Girls Hate Chuck Norris: On Women and Raiding Guilds


This article, including the title, is inspired by some of the comments on yesterday’s post from Matticus about gauging the success of raiding guilds. I thought that the issue of women and raiding, which appears on the original checklist, deserved its own post. However, I am quite aware that every time a blogger makes a post about gender and raiding, he or she gets excoriated in the comments. Gender issues–and more particularly, women’s experience in WoW–has a tendency to cause temperatures to rise. On the one hand, some commenters protest that there’s no gender-influenced experience in the game. Men and women play exactly the same way, and after all, women are just men with boobs. Still others complain about the bad behavior of women players, claiming that they’re princesses, bitches, or femmes fatales who love to take advantage of gullible men. Another group, mostly women posters, laments the poor treatment they’ve received in the past. I do realize what the comments for this post will look like, but I’m going to give you my take on the gender issue anyway. After all, I didn’t start blogging because I don’t like to speak my mind!

First off, I’ll tell you my overall stance on the issue. I would like to forward the radical notion that women raiders are people. By this, I mean that they are multi-faceted, flawed, and idiosyncratic, just like male raiders. However, women and men are not the same, neither in the game nor in life. We are each influenced by our culture, and how culture treats each of us has a lot to do with gender.

However, I also think that WoW is unique in that it lets us perform–or not perform–our biological sex as we like. I do, by the way, subscribe to Judith Butler’s notion that gender, in general, is performative. By this I mean that what men are, and what women are, is a collection of behaviors that individuals may or may not subscribe to. It is possible, if difficult, in society to “perform” a gender that does not conform to one’s biological sex. In WoW, it is incredibly easy to do so–after all, how many men play women characters? This doesn’t make them weird–they are just taking advantage of one of the fun and imaginative aspects of gameplay. Women occasionally roll male toons as well. I know I personally used to borrow Briolante at level 60 because I liked tanking more than healing and was too lazy to level a warrior of my own. All this is to say that virtual environments like WoW allow us to have a more abstracted approach to gender performance. We can perform differently though our avatars, through guild chat, and through vent–and all of this adds up to some really interesting situations.

At some point, I think I’ll do a whole post on men who play women characters, but for today, I’m really interested in whether women ACT like stereotypical women in the game, and how they go about doing so.

In order to really explore this question, I’d like to look at some of the most common generalizations about women in WoW and share how I respond to each of these issues. I’m not trying to be representative of all women here–as always, I only represent myself. Take from it what you will.

Stereotype #1 Women Are Bad Players

I have put this stereotype at the top of my list because to me, it’s the least true of all. This idea comes from a cultural bias. It’s true enough that video games aren’t often considered toys for little girls, and many women raiders (including me) probably grew up watching our brothers play video games. But you know what? I can sure as hell play WoW now. The #1 thing that gets my goat in terms of stereotypes about girl gamers is the idea that I can’t play my toon because I have boobs. Maybe they get in the way? I’ll assure you, it’s not a problem for me or any of the other girl raiders I know. Estrogen doesn’t cause my addons to fail, and it sure doesn’t entice me to turn with the keyboard. The truth is that there are good and bad players of both genders. Women might be slightly more noticed when they lack skill because that’s what people expect. There’s a natural human bias toward finding examples that correspond to one’s expectations. That doesn’t mean that the old hackneyed ideas are correct–far from it.

Stereotype #2 Women Get Offended Easily

I’ve followed up the least true stereotype with the one that is most true, especially in the context of WoW. Women’s experience of the world is a little different from men’s. A lot of us face gender-related challenges at home or in the workplace. I know I’ve been treated differently all my life–by parents, college, work, relationships–than my brother, and we’re really similar in ability, personality, and upbringing. I can’t generalize what kinds of behaviors bother all women, but I will share the things that do and do not annoy me in-game.

1. Epeen
Some people think women are offended by in-game boasting, but I don’t mind. I’m not sure if I’m typical or not for a woman raider, but I do think that I’m not a participant in the all-boys-big-epeen-club. I don’t mind it, though. When the boys are jockeying for position on the meters, or for the main tank spot, I think that’s funny, maybe even charming. It’s good to have something to strive for.

2. Foul language
I’m not bothered by foul language. Most of those 4-letter words don’t offend me at all, because they refer to things that are universal. For example, anyone can be an asshole, regardless of gender, religion, social class, or race. Therefore, it’s ok by me to see that word–and a host of others that Matt wouldn’t let me write on the blog–in guild or raid chat.

3. Discriminatory or harrassing language
On the other hand, I am extremely upset by racial or religious slurs, and also by “rape” comments directed at female bosses. I don’t like anti-gay language at all either. I think for me, the language question is all about whether it’s hurtful to somebody specific. However, I’m not offended by this type of language because I’m a woman. It’s my life experiences–my job, my friends, my politics–that make me think the way I do about discrimination. It has nothing to do with gender.

4. Being treated like a sex object
I almost never have to deal with this problem. I am never flirtatious in guild chat or whispers, and it annoys me when women behave that way. I’d rather not have my raiding–or instancing, or whatever–be about sex in any way shape or form. But the few times someone–always someone I don’t know–has made a lewd comment to me have really pissed me off. Mild flirting is ok, and I can see how it could certainly enhance a single woman’s experience of the game, but I make it pretty clear to my guildmates that I’m taken.

Stereotype #3: Women are troublemakers

I will amend this one to people are troublemakers. I’ve seen men whine over meaningless things, and I’ve seen women do it to. I’ve seen both genders start dumb arguments over nothing, and I’ve witnessed both genders do their part to break up guilds. WoW players have a tendency to QQ, whether on the official forums or in guild chat. It has very little to do with any certain demographic.

Stereotype #4 Women hate each other

We’ve all seen those tv shows where catty women waggle their fingers and scream at each other without apparent cause. I think that women raiders tend to get along quite a bit better than that–or at least, we’re polite on the surface. I don’t know quite what it is, but competition style does seem to me to be influenced by gender. The men post damage meters, and the women make snide remarks to each other about other women. I’ve met and played alongside women who consider WoW a boys’ club with room for exactly one girl. That’s not me. I feel a lot of solidarity for other women players and I am much more likely to promote and encourage them than criticize them. I don’t get jealous or competitive with other women–I want them to keep playing, more than anything else, so I don’t have to break into the All Boys Treehouse–No Girls Allowed.

Stereotype #5 Women want free stuff

I see this one pretty often, and it really puzzles me. I consider men and women equal. I expect to pay full price for everything I get or buy. I don’t want preference on loot, and I don’t want free money. Now, if you want to give me some greens because I’m leveling enchanting and giving free enchants to guildies on the way up, awesome! I’ll take them with thanks. But if you send me a gift because I’m a woman? I’m sending that crap right back. I have to think that most of the stories of women getting free loot/gold are the virtual equivalent of urban legends. Sure, somewhere there was a basis in truth, but it’s not a widespread occurrence.

Stereotype #6 Women love cute things

Hearts. Puppies. Rainbows. Flowers. Hugs. Lolcats. Yes, I adore these things. And it’s not just me! In my former guild, Eieldin, a female hunter, had a very enviable collection of non-combat pets–before everyone was collecting them. Jesmin, also of my former guild, told even more cat stories than I do. However, I am of the opinion that deep down, everyone loves cute. The object of our adoration may vary, but everyone has a soft spot. What was the one thing that convinced me that Kimbo, Conquest’s raid leader, had to be a nice guy underneath the gruff exterior? He owns a cat. In terms of the game, I play for aesthetics during my casual time. I dress up my bank alts in pretty dresses, and I get a lot of haircuts on my lowbie characters, but you know what? All of that goes out the window when I’m raiding. I put away my little dragons and kitties, shift into Rotten Broccoli form, and get down to business. During downtime, though, I’ll be asking Kimbo about the latest thing his cat did. Kimbo’s cat is awesome.


One of the things I appreciate about Conquest is that, rude and crude as some of the boys are, I’m not treated like a sex object or a giant bitch. In fact, I’m neither. I am myself, full of quirks and foibles. I can do my job a well as anyone else can. The great thing about WoW, and gaming in general, is that men and women have equal potential. Performance in the game doesn’t come down to upper body strength, and all of us can learn how to play our characters at a very high level if we want to put in effort and time. It saddens me that some people have preconceived notions about women gamers, especially when the game world does such a nice job of leveling the playing field. Our virtual representations, our avatars, erase differences–they blur out class, race, religion, creed, and even gender. Heck, the slang and leetspeak so commonly seen in WoW even erase differences in education. You never know who’s behind the computer, and I like it that way. Here’s hoping that the potential for equality someday becomes a reality, if not in WoW, in the next generation of MMOs.

73 thoughts on “Girls Hate Chuck Norris: On Women and Raiding Guilds”

  1. Wow, Matticus wasn’t kidding about the latest post being a bit controversial. I hope it’s alright to share my experiences:

    I usually find it hard to tell if a player is male or female because when you’re in-game it all feels the same to me. I just assume all players are male and I’m often surprised to find that half the people I know are women. Some of the best players I have met happen to be female. Some of the worst, too… but the same goes for men. It really is more about the individual player and less about their sex.

    Thanks for this post. It was bold to write and post and I /salute you for it. 😛 And here I thought I was the only one who thought this way.

    Kagrras last blog post..Travel Form Fanart

  2. Our druid CL and main healing druid is a girl/woman (i don’t know her age). She’s without a doubt our best healer, and I’m willing to bet she’s the best druid healer on our server. I don’t believe in woman being worse at this game than men in any way, and I have seen the proof of this.

    Oh, and I blame Matticus!

  3. I think many people react strongly when a women in a guild does something objectionable. I also tend to react strongly, a “minority” in the game, when a woman does something stupid or selfish I tend to think it makes all of us look bad.

    Also I think it is not baseless to say that women are more likely to be “casual” players and some people look down on that.

  4. I think one of the reasons I like MMO’s so much is because I excel at them. It isn’t like sports where your physical strength often limits you, and lets face it, women’s sports aren’t taken seriously.

    My husband often tells me I’m very competitive for a female, and I think that’s why I don’t see myself as being any different than any guy who plays this game.
    I have confidence that I’m going to do the best job I can do.
    I read up about WoW and my class every day. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I’m not afraid to make suggestions to raid leaders if I think the strategy could be improved.

    In general in WoW and in the other MMO’s I’ve played I feel I’ve been treated fairly by male gamers. I earn their respect when they see me in action.
    Sure sometimes they say stupid things in guild chat or general chat, but men will be men and it doesn’t bother me. I sometimes have men apologize to me or on behalf of their friends for potentially offensive things being said in chat, and I appreciate that they realize they are in the presence of a lady.

  5. Excellent post! I play alongside female players almost every day and I definitely find them equally skilled as male players. I honestly prefer raiding with female players because they complain far less than their male counterparts…

  6. “Still others complain about the bad behavior of women players, claiming that they’re princesses, bitches, or femmes fatales who love to take advantage of gullible men.”

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say this is probably based at least in part on a stereotype that pre-existed WoW (and many other MMOs) from table-top gaming and LARP. Things have changed pretty dramatically in the gender balance of things in the past 10 years, but in what was a hobby dominated by geeky/socially inept men, female gamers could seem pretty rare. I am sure most female gamers could relate to the experience walking into that room for the first time surrounded by boys gobsmacked by the presence of boobs.

    A few particular women realized the power this granted them and proceeded to use said geeks to gratify their egos, causing unspoken amounts of drama (particularly if in-group romance was involved), and creating a stereotype that has haunted female gamers ever since.

  7. My theory is simple:
    There are a females playing wow compared to males
    Most male players are probably not very social and thus don’t interact with females in real life
    When an average male meets a female in game he doesn’t know how to behave or what to expect simply because he has little real-life experience
    Most of what he knows about them is from what others have told him and people usually discuss about bad things more than good, that creates prejudice

    I’ve played together with a few females, often I found their sex long after finishing some raid, instance or whatever else we were doing. I’ve yet to meet someone whose playing or even talking style would be a direct indicator of sex. I’d even say I find bad male players much more common than bad females, though that is probably just rng() playing tricks 🙂

  8. I’ve played with females that represent every single stereotype on this list. I’ve also played with males that represent every single stereotype on this list. Our highest DPS warlock in guild is a female, and two of our four best healers are female.

    That being said — I find that when you cross reference gender with age, you do tend to find two general areas in which the annoying stereotypical behavior is found.

    1) male players under 21. These are typically your whiny brats who expect everything handed to them and don’t take advice on how to improve.

    2) female players who are bored housewives who let themselves use the immersion of WoW as a replacement for soap operas, and try to turn their guild into the cast of Days of Our Lives, with them at the center. These are the people who are too easily offended, blow things out of proportion, use ridiculous comments to encourage their own sexual objectification, and are generally prissy self centered players.

    Generally speaking, though, I’m not exactly sure why complaints concerning things as nebulous as gender or age are still being discussed. Other than the fact that it’s fun. =)

  9. A somewhat related observation – Women are more likely to be involved in the Wow blogosphere. Obviously it’s hard to get a good number as to how many men and women are blogging regularly, but my sense is that the ratio is different from the ratio of people who just play Wow. Perhaps a greater attachment to or sense of importance of The Community? I dunno.

    Also, this is one of the best “Gender in Wow” blog articles I’ve read. Probably because it was explicitly and completely from the author’s perspective but still tried to talk about the generalizations that we deal with every day, which I liked. I feel so many other posts on this topic are entirely personal or entirely general, and I don’t think either style is appropriate for the subject matter. So kudos!

  10. A lot of the points you’re making I believe stem from the fact that a good size chunk of the population in WoW is below the legal voting age. You mix 14 year old boys up with women who they don’t have to see face to face and they’re going to start acting like hormone driven mongoloids who think that women are a completely different species (aka, 14 year old boys).

    However, I have seen women manipulate men and I have seen men allow themselves to be manipulated based solely on the fact that the other person has an inverse swimsuit area from them. I’ve also seen men relentlessly pursue women who aren’t interested and I’ve seen women throw tantrums when they feel they aren’t being treated with enough respect (and by respect I mean worship). Still though, these examples are few and far between (one is from my EQ days) and the fact of the matter is that if you group and raid with stable, mature individuals, you won’t see these problems too often because more and more nowadays you’re seeing people accepting of the fact that girl gamers aren’t unusual or strange, they’re just gamers.

    If all else fails, follow Dueg’s golden rule: No matter what your avatar looks like, as far as I’m concerned, you’re a dude till I hear your voice.

  11. To address Emiri’s comment on casual players:

    My opinion on this one is that there are a LOT of casual players of both genders. “Casual” is an acceptable playstyle–it’s a different experience of the game from mine but a legitimate one. What I have noticed is that men and women tend to to play casually differently, and this probably has a cultural history. Women grow up being encouraged to be more chatty, to share more with their friends, and they often share a bit of themselves in guild chat. That’s why your WoW moms, etc, are such an obvious demographic. We all know them, and we can probably all name a couple of casual women players in our guilds who are friendly on guild chat. When men are casual players, they’re more likely to be the lone-wolf type–probably because of their greater familiarity with single player games from a long history of gaming as a boy’s pastime.

  12. Lack of Chuck Norris content aside ( 😛 ) Another wonderful post!

    I do find it funny how people tend to jump on the “She’s a bitch” bandwagon while ignoring males who exhibit the same behavior. Human condition I suppose. My guild has large grouping of female players, and I’m happy to say I have yet to see a guildie make a claim of “bitch, princess” etc.

  13. Great article. I am a female player, and I play with my husband. Actually, our guild has at least 4 couples who play together. I like having a mix of females and males around. Us women have some camaraderie when the “boys” talk about how great they are or start off on some macho crap. Is it obvious we are female in vent and guild chat? Probably. But, only in the same way it would be obvious if we were all sitting around chatting in the same room. Men and Women are different, we act different from each other. I, for one, enjoy having a sphere of social activity (and for me wow is social) where men and women can interact together doing something they all enjoy equally. Of course, for me, one of the stereotypes is correct, my husband gives me gold all the time. =). But that is more because he has time to farm gold while he is at work and I don’t, and, you know, we are married.

  14. Such interesting comments! Thank you guys for not flaming me, I appreciate it.

    @baseball: This is an important topic of discussion, because there are still raiding guilds that bar entry to women. Did you know that? I found that out when I became a guild recruiter and started reading a lot of ads.

    This is an important topic of discussion because I see misogynist comments every day in general chats around the WoW world.

    This is an important topic of discussion because, just yesterday, “how does your guild treat women players” was an item on a very thoughtful guild checklist.

    Just because conditions are improving doesn’t mean there aren’t fruitful things to be thought and said. Look at the number of comments! People actually care about this issue.

    The other thing I would be very careful about is making generalizations about either adolescent boys or stay-at-home moms. There’s great players–and great human beings–in both categories. In those two cases, a few bad apples may have colored everyone’s perception. It’s true that both groups face special challenges. When I was an adolescent girl, I was pretty much a disaster! I thought I knew everything. Thankfully I grew out of it. And as for the stay-at-home moms, I think I’d place a lot of importance on social interactions in a virtual world if I spent the bulk of my time with children. All of those philosophical conversations in guild chat might just seem like a lifeline to the world of grownups. So those two groups have a handicap of sorts–age and situation. It doesn’t mean they’re all bad. Everyone responds to their own constraints differently.

  15. You know…

    I do not think i could yell at a female player

    Ok I can yell at female players in conjunction with other male players but to single one out for something stupid. No I couldn’t

    You see I could Yell at Matt all day long till I was hoarse and it wouldn’t phase me

    Does that make me Chauvinistic?

  16. Only two of the stereotypes I’ve seen as gender things, really. The cute-things collection >_>;; Guys do it too. But. Yeah. Damn. I have the love-all-the-critters achievement. I think it’s more of a socially conditioned attraction to small and fuzzy, but very yes.

    The other one is the ‘women hate eachother’ one. I have seen girls, and have been myself, extremely territorial with their (my) boys. Of course, for me it was way back in the day on another MMO. Doesn’t happen on WoW, I’m glad to say. My guild likes to do males-in-the-minority raids every once and a while. 😉

    Then again, I’ve seen males get all territorial with their female friends. The whole idea that the males need some kind of protection from the EVIL WILES of another woman or, for a guy, that she needs protection from the EVIL MACHONESS of other men. But, oh yeah. Though the gender thing works both ways, I totally see people get territorial until the interloper in question shows herself or himself to be ‘worthy’ of the claimed territory. *grins* Still, works both ways. There are just more boys to jockey around when it’s on their side of the fence.

  17. The only issue I have with females in WoW is that they’re more dangerous to the stability of a community than the average male. It’s basically the old Nihilum debate on how they didn’t recruit women and while I think they took it to an extreme, I believe in the theory behind it.

    The reality is that the average whiny male can’t really establish a following of fellow whiners or sympathizers, but the average whiny female especially if she’s reasonably good looking (or sounds that way on vent) can get a MASSIVE following immediately. She can wield power using her sex that rivals that of experienced tanks walking into a guild that’s never seen a true MT and she can do this in virtual ANY guild.

    And as a result, I think that’s where a lot of the stereotypes get amplified in regards to women because the reality is that in many guilds, whenever a women has an issue, we end up with a dozen knights in shining armor blowing the situation out of control.

    So, I guess my point, is the biggest issue with females is well… males. Sorry gals, but unfortunately you have us to blame for us blaming you lol.

    (I should note, that I have a healthy sized female population in my guild and definitely like it, so just to clarify that my original paragraph isn’t saying we won’t recruit women, we do… we’re just more cautious about it, I would say. Plus, our recruitment officer is a woman)

    Veneretios last blog post..Deciding on the Best of Today’s Shields

  18. Ok, I just had to add my thoughts on number 6. I may make it more obvious that I am a female, when I get new robes and my first vent comment is “these are awesome they match my shoulders, so pretty” and “I am never taking off my shoulders with wings on them, even for minor upgrades”. BUT, just because the men don’t say it……I see my husband over there control clicking to see what drops look like on him. I hear the occasional male comment about something looking “baddass”. Everyone likes to look good, its just more socially acceptable for me to say it out loud. And, I do take off pretty gear for upgrades, but only while i’m raiding =).

  19. Very good post. I am a female player, and I hate hearing these stereotypes – but what I hate even more is seeing women who portray them!

    One really nice thing about WoW is that it’s HUGE. To all the women who complain about being sexually harassed or humiliated in game, I rarely have sympathy for them.

    There are so many great people that play this game, it’s easy to find a guild who is mature and respectful of everyone. Having gender/race/religion/politics issues? Find a new guild. Is it from players outside of your guild? /ignore.

    This game is what you make of it, and I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in a great guild ( about 1/3rd of us are female, actually) and we restrict our membership to 18+. I hope everyone else out there is able to do the same!

    Brajanas last blog post..Ferguson Has Returned!

  20. @ Vene:

    I’ve been expecting that comment all day. I’m glad to see that you, in your guild, responded exactly the way a mature human being would.

    Just because some women, in the past, have caused spectacular trouble–wielding power, as you say, though sex–is no reason not to recruit them for a guild.

    You can’t blame an entire gender for the actions of a few. There are many people out there in the world, and a lot of them will take advantage where they can, if they’re smart enough to do so. This doesn’t mean you should keep all people out of your guild.

    This means that you should have a thoughtful screening process, which you do. I would hope you screen your male candidates as well as the female ones! I think a female recruitment officer is a good choice. Usually good female players are very conscious of their own image and would not want a princess/bitch/brat/sexpot in the guild reflecting on the whole gender. I do a long interview on vent with any candidate, so I get a sense of them as a person–men as well as women. I’d think that at least some of this would come out then. If not–kick the princess ASAP as soon as her whining ways become problematic. No need to spoil raiding for conscientious women players.

  21. Interesting post. I have the unique situation of being an officer in a guild that is exclusively open to female members. We have about 200 members, might be a bit more. We have terribad players, extremely casual players, members who are hardcore progression raiders and come to our guild to relax. Some are foul-mouthed, a lot of them are moms, some are still in highschool.

    We come from all walks of life. Major differences from mixed guilds is that we all spell a lot better than your average WoW player, most of our loot issues are because people are too polite to take stuff, and our Vent is very quiet. Of all the stereotypes you listed, I would say only #6 applies for most of our members. Not me, I don’t go crazy over pets, e.g. 😉

    I have observed that some girls just need to be special snowflakes and would probably end up being guild princesses in predominantly male guilds. They usually don’t last long in our guild and go back to guilds where having breasts is more advantageous.

    We are very casual raiders, so things might be different if we were a bit more hardcore.

  22. Oh and @Kimbo/Doc:

    I think not yelling at women is a good choice. It’s a culturally influenced one, sure, but that doesn’t mean you need to yell at women in the name of equality. It’s just one of those little unwritten social rules that men aren’t supposed to yell at women. The few times Brio has yelled at me–even deservedly–he caught hell for it from me. Most women like to be treated nicely–but so do most people. Yelling and its acceptability depends a lot on situation and social dynamics. My dad won’t yell at me, but my mom sure as hell will. If my dad’s mad, he’ll bring out something like, “I love you, but I’m very disappointed,” and believe me, that’s a bigger impact than 15 minutes of raised voice from Mom. In short: I think it’s never a bad thing when you have good manners. Sure, you maybe shouldn’t yell at Matt either, but since y’all are friends and have that sort of dynamic? It’s ok.

    That said, if one of your women players is seriously having an off day or needs to correct something, I would expect you to tell her that, if politely. You don’t have to yell to critique (and my ears would prefer that you didn’t) 😉 Believe me, “I’m disappointed in you” is a huge zinger.

  23. Great post Syd.

    My guild has a 50/50 spilt of male/female officers.

    I’m not sure on the player base, we don’t use vent at the moment and I simply don’t ask. I play with who ever is on and if we gel well we play more often.

    I know we have a lot of couples that play in our guild and I think that adds another level of responsible conduct (because the girls always put their blokes in their place when they start bragging!!)

    I don’t really fancy being in a Chuck Norris lads guild, completing to be the number 1 dps/tank/healer, fingers x’d I wont have to anytime soon…

  24. i think that sterotype #1 has actually motivated me to be a *better* player. i’m never the one messing around during a pull or not paying attention, partially because that’s just how i am, but also because i don’t want to give that stereotype any more play than it’s already gotten.

    as with many male-dominated activities, women often seem to have more to prove from the get-go, and you can bet i’m not going to be the one helping to perpetuate a myth because i was busy typing back “yes i’m a girl irl lol” instead of sheeping my target.

    as a side note, the only person i know who has gotten free gold, *strictly* on the basis of being a woman, is my male friend who plays a female blood elf. 😛

    great post!

  25. Sydera: Thanks for your response. I did not intend to imply that this discussion was unimporant — merely that the fact that speaking in generalizations about any group as varied as gender, race, or age largely ends up with a laundry list of contrary examples so long that it makes discussion difficult.

    I also did not intend to imply causality with my comments regarding young males or housewives — I personally have a long list of great players who fit both categories. I was instead trying to think of a slightly better “bucket” to lump stereotypical behavior than gender or age (which are the most used) and came up with those. it’s completely anecdotal, and likely no more or less accurate than the original general categories or gender or age. =)

  26. A lot of this has to do with the way the males treat the women. In general, men/boys in WoW are nicer to women players. They have an urge to be liked by members of the opposite sex. But there are some males who like to say rude things to women. It doesn’t happen very often in a guild situation since the male knows the group wouldn’t tolerate that behavior. But in a 5-man PUG, I’ve seen it happen before.

    We’ve had quite a few women in our guild over the years (one who’s our co-guild leader) and I’ve seen the same range of behaviors and play skills as the men exhibit. The one difference comes when the female is flirty. Those females tend to have a group of men around them that adore her and go out of their way to come to her aid when any perceived slight comes her way.

    We had one female warlock get invited to the guild a few months ago in a non-raiding capacity. If we ever lacked a person to fill a raid and she was online, her male group would immediately suggest we invite her. When she decided to apply to become a raider, her skill didn’t match up with our usual standards. She was getting better but still a little below average. But because she had 5 or 6 males vigorously supporting her and morale has been a little tenuous the past 2 months (with lack of raiding content and people getting bored), we felt we had no choice but to give her raid status.

    So while there are definite cases where female players can get deferential treatment and cause drama, it’s a fairly small percentage and has just as much to do with the males in the guild and how they treat those women.

  27. „We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned; we are really talking about humanism.“ – Gloria Steinem

    This may very well be the most considerate “Women in WoW” post I’ve read so far. Of course there’s still so much more to say, but isn’t there always when gender questions are discussed? 😉

    Being a woman raider myself, the one thing that bothers me the most is that I almost always have to overcome a lot of the prejudiced/stereotypical expectations in women you mentioned above – I do have to earn myself the respect which normally is given to my fellow male raiders firsthand (they of course can loose it, but hardly ever have to struggle to get it).
    Most men I play firsttime with expect me to be a bad player. That makes me very angry.

    Second thing that never fails to annoy me is when a certain role is assigned to me just because I am female.
    Whether it is the caring “mom” role or the assumption that I generally need protection from a “strong” male – either way some men react strongly if I don’t play along with their expectations.
    Also, it makes me sad that some men can’t take that I too can perform as a top DD. I really think female top healers are more accepted than women who dominate the meters in pole position week after week as damage dealers. Again, it contradicts the pre-assigned stereotypical roles of what a woman should do and be.

    Third: Why are some men shocked when I too freely speak my mind in vent and use the same foul language they use all the time? This one really amazes me. Oh, and never ever talk about your boobs in teamspeak, this will really freak all the men out – fascinating when they are talking about their “potent parts” all the time. 🙂

    Thanks, Sydera, for this excellent post. You mentioning Judith Butler in a WoW-related post totally made my day! 😀

    Jarlas last blog post..Pausing.

  28. I might quote this:
    “There’s a natural human bias toward finding examples that correspond to one’s expectations.”
    As it sums up the problem with genders quite well. Many of the ‘problems’ with women are not the women but the expectations of people and a few rotten apples can ruin the day.

    Truth may be told: none of the women (that I know of) in wow follow either of the five first stereotypes (or are overshadowed my a man doing worse). One of them does love cute and cuddly things… being huge beasts that can bite you in half with a single tooth.

    Deviating a little from the topic:
    “In WoW, it is incredibly easy to do so–after all, how many men play women characters?”
    I can’t help feeling there should be made a difference here between Horde and Alliance or at least, the races (damn blood elves). While many arguments are true for both, Horde characters often have a “broken” or “distorted” features, decreasing the ‘realism’ and strengthening the ‘concept’. This can influence the way a player relates with his character. This is important for me: I chose an undead holy nun because I found the serenity of a holy woman to strengthen the ‘broken” features and crooked black humor of the undead which I love. I don’t see her as a “woman” in a sexual way at all. The gender is purely functional to emphasize the contrast between the holyness and undead nature of my character.
    I’m not saying every Alliance female character is played by a women or a man with a rich sexual fantasy but I chose a human male priest simply because I relate with the character a lot more.

    Back on topic:
    One question I do have is… well.. let’s not kid eachother: the wow population is predominantly male and my guild is not different. This means that the group’s overall behavior and feeling is dominated by the way men think (generalizing a lot here). Even if men do not discriminate or intentionally make women feel uncomfortable, it is possible that our mere ‘common behavior and mindset’ exhibits a strong male character.
    Do you feel that you have to do extra effort to deal with this, as a woman? This is not active discrimination or ‘expectations’ but merely the result of the group being dominantly male and everyone being who they are. And.. here’s the tricky part… do you feel that the GM or officer team is in a position to diminish this effect and create, say, a ‘more women positive/friendly’ atmosphere? If so, how?

    (And this is where Matt shoots me.. )

  29. I’m a female player…and a stay-at-home-mom even! Honestly though…I’ve really not run into much of this. I have been hit on a couple times, but always by people who assumed I was female just because my character was female. Other than that I have really had no issues.

    I do use WoW as a social outlet. I belong to an adult only guild and like it that way. Because I have more time than some others I farm a lot and share. I do not ask for hand outs, I give them. I am the one to drop the fish feast at the start of each raid and most of our bank tabs were funded by me. I just do it because I have the time to, and I know my guildies are more than willing to help me when I need it. Like 2 guys taking the time to help me get my last 3 elders last night! 🙂

    Really WoW can be much like life. We are all just people. All Different. All of us have good days and bad. All of us have our flaws. In this game, as in life, we can hopefully locate a group of people to enjoy our time with.

    And as a side note….I have been a gamer since I was a little kid. Starting back with the original pong game. Also I am (or at least would be if I still had a group) a table top gamer.

  30. My guild is run by a woman (me!), and has a healthy number of female casual members and raiders. The trick is to avoid people who will cause drama of any gender. Yes, there are some females out there who will attempt to become guild princesses and get attention and favors that they don’t deserve. There are also some guys out there who will attempt to become the guild ‘alpha male’.

    The general rule of thumb is that drama is bad no matter who it comes from. Male or female, neither of them are getting in my guild. 😉

    Liores last blog post..So What Now?

  31. Firstly I just want to say that its all Matticus’s fault. It must be.

    Secondly I like to think of myself as one of what seems to be a small number (though slowly growing?) of guys that doesn’t automatically assume that a girl can’t game. I’ve got female friends in real life that can wipe the floor with my ugly mug in some video games, just like I can wipe the floor with them in others. Its a give and take, you can’t be better at everything and someone is always going to be better then you. They may be male or female but it really doesn’t make any difference in the end unless you let it.

  32. Not much to add on the gender topic, I’d rather let other people fight over that one. I’ll stick to being quiet in Gchat and vent because i like being more low key. (Maybe why I’m always a healer?)

    But I did want to point out two things that I noticed in the comments. The first is the “I can’t possibly believe in any said stereotypes because look! I have female/male/X ethnic group guidlies!” I know this is a common thing, but I often find it an excuse. We all are, in the words of Avenue Q, a little bit racist/sexist/elitist/etc. Thoughtful discussion on these beliefs is an important way to try and understand someone else, which helps us move past these notions. I guess I the “I have X friend” line bothers me because it is so often a substitution for understanding. Just something to think about.

    The second is that all/most WoW players are socially stunted. Of course some are, with 11 million players you get all kinds. The thing is, the opposite is true too. With 11 million players a huge number will not be socially stunted. Maybe even most. I don’t claim that I know the percentage that are clinically stunted or not, just that the assumption is a dangerous one. I know we all joke about it, after all we spend a lot of time playing this game (or we would not be reading this blog) but is it really an image we want to promote as a community?

  33. I wrote a post myself back in december about being a gaming girl in wow – it was not nearly as thought out and well-written, not to mentioned focused on my personal experiences, but still: this is a topic close to my heart.

    Being a raiding girl for a few years now, as well as an occasional officer or class-leader, I’ve seen my fair share of the stereotypes of gaming girls. Interestingly enough, a large share of the girls demanding special treatment often did not (just) want it from the guys, but from the other females in the guild.

    This baffles me to no end. While I find flirters, succubuses and sexpots annoying and unnecessary in a game, at least I half-way understand their motives.

    But girls who insists that due to our gender we have to stand together, give each other pats on the back for everything we do, make excuses for each other and support each other…no. I have little understanding for this phenomenon: nobody gets special treatments just because they can share horror-stories in the girl’s lockerroom with me. 😛

    Anyway, to answer Zusterke:
    No. I’ve never considered this a problem at all, but I did also grow up in a predominantly male enviroment, where the few women where tough-as-nail ladies that could kick your ass if they wanted to. I’m your typical tomboy who played with action-figures and the next-door-boy, so I might not be the best to answer this.

    I’ve been in a guild with a female guildleader where the girls outnumbered the boys, and I’ve also been the only girl in others. Truthfully, I don’t much care – good people are after all, good people no matter what their gender.

  34. Awesome post! I totally agree with everything you say. I’ve been gaming for years and have experienced a lot of these stereotypes, too. It’s nice to see them laid out with such great explanations.

    (On a side note, when you’re ready to write about guys playing female characters, I have a friend you need to “interview”. One of the best RP’d female characters in the history of WoW. OK, I’m biased, but s/he has a great story.)

  35. Long-time reader, first time commenter.

    I’m a female player (playing a male toon, which is always good for lols) and healing lead. My current guild is mostly male-dominated, but we have a healthy and happy independent female population as well as several husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend teams.

    I think a lot of it depends on the climate of the individual guild. I often question myself over minor flirtation with “the guys,” on my part and on the part of our other female players, wondering if we are doing ourselves a disservice; however, my guild is highly sexualized and inappropriate in general – the guys flirt with each other more than they flirt with the girls – and our female raiders are, without exception, highly skilled and valued members of our team.

    A lot of us came from a guild where female players were often treated differently based on their gender – a female shaman who regularly healed less than 2k on her assigned targets on boss fights, and yet was never questioned about her performance, comes to mind – and it was something I, at least, am constantly and consciously trying to avoid in the running of our guild. Our girls pay the same EPGP price for loot and are held to the same attendance and performance standards as our male players. If they then feel it is appropriate to flirt with the guys in the same joking manner as the guys flirt with each other, I can’t really see anything wrong with that.

    We have our good days and our bad ones. I can’t say our guys have never gotten a little neanderthal over Teh Boobiez, and I can’t say we’ve never had a female player make a sexually-charged comment designed to call attention to the fact that she had Teh Boobiez, but in general, our female players behave and are treated as if they were “one of the guys” and their boundaries and RL relationships/commitments are well-known and respected. A lot of people would balk at the nature of our guild chat and Vent banter, but it *works for us,* and as long as there continues to be no hurt feelings or excessive dramatics on either side of the gender fence, we see no reason to regulate our members’ behavior.

  36. As a woman, I really loved that post! It’s so true.

    A friend of mine used to say that ‘woman playing wow is to play wow on easy mode.’ because a lot of man will help just because of the fact that is a woman.

    And it’s very funny when you see someone trying to give free stuff and other kind of gifts thinking that the ‘female character’ is a woman in real life.

    wowgirls last blog post..3.1 – Mudanças na Mana Regeneration

  37. Fantastic post.

    Beyond the social aspect of the game, what matters to me come raid time, is that you do your job, and you do it well. Our raid leader doesn’t put up with guff from any of our raiders, period. If you aren’t pulling your weight – male or female – you’re done. Bad players are bad players, period.

    With respect to the social side of the game – it’s pretty straightforward to me. As a woman (and an officer) in a casual but highly spirited raiding guild, I can honestly say that none of the people I interact with treat me any differently because of my gender. We have people from very different backgrounds and belief systems. We have interesting philosophical debates , and we also joke around like a bunch of boobs (no pun intended). There is, however, a reason noone treats me “like a girl”:

    I’ve always been very forthcoming about my own social/political boundaries. To quote you because you put it so succinctly “It’s my life experiences–my job, my friends, my politics–that make me think the way I do about discrimination. It has nothing to do with gender”. Amen, sister.

    I wouldn’t ever put up with a RL friend flippantly calling me a “bitch” or “squaw”, or liberally using highly offensive racial/sexual/religious slurs, so why would I put up with it just because it’s online? I also realize that not everyone shares my opinions and politics. It’s just my own personal philosophy – YOU teach people how to treat you. I’m not treated “like a girl”, because the expectation I actively set is to be treated “like a human being”.

    There are women in my guild who do play the “damsel-in-distress” and there are some men who lap it up happily. There are also the women who play the “just one of the guys” role. That’s how they CHOOSE to be seen and treated.

    The same principle applies to men, every one of us has the power to dictate how they are perceived and treated. Through your words, your actions, your treatment of others. It’s not a passive thing.

  38. Syd, I think you did a great job on the post and your points and it’s obviously started up a lot of discussion and comments.

    I think that every guild is going to be different, that’s a given. I’ve been blessed that I’ve been in very few guilds and each one I’ve been in has been of the philosophy to treat everyone as equals and avoid swearing and vulgar language for the most part in both guild chat and vent. My first guild I worked my way up to being a class leader and officer, and when the guild’s raid leader asked for my support in forming a new guild myself and many of the other guildies gave it. One of my stipulations was being an officer in the new guild as well (which is my current guild)…we only have a few females but we are all treated as equals and nasty comments berating ANYONE are not tolerated.

    Myself and the other female officer are both very good players, and I don’t think it has ever been suspected that we would not be just because we were female. We have not-so-great male players just as we may have not-so-great female players.

    I’ve seen just as many male players cause drama as I have female players (and I may have even caused a bit myself). I don’t put up with crap…it’s one of the reasons I was chosen as an officer in the first place. It’s personality that causes drama, not gender.

    Flirting…I may be more stereotypical. In my guild it’s normal for the officers to play around back and forth semi-flirting with always insinuatory never quite straightforward comments that may be construed as sexual. However, it’s always between people who have developed a comfort level with each other and know it’s playing around and not harrassment. It’s not always a harmful behavior and can actually make things more fun in some guild settings.

    And lastly…no, I don’t hate Chuck Norris. Except maybe in Walker, Texas Ranger. 😛

  39. On the flirting issue: I think that can be really fun in certain environments. It’s not my cup of tea, because I play with my fiancé, but if I were single? Sure. And if it’s not directly flirting, but rather sexual innuendo and plays on words? That can be fun, harmless, and creative. There’s cases where excessive flirting could be problematic, however, or at least sickening for the rest of the guild.

  40. @ Tarsus – I don’t think the two worlds are mutually exclusive. To make numbers up randomly, the Wow population could be divided into 25/75 female to male, but the wow blogging community could be closer to 40/60, yet still dominated by men (at least in numbers). And, of course, numbers do not equate to “domination” of any given community.

    There also might be a difference in the numbers for different subsectors of the Wow blogosphere. For example, of the personalities that I know, a higher percentage of visible folks on EJ and AJ are male than on BlogAzeroth. Granted, this is only my unresearched perspective, so take it for what you will (and Syd’s article applies here – the numbers don’t mean a damn about an individual’s quality). But I’d be interested to see the numbers comparing Private Blogs, EJ, AJ, PlusHeal, the Class Forums, the Role Forums, etc., because I bet that they are not evenly distributed, nor do they match the player base ratio as a whole.

    Yay tangents!

  41. haha as a girl gamer I have some thoughts to share about this. Great post and very true.

    It’s horrible but I actually have met other girls on WoW who do fit each and every one of those stereotypes. It seems to me that they are almost always true, with the occasional rare exception (that which I consider myself one.)

    1. I think a part of why many girls are ‘bad’ players is because of how and why they’re playing WoW. I have raided in the past with several girls who were in roles such as GM/officer’s wife/girlfriend. They seemed mildly interested in WoW, but not to play it seriously and excel at their class. I came to WoW after many years of independent gaming on other online MMOs. Because I rolled a Hunter.. well, I constantly feel a lot of pressure to prove my worth since I play a class with such a terrible reputation. (Should I consider the introduction of the DK as ‘the new huntard’ a blessing?) I take pride in topping the meters, plus it makes for some fun conversation in vent about being beat by a girl.

    2. This is the stereotype I agree least with. It’s the Internet, and it’s 2009. 10 years ago I would’ve been horrified at the language I myself use nowadays…. xD you learn and you adapt.

    3,4. Ugh, I had a really terrible experience recently regarding this. There used to be another girl in my guild – she was a decently skilled player, but she was nontheless a huge flirt. It was always really clear who she liked/disliked by how she treated them. As a fellow girl and “therefore a threat” you can guess that she didn’t like me very much. Things ultimately ended up such that there was a mass /gquit (both the girl and I left,) and the GM put an unspoken “no girls allowed” rule in place for recruiting. I must admit that whenever I realize that I’ll be playing and (supposed to be) cooperating with another girl, I initially feel a load dread. I don’t go picking fights though – if anything, I’d prefer if it the other girls just left me alone. I get along with guys much much better than girls, both online and offline … although not in the flirty way.

    5. It depends. >_> the girl I mentioned above did actually ask people for free gems and the such. She was good at it and a lot of guys had the hots for her. There was another girl who “raided” with my last guild back in BC … she was a terrible player, but she never complained , and several guys would shower her with free things without asking. I’m kind of torn about the whole free gift thing. On one hand, I feel like an outcast since nobody ever thinks to send me things like that. On the other hand, I would be highly offended if someone indicated that they thought that I play WoW to get free stuff from guys. *shrug*

    6. ….xD I cannot dispute this. Most of the more serious girl players I know are pet/mount collectors, just as I am. :3 It’s worth noting that the girl I mentioned in 3-5 (a UD lock) was NOT interested in cute things. Thinking about general interests I think class choice also plays a role in this. Almost every Warlock I know is more interested in killing a mouse than having one as a pet. (actual conversation topic) On that note I know a TON of girls who play Priests.

    I take pride in the fact that I’m a girl. I’ll never deny it, and it’s always amusing to hear the “OMG ITS A GIRL” comments in vent during VoA pugs. I’d say I act relatively genderless online however, aside from the cute and pretty things part.

    Elumines last blog post..quick update

  42. My situation is actually pretty unique. I’ve been playing WoW since a couple of months before BC came out. At the time my (now ex) husband had been playing for at least a year and had finally talked me into starting to play WoW. A lot happened…my marriage deteriorated not solely due to WoW playing but also due to a lot of other factors. And we never played WoW together due to our schedules conflicting and the fact that I liked raiding and didn’t love PvP while he never raided and all he did was PvP.

    I now play “with” my significant other. He is an officer in my guild as well. He helped form it as well. Yes…I met him in the game, have been long distance for 10 months and am moving to move in with him in about 10 days from now.

    But still the flirting and sexual innuendo in the guild goes on. He doesn’t care when the other guys make comments to me, and I don’t care…we both know they are just playing around when it happens.

    Like one of the previous posters said though…in my guild it’s not just the guys and girls flirting back and forth, the guys seem to flirt with each other as well even though they know exactly who they are dealing with LOL.

    I don’t pug all that much…but I’m finding less and less “OMG it’s a girl!” comments these days, and the ones I do get are usually from pre-teen boys. Maybe it’s because I’m on a high-pop server and a lot more women play there than on other servers? I don’t know.

    But here’s a question for you…do you think more women play alliance, or horde? 😛

  43. Great post.
    In response to Stereotype 2 on us being offended… I couldn’t agree with you more than the constant use of “rape” being used. It is the most offensive term to be told too or hear in the game. (Yes I’ve had the orange emote XXX wants to rape Missmedic). It’s disgusting and all people should have their butt kicked if they use this term in the game.

    Another thing that I notice is the perception of flirting in the game. Unfortunately for many of us gals (perhaps men too) our genuine “niceness” “friendliness” is equated to wanting to hop into cyber bed with you. Believe me, if I wanted to get in bed with you I would let you know. My : D or : ) or being polite in general is just how I am, it does not mean I “love” you. Women also get the “bitch” thrown at them too much. This is because you can’t take a hint that we are just friendly and not after you and now we have to be brutally mean to you so you finally get the hint. You have made me a bitch, I’m not one normally.

    The other stereotype I like to break is that woman aren’t hard core gamers in general. I like Ayslin also have been gaming before most players were born. Starting with Pong, Pancake, then on to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Treasure of Tarmin (intellivsion) and so on.Heck I remember when the games where on cassette tapes for the Vic 20 lol

  44. I think the thing that ticked me off the most in regards to the female player topic was in another game when I had managed to build a rather large, successful, well respected guild. My best guy friend (in real life) who did NOT currently play that game but is also a gamer suggested that all these players were in my guild because I was a GIRL.

    Nevermind the hours I put in organizing raids, helping with quests, helping with leveling, running children of members through quests, and helping organize server events across guilds. Clearly all these people were just overwhelmed by the sheer sexiness of my pixels.

    Good friend right!

  45. Meet Death Knight Kitty! they might be cuddly but still can go feral! I had to…. there were no cat comments and yes I am male, married and have 4 cats.
    I was reading at the comments and yes, if a female guildie asks me to help her do something and I have the time I will probably go out of my way to help… then again, if it were a male guildie I would do the same.
    For me it does not matter if the people I am in a group/guild are male or female, or a certain age. I am interested that we have a good time in the group. For me that is the point of a MMORPG otherwise I would just play Oblivion again. If the group you are in does not click for what you are looking for, change. As you deal with real people you will get a lot of diversity. The only difference is that in WoW people are behind the mighty [shield of internet detachment]. Here is where you should look at the strength of the values that you have. If you like kicking them out of a raid because they are female, but in rl you play softball in a mixed team, well you are a hipocrite.
    I belive in treating people with respect and politeness everywhere, even if it is the annoying 13yr old asking for boosts every 30 min. The same way I expect to be treated the same. To the 13 yr old in the guild, I try to convey this message. I hope I am not failing.

  46. A very nicely balanced post. I’m pretty lucky I guess in that I’ve never to rarely experienced any of the behaviours you outline. I think it’s probably because I’m in a guild of mostly older players (post college). I’ve certainly never had my ability to play well challenged because I’m female.

    Jezraels last blog post..Epic flight – old skool style

  47. for the record, crazy’s pup owns kimbo’s cat any day of the week, and twice on sunday.

    When I was a wee lil hunter in teldrasil, a female friend of mine (actually, a female friend of a female friend, but w/e) taught me everything I needed to know about the game (earning gold, what talent points were for, what is a tank/healer/dps, the value of not pulling aggro), so I started on the right foot for having an open mind in Azeroth. And I’m a gender confused man who plays a night elf chick, so my take on this issue might be out of the ordinary…

    1) I’m a big fan of looking at people by their performance and behavior, not their personal attributes. Organizations in all walks of life are more successful and fun to be a part of if they get that simple concept through their thick skulls.

    2) r@pe and g@y are just awful, and the general acceptance of the terms in WoW was a huge surprise to me. When a player who I have respect for uses one of those words inappropriately, they drop down a notch in my book.

    3) do girls play wow? i just thought syd’s voice was really high and brio was into that kind of stuff 😉

    Amavas last blog post..One Example of Guild Reputation

  48. It has been my experience, that most women that play wow, play with motivation to “shatter the stereotypes.” When I meet a new female player, I tend to expect more from them then if they were a guy. I currently am blessed to have three female raiders in my guild and they bring a unique dynamic that makes the raid better for everyone. This genre might have been first embraced by males…but we are starting to see a nice complement to it as women carve out their presence in it.

    Agronas last blog post..Re: Best Gear in the GUILD!!!

  49. In terms of wanting free stuff.. while it is true that most women don’t want free stuff just because they are women, it would be a lie to say that those who do want free stuff don’t use the fact that they are a woman to make it easier to do so.

    As a guy, I have made it a rule to always play a female character because just playing an animated character with breasts gets me preferential treatment.

    I don’t have to ask for it, I don’t even pretend to be a girl IRL, in fact most people know I’m a guy, but it does not change the fact that when I play a female character, it receives prefferential treatment*.

    prefferential treament generally consists of:
    easier to get loot I want,
    easier to trade at better rates (for buying and selling),
    easier to get away with doing stupid things in raids (I get bored easily…).
    people give you free money if you ask for it (i got bored and tried this..)
    best of all…
    if you play a femail night elf, dress in nothing but a white t-shirt, and ./dance in IF, your lvl 1 bank character can make $20-50g an hour… I did this back in pre-BC days… paid for a good part of my epic mount that way 🙂

    Ithiels last blog post..New Moonfire Visual

  50. I find this blog article interesting, worrying and fascinating.
    Worrying because I do know that a lot of people in the world suffer under unfair treatment due to their gender. Interesting because it spills over in a virtual world. And completely fascinating because I can’t relate to any of it.

    I’m a woman, and I’ve been playing mmos for the better part of 10 years now. Always female avatars. I’ve never been treated differently than any other person, never been given loot advantages or gold due to being female. I’m a raid healer, I do my job. I try to do it well and be kind to the people around me. I am a human being before I am a woman. I expect everyone around me to be human beings before anything else too. Gifts given or accepted has always been based on that term. From person to person based on respect and caring.

    Perhaps my server is different from other servers? Or perhaps it’s just the guilds and coms I’ve been through. Or perhaps I’ve just blinkered sexist and rude behaviour out so that I could get on with what matters. There are assholes out there (of any gender) and them being assholes their actions and words means nothing and is best ignored.

  51. I tend to find age is the big divide online, not sex. The behaviour of men and women generally, is pretty much the same.

    Looking at your stereotypes:
    1. Women are bad players.
    Anyone who believes that is deluded. Some women are bad players, and so are some men. Men tend to play games more than women do, so the average woman is probably less experienced at games than the average man. That is probably where the ‘girls suck at games’ stereotype comes from.

    2. Women get offended easily:
    Everyone gets offended easily. Join a pug and see.

    3. Women are troublemakers.

    Alright, alright. Looking back at various guild dramas, I can’t think of any gender-specific causes. So, not sure where this comes from.

    4. Women hate each other.
    If the office environment is typical of female behaviour, then I would have to say true. Otherwise I don’t really have a clue on this one.

    5. Women want free stuff.
    Ah, so all those beggars outside the bank and AH in Stormwind, and the various people asking for “free boost lol” in lfg, are women in real life. I always wondered. Wow.

    6. Women love cute things.

  52. I have to admit secretly that I like playing with women more then with men (children?) because they seem to be less “stressed” about the game.

    It’s probably a generalizing, but I don’t seem to remember ever hearing a women shout on vent on other players, even if they really did’nt like something. And on wipes they tend to want to learn more on how to perform better then to blidly start accusing others.

    At least that’s my experience… So I’m more relaxed when playing with women over all.

  53. I’ll agree with most of this. As a female player, most of the stereotypes are mystifying, but I sure do like non-combat pets!

    As someone directly involved with guild politics for raiding through the original game and TBC, though, I’d like to add my thoughts to the “Women are bad players” myth. Many of our best players were women (especially our healers, for whatever reason, but a good few DPSers as well), but most of our worst players also tended to be women. And that made absolute sense and doesn’t reflect on our gender at all. The issue was the treatment of female players by our raid leaders and guild leaders (and I was complicit in this, so I’m not passing off blame).

    Many of our female players were wives and girlfriends of other, stronger players. So one issue was that we were reluctant to be too harsh (not that we were ever particularly harsh) on them lest we offend their partners. While we might take a poorly-performing mage to task normally, if she’s the wife of our top dps player or our tank, it becomes a bit more political.

    Another issue was that we were a bit too quick to accept stereotypes. Since women are “more emotional” and “worse gamers,” it’s easy to talk yourself into letting someone perform badly to avoid some sort of imagined confrontation. You don’t want to be the one who made the underperforming druid cry, right?

    So, at long last, my point: There are good players, and there are bad players. And there are otherwise good guilds that let bad players hang around and underperform because those bad players are women, where if they had been men they’d be out of the raid group. Which, in the long run, does no one any good.

  54. Great post, Sydera… I’m a woman in a 3-night-a-week raid guild run by women, and probably 1/3-/1/2 female populated. We don’t have a lot of problems related to gender issues, period, and I’m grateful for it. I’d like to think most of the WoW world has conceded that women can play as well as men, and in fact, you can never be 100% certain who’s sitting on the other side of the screen, ever…

    It’s funny, though, when the occasional kindness has been bestowed upon me (usually in the form of a hand when I’m questing and get tangled with multiple mobs), I’ve always attributed it to me being a healer and not to my or my toon’s gender…

    When it has been stuff, depending on the attitude of the giver, I’ve attributed it to anything from a new and lonely person trying to ‘buy’ a friend to someone with just an abundance of stuff trying to get rid of it… Gender hasnt even occurred to me as a possible reason…

    Interesting thought and one I’ll have to ponder more…

    oh, and for guys playing female toons… a male friend of mine put it well, “If I have to look at someone’s butt most of the time, I’d rather look at a female butt!” Perfectly logical when put like that! ::chuckle::

  55. To me the only relevent point is “Women hate each other”.
    I’ve seen this happen at work.
    I’ve seen this happen in my former guild.
    I wouldn’t call this universal, but it only take a few bad-eggs to spoil life for everyone.
    Personally I believe this is an outward expression of internal social (genetic?) programming – women seem to naturally operation outside of heirarchicall organizations, men are more likely to “toe the line”.

    As an ealier poster mentioned, women who behave this way like to be “unique snowflakes” in all-male guilds.

    I believe that for the rest, its a case of overcomming natural inclinations that allow so many women to succeed.

    Regarding the flirting thing – the behaviors that are norms in some guilds, for both men and women, annoy me. And they DO stir up trouble.
    I want WoW to be fun and an overheated guild isn’t going to be fun (at least long term it woun’t be).
    Broken hearts lead to /gquits.
    Same thing would happen in an all-male guild populated with homosexuals.
    The problem is not that they’re women and women = trouble makers.
    The problem is that they’re potential romanic partners.
    The best way to deal with this in a guild is avoid saying/doing stuff you wouldn’t be comfortable saying/doing in real life.

    The one stereotype you didn’t meantion is that “Women are more likely to help you if you ask”. This has been my experience and why I end up seeking out the female members of our guild – they’re more likely to say “yes” if you ask them to fill out an instance run or help with a group quest. The male players are more selfish.

  56. Rochmoninoff, I’m not going to disagree your points (as they seem to be based on personal experience), but when women stirr things up for their “unique-snowflake”-drama… a large part of the problem is that men are letting themselves be pulled into that drama. A dramaqueen can’t scream for attention in deaf-mans-land.

    Don’t get me wrong.. but I feel a lot men in the wow community are weak when it comes to women which is makes the group an ideal playground for dramaqueens. They’d get to pick their drama flavor of the hour, like kids in candyshop.

  57. Thank you for this post. I love how you phrased so much of it and appreciate that you address that female players are just people- flawed and silly, not DUE to the gender. I have played for 6+ years, raided (and pulled the right numbers within) high progression guilds since BC, love raiding with other females, couldn’t care less about most language (though discrimination will flare my very bad temper) and run from drama. Most of my female friends in the game are the same way. It is more about maturity than anything, and immature guys are just as bad as the girls- again, people being people, not gender specific. While I do chase after companion pets, I also rate highly on World of Logs on my shadow priest, tank hard modes one of my druids, and am working my way up the ranks in PvP on my holy pally. Girls kick ass in this game as much as guys and I think as long as you find the right guild (or form it!), that will never be in question.

  58. Good post! Very fair and true … If only all (or at least most) female gamers can have that attitude then we’ll have a much more serious and mature World of Warcraft. Unfortunately not all women have their head screwed on right as you do 😀


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