Happy Noblegarden

bunnytime1Having mixed feelings about Noblegarden. On the one hand, its great that its finally a proper festival rather than one often missed day.

However, most of the egg spawns are being camped 24/7 which is one of the pitfalls of a high/full population server. Having a few more spawn points/a few more up at the same time would be nice though.

Also the sheer quantity of eggs you need is scary. I’m currently at 45 but if my maths is correct I need another 205 to purchase all the random bits and pieces I want. That means that doing any of it on any alts is pretty much out of the window.

The final thing that is bugging me is, and I know this sounds weird, but I’m slightly uncomfortable with the whole ear thing. I studied literature at University and intermingled with all the classics, I read a lot of feminist stuff and this just doesnt sit happily for me. There has been a lot of talk about ugly words in WoW around the blogsphere recently and I can’t help but think this objectification of females (the fact that most female characters are played by males is irrelevent) helps foster a gaming culture where abusive behaviour towards women is acceptable. Some of the scenes in Dalaran where upwards of 10 horde were chasing a lone female dwarf into the sewers were faintly unsettling.

Its nothing more than a fertility rite in a computer game, when people think of rabbits/spring especially in literary terms, its usually sex that comes to mind. Add in the fact that Blizzard specifically added an age (level) limit, use Spring Flowers to place rabbit ears upon females of at least 18th level and I can’t help wondering if these sexual and sexist undertones have any place in a game like this one. In fact I find this sexual discrimmination and objectification far more dangerous than some random person going on about raping the horde at the farm in Arathi Basin. Rape in its original meaning comes from the latin means to take by force, to seize.. think Poussin’s painting “The Rape of the Sabine Women” which depicts lots of Romans abducting women. Obviously I’m sure we can all guess what happened to said women but the painting itself is fairly innocent as is the fact that you can take the farm by force in Arathi Basin. On the other hand, objectification and discrimmination are always dangerous. The word rape used in a game where sex is impossible can be open to interpretation, its likely albeit still fairly disturbing that they mean that they won in a forceful/dominant fashion. However there is no other interpretation for the sexism in this festival. Whichever way you choose to look at it, its turning us all into bunnygirls shaking our “bunnymakers”. You can even go as far as to argue that in forcing the bunny ears onto random female characters, you are literally raping them in the sense that we universally acknowledge today. In that screenshot I didn’t have a choice, I came back to my computer and found I had grown another set of large ears which as an nightelf is upsetting by itself.

On the other hand, I accept sex finds its way everywhere. I’m not a prude at all, but I feel very strongily about women’s rights partly because I was in an abusive relationship for 10 months and partly because of some of the stuff I got to read at University. Yet, I can’t help feeling that Blizzard have a responsibility to all the people that play their game to create a world that doesn’t foster divides, doesn’t objectify either gender and doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable regardless of their gender, age, race or sexual orientation. What also bothers me is objectifying women seems to the last bastion of acceptable discrimmation and that in the 21st century is frightening. Although its less than 100 years ago that my Great Grandmother chained herself to railings to win us the vote, so I guess we still have a long way to go, which is really sad.

Rant over, normal service will be resumed tomorrow with something more upbeat and probably a lot of screenshots.

However if you are taking part in egg hunting, don’t forget that Terrokar forest harbours plenty and its usually fairly quite.


4 Responses

  1. I agree wholeheartedly.

    I’m offended by the the Shake your Bunny-Maker achievement. Firstly, the “playboy bunny” implication stings. Then there’s the pursuit and tagging of over-18 females.

    There is no non-sexist way to spin it. I’ve learned to deal with the fact that when males and females wear the same armor, the female version is often more revealing. I closed my eyes when Sylvanas went from robed to wearing a bikini top and lowriding leather pants.

    But this achievement feels wrong.

  2. I’m happy to see there is some critical thinking going on lately. I wrote about this very topic myself and I think that it can be best summed up like this: “Blizzard gives us the architecture of the game, how the culture is created is up to the players.”

    That holds true with more clear cut situations like guilds disallowing the use of the word “rape” to mean “won over another person in a definitive way” but when the architecture that Blizzard gives us is as blatantly sexist as the “Shake Your Bunny Maker” …. how can we as players create any other culture?

    This is *not* helping the majority of wonderfully compassionate human beings who play WoW to overcome the gamer sterotype of ragingly sexist and homophobic frat boys.

  3. I feel similarly about Shake your Bunny Maker, and I think your arguement is really well written (I tend to get frustrated when it comes to these things). A recent discussion on it was started on a popular feminist blog I follow (and comment on): http://community.feministing.com/2009/04/wow-thats-boring-lets-add-sexi.html

    This has also been picked up by Broken Toys and a few others, and of course it’s been discussed on the WoW forums.

    I found this by entering Noblegarden feminism in by google search, btw

  4. Thanks for the replies, its good to know that there are plenty of other people feeling the same about it and based on the fact that most of my server/guild are running around in their underwear I was beginning to think that perhaps I was just over sensitive.

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