Twitter was all aflutter this morning at an ‘article’ published on World of Warcraft’s European site, about a couple of female gamers who do art and stuff.  And who play WoW, obviously.  I had a quick peruse of the article (and I suggest you do so as well), and it’s really just your basic fluff piece.  You know “Ooh, these girls play WoW and make art and stuff”.  Nothing especially exciting or interesting, but there you have it.

Well, of course, as I looked at Twitter in my half asleep daze, I saw people complaining about it everywhere.  “How DARE they say females playing WoW are uncommon!”, “Why did they have to choose two super-casual players who draw, rather than hard core raiders?”, “Why does it even matter that they are girls?”.  In essence, I really got the feeling that most people saw it as a way of isolating women within the community and drawing attention to the things we apparently have been trying to patently ‘fix’ for however long.

1.  There’s heaps of girls who play WoW!

Sure, there is.  I know plenty of women who play the game.  However, proportionately… a lot more men play WoW than women.  Sure, we have enough girls in the game that we can have female only guilds, that most people raid with at LEAST one other woman, but we all know the game is somewhat skewed to the male side.  Various studies have put the game anywhere between 16% to 45% female.  I’m personally inclined to believe it is somewhere in the middle of those 2 ranges… the 16% was from 2005, and I think the female player base has grown since then.  However, 45% seems excessive, almost ridiculous.

So, sure, there are a lot of girls who play WoW.  We aren’t a ‘minority’ anymore, so to speak.  However, I would not go so far as to say there are just as many girls as there are guys.  So, this feeling people are getting that Blizzard are saying ‘There’s less girls who play WoW than guys’?  That’s because there probably IS.

2.  The headline ‘Girl Power’ is not an attack, ladies.

Blizzard using the words ‘Girl Power’ isn’t undoing all the ‘hard work’ (may I ask… huh, what?  Burning our pixelated bras and choosing wrinkly faces or something?) girl gamers have done over the years.  Pointing out that yes, these people are female, isn’t the same as saying ‘and that is the most noteworthy thing about them’.  Headlines do not equal articles.  Only one of their questions actually drew a distinction between the experiences of a male and a female player (and there will always be a difference.  Just as there are differences in our experiences everywhere ELSE in the world!).

The thing I find most amusing is that many women who vehemently complain about this sort of distinction being drawn are often the first ones to point out that they are female.  Ladies, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  And, really, does it matter?  For instance, I have read MANY good blogs where the fact the writer is a female is discussed in the name of the blog (Chick GM, Girl Meets WoW… damned if I can think of a current example that is still being updated).  Neither of these websites make a point of saying that being female is a benefit or a detriment.  Being female just is.  It’s not something to rub in someone’s face “Ooh, I beat you at PvP, and I’m a GIRL!” nor is it something to use as an excuse “I suck, but that’s because I am a girl”. 

3.  Urgh, by choosing casual players, they reinforce the whole ‘Chicks can’t raid!’ idea!

Um… huh?

I just read the article as ‘look at these two artists’.  I really thought it was about their artwork, not their raid style.  We all know there are chicks out there who raid.  Hell, there are whole guilds dedicated to both sides of the coin (Female only guilds, Male only guilds… all the same.  Although why is one socially acceptable and not the other, I wonder?)  I honestly believe the average WoW player knows that girls play.  That, my goodness, we DON’T suck.  The last three guilds I have been in have been LED either fully or in part by women (entirely a coincidence, by the way).  The guild I raid with has several women who are active raiders (and yes, we are competitive with the men… except for maybe me.  WTB new gear!)

At the end of the day, I really don’t think this article has in ANY way put down female gamers.  We have much more important places to be pointing the finger when it comes to sexist stereotyping and marketing.  I also think it takes away from the achievements of these two ladies when we complain about the article.

I’m a girl.  I play WoW. 

Does making that statement immediately mean I am ‘putting back the cause of female gamers’?  I think not.

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9 Responses to “Soothing Ruffled Twitter Feathers”
  1. I’m always very skeptical, whenever a post about sexism in WoW pops up, because honestly, I think there are much more important places where we should direct our energy to, if we want to make the world a better place. Including sexism, just not in WoW.

    But anyway: one of the problems is the anonymity of the internet. This will always lead to idiots saying stupid things. In that case, I think its just best to ignore them (=kick from a group/guild and ignore) and not giving them the satisfaction of drama and posts on the internet.

    We also have all the guys living in their cliché, that they should be better gamers. I mean hell, they practice since they got a gameboy a the age of 6 and now there’s girls who think they are as good as they are. Most probably, those poor guys are at university, where over 50% of the students are female and perform significantly better than their fellow male students.

    Then there is girls. And just like with boys we have every spectrum of skill and social competence. Most girls get treated with respect or even borderline flirtatious (“no no it’s YOU, you’ll get the enchant for free”). We have unskilled girls who sometimes have to hear sexist comments as well as over glorified female raiders (“omg did you see her dps? and she’s a girl!”).

    So my general advise to make WoW a tiny bit better place would be this:
    Girls, don’t be too sensitive when it comes to borderline sexist remarks and don’t blow those (hopefully rare) incidents out of proportion. An educational slap on the finger (kicking the guy from the group, maybe even guild) is the best way to go. Writing forum posts/blog bosts/setting stuff on fire is just giving those guys the attention they ultimately want.

    Guys, start treating fellow WoW players as gamers first and not based on their sex. Stop whispering me inappropriate stuff when I play a female Bloodelf, it’s somewhat embarrassing and I imagine it would be most unpleasant, should you ever catch a female player. Stop cross referencing the DPS meter with players gender.

    Question: The guild name of our alt guild is “me so hordey” and my girlfriend always starts giggling when we enter a 10 man raid together. Is she sexist?
    .-= drug´s last blog ..It all comes back to haste =-.

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  2. Funny… 1st words out of a player in WSG the other day…

    <– Girl in RL

    Was she any good… well she knew how to tell the Huntard that he wasn't any good… that's pretty good in my opinion.

    TBH I don't care one way or the other what gender someone may be… as long as they are a Gnome, they are all right by me
    .-= Gnomeaggedon´s last blog ..Squidly’s Tips: How to use LFG =-.

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  3. I like communities like WoW Ladies on LiveJournal. They state that they are a community for the female players BUT by no means do they say that guys aren’t allowed along.

    To be honest though, I think a lot of people do take the idea of “that’s sexist!” way too far. In my opinion, the western world is in a decent place giving equal opportunities for both men and women, sure there are some blips, but there are worse problems around. Much worse.

    Silly people.
    .-= Jaedia´s last blog ..A New Project =-.

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  4. “I’m a girl. I play WoW.

    Does making that statement immediately mean I am ‘putting back the cause of female gamers’? I think not.”

    Nope, no more than my choosing as a woman to be a stay at home Mom and Wife sets back the feminist movement. Though I’ve been accused of it a time or ten!

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  5. K so yesterday I got a little irritated about this article…but tbh, it was a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction.

    It was just…weird, ya know? I’d never expect to see an article like that on the US WoW website and again, it was weird for it to be bought up.

    I just see us as gamers, whether we be female or male. And does it really matter what we are?

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  6. Like you, Saresa (and thanks for tweeting the link to me when Twitter was all aflutter and I couldn’t find the source), I thought it was more about showcasing their artistic talent.

    I guess one of the reasons I had no strong feelings regarding it (of course, I went to the link expecting THE WORST from comments I saw) was that first couple lines read (to me) tongue-in-cheek… basically making fun of the notion that girls don’t exist on the internet and silly of you to believe so.
    .-= Syrana´s last blog ..Silvermoon Secrets (RP) =-.

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  7. @drug exactly. No correlation between gender and skill, and it’s just silly to say so. The only people who do are either a) teasing or b) indulging in internet asshattery.

    @Gnome… humans are better!

    @Jaedia the WoW Ladies community is a great example of a community which EVERYONE can feel comfortable with and in.

    @jess – exactly!!!

    @Syrana – I thought it was fairly tongue in cheek myself. I really don’t know why people were so bothered, maybe it’s just me though

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  8. Knew I missed one: and Fiorra, yeah, I agree with both your points. To me, it read very much like a 15 minutes of fame… or something. Weird business indeed!

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  9. to be honest i enjoyed that article. i love creativity and i think seeing people do what they love without anything to prove is awesome. but i also love you and think your awesome =D

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