Posts Tagged “Girl Gamer”

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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… and probably regretted it right afterwards hehe. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a guest on an Episode of the Epic Dolls Podcast, talking about my favourite thing in the whole wide world… Warlocks!! I haven’t listened to it yet (I have a thing where I hate the sound of my own voice, not to mention I am kinda scared to hear what bloopers slipped out of my mouth while I was talking!) so I can’t guarantee that I said anything at all useful. Leala and Rae, however, were great! Many thanks again!

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After some discussion in the BA Chat (specifically, people mentioning that Siha has a really nice voice), I remembered that I had been intending to write a blog post about this for some time now. I guess it just slipped my mind!

We all know that VoIP software is great for raiding. It makes co ordination that much simpler, and is wonderful for people like me who are super slow typers (and have a bad habit of deleting whole sentences when they notice a typo waaaaaaaaay back at the start). However, sometimes I think that using software like Vent does have some, ahem, detrimental effects.

Unfortunately, the first thing people notice about me when I speak is my accent. Well, I guess they register ‘female’ at the same time as ‘accent’, and it can derail whatever is going on significantly. The first thing I notice is several tells pounding me all at once “Ooooh, accent, where ya from?”, or my favourite “Are you from – insert randomly guessed nation here -”. Some of those guesses have included England, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Oddly enough, very few people guess Australia! Now, I really don’t mind these discussions. They can often be quite fun, and people seem to find it exciting that they are about to run something with a foreigner.

I guess the issue I have is that it can derail whatever is going on at the time in the raid, and it can distract people from something important. There are various ways that I deal with this – where I have been pugged into a raid, I ensure that I say ‘thanks for the invite’ as soon as I am on vent, so that I do not distract anybody when we are doing something important. It just makes it easier for myself and the rest of the raid to get the accent related conversation knocked over before we start to discuss strats and the like. If I do not get the opportunity to do this, I avoid speaking on Vent until the end of the raid, when I thank everyone for having me along. I really hate the thought that my nationality could potentially cause a wipe – talk about bad international relations!

Of course, there is the other issue – people asking me out on dates! This one has confounded me many times. How can you tell what I am like as a person by me saying ‘Thanks for the invite!’ over Vent? Did the fact that I live several hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from you not occur to you? Generally it is amusing, and it is all meant in good humour, but some people are serious! Scary stuff people, scary stuff.

Finally, in a gender related aside: The other day people were indulging in some criticism of another player in guild chat. Someone commented “Maybe it is just the guild leader’s noob wife, and that’s how they got there”. Why does it have to be a noob wife? Why can’t it be a noob husband? I am sure there are some noob husbands out there! :)

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