Sexism in Pinball: Practical Examples


That’s not it at all. As I just describe above, I genuinely enjoy socializing and learning new things about new people. Though I would also like to be appreciated for my mind and personality first before a physical lure. Any person with more than friends intentions has a far better chance at succeeding with me if they take the time to get to know me first. I’d rather have a conversation start about the book I’m reading than how dazzling my eyes are, yanno? If the initial connection is based off of aesthetically pleasing features alone, I can’t imagine we’d have much to talk about after that. Communication and mind melding are integral to a healthy working relationship for me, so if that’s lacking right away, I’m less interested.


No, my point is that many men operate on a “keep hitting on every woman until one of them doesn’t respond with disgust” basis, and this ruins things for everyone. And if your primary goal in talking to someone is to potentially meet your match, then I’m merely suggesting that you should be cognizant of this. I won’t respond to your “slippery slope” argument, because I don’t think it is really a real thing.

[quote=“flynnibus, post:172, topic:1800”]
long explanation[/quote]

All of my explanations are very short! I was attempting to tie in your “use your freedom to find another group” argument into the current topic. I used an outside example to illustrate that it shouldn’t be up to the victim to find another group, especially when, in the case of pinball, there sometimes aren’t other options.

@heyrocker I just saw your comment above.


I would say as a rule of thumb, the difference between sexism/harassment and reciprocated flirting is that the latter is predicated on treating women like you would any other human being. In my experience, the chance meetings in grocery stores or at pinball tournaments are normal interpersonal interactions that grow into romantic relationships, not pick-up lines or obvious “hittings on.” It should be pretty clear when your advances are acceptable and when they’re not, and I would hope that most dudes would back off if body language or verbal language lets them know the woman is not interested. It’s the people who won’t take no for an answer that make this an issue in the first place. It’s also important to note that, for most women, you are not the first rando dude who has taken up their time, attention, and brain space that day, so they may be tired and irritable and they’re totally within their rights to not want to engage with you.

That said, as @heyrocker notes above, we are going in circles around a topic that is not specific to pinball, which is getting off topic from the point of this thread. As a moderator, I’ll repeat the request that we shut down this line of inquiry and only post responses that are pinball-related and further the discussion of how sexism manifests in the pinball community and how we can respond to it.


criteria[quote=“heyrocker, post:175, topic:1800”]
but I also feel fairly certain there is an intractable gap between two viewpoints as well and I’m not sure there is a ton to be gained by following that any further.

Not sure how a discussion about acceptance and understanding between multiple groups progresses when you only allow one opinion to be presented without any follow-on. :disappointed:

The topic is about people in a group and/or social setting… with specific examples of interactions being one of the points of conflict and contention. Yet… we can’t explore interactions beyond the perspective of one side. In fact, its not even balanced - it’s just one view and others are not allowed. Echo chamber…


I never said others weren’t allowed, I haven’t removed any of your posts outside the interactions referenced from a couple days ago (although I think another moderator did remove one that seemed particularly snide.) What I did say is that there appears to be a large gap between what is and isn’t acceptable behavior, and that it seems unlikely that either side is going to sway the other. I say that as someone who has an immense amount of experience in moderating and being involved on these very subjects over the years. I know a dead end when I see it.




Heck of a topic for a first post, but I guess everyone starts somewhere, and I was unaware of this forum before this discussion popped up on some other social media sites I frequent.

I’m hoping that I wasn’t the cause of anyone’s distress, but was involved in an incident that some might consider sexism but certainly wasn’t intended that way.

I arrived at the PreReplay Pingolf tournament, and was promptly assigned my group, which was 50/50 male/female. Being ever the organizer, I tried to get my group going but had no idea how we decided who went first in Pingolf, it being my first experience with the format.

I can’t remember my exact phrasing, but unfortunately enough the term “ladies first?” came up, and was shot down very vehemently, and rightly so. While I was only trying to be polite and friendly, after reading some of the crap that female players have gone thru I can totally see how that would have been interpreted as sexist pandering. For that I am sorry, and it won’t be repeated. That being said, I think there were some hard feelings in both directions, certainly mine, that carried into Pinburgh the next day, and again I’m sorry.

My eldest daughter is becoming quite a good player, but is often uncomfortable in competitions as one of only a few female players. I would certainly not want to be a contributor to anyone’s discomfort. I’m hoping to bring her to the tournament next year, and one of the selling points is the number of female participants. Anything that can be done to increase that number is a good thing, in my opinion.


Thought experiment: how many pinball machines assume you’re a guy?


I don’t know, Bucko seems like it could be a guy, but Spunky definitely could go either way.


All of them.


I think it takes guts to have your first post be an apology and I think you deserve props for stepping forward as opposed to sweeping it under the rug. :thumbsup:


I frequently say “rip the spinner”, I hope nobody mistakenly thinks I’m saying rape. Now I’m going to be worried about that.


That is probably one of the problems, if not the largest problem why there’s so few women competing in pinball.
The problem is that the jerks that make female players uncomfortable, isn’t gonna stop doing that until women start to get back at these guys.
But if they do that, they will probably hear that they shouldn’t play if they have PMS, or that they should be nice and quiet.

I don’t think that there’s much we guys can do to stop the sexism in pinball, other than confront the jerks when we hear some sexist remarks from them. And discuss this topic with them to make them realise that this behavior isn’t acceptable.

If anyone have any ideas how to get to these guys and to change their behavior, let us know how.


I don’t agree that they’ll stop when women start to get back them. They’ll stop when all of us start to get back at them.

Right on, right on.


I think the only way they will stop is if literally everyone around them (men,women, dogs, cats, etc) call them out and they are left standing there looking like the idiots that they are. This is in reference only to the people that are blatantly sexist and think it’s totally acceptable. Not the ones that have made an honest mistake before and were apologetic and didn’t continue it.

I think if that happens those people will shape up, or better yet, ship out.


Yellow and red cards could be of some use in tournaments to give warnings to, and kick out players that don’t behave. I haven’t seen sexist behavior towards female players here in Sweden but I don’t doubt that it exist here as well.

Bowen, I would of course directly confront someone who behave in a sexist way toward a female player, but it would also be good if the female player could confront the jerk if she feel that she’s up to it.
If women would verbally bite back, most of the time, plus having backup from people around them, that have noticed the sexist behavior, a least some of the guys would change their behavior.

Maybe there could be some training in a friendly environment, where women that
really want to bite back at idiots, could gain some more experience and confidence to stand up a sexist pinball player.
It’s just a thought!


I can only speak for myself, but I think we can do this better as a full group.

And like you said, this response might help some men change their behavior. With others, this might escalate to something nastier. I don’t want someone feeling like they’re expected to do something that could put them at risk.


The Cleveland Pinball League has something in their Personal Conduct section of their rulebook that really sticks with me and how I try to approach competitive pinball.

All players are expected to conduct themselves in a polite and sensitive manner. CPL is first and foremost an inclusive organization. Outbursts and offensive language are not acceptable. Derogatory speech towards any age/race/gender/person is not acceptable. Any overtly aggressive behavior that any SLO determines to be inappropriate is not acceptable.

It’s the inclusive and kind parts that really stick with me. Everyone is there to play pinball. We’re going to disagree on things, viewpoints vary. Communication is huge to make social aspects of events or league pleasant for everybody. This conversation is so important…I’ve had this discussion before… None have ever been so civil.

That being said, just like how Bowen mentioned it does take a whole group. There are people that will escalate a confrontation. Women aren’t always speaking up for themselves… If someone isn’t good at handling rejection it could mean harm. However, many people change their mind or change behavior if the majority either brings it up directly or indirectly through general discussions about what’s wrong. (like this thread!)


No of cource not, no one should feel pressure to do anything they don’t want to, except maybe the sexist jerks, who needs to take a good look at their own behavior, and make a change.
I’m currently looking for my own space for most of my games, away from The Leaning Door, and when I find it, it will have tournaments there, and In that place I will have zero tolerance against violent and/or sexist behavior. I will only have 1 card, a red one.


Agree that men confronting problematic behavior is a necessary step, but I also think guys need to do their homework and reflect on themselves a bit. Even understanding why this is an issue is a huge hurdle, and boiling it down to “sexist idiots” vs “everyone else” is a way of absolving ourselves by shifting the blame to the most egregious offenders. We’ve been conditioned into a system that promotes a sexist dynamic for our entire lives. Good intentions aren’t gonna be enough to shake that off.

If nothing else, I think one of the biggest and most effective things I think men can do, right now, is listen to women. Like, seek this stuff out and then just be present in these conversations. And don’t be the guy who explains a woman’s experiences back to her as if it’s something that’s up for debate.

There’s a lot of courage and vulnerability involved in speaking out, and I think that’s something to be recognized and respected. At the same time, it’s not someone’s fault if they don’t feel safe saying something. Especially knowing how often people will just put the burden right back on them by explaining their experiences away.

I think it’s the majority’s responsibility to create a supportive environment, not the other way around.