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!
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.
, Girl Gamer