The sad reality of sexism in WoW

I’ve seen it over the years.  Quite a bit of it.  But the last couple of days I’ve had a couple of incidents.  Its a reality I have to live with if I want to play WoW.  But I neither have to like it nor sit passively by and accept it.  I’ll state openly I am a feminist – in this case one with a good understanding of  constructs of gender identity and the alternatives viewpoints that encompasses.

Female opinions = PMS
We had a debate in /g.  I’m not going to go into the details of it but it was entirely raid policy related.  And who thought what is irrelevent because what I’m going to talk about is the reaction.

Apparently, because the two people who were making the point were female, we just had PMS.  This means we’re emo, our opinions can be completely ignored, and we’re incapable of reasoned thought just because we’re female.  Personally I find this a disgusting attitude, but hardly unexpected.  What bothered me is that in an arguement about the game, the response was very personal and directed not at us as individuals with opinions, but soley at the fact we were women.

The people who participated in that crap are on my ignore lists and I intend to keep them there.  Its a sad state when I feel the need to ignore guildies but I was deeply offended by this.

The Okkies problem
Then theres Okkies.  Hes a complete idiot.  He jumps on our vent channel and plays music/crap during raids.  Hes a general pain in the arse.  I think he was a trial once in our guild.  Needless to say he failed.

But yesterday, he decided that because I was female, he could take things a step further.  I am told he was saying things about me so nasty that a guildie came and told me about them, feeling they were pretty disgusting.  He then carried that on in a guild application.

I’m not quite sure why hes targetting me. Again, not the first time this has happened just because I am female.  I can think of at least two cases (in previous guilds) where another (male) officer chose, independently of anything I thought, to kick a player.  And yet I am the one who was then targetted for abuse which was oriented around the fact that I’m female.  It won’t be the last.  In this case I really am not bothered byt what he says.  This is what mute/ignore was created for.  This is just another reality of playing WoW as a female. Theres nothing female players can do to stop this outside of in game chat (where you can complain at least).  Against this you just have to have a thick skin.

Why am I posting about this?
Well, I have to say I just want to get this kind of crap out in the open.  This kind of behaviour is luckily in a minority in WoW.  But it is there and its quite nasty.

What I have found is that if you ask the people involved in this about their attitudes towards women, not one of them would say they are sexist.  But thats what I find so disturbing about it.  These attitudes are so deeply ingrained in some people, they don’t even realise they have them.  Some guys simply can’t concieve of women as equals and though they pay lip service to equality they really still think that women should be restricted to not having opinions, not voicing dissent and not being allowed the freedom to speak that men have.

Thats what I feel is the case with the first incident.  At least the guy in the second incident is open about his attitudes.  That makes it easier to deal with for the women involved.  If the behaviour is aggressive and insulting its easy to stand up to it and be strong against it.  The first kind is far more difficult to address.

I have a lot of friends in my guild.  I don’t feel I can be friends with people who won’t acknowledge my right to have an opinion, even if they disagree with it.

Sad isn’t it?

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7 thoughts on “The sad reality of sexism in WoW

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  1. This topic fills social science journals and psychology/sociology research.

    I have a question. I’ve read about Sexism going both ways, meaning a harmful sexism(you are a woman, you aren’t smart kinda stuff), and a beneficent sexism(you are a woman, I’ll help you/protect you/be nice to you). Do you ever experience beneficent sexism?

  2. Not really, but I don’t think I ever come across as needing it. I normally tend to know what I’m doing in the game, at least vaguely.

    I imagine if I was a new player, or a player less familiar with the game mechanics who didn’t read about 50 blogs and 5 sets of forums every day, I probably would find it more 🙂 I don’t often ask for help because I know where to go to find the information I need. So I don’t think the opportunity arises.

    From the people who do nice things to help me, they tend to be people I know. So its very hard to seperate out beneficient sexism from friendship, but I think its more the latter.

    I’ve read about women who men go out of their way to help because they are female players. I’ve never experienced it that way though.

  3. So if sexism is an issue – why have the question on your guild application? What difference does it make in the game of WoW if I’m rocking a Y chromosome or not? I have played with great players of both sex, and horrible players as well. By asking the sex of the applicant, you are putting this card into play, and implying to your guild (and all applicants) that sex somehow makes a difference in your guild.

  4. Thats a good point. But I didn’t design the application form.

    Also, asking someone their gender is not an invitation to ask for naked pictures of female players. Ever.

  5. Asking for naked pictures is just someone being an idiot – in all honesty that application wouldn’t have made it past the opening filter for us.

    Then again, neither would your application form.

    My point here though was focused on your statements that your opinion is valued less because you’re female, when I blame your officers for helping foster that attitude – not the players.

    The two very best GMs I’ve every had (in social guilds) have been women. I’ve never had a female GM in a raid guild, so I can’t speak to that – but in the other guilds they were respected and we didn’t have that. We still don’t have this kind of attitude in our guild.

    Focus on your leadership first. Make the change from the top down, or you won’t get any where.

  6. Finally have a chance to get round to answering some comments.

    I know theres a problem with the overall attitude to women in the guild. And I know that the GMs attitude fosters it. Part of the reason for this post was the hope that maybe it would make some people think about the implications of some of the things they say and how they can be insulting.

  7. I,m a female wow player too and have experienced all of what you describe. Plus another that bugs me more than any of the above. Deliberately hindering your character progression…
    By this I mean all the bis stuff goes to other guild characters, you get left the items that no one really wants or they already have. You get the crap jobs like bouncing kinetic orbs on blood princess. this of course means to fulfill your role you severely hamper your dps on the actual boss fight. then stuff like this becomes a vicious cycle. your dps isn’t as good as other guild members and therefore you never get bis loot etc, because ‘you aren’t the highest dps’er’
    I also find that in raids. A male player can fuck up repeatedly, stand in voids, fires.emoo rage, quit raids, be late for raids etc etc. If I make one mistake you can bet that’s noticed. Also never get the tricks or focus magics or any positive raid buffs, they go to the other lock in the guild. who is then held up to you as an example of what dps you should be doing, despite their 600 spellpower advantage they have even before buffs.
    I don’t know whether this has something to do with some preconceived ideas that male players have towards female players and by hindering you in subtle ways is reaffirms what they believe.That you will never be as good as a male player so therefore don’t deserve to be given the best in slot or have any dps boosts. Its almost a self fulfilling prophecy.

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