to women is a problem

Taking a slightly different route would it be worth splitting the comps in to two smaller ones with a qualifier or seeding?
It would split the very good players (be it men or women) off in to a 'A' comp and then have a second tier of players who aren't quite as good to battle it out for a B competition trophy

That would alter the ratio and make the odds better without a segregation as it would split people on ability, and also allow people like me to be in with a shot of a prize now and again too ;)

Just a thought..... not sure if it would make organisation much more difficult though
 

DanLewell

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Jul 21, 2011
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#27
I see no issue with this.
I assume you also hand out a trophy for the best place male player?
No, that doesn't happen, which is what some people have an issue with.

There is a trophy for the best player (irrespective of gender), along with 2nd best and 3rd best.

But if these trophies were won by women, there would be no separate trophy for the best placed male.
 

DRD

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Oct 26, 2014
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#28
If you want to increase participation, the best way to run a comp is to offer everyone a decent number of competitive games (ie not just 3), even if they are knocked out at the earliest stage.

If snowflake folk find the artwork of pinball machines offensive - then fùckem.
 

yellowreggae

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Jan 26, 2012
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#30
I think Women's Trophies in a mixed tournament aren't a great idea to be honest. They can be fun for some but also condescending especially to a talented player like Leah. A better way to attract women in my opinion is to hold women's only sessions and tournaments. That way a woman can decide if they'd prefer to play that way or just in the usual mixed tournaments. Of course there may not be sufficient numbers at the current time but unless the events are held we might never know.

The other solution might be to simply ask all female players when they register for a comp if they want to compete for a women's trophy and then simply pass down to the next best female player if they opt out.