Two things really annoy me about attitudes towards females in WoW
1. When a woman gets upset, frustated or generally annoyed some bright spark always makes a PMT joke or throws about the word “Hysteria”. Yes we get that it comes from the Greek for “womb” but that has more to do with the outdated beliefs of Hippocrates who named the condition a very long time ago than any empirical proof that only people with vaginas suffer from it. In fact anyone who raids will have played with plenty of dramafic boys who have tantrums and hissyfits at the drop of a hat.
2. Women who blame their poor play on being female. No sweetie, the fact that you either didn’t spot that voidspawn or failed to move has nothing to do with whether you are sporting breasts or man boobs. It is either because you are a muppet or because you have the reaction times of a dead sloth, if its the former maybe raiding just isn’t for you regardless of the vent sex and naked pictures for the forums and if its the latter, paying more attention might help. Either way, your gender plays zero part it in. Most people have time to put down their can of coke (or w/e your poison is) and then move out of the fire/voidspot/spawn/fire wall/lava wave/dire annoying cloudlike thing, so surely you can manage too.
After some consideration I think its the second one that annoys me the most. Everyone stands in something fatal at some point whilst raiding, but the majority of people admit it and carry on. Its not an issue and it certainly has nothing to do with their sexual organs, which is great, after all gender shouldn’t really matter in an online game like WoW. So why do some people insist on making it one?
Now perhaps I’ve been lucky, but despite being an Officer in several successful raiding guilds, despite being an often bad tempered bitch, no one has ever thrown my femaleness at my head. No one has ever diminished my opinion or criticised my performance because of it. My GM is also female and hasn’t had any issues either which got me wondering.
If you ask some of the men who post/use sexist language on the forums/ingame why they behave they way they do, they all tend to reply with a similar answer. Interestingly enough it has nothing to do with where they grew up or any interaction with females outside gaming. Which brings me to my next point, is it possible that women themselves are responsible for the negative way in which they are often perceived in games like WoW?
Sure its not always primary sources, in fact it might be the same person being refered to in every tale, but everyone I’ve spoken to who puts women down has a story about some chick who wrecked a guild, who sent naked pictures of herself to fellow guildmembers, who cried on vent if she didn’t get whatever loot she wanted, childish, disruptive forces who bring nothing but negative energy. I’ve never met a man who blamed dying in a voidspot on being a bloke, yet I’ve met several women who expected to be left off making really stupid lazy mistakes because they have cute and perky breasts. Everytime I hear a woman being happy when someone tells her “she plays great for a girl”, I want to slap her. Trust me, that “girl” thrown on the end is an insult especially when you consider most females playing WoW that I have encountered are past their 18th birthday.
Sure if WoW required physical strength or speed, I could understand gender playing a part, but it doesn’t. I could never beat my boyfriend in a 100 metre race and he can carry me whilst I can’t lift him at all, yet I can beat him in a duel (his prot warrior owns my holy priest though… nerf prot dps).
So in conclusion are we really our own worst enemies? Are women responsible for the negativity surrounding women gamers? Its hard to say for sure, but I really don’t think all women help our cause. My reason two definately leads to reason one, but then it turns into some awful loop of excuses, naked pictures, more excuses, accusations of hysteria and then more excuses. Of course, men have to take some of the blame. Just because you heard some story from a friend of a friend of a friend’s nextdoor neighbour’s great uncle about some dreadful guildwrecking harpy who stole the guildbank doesn’t mean you have to judge every single female out there before you play with them. However I’ve seen first hand behaviour from women who really should know better that makes me cringe and then get angry. Please remember next time you blame something on being “a poor little female who can’t play”, its likely to be thrown at the head of the next woman who comes along as well.
To end, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotations:
Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”
Clare Boothe Luce
Unfortunately, the sentiment still rings true today.
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