Of The Treatment of Women in WoW, part 2
Welcome to part 2 of a topic I’m sharing with Anea from Oh look, it’s an alt! (She doesn’t have her take up yet, but I’m sure she will soon!). This is a direct continuation from part 1, so I would recommend reading that first if you haven’t already.
OMG It’s a GIRL!
Ah, the joys of speaking on vent for the first time in a PuG. Most of the time, my delicate, sultry feminine voice (for the record, I talk off key so my voice is actually horrid) doesn’t cause too much of a commotion. Every now and again, though, it happens. “OMG WE HAVE A GIRL IN THE RAID!!! SQUEEEEEEEEE“
I can’t help but feel a wave of pity whenever that happens. You have to wonder what kind of sheltered lives some people have. But if it makes them giddy and happy to have a woman in the chatroom, I’m not going to burst their bubble. I roll my eyes, smile and ask if everyone is ready to start the fight.
Women are cute and cuddly – every man should own one.
To be honest, I don’t really notice sexist jokes. Mainly because I’m far too busy making sexist jokes against men. But because I know this bothers a lot of female gamers, here’s how I handle it.
If I want to call a group to order, I have two lines to choose from.
1- Now children, less chatting, more killing.
2- (In a mockingly annoyed tone) You’re such boys.
Why do all men like smart women?
When would you want a man’s company?
When he owns it.
What are my four favorite animals?
A mink in my closet, a Jaguar in my garage, a tiger in my bedroom,
and a Jackass to pay for it all.
Why did God create man?
Because a vibrator can’t mow the lawn.
I strongly suggest any woman who spends a lot of time in testosterone-filled environments have a list of sexist jokes on hand.
The “Aww You’re So Cute” Card
I like to think I’m pretty tolerant. I’m as much of a bra-burning feminist as the next female WoW player, but I can understand that boys will be boys. I get over stuff easily and can take most blows with humour. But there’s one thing that just gets under my skin.
Me: Well, I think XYZ about this topic.
Male WoW Person: You’re so adorable.
This is different from flirting. Flirting is flattering. This is an insult. The message here is “your role is not to give your opinion on this intelligent topic, your role is to be cute”.
On the rare chance that it is a huge turn on to hear a woman’s opinion on a topic (back to sheltered lives, I guess), there’s still a time and a place for everything. Right now we’re discussing this topic. If you want to gush about the sexiness of women who get involved in discussions, you’re welcome to do so after we’re finished.
In my experience, this doesn’t occur very often, and it’s generally very, um, simple, men who play the “aww you’re so cute card”. My guess is that they, themselves, have nothing to offer to the conversation and are just looking to draw attention to something else. It still bothers me, though. I like conversations.
Of course, now my guildies are going to read this and will say “awww you’re so cute” everytime I say something. =/
I’m going to go easy on you because you’re a girl
Well Intended Guildie: Does our language offend you?
Me: But I’m kind of offended that you think I’m offended.
Well Intended Guildie: Oh…sorry…really?
Me: (laughing) You dummy.
The woes of being a modern woman.
On one hand, I’m always delighted when someone takes into consideration the fact that I might not have the same sense of humour, the same ways of communicating or the same tolerance to teasing as the guys.
On the other, I’m not exactly a porcelain doll either and I like when people can just be themselves. I enjoy being considered one of the gang and I get very annoyed when I realize someone is walking on eggshells to avoid offending me. Plus, as hard as I try to be classy, I have the dirtiest sense of humour in the world. Being deprived of dirty jokes is a tragedy to me.
And if I’m confused on how I expect to be treated as a woman, I can’t imagine how confusing it must be for those around me!
I’m not going to deny the fact that “locker room talk” often conjures flashbacks of being in the sixth grade, sitting in the back of a schoolbus and thinking that the boys around me are so stupid. I’m also going to say that I empathize with women who don’t like the use of certain words (“rape” is the typical example). While I’m extremely lucky those words don’t evoke anything to me, I can definitely see why there’s nothing funny about them.
At the same time, I appreciate that sometimes guys need to be guys. And I have to admit that I secretly laugh at things I shouldn’t.
Of Sexism and Harassment
I’ve seen many complaints on message boards from women saying they weren’t treated as equals in their guilds. I’ve seen women (well, generally younger girls) get badly mistreated in trade chat. I’m not going to pretend it never happens. Obviously it does. There are ways to avoid sexism though.
Pick your battles. Your average trade chat jerk is the male version of the girl who posts pictures of her boobs all over the internet. Same for the dumbass pug guy. They’re not flamboyant misogynists, they just want a reaction. The more you react, the more they’ll do it. Unless you enjoy arguing with them, they need to be ignored. If you can’t tune them out, leave trade or find a new PuG. Yes, there are situations in life where you shouldn’t give in. You know, like when your job or safety are in question. But this isn’t a battle worth fighting.
Choose your guild carefully. If you play a lot, these are the people you’ll be spending a lot of your evenings with. It’s worth going the extra mile to get an idea of how they view female players before you join. Do they have female officers? How do male and female members interact on the forums? Don’t buy crap about “stuff being worse elsewhere”. There are a lot of excellent, open minded guilds out there.
Don’t automatically assume it’s because you’re a woman. I remember the first few times I tried to raid lead. It was awful. I had ZERO authority. It would have been so easy to assume that they wouldn’t listen to me because I was woman. Instead, I prepared better for my raids. I pushed the group harder. I spoke more confidently. Magically, everything fell into place.
In the end, WoW is a social game. It’s a game, it should be fun. It’s also social and subjected to the same issues you would get in the offline world, with the addition of anonymity allowing people to get away with just about anything. As a woman in WoW, my power over how I’m treated lies in setting my boundaries and finding fellow players who can respect them. It’s not the place to try to change mentalities. Should us women be trying to change mentalities? Yes! But in the offline world. Volunteer at a woman’s shelter, educate yourselves about social issues, heck educate yourselves about everything, read, be strong and positive role models to young girls, do what you love with your lives, take care of yourselves. We have enough to battles to fight in the real world to waste our time arguing with people in WoW.Internet Anthropology
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