LARPers are among us geeks, but the diversity of men and women is still off. The LARPing community has been around since the ‘80s. But back then, it was the men who played, not the women. Now in the 21st century, there’s more diversity in the greek community. I spoke with a few women LARPers and asked how they like being part of the community.
Disclaimer: The numbers in this article are from one specific group or LARPers. I will not go into specifics of the rules of LARPing. If you want to learn more about LARPing, follow the hyperlinks.
But first, some definitions
Amtgard is defined as a worldwide organization dedicated to medieval and fantasy combat sports and recreation. Based on their LARPing, here are three definitions we will refer to:
Baron/Baroness: This person oversees their group making sure everything runs smoothly during the reign.
Regent: Defined from Amtgard rulebook Regent assists the monarch (or Baron) in the organization of the arts and sciences during their reign in office by doing such things as holding workshops, cultural tournaments, and craft nights.
Reign: A reign is about six months long, and every reign has a different storyline.
Who is Amtgard?
Amtgard’s storyline goes off of the medieval times before states and counties exist. At the top of the chain is the Kingdom of Emerald Hills that centrally focuses on Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona. This Kingdom has sub-chapters labeled as Barony, Shire, or Duchy. The subchapter I will focus on is the Barony of Eagleshire in Denton, TX. This group meets every Sunday between 2-6 at McKenna Park in Denton, TX.
Meet the Barony of Eagleshire in Denton, TX
As part of a Kingdom, you can create your own story just by changing your name.
- Cassidee Griffin, aka Anubia, is the Baron for the current reign.
- Rachel Demings, aka Keistra, is a Regent.
- Courtney Burke, aka Rose Mary, is a fellow member.
The theme for the current reign is Redwall, based on Brian Jacques’ book.
The good thing about LARPing is that you can come in for a bit, leave for a few years, and jump back into the same community. Burke started this over ten years ago and came back just last month. Griffin started in 2011-2012 and never left. Demings began 15 years ago and came back to this community a year ago.
The ratio is way off
Griffin stated that the average ratio of men to women is 70-30, the proportion of white men to other races is about 80-20.
“We can always fight for equality and everything, but there is still a biological factor. Women do have respect though the majority of the women. There is an entire system put in place to make sure that people are feeling safe because when you especially get people to gather in weekend events, it gets crazy,” Griffin says.
Although there is a huge ratio difference between men and women, the majority of women are the ones who take charge and run everything.
“We make sure those (people) stay in line and stick to what they need to do,” Griffin says.
Be who you want to be
The one thing about LARPing is that you can come into the community as someone you want to be, and no one will know what your job is in IRL.
“It does bring people of all backgrounds. I don’t know what they do in life. There’s like doctors, politicians, all over the board everywhere,” Demings says.
Room for improvement
The community is always growing, but there’s still room for improvement that needs to be changed.
“I’d like to see a little less pushback, and a little bit more like understanding and willing to be educated,” Griffin says.
“I guess it should be based on skill on the battlefield versus the physical ability to fight,” Demings says. “It creates that division between women fighters because of that physical combat side of things.”
Although there is a small number of women in the LARPing community, everyone is very understanding and friendly to everyone.
“It’s like a place where you can be yourself, but everybody has lots of stuff in common,” Demings says.
“You can dress like a goofball and be confident knowing that other people are dressing like goofballs,” Griffin says.
“The people are amazing,” Burke says. “The sword fighting is action-packed.”
Barony of Eagleshire gives back
Among Amtgard, the parks or sub-chapters, come together and raise money for charities. Last September the Kingdom of Emerald Hills participated in a charity event called Food Fight. The subchapter; Barony of Eagleshire, raised $551 and 27 pounds of food for the Denton Community Food Center. Compared to their Kingdom, the Barony of Eagleshire came in second place out of the 12 parks in their Kingdom. Last November, this subchapter raised $160 and 113 toys for Toys for Tots.
“My favorite thing about Amtgard is for one, it’s a huge community and two, we care so much about that community that we’re able and willing to give back,” Griffin says.
LARPing may not be for everyone, but anyone in the LARPing community is very accepting and non-judgemental to anyone who joins. The community lacks women but it’s continuously growing.
Are you interested in partaking in a community like this? What are your thoughts on LARPing? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @geekgalsco.
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Featured image credit: Grace Reyes/Geek Gals