Posts Tagged 'Girl Gamers'

Experience may change during play

Everyone’s experience in gaming is different, especially when it comes to being female and gaming apparently. Some don’t see or get any of the harassment in gaming,  some see a lot. How much of that experience do we need to take our own responsibility for?

Do I put myself in positions to be harassed? – this is a dangerous question because it implies my experiences are my fault. Could I deal with situations  differently? leave at the first sign of potential problems, let 1 person of 8 others in a RBG team  ruin my fun, I could sequester myself under the protection of a man, or only ever do anything in-game with a guild.   I fly solo a fair bit, does flying solo in a gaming world expose you to more of these issues?

We know in history, and societies, past and present that lone women are considered fair game, and if you’re not under the protection of playing with guild people, or a partner, or a group of friends, and maybe you want to do RBG’s and no one else wants to, or take an alt to a GDKP because there is gold to be made, and gear to be got.  Or take along your own personal knight to protect you,  then by refusing to go out into the great unwashed masses are you missing out,  or just putting yourself behind a protective wall.

We also have to consider that maybe the bad stories about Girl gamers experiences are over represented,  we don’t get to hear the guys side – we dont seem to ask what kind of abuse they cop,  or how they deal with it, are there things that they inflict upon each other in whispers we don’t see and can’t talk about because of a Bro code, or do most of their experiences just add up to someone being a d*ck

Some commentors on my last post indicated that female leadership can  also creates a toxic playing environment, and yes Women can be petty and bitchy  but there seems to be a big difference between how the sexes deal out, and deal with harassment in-game.

Men seem likely to have their sexuality, or masculinity questioned, or have violence threatened. I don’t think I have ever heard a guy been threatened with sexual violence or submission though.  That would be ‘gay’   I also don’t think they have ever been told to ” Get in the backyard you yob and mow the lawn” in-game either, and I have never heard a female gamer threaten another with sexual violence.

Gamer guys are subjected to stereotypes though,  and I will admit to laughing along to the living at home in your mums basement stereotype. Women don’t seem to get that implied insult. However,  generation X and generation Y are taking longer and longer to move out of their parents homes – more likely to get married later. It could actually be true for  a lot of people.

In a BG the other day because I notified the BG that ‘such and such’ was hiding afk in a hut  – he said ” I’m on the phone.  I have a life, not like you who don’t work and play wow all day”  It was an interesting attack, I noticed because I was trying to heal him and it was the first 30 sec on the bg, and were on the WW offensive, and he wasn’t in line of sight. But because he is afk, hiding, and was caught out, I therefore must have no job and play wow all day, and he doesn’t so he is better than me.

Kind of a lame attack.  It was Sunday  and wasn’t true, and got a good LOL from the BG when he left or was successfully kicked, but that kind of insulting, heckling even,  is gender neutral insult. Scrub, Noob, Fail.  Loser, nerd ( yes you can be called nerd in game by someone playing a  game ) it’s easier not to take that personally.

Often the Harassment directed at women threatens our personal safety or seeks to abuse us.   Maybe our reactions, how personal we take it would change if the harassment was more gender neutral,  and didn’t make us feel exposed or vulnerable, but

Sometimes reacting to gender directed Harassment makes it worse.  While waiting for it to fill a RBG another player kept standing on my character in his frog suit, and I kept moving away, and a discussion began along the lines of ” Don’t you like my frog suit..  and at this point I was on vent and said,  ‘not really’

“But bitches like frogs”

and I responded something like ” Well I’m not a bitch, and I do not like your frog suit”  Every reference to females then on was about ‘bitches’  If I had stayed silent, mounted up and flow away I  may not have had to  listen to the tirade that followed.  Bitches can’t heal,  Bitches can’t play…

One of the arguments defending bully’s in general is that people are too soft, and just need to learn how to deal and I’ve thought about how I react to some situations,  do I antagonize the offenders, could I handle it differently. Am I acting with integrity. I already think I leave and abandon places too often because I think I am doing the right thing, and  saying nothing would probably do more damage to my own psyche if I found myself being attacked.  I wasn’t brought up meek,  the rest of my life relies on my not being meek,  and I will not play meek.

However could we deal with it better than providing screen shots of the abuse, voice clips or sharing stories.  I don’t think anyone can say that it doesn’t ever happen, and we know we need to change it, and awareness seems to be the first step.

If we met cuss for cuss, insult with insult,  threatened to cut their balls off and feed them to them one at a time if they ever so much breathed another word – would the harassment stop, or would they only be encouraged with greater, more personal threats,

If you were to do a scale of experiences of good and bad in-game. The bad is just flotsam floating in a sea of goodness, as corny as it sounds.  I think as often as the risk of playing with strangers brings,  most of the time there is no issue. I don’t think Wow society has gone to the dogs. Different people do different things, and have different experiences. Maybe one of the biggest differences is I have chronicled mine, in a  blog,  much like a Wow diary where they would not be as important, or memorable if I hadn’t of recorded them.

I also don’t think I have presented many original ideas or thoughts here, but I’m writing again.

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I’m not a Prude.

Theres been a few things lately  in pugs – in scrub pugs,  even in a good guild pugs that have come up – that have made me feel defensive, embarrassed,  and trying to control a situation that could get out of hand.

There is no measuring stick to measure the discomfort level – but my indicator is usually the urge to quit group and flee to a pretty garden in Dalaran for some respite.

Language  – attitude – insults

I can go bosses without saying anything  in vent if I don’t need to and then when I say something like ” Skull – get out of the raid”  (I was healing deathwhisper trash)

/raid  Who’s the girl?

or a Pst “Are you the girl”

I will not be one of those girls afraid to speak because of the reactions – this whole girls do not play thing is so old  – and it’s not even funny anymore.  I love to talk yes!  but I won’t be too vocal in a bunch of strangers,   I am not going to invite you to my facebook,  or tell you anything beyond the city I live in .    Maybe I have been spoiled by being able to play with people for a long time where this was never an issue

One raid had been going fine,   it was getting later – maybe people got more relaxed – I hadn’t been really talkative – but I certainly had spoken – indication was I was the only girl in the 10 man that was mostly from one guild,  and  then the conversation turned, and I was asked  to be someones dishwasher.  Trying to keep it light, I said I hope  that it wasn’t because I was a female he expected me to wash his dishes – there was some laughter –  and further implication that I would come over to his place and wash his dishes,  so I said  that he was welcome to courier his dishes to me and I would put them in my own dishwasher – because I sure wasn’t handwashing his dirty dishes.

^^ that is me taking the joke – trying not to make a big deal of the blatant sexism. I mean we cop some flack  – expect it – don’t bite – blah blah.  It was me trying to say – yeah I can take a little bit of  a ribbing. 

Well it turns out dishwasher was an in guild joke of their’s that did not mean washing dirty dishes. One of them was kind enough to explain the joke.

To which I replied  how silly I felt – I then shut up for the rest of the raid,

It was actually embarrassing  knowing that they all knew what he was talking about – and here was me talking about  washing dirty plates – and it probably one of the few times I had felt like I was being insultingly objectified  – probably made more so because it wasn’t a joke I was included  on. I mean most of the time the jokes are to  just to get a reaction – and they are pretty lame.

Last night in a run I was told what a good sport I was for putting up with their jokes about women.   They were telling Women jokes because their Dead baby ones were out of line and I told them to stop those which they listened to.   The woman ones were easier to ignore – but I told one guy  I hope he was talking loud enough for his sleeping girlfriend to hear –  which would ruin any chances he had of getting laid for a month.

I feel like a prude sometimes – the mother hen clucking at  the uncivilised.  I don’t want to be a feminist ranting about how to treat girls  ( and each other) with respect –  no delusions about civilising the gaming world.  I mean even I tell people they are F’ken fail healers. – but you know when there is a line that is crossed, and I try not to be afraid of saying so. Even a simple.  ” Too far” can shut a conversation down. 

 I feel so much the hypocrite ( fixed) though for staying in a group that can turn my stomach with their language and behaviour.

But I don’t want to be the prude.

It’s a game – anonymity  makes it easier to be an Ahat – pretending to be / act out a persona that isn’t how you would react in real life –   but I would like to hope that  most of them   – had a mother – have had a girlfriend  – may have a wife  – wouldn’t dare to talk as they do in front of them.( Gamer sterotypes ignored here)

A Single Gender Guild

Twisted Nether Blogcast interviewed Tristan from The Elitists Podcast   who while is accomplished in many things.  He  is also a member of a male only progression based guild.  He explains in the interview that the main reason, for the existance of this guild ‘s “Men only ” policy seems to be that it’s the men who cannot behave clear headed when women are involved, and it ‘protects’ women from the behaviour of the males in the guild.

Firstly as a disclaimer – I am not judging his decision to be in it, and also acknowledge that the guild is currently server first – and thus means that it does not seem to affect their performance in progression,  this isn’t so much a discussion of Tristan – but more so the existance and the performance of a guild with a clearly defined gender biased rule.

The feminist in me wants to scream out – that’s sexism! And app just to show them,  but really why would a girl want to be in a guild like that anyway – its already assumed that they would be entering a guild of immature males with an inability to handle interacting with women. Or just perhaps just no desire to interact with the female of the species while participating in WOW.

Most recreational activities like Sports teams are very much gender divided.  In tennis,  in basketball, in soccer.   Sure there are ‘mixed’ teams  but not many  ( if any at all) at a professional level. These however are usually physically demanding sports – and the idea of the gender divide is to allow for equal competition.  Women are physically weaker than men – it’s not sexism to say so.

However we can look at other non physical challenges

Chess – The European Team Chess Championships have  separate tournaments for men and women.  However according to Wikipedia  the World Chess Championship allows  both men and women –  and of note has not been won by a woman. Though there is a separate Women’s World Championship event. 

Poker championships are not as gender restrictive  as are creative pursuits such as Art awards,  or even commercial talent shows like Idol/Britain’s got talent  – men compete with women.

Most of those activities though are solo pursuits. I actually cannot think of  world recognised competition when a team of  mixed genders compete against each other  ( unless you bring the business world  or financial market into it)

What you want from your game will influence how you feel about male,  or female only guilds.   ( because yes girl only guilds exist as well and I would be remiss in not mentioning them)  I have not heard of a girl only decently placed progression guild though. 

We freely discriminate against younger players in guilds  placing age restrictions on guilds memberships, because we do not want to play with  ‘kids’

If you do not want to play Wow with girls  or boys then that its your choice.   ” Whats your game…”   Maybe they get their social interaction needs with females outside of the game, maybe they don’t need the interaction at all. 

I would like to  argue that it really doesn’t matter anyway because it’s really only on vent that real gender becomes clear, and I know as many quite guys on vent as there are quite girls. There has been no suggestion that boys are better at gaming.    

I will conclude with that if you are deliberately chosing to not to raid with girls then you are missing out.   Girls are just as smart and funny  as any boy, and if you can’t game with a girl  because of lack of self control,  how are you expected to function in the real world.  ( opps that may have been slightly judgemental – and completely dependant on your wish to actually be in the real world)

Sexy talk in Vent

I try not to be too girly in game –  but i don’t pretend to be anything other then a Girl – and on Vent I try not to talk too much because sometimes reactions can be – OH! Real girl!  so if your silent sometimes a random will remember there is a girl in the channel and say something like – Talk Sexy to…  (insert name) 

Yeah I admit I can be flirty but There is  being a ‘girl’ and being a Not so nice girl…  – I’ve never been manipulative or real life suggestive-  eg trying to curry favors to get loot. You also don’t know who can hear..   a 12 yo – a 70 year old guy – girl – mother – father ect ect..   and most of all it also makes you look tacky to other females..   We are are ‘serious’ gamers too –   and sadly its some that cause the rest of us gals not to be taken seriously –  but you shouldn’t have to hide that your a girl – Cause i can ‘melt face – with the best of them..   well I’m getting there..  :)


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