And of course, girls. Chicks. Babes. You name 'em, it's cool. I was tempted to call this post 'Paintball & the Irrational Sex' but this is supposed to be a serious post (more or less) and while the comments would'a been fantastic--the more frothing the better--I decided to forgo a purely personal pleasure for the good of the paintball community. (Did you believe one word of that last bit? Me either. Obviously I need a marketing guy, or gal.)
I was perusing the paintball web checking out the latest news, rumors & gossip and ran into a couple of (quasi-) related items. One was a thread in the field/store owners forum at PBN and the other was a press release post at the Big Bullet. The former was about why girls are less interested in paintball than guys are and the later was soliciting nominations for PBWoman.com's PB Woman of the Year for 2011. (You may have noticed they announced their 2010 award at Living Legends 3 last month.) Anyway it's a standard ploy for self-promotion. Everybody does it and all you really need to know is that the next award recipient will be chosen by the website's sponsors (?) and a panel of 9 judges--and that the PBWoman website couldn't come up with enough women in paintball to fill their own panel of judges. Which leads me to the (slightly) more interesting and general topic of women & paintball.
Women & paintball is a recurring topic of discussion. At least in certain quarters. One that always seems to get hung up on how to "fix" the "problem" of too few female participants with (mostly) the same old same old. For example a few years ago Pete 'Robbo' Robinson excoriated the then Jerry Braun run World Cup for not providing female friendly facilities even though the event was being held in an acknowledged cow pasture--and it seems to have set a tone because most of the "answers" revolve around changing things to better suit the female temperament. Ideas run from the commonplace of bars and clubs (ladies nights) to special discounts, indoor plumbing, etc. At this rate fresh ideas will be reduced to cleaning up the place a bit; tidier bunkers, maybe vacuum once in a while, dial down the competition perhaps and do we really need winners & losers? Before long somebody is gonna notice girls don't like guns very much and then where are we?
I once wrote a VFTD column for PGi magazine entitled, The Shocking Exploitation of Girls in Paintball, that deals with girls playing tourney paintball but never got around to addressing the supposed dearth of women in paintball generally. Until now. It's really quite simple. It may not be PC but geez, it ain't rocket science or brain surgery either. I hate to break it to you like this but girls are different. And being different the vast majority aren't attracted to paintball. That's it. It's not that they can't play, they can. They just don't want to. The things about paintball that appeal to guys don't appeal to girls in anything like equal measure. If they did the whole idea of trying to get more girls playing would be moot--they'd already be playing. Imagine you are an ice cream salesman and half the people in the world love ice cream and half don't. How productive is it to spend your time trying to sell ice cream to the half that don't like it? Instead of wasting time, energy and resources trying to increase the percentage of female players do something productive. Like figure out how to get (and keep) more guys playing the game.