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.

3 Responses to “Experience may change during play”

  1. 1 ironyca July 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I think you are right that a lot of us overlook what actually is happening, that it’s not just a regular neutral attack, but based on a contempt that comes from wider society.

    As you also noted, the harassment towards men definitely exist, it just looks different, I suspect it’s ALL about homophobia.

    Your post has this mulling over what you could have done differently, and as you conclude, the implications mean that we need protection and can’t go certain places or we’ll risk harassment. We might as well stop playing WoW then. Moving down that path is in a way buying into half the argument, that the victim needs to “cater” less to harassers, and if they fail to, well, they had it coming. I think we all need to shift the focus more on the attacker than the victim.

    “The bad is just flotsam floating in a sea of goodness” – I agree and I believe one of the ways out of this mess, is for more of the goodness to call out the bad for what it is.

    • 3 Scott August 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      “Evil prospers when good men do nothing” and “Consent by Silence” I think sums up the problem.
      And I don’t really mean us, the players, I mean Blizz.
      We can call out the trolls and deride their behaviour but for the most part it just feeds them.
      Blizz needs to stop ignoring the problem and start taking action with temporary and permanent bans.
      I gender bend with my my toons and about half of them are female and I’m constantly dismayed at the comments I get directed at me and the emotes coming my way when I play a female toon. So I think while guys do get some grief it’s way worse for the girls.

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