Refuting Accusations Made Towards My Feminist Side

I was originally working on a post about intergender communication in a raid setting, but I kept veering off topic. I just had too much say. So I’m writing this post to get a number of things off my chest. You can still expect a post on communication in the near future, once I get this out of the way and can focus better.

I had someone try to explain feminist WoW blogging to me the other day. Apparently, I don’t understand feminism.

While I didn’t really take part in the recent flurry of feminist posts started by Pewter’s (excellent and well researched) literary analysis-style post on WoW, I have written a number of blog posts about women and WoW. I’m proud that some of them even sparked discussions stretching beyond the portals of my little corner of the internet. In my WoW life, I’m very involved with my predominantly male guild (in the 10 months I’ve been with them, I can’t think of a time where we’ve had more than 4 active female raiders at once), I’m a serious player, I’ve had tanking as my main spec in the past, I’ve led raids, I’m not afraid to speak up on vent when I’m pugging and when male players act patronizing towards me, I tell them off. In real life (because real life is important!), I’ve lived without the security blanket of a relationship for years, I’m finishing up my second university degree, I’ve volunteered in women’s shelters, I’ve written papers on domestic violence, I’ve been a girl guide leader, I wrote my IBO extended essay on the portrayal of women in Lord of the Rings, I’ve participated in vigils remembering the Montreal Polytechnic Massacre … Yeah, apparently I need to have feminism explained me.

I know I’m pretty mild when writing about gender issues. It’s that I don’t believe in complaining. I believe in taking action. I don’t talk feminism very much because I’m busy living it.

Step up and take control

Don’t get me wrong, injustices (be they gender related or not) should be called out. Yelled from the rooftops. They should be clearly described, discussed and, if at all possible, solved. That’s not complaining, it’s educating, it’s raising awareness.

But words only get so far. I do have problems with sites like My Fault, I’m Female, where angry women rant to other angry women about how much their life (and the world around them) sucks because they’re female. I certainly understand the benefits of venting to individuals who can empathize, but victimizing yourself puts you in a powerless position, at the mercy of jerks everywhere. It’s true that you can’t ever control what others believe and how they behave (well, in countries where most workplaces have very strict sexual harassment laws, you can control behaviour in some situations), but you can choose how you deal with things.

I’d prefer to read a site where women empower other women by going beyond sharing the frustrating moments in their lives and add how they’ve overcome those adversities and reached their goals. I don’t believing in victims, only survivors.

In a WoW setting, I wish other female players would speak up on vent when they pug. Yes, there’s a small chance someone will make a sexual remark, that someone will claim you’re a bad player, that it’ll be assumed you’re the healer. There’s also a small chance you’ll be stabbed in the subway someday. Or that you’ll get mugged on the street. Or that you’ll be crippled in a car accident. Do you stay home every day out of fear that, maybe, something bad might happen?

Ok, some people do. But the thing is, if you keep quiet on vent out of fear, you’re giving all the WoW assholes power over you. So if you want to speak up, then do so. If something bad comes of it, then use the experience to raise awareness and empower other women.

If it’s any reassurance, in my 5 years of playing WoW, I’ve always been open about my gender. I call stuff out on vent while I’m pugging, I correct people when they say “he”, I walk around with my Ammen Vale Lashling out, and the worst I’ve ever gotten from random strangers was “hey, cool, we have a girl in a the raid”. Which really isn’t insulting at all.

And the more women who are open about their gender (note, “being open” DOES NOT equate “flaunt”), the more the inhabitants of the World of Warcraft will realize that female WoW players are in fact quite common and, omigosh, not a big deal.

“WoW, from a women’s perspective”

When Matt and I exchanged some lines on Twitter about blogging about men in WoW and about men/women in-game interactions, we got a few interesting reactions.

What’s there to talk about?”

It’s been done to death.”

So boys, apparently, you’re boring, you have life served to you on a silver platter and you’ve been talked about so much that no cares anymore. What do you think of that?

I don’t know what the ratio of men to women is in WoW, but it’s not that impressive anymore. The millions of blogs with the tagline “WoW from a girl gamer’s perspective” make me smile. There are corners in WoW where women are uncommon: hardcore pvp, high end raiding, auction playing, serious tanking. I have a lot of admiration for those women who dare tread in waters they’re not expected to be seen in.

But for the most part? We’re not special little snowflakes anymore, but it pleases us greatly to believe we are.

(As a side note, I do recognize that it’s just pleasant to talk about WoW with other women, which is probably why groups like WoW_ladies are really popular. Talking about WoW to men just isn’t the same.)

Men on the other hand… I have yet to see a “WoW from a guy gamer’s perspective” tagline. And I bet, if it does happen, it’ll be very scandalous.

It’s like single gendered guilds. Male-only guilds are “sexist”. Female-only guilds are “admirable”. Female-only guilds do tend to be better at marketing themselves, touting the pleasures of playing amongst girlfriends instead of spewing bullshit like “we play better than the other gender”. But at the end of the day, single gendered guilds are about having guy-time or girl-time without the social and sexual pressure oozed by the presence of the opposite gender.

Women are the victims of a lot of double standards, but it doesn’t justify double standards against men.

Having non-cavemen guildies isn’t “fortune” it’s choice

I cringed a little at Metaneira‘s choice of words when she wrote “Ais and I are fortunate enough to be in a guild that promotes inclusiveness“. Her and Ais aren’t in their guild thanks to luck. They’re not guilded with cavemen because they’re self-respecting women who chose a guild where they’re treated like human beings. They chose to not join a guild that doesn’t believe in female tanks, that doesn’t allow women to be officers and that ignores contributions from female players on basis that they’re female.

To all women who are in such guilds: leave. Alt tab over to WoW THIS VERY INSTANT and type /gquit. There are tons, tons, tons AND tons of guilds that judge players according to skill (in a performance guild) or personality (in a social guild) rather than gender. Why the heck would you be wasting your time with a guild that doesn’t?

Of posting your photo on your guild forums

I’ve been thinking on that one quite a bit lately. In the past, I’ve felt the same way as those fearing the wrath of other females about posting pictures. Then I thought about it.

I once criticized a female applicant for putting her picture in her application. But really, a guy applying with a picture would have triggered the same “lol…wut?” from me. Guild applications are about who you are as a player, not what you look like in real life. Guildies post pictures of themselves as a faces-to-names/voices thing among friends. An applicant is a stranger, no one is nosey about looks quite yet.

As for posting provocative pictures, yeah, a woman posting pictures of her breasts will cross other women. If a guy posted provocative pictures of his 6-pack, though, well…do you REALLY think the other guys will let him get away with it?

Same goes for the woman who posts 20 pictures of herself. If a guy posts 20 pictures of himself, he’d get his share of crap too.

As for “you’re hawt!” type remarks, as long as they’re not creepy disturbing or coming from someone 10 years younger, I don’t see what’s offensive about them. No one complains when I compliment my male guildies on their pictures. And between you and me, I kinda like being told I’m hawt. Iin my real life, I’m appreciated only for my listening skills and my ability to recite chapters of Therapeutic Choices, it’s pretty nice to be treated like, you know, a warm blooded human being sometimes.

If you do get creepy disturbing comments after posting a picture, please scroll back up to the part about being guilded with cavemen.

Want to read more?

For a topic that’s supposed to be exhausted, I find I still have way too much to say about it. But I’ll give you all (as well as my fingers) a break from my wordiness and make a few reading suggestions for those of you who still believe women in WoW are a rarity. (Also, I can only think of so many blogs off the top of my head. I know there are tons more. If you write or know of a blog that fits into a category below, feel free to suggest it and I’ll add it to the list)

My past gender-related posts
The Treatment of Women in WoW part 1
The Treatment of Women in WoW part 2
The New Recruit or How I Almost Got in a Fight with a Sexist Jerk

Gifted bloggers who regularly write about gender in WoW
The Pink Pinktail Inn
Pugnacious Priest

Recent feminism posts
The ‘mental Shaman
Empowered Fire
Stories of O
The Lazy Sniper
Raging Monkeys (also a co-GM, raidleader and pvper!)

The following bloggers aren’t necessarily preoccupied by gender in WoW. They are, however, successful at roles or playstyles that are often described as “difficult” for a woman to be accepted in. Most of the time, our greatest limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves.

Female GMs/Raid Leaders
A Healadin’s Tear
Dwarf Babble
Kiss My Alas
Flash of Moonfire
You Yank It You Tank It
Tree Bark Jacket
I Like Bubbles

PvE Progression Focused Female Players
Moar HPS
Kurn’s Corner
Disco Priest
Falling Leaves and Wind
Ecclesiastical Discipline
HoTs & DoTs
Life in Group 5
Tales of a Priest

Explore posts in the same categories: Internet Anthropology

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131 Comments on “Refuting Accusations Made Towards My Feminist Side”

  1. Jen Says:

    “Women are the victims of a lot of double standards, but it doesn’t justify double standards against men.”
    This x 100000. I’ve been reading “feminist” posts lately (wow_ladies and elsewhere) and the amount of double standards you find in some places is… what is this I don’t even. And the scariest thing is that the writers don’t even seem aware of what they’re doing. I’ve never labeled myself as feminist, but these people do and I never want to get lumped together with them… so yeah, I’m just a girl.

    I’d also like to second what you said, for all the readers: there are guilds where girls aren’t expected to be bad players or distracting to Vent. I conform to the stereotype (healer), but I don’t care, since it’s simply what I love and what I’m good at. My guild’s MT and RL (and basically GM, though she doesn’t have the GM rank) is a girl and she’s very good at all that. We’re also very dirty and we have a lot of fun, without anyone getting offended at sexual jokes… maybe because the girls are dirtier than the boys? As for talking on Vent, I’ve never understood why I should be shy in PuGs. Oh, I’m embarrassed about my accent, that’s one thing, but of my gender? Lol, seriously. If someone’s really shocked there’s a girl in the raid, they need a reality check and they’re not worth my attention.

    • Anolaana Says:

      Too darn right. There’s someone around my workplace who complains ‘just cause I’m black’ and then goes around treating people around him like rubbish. Doing this is not acceptable, even if past wrongs have been committed against you. It’s practically asking people to blast your head off, because refuting racism with racism is the same as firing the first shot yourself.

      At least we’re not in the same conditions as them. As Pewter notes below, we can afford to speak up and face men on an equal field. If it happens, we have every right to /challenge/ them on it- but firing back ‘yo dad’ insults is past the line.

      Nelson Mandela is such a great person because he forgives; and if the WoW community is prepared to accept us, let us forgive. If not, we’ve got some fighting to do before that time comes.

  2. Pewter Says:

    I completely agree that it isn’t just about calling people out. Female players who feel comfortable enough (or are strong enough to make themselves comfortable, if that makes sense) should say something and stand up. And you are right – standing up for things you feel as a woman shouldn’t mean that you put men down, or subject them to indignities that you wouldn’t accept yourself.

    I think there is also a lot of difficulty in that for me it is very easy to want to judge other woman’s behaviour, and I naturally end up doing it in a way that I would never critique a man/boy (e.g. outfit critiques, flirty behaviour). Being a feminist is about respect, about choices – it’s not up to me to be judgeymcjudgey person if someone has a filthy mouth, or enjoys sex, or flirts, or is child free, or is a stay at home mom. That’s not what feminism should be able, we shouldn’t be deciding what is ‘appropriate behaviour’ for other women any more than men should be.

    I Completely agree with your words about the tagline ‘gaming from a girl’s perspective’ because it’s both awesome and at the same time trite and done a lot. And yet many blogs that don’t state that emphatically very much cater to the male gamers because that is the ‘default’ way of looking at things – every gamer blog written by a man is ‘from a mans perspective’, so I can’t begrudge female bloggers the choice of emphasising their gender in their writing, because it’s part of being visible, and of pointing out that certain things are a problem. That said it’s not something I want to blog as – I’m trying to go beyond the ”I’m a girl and I game’ and the easy/obvious answers.

    I will object and say that if you really enjoy progressive/bleeding edge end-game raiding, I think luck (in terms of timing, slots being available, and other personality factors) does play a part in finding the right guild for you, but that’s true of male players as well. I think there are less female friendly ‘top 100 guilds’, so more luck is involve in finding an environment that is good for you if you want to get involved.

    Anyways, brilliant post and I shall add it to my round up :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      For very specific guilds, such as bleeding edge raiding or hardcore pvp, I agree, finding a good match of a guild can be quite difficult. I wouldn’t attribute it to dumb luck, though.

      I think in guilds like that, you have to set your priorities a little differently. Unlike in a casual or moderately hardcore guild, being accepted into a guild like that and gaining respect as a gamer alone would be huge steps for serious female gamers everywhere. Asking for female-friendly jokes and clean language would have to come later. Change can happen, but one step at a time…


  3. [...] lot of admiration for those women who dare tread in waters they’re not expected to be seen in. – Refuting Accusations Made Towards My Feminist Side @The Bossy [...]

  4. Failadin Says:

    Excellent post! I agree, women aren’t at alle uncommon in WoW. Most women I’ve played with were excellent players even, and were deeply respected for their skill. To be honest, I have yet to come across a guild on my main realm where gender would be an issue in any way. Admittedly, on another realm where I keep some alts, the atmosphere is completely different. I may have to do some research to see how bad it is exactly.

    I’ll take up your little “challenge” to see if I can write up a decent post about WoW from a guy’s perspective. I may or may not be your Average Joe, but we’ll see.

    By the way, I haven’t seen a photo of you as of yet (and I don’t expect to nor ask you to show me) but based on your personality and character as you present yourself on your blog and on Twitter, I’d say your “hawt”. I don’t care so much for looks as long as the person inside is beautiful :-)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Aww :)

      There are a couple of pictures of me somewhere in the blog, up to you to find them though!

      I look forward to reading your post. I love the rare times I’m allowed to get a little insight into the male mind.

  5. brangwen Says:

    Holy CRAP Ophie!! That was awesome. I just saw it turn up in my inbox, and I couldn’t stop reading.

    The “post a picture” section made me think of this situation I found myself in as a female guild leader:

    http://nonelitistraiding.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-am-real-gl-now.html

    Now there is a lot of “for the lulz” in that post, but it really has a menacing undertone, and shows up exactly how NASTY people can be to a female gamer – more especially one in power and empowered.

    I am like you, as you know. I don’t hide that I am a woman, I speak up in vent, I call people out when they are douches and I cop a LOT of flack for it. Some flack I cop because of what I do, but most of the time the retaliation is because I am female, arguing, and 99% of the time, right (mostly because I dont speak up unless I am pretty sure I am right LOL!)

    Again, brilliant post.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you!

      I don’t think I had seen that post. That’s really terrible. I’d be very upset.

      I’m not sure if it was directed at you because you were a women. I’ve seen gkickees behave nastily to male GMs too. Us being a woman does give them leverage, though, since our weak spots tend to be easier to target than men’s weak spots…

      I have to say, I’m surprised, in a good way!, about how the community stuck up for you! It’s nice to see that there is a level of solidarity among us geeks.

      • Brangwen Says:

        The bitterness pointed toward me was not because I was a woman, the way they chose to retaliate was specifically aimed at being female. And these people were affronted by my being a chick and not taking any crap from them, they had been in the past.

  6. Jaedia Says:

    Man I have so much to say in response. I think I forgot it all already! I don’t know if you read my recent posts on the subject? I barely ever breach the topic of feminism but the recentish Mana Obscura podcast episodes triggered off a few things in my head that I just had to write down. I did the one on Lazy Sniper, and I did one on my Rant Page because I wanted to get a few points across that seem to be almost ignored in real life, and that bugs me. Yeah, I’m talking about the mistreatment of men, because it’s just as much a problem in some areas of life.

    I believe that these days I have it fairly easy in the gender department. I’ve managed to surround myself with decent human beings who can be nice, have a laugh, mock each other without being sexist. I love my friends, and I’d never even consider for a moment that they might start being sexist, which is awesome. Ingame it’s near enough the same, I’m treated like a player, not a girl, because I’ve always acted like a person, not a girl (and when I say this, I’m saying that I don’t flaunt. I play, I correct people when they call me he because hell, I wouldn’t like that irl and I don’t like it ingame, I’m not a man damnit!). The occasional “omg your a girl” gets on my nerves a bit but I spose in a way I’ve become almost accustomed to it, I’ve had that for so many years. The only reason I don’t speak on vent is because my sound card is pretty much fucked, my mic won’t work so I can’t speak, and I’ll never pretend that when I could I could get a word in edgeways. I’m a little uncomfortable on vent not because of my gender, just for the same reasons some people are uncomfortable with phones.

    I make sure people know I’m a girl rather than a guy for the reason I said above, despite the fact that I play a DPS class, that I always read up enough to do well, that I play the auction house, that, less so now, but in the past, I raided pretty regularly in guilds that did hardmodes, I believe we had 3 raiding females in my last guild. I collect pets though, I never said I can’t be a bit feminine in my preferences!

    On the topic of women only guilds, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that, purely because I wouldn’t be comfortable knowing there was a man only guild out there. That’s exclusion, and not entirely the same as a ‘Swedish only guild’, or ‘Greek only guild’. Well, those kinds of guilds will let anybody in as long as they speak the preferred language which is perfectly fine when these guys are stuck on English speaking servers. Male and female players should really be able to play alongside each other as normal, I’ve seen it happening for years, so when there is a bit of sexism in a guild, I don’t quite get it. Why is it so hard to treat people near enough the same?

    Cavemen guilds.. yeah I’ve left the same one over, and over. It has some AWESOME people in it, truely, but it’s always had its’ share of sexist kids who obviously don’t understand that what they’re saying and doing is actually pretty bad. I recently left it after a conversation about drunken midget rape, I kinda drew the line.

    “Women are the victims of a lot of double standards, but it doesn’t justify double standards against men.”
    This, this, and this again. Seriously, I notice it all the time. Women treat men like crap and the moment it’s reversed they’re upset. Well, don’t treat men like crap then? It really bugs me. I’ve always been under the impression that you should treat others how you would want to be treated yourself, so I treat guys as though they’re equal, and women alike. The moment they show that they’re dicks, then I speak out, won’t have people treating people I like with disrespect.

    On photos, wow. Just wow. There was a girl in my TBC guild (the same one I’ve just left) who posted pictures of herself, a lot. They were never quite bikini shots, thank God, but she still turned heads. There are pages, and pages of “omg you’re so hot, want a drink sometime?” kind of comments after each of her pictures, and she’s been there since vanilla so I guess you can imagine what that’s like. I also remember another guild, I wasn’t in it at the time because I was always pushed aside despite all the help I gave those guys and I’d had enough, another female friend was still there and a girl applied. She said she was 16, and a healing Priest, but the application was bad so they declined her. She applied again.. with a picture. They were suddenly all over her and devising a way to get her in the guild, much to the absolute disgust of me, the other girl, and my other half. I can’t remember if she got in, or not, but the fact that there was even an issue over it at all was very wrong.

    Okay, sorry for the rant! That was really a great post and I had a lot to say, but I didn’t really want to write another post about gender issues so soon, plus, a lot of it was in response so, best as a comment. Awesome post.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I did read one of your posts, the one where you speak of family courts being biased in favor of women. It was a really good read. A former close friend of mine, actually, was a single father in the US and his story was just as you described. I did consider linking to you, but I wasn’t sure how comfortable you’d be with me sending a flurry of readers to your personal blog.

      The only notion I found debatable was the part about men and women only being different because of their upbringing… I know that experts everywhere are still arguing over that, but I actually WANT to believe that men and women are made different. Different, but equal. Complimentary. I love men because they’re men and I love being a woman.

      On talking on vent, I probably should have elaborated more. I totally understand and respect those who don’t talk on vent because it’s not their thing, because they don’t have the equipment, or because they use gaming as a way to explore being someone else. But if someone WANTS to speak up, I definitely encourage them to do so.

      On single-gendered guild, I’m actually quite a fan of them. I love playing with the guys too much to consider joining a girls-only guild, but I think it would be fun to have raids that feel like a girls’ night out.

      On pictures, ugggg. It’s never happened in either of the guilds I’ve been deeply involved in, but I have seen the model-wannabe syndrome in the various message board communities I’ve been a part of. It gets annoying when the primadonna gets all the attention, which causes the other females in the community to be excluded. What I have noticed, though, is that guys love to flock the primadonna, but have very little respect for her behind her back. Kinda interesting when you think about it.

      My guildies often joke about accepting bad but female applicants “if they’re cute”, but I ASSUME it’s only joking (kind of like how I’ll often jokingly make references to the potential hotness of male applicants). Know that stuff like that happens in a non joking setting is just icky.

      • Jaedia Says:

        Ah, I mustn’t have got my point across very well about the differences between men and women, because there are differences, the kind that are laid into us from society from such an early ages are personality differences, I guess that’s bordering on the nature vs. nurture debate which I’ve always sided with nurture when it comes to personality, but there are of course differences in us as human beings. Women are built for child birth, men are built stronger, not all men are strong, not all women will give birth, but that is kinda how it is, and it doesn’t make any of us superior or inferior AND of course hormones will have something to do with the differences as well. This is just one big old rant isn’t it? :p

        I don’t mind my personal blog being linked to, I’ve kept the things I don’t want to share with the entire internet away from it, which I think is the sensible thing to do when the permissions are set to public.

        Definitely nice to be able to join in with the guys, I have been in a guild before where I felt out of place for being female at times, but I got out of there so, it’s cool!

  7. Jen Says:

    Re:pets
    I collect pets, but when one of my male friends joined WoW, what did he do? Started buying all the pets he could find on the AH. He’s only level 60 or so, but I think he already has the 50 pets achievement and he loves getting more.

    Re:photos
    I guess it depends on the type of guild… in mine, most people have posted photos, and while no one (male or female) is drop dead gorgeous, most of them are at least pleasant to look at, some even attractive. No one has commented anything about this – even though Vent is a complete mess of sexual jokes all the time. We just know how to draw the line between “fun” and “uncomfortable”. I’m sure this is also discriminating, but I wonder if it’s because we’re 18+ with most of us in the 24-25 range…

    • Ophelie Says:

      I know several guys who are really into collecting pets. It’s thought of as a girl thing, but it’s totally not. My trusty Ammen Vale Lashling doesn’t betray my gender because it’s a pet but rather because it’s a giant flower.

      My guild is still a little prudish in the dirty jokes department, but they’re making progress! What constitutes creepy and what constitutes funny depends on everyone’s personal boundaries. I have the rauchiest sense of humour ever, so the more dirty jokes the better. I think my guild avoids sexual jokes more because they’re almost exclusively single, young guys, many of which are really insecure about their sexuality (but shhh don’t tell them I said that!). My former guild, full of happily married thirtysomethings, now THEY were masters of rauchy jokes.

      • Jen Says:

        We’re full of raunchy jokes probably *because* most are single 20 something guys. To the extent that our RL instituted a new rule: everyone gets laid *before* the raid so we can actually kill some bosses instead of making “that’s what she said jokes”.

        (Oh, and the Ammen Vale flower is ugly :P I do love my kitties and squee over them…)


  8. I don’t post pics to guild forms – the last time It was a girl had an issue with it, and in current guild one person has spent more time asking for a pic then saying talking to me, so that aint gonna happen. If I stick around maybe, I communicate therefore I blog/want to speak – we are playing a MMO, and I don’t play wow for the npcs – I aim to be that sensible talker – not too shy.. not too much, but yeah sometimes If Im not the distraction someone elses comment makes me one – hence I am probably a little quieter in a raiding guild then I would be in a pug

    • Ophelie Says:

      I do wait a bit before I post pics to guild (or other community) forums, mostly because I think that level of internet intimacy comes with time. (Then again, I posted a picture of myself on my blog once, but I kinda snuck it in so that very people actually realized it was me)

  9. Pewter Says:

    I must admit while I understand where Jaedia is coming from with ;) ‘women treat men like crap and then get upset when women get treated like crap’ theme, I find it extremely frustrating to read, personally. I see it so often used as a deflection of discussion about women, even though I rarely see such discussions talk about men in a harmful way (Obviously there are discussion that take that bent, but I’ve very rarely seen that from gender related posts in the WoW blogosphere, for example.) Pointing out how women get treated, or stereotyped, or victimised, or ignored, or disrespected in general does not go hand in hand with treating men like crap and I find it extremely frustrating when the conversation gets drawn back to that. It’s not a revelation or insight, and discussion about female empowerment is not harmful to men so it’s frustrating when people raise that point (and they do, time and time again.)

    Mulling over things a bit more, I also dislike the implication that we’re all in the same boat and able to be strong and speak up, and that if we’re speaking about bad experiences we are victimising ourselves rather than being ‘good’ survivors. Maybe the site isn’t useful for women who experience very little sexism in their work, or from family, (either because they’ve made their own stand against it, or because their family and environment is relatively progressive) but those sites are useful because they allow us to talk and be angry, when society tells us we should be POSITIVE and HAPPY. I think that labelling sites such as MFIF as self-victimising, and that talking about problems as thus a form of self-victimisation is a dangerous path to take for feminism as a whole. It’s great to be positive when we have the space and emotional calmness to be positive and think about what we can do, but to call talk about negative things ‘victimising’ is silencing and dismissive of those experiences and feelings in the wider discussion of feminism and gaming. (I am not saying that is what anyone here intends, mind you.)

    /ramble

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m on my way out the door so this will be kind of short, I’ll get more involved in the discussion (and answer other comments) tonight, but this caught my eye.

      “I also dislike the implication that we’re all in the same boat and able to be strong and speak up”

      Well…why not?

      I’ll concede that there are some extreme situations- situations where a woman’s family doesn’t let her go to university because she’s a woman, or situations where a woman is married off to a stranger the day she hits puberty. Or women with mental disabilities who don’t really understand what’s happening to them, only that they don’t feel right. I can see how it would be very difficult to speak up when you’re silenced.

      But I would assume that most of us participating in gender discussions on the internet don’t fall into these profiles.

      And if we don’t stand up for ourselves, then who will?

      Sexist people are sexist because they either:
      a) were brought up that way and don’t know any better (ignorance)
      b) don’t care

      They’re not going to magically change overnight, so it’s up to us to prove that we have the right to the same opportunities in life as they do.

      • Pewter Says:

        In my experience – yes, maybe us bloggers can be strong and stand up for ourselves (and we do!) But the discussions about gender aren’t just about those of us with our particular experiences. Just looking at all the different responses to the sexism post – many people completely dismissed certain items off my list while others told me I didn’t go far enough in my post (e.g. the damn statue ;) is a perfect example, with Oestus feeling it was irrelevant to her while other women felt that it was one of the most relevant to them.)

        But our commentators and the women we encounter in WoW won’t all be in the same boat. You can be intelligent and articulate and proud and still feel angry and upset about things, and then feel silenced when others say that talking about this stuff is victimising yourself.

        I think it’s very possible to be proud, empowered and visible, and still be able to have discourse on the negative things. I think it is unintentional, but sometimes the way we talk about the positive things can seem dismissive of the negative things, which is what I’m trying to get at.

        • Ophelie Says:

          I didn’t write that you should never talk about negative things, it’s actually quite the opposite.

          The problem I have with sites like MFIF is that it’s JUST a list of crappy experiences. There’s no apparent community, no support, no discussion and the attitude is very victimizing. The people who SHOULD be reading it don’t, so I don’t see the point.

          Maybe it’s just because I work in health care, but I don’t see society as pressuring to be positive and happy at all. All I hear from sun up to sundown is how life sucks and it’s not their fault and how horrible everything is and blablabla.

          As for standing up for ourselves, I think it’s something every capable human being should learn to do. It’s hard- one of the posts I linked too was actually about how much I was struggling after scolding a new recruit who was rude to me. It’s hard but it gets easier with practice and it’s worth it. You can’t expect others to read your mind, limits and expectations are something you have be explicit about.

    • Jaedia Says:

      I really struggle to understand why you’re so ‘frustrated’ by the idea that some men have trouble with discrimination too? It’s part of the wider issue, and it is an issue. Perhaps a little less so in WoW, but it’s still there.

      • Pewter Says:

        I’m not frustrated by it, I’m frustrated by it being raised in discussions about women, as if it is in opposition and a reason not to discuss the issues of females. If you’re just having a rant about the way feminists can get hostile towards men who engage in feminists discussion, that’s another matter ;)

        • Jaedia Says:

          I see, we’ll have to agree to disagree then because I definitely see it as a part of feminine issues. I believe that gaining equality isn’t primarily based on getting equal rights for females, but on finding a good balance between the genders, in which case I think it’s quite important to know where the imbalances are.

          Anyway, I had decided to back out of any feminist discussions after I made my 2 posts, I got my point/opinion across and that was all I intended to do :) Ophelie’s post was great though, felt like I had to comment!

  10. Jen Says:

    Pewter: I did see men treated this way several times when trying to express a contrary opinion on certain feminist posts. They were simply dismissed for being men – or at least having male-sounding nicknames – and even verbally abused. In some cases, the verbally abusive women were not told off by the moderators, but then men were told they were trolling. Double standards ftw.

    • Pewter Says:

      Well, again that comes back to when someone not of the marginalised group comes in and starts ‘explaining’ things to the marginalised group, or taking control of the discussion away from the marginalised group, it can be a source of frustration and anger. Again, that hurt and upset is not a reason to dismiss what the hurt people are saying. That’s pretty much the tone argument in a nutshell.

      • Jen Says:

        But then… why pretend you’re having a conversation when a side isn’t allowed to have an opinion? I didn’t notice anything on those sites saying “males can’t comment”. Some of them obviously do it to troll, but I’ve seem legitimate (and even supportive) opinions ignored because the commenter was “dan” and not “mary”. Some of the women responded levelly and had a conversation (agreeing or disagreeing), some of them started going on about “them men” (in other terms, but that was the idea). It was the exact same behavior men use against women to discount their opinions. If I were a man, I’d be fuming. Hell, I was fuming and I’m female! (Hence why I can’t provide a link, I tried to erase the memory.)

        At some point I just decided I can’t understand certain people and I’ll stop trying to. I don’t think being abused, as painful as it may be, gives you a right to abuse others… but it’s the site owners’ right to disagree, so I chose to exercise my right to stop visiting/commenting.

      • Jen Says:

        Also, I think I know what you mean by “explaining” (something along the lines of “shush silly woman, I know better”? yeah, annoying as hell), but this tends to get overblown to the extent that any attempt to explain or justify a behavior is dismissed. Some behaviors CAN be explained by context, but this is something many women/feminists I’ve seen choose to ignore/discount, on the basis that “a man did this to me and he behaved like this, so all men behaving like this will do this to people”. Errr, no. (One of the flamey posts on w_l was along these lines… guess I’m still pissed off about it.)

        • Pewter Says:

          Long comment incoming!

          Well this is one of those things where internet is the great equaliser – for every level-headed commentator you’ll get someone who gets mad and resorts to personal attacks and name calling. Derailing is derailing in any situation, though, and women being angry in a discussion about female opression is hardly surprising. It just upsets me to see the discussion about feminism always turn to the protection of the male commentators. There is also the point that those behaviours by the marginalised group towards the privileged group don’t have the weight of society behind them (especially applicable when it comes to discussions in the trans community, for example.)

          I always try to be civil on my blog for example, but there have been a couple of very civil commentators who have used several derails in very subtle ways, and argued from the privileged point of view and I ended up spending more energy on them than I did on the blog post. I never felt, despite his very ‘informed opinion’, that he really got what I was saying to him. Not everyone feels the need to be so polite though. (And I’m sure I tried your patience on your gender post ;) )

          I think there’s a difference between having an opinion and unintentionally trying to control the conversation of a marginalised group. Often privileged people will come in and engage with the conversation, but we aren’t actually listening to what is being said, we are just repeating things that the marginalised group already understands about our position. This leads to a lot of hostility and a lot of anger (which is what you’ve remarked upon) because rather than enabling the conversation amongst the marginalised group, it makes it all about the privileged group instead. It isn’t helpful or good for discussion when ‘derailing’ happens. (And it’s not just ‘shush silly woman’) Those attempts to justify behaviour or explain context are still the privilege trying to explain away their behaviour and excuse it, generally, rather than admit that maybe the behaviour is problematic/offensive/something to think about. Context and intent is important, but they don’t change the end result all that much, no matter how well mannered or well meaning that opinion is.

          There’s actually a lot of literature and discussion groups out there centered around how allies of marginalised groups – trans, feminists, lesbians, gays, intersex, and all the different cultures that bump up against white (or otherwise) colonialist cultures – can contribute without making the discussion about the privileged.

          /ramble

          I do get what you’re saying – there’s always someone who is going to take something and run with it way more than they should, but that doesn’t mean that conversations about feminism should end up referring to the men who happen to get zinged by someone being overzealous.

          • 2ndnin Says:

            :) I assume part of that reference was to me Pewter (if not, :( sad panda ego deflated :P).

            Poneria, probably better said than I ever can, expresses a lot of what I and many others feel when we step forward. It is very hard to get into discussions and learning others view points when you get shutdown for asking questions.

            Part of the issue with discussions like these is that stepping into them often comes with the implicit acknowledgement of feminist principles without compromise (which very between feminists from true equity feminists to radical feminists). It is hard to look at things from other people’s perspectives, but to shut people down because of privilege they may or may not have is a little harsh. There are spaces like feministcritics.org where they are trying to open up discussions but it is hard to involve others when the fundamentals must be fully accepted or discussion cannot take place.

          • Pewter Says:

            We’re probably best served by discussing this over email 2ndnin ;)

            feministcritics.org is a very very good blog and serves a very important purpose, but not every feminist discussion space can be that, and it’s a privilege that we can walk into these spaces and expect the marginalised group to spend their time justifying themselves to us and listening to our opinions. Our entitlement to be listened to is not more important their entitlement to be able to talk about these things without us butting in all the time and making it about us ;)

            (And I say this as a white person who attempted to interact in back activism spaces and made some very similar responses to yours 2ndnin.)

            I do think there are a lot of men’s rights that do need more advocacy and to be talked about more by men, with support from female allies, and I think it can be done without one ‘doing down’ the other, if that makes sense ;)

      • Poneria Says:

        This is the thing that always turns me off for feminism whenever I get interested in the subject again.

        I think my uncomfort is the empowered tone set by many feminists, and then how they get upset whenever the conversation is turned to men (or whatever the “privileged” group of the day is). Empowerment is fine, but being hostile towards men’s opinions gives me the feeling that you are losing control of the conversation and are desperately trying to win it back. Often, the tone of feminist responses to men’s comments feels like the feminists are closing ranks and shutting the privileged out, all the while waving the banner of equality and welcome open-ness.

        What I don’t understand is why feminists respond with so much hostility. I do agree with Ophelie that action is much better than ranting about it (though a rant is healthy every once in a while), so I don’t understand why not take the opportunity to learn where the non-marginalized group is coming from and try to work it out with them. So far, I’ve seen your (Pewter) responses basically repeat back to the men what your position is, which is what you say they were doing to you.

        I’m not trying to “defend” truly inappropriate or trolling responses to feminist posts. I’m just trying to understand the other sides to it.

        • 2ndnin Says:

          Poneria, feminism is a faith rather than a science due to the inability to prove the underlying concepts. The hostility is often due to the others refusing to accept the core tenants of the faith (no matter how contradictory) and so appearing to undermine the whole ideology even if they wish to engage in good faith.

          Taking the example of privilege (societally backed potential advantages by feminist lingo) which many people can demonstrate to not have despite being in the privileged group it is a generally kickable offense to say that you / others don’t have it because it demeans / challenges others and the establishment’s views. In many ways though you must accept some of the tenants to actually involve discussion, however without a middle ground it is just preaching to the faithful (which is great but its not discussion).

          • Poneria Says:

            I understand it’s a faith (or ethical system). I find conflict in myself whenever I am untrue to the tenets of humanism (particularly my preferred flavor of secular). But being called a “faith” does not give it the right to be hostile to other groups with differing views. Being called a “faith” just means I’ll acknowledge that there are certain, very human and totally acceptable, limits to the explanations of this philosophy. Hell, even “science” isn’t perfect at that.

            It’s the golden rule: why expect equality and fair treatment when you yourself (rhetorical you) are hostile towards others?

        • Pewter Says:

          No. I do understand where you’re coming from. I completely understand. I have had my ass well and truly handed to me in discussions about sexuality and race, because I was well meaning and got things very wrong. One of the things I struggle with on mentalshaman.com is discussing these topics without becoming prescriptivist or dismissive, or resort to namecalling/hostility. That said I have a very snarky side, limited time and energy, and I sometimes fail in expressing myself properly.

          Closing ranks (or circling the wagons) is something that happens when someone feels constantly under attack about a particular topic, which feminist activists very often are. Personally my blog is a frontier blog, and the discussions have been very civil and I haven’t been under attack. I did have one very wordy commenter who…well, every single one the comments he has made has been an example of a well known trope in feminist discussions, and it was a lot of effort for me to marshal my responses and to do so adequately. Nothing he said was ‘new’ (as in I’ve thought or believed similar things myself, in an ‘ew feminists, I’m a humanist stage’) I may well have failed and just ‘parroted back at him’, but I think that’s a personal failing on my part to identify and respond to his points in a way that would get my position across to him.

          Does a privileged persons ‘right’ to express their opinion really trump the marginalised persons right to be hurt or upset by privileged assumptions? And then to call those assumptions out? If responding politely to every single comment by a privileged is inhibiting to the marginalised groups discussion, does listening to their opinions (trolls non-withstanding) really trump encouraging the marginalised group to talk amongst themselves about what they think about the way they are marginalised? If responding with links to 101 blogs is also hostile and alienating, then why is the burden of explanation and education on the part of the marginalised, rather than the privileged who came into the marginalised space/discussion?

          • Pewter Says:

            And sometimes I just get things wrong, or repeat myself ^^

          • Poneria Says:

            Hmmmm, it’s complicated in my head. Let me try to work my way through this. Also, my apologies, Ophelie, for hijacking your post into long wordwall comments that don’t attend to the post itself. =P

            I think it takes two to create offense. I went around the bush for an hour, deleted it, and I’ll just get to the meat.

            You, Pewter, are excellently civil most of the time, and I really like that about you. I sincerely do enjoy your posts and even this thread right now. However, I do feel that you come across as too strong a lot of the time. I don’t mean to say that you can’t be strong-minded as a woman; I mean it as an unhealthy excess of strength. I often feel like you automatically take the position of being offended before you’ve even acknowledged the comment.

            Crap, I’m focusing on the person not the issue. I apologize. Let me try again.

            I don’t really see education and explanation as a burden. I’ve always loved school in the academic sense, and it’s probably why I can be offended by your manner but otherwise love love love your posts. I see education and explanation as joys to be expressed. When I really love a subject, I wish to share both the subject and why I think it’s beyond awesome with other people, and I love it when other people share their this-is-so-awesome-s with me, regardless of whether I know all about it or nothing at all. What turns me off are the people who seem to focus on pointing out the dissenters and why they are wrong or offensive or worse or whatever opposing descriptor is wished. This bothers me because it comes across as insecure, like a subject can’t be loved and lived for without unanimous support from other people. Presenting opposing opinions is okay, throwing out a personal opinion on their opposing opinions is okay, but I am bothered and frustrated by unwelcome atmospheres of discussion. It’s okay to disagree and walk your separate paths, so long as each path is allowed to be taken (and each path does have it consequences to be had, I do not wish to ignore that aspect). I dislike focusing on the negatives over promoting the positives, which is how the conversation often turns to.

            Actually, ironically, I’m focusing on the negative now. Crap. I’m just full of mistakes.

            You, Pewter, come across to me like you would rather “fix” the opposing commenters than let them say their piece and work it out. Of course, this is just my view, and I could be entirely wrong about this because of my own preconceptions. I apologize if this is true.

            The opposing side and I already know what it is that offends you. You make that clear in your posts and comments, and I thank for that, since it’s a bit rare for people to just say straight out what’s bothering them. What I think you could expand on is what you wish to see as a response once someone has misstepped. People will misstep, some by accident, some on purpose. But I’m asking what would you like to see to help myself and others to not misstep again, while respecting both of us.

            Lastly, I really do want to thank you for the posts and comments. This makes me seriously think about and through my opinions and positions on various subjects. I really do appreciate and love it. :)

          • Pewter Says:

            Hmm. A lot to respond to Poneria. I had to re-write this about 3 or 4 times, and I’m still not happy with it.

            I don’t come to this particular conversation in an offended stance. Nothing that has said has been offensive, I’ve merely disagreed with individual points and (in my point of view) offered critique. Now if you say that I’m coming across too strong, my response is to look at my own language and points and try to figure out what I can do to mitigate what is possibly a natural part of my writing style.

            I’m no expert in the feminist field. I’ve not spent any time in gender studies or woman’s studies in a formal environment, but I do have an academic background which does tend to the ‘critique and let them figure it out on their own’ style. This whole post/discussion is pretty awesome because it’s a discussion of method and language, and that’s fine. We’re disagreeing and discussing and that’s not a problem – we’re not even dwelling on the evils of sexism here ;) . A discussion where two points of view are raised and left as they are is not a discussion, it’s the end of one – especially as some of these points of view come with unintended or implicit critiques of other feminist (or non-feminist) stances.

            On education – it is a joy for you. I like to talk and provoke discussion, but I don’t like banging my head against a brick wall, and I’m not a teacher. It is something I need to learn, especially as my blog is a frontier/transition blog, but I’m not going to be perfect with my responses right off the bat, and learning how to handle criticism on the blog level is an on going thing ^^ And I might say that maybe responsibility is a better word than ‘burden’. Of course, discussing things in this context is different again from calling out someone on inadvertently hurtful language (e.g. transphobic or racist language). I don’t think the responsibility of education is on the person being hurt by the language, or on anyone who calls out/expresses disapproval of such language. That isn’t the situation here, of course, so the strategies I use to educate myself when I misstep in a spacewhere I have privilege, but I’m not sure how applicable they are when I am in a discussion of women by women ;)

            I shall try to take what you about helping others to avoid the missteps and work on that. Always something to learn (and if my posts do provoke thoughts, I’m at least doing something right ;) )

          • Poneria Says:

            I think I misread a lot because it’s heated conversation in just plain text, and I think I may have misjudged your strong tones then. That’s totally my bad and I apologize.

            I still do disagree about the possessor of the burden/responsibility/whatever of the education and explanation, but I think I’ll go expand on that on my own blog. For one, I feel like I’m intruding on the Bossy Pally and for two, this comment box is getting TINY. ;)

          • Pewter Says:

            I think in situations where my blog where I am in shared space I do need to take some responsibility for educating (especially as I have so much privilege myself) but I sent you a link via DM about that.

          • Ophelie Says:

            I’m coming in a bit late on this, but I have a lot of trouble thinking of Western women as a “marginalized group”. It’s certainly true of women in some ethnic groups, but I certainly don’t feel like a marginalized group due to my gender.

            I suppose the word “feminism” means something different to each person, but to me “feminism” is about working together to build a better society. And that involves every human being, male and female.

          • Pewter Says:

            I think in terms of being a marginalised group I do tend to hesitate with applying it to western women (although in certain contexts women are still very much in a minority representation, and I still think there is a lot to work towards.) I don’t go around yelling that I’m being oppressed, even though I like to focus on legacy behaviours and assumptions (the status quo) that I think needs to be challenged and thought about. I used the term marginalised group there because I was trying to discuss ideas of derailing and privilege in terms of the wider social justice movement in order to explain what I was getting at better, so I apologise if that went a bit jargony.

            opinions of the well off, The biggest problem with feminism historically has been that it prioritised the rights and white, western woman. That is something that a lot of feminists want to change. I think feminism and social justice is still very applicable in the west.

  11. Jen Says:

    (And I was flamed to death for disagreeing with the masses on wow_ladies, but I’ve since given up on finding common sense there. I just hope the poor girls who asked for relationship advice managed to get themselves sorted out.)

    • Pewter Says:

      Yeah, sorry for the word dump above, I was just having trouble articulating some stuff. I think w_l is a much more positive place now, but then generally don’t get too involved in the firestorms. Generally the overall range of advice tends to be pretty good imho.

      • Jen Says:

        w_l is a perfectly fine community 90%+ of the time. I just happened to run into two posts that derailed bad and left me a bit boggled. The one I referred to was along the lines of a girl being yelled at by her long-distance bf on Vent because she fucked up something in a BG. The advice most commenters gave her was “dump him, this is abusive behavior, he’ll become worse, you don’t want to be around him”. I recommended having a conversation first (maybe he’s an abuser; maybe he was just having a bad day) and oooh that was a bad idea… some women had been abused, so they knew better, and I should just shut up and go away. Then I got told (rudely) by the mods that because I disagreed, I should shut up, but the anti-rudeness rules don’t apply to her because she was responding to oppressive language. I “wtf”ed at her definition of oppressive language and got out of there fast.

        (Fwiw, I can’t play WoW with my boyfriend, because he’s more hardcore and we get on each other’s nerves very fast. He has yelled at me in raids, but from there to physical abuse… looong long way.)

        Enough offtopic, work day is over so I’m going home to a raid :D

        • Pewter Says:

          Ah I see. Well, I tend to stay out of those discussion because I find it so hard to talk about other people’s relationships via so little information.

          • Jen Says:

            I felt like I had to, because there were already dozens of comments telling the girl to just dump that guy… I guess I felt a little responsible, what if she did it thinking *everyone* agreed and ruined a good relationship? I wanted to show her that it’s not an universal opinion that she should get rid of the guy. No idea what happened next, but since then I’ve kinda kept away from these posts too.

  12. Pewter Says:

    (and I don’t think having a bust up with someone perceived as a troll is the same abusing someone because they are male.)

    • 2ndnin Says:

      What is a troll though? There are obvious trolls (irrelevancies) and there are “trolls” that ask questions and put forward views that are disagreed with. I don’t think you can really classify the second as a troll so much as someone who wants to learn / disagrees with the current view point. Again if you are basing your discussion in a public way (such as a blog or open forum) then you should expect others to chip in in ways that you personally might not appreciate. In a gated community fair enough.

      • Pewter Says:

        I can expect people to chip in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to engage with every single disagreement ;)

        • 2ndnin Says:

          Of course not. However engaging with people can help them learn. One of the things I really got from my experience as a demonstrator in labs is that some people get what you say as you say it, others you need to find alternate explanations for them to understand, some you will need to approach from what seems a stupid angle, and some will never get it even if you give them the answer and all the ways anyone can think of to explain it.

          The point is if you don’t try the alternate ways and simply direct people to resources that worked for you or others you don’t create someone that doesn’t understand, you create someone that resents.

  13. Oestrus Says:

    Thank you very much for the plug and I enjoy your blog quite a bit!

    I related a lot to this post, because I felt the same way that you did about a number of things and I think I wanted to clarify something, that I have repeatedly mentioned in my post and in defense of my post (not that I’m being attacked – just more reiterating, than anything).

    The reason why I took a stance of empowerment and trying to find a silver lining to this is because it would have been very easy to keep adding fuel to the fire. It would have been easy to be overwhelmed with things we don’t have or could be upset about, until we were so bogged down in negativity and hopelessness and it would have turned into what could be seen as wallowing.

    Where I was trying to go was to say that yes, things are happening the way others have described and it’s real – but we have many things to be proud of and that we should be striking some kind of a balance with the negative aspects. I feel we have quite a bit to be proud of, in this expansion and that we are continuing to evolve and do ourselves proud.

    At the same time, I also wanted to talk about some things that could be seen as hypocritical (okay, so this is bad – but this isn’t) or situations where I feel we may be subconsciously ambushing ourselves.

    I think it’s also important to be women who have different opinions. The fight for feminism would be mighty boring if we all thought the same and acted the same and wanted the same. It allows us to attack the problem from multiple angles, when we have differences of opinion and it also speaks volumes about ourselves, when we can voice those differences maturely and respectfully, without denying anyone else their feelings or making it personal.

    Overall, I’m quite pleased to see how many familiar faces got involved with this and I look forward to seeing just what kind of waves we can make in Cataclysm.
    :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      I believe in the importance of having differing opinions as well. I think one of the reasons I tend to stay on the outskirts of discussions is because I find tight knit communities (feminist or other) tend become really cohesive. It’s the SAME people saying the SAME things over and over. I find I just don’t get anything out of it.

      Along the same lines, I love when men get involved in discussions, even if they’re disagreeing. Especially if they’re disagreeing. When I blogged about a new recruit making a sexist joke and being rude towards me, the officer (at the time) who cheered on the “jerk” left a few provocative comments. I felt bad for the readers who were upset by some of the things he said, but personally I found I learned quite a bit from the exchanges.

  14. elle Says:

    I read this with much interest, I always like your posts, and it is interesting to hear other females explain their experiences in game dealing (or not) with sexism.

    I agree with you that as far as speaking up in a pug I have never gotten any outright sexist comments. Once I got something like “hey, a girl! Wanna do it with me?” which was a bit strange since who would ask that of someone they just met, but not intended in a derogatory way.

    I recently joined a guild after pugging into several runs with them, and only after becoming a guild member did I realize I am the ONLY woman in the guild. And they have a sort of low key rep as a bunch of male pigs, but in raids, and in general, none of my guildies has ever said anything sexist to or about me. They have high standards for raiders, and when someone messes up they are called out. They make jokes, sometimes sexual, but so do I on occassion, so nothing I can hold against them without being a bit hypocritical.

    So I guess my point is, many sexist attitudes are actually expected by women in games, and the expectation is worse than the reality. Not that it doesn’t exist, but before jumping to the conclusion that men (or other women) will hold a sexist attitude, we should give them a chance to prove or disprove that, and correct bad behavior when we see it, not before.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Self fulfilling prophecy. *nods*

      It does annoy me when someone automatically assumes a negative behaviour is targetted at them because they’re a woman.

      “He called me a bitch while I was raid leading!”

      Yes and if you had been a man, he would have called you a dick. Same difference.

      I remember when I first started raid leading in my old guild. We had this really annoying know-it-all who would argue with everything I said and totally undermine my leadership. It would have easy to assume that it was because I was a woman. But instead of sticking a sexist label on his forehead, I toughened up. I prepared better for the fights and I learned how to shut him up. Sure enough, I gained my authority back without going in for a sex change.

      Of course, we shouldn’t deny that there are sexist behaviours because there are, but we should consider other possible explanations as well.

      • elle Says:

        Thanks, you got my intention of the post, and restated it much clearer than I originally did :)

  15. theerivs Says:

    Whenever I hear from Feminists they talk about male priveledge, but when I talk about female priveledge they derail me somehow.

    Though I think my stance is pretty known around the feminist circles of WoW. I’ve been back and forth with Empowered Fire (Met, and Ais) alot. We reached a sort of understanding.

    Basically all I have to say is, Don’t be sexist, bitches hate that. :)

    • 2ndnin Says:

      There is apparently no such thing as female privilege but rather benevolent sexism, that is the system of patriarchy grants privileges that aren’t because they are dependent on the submission to gender roles and patriarchical concepts.

      • Pewter Says:

        It’s not like women are privilege free, mind you. It’s not an oppression olympics – but I have privilege because I’m white and heterosexual. I lack privilege in intersectional areas related to mental health, fat and wealth, but I have privilege because I’m educated and in a western country etc. It doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone else ;)

        You might also find the term Kyriarchy more appropriate than ‘patriarchy’.

        • 2ndnin Says:

          According to feminist resources they are privilege free :). Feminism 101 makes a big deal of this.

          • Pewter Says:

            Huh. What. I’ve never gotten that from the resources I’ve read on privilege.

          • 2ndnin Says:

            http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/faq-female-privilege/

            Where a lot of noobs get sent. Female privilege = benevolent sexism = an institutional (though unequal) way to reinforce patriarchy for women.

            Alas it is resources like this that really confuse people when issues come up. White privilege is really dominant racial group privilege for example, and acts on the local (a White youth in a majority black neighbourhood), regional / national (minority black population in the US) and international (“western” culture assuming a dominant role in many fields despite being a global minority). Similarly a lot of the male privileges are very heavily interdependent on financial status and that intersectionality isn’t normally confronted in check your privilege situations.

            Of course in this I am a dissenting voice because I see a lot of these privileges being hard to apply to individuals. When one of them is “I am unlikely to be raped if not in prison” and the incidence of male rape victims is the 1in 6 studies show for the general populace you need to question the whole list for validity. Indeed even discussing this kindle thing is hard (see the feministe comment thread on female on male rape, though I won’t link it because it is truly a horrific thing to read).

          • Pewter Says:

            I think there is a lot of interesting discussion going on in them there comments, personally. Privilege is bigger than just ‘male’ and ‘female’, which is what I was getting at. White women have an awful lot of privilege that is awarded to them by the kyriarchy (white women’s tears).

          • 2ndnin Says:

            :) However people still get referred there, and it’s the headline that draws attention. I would assume the post is updated to represent the current feminist theory on that topic.

            Its just a bad resource generally to introduce people via because it is so heavily into the theory, if you don’t get it that likely won’t help.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, I can’t wrap my head around the whole “male privilege” thing.

      In many cultures and subgroups, yes, men are at a definite advantage and I feel nothing but admiration for the women of those groups who are working towards change.

      But as a middle class French Canadian woman born in the early 80s, I’ve always felt like *I* was part of the privileged gender. As a woman, I’m more likely to attend university, have access to more scholarships, have an easier time finding places to live, am trusted more easily and if I ever find myself in a custody battle, I’m almost certain to win. I’m also less likely to drop out of high school or end up in jail. If that’s not enough, growing up, I was given all these talks in school about the importance of self esteem, about how to deal with problems, about how to assert myself and so on. Boys got very little of that.

      One thing that really annoys me is that if I turn down a guy wanting to have sex with me, that’s totally cool. (I’ll admit that this doesn’t necessarily apply to younger girls, they get a lot more pressure than someone my age) If a guy turns down sex with a decent looking woman, he gets called an idiot.

      Rant aside, I’m a firm believer that we’re all human and that building a better, more balanced society involves both genders working TOGETHER as equal partners.

      • Pewter Says:

        Well it’s a general social justice concept that is used by feminists to articulate certain tropes and themes in discussions about women’s rights (rather than just ‘feminist’ discussions specifically).

        • 2ndnin Says:

          Problem with tropes and similar is that they only apply on large scale discussions and fit badly even with that. Remember the outrage when World of Matticus posted the female gamer stereotypes. Those again are “useful” ways to articulate the kind of person you met but are considered very harmful to women as a whole. The power of saying “you are x, and thus you need to check y” is ridiculous, it is very much like setting up a strawman and then asking people to argue against it (feminism is about equality, what kind of person is against that… when the feminist espousing it is say Marilyn French).

  16. Daffnae Says:

    I feel like commenting on this post, but I don’t have extensive information to add. I don’t actively participant on the sites referenced above, and I don’t speak out about extensively on feminism in game or real life.

    I do, however, relate to your statement above: “I don’t talk feminism very much because I’m busy living it.” My quiet approach has more to do with simply being shy than anything else. But at the same time, I am an extremely strong woman both in game and real life. I am not afraid to take on challenges and confront issues, but I don’t choose to start the conversation on the topic.

    From a game perspective, I appreciate your comment about guilds: “Having non-cavemen guildies isn’t “fortune” it’s choice”. Great guilds do exist where you don’t need to experience discrimination of any kind in the game. You might need to decide to ignore the idiots in trade chat, but you can have a great game experience as a female. If you don’t find it right away, keep looking.

    My guild has a strict policy on respect. People with issues regarding gender, sexual orientation, race etc just don’t last long in our guild because our members will not tolerate it. You should see how fast someone gets jumped on by multiple members the first time the utter anything in guild chat that comes across as disrespectful. We will kick someone for continued abuse of the rule, but generally people are quick to realize they don’t fit in if they feel the need to make such comments.

    Even with my quiet approach over the years, I have gained respect in the game by simply exhibiting skill, knowledge and kindness. I am not the guild master, but I keep our guild running. I organize all of our raids, I keep our web site up and running and I pay for our ventrilo server and web site.

    Thanks for the post. I don’t read blogs a lot, but I enjoy yours when I do visit the site.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you for the awesome comment!

      I do get the impression that many women who consider themselves “silenced” and “marginalized” have this notion that in order to be a successful, or at least strong, woman, you need to totally put yourself out there. In reality, some self respect is often all it takes. Being good at what you do, doing what you love, respecting others and setting a good example go a long way.

      It sounds like you and I are a lot alike. I’m super shy and quiet, yet don’t feel like I have to change who I am to be accepted. Putting effort into what I do, genuinely caring about my guild and guildies and not stepping on other to get ahead has always been enough.

  17. zelmaru Says:

    Moar Females: Kiss My Alas (my GM) is a GIRL! And blogs about it.

    http://kissmyalas.com/

    Oh noes, I’m a girl too. But my blog is tainted by “gaming from a boy perspective” (i.e. husband).

    More on point, I totally agree that it is within your power to find a guild that does not stand for crappy treatment of females, or any religious or racial group, or whatever. Vote with your feet. It sucks that you might have to bounce to a few guilds, but you have total control over your guild situation. Unlike IRL where if you leave your job due to sexism you will have to figure out what to do for MONEY, if you leave your guild you miss, uh, raiding? Phat lewts? Whatever, your self-respect is more important.

    • theerivs Says:

      Zel, What you doing out of the kitchen?

    • Ophelie Says:

      I didn’t realize Alas was a GM! I also didn’t realize you were in the same guild! (I probably did read that somewhere but it didn’t register in my brain). I added her blog to the list. I really enjoy reading about female GMs, they set a really good example to those who’ve always wanted to try their hand at guild leading but were afraid.

      IRL does have the advantage that you can sue if someone looks at you the wrong way, though! Still, I prefer being able to just leave instead of having to worry about court proceedings when things go bad.

      My secret to finding a good guild without hopping around was doing some research beforehand. Sydera’s (who was an officer in my guild at the time) post on the archetype of the female gamer was a large reason I joined Conquest. While most guilds don’t have high profile bloggers to serve as ambassadors, I do suggest to women looking for a fair guild to talk to a female officer (or at least member) of the guild they’re considering before joining to get an idea of how things go on a day to day basis.

  18. Turiel Says:

    @Pewter and Jen,

    Your discussion above (I read most of it, but you both at times had lengthy posts I may have skipped some info on) was quite good, and I will say outright I may be aligning with Jen’s school of thought. Pewter I read your post and while it was a very well written article, I couldn’t put my finger why I didn’t enjoy it.

    Jen helped me figure out why with what she was talking about.

    My thoughts coalesced into this: As a successful raid leader and GM over an extended period of time, many women have come into our guild (18+, performance raiding guild but casual members are welcome for the social aspect as well) and remarked that our guild on our server tended to attract a larger amount of women. One day I questioned my then-lone female officer as to why people would say this. She replied that I simply did not care about someone’s gender, and raided based on performance and social standards were set and followed by everyone.

    Final point: This article clearly states that if you do not like the way things are around you and are being treated horribly, then make a change- choose not to raid with cavemen! (I’m resisting so hard to not make a “It’s So Easy a Caveman could do it!” joke here… oops)


  19. [...] The Bossy Pally has a thing or two to say on the subject as well. [...]

  20. Hana Says:

    I’m a female GM and raid leader (and blogger!), though I generally don’t make a big deal out of it. I’m not fond of defining someone by gender, in either direction. When I get an applicant to my guild I evaluate them regardless of gender, and accept them on the basis of how they perform.

    I don’t think there are little islands of happiness where female gamers can peaceably be guilded and one has to be lucky to find them. Finding a comfortable guild can be hard, but it’s a number of factors and not gender exclusive. If being around the cavemen is hard because one’s female, there are probably other problems with the guild that have nothing to do with gender.

    I don’t pug raids too often, but when I do, I readily speak up in vent. I admit I sometimes wonder if the other raiders are surprised when a woman speaks up and she’s the tank or raid leader, but I have not once been called out in a negative fashion because of my gender.

    As you said, we’re not little snowflakes anymore. It’s fun being one, but really I think the general gaming audience recognizes a competent player when they play with one and they won’t care what the gender of that person is.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I added you to the list! I love reading about female GMs, even when the spotlight isn’t on their gender at all. It’s just so refreshing to read about women who don’t use their gender as an excuse to get in the way of the things they want to do.

      You are completely right about “if being around the cavemen is hard because one’s female, there are probably other problems with the guild that have nothing to do with gender.”

      Assholes are assholes. A group of people who are jerks to women are mostly likely jerks to everyone else too.

  21. Saunder Says:

    “If a guy posted provocative pictures of his 6-pack, though” … LOL. As a guy, and a nerd from way back, if, in some parallel universe I *HAD* a 6-pack to flaunt, I would flaunt it :) Sadly, I am more like the majority of male gamers (yes, gross generalisation), often healthy eating is not taking the lettuce out of my McChicken :D (Slight exaggeration, but you get the point.) Getting and maintaining a 6-pack would require better eating, more exercise and less WoW. Not. Going To Happen.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Hahaha!

      It was just a manner of speech! (Although, back in my Final Fantasy message board days, there was one guy once who kept sending me sensual pictures of his frontside. He was decent looking, but common! What a weirdo!)

      I feel the same way about the wording “girls posting pictures of their breasts”. Most GUYS have larger breasts than I do! If I posted pictures, there wouldn’t be much to see! (I’m cool with it though, big breasts are way too high maintance.)

  22. Will Says:

    I knew as soon as I finished reading this column that I wanted to leave a comment, and I’ve been pondering for several hours now what I want to say. While it will probably be clumsy in parts, I’ll do the best that I can to adequately express my feelings on the matter.

    I’ve been reading with interest the columns that have been written recently (and subsequently brought to my attention one way or another) about feminism and how it relates to WoW; along with the larger worldview that these columns address and link to. They’ve been thought-provoking, and I always enjoy it when the gray matter is stimulated.

    As a standard-issue straight white guy, I always feel awkward lending my thoughts, however muddled they may be, to conversations such as this. I worry that I’m not qualified to have an opinion. But it is something that I wish to understand and help, in whatever way that I can, to fix.

    There’s no doubt that there are societal issues at play. However, I can’t single-handedly change society, as much as I might like it sometimes. I can only do what I as an individual can to the people with whom I interact. To lead by example, as it were.

    One thing that I seem to have noticed in my reading columns on this topic is that, while the problem is acknowledged, and my demographic as a whole is singled out as the main offender (which it is), I rarely, if ever, see anyone suggest what it is exactly I can do to not be a part of the problem. Rather, I have seen columns insinuating that by the circumstances of my birth, I am cursed by default to never be capable of being anything but the problem.

    I as an individual have never done anything to warrant that kind of scorn. I as an individual treat everyone, man or woman, with the respect that they deserve. And yet I find myself wondering if my natural kindness could be interpreted simply as a means of seduction; a concept which disgusts me. I shouldn’t have to second-guess how I will be received; I know what my feelings and intentions are.

    The women in my life have never indicated to me that I am of the ilk that is described as being the problem. Indeed, a few have told me that they wish more men were like I am. I’m not trying to toot my own horn; I just want to make it clear that I’ve never done the kinds of things that some have. Nor would I ever condone such behavior. And to find myself sometimes lumped in by default with such people is distressing.

    I’m not one to judge people or treat them a certain way based solely on the circumstances of their births. I would never want it to be done to me; why would I do it to them?

    My issue is that I’m a good person. I don’t have to TRY to be; it’s in my nature. I was raised right, and the values of respecting EVERYONE were instilled in me from a very early age.

    I want to understand the issue as best as I can. And I want to know what I can do to help, in my own way.

    • Jen Says:

      I don’t have anything constructive to add (except that I do think there’s many men out there like you), but I really enjoyed reading this and I’m looking forward to the conversation it might spark.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I think that just by being the awesome guy that you are, you’re doing quite a bit. There’s a lot to be said about setting a good example.

      I’ve had a number of men mention that they feel awkward when weighing in on gender discussions. Either they feel like they’re not allowed to have an opinion because “they don’t know what’s like” or they get really clumsy and say the wrong things.

      Personally, I love when men comment on gender issues, even when they’re going against the flow, as long as they’re being civil and not causing too much upset. Men are always welcome here :) We can’t talk about gender issues without implicating both genders and everyone should have their say.

      (As for trollish men, I don’t care if someone wants to take some swings at me, but I don’t want my readers to feel attacked. I’ve never had to delete a comment, but I would if I was worried about a reader’s feelings.)

      • Will Says:

        Jen: I’m glad that you enjoyed reading what I had to offer (however worthwhile it was). And if I may be so bold, I would hope that there are more men who abide by my basic “Do unto others…” philosophy than those who don’t.

        Ophelie: I’m honored that you would consider me to be an “awesome” guy based solely on knowing me via the Internet. A compliment like that really means a lot to me. :)

        I try to only comment on things, regardless of the topic, if I feel I have something to add. In this case, I thought that my search for knowledge in this matter, coupled with my desire to throw my own feelings, warranted a comment.

        I’m sure that there will be times, as I learn more about how people approach this matter, and as I refine my own feelings on it, where I will respectively disagree with some on this or that nuance. But I will remain civil, and keep things as discussions, rather than arguments.


  23. [...] The above is just an addendeum/information. This post prompted by an excellent discussion over at The Bossy Pally. I’m hoping we will get some male bloggers to talk about male specific issues within World of [...]

  24. Endyme Says:

    I have nothing particularly deep or profound to add, but I enjoyed the post and the discussion it sparked, which has remained pretty civil.

    Jen’s first comment, where she said, “As for talking on Vent, I’ve never understood why I should be shy in PuGs. Oh, I’m embarrassed about my accent, that’s one thing, but of my gender? Lol, seriously.” That’s my attitude when I play the game, overall. I wrote a post on my blog trying to express my whole feelings about gender and WoW, but Jen nailed it. I play the game, I’m a girl…and? I don’t run around screaming, “I’m a girl, I’m a girl!”, nor do I cloak myself in mystery, never mentioning I’m female. I have been fortunate in that I’ve never felt vicimized, mocked, harassed, etc because I’m a girl playing WoW. I’ve always been in guilds where I was just another person playing WoW, not a *GIRL!* I’m more concerned with the type of player and person you are, not what gender you are

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m the same about vent. I didn’t even realize that some women were iffy about it until the whole RealID fiasco. Then I saw a few bloggers mention that “some women won’t even speak on vent out of fear” and I was all surprised. I’ve always spoken on vent and never thought anything of it.

  25. Rilandune Says:

    Being that I am a male gamer, I suppose my only real insight I can provide to this topic is this: In roughly 13 years of online MMO play across 6 different game worlds I have come to the realization that I not only highly appreciate female gamers, but in many respects I prefer them over males.

    Now I know this can sound like a flirtatious statement or one of flattery, however I am doing neither (I’m not doing the first because my wife would kill me, but that’s besides the point). With very few exceptions, the female gamers I have had the fortune of playing with, guilding with, raiding with, etc., have shown a determination to go above and beyond, a calmness and presence of mind not typically seen in testosterone ridden males, and a fantastic lack of “e-peen” syndrome.

    It is an absolute pleasure raiding with my guild because our core 10 man is made up of 4 women, 2 of whom are married to 2 others in the core group. Yes, our vent conversations will naturally drift to the slightly inappropriate innuendo common among gamers of my age group that are almost all married and have children, a lot of that is my fault of course with my all-too-common “that’s what she said” jokes (see Twisted Nether Blogcast episode 92, “That’s what Ril said”, for just how much I use that line). But we always keep the language and conversation to a family friendly level and any time we PUG players they are quick to voice their appreciation for our guilds raid environment and I cannot help but think that comes directly from the amount of women we have in our guild.

    To sum up, I will forever be happy to game with females and in many cases prefer it and I am the first to lay into anyone for disrespecting any player based any stereotype (gender/race/age/creed, etc.)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Having people of both genders does seem to have a balancing effect. As Spinks mentionned in a comment at the Pink Pigtail Inn, diversity in general seems to add a lot to a group.

      My guild does go heavy on the stereotype jokes, but as I see it, they do it in a flattering way. When they tease our Asians members about being Asian, or when they tease our Black member about being Black and so on, the message is “we acknowledge that part of your identity”. And I find that awesome.

      • Jen Says:

        I see our stereotype jokes as a type of affection. After all, if they know I’m Romanian, they care enough to remember that. I make fun of my (Lithuanian) RL for calling “puddles” “poodles” because I love her. They make fun of me when I fuck up a word because they know I’m proud of my English and they like to tease. Even our gay guy doesn’t get (too) upset when we go too far (unless it’s “that’s gay” remarks, which piss me off too and I’m straight).

        Guild love!

        • Rilandune Says:

          Some of the outright funniest moments in guild vent chat have come from our use of stereotypes in a joking manner. Our GM lives in Arkansas and his wife is Indian (dots, not feathers) and just the amount of jokes cracked in that regard is astounding. If he does something stupid, I attribute it to him being a “corn-fed hick.” He’s all too quick to attribute my stupidity to my Italian blood, or that I eat to many cheese steaks (I live in Philadelphia, everyone assumes we eat nothing but cheese steaks).

          The way I see it is this: any environment that can exist at a comfort level where peoples backgrounds, race, gender, creed, etc. can be out in the open, not hidden and secret, and go so far as to mock those stereotypes in a loving fashion for the benefit of everyone’s enjoyment – that is an environment I want to be a part of.

          If I’m able to openly make fun of my hick GM, I am a happy man, because I know he’s all to happy for making fun of me in front of the entire guild for running late and hopping into game and vent completely naked, having just ran out of the shower, with everyone able to hear my wife in the background shouting at me for sprinting past the front windows naked (she claims our neighbors can see me, I think not, but oh well).

          • Jen Says:

            My (non-WoW) American friend says all us Eastern Europeans are so skinny because we’re malnourished ex-Commies :P

            (And thank you for the mental image…)

          • Rilandune Says:

            Here I always assumed that all Eastern Europeans were sitting comfortably at a 9 or higher on “the scale” because the Ex-Commie governments laced the water supply with some form of gene-re-sequencing chemicals to breed super-models :)

            (I thought lack of pants and gaming went hand and hand these days, shouldn’t that just be assumed? :P )

  26. KimboSlice Says:

    I love all the angry women posting here. Now if we can get you all in the same room with Jello we got a party

  27. Matticus Says:

    I dunno, I like to think I’ve been fairly accomodating. If you can meet the attendance, compete on the DPS/healing, and not die to fires, you got a pretty fair chance. Even better if you have a sense of humor and can mesh in with the rest of us.

    I don’t even blink anymore whenever women apply.

    Yeah.

    I’m used to large amounts of women flocking to me.

    (No, never happens, sadface)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Never happens, hmm? All those guild apps that read “I’m not a Matticus fangirl but….I totally am.” (Although I’ll concede that you attract more fanboys than fangirls) And all those times you complain “these girls, they won’t stop messaging me! All the time! It’s so annoying!”

      On a more serious note, have you ever really been accused of sexist behaviour as a GM? I’ve always found you to be very fair. Plus, you take feedback seriously and on the rare occasions where you don’t say the right thing at the right time, you’re quick to correct yourself.

      I’m not sure why we don’t get more female applicants. I mean, we can’t be THAT scary :(

    • Rilandune Says:

      I don’t know Matt, seems to me that you get an awful lot of @ replies on Twitter from the female WoW community folks. I think it’s the cheeks, women like a cheek they can pinch.

      I am of course referring to his face, it’s in his twitter avatar, not that anyone was thinking of another kind of cheek

  28. Echo Says:

    I’m a male and to be quite honest I don’t care that much. Not in a hateful way or anything I just find the subject has zero relevance to me 90% of the time. I almost feel it shouldn’t have any relevance to anyone (in an ideal world). I tend not to put up with letting those I play with hassle each other over shit like that but in a mature environment it rarely happens. People can go on about changing the game when really its society that would have to change for anything meaningful to happen.

    Take morgan freeman. There’s a famous interview with him where they ask him about Black History Month and he responds with the fact that he hates it. Why does he hate it? Because his history shouldn’t have to be given a month in which it can exist. By setting apart from History it’s implying that mainstream history is white history and that Black History needs to be kept separate. Often I think by drawing so much attention to a subject like this reinforces differences.

    For one I couldn’t care less about the gender make up of the people I play with. What I’m looking for is people to kill internet monsters with, who are low maintenance, friendly, preferably skilled and prepared. If more guys hit this sweetspot than girls then maybe its more due to demographics than representation.


    • Often I think by drawing so much attention to a subject like this reinforces differences.

      Thank you for saying it. Someone needed to.

      • 2ndnin Says:

        Very well said.

        Why are we different, because we see the differences.

        • Ophelie Says:

          But difference isn’t a bad thing! I love being a woman and I love men because they’re men.

          In a serious raid setting, what matters is killing bosses, gender shouldn’t ever be an issue. During raid downtime, though, I love the diversity among the people I raid with.

          Does talking about gender and gaming do more harm than good? I can think of arguments for either side.

          Yet you can’t deny that people love to read about gender experiences. One of the first lessons I learned as a blogger is that if you plug the word “sexism” in post title, you’re guaranteed hits and comments spikes.

          • Echo Says:

            I’m sure the main attraction is the first 3 letters Ophelie :p

            Difference isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My problem is more with certain things people say like:

            “Women can be just as good tanks as men.”

            Now the problem I have is that it implies women aren’t good tanks to begin with. Nobodys a good tank to begin with and why are we holding up my gender as a paragon of tankiness? Often when it’s a woman saying it it’s for their own benefit. Like they’re putting down the other female players who tank.

            I had a similar thing with the English for a long time. I moved down to England when I was 14 and I got a lot of stick for being that “Scottish Kid”. Now I’d get angry and take things personally when people made jokes about Scotland or my accent but what I realised after a while was this:
            England doesn’t really give a shit about Scotland. Not in a negative way but more in that it’s just not a big issue to them. In Scotland there’s an entire part of our culture based around hating the English – hell, our national anthem is about beating the English. It’s almost as though part of our national pride is tied up in hating people for shit that happened hundreds of years ago.

            It took me a couple of years to make that realisation, so now I can love my homeland and the culture attached and be proud of it but I no longer try to set myself apart from others because of it. I’ll still have a go if someone is genuinely being retarded but for the bulk of time it’s a non-issue.


  29. [...] got broad shoulders, so I’m going to admit that I am the person being called out here.  Kudos to her for not identifying me (although, hey, almost all of you would have seen the [...]


  30. [...] Girl stuff A post by The Bossy Pally made about Women and WoW. [...]

    • Ophelie Says:

      Hahaha!

      That’s actually true, but I see it as a good thing. We should feel empowered and happy about who we are. So should men.


  31. [...] I know I’m on a list of female GM’s over at Bossy Pally. [...]

  32. Askevar Says:

    I’m a female raid leader in my guild [and also one of the tanks]. My hubby and I work well as a team leading the raids :)

    I’ve encountered more disbelief and shock over me [a woman] being a tank than being a raid leader ironically. And I’ve gotten some static from now ex-guildies over it, but I’m still here and still doing my thing – happily so.

    • Ophelie Says:

      That is surprising! But I guess different circles react in different ways.

      I’ve actually never gotten any strange reactions for either raid leading or tanking. I didn’t even know female tanking was a big deal until I came across a thread on the WoW forums where posters were talking about how hard it was for female tanks to be accepted. I thought “Wow. I have the opposite problem. I can’t get OUT of tanking!”

      • 2ndnin Says:

        Most tanks can’t, but it is fun!

        Either we become attracted to the power (controlling a larger part of your own destiny I suppose and ensuring aggro stays where it is meant to), or we get roped in because “tanks are rare”… normally by those people who only roll dps or yell at us when we mess up.

        • Echo Says:

          The only real requirement I see for a tank is a thick skin (both metaphorically and literally).

          If a player has the tenacity to keep going after getting random abuse from people in the LFD, and improve if the critisicm is justified then they’re generally a good tank.

          If they have a heart attack any time they’re asked to tank Adds or they always take the easy tanking job (and I’ve met a lot of players like this) then they are a bad player.

          Having a different set of wobbly bits simply doesnt figure into the equation.

  33. Amy Says:

    Something that has really troubled me as a woman (I’ve seen quotes in several different places). It troubles me that younger women don’t guard themselves as well as I would (whether she was oversharing her humor or her sexuality, I don’t know, but from the male reaction, I can see how they took it). I don’t think we give men grief for similar comments, but maturity means guarding yourself against that.

    You see similar issues in professional women, a huge majority are trying to gain respect on mutual ground (or at least that pleasant place where gender complexity still equals respect), but certain younger women feel like being empowered means getting overt sexual attention from men. And that objectifies the men…

    [EDIT by Ophelie] Good comment, but I removed some name-naming. It’s not fair to judge people based on quotes which may or may not have been completely fabricated.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Well…I’m surprised that no one’s ever called me on this, but my blog is full of innuendos, dirty jokes, talk about my single status and my sexual frustration (and don’t get me started on my twitter!). I keep it classy, but if you look closely, it’s all there.

      I wouldn’t use the term “guarded”. I don’t think you have to be “guarded” online. However, the same rules that apply in real life apply online as well. Behave a certain way and you’ll attract a certain reaction. In a serious raiding guild especially, I’m careful at first of how I display myself. I’m raider first, and a social being second. It’s not until I’ve established myself as a raider that I get more personal about myself.

      Younger women who post pictures of their breasts and overshare about their sex lives to get attention from men are the female equivalents of trade chat trolls. They’re saying whatever it takes to get a reaction.

      The danger is that like attracts like. If, as a female, you behave like a pervert, guess what you’ll attract?

  34. Anafielle Says:

    As you probably know, I am a tank and a raid leader in a guild that is about as hard-core progression as your own.

    I don’t think female tanks are all that rare. I know of many. In fact, probably half the guilds I know have a female tank. What I’ve never met, though, is a hardcore female DPS. I don’t know why. I’ve met several really bad female DPS, but never any top-of-the-charts DPS. I hope to meet one in the future. I’d like to think I’d apply the same mindset to DPS that I do to tanking – I just happen to prefer tanking.

    Anyways. I’ve never liked to think of myself as a girl playing wow – just a wow-playing female person, like a wow-playing brown haired person or a wow-playing parent or something.

    I really, really hate blogs that are all like LOOK GUIZ I’M A GIRL AND I PLAY WOW TEE HEE HEE (ex/ ferraro). In fact, it’s one of my pet peeves. I really- really- really can’t stand it. I am female and I act girly all the time, but I never call myself a “wow girl” or a “wow playing girl” or title my blog “GIRL IN WOW WHO TANKS” or something like that. I hate it. To be honest, I am probably harder on girls who I meet in-game.

    That I’m female is rarely one of the first things I mention – although I don’t hide it, either. It’s a fact about me like the fact that I’m 24, I live in the South, etc…. all things I can be judged on. In general, the southern accent part gets me more judging than the rest!

    Feminism in wow is a very big issue, and I enjoy reading well-written, smart viewpoints on it (like your own). I have enjoyed reading your posts & many of the other posts on this topic. But I just prefer to avoid it myself.

    I really don’t think of myself as a wow feminist at all. I think it’s pretty tangential to my life – at least, I *HOPE* it’s tangential. If I pretend hard enough that other people don’t judge me on being female, then it won’t happen – or the people who do will just start to feel silly.

    Of course, how we act within a comfort zone (guild) and out of that comfort zone (between guilds, pvp, or pugging) are two very, very different things.

    I do panic about being judged as a girl in those situations….

    • Ophelie Says:

      I don’t find female tanks all that rare either, especially not since LFD has given everyone the urge to start leveling tanks.

      Serious, main specced female tanks are still pretty hard to find, though.

      I don’t think you have to advertise yourself as a woman or as a wow feminist to make a difference. I love female GMs, female top 200 guild members, female hardcore pvpers and female mainspecced tanks because their existence is enough to hush all those who say “Running a guild as a woman/playing hardcore/tanking is so so hard when you’re a woman, you can’t be accepted, no one takes you seriously, blablabla”.

      They prove that our biggest limitations aren’t male players who believe girls can’t play games, but rather the imaginary rules we make up for ourselves.

  35. John Says:

    It warms my heart to hear you say:

    “…But as a middle class French Canadian woman born in the early 80s, I’ve always felt like *I* was part of the privileged gender. As a woman, I’m more likely to attend university, have access to more scholarships, have an easier time finding places to live, am trusted more easily and if I ever find myself in a custody battle, I’m almost certain to win. I’m also less likely to drop out of high school or end up in jail. If that’s not enough, growing up, I was given all these talks in school about the importance of self esteem, about how to deal with problems, about how to assert myself and so on. Boys got very little of that…”

    It is a shame though that your privilege has been at the cost of your male counterparts. The current recession only reinforces the disparity between the sexes and the fact that males are not achieving anymore leaves you having to look for lower achieving males.

    Maybe someday equality will be had, but right now it is all about you special little snowflakes and damn the male that dares speak against the momentum of 40+ years of modern feminism.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Harsh!

      The school system in North America does seem to be more tailored towards girls and girls’ needs, leaving boys out in the cold. I’m not child psychologist or education researcher, though, so I can’t offer any respectable discussion, but it does feel like a shame.

  36. Keeva Says:

    I’m a female GM too :)

    I will confess, I’ve written a couple of gender-related posts for TBJ and then shelved them. It’s a topic that is high on my “probably not worth the trouble” list.

    I hid my gender, back when I created Keeva. She was a reroll, and I was coming from a guild that loved me for me, but also probably because I was an Aussie girl with an interesting accent, and I started feeling as though they would love me even if I tripped over myself in raids, face pulled, stood in fire, and generally sucked.

    So when I made Keeva, I didn’t mention anything about gender, and it never came up. I “got away with it” for 5 whole months, until it came time to do something and I had to get on vent.

    The shock and surprise was entertaining and fun, I won’t lie, but I didn’t do it for the shock value (TADA! I’M A WOMANNNNNNNN!) – I wanted to know that they valued me as a healer and a player first. Once I was happy that they *did* like me regardless of gender, I was happy to stop hiding.

    I’m sure some people would criticise me for wanting to hide my sex – but I didn’t want to always wonder whether I was a valuable team member, or that they were just going easy on me as a girl. I don’t want special treatment – I just want to be appreciated for me.

    I underestimated them :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      I knew female GMs weren’t uncommon, but I didn’t realize there were so many female GM bloggers! It’s awesome!

      It’s an interesting experiment to see if people would treat differently you if they didn’t know your gender. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, what irks me is more the “I have to hide my gender because I think I’m oppressed” attitude. (On a sort of related note, I have an online friend whom, for the longest time, I assumed was a girl. He never really lied about his gender, I just never thought to question it. I was shocked the first time we met in real life! But really, what makes him a good friend is his personality and not his appendages, so once the surprise wore off, things went right back to normal.)


  37. [...] Ophelie listed me as a “hardcore female player” on her blog, amongst a list of feminist posts and other strong women.  To be perfectly honest, I feel a bit uneasy about it.  Not because of the whole “hardcore vs casual” shindig, but because I do things that other feminist bloggers would probably not approve of.  For example, to address one of the things she talks about in that post, I do not talk on PuG vents.  Allow me to tell you a story. [...]

  38. Syl Says:

    I’d really like to enlist here, or rather I’d feel honored to. you can find my own thoughts on the matter in my most recent post here http://raging-monkeys.blogspot.com/2010/08/so-whats-conclusion.html

    to shatter some more of the frequent typing, I’ve been co-GM, raidleader and in WoW and I also luv to pvp! :D

    thanks for reviewing this!

  39. Syl Says:

    ummm that was supposed to mean *stereotyping of course – my typing could use some help too though, by the looks!


  40. [...] lot of people have been blogging lately about sort of feminist topics. In particular, Ophelie’s post caught my attention. Not only did she link me (thanks!) but she linked me under [...]


  41. There’s so much to say about this…that I really don’t want to say anything.

    But I will say I’m a fairly progressed female blogger (11/12 ICC 25 HM) if not the creme de la creme of progression… Offhand, I also noticed you missed Beruthiel of Falling Leaves and Wings (http://fallingleavesandwings.wordpress.com/) who is an excellent tree and raid lead. I know there are more though! I’m going to try to walk through my blog one by one to identify them.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Awesome! I’m sure there are a lot more women who are into high performance raiding, but that I’m just not familiar with. I do follow a lot of blogs, but outside of pally blogs, I don’t really pay attention unless a topic catches my interest.

      There was a priest blogger some time back named Bati who has a really impressive raiding resume, but I can’t remember the name of her blog to save my life. I don’t think she’s still updating either.

  42. Cassandri Says:

    Lathere and I both blog and are serious about raiding (we’re stuck on LK heroic 25 man atm though).

    That said, I don’t think we write very much about gender in WoW. Only because my gender and how people treat me based on my looks/gender whatever isn’t something that I dwell on. And therefore, isn’t something that I blog about much.

    Although I think Lath said it all here:

    http://www.hotsdots.com/2009/09/omg-you-got-your-ass-kicked-by-a-girl/

  43. Jasyla Says:

    I’m a PVE progression focused female raider. I don’t spend a whole lot of time taking about gender though.


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