There has been a lot more about in the media about gamer girls in the recent weeks, so much that at least our local mainstream media has picked up on the tendency for women to be harassed online while playing games, and there are more opinion pieces which brush over the Lara debate. ( I include console online and pc gaming online in this )
Sites like Fat, Ugly, or Slutty which I check out occasionally, or the link mentioned in the SMH article Not in the Kitchen anymore make me feel like I have been rather lucky in the years I have been playing. I don’t get regularly harassed, or requests made to see my boobs, make them a sandwich.
Sure a lot more documented abuse seems to be from Xbox gaming, and first person shooters seem to cop the worst of it, but F, U and S also includes wow screen shots.
Sure I have my own experiences, which include me being muted in vent for telling an immature player to quit repeating P*enis in vent and sat in forced silence while another female player was told to “Shut up you W*ore.” Been asked to be someones dishwasher which had nothing to do with washing dishes. Had someone try and sell a lap dance in trade chat on my behalf and a female player from another guild had a special chat channel named after her. I’ve also talked about Principled playing, and way back in 2008 the use of the R word
When I used to do GDKP’s in ICC days I played with more pugs, and even random groups, but in places like the QQ premades I would see people kicked off vent and the premade for the way they treated female raid leads. I have come across good and bad experiences with other players, but mostly good. Yes most of them were male, most of them really just wanted to play Wow, some wanted to test waters and flirt and some have become friends.
“ I feel so much the hypocrite though for staying in a group that can turn my stomach with their language and behavior”
I said that in “I’m not a prude”
I stayed in the GDKP where I was muted, and another female player was called a W*ore. I’ve stayed in raid groups, guild and pug groups where I have felt uncomfortable in the way I have been treated, where they used language I wasn’t comfortable with, and where “why am I the only girl in this guild? question is answered by experience. I have also been silent when someone uses the R word, and there have been times where I have not. Why?
The end goal was important enough to take the shit. The kill, the boss, the loot, the gold. It was more important than anything else you could throw at me.
A guild member once felt the need to suggest I might really like to bite him sweetly and seductively in the middle of a H LK attempt, and even when the vent was silent until it exploded in response to his comment – and the guild was called to order to refocus. I felt ashamed that I had been the cause of such a distraction when we were trying to be serious. If I wasn’t a girl it wouldn’t have happened like that.
Defense mechanisms mean I have been quieter in unfamiliar groups. I’ve lied when asked random questions by other players – are you the girl? Are you a girl?
“No mate” I’ve whisper back.
So in trying to find a different angle to the ongoing experiences and debate I realize, that the places I have felt the safest. The guilds I have not felt threatened in, the guilds I have felt most at home, and happy in have been led by a female.
I killed Heroic Deathwing with a female GM and Raid leader. My Ulduar guild was female led. I count these as the better guilds in my raiding career, not just for successes. This doesn’t mean that they were better GM’s or better raiders, or better leaders than a male GM, but the type of environment that a female GM is more likely to foster is one that is more female friendly, and one you don’t have to stay silent in.
This means that when a raider keeps harassing the female players, he is kicked. His behavior is not encouraged or laughed over, and the desire for someone to play in a place where they feel safe and not harassed is respected. Where girls are encouraged, and confident enough to reveal their gender and talk on vent, or contribute to the guild and raid, and they are more likely to do that when there are other females in the guild.
I’m not suggesting we recreate Wonder Womens Paradise Island where there are only women – or even that we need to rule the world to fix all the problems, or even that female players aren’t prone to hysterics or childish behavior. I have also raided with female players who offered special time on vent for favors, or encouraged sexualized behavior. Both genders have all sorts of people.
But I think with more female leaders we could encourage better environments where harassment is not tolerated.
I am not suggesting that a male led guild can’t provide a similar ‘safe’ environment. As a GM no matter the gender, you set the atmosphere of your guild, by what behavior you allow, the players you choose to allow in your guilds. I’m sure most female gamers have some negative experiences specifically related to their gender, and I don’t think girls only guilds are the answer to providing safer places to play. ( I’ll be the first to say 25 Women in a raid could get verrrry interesting ) but GM’s or leaders are more public figures in a guild. Their gender and that they are leading is a powerful statement.
You can be a GM. You can be a raid leader. You too can have
minions guild members follow your direction and kill stuff. You can be successful, and you can also be a girl gamer.