If someone gets offended at my work, the person who did the “offende” (no matter how ridicules it may be) has to take a sensitivity class. So why doesn’t the offended have to take a desensitivity class? Yes, some of these words I made up and yet, it still isn’t as ridicules as your argument. Get over it or start your own convention.
The problem I see with "Non-Gamer Activities" is that can also encompass workshops, seminars, anime viewing, etc. And those are already broken out separately. I've purchased a number of SPA tickets over the years, not once did it enter in to my mind I was performing stereotypically female activities. I was just doing fun stuff that interested me. Certainly no one in any of the events I took part in took any issue with my being there.
I especially take umbrage with the notion that I'm enforcing gender stereotypes when I take my daughter to Introduction to Swordfighting.
She's not my spouse.
Just call it what it is: Supplemental Activities.
I love threads like this because they help me discover who on these forums is a retrograde monster, though the lack of an ignore feature means that information is not too useful.
Anyway, if you deny Spousal Activities started as "things for women," with the problems that entails, you are ignoring the facts of the types of events initially offered and the "ball and chain" graphic.
There is also no doubt that SPA now encompasses a huge range of activities, and you might actually not immediately realize what the category was if looking through it, which is itself a fine thing and definite progress.
But just like "Isle of Misfit Events" being a name that makes no sense (I just found out what it meant recently and I have been attending since 1997), "Spousal Activities" is a bad name for the category as it currently exists. I am sure they wanted to avoid the terms "miscellaneous" or "other" when naming the former category, but honestly I think merging both of those categories into "Side Quests" would get the point across that this was a category full of all kinds of things possibly interesting to you if none of the other categories sound like your jam.
Also as a reminder, everyone offended by the first post in this thread, you sound more offended in your responses than the original poster did in theirs, so...just remember how that looks.
Here's my problem with "Side Quests": what's the difference between a "side quest" and a "misfit event"? And in particular, what do they mean to your non-gamer spouse/child/parent/friend who has never done a video game side quest or seen the Gen Con catalog before?
There are 522 runs of escape rooms in this year's catalog, more than the total number of events in the SPA category - that's no longer a misfit, that's a side quest.
We don't need two synonymous catch-all categories. There are too many events-that-are-not-games to turn SPA into another generic "non-game" category. We already have Entertainment and Anime and Seminar categories for other types of events that are not games. If they replace SPA it needs to be with a clearly named specific category.
They could make a "Crafts" category and move the rest of SPA into ZED. Or move all the crafts into "Workshops" (like the ones that don't like the SPA name already are) and use a name like "Active" for the dance lessons, swordfighting, and walking tours.
Yeah, I was dimly aware of the claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but I (clearly) never saw it as a child, and the Isle of Misfit Toys reference was apparently not made enough around me in my life for me to pick up on it second-hand, haha.
I almost added something about how "Side Quests" could be even less clear than the current name, which itself is probably only clear to Americans of a certain age, but since I imagine there is no chance the categor(ies)y will be renamed anyway I just deleted it.
And I am definitely in favor of more categories, with more specific headings. I suspect "Arts & Crafts" and "Physical Activities" and "Escape Rooms" would all be useful spinoffs from these two; the goal should really be for the "other" category to be the smallest one, if we are speaking from a social science perspective anyway. Which, might I add, we are not, haha.
::Pulls up chair, sits down and eats popcorn.::
Is it more demeaning than assuming that the activities are targeted at women just because of their subject matter? A good third of my events are in the Spouse Activities category typically.
Spouse activities was originally targeted at wives, yes, and it had some issues. But, now it's literally that -- activities targeted at spouses of people who are primarily gaming at GenCon. That group is (currently) disproportionately women, but it's not exclusively women.
But, more importantly, there is nothing in the name or marketing of the category that implies women spouses.
If I were in charge of running the SPA department, I'd want to change the name. Frankly, as a female gamer, I saw "spouse activities" and turned up my nose at the whole category... and then I realized how amazing some of the classes are. The boyfriend and I are attending a cosplay guns class this year. We've done chainmail in years past and various other things. Molding and casting was awesome last year. I wish I had time to do more. They're really well-run, and I always have a good time and leave with a new skill.
Spousal activities sound boring. "Maker" activities, "arts", "non-gaming" activities, etc. sound interesting. Also, my before my first year attending GenCon, I saw that the SPA events existed, and wondered if I'd feel really uncomfortable at GenCon because the concept is so anachronistic. Thankfully, GenCon is amazing and I've always had a good time, but it gave me serious pause for sure. Why not change the name, and with that, encourage gamers to check out some new events without the "non-gamer" stigma of the word "spouse?"
I love the activity on this thread, includings the pros, cons, and even meh responses that have come after my original post. Based on a lot of comments though, it really feels that this category doesn't accurately represent what's in it. It's an opportunity to not only make it more inclusive, but to increase the visibility of these activities because it shouldn't matter if you are or have a spouse to do them.
Yeah like, this is a win-win name change/category expansion case it seems, because the problem as it stands is in the inaccuracy of the name as much as it is anything else.
Checking the category again, like, splitting it into "Crafting" and "Physical Activities" would cover 90% of the events, and then moving the final 10% into a renamed miscellaneous event category along with the current ZED events would mean that overall you only added one group (oh or maybe adding an Escape Room category too, as I recall), while reducing the number of "catch-all" categories to one.
No need to create a Crafting category, as those events could be rolled into Workshop. The number of physical activities is small enough they could just be moved into Zed, and maybe move the escape rooms out of Zed and into their own category.
Oh yeah I utterly forgot about the "Workshop" category, and in fact now I do not understand why they are not already there. This solution gets easier all the time!
I will say, calling it “spouse activities” had me thinking I needed a partner to partake. I agree with a name change for that reason alone.
I’m a hardcore gamer, and have been for more than 4 decades. I’ve been to 30+ GenCons, Honeymooned there, and I’m a girl.
The ball and chain icon was both hilarious and insulting. Too bad they dropped it.
The point is, having an easy intro to GenCon-lite section for new partners of gamers is a solid idea. The first time you swim these waters isn’t easy. The next year, those partners can choose to go whole hog, or stay in that same, curated lane. No judgment.
The folks who run the class/session actually decide where in the program the class/session it will get listed. That means they get to decide if they want to put it in crafts, or spouse, or misfits, or Timbuktu.
I fully support renaming the spouse activities to side quests. It eliminates the issue of questioning so you need a partner with you, it increases draw by decreasing disdain, and it just sounds damn cool.
Also, my 7 year old is likely to take classes called side quests, spouse activities? Not so much.
Keep it SPA, but change it to Side Projects and Activities. It encapsulates all the stuff currently in SPA and smooths out the perceptual playing field too.
Easy. And bring back the ball and chain icon too, lol
For what it's worth, the Program Guide uses the term Supplemental.
This is Rob from Top Shelf Tours...I know this is an older thread, but I just saw it.
They changed our winery/distillery/brewery/mead tours to 'ZED - Isle of Misfit Events'.
We're misfits...last year we were SPAs.