Sexism in Pinball: Practical Examples


Would this really be so bad? I’m picturing a Quaker meeting-esqe type tournament–a room full of players sitting in silence until one or more players is moved to play a game. This goes on indefinitely in silence until someone is moved to declare a winner. Sounds peaceful.

But in all seriousness you make an excellent point. Personally I feel with regard to sexism in pinball the pendulum is swung a bit far to the side of the individual exercising his/her right to express their thoughts without regard for how it effects the group. If we ever reach the point where the pendulum swings so far the other way where the group is silent out of fear of offending the individual we will have a very different conversation. I find this outcome highly unlikely given how strongly we feel about individual rights in The States and elsewhere in the world. We are still looking for that happy medium or “reasonable line” as you call it.

But this is what I like about the pinball community and the voice Tilt Forums gives us. We are having this discussion.


I’ve personally never experienced this.


dang. here i was thinking i had a practical example of sexism in pinball based on my own personal experience but i guess i was wrong. since bpb was never in my shoes, living my life at BCO and has therefore never personally experienced this single event, it must be inferred that this thing or things like it have not ever happened. your point is valid and i will use it tomorrow when my skydiving instructor buddy comes over. after he tells me about his work week i will just stoically respond “i’ve personally never experienced this”. /s

i was a scorekeeper when this happened, what do ya want? a sworn affidavit?


I’m not doubting that this happened but I thought it was kinda odd too. I’ve never heard anyone say anything close to it.


its not like it happens every day, i just figured since i had never personally seen examples in the OP, i would chime in with my own. The person complaining wasnt trying to be a dick, so they said these things to me in private confidence. Other examples of this have all been tongue-in-cheek comments between the fellas. not to justify this, just explaining why this behavior might have slipped under the radar. if this is not something the pinball community is concerned about i wont address it any further.


Bucko actually does generally mean a young male:


I had an otherwise nice lady kick me in the leg while we were playing next to each other in Classics at last year’s Vancouver Flipout. She had a habit of throwing her leg sideways when trying to save the ball.

I was a bit shocked at first but had to laugh, and she apologized profusely, of course. Luckily it didn’t happen at a crucial point in my game.

I do the same thing sometimes in the ‘heat if the battle’, except I like to kick straight back behind me. Haven’t clocked anyone yet that I recall… :innocent:


I agree. A pinball machine is a very strong social lubricant. The social part is what brings us to the hobby. That’s why we do it. Back in the old days, when you had to go to the arcade to play, even if you went by yourself, there would always be a few other people around. So you were never really all by yourself.

I have numerous repair customers in their 70’s and 80’s who haven’t played pinball in decades. They keep their games working properly because they know how much fun the kids, grand kids and great grandkids have on the game when they come over. I hear their stories over and over. They don’t bat an eye at cost. Get the game working whatever it takes. That’s my kind of pinball wisdom. Those people get it.

And I don’t think any of you guys have no idea. If you walked up to a tournament about to start with women standing around, would you shout out: ‘Is there really going to be girls allowed in this tournament?’ Of course you wouldn’t. So you do have a clue. Don’t sell yourself short. Think about what you say, but don’t be a wallflower. We’re all there to socialize. That’s just part of the deal.

I’ve been noticing lately that when I search for a name on IFPA, I’m seeing more women in the ‘most popular’ section below. I like that. Sometimes I click on them to look at their profile. I’m amazed at some of the resumes. These women are playing a hell of a lot of pinball. I suggest others click on those links. You already know a lot of their names, check out their resumes. Having over 100 events on your profile doesn’t grant you instant respect, but it damn sure gets you a seat at the table.


Concur. Which is why its so sad when people give their examples of sexism where it’s just someone coming up and talking to them or striking up a conversation.

That can be really skewed by location/scene tho. I know ladies I’ve played alongside for 20+ years… and they are just as active as any other player in the area and their list wouldn’t be nearly as long… just because the scene here for the most part doesn’t do weekly 1 night events, etc. We do more leagues and events that may happen quarterly… In fact this comparison applies regardless of gender.


We are already at this level - its actually enforced on this site no less. One side is allowed to declare what they believe to be sexist and are sheltered from any counter points. The definition has slid to “it’s whatever I decide is sexist” – an individual gets to decide ‘this offends me’ and hence gets to declare it as sexist. Any such system where the individual gets to decide the definition that suits them without any checks or external objectivity will ultimately slide to the extreme.

It’s why our society now struggles so much with ‘what is offensive’ in public because in an effort to help shelter people we’ve allowed them to define for themselves what their limits are… and expect everyone else to respect those boundaries without common expectation. It’s not even a “state your boundaries and please respect them” its now “you crossed that invisible line that applies only to me and now you are at fault”

Sorry, second guessing if someone knows the rules of a game isn’t sexist… maybe it has to do with they’ve never seen you play that game before. The ‘would you ask elwin’ arguements are absurd. People wouldn’t ask Elwin that not because he is a guy, but because he’s WELL KNOWN FOR HIS COMPLETE DOMINATION and demonstrated experience. Nothing to do with his gender, but everything to do with his ESTABLISHED REPUTATION.

It’s about familiarity - not gender.


Enlighten us! Please!


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You’ve misquoted. Or misunderstood the point. Or possibly both


Pretty sure I understood what he is trying to say.


I understood it to mean that people set personal boundaries for themselves, and expect others to respect those boundaries.

The whole point was that without knowing those boundaries, it’s hard to follow them

So maybe you were agreeing with him that those people should enlighten us?


I think Flynnibus can defend his own ideas. Then again he seemed to think he was going to get blasted for what he had to say. Clearly that has not been the case.

Frankly, it’s pretty weird to me that a thread about sexism in pinball has so many diversions and off-topic conversations. (It’s not actually weird).


When, disproportionately, the same sort of behaviors happen to multiple people multiple times, there becomes a recognizable pattern. These actions aren’t even always conscious- society at large has an effect on how we think and act… and sometimes an action requires a doublethink before going through with. I can say most assuredly that while on forums like this one it seems like the offended are given a pedestal to climb upon… people aren’t bringing it up to the people they’re offended by…It’s actually really, really hard to confront someone that is hurting you. It’s even harder to communicate in the moment accurately why it hurts.

There’s a reaction to be extra defensive when we’re called an -ist. Largely, it’s because we’ve been conditioned to believe to be -ist is to be someone that actively hates. That’s simply not true, and everyone can make an -ist comment without even realizing or meaning to. It’s very important that we’re able to discuss the various ways people as a whole, or in groups or individually can be upset, use our ability to grasp a social situation and act appropriately. Updating our etiquette so that everyone has a better time is a worthwhile endeavor! Pinball is such a fun hobby and anyone can have fun in it, let’s just like, make sure everyone’s having fun along side us.


The original post doesn’t use Elwin as an example, it uses Bowen. The point of using a well known male figure as a stand in is to point out that “Hey, this guy is a serious competitor. If he was in serious competitor mode, would you do any of these things?”

Women come to pinball tournaments to compete. The fact that this seems to be a point overlooked by more than a few comments is annoying. And the idea that “I wouldn’t ask Elwin or Bowen if they know the rules because I know who they are, but I’ve never heard of Elizabeth so I’ll treat her like she’s an idiot” is pretty patronizing.


Not know just know who they are… but have direct experience regarding their demonstrated knowledge. I think it’s pretty arrogant of someone to contrast their situation to people who are arguably some of the best known and recognizable players out. Those players have been all over countless hours of streams, tutorials, etc. it’s a false equivalency for somebody player to compare a strangers awareness of them to a Bowen or Elwin. And yes Elwin was used as the reference in the NWPC situation.

To leap to the conclusion the question is because of inherent sexism or making it into it without any understanding (or even desire to understand) the other party reeks of people looking to be offended.