Thursday, August 19, 2010

How-to-conquer Azeroth: Go fight for it!

So, yesterday I initiated another lengthy post on the gender-topic, which I ended in a an open question: is there anything we can do to increase the speed at which women will become full worthy citizens of Azeroth, holding as interesting and important roles in the game, either they're NPCs or players?

Here's the continuation - my thoughts about what female players can do about it.

I know this post will rub some of you the wrong way - a few will probably consider it hostile and anti-feminist. (Sorry to disappoint you Fulguralis and Hydra, this post is probably a bit too preachy for your taste.) But I'll share it anyway. In the end this is my corner of the world, and it's the privilege of the innkeeper owner to serve whatever thought she has. Take it or leave it.

Time to step up
To summerize it I believe that female players who want to have an impact on the development on WoW should start to take our gameplay and ourselves a bit more seriously. Step up. Kick ass. Be just as good - or preferrably better - than the guys.

I would even go so far as to say that we should start bothering a little bit more about our epeens. It’s not a sin to check out the wws charts and to head for one of the top positions if you’re a dps. To measure yourself towards other and decide not to end up in the tail.

I don't say this because I'm personally rocking the dps charts. I'm definitely not as good as a player as I'd like to be; God knows it's hard to climb the learning curve at this age when you've never touched a game before. Mind you though - this has nothing to do with my gender, it's all about lack of experience. I may not be the worlds' best player, but damned me if I stop trying to be!

While there are physical reasons why female athletes can’t perform quite as good as male ones in many sports, which has resulted in most sports letting them compete separately, there's no reason whatsoever why there shouldn't be as many female top WoW players as there are male. I'd like to see a lot more female main tanks, raid leaders, guild leaders and successful e-sport pvp:ers.

I don't think it's fair to blame the lack of women in the world-top-guilds on prejudices and injustices. The occasional one-gender-only-guilds we hear about every now and then are exceptions, not the norm. I think it's up to us to grab those spots. We have the same chance as anyone else to get it - but we have to work for it. And that's what I'd like to see more female players do. Go for it.

Regardless if you're heading for the bleeding edge or if you're a happy one-night-a-week-raider, you should take pride in your gameplay, become the best you can.

Go home and make your homework! Don’t lock yourself into mediocrity! And don’t give up! It seems to me that guys keep record of their performance all the time, keeping track of the charts, comparing it in their solitude - or boasting about it in the party chat. You can do that as well. Not necessarily the boasting part, but the analysis. We all have it inside us - the potential of awesomeness. Give yourself a chance. You deserve it.

And once you're ready for it, knowing that you're perfectly fit to carry your own weight - and more, since you sadly enough probably have to be even better than the guys to be fully accepted - dare to challenge yourself! There's no reason why you couldn't apply to a more progressed guild. Don't settle with mediocrity, don't let yourself become that "hot chick", "sweet girl" or "understanding gf". Become a team member like anyone else. No less, no more.

Treading in new waters
It's all about attitude. There’s nothing wrong about being humble, but I think many women are bringing this a bit too far. Try being cocky for a change! It won't kill you.

Ophelie wrote:
“There are corners in WoW where women are uncommon: hardcore pvp, high end raiding, auction playing, serious tanking. I have a lot of admiration for those women who dare tread in waters they’re not expected to be seen in.”
And I can only agree. I think that players such as Poptisse, former player in Ensidia, or Xenophics, only female player in the world leading guild Paragon mean a lot for the modernization of the views on women in WoW. Seeing players like them make me smile; their very existence is an exclamation mark. I just wish there were more female players who were willing to explore that territory.

Now - becoming a top player is only the first step. The next one is to get recognition. Going from being "anyone" to "someone". Someone who matters, someone who Blizzard listens to. Become a top player. A strong and respected voice in the WoW community.

Read me right. I don't expect putting on this attitude automatically will change everything. I don't think for a second that the presence of outstanding female players miraculously will make them introduce more powerful female NPC leaders or let us get rid of the impractical bikini outfits.

This isn't a quick fix. But overtime, in a very long perspective, I think it might make a difference. Slowly, without really noticing the game makers will be influenced by it. If the female players are as strong and succesful as the male, it will come natural to let it be reflected in the written characters.

And it hasn't got to stop there. There are other areas to conquer. A certain headquarter in Irvine, California. How many times haven't you heard about the guy who dreams about getting a job at Blizzard. But what about women? Isn't it about time that we break into this business, aiming for the design team rather than the customer support? I know it takes more than being a passionate gamer to get a foot in there. It takes education and a willingness to work crazy hard for almost no money. But don't let this stop you.

I don’t think we’ll see a solid shift in the thinking patterns and a breakdown of the outdated stereotypes until we have several women in positions that today are hold by people like Ghostcrawler or Morheim.

I honestly don't know how we'll get there. But I think that if more women become as passionate, competative and confident as the male players, it will help a bit.

Taking yourself seriously
I wish that more women - in WoW as well as in real life by the way - would start to take themselves a little more seriously. I don't mean that we should hide our sense of humor, that we shouldn't crack jokes or be able to laugh at ourselves. That's fine and I definitely prefer to interact with people who have a sound amount of self distance.

But there need to be some balance in it. Sometimes it saddens me when I see women making themselves smaller than they are as they enter a party, a guild, a blog or a podcast. I'm not pointing fingers as I'm saying this. I include myself, because I do it too, all the time. (Which Gevlon has pointed out for me more than once.)

I don't know if you've thought about it, but I think we tend to giggle. A lot. More than you could expect from the situation. It has bugged me for quite a while now, all those giggles that often comes with a podcast as soon as the host or the guest is a woman. Where does it come from? What's it all about? Is it a nervous tic? Or an effort to please the socials, as Gevlon probably would put it?

I don't say that women should stop laughing and giggling entirely, on the contrary. But I think we could benefit from holding back a little once in a while. You rarely hear guys giggling that way. Think of a respected podcaster such as Totalbiscuit. He's sarcastic, he's angry, he jokes and bitches. he doesn't giggle very much. For a good reason.

If you want to earn the trust and respect of the WoW community, the first step is to start giving it to yourself. Stop hiding in the "I'm-the-innocent-and-charmful-girl"-box. Cut down on the giggles. Don't stick to the girls-only-corner; compete for a spot on the same stage as the boys. Show confidence - even in the moments when you don't feel that you have any. Especially then. Trust me on that. It makes miracles.

I hope the day will come when I can admire, dislike or identify myself with female as well as male characters in a computer game (or a fantasy book or movie for that matter), free from the chains of outdated stereotypes.

It probably won't happen in WoW. Not in the next secret MMO either. But eventually we'll be there.

It's not up to the world of men to make it happen. We could change a lot on our own. But it won't come for free. We have to fight for it.

56 comments:

Azryu said...

I've have a very unfortunate list of acquaintances that are female. Not only is a small in number but... the people on it are not exactly the types you would cheer on. They are the type that reinforce stereotypes...

For instance, I have one women of high rank in my guild who is absolutely awful. Completely irrational and hot headed.

In another instance... there was this girl who trolled chat and was in general just sort of annoying. She really played the girl gamer card on the gullible and flirted and coerced them to do her bidding. Most notably though... she gave out nude photographs of her to a select few people she knew. Guess what happened? they kept it a secret and no one ever knew about the photos? Hell no, how do you think I know about them? Her 'friends' posted them on the realm forums and for 3 days that forum generated SO much traffic... I literally sigh thinking about how much of a bad example she is and how she works against everything some of you are trying to accomplish >.<

I dont agree that you need to giggle and laugh less. I think the focus should be on moderating yourself -less- rather than more. I think we all know that the rest of us sure as hell dont! You also need to really start to crack down on the women/girls that do the sorts of things I talked about up there. Call them out on it. Should it happen enough simply the fear of social suicide will make them think twice.

spinksville said...

I know that your heart is in the right place. And what I'd mostly say to women in gaming is don't let the guys get you down - if there's something you want to do, then take time to learn it and then go out, be confident, and conquer the world. On the internet, it doesn't matter who you are.

What I'd say to guys is stop giving players a break just because they're female. If you run a raid guild then keep the same standards for everyone. Stop assuming that you can treat your raid as if you all were guys in a locker room together, but keep the standards up.

Also, there are plenty of nice and supportive players out there, both male and female.

But mostly I want people to be able to be who they are and play the way they want to, and not feel that they have to be ultra hardcore just so that some guys MIGHT take them seriously.

Tesh said...

Ah, for a color-blind, race-blind, gender-blind meritocracy.

One would think that a game, what with the anonymity shield of avatars, might be one of the best place for it.

...except when the avatars are rather, um... stereotyped.

I'll tell you this, though: I find I prefer to play with womenfolk in Puzzle Pirates; they tend to be the most efficient, polite and fun to play with. At least, the best players I know are women. (Not just female avatars, though they use those, too.) Funny what a little skill-based gameplay will do. ;)

Tesh said...

Oh, and for what it's worth, from the inside of the industry, I often find that working with women makes for a better workplace as well, and ultimately, I think it makes for better games. I addressed it a while back:

XYXX

spinksville said...

Tesh, I've found that the more diverse a workplace is, the more pleasant an atmosphere it is to work in. The best place I ever worked had a mix of engineers from all over the world, and a fair number of them were women.

It was great during the world cup. You could walk around the office and see the flags of just about every country that had a team entered into it.

Pewter said...

I often think the relative low numbers of women in the high end/competitive ends of gaming is only partly due to the prejudices of gamers (men and women) already in that sphere. It's also because women chose not to participate in the atmosphere, because (as other bloggers like Jen and Ophelie have pointed out) we can chose whether or not we want to spend our time in an environment that is so tuned to the masculine. While there are many respectful players in that environment, from the testimony of players I've heard there, there is a lot of harassment and disrespectful language towards women. And the attitude is that you should be able to give as good as you get (almost 'man up' as it were) or endure it silently. Again, the onus is on the women to put up with or deal with it, rather than on the people perpetuating the environment.

I've seen this environment marked as 'okay' because it's just a hobby, and any woman who doesn't want to be harassed should just give up competitive gaming rather than ask for the environment to be less masculine.

Women are stepping 'up' to the plate all the time, and I don't think they should all have to behave the way men do (unless they want to, because expecting women to be meek and polite is the flip coin of expecting them to behave like men in order to get respect from men.)

Dwism said...

The way to be a successful woman in wow is to act like a man.

Is that the gist of this?

Larísa said...

@Azryu: I cringe when I read about cases like that. I know there are definitely equally many terribad male players, but the problem is that as long as the women are in minority they tend to stand out and be remembered for those things, reinforces the prejudices there are. It always makes me annoyed when I see it because it does make quite a bit of damage.

@Spinksville: I can only say: /sign

@Tesh: yeah, I think that Blizzard really should try to diversify their recruiting for many reasons. I don't think working places that are dominated by one sex - one or the other - are as good as they could be if there was a mix. A mixture in ages and nationalities is also often a good idea.

@Pewter & Dwism: Being confident in yourself, taking your gameplay seriously, being competitive... is that necessarily something masculine? And if you're all that are you not a "real woman"? Yeah, I'm talking about the other side of the flip coin Pewter....
Those issues are hard, I know that.
I guess I'm more on the side of "let's join the guys on the top" than on the side that says that women are a special kind.
Yeah, I can give birth to the child and I can't push as much weigth in the gym as my guildies, but that has nothing to do with my willingness to push hard for challenging goals. I don't think that is built into the DNA. I think it's more a product of society. We can - and should - be able to become whatever we want to, without being regarded as a "masculine" woman, an abonormality.

sylverbox said...

Nice followup Larisa. I agree fully.

The very first step to gain other people's respect, is to respect yourself. dare to enter 'their' rooms, dare to be good and better, to be vocal, to be a force to be reckoned with. this won't happen in one day or one month, but persistence is the key. and excellence. but the thing with skills often is, while men aren't per se better at something they're a lot better at 'selling it'. I have often noticed in the guilds I was in that the girls never brag about achievements for example and they are also much faster to tell about their mistakes or weaknesses.
Why? I appreciate honesty, but in the end you create yourself with your words - are you sure the few fuckups you might have had are what defines you? seeing your weaknesses is good, because that means you can go and prepare better. to share them with everyone else however isn't necessary.

If anything is ever to change, just 'surviving' is not enough. we're the ones that can make the changes, step by step - nobody else is going to do it for us.

Another thing I notice is many women shy away from this because they don't want to appear 'boy-ish'. there's no way around this ladies, some character traits like determination, authority etc., being vocal (or even loud), execute leadership skills, they're still associated with men rather than women in our society. and that's no wonder as that's how its been for a long time.
you have to breach these barriers and not care whether that seems boy-ish or 'less sexy' or whatever other propaganda might be floating around in your head. go for the things you want and stay true to yourself. don't heed those sexist and stereotype remarks like 'witch' that are so often used around women that dare to be as determined and ambitious as men.
don't be afraid to be good or better and show it. it doesn't make you any less of a woman and you will see that respect will come, grudgingly at first but it will and in the end you will reach the point where you're among equals while still being a woman, not a copy of a man.

All that said, it's a long and hard road. some areas still seem completely inaccessible in today's world, but that doesn't mean you can't act strong in the small world you live in. no need to think global, if we all fight for our room in the small societies we live in, society will change gradually as a whole if women do not let themselves be disheartened. and maybe also, learn to be more supportive of each other too. there's still so many women that automatically notice men's achievements a lot more than women's, it's an irony in itself. it's programmed too, but that means it can be unprogrammed. at least in the western world we live in, women have a lot more means to do this today.

If you gain the respect of the players in your guild, if you become someone that gets relied on and thought of as 'skilled healer/dps/tank', if you just so much as showed 1 or 2 guys that they're lucky to play alongside you, that's already something. :)

Gevlon said...

Whoa! Just whoa! Last time I checked you were spamming "oh I suck" and now look at you! Full of confidence and will to change the World (of Warcraft at least).

Also, your suggestions are great. I'm so fed up with feminists claiming "the government should ban this", "the government should give us that". And here you came with the simple and pure solution: do it better, prove the World that women can do it.

PS: shameless advertiesement: in The PuG there is no voice chat and social chit-chat is forbidden. I have absolutely no idea about the sex of any players in the guild, nor do others. It's an a-sexual guild. Also, any kind of sexist comment would be considered inappropriate (not because it's sexist but because it's offtopic)

Christina said...

I loved this post. I hated it too.

The underlying assumption is that women gamers need to put aside their flighty foolish ways and stand up and be proud. Err... I don't want to be a guy. Seriously. I don't.

I'm one of the top dps in my guild, and proud of it. I'm also one hell of a tree. I stand tall and proud now. I'm good and I know it. I'm not quite the best in my guild, but one of these days...

I like to laugh, and giggle, and flirt. I like to compliment others on their skill, or help them gear up, or go on a silly alt run on my main to make sure it goes well.

Enjoying my gender does NOT make me a bad gamer.

I enjoy flirting, yes. I also enjoy being at the top of the dps chart. And I am not going to apologize for either one.

sylverbox said...

@Pewter

that's right, they 'shouldnt have to' act like men but if you want to be heard in a society you need to speak its language, this is a no-brainer.

also, the things you label as 'male' arent by nature male qualities. they are regarded so because thats what a couple of thousand years of patriarchal culture establishes. but if you travel back longer, you will end up in societies (all over europe, the middle east and asia) that were actually matriarchal and matrilinear. women held the superior status there equal to men today - so what i'm trying to say is, being determined, aggressive and whatnot arent traits 'inherent' to your sex. it's culture and education more than anything else. people from different times would smile if they heard you say 'women acting like men' because all they'd see is 'men acting like women'.

we, both men and women, shouldn't live by such gender stereotypes at all, especially not be dictated and bound by them. we got more freedom and security today than mankind ever had before, also because we have started to replace dogma with reason. women are a great resource and bring their unique abilities and skills to the table. They need to start acting like it.
there's branches in today's modern economy and businesses that already acknowledge this and make use of it. yet many men still judge women by what you'd call 'male standards' (even though they arent) and thats one more reason why women right now still feel forced to play the game according to these rules. But it doesnt matter really, because either way there will be the voices saying 'she wears trousers, that's so wanna-be male' vs. 'she's wearing a skirt? Does she wanna be taken seriously or sleep her way up'?.

You get the point, I'm sure. We can't pay this soo much attention.

Analogue said...

I want to focus on one little part of your excellent post - the one about joining Blizzard's design team. I am a woman software engineer. I went to grad school and seriously considered a Ph.D in computer science. I know all the reasons why there are few women in computer science, and fewer still places like Blizzard:

First, women are generally less attracted to computer science. It's 90% male - and that's worse than it was in the 90s. Universities are throwing money at women's heads trying to get them to come to grad school. I only encountered one professor in my three schools, 7 years of classes who had an attitude of "women shouldn't be here" so it's not that; there is just not as much interest in computer science among women.

[Note: Computer Information Services, or similarly titled majors, are not computer science and do have more women]

Women who are interested in computer science are often also interested in administration/business. I've met many women who focus on the database side of things rather than the programming or design, and are in management in five years of graduation.

Then there's that great looming biological mandate nobody talks about and all of us girls in school thought about: babies. If a woman wants babies, she's at a handicap. Like it or not. Most of us wanted the freedom to take a year or five out of our career to have babies. It's a common enough phenomenon but in computer science it's very hard to get back in. Hiring managers want a good explanation for that gap on your resume and proof that you are up to date on the newest languages, tools and techniques. It's an issue that keeps women from going into computer science in the first place and I don't know a good way around it.

If a woman gets past all those hurdles, earns her degrees, submits her resume, she still has to actually get the job and here is something that might be controversial: we don't usually end up in high end gaming development companies because [at least the perception] is that they eat your lives, you work 80 hour weeks and live and breath design and frankly most of us weren't interested in that. When I was in grad school, the girls would go hiking or do housework as well as schoolwork on weekends. The guys would write their own compilers to get 3% more efficiency in their programs. I think we girls had a healthier life balance - but big name gaming companies would rather have the super dedicated insane guy than the sensibly-balanced woman.

All of these can be overcome but a woman shouldn't just say "yeah, I'm gonna do that". She needs to look at those objections and decide to overcome them - and more power to her. I just don't want anyone thinking it's Blizzard's sole fault for not having more women on their design team.

tufva said...

Equality is one of those topics that drive me up the wall. It is so one-dimensional. I refuse to be put in a box (be it positive or negative), because of my gender. I also refuse to be put in a box based on the country I was born in or my age or the class that I was born into.

I tend to focus more on my mistakes than my successes and am very hesitant to extol my skills. It could be because I am female. It could equally be because I am shy or because in Sweden it is frowned upon to be seen to "think you are something".

I would be horrendously embarrassed if I was not doing my best in a raid and / or if I wasn't pulling my weight, but as long as I do, I'm not fussed if I am 1 or 10 on the recount list. Is it because I am female or maybe just because I am naturally a non-competitive person?

I am not just my gender. I am a conglomerate of nature, circumstances of my birth and various experiences and choices over the years. I am a person.

tufva said...

@ Analogue

That is very interesting point you make about the fully-focused vs balanced life-style, but from personal experience I haven't seen that as a gender separator in the past.

I studied media & journalism at Uni and when I graduated jobs were hard to come by if you wanted to get into certain media jobs, TV in particular. There were so many people (of both sexes) that really, really wanted to work in media (whether because of passion or because it was seen as cool I cannot say) - that the companies could be really horrid to their employees and still fill all the positions. All the jobs were project-based (so you'd never have the security of a permanent job), crap pay and you were expected to put in a lot of hours.

I did a complete U-turn in my career plans at that point, because I had no wish to share a small flat with 6 other people because you couldn't get a proper rental since you didn't know when or for how long you might end up without a job. So I'm not sure if it so much about gender as about what you are willing to do if you are passionate about something.

SpiritusRex said...

Nice post Larisa. Here comes another wall of text response. /sigh

"Remember this, my son [daughter], to thine own self be true." (Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice).

First, let me unequivocally state that there is no reason at all for anybody to change who they are or how they act for anybody else - to each their own.

You want to giggle? Giggle.

You want to be a hardass? Be a hardass.

Just as there are women that perpetuate a negative stereotype about gender, there is just as many men doing the same for theirs, too. Trust me, not every guy who plays this game is an epeen waving, homophobic, DpS-meter slaving, locker room talking asshat, just as every woman who plays this game is not a eye-rolling, giggletard, space cadet who thinks that a rogue is just a mispelling for a beauty product.

I think that all of us, women AND men, spend to much time trying to be something we aren't. If everybody would just be themselves and respect other’s choices, I think we would all be better off.

Secondly, it has been my life experience that change is, while not in the least discounting grass-roots efforts and certainly advocating that a person knows what the hell they are talking about, more effectively wrought from the top down. While I certainly support your stance on women striving to be the best DpS'er, healer or tank they can be, I think you are being a little short-sighted in your goals. Good DpS'ers, healers and tanks are a dime a dozen. What I suggest to women (and men for that matter) everywhere is not to take baby steps, but, rather, take the elevator to the top.

If women want to conquer Azeroth, then by God, LEAD! The actual number of well-respected, quality guilds out in the nether is not that high. Further, of those, how many are led by women? Why not? Is there some in-game barrier preventing this? (For the record, I happen to be in a guild led by a woman, and it happens to be one of the best run guilds I've ever experienced in my 3+ years of playing).

By taking a leadership position and, yes, I mean TAKING not waiting to be asked, women have the opportunity to (i) not only change the sophomoric perception that they are unable or unwilling to lead or play as effectively as men, (ii) to dictate the structure and goals of a group of people (men and women alike), and (iii) perhaps most importantly in the context of this discussion, mentor other women to do the same. Throw off the shackles and go forth and prosper.

And with that, I will leave you all with another quote to keep in mind as we all surge forward to change the landscape of Azeroth in a cataclysm of glory:

"The best motivation is self-motivation. The guy says, I wish someone would come by and turn me on. What if they don't show up? You've got to have a better plan for your life than that." --Jim Rohn

Humble regards,
SpiritusRex

SpiritusRex said...

WOW, sorry for the triple post. Wall of text borked the system.

I WIN!

Chastity said...

I'm not sure, but I think you're making a lot of rather tricky assumptions here.

It is, I think, a persistent myth that prejudice and discrimination will disappear if people can "prove them wrong" - that (in this case) people will start taking women seriously as WoW players if enough women get good enough at the game.

The problem with this myth is that all it really does is reinforce the prejudices that people are supposed to be fighting against. By placing the onus on women to "prove" that they "can be" as good as men you're tacitly accepting that they aren't.

I'm afraid I tend to be rather hardline about this. Either systematic prejudice exists, or it doesn't. Either the reason women are poorly represented in the game is because of sexism, or because women suck at WoW.

If the under-representation of women in WoW is genuinely because women don't take the game seriously enough, then it's a non-issue. If that's the case then WoW is wholly meritocratic and we actually don't need to think about gender issues, the top guilds judge players purely on their merits and if an individual woman wants to be in a top guild she can get in, because they'll judge her purely on her skills.

Personally, I don't believe that. I believe that women *do* take the game seriously, that they *do* do their homework, do understand their classes, do actually play the game properly. Furthermore a lot of men piss around, run in failspecs, and laugh in guild chat. But women are under-represented in the high-end game anyway. It's got nothing to do with women having to man up and take it.

I also think you're underestimating the extent to which men and women are held to double standards. If a woman laughs in vent she is "giggling" and "not taking the game seriously". If a man laughs in vent he's "having a laugh" and being a "good bloke". The problem isn't that women behave worse than men, it's that women's behaviour is actually judged by different standards than men's behaviour. If Totalbiscuit was a woman, she wouldn't be half as successful as he is - his persona only works because he's a man, if a woman tried the exact same routine, she'd be castigated as a shrill bitch.

SpiritusRex said...

Hmmm, not a triple post, don't know what happened there with my computer, but it wasn't pretty. Sorry.

Pewter said...

@Larisa @sylverbox I agree very much with what you both say in your comments - I think I was a bit thrown off with the reference to totalbiscuit, because I actually view his style of presenting as almost hyper-masculine and thus found that an odd example to use when talking about why women shouldn't giggle. Because I hear men giggle all the time in podcasts, and it doesn't appear to be a problem for them ;)

And I'm talking as a player who puts a lot of effort into playing, playing well, and having confidence in what I do, and I'm not spending a significant portion of my play time getting upset by random misogyny in a pug, or a character in the black mageweave set ;) I talk and think about these issues because I believe they are worth exploring rather than simply dismissing them. (Even if the dismissal of the negatives is not intended.)

sylverbox said...

@Chastity
I agree with your general viewpoint, women shouldnt have to prove they're equal because they are. to try and earn something means in essence that you don't deserve it / haven't deserved it yet.
and as a woman you are faced with a different reality than a man. making a stand is doubly hard and as you pointed out rightly, you get measured by different standards all the time. but what is the alternative? not to fight at all? the pure 'knowledge' that I'm equal does not change a thing for me in this world. the system that is imposed on me basically forces me to 'convince' others if I want to equal standing and possibilities (most of them very much economical). it would be nice if this wasn't needed, but it is. so what's your suggestion?

you can mourn injustice for the sake of being right, but that won't change a thing. personally I believe that the only way to bring change is to do it. society has changed before, there's no reason it can't change again. change is slow and there's the 'cultural lag' to all change - meaning people's change in regard for something always comes AFTER changes happened. a thing needs to exist and exist for a while and possibly in great number all around you, before you gradually change your opinion and outlook of it. for instance see how the idea of beauty changed the past hundred years.

thats why right now, we are basically still 'nowhere' in terms of an equal society, time cannot be accelerated.
yet I see no way around spiting injustice in order to change it. and its hard to change something that so many people still deny as even existant. so what's the alternatives?

Larísa said...

@Sylverbox: oh, you’re so right about this. It’s exactly the same both in WoW and in real life. I try not to generalize very much, but in this case I actually DO see a difference. Men are SO much better at telling about how good they are than women are. One way to deal with it could be to try to beg the men to take “less” space, to stop showing off, to stop marketing yourself. But how realistic is that? I think it’s more down-to-Earth to step up and compete for the time in the spotlight.Because as you say – nobody else is going to do it for us.

And yeah, as you say, it’s very narrowminded to believe that showing leadership is a “typical” male thing to do. I’m afraid it will take time to get rid of that illusion but I sincerely hope we will one day.

And the fights we do in WoW aren’t insignificant. I may not be able to do anything about oppression of women in the third world, about stupidities as burkas and crippling of newborn girls. But I can set an example in WoW, thus affecting the image a bunch of 20-year-old boys have about women. It’s a small thing to do, but everything big consists of a lot of small things imo.

@Gevlon: “It’s an a-sexual guild”. That’s actually true and I love that! You’re free to advertise here! Cheers!

@Chistina: it’s just that too much giggling sometimes shades the fact that there may be an awesome player behind the giggles. All we hear is giggles. As Sylverbox points out in her comment we need to become a bit better at telling about the good stuff we do.
I’m afraid that excessive giggling and flirting will be a bit… blinding. It’s easy to miss the rest.

@Analogue: I hear what you say and it really sounds nasty and I think that the men are just as big losers in this as the women. However I’m fairly optimistic about that there might be a change. It hasn’t just got to do with the computer business I believe, but about the general conditions in society. In Sweden we’re blessed with a very generous parental leave insurance, which actually obliges men to spend quite a bit of time at home with their newborn children. (it’s not mandatory, but the economical incentives are very strong.) More and more companies see experience of parenthood as something meriting since you learn multitasking, planning and leadership. There has definitely been a huge change of attitude the last 20 years about this and I don’t think we’ve seen the end yet. I’d be surprised if this wouldn’t eventually also reach the gaming companies. If nothing else there’s commercial reasons for them to diversify their staff. If you want to sell more, you want more people to game. But how is a 20-year old man supposed to be able to develop good games for a 65 year old lady?

@Tufva: Oh yeah, being Swedish is definitely a huge handicap! The Jante Law, which I’ve written about before (http://www.pinkpigtailinn.com/2009/09/defying-jante-law-in-wow-community.html) , is rather strict with us…

@SpiritusRex: Don’t worry about the double posting, the almighty innkeeper fixed it. Your wall of text was excellent and yeah, being “ourselves” is of course the ideal. I also agree on the leadership thing. I think I mentioned that I’d like to see more female raid and guild leaders, but it can’t be stressed enough. Loved the quote! Should post it on the wall.

@Chastity: I think Sylverbox’ answer to your comment covers most of what I’d like to say.

The problem with double standards exists, most definitely. But even if it’s unfair: wouldn’t you rather see that women could get power and respect – be it at the cost of a few giggles – than that we stayed at status quo, giggling but no change? Once we’ve got a better position the views on giggling might change too. Eventually.

I’d love to hear a female version of Totalbiscuit and I’m not quite as sure as you are that she would be condemned.

A girl in the top 25 US said...

Finally, a post about gender issues which doesn't demand equal standing simply on the basis of sex. I've been walking around in frustration for the past couple of weeks, sick of reading that things should be given to women simply because they “deserve” it. Where I come from, and in the industry I work in (which is decidedly male-dominated), you earn respect and you earn your standing. You either perform or you get stepped over by people who want it more than you.

So when I first started in WoW I approached it the same way I did my professional career. It's not about being a woman, it's about being a player first and always. I'm here to be the best at what I do (I'm sure I fall short) not to be Ms. Suzy Social. I'd never dream of giggling and flirting in a courtroom or a boardroom; but that doesn't mean I won't laugh it up at a business dinner or play the fool over drinks with colleagues. It’s about appropriate behavior for the context. To all those women who think men giving them a hard time is an indication of prejudice—they give everyone a hard time! It’s how men interact, ffs! Take it as a challenge, not as an attack, and sling a zinger right back at them. Drop all the insecure, they’re-out-to-get-me paranoia and baggage already, because **news flash** that’s why you’re not fitting in. It isn’t because you wear a bra; it’s because you’re defensive, meek, unconfident, insecure, apologetic, etc. and buy into the BS—qualities which would be distasteful in anyone and in any context.

If it makes me masculine to take pride in what I do, use math and pragmatic reasoning to my benefit, have fun slinging mud with my teammates, speak my mind when it needs to be said, know when to be vicious and when to be kind, and treat everything like a competition, then I guess I was simply born with the wrong chromosomes. (Which would, in turn, make my affection for stilettos slightly awkward, but w/e.) But in my opinion, there's only one reason why I made it to the top as a woman, as a player, as a professional --and that's because I worked my ass off to get there. I didn’t tell them the stereotypes were wrong; I proved it. (And you know what? An overwhelming number of my guildies and colleagues have thanked me for it.)

Pewter said...

@ top 25 girl

I can't actually think of a post about gender in the wow blogosphere that said women should be given things merely for being women. Most of them have been along the lines of Larisa's (and even posts like mine that are highlighting negative things aren't about being handed things for being XX. No one's demanding a free pass into a world class guild for all women and assertions like that are misleading.)

And well done for proving the 'stereotypes' wrong, I'm glad you're doing what you love.

spinksville said...

One thing I found about holding my own in a field dominated by men was ... that it can sometimes be very lonely. I hadn't expected that when I went into it, and it took several years and experience with volunteering in more female dominated organisations before I was able to really place the feeling.

ofc other people might not feel that as strongly as I do, but we're never going to have a world where women can really feel comfortable if we keep forcing them to act like men.

Chastity said...

@Larisa & Sylverbox

I think actually we're on more or less the same page, I think where we differ is what we consider to be "doing something" and what we consider to be "doing nothing".

Let's put it this way.

Suppose a law was passed which said that all shops had to charge women 25% more for everything.

Now there are two ways that women could deal with this situation. They could work harder, take second jobs, really push for promotions and generally do everything it took to make the extra money they need to pay the extra cost. Or they can protest the law.

Now in the short term, yes it's probably better for individual women to just make the extra money, but some won't be able to and instead they'll just have to get used to living on an effectively reduced income. Which a lot of them will get used to. In the long term though it's obviously better to get rid of the law (although if you tried, a lot of people would insist that you were just trying to give women special treatment).

The solution to discrimination is most definitely *not* for the people who are being discriminated against to pull their fingers out. The responsibility for dealing with discrimination is not with the people who are being discriminated against at all, it's with the people in positions of power. In WoW terms it's about Guild Leaders taking applications from female players seriously. It's about not automatically assuming that a woman is going to be a healer. It's about *not* expecting women to prove that they can play the game any more than you'd expect a man to prove it.

The solution to a sexist society cannot be for women to all make an extra effort to earn the respect of that society by its own lights, that only treats the symptoms, not the underlying problem.

Vorne said...

My GL Yes I have a female running my guild is also the best tank i have played with, an i have pugged a load of 25's and 5 mans.
She knows the fights has strats worked out and is happy to tear strips off you in Private if you mess up.
We also have about 4 other high level females who raid full time.
And i wouldnt have it any other way.

sylverbox said...

@spinksville & @girl in the top 25:


I see both your points. I also think you have to take the 'good with the bad' whether that makes you seem 'masculine' or not. I can see why some women might feel uncomfortable with this – I don't believe there is any qualities that are actually 'male', but you're pretty much forced to behave a certain way if you want to be respected and these traits come more natural to one person than the other.

But no change comes easy and without sacrifice. Right now we are pretty much forced to 'play the game' according to male rules and while one might say rightly that it sucks that you cant 'giggle' when you feel like it (just as an example of what someone said on this page), it's a price you'll have to pay imo.

If there's something I abandoned the moment I started to enter 'male terrain' and lead other people, was impulsive behavior or showing any sort of self-doubt or weakness. That can be hard but I actually believe its hard for men too. this was rightly pointed out by Girl from top 25.

The german-writing Czech poet and novelist Rilke lived around the beginning of the 20th century. In a collection of letters to an aspiring writer he wrote an interesting essay about the topic of women in society. He said that right now (still applies) the women in our western society are on the move. He said that for a while they will go through „male costumes“ in order to raise socially and culturally. This would be a long phase where basically they would be forced to mimic male behavior and looks. But after this phase they would finally reach the ultimate state which is not the woman nor man, but actually the human being. That there would be an end to define one thing through the other and that you did not have to be the 'same' in order to be of the same 'worth'. and this change will be to both women's and men's benefit.

I believe that Rilke was being very realistic. I believe we are in this 'phase of mimicry' now. But thats only temporary and thats why I don't care if some aspects of it are wrong.
Maybe its not how 'it should be' – but this whole situation isnt how it should be in the first place. for now social and economical talent and success is defined over male standards, so you live by that rule.

Its only one step to something bigger and thats why I accept the sacrifices. I dont see any other way around it.

Chastity said...

Its only one step to something bigger and thats why I accept the sacrifices. I dont see any other way around it.

The thing is that what you see as a "sacrifice" a lot of people just see as a penalty. If you do more work than a man to be accorded the same level of respect (or perhaps slightly less), then that isn't making a sacrifice for equality, it's just accepting inequality.

And the other way around it is to not accept it, to actually be willing to recognise that sometimes people will discriminate against you, and to call them out on it when they do.

Larísa said...

@Chastity: I don't know but I get a bit lost in the discussion. I find it a little bit hard to apply your +25 percent cost law as a parallel to the game. I've never been in a hardcore guild fighting for the top spots in the world, but are you sure that women are discriminated from them just because they're women? I think the reason why they're so few is that they don't apply in the first place, for various reasons. I think that with enough encouragement and pep talk (which this post is an example of) more women would dare to give it a try, give themselves this chance. Break grounds, taking place, conquering a territory that up until now has been male. I don't think it's discriminating to expect the same effort and kick-ass attitude from them as from male applicants.

In the ned I think we're probably pretty much on the same page in the end. We want exactly the same thing, really.

It's just that I think it's easier to change stuff if you break up the door so you're inside the room where the decisionmaking is done.

Sylverbox was much better than me at putting this into words. I'm with her. And Rilke.

Larísa said...

PS@Chasity: And I've never ever said that injustices shouldn't be called out. However I DO think that the presence of women in the world-leading guilds have a bigger impact on the development of WoW in a more equal direction than any blog post I, Pewter or Ophelie or anyone else involved in this debate will write where we point at injustices. Most bloggers don't have that big impact, to be honest. This doesn't refrain me from keeping doing it though. I've talked about equality on several occasions in the past and I'll definitely come back to the topic in the future. I care about those issues. I have two teenage daughters and I want them to lead their lives in a world that doesn't consider them second class citizens.

Chastity said...

I don't know but I get a bit lost in the discussion. I find it a little bit hard to apply your +25 percent cost law as a parallel to the game.

It wasn't supposed to parallel the game so much as the fact that women *really are* paid on average twenty to twenty-five percent less than men. Part of this is because a lot of women are in less well paid jobs, but part of it is that women with the *exact same qualifications* really do get paid, on average, less than men with the exact same qualifications.

The WoW equivalent is that a woman has to be a genuinely exceptional player to be accepted as an equal by people who quite possibly *play the game worse than she does*.

So yes, I kind of do think that people discriminate against women. That's sort of what sexism *is*. Would it be good if more women applied to top end raiding guilds? Of course it would, but it would also be good if top end raiding guilds were less sexist, which a lot of them are, and women shouldn't have to choose between putting up with a sexist environment and doing what they want with their life, either in WoW or elsewhere.

Frostys said...

@ Chastity

I don't think you see where this all come from. In anything, if you want to be meaningfull, you will ahve to fight for it by proving you should be at the top. Just requesting stuff to be handed to you will not work in the long run.

Girls IMO have to stop requesting things to be made fair and just prove they can handle it all anyway. We currently see women climbing up the ladder in many place by thier own will and power. Guess what? WoW is the same stuff. The guild leader of top progression guild don't want to be fair or anything. He will drop anybody not meeting the standard and replace with whoever he find able to do it better. Your 14,95 let you handle a mecanic poorly but the rest of the raid 358,80$ want to handle it the right way. The guild leader then want everybody to be top performer. If girls usually don't show up as being able to make it, he will recruit guys.

2 things girls can do to be seen as good as guys

1- Show they can. If no one step up and demonstrate girls can do it, people won't take the time to see if they can indeed do it. They will go with the tested "breed" of guy who proved they could handle it. When girls prove they have the skill, wich they do, to do it, they won't be seen as second grade citisen in the community.

2- Fade out the poor image you currently have in WoW. The "nub hunteresse in spellpower gear because it is nice raiding as beast mstery to have a cooler pet" must be proven to not be a majority case. It plays against girls a lot because people remember failure like that more than pure win stuff.

Now 2 correction about the original post

1- It`s either e-boobs or e-tits. Please...

2- That bikini outfit is epic anyway so i am sure you can still use it without any loss. If anything, it gets you a spot so you can then show up you are not only a cutie but an ass-kicking cutie made out of pure win. You are starting behind in this so use what you can to step up so you can show your real skill.

sylverbox said...

@ Chastity
„.........And the other way around it is to not accept it „
I don't accept it and I will always call out unfair or sexist treatment of women. I never said anywhere that you shouldn't do this and I dont think its a contradicition to what I said besides that.

I fully agree with you that it shouldn't be women that have to carry the extra load of a no-doubt wrong and unfair system. but that's idealistic. in reality I simply doubt anyone up there 'in power' cares enough to ever address these matters for women in general, any time soon. so what are we to do in the meantime?

I get what you mean to say by that women are expected to do unreasonably well and need to have a lot more means and qualifications if they want to match men in status. thats true. while some men work hard, there is still plenty of jobs where qualified women fall behind less qualified men simply because they're female and thats discrimination.
A quote I read some while ago goes „It's not equality when women have the same jobs as men – it's equality once they get the same job without having to work twice as hard for it.“

I live in central europe where women still get paid less for the exact same work as men (up to 20% wage difference). the majority of our politicians are male and do not deem these issues relevant enough to act. worse, there's female people in charge that don't either - strangely enough some women that actually 'make it' to a successful level in politics or economy, seem to think they have to distance themselves from any women claims by stating 'I did it the hard way too'.

I've probably resigned myself to the fact that I have to help myself on the small scale I can. if that helps society as a whole is another question.

like Larisa mentioned somewhere, I believe in making small changes. If we look at the whole mountain we might as well just stop right now. or we can try take one pebble away at a time.

if you look at other great cultural or social changes in our history, they were never brought on by the people established in power - they were either brought on by harsh revolutions or more likely, gradual influences. if this happens often enough it will eventually touch those areas that do have the power to change things on a greater scale. I'm not saying that we shouldn't aim for this. You have never given any concrete example of how else we are to achieve this though.

If I get treated unfairly by men or am subject to sexist remarks, I am going to let them know in an equally unpolite way. at the same time I will always be in competition with them if I want to achieve anything. Its a lost case if you need to win a game without even trying to play it.
think of it as a 'spy' that infiltrates another party's camp if you like - before you can make any difference you actually need to get 'in'. so you take the good with the bad.

2nd Nin said...

@Pewter: Part of equality isn't asking women to act like men, that in itself is simply assuming the actions men take are normalised. Women could easily start a guild, find good players to run with and claim world firsts yet as Larisa has said there are fewer doing so. If it is the actions of men that create guilds and guilds that can get world firsts then perhaps it is behaviour women need to emulate to become equal. If you (not you specifically) are unwilling to lead or accept the rules of existing guilds that are doing what you want then why should anyone else step up to do it for you?

One thing men are socialised to do is to actually step forward and find the lime light... if we don't we don't get a chance. If you aren't at the top of a male hierarchy or in the direct line of flow then you get outcast, you solve it by stepping up and make some light shine on yourself.

@Chastity:
Seems an awfully black or white view of the world. Want to change the world? Step up and change it, it will take time and it will be hard but it can be done, you just need to get over the inertia. You ask why women should need to prove themselves, rather the question is why shouldn't the men need to prove themselves. I think in many ways you likely miss the men who are dismissed as incompetent or useless, often in raiding I have had to take a guy who is subpar because his 3k average dps will push us to a kill even when he dies on the first flame wave or whatever. Men form hierarchies as a general rule, you move up a hierarchy by proving yourself and you move down it by being complacent or not defending your place. There are levels of respect as well, but generally I would say men do not respect each other simply for being men, they respect each other for their actions. The handshake itself is a formalised version of that, you have no weapons and so are vulnerable and accepting... the left handed shake is often more trusting simply because you know your "opponent" has a weapon and you have no shield.

Most people react badly to people that don't fit into their social group or expectations. If you (as a male) can understand why the male player is laughing then you fit them into your social view, if the female player instead giggles and it fits into your social view as flirting or similar then it does change your expectations. The male player is normal or at worst being an ass, the female player is being provocative and sexualising the scenario. It is an individualised viewpoint problem that translates into society as a whole appearing as institutionalised sexism, what is the difference between society imposing something and a whole bunch of individuals doing so individually?

I wouldn't say that it is a man's world so much as it is a world in which if you want anything you need to be the one to take it and move towards it. I don't see why there can't be a female GM of a guild like Ensidia or Paragon, but who ever does that job (male or female) is going to have to hold together a group of players who are very confident in themselves, good, driven, willing to point out flaws, and likely less willing to cater to the M&S of Gevlon's posts.

Talarian said...

At the risk of derailing the thread, I want to say that this post overall seems to be much better than your previous post on sexism, Larisa. Perhaps because the previous post almost felt like, "Ho hum, that's the way it is and I just work around it," which, while pragmatic, can't compare to the confident and go-getter attitude of this post.

You talk about ladies stepping up to the plate, taking the spotlight and saying, "Yeah, here I am, let's do this!" and certainly reflect that attitude in your own blog post.

As a male, I was curious about the giggling comments, though. I mean, I giggle a lot almost as a defense mechanism when I'm in a situation where I'm unsure of myself or unsure of people's reactions, but there are times when it's also warranted. I'm finding the conversation here fascinating (and illuminating!) about how that particular point is contested by folks: "Be yourself!" versus "It's a man's world, we play by those rules until we're truly equal and can reestablish our own rules." It's certainly been educational, though!

tufva said...

In the Western world we have had millenia of men being in charge and women in most instances having little value apart from producing the next generation. Then you look at the leaps and bounds that have been achieved during the 20th century - women can hold their own property, they can vote in elections, they can choose who they marry, they can remain unmarried, they can go to university and can do pretty much any job they want (though possibly not front-line armed forces?). That's just a century of progress compared to millenia of culture, tradition and values.

When you look at it in that scale it is amazing how far we have come and how quickly.

I am not saying that we should rest on our laurels, even though generally speaking many man and women see each other as equal there is a lot of prejudice, both personal and systematic. But I agree with sylver - the only way we can effect a change is to make sure it happens. Sitting on your bum and waiting for people that may or may not be aware / bothered about the problem to do something is not what I would expect a 21st century woman to be doing.

We are out there, doing stuff, being politicians, board directors, armed forces members - showing by example that we can do whatever it is we decide we want to. And by doing so, we will make sure that future generations take that for granted and move on to the next step - when gender does not define you any more than skin colour.

Chastity said...

in reality I simply doubt anyone up there 'in power' cares enough to ever address these matters for women in general, any time soon. so what are we to do in the meantime?

I think we're using different meanings of "in power" here.

When I talk about people in positions of power, I'm talking about people in *any* sort of position of power, including social power on a relatively small scale.

To take a simple personal example, I'm a schoolteacher. It is an observable fact that schoolteachers pay more attention to male students than female students. They give them more chance to speak in class, more encouragement when they do, and more feedback on their work. Even with perfectly good, perfectly well intentioned teachers, prejudices kick in and we look over the girls in the class in favour of the boys. It's particularly true in the sciences.

This is something I am in a real situation to do something about (I'm a teacher IRL), but to do that I have to *genuinely* look at my *own* behaviour. I have to seriously ask myself if I am giving fair treatment to my female students, and I have to answer honestly. To be honest, it's something I'm very bad at and I absolutely could *not* put my hand on my heart and say that I always succeed.

In WoW it's the same. The onus isn't just on women to apply to more top raiding guilds, or to somehow try to be worthy of spots in those guilds, it's on the people who *run* those guilds to honestly ask themselves whether they're judging female applicants fairly or whether they're letting the received wisdom that Girls Don't Play WoW cause them to hold female applicants to higher standards than male applicants.

As you observe, the successes of *individual* women in an unequal system do *not* necessarily translate into greater equality (it's not like England got less sexist under Thatcher) and as you observe women who *do* succeed despite the inequalities of the system often take the attitude that "I did it so why can't you". I genuinely *don't* think that the way to combat sexism is for individual women to succeed in sexist environments (indeed that often supports it - prejudice thrives on exceptions, a lot of racists hide behind their one black friend).

Basically I think we more or less agree here, but fall on different sides of a very thin line. On the one hand it is, of course, vitally important for individual women to have their own ways of succeeding in a sexist society because you do actually have to live in the world as it really is (I'd note, though, that the giggling and self-deprecation Larisa talks about in the post is, for many women, just such a survival strategy) on the other hand I think it's important to realize that the responsibility for combating sexism does not and can not lie exclusively with women.

I think basically because I come at these issues from a male perspective, I try to consciously stay away from anything that suggests women have a responsibility to compensate for sexism. *I* can, in fact control whether or not I take women seriously, and I absolutely should not be basing my judgments on whether somebody giggles a lot - if I assume a woman can't play her class just because she giggles or /blushes a lot, or has a huge collection of noncombat pets, then that is *my* problem and *my* prejudice and dealing with that is *my* responsibility.

Larísa said...

@Chasity: You're definitely a way "better" feminist than I am - if you can grade it. I guess I'm more pragmatic

, wanting to get things done. I can't wait for society to catch up and modernize through some kind of campaigning, politics, whatever, because I'll be dead by then!

If I want to get a position I have to grab it at the conditions that are right now. Even if that means that I'll behave "like a man". Which I actually don't think I do. I behave like ME and I hate when people consider me less of a woman because I do. Men don't - or shouldn't have monopoly on the right to be motivated, competative and willing to lead. You should be able to show all those behaviours without being pointed out as some kind of "less female" woman.

Oh, how I HATE those gender chains. Can't people realize that we ALL have both genders inside us, even though our genitals differ.

And by the way I'm really glad that there are such aware, thinking teachers around like you. If this will spread to the next generation of teachers it will definitely bring me hope about the future development in those issues.

sylverbox said...

@Chastity
"I think it's important to realize that the responsibility for combating sexism does not and can not lie exclusively with women."

Thats right. I don't really see us disagreeing here - I think we're talking about two aspects of the same thing. I speak of a more individual level for women to cope with a sexist society, you speak of more universal and longterm change. however, I don't think that these two things are totally unrelated: society DOES consist of individuals. like Larisa I have to be pragmatic and look at what I can change.

the 'onus' to change and prove something shouldnt be with us no, but I find this argument to be redundant. I'm happy to see men be aware of sexism the way you are but on an individual level you offer no solutions. all of what you say is right but it offers us no tools – and we've been forced to stay passive for long enough.

We simply cannot afford not to put up a fight on behalf of theoretical, moral standards that most men (and too many women) do not even perceive still.
a lot of things shouldn't be, yet they are. if you're realistic you will come to the conclusion that you have to play the hand you're dealt with. I'm sure you can see why as a single woman there's no better way to react to a sexist environment than by getting active and oppose it, name it and shame it. that doesnt mean that I do not expect those in certain social positions to also rally to the cause. But to rely on others to make the change happen for us, well to me that is sadly too idealistic.

funny enough, we seem to share a profession. I'm a schoolteacher myself and agree with what ure saying there. I have debated gender issues and stereotypes lots of times with my students - but that includes pointing out wrong behaviour and sexist thinking as much as trying to empower and reassure the girls to be more forward and outspoken about issues and what they want in general.

Perdissa said...

In my guild, we don't really bother to find out who are the people behind the avatars. Sure, some people know each other IRL. But by and large, it more or less comes out when people make references to their real lives in statements like "ah, my gf's over today" or "wife aggro brb", then people would be like "OMG I always thought lolarthas was a guy", or "Waitaminute, afkrogue is a guy, and he is married??"

We run a progressive 10-man, and really can't afford to carry dead weight. If someone is good, they can join in. But if they aren't really up to scratch, they don't. Gender doesn't really come into play here.

Angelya said...

To be fair, there are a lot of people, guys included, that could benefit from the advice in this post.

I run into some truly awful players on a daily basis - who knows whether they are guys or girls? ;)

EVERYONE could use a bit of homework.

Just get out there and kick arse, whoever you are.

Larísa said...

@A girl in the top 25 US: “I didn’t tell them the stereotypes were wrong; I proved it.”. This. Thanks for sharing and inspiring more to go for it!

@Spinksville: I think it varies from person to person. For my own part I tend to end up way more lonely in a female dominated organization than in a male setting. And I believe that holding a leading role is always a bit of a lonely business.

“we're never going to have a world where women can really feel comfortable if we keep forcing them to act like men”.

That’s really double edged isn’t it? I’m first and most of all human. And I’m never going to feel comfortable if I’m always told that I’m “acting like a man” and not a “real woman” when I’m plainly being myself.

@Frosty: E-boobs? Awww… then I’m out of the game I’m http://www.pinkpigtailinn.com/2010/03/musings-over-boobs-and-my-liberating.html

And I honestly refuse to use the bikini for my own benefit. I don’t think grabbing power the bed way is a good idea if you’re aiming for equality.

@2ndNin: “the left handed shake is often more trusting simply because you know your "opponent" has a weapon and you have no shield”. That was news to me! I’d never thought about it. Interesting.

@Talarian: The posts are companions – I carry both perspectives within me. Both are techniques to deal with the gender issues. I turn my eye away from the silly stereotypes because thinking about it all the time would kill my enjoyment in the game. And I think that a kick-ass approach to the game from more female players slowly would make a difference and help us to rid ourselves from outdated images of what it means to be a man or a woman.

About giggling, again, I don’t suggest that you never laugh. But as you say it can be seen as a sign of insecurity and I think that’s why it might be an idea to cut down a little and be aware of this, if you want to be respected.

@Tufva: indeed we’ve done amazing things. We have female presidents – and I’m pretty sure we’ll see a woman as the US president within a decade. Now we just have to break open a few more doors. I can’t wait to see a woman as president for Blizzard Activision!

@Chasity: ” I think it's important to realize that the responsibility for combating sexism does not and can not lie exclusively with women.” I agree wholeheartedly. It’s very inspiring and strengthening to see your passion about this. And I definitely think that combating sexism is something that lies in the interest of everyone. It will benefit men as much as women. Don’t get me started on how women monopolize the raising of children, locking out the fathers from a close relation to their sons and daughters by claiming the right to be at home, expecting the men to provide for them, when it could as well be the opposite….
Equality is an equally strong and important issue for both genders.

@Perdissa: Sounds like a good attitude. A little strange that it takes so long to find out the gender of the players though. You don’t run vent, I suppose?

@Angelya: aye.

tufva said...

Perdissa said: "it more or less comes out when people make references to their real lives in statements like "ah, my gf's over today" or "wife aggro brb""

On a completely unrelated note - this did make me giggle. A while back we had a newly joined person talking about their bf and everyone was surprised as they thought the new joiner was a guy. Turns out he is - and he's gay.

We all make assumptions... :-D

Jen said...

tufva: Happened to me too :P I was talking to an applicant who had a female char with a female name, and who mentioned "her" boyfriend. I was all excited that we might get a new girl in the guild, until he mentioned he's male. Oops. (On the bright side, since that one conversation we've met IRL two times and he's in my new guild now... and he keeps making fun of me for thinking he's a girl.)

2nd Nin said...

The right handed handshake is far more common in most situations because it shows that you have disarmed yourself. However the left handed shake forces you to give up your defence rather than your offence. It was used by the scout movements with various attributions for its use, and it still happens in fencing because the sword is held in the right hand at all times.

I think it makes a lot more sense really, it doesn't say I won't attack you, it says I trust you not to attack me.

Anonymous said...

i know a women that was a part of my guild awhile ago, very involved and we healed together for many years, i didn't really get on with other males and we bonded straight away.

she was a top healer and so was I we got invited to a top class guild

However, about 1 month in she spoke on vent because she ran oom on a boss fight...

Well that was it the officers couldn't have a top female in the guild now the raiders knew that she was a girl oh god no girls can't play at this level...she was kicked about 2 weeks later and i left shortly after...

what i'm trying to say is i think the game has come on alot from TBC and the girls i meet are mostly good at what they do, i dunno where u get your source material from but Girls are fine atm and if they are shit they should be told.

timefortincan said...

I am not really educated in feminist theory, but having a conversation with a fellow WoW player we identified some interesting gender specific differences in our raiding careers.

We thought that whenever strategy was mentioned, our ideas were either ignored (as if they had not even been mentioned) or used later and claimed as someone elses.

We reflected that as women, this was not far removed from our real life experience - where the skills that are valued socially (in the sense that it is thought appropriate for women to display particular characteristics) included high emotional awareness, anticipation of others needs, responsibility (and less empowering traits as guilt, modesty, discretion, humility and self-effacement). We are taught to be non-confrontational and to smooth away arguments.

These are not modes of behaviour that tend to lead to success in primarily male groups - where these traits are not valued - and where they can be seen as a sign of weakness.

In the workplace, you see women underplaying their contributions - you see men being more than aware of what they bring, and letting your know it as well. Aside from the whole reproduction issue that affects women's careers, this difference in attitude to self-promotion probably contributes to the disparity in incomes between men and women who perform the same job, at the same level.

Since the WoW experience is made of players, and how they interact together is as interesting as how they deal with game encounters, it's hardly surprising that female players do not play in top guilds: we bind ourselves to the social rules from real life and self-censor; we also are bound by them by the people with whom we play - the moment our gender becomes known (like when someone asks what your name is...)

Sometimes you fight it, sometimes you just get sick of fighting, and accept it.

Frostys said...

@ Larissa

Remember they are only e-boobs. It work the same way as e-peen. I don't remember having to be hung like a horse to top meters. The same way you don't need huge breast IRL to ave some gigantic e-boobs rating in game.

As per the bikini, I only mean as a stepping stone. You don't gain said e-boob by wearing the bikini. It's only used to counter the current stacked position where you unfortunately start with more to do than guys to prove your worth. It is accepted that the average guy will perform at least OK while the average girl will do sub-par currently. We both know this to be wrong but saying it is wrong won't make trade chat retards accept you and guild leader analyse your application equally. Using the bikini as a stepping stones only make you skip the BS that should not exist in the first place.

Edawan said...

Your suggestion is like telling someone shy to "just go talk to her/him !"

Just telling women to stop giggling and go compete with the guys won't change much.

The reason (I think) why there's not more women in competitive activities (be it e-sports, high-level business, or politics) is the way we educate children, at least in the western world, from the youngest age.
Maybe education just emphasizes the way we (humans) are naturally, but competition is often considered normal or encouraged for boys, and discouraged for girls. At best they just compete between themselves.

We are a product of our education and experience, and only by acting at that level will society evolve.

2nd Nin said...

So start teaching women to compete because they won't be helped by the schools starting to.

Len said...

Be a good player if you want. Improve yourself if you want. There will be so-so male players and so-so female players, but no-one should feel 'obligated' to spend time trying to be the best just because of their gender. Do you really have a responsibility as a female to.... what? Show men that women can be as good as them? If you want to be a good player you will be, gender has nothing to do with it.

If you want to be a role model, someone other WoW players look up to, hell someone other PEOPLE look up to then go for it. For me playing the game is about achieving what you want not achieving what you think you SHOULD to prove some kind of point.

I don't lead a guild because I wanted to prove that women could do it. I don't raid or tank because I want to show men that I can. I don't spend time improving myself and my performance in order to brag to others, male or female. I do it because I enjoy it and get satisfaction from a job well done.

I suppose I'm coming from a corner of WoW where gender has never been an issue. I've never been harassed or persecuted, marginalised, avoided or rejected for being a female player. Maybe it's because I'm not interested in bleeding edge playing in any context. Maybe I'm naive to think that while women may not want to play that way for many reasons (my knowledge of gender-related psychology and human/social development is limited but I'd bet it plays a part) they COULD if they wanted to.

Are there women out there who DO desperately want to be on the bleeding edge of WoW but can't get there? Don't feel confident to try? Or is it that women aren't as interested in that side of gaming? It would be really interesting to find out.

Larísa said...

@Edawan: I agree it's about education and how we foster our daughters. However my lifetime is limited and I can't see how it makes anything better to wait for society to change. I think that the more women that will go for those challenges and disregard of the inherited crap we've been taught, competing just like anyone else for the top positions in WoW as well as in society, the more examples we get, the quicker with this development go. We can't just sit there on our arses waiting for our grand-grand-grand-dauthters to grow up, educated to believe in themselves. It's never to late to change your mindset.

Shofie said...

You should see my guild. Our GM and officers are all female, and quite a significant portion of our guild is female. This wasn't exactly something we set out to do, but just sort of happened. We have a lot of women who join, and then later, bring their boyfriends, or husbands over with them.

A lot of us are really good at what we do. Our top DPSers consistently breaks 8k in ICC, for example. Not a single one of us are the "girl gamer" stereotype, or the "guild princess", or any of that. We're all just there to have fun, and kick some ass.

Anonymous said...

@Len

"I suppose I'm coming from a corner of WoW where gender has never been an issue. I've never been harassed or persecuted, marginalised, avoided or rejected for being a female player."

For starters, without even knowing you, I can tell you, unless no one on your server uses Trade chat, then you're dead wrong about gender being an issue.

I am on a backwater RP realm, where people are allegedly more into story than other realms, and we still have our share of hateful, sexist speech (that is, simply by the nature of what is being said, sexual harassment for any female player reading it).

I'd further like to point out if someone rejected or avoided you because of your gender, there's a good chance you'd never know about it.

I used to live in an idyllic little bubble and I thought gender didn't matter. And to an extent, you're right, it doesn't. I mean, when I pop into the LFG finder, it doesn't give a damn about my gender, only what function my class can provide to a group. The same can be said of raids I go on. My skill, class, and spec are what matter there, not gender.

But again, I assert, the reality is? People sit around in-game harassing women all day. You may not be aware they're doing it, you may not even see it, but it's there.

I BARELY pop into the city for any reason, and 9/10 times, there's some disgusting misogynistic speech going on in Trade chat. It happens in general zones as well. I've even seen it happen in ICC General chat, where one raid starts making jokes, and then it turns sexual and starts being insulting to women in a heartbeat.

Just because the people you encounter regularly don't make gender a big deal (and I'd wager this is either because A) they don't know you well enough to know your gender, or B) they're friends with you already), doesn't mean that if you went and announced to Trade Chat that you were female, people would give you grief for doing it. It doesn't even really matter *how* you state it. The split second the words leave your mouth, so to speak, someone will challenge you, insult you, or tell you to "get back in the kitchen."

So just because you think you live in some wondrous, idyllic little corner of WoW where women aren't crapped all over because they are women, does not mean it's not happening. Because it does. Whether you see it or not, it does.

Anonymous said...

Oh and @Len again:

Be prepared for the fact that, come Cataclysm, Blizzard itself will be implementing sexist hate speech. As it stands currently, Garrosh lashes out at Sylvanas during a quest and actually calls her a "bitch". So again, yes, just by virtue of being female, you get harassed for playing WoW. The human female joke about "why does everyone think I know cooking and tailoring?" That's more of it. Yes, a very mild example, but it's still there, and it perpetuates sexism.

The only reason that word is used is to insult women. And before anyone comments trying to persuade me that "it can be used to insult men, too!" why do you THINK it is such an insult to a man? To be insinuated that he is a whiny woman, that's why.