OK, OK.  I have tried really bloody hard not to end up writing about this whole gender thing that seems to be the big issue in the WoW Blogosphere at the moment.  It’s so spread everywhere that most people probably feel saturated by the whole affair.

However, I’m going to blather on. 

I’ve 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 conversation on Twitter about it!)  If you want the full back story, scroll to the bottom.  If you want your delightful Warlock author to still smell of fel roses in your mind, don’t bother.

Essentially, I had an issue with the idea of a post that Ophelie and Matt were discussing about ‘The Male Experience in WoW’ as a part of a discussion that seems to be happening with feminist issues in WoW.  I still do honestly believe that such a post has an incredibly high risk of taking all the wonderful discussion that has been going on around women and feminist issues in game, and undermining them for the sake of men saying “But what about us?  You want equality, no?  Look at how we suffer!”  It really is the most classic way I can think of to undermine or derail someone’s discussion or argument – some times it is well intentioned, some times it is not, but it is almost always effective.

Really, that would be like me writing a post on the trials and tribulations of being a well educated, middle class white person.  Yeah, I know that everyone who isn’t one of those things has problems to overcome, but what about me?  If we are going to be equal, then damn it, you have to listen to everything that sucks about my life too!  Next thing you know, we have a mass of people ‘in my boat’ going “Oh, yes, what about me?” and before you know it the original issue has been lost in a storm of ‘let’s feel sorry for the ones who probably need it least’, or, even worse, forgotten entirely.

Yes, I said that there would be ‘nothing to say’ if you did a gender post about men.  I’m kinda looking forward to seeing a gender post about men, as much as the whole idea aggravates the hell out of me, because to this point I can’t think of any real major issues (apart from the ridiculous body image problem in the game that affects both genders) men would have.  Sure, women aren’t ‘rare’ in WoW anymore, but we aren’t commonplace either.  Men still maintain the majority.  Men still have a lot more privilege than women in this game.  I know after reading all the wonderful comments over at Ophelie’s blog that many people say they don’t understand privilege.  Many people don’t believe in privilege.  Some days, I have trouble understanding it myself, and some days, I get bothered when my privilege gets used against me (see: my typical work day).  However, my understanding or lack there of does not change the fact that it is there, and it does cause some of the problems.

So, yes, I get incredibly irate when I see a male reaction of ‘I’m going to talk about men in WoW’.  I get equally irate when I see women encouraging such a derailing action.  And that will cause the reaction outlined below, in the italics.  Sure, it’s not fair, or pretty, or very bloody nice at all.  Having all that privilege doesn’t make me a perfect person!

As for my views regarding the game and feminism?  Oh boy…

Don’t expect me to start going on about how men treat women badly in WoW.  You know what?  I honestly believe most of them don’t.  Sure, I’ve been sexually harassed (albeit awkwardly), I’ve listened to things that would make a sailor blush (but I’m a school teacher, that’s a daily occurrence for me).  However, most men I have dealt with in the game have been wonderful people.  Most women I have dealt with have been equally wonderful.  Sure, there are going to be a few dodgy ones of either gender in the bag, but you deal with that and move on.

Most of the issues I have with the game are not the community – they’re within the game itself.  I’d love to have a strong female character who doesn’t go bonkers.  I’d love for Blizzard to think about events like the bunny ears at Noblegarden.  I’d almost roll over and beg if they had a think about some of the flirt emotes and perhaps gave the male and female characters some equally ‘domineering’ ones.  However, while they have the mindset that they are catering to a male audience, and that the female audience isn’t significant enough to worry about, they will continue doing these things.

Might I be painting a poor picture of men by implying that they welcome these things?  Possibly.  However, I really do believe this is the reasoning, if there was any, behind some of Blizzard’s poorer choices.

Ophelie would probably be interested to know that I actually agree with her with a lot of her post.  Yes, if we continue painting women as victims, we aren’t going to get anywhere.  I wouldn’t say that all women should be more aggressive in their reactions to discrimination or harassment (that would be lovely, but I do understand that some people lack the confidence to do that, or are in situations which make it difficult for them), but the women who are that confident should stand up and do something.  I can’t comment on the ‘talking on vent’ situation, simply because I did avoid talking on vent for most of my WoW playing life, but for a different reason.  Even now I am awfully quiet on vent, but that has a lot less to do with my gender than the fact I just don’t like contributing useless noise in the middle of a raid, and I have always been lucky enough to have raid leaders who notice everything, so I don’t ever need to call stuff out.

Similarly, I refuse to blab on about ‘I’m a girl I’m a girl I’m a girl!’  Yeah, I’m female.  Yeah, I am a guild master (although my wonderful ‘essentially a guild master without the name’ does most of the work for me at the moment <3).  Yeah, I play a class that is stereotypically perceived as ‘female’ for some reason.  But who cares?  I’ve had people tell me I won’t be able to handle raiding.  I’ve had them tell me I won’t be able to handle blogging.  I’ve had them tell me I won’t be able to handle leading a guild.  I just shrug them off (just like I shrug off every ‘but you’re a girl’ comment and take no notice) because I know what I can and can’t do.

I’d love to know why being a hardcore WoW player as a female is even seen as a ‘feminist’ thing, or a ‘stand for women’.  Huh, what?  When I was a hardcore raider, I never once thought that I was proving anything about women. I was just raiding and having a damn good time doing it.  Now I am in a casual guild, I kinda resent the implication that I am ‘doing what is expected of me’.  The reason I chose to be in a casual guild has nothing to do with my gender, and everything to do with the fact that I lead a stupidly busy life.  The reason there are less women in top guilds than men, I suspect, is because a) there are less women in the game and b) (look out, sexist alert!) women typically seem to end up doing the usual household ‘stuff’ (dinner, kids, cleaning up, etc) after dinner.  If we fix that problem in the greater world, then yes, we might be able to start fixing that problem in WoW.

At the end of the day, I don’t care who or what you are.  You could be a spotted dinosaur for all I care.  Do whatever the hell you want to do in the game, and out of it.  Don’t let anyone tell you to do more.  Don’t let anyone tell you to do less.  Don’t let anyone say that you can or you can’t because you are male, female, black, white, yellow or purple.  At the same time though, don’t judge those who feel that they can’t do those things because of their gender or their race or their social class or anything else.  You don’t know what it is like to walk in that person’s shoes.

 


So, I am sure you all want to know exactly what I said.  Well… essentially, I have 2 twitter accounts.  I occasionally will use one account to vent frustration about something that is happening on the other account (because, while my cats make great bed warmers, they do not make such wonderful listeners.  It’s hard to talk to something when it is licking its own butt).

While I was carrying on a discussion with Matt and Ophelie, I was getting rather frustrated.  Twitter is really not a good medium for a conversation of any depth, and it does result in all parties concerned feeling like they are talking to a brick wall.  So, I said some rather nasty things about a couple of people on my other Twitter account as a way of expressing my frustration.  Unfortunately, as these things always work out, the comments were seen, and so I ended up hurting people’s feelings and walking away with a rather large amount of egg on my face. (Motto kiddies: never say things on the Internet about people if you don’t want them to see it.  Even if you don’t really mean it, because the internet has no way of distinguishing that).

So, I would like to apologise.  My comments were unwarranted and nasty, and although they were a product of frustration and just general ‘hate the world today’-ness, they were totally unacceptable, and I should have contained myself better than I did.

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8 Responses to “GAH: Females, Yes, I Am Writing About Them. Sorta.”
  1. I agree with most of this, really. I picked a guild that I felt treated people equally for the most part. In fact, I transferred off Alliance onto Horde just to be with the “right” guild in this respect. I am very happy with my guild.
    The only thing that can be rather annoying for men generally, I imagine, is that there are still instances of the “make women equal” backlash present in guilds where women are treated TOO nicely in my opinion (and I’m a chick!). Respect is always a good idea for both genders, but I’ve experienced situations that go far beyond that.
    Examples are raids where I see female players make ridiculous mistakes. Normally in those situations I’d jokingly call the player (if they were male) stupid, or something. But in some raids this is almost forbidden: everyone starts making you feel bad for “picking on the girl”, which is to say, treating her the same as you’d treat anyone else. No one stands up for “that guy” who stands in the fire, dies, and gets called a retard. He just sighs and does better. But I’ve actually been in situations where female players have no better excuse than the last guy, and when they’re told in the same manner that they need to play better, some of these female players try the “why are you being so mean to me :(” to which all of the thoroughly whipped (or approval-seeking) male players go “yeah stop being so mean to her!”.
    This whole situation sort of rubs me the wrong way because I’m a female player who likes to be good. Not good for a girl, just good. I put in pretty decent effort. I spend a lot of time on things, and I enjoy accomplishing and achieving. My efforts are undermined in two ways: to a lesser extent by the typical (and now less common) male brushoff, and the increasingly more common being lumped in with all of those annoying pouty female players who expect special treatment only in the areas they choose.
    Poptart´s last blog post ..Sindragosa 25 Man Heroic ICC Strategy

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  2. Just because someone has it worse doesn’t mean your issues shouldn’t be addressed. As a well educated white middle class person (presumably in an environment where education is a benefit, “white” is a racial majority, and a neighbourhood where being middle class doesn’t single you out as either too rich or too poor) you will still have problems. You might not want to drown out the other voices in a discussion, but why vote against creating a space where the others can talk about it themselves and then bring forward conclusions to the wider world to say what they believe, how they believe they should have it and the road to moving towards that goal.

    Lots of people are mistreated in WoW and lots of people are ignored. Has there been an intelligent male leader in Warcraft (Arthas Menethil I perhaps?) who hasn’t resorted to a “Hulk Smash!!!!!” approach to solving issues? Getting into a guild and keeping your spot can be hard especially if you want into a guild say based on progression but which has a social atmosphere opposed to your typical preference. The fact is though that WoW is actually a meritocracy in terms of playing, anyone can make a guild (ok that’s a lie, if you can’t find 9 other people willing to sign your charter then you need to be physically wealthy enough to have 10 accounts to make a truly personal guild), anyone can lead it, anyone can play. That people refuse to make a guild that meets your needs and all you will do about it is rant online about how Blizzard are sexist/racist/ableist/anyotherist doesn’t show a move to equality but a refusal to accept what needs to be done. (I would say that Blizzard actually does a pretty good job of opening up the game to people with disabilities due to the scripting interface allowing people to create mods that cater to their needs whether that is as simple as flashing the screen to warn of something or providing a totally new user interface model).

    I am going to strawman here. Lets say a feminist group (middle class white female cisgendered heteronormative able bodied happily married Americans for arguments sake) come forward and state that “Women have life so hard, men have privilege over us and often have at least 3 unicorns at least one of which sparkles”. Their argument seems largely driven by greed from the perspective of people out with that group. To someone who has issues feeding their family the concept of having even one unicorn whether it sparkles or not is out with their grasp, to the working class male the idea of having a stable relationship and the ability to cover all the basics and maintain more than one unicorn seems exceptional, and to the working class black male noncisgendered homosexual disabled group just seems like you are really really sociopathic. Your issues might still be relevant though, your social mobility is impaired because you cannot move up without acquiring at least a third unicorn, to acquire a license for a third unicorn you need to be male and have $x million in the bank. Without that third unicorn your life is great from the perspectives of anyone below you and intolerable from anyone above you and you cannot move from it.

    Society is and likely always will be a continuum of skill, privilege, benefits and similar. It would be relatively easy to solve 90% of issues by simply saying that everyone in the middle and working classes is issued government housing, clothes, food, work and turning us into drones while the top 10% live lives of absolute comfort. They could even fund this lifestyle likely. I don’t think that is what you want though, you want to make sure that even if you start at the bottom of that scale that at some point with enough effort and work that you could theoretically transcend all barriers and move up. If we want to make society more equal for people we need to give people opportunities, ignoring the racial majority middle class simply because they don’t have it quite so bad just turns the discussion into an oppression Olympics event. Do you really want to turn round to a man who has been in prison (for say a minor offence or even a false conviction) and tell him that its ok that it happened to him because women fear being assaulted more than men? That’s not equality that’s some form of sociopathy.

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  3. @Poptart reverse discrimination can be a problem: it’s a problem because it is unfair, and it’s a problem because it causes people to label women. The only thing that I believe can really help with that is education and being firm. No, we aren’t going to tolerate people who refuse to improve and drag the raid down. No, we aren’t going to tolerate people who make life difficult for others. But we are going to stop associating that sort of behaviour with gender, and just say ‘look, you’re using us to get through the game more easily, and we have had enough’ (or whatever the case may be)

    @2ndnin the problem with a male voice coming in and saying ‘look here, this is everything that is unfair for us’ and linking it to this debate is that, as I said, it undermines the argument. Some women, myself included, will feel angry or frustrated when a man comes in and talks about his injustices. Sure, they exist, but they are implying through adding their voice that they have an equal amount of disadvantage – which takes away from half the debate. It’s almost a way of saying ‘Suck it up and stop complaining’.

    The trick with male role models resorting to ‘Hulk smash!’ solutions is that those things are almost required in the game. I would argue that there are strong male characters who have demonstrated that they are thoughtful (Thrall doesn’t have such an enormous fan base for no reason), but yes, they take physical action when required. Blizzard were doing well with Jaina, until WotLK (between the controversial makeover that made her all about her appearance rather than substance, and her useless simpering regarding Arthas), and unfortunately Sylvanas is heading down the drain. It will be interesting to see what strong male and female characters there will be in Cataclysm.

    The easiest way I can think of to demonstrate how positive discussion can be undermined by a well meaning group would be ‘Sorry Day’. In Australia, we have a day each year called Sorry Day, which is intended to recognise the hardships suffered by Indigenous people as a result of white settlement in Australia. Unfortunately, even this rather token gesture is often undermined by non-Indigenous people taking the opportunity to raise issues of their own, thus diverting attention. By the end of it, Sorry Day seems to become more about others complaining than it is about recognising Indigenous people. Is this fair?

    Or, on a small scale: Imagine that you and a friend are having a discussion. You are talking about some issues that you have, and your (probably well meaning) friend says “Oh, yes, that happened to me too!” and then proceeds to discuss their issues in depth. Sure, they probably meant it as a way of empathising, the old ‘you aren’t alone in this’ type thing, but more often than not it comes off as a friend trivialising your issues in favour of discussing their own. Your friend might be confused when you appear exasperated by the whole experience, but it doesn’t change your exasperation.

    I’m all for having discussion regarding any issue. But linking your issue to someone else’s, and being that well meaning friend? It usually won’t impress the people who are fighting for that issue, or the people who are concerned about it.

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  4. I understand the concept and point of having spaces to address your issues alone with a group of like minded people, but once you want to go mainstream you do need to consider other groups as well as your own and how they are impacted by similar circumstances and affects. I would say there are likely three categories of this issue we should consider:

    1) Me too: A person discovers a website discussing an issue to which they have personally suffered. They post intending to share their experiences and resolutions from those experiences.

    2) Not quite the same: A person discovers a website discussing an issue to which they have a related issue and post hoping for some pointers or perhaps experiences relating to their experiences.

    3) We all have issues: A person discovers a website discussing an issue and posts indicating that they also have issues and that the focus of the discussion is wrong, is badly centred, or minimises their experiences.

    4) I see you trolling: A person discovers a website and posts, people feed the troll and it gains power… feed the troll!

    In situation 1 you have issues such as domestic violence (Fm, Mm, Ff violence is often minimised in it’s representations through the media and culture), rape and other typically assigned gender issues (I say assigned meaning one gender is assumed to suffer from these disproportionately). If we take rape as the example scenario it is seemingly rarely discussed outside of female / feminist blogspheres (as far as I can see, I might be wrong and if so I apologise) and then typically with a Mf context, for a male victim it can be hard to find anywhere to express their feelings at all and you hope that a group that understands part of the issues will be willing to at least let you talk about it. This can be seen as derailing the conversation (Cathy Young had a post up for a while about a campus rape that feminist posters and campus services basically ripped apart as a “it can happen to the menz” post till it was revealed to be an Ff post. Similarly the feministe thread picked up about 250 responses on Fm rape a large number of which were very negative towards the whole idea). In these cases I think taking a “me too” approach is a very valid one to start, setting up services and sites to help is hard work and people need support to do this.

    Situation 2 starts to get off of the topic itself and more towards your derailing scenario, but in this case still something has happened and someone actually wants to help or be helped. Sometimes you cannot find a resource targeted at you or your scenario but you can find something close to it. Again I think this kind of thing we really do need to offer help across borders.

    Scenario 3 is derailing in the context of a discussion about a specific topic. If the ground rules for the discussion are that we discuss topic x in exclusion of other topics then it is all fair and well. When we move outside of that sphere though we need to consider other implications. This is likely where a lot of issues come up, if you consider sexism in WoW discussing it as a one sided issue makes some sense – however when you move to the wider world and say how can we address this then it is dishonest in my mind to have considered only part of the scenario. The sexualisation of female avatars is related to the sexualisation of male avatars, the lack of clothing options impacts women in that they have no choice in skimpiness but gain the choice of flexibility through the shirt slot that male characters do not have. I think discussions like these are really two phase and need to be treated that way, the issue is that we only get one phase which results in a one sided look at the scenario. if you take affirmative action as an example it makes sense from one side (a group of people tend to be in a disprivileged situation and this can be helped by offering assistive aid to that group), however from the other (the other groups in the same situation but of a different social grouping) it becomes a very bad and discriminatory issue. I don’t think as many people would have an issue with topics like this if they were offered to groups that have major issues as a whole (kids from bad school areas being assisted with say extra tuition or services) but they will when it is offered to say a racial group and assigned to someone who isn’t from the bad situation that made it necessary in the first place. Correct targeting of subjects I believe is a major part of the issues people have.

    Situation 4, yeah its a troll, and people feed them. People who disagree with you will argue, people who troll will argue. People who disagree with you though might want to see the scenario from your point of view in a non-abstract way. It is fine to read feminism 101 sites and to see the discussion in them, but when you go to a site and get redirected there because you asked a question or worse told to check your privilege (I would assume most blog posters do not know the privilege status of an individual and on that level societal power does not apply as it does on a larger scale).

    Sorry day sounds like a complete mess to be honest. I don’t understand the point in apologising for the past, it has been done and we cannot change it, what we can do however is move forwards into the future being more honest and helpful. In many ways though this is symptomatic of many modern causes. If you consider the last 2000 years we have seen female rules and male rulers, armies of men and women sent to die, and through it all it has not been a gender struggle for the most part but the exploitation of everyone below you by those above you. Feminism itself started out as a movement intended to get middle and upper class white women the vote, it wasn’t intended to grant suffrage to the masses (men couldn’t vote largely either), suffrage came later to both groups (in the UK 1918 for men over 21, women over 30 – 60%/40% split in the voters so there weren’t that many women excluded overall by this age gap though it did exist. 1928 made the voting age 21 for both genders and removed property restrictions). Again later on it was for the advancement of female equality laws and largely succeeded (arguably too well since current laws are gender biased towards women and minorities in many counties rather than being strictly neutral, I ignore social power in this). Movements are normally willing to look back at history and say “we were hard done by”, but very rarely willing to look at their own actions in the same way (look at black civil rights and lynchings in the southern US, a single female voice was often enough to get a man lynched irrespective of evidence). We can’t sort these past injustices, nothing you or I do today will help Rosa Parks on that bus, but we can move forward in an equal way (unless you have a time machine… in which case yes you can help but the consequences may be unpredictable).

    On the well meaning friend I think the analogy breaks down the further up you go. In many feminist spaces the rule goes that you should listen to women because they know what it is like to be a woman, and when many women say the same thing there is an increasing likelyhood of there being some underlying structure there. Many of the troll posts I see (Hey in my spare time I can’t troll every blog :P) do have common themes and statements. Pewter recently said that she said many of the same things I have / questions when she entered discussions and that she was shouted down, shamed and then converted to the correct way of looking at things. I think that this is again important, while the dissenting voices may not be what you want to hear they may have a point that needs to be made.

    The male model for WoW characters is problematic though, the fact that it solves problems shouldn’t actually be a justification for it. Most problems in life can be solved with violence if you don’t bother considering other people and the result is rule of those willing to use violence and intimidation to get what they want. The US constitution formalises this, it is the duty of every American to stand up and revolt against the government if it is unfair and unjust. Power solves problems, however what we are trying to do with modern society is to move away from that model towards something more like a meritocracy combined with communism and socialism (to each what they need, to each what they earn, and to each a redistribution to society based on their ability to exploit society I think would sum it up). I haven’t spent much / any time on the horde side of WoW, but from an Alliance perspective we get Varian (hulk smash), Murradin tends to go along with hulk smash in WoW but in WC3 he was a voice of reason, Tirion (lets go smash LK), Bolvar (Rush in, smash! oops), and several others. Rarely does the hulk smash technique actually work and it doesn’t in real life unless you want to make society a very painful place to live when power was applied from the top, in the UK at least the Magna Carta basically was a statement by the lesser nobles to the king to say give us and those below us rights, or they will rise up as a mass and remove the system that disempowers them. Consider clause 29:

    ” XXIX. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.”

    In 1297 it was decreed that you cannot just summarily punish someone without first having them judged by their peers or by statutory law. This isn’t hulk smash power it is the start of a negative power structure, you cannot keep people in a bad state without them rising up against you and making their point or killing them all. I think it is something we need to consider now especially when we consider power and concepts like patriarchy, it lies within our grasp to change things we don’t like so why don’t we (more specifically in the US racially white are 65.4% of the population [being honest the concept of white as a race always confused me, given that there are vast differences in culture and similar amongst the white race], and 51% or so of those are female, how does 32.5% of the population end up having the majority of the power within the country without a massive collusion from other groups given that the white male vote is not a cohesive unit).

    Ok… that’s a long comment, hope it made sense. I am honestly not trying to troll here so please feel free to ignore / dissent where you will.

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  5. I wouldn’t say I was hurt. More annoyed about being accused of something false by someone who’s never spoken to me, only saw a fragment of the conversation and who misinterpreted the whole situation.

    Matt and I were actually talking about how I noticed that the guys in the guild play better when they’re angry. It baffles a lot of people (mostly women observers, but some guys as well), so he was considering writing about it. That’s it. Nothing about male self pity or men being treated like dirt by women.

    Talking about genders and WoW doesn’t necessarily have to be about problems. I often jokingly call myself an “amateur social anthropologist”. I love people and how they interact. I find it fascinating and analyzing details of social situations makes super happy, the way a football fan analyzes the minute details of the latest game.

    In my guild, misunderstanding between genders come up quite often. Our guys, for the most part, are young, aggressive and have very little experience with women. Our women…well…they usually don’t stick around very long. We often stray onto the topic of “I don’t understand women” or “boys are so stupid!”. To me that’s really interesting.

    I also love hearing about other women’s experiences and how 2 women can experience the same thing yet view it completely differently. For examples’ sake, one of our former tanks was a smart, strong woman and a fantastic player. However, she had a terrible time with sexism. After a few months of being in the guild, she had the raid leader, both of her cotanks and a few other people on ignore. She was utterly miserable and ended up just deleting her account one day. I felt bad for her but I was intrigued. We were very similar, her and I, and we were in the same guild. So why was her experience so awful while mine has been great 98% of the time?

    I’m not surprised at all that you agree with me on a number of (but not all) points. When I told you I liked your writing, it wasn’t an effort to suck up (I actually enjoy confrontation so I don’t hand out compliments unless I mean them). I like your writing and I like the topics you write about because I often relate to what you have to say.

    As for why women in cutting edge guilds are doing our gender a favor… Note here that when I write “high end” or “cutting edge” I’m thinking world top 200. Very few women are interested in that level of play. Those who are face the following obstacles:

    1) The belief that women *can’t* be good gamers (which probably isn’t that common anymore, but is present enough to be a pain)
    2) The loneliness that comes with being the only female (it doesn’t affect all females, but male companionship is no substitute for female bonding)
    3) The own insecurities.

    Someone who’s able to get past all three of those obstacles to do what they really want to do has my respect. They’re disproving silly old myths, they can offer companionship (and mentorship if needed) to other women wanting to walk down that path and they’re proving that our worst enemy isn’t our gender, but own perception of our gender.

    The most influencing feminists, in my humble opinion, are those who don’t even realize they’re feminists. They just do what they want to do without worrying about what’s expected of them. To me, that’s what feminism is, the right to be yourself and to do what you really want to do. And so, so, so much of the time, the only person keeping that right from ourselves is us.
    Ophelie´s last blog post ..Refuting Accusations Made Towards My Feminist Side

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  6. @2ndNin I can totally see where you are coming from, and I generally find myself torn between that point of view and the one that I should respect that a post is about a particular issue and not my own. It really is a delicate balance, and it varies from situation to situation. Dissenting voices can be fine – but they should still be tactful and appropriate. My reaction in this particular situation is outlined in my reply to Ophelie below. Frankly, I think it is both fantastic and healthy that we are debating this issue – at the very least, if we don’t ever change each other’s opinion a single bit, there’s a lot there to help others make up their own minds (which, for me, is what debate is all about).

    As for characters, I really believe they should give more options for both genders. I have always been reluctant to have a male caster, because casters don’t strike me as the strong muscular types (seriously, what the hell?). Give me a skinny arse runty guy and I’ll be happy…

    @Ophelie I understand that it is frustrating when someone comes in half way through a conversation (a common problem with Twitter, along with about a zillion others which I will probably outline as I go). The reason I fired up as much as I did was because the exchange that I DID see went along the lines of this:

    “There’s been a lot of posts lately about women and WoW. I’m going to do one about men and WoW I think”
    “That seems really interesting”

    Which was about the point I pulled my, ‘Wait, what?’ reaction. By directly LINKING the concept to the posts about feminism, the idea either smacks of ‘me too!’ ism, or just belittles the issues that have been raised altogether – especially as the concept appears to be barely related to the ideas raised by many of these women.

    Of course, I don’t believe that there was any intention of dismissing the concerns and points raised in previous posts – that’s just the way it came across in 140 characters. My inarticulate twitter self did very little to make the reason for my frustration clear, which only clouded things (as you can see, the sheer LENGTH of posts and comments here there and everywhere shows how much complex discussion is really needed around this topic).

    The other issue which ended up causing problems on all sides of the discussion was that Twitter is essentially public domain. I didn’t think when I vented my frustration, and I am sure that both yourself and Matt didn’t really mean to relate posts on feminism to a post on angry men killing bosses. 140 character posts can’t really carry a great deal of tone or added meaning to what is already there, and half the world will take whatever you say out of context because half the world might not have been sitting at their computer 10 minutes ago. Oh, the trials and tribulations of Twitter!

    I’ll admit I find it interesting myself to hear people say they don’t understand the other gender. The amazing thing is, usually they do have some understanding, it’s just that as soon as they try to relate that understanding to their OWN experiences, it blurs and reshapes itself. I’ll complain I don’t understand men, but as soon as I am looking at the issue when it’s related to someone ELSE, I’m able to see it much more clearly.

    As for yourself and your former tank, it’s difficult to know – she may have had different experiences to you IN the guild and out of it. I’ve had guys harass me and never told a soul – most people would probably be shocked if they knew. I come from a complex background regarding gender issues, and that of course plays in to my reactions. So while I’m good at ‘taking a lot of crap’, I know that other people necessarily aren’t. Similarly, I’ll pull my students up on making sexist remarks or behaving in an inappropriate manner, and they will rarely understand what they did or why it was inappropriate, because they come from a dramatically different social context to myself.

    I still find it difficult to admire women in top end guilds (but then, I hold little admiration for top end guilds in the first place – yep, I’ll admit it). I find it difficult to admire women for taking on roles like tanking, or melee DPS, even though many people find that worth mentioning. Because I am so reluctant to attach gender to any of the roles in the game, or the levels of playing the game, I guess those people don’t inspire me, just as high end raiders don’t inspire me. There’s nothing wrong with finding these women inspiring at all, and I can see how people do admire them (although I get aggravated whenever a successful woman is admired for ‘behaving like a man to get ahead’, but that’s a WHOLE other topic!)

    I most definitely agree with you about the most amazing feminists being women who don’t always realise they are. Hell, women most people wouldn’t recognise as feminists. Lily Allen’s music is amazingly empowering to me (someone singing a song about the difficulty of being in a perfect relationship, except for your partner being lousy in bed? The frustrations of being hit on by men when you just don’t feel like it?) However, I think it does take courage to do something you will be roundly condemned for, so I guess I disagree that most of the time the only thing stopping us is ourselves. But, again, that’s all based on context.

    I’m sure none of that made sense, so there may be a ‘non post massive week long road trip’ addition when I read this later.

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  7. Saresa, the problem for groups 1 and 2 is that if they respect every groups rules they will tend to find no one that they can talk to and receive support from without setting it up for themselves when they are male (women are generally socialised to talk a lot more about problems and get support from men to do so while men’s socialisation tends to be the opposite, bottle it up and keep it hidden). I understand again that we need to make our own spaces if we want to talk more openly, but part of that was actually shut down by feminists (male victims of DV wanting federal funding in the US were shut down by some feminist groups because it would remove funding form female victim services to provide them). Making spaces is hard for everyone because of how we view people that haven’t been where we have, our own views distort our views.

    I totally understand why people want spaces to themselves (:) though to be honest as a guy if we want them we are often told it is sexist or part of the old boy’s club) because they are excellent for moving forward in the discussion that you want to move, however the problem is that they often don’t address the wider issues relating how you bring that discussion to reality. Changing opinions is harder because of the innate difficulty itself and the exclusion, as noted in Pewter’s and BossyPally’s posts we have seen that women (and other groups) can feel challenged and threatened by others coming into their discussions, but that hostile attitude towards incomers of the other group make it very hard for people to be truly empathic with the group because not only is the language distorted (special meanings and interpretations) but the group innately holds the view that the other will be bad for the group cohesion.

    It is all very typical, it has been used throughout history to do everything to anyone. As soon as you other another group in the minds of the populace, they are vulnerable. We need to make sure that moving forward we don’t other groups of people because if we do so it can be very hard to move them back into the fold.

    Twitter is kindof useless for conversations, 140 characters results in meaning but no context and you need to follow the flow to make it work… It is strange that it has become so popular really when we aren’t restricted in the characters we use on other services, why limit ourselves to that when we could make a service to allow larger updates.

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  8. I am Saresa’s 2IC. I gave her control of the guild after it was given to me. Her sex, colour, sexual preference, random-other-outside-of-game-factor had absolutely nothing to do with that decision. Our previous long-serving guild leader was also female.

    Saresa said she would have a crack when I asked her, since I didn’t think I was cut out to be the GL myself. End of story. I am the executor of her will inthat respect, and in every essence her right hand man (it’s funny because it’s not right hand woman).

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