They don’t play this game, do they? Pt. 1

A recent post by Ixobelle with a fascinating yet painfully familiar description of the amazingly, astoundingly, appallingly, and stomach-turning-ly common racist talk of WoW has inspired me to tell my own little recent story.

First, a bit of background. “Trash talk” of the sort I personally associate with teen-aged boys’ locker rooms, is all over the public chat channels of WoW. Sometimes you don’t see any, and then something – or someone – will set off a spark, and the epithets fly. All the racist, or homophobic, or sexist, or whatever-ist terms your mother washed your mouth out for using in public are tossed around with abandon.

Periodically you’ll see some folks objecting, but the truth is that during these exchanges, it seems like everyone in WoW is perfectly comfortable with the worst.

We’re not talking about calling each other names in fun, here. A “yo bitch” can make me smile just as much as the next girl when said with affection. We’re talking about flat out name calling and “social analysis.” Uggh. Ixobelle’s post says it all, really. Read that first.

Done? Read it? Okay good.

A few months back, a player started spamming (repeating over and over) in Trade chat the following:

This was repeated many times over about a week.

This was repeated many times over about a week.

It’s my suspicion that this was a bait. A /who revealed that the character was level 2, in a city (hard to get to until level 10 or so), and stayed at that level all week.

Nevertheless, the bait worked. In response to progirlgamer’s announcement the comments start to fly. From things like, “r u a fatty?” to “if you wanted to be treated equally don’t tell them you’re a girl?”

dont tell

More comments like, “even real girls are not that obnoxious,” “it always surprises me to find out that there are girls who are genuinly [sic] that stupid,” “progirl… GROW SOME BIGGER BALLS!!!! lol (i kid),”  and advice like, “just kill yourself” and warnings like:

voodoo

So. Here’s the thing. Some of these people were reacting simply to the fact that someone was announcing she (supposedly) is female. And, from what I could tell, it really seemed as though there was some surprise at that. I know we girl gamers aren’t the majority in WoW, but come on! Were these guys really thinking that women aren’t reading their Trade comments, joining their pugs, in their guilds?

(I am, I confess, assuming that most of those comments were from guys – some are pretty unmistakable, but some could have been from either gender.)

So, I wonder. Does everyone always assume I’m a guy? I’ve written about this before, and I certainly get a lot of, “that guy used Bloodlust” or “hey man” from those who don’t know me.

And do I come out as a girl? In my guild, yes I do. But in “public” as it were? Well, progirlgamer certainly was teaching me that I wouldn’t be too welcome.

Seems to me that a whole lot of people assume everyone they interact with is a (white, straight) guy. We’ve all seen lots of Trade chat comments like, “girls don’t play WoW.” Is that entirely in jest? Or do some people think, maybe, that the one or two women in their guild are the only women they’ll find on their server?

So tell me. Have you ever “outed” yourself? Let people just assume? And what happens?

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11 responses to “They don’t play this game, do they? Pt. 1

  1. For some reason, people tend to assume that I’m a guy. I guess I can blame this on me doing my decent share of swearing in the chat and typical guy humor, so a lot of people have no clue about my gender until I giggle on Vent. And if going to be all honest, there are times I don’t even want people to know I’m a girl, as a lot of knuckleheads use that as a excuse when it comes to my performance. Is my dps a little low on a couple of mobs? “Still pretty decent for a girl ;)” Oh fuck that. If my dps is low, it’s low. Your mage does not get buffed stats because you’re born, or somehow have a aquired, a penis.

    However, I’ve recieved a lot of free thingies over the year, just because the other part have known I’m a girl. And well, that I don’t care about. If you really want to play Santa because I’m the one with mascara, go ahead. It’s a double-edged knife to play with tho, as some are nice and enter the whole I-am-man-and-man-will-protect-girl when they paly with me, and some enter scumball mode and try to go all Don Juan one me. That’s when I tell them there are no girls on the internet, and that my name is Harry tho. Makes it nice and silent.

    Oh shit. I’m about to enter the wall of text mode here, so gotta try to shut up now. I just wanted to say that most people assume I’m a guy, and that being a girl has pros and cons. Yes.

  2. It’s pretty easy to keep going on that topic once it’s come up, eh? I have gotten “pretty good for a girl” myself, which as you say – fuck that. I like your “there are no girls on the internet” response – way to keep them guessing. I’ll have to try that :)

  3. I seem to waver from assuming everyone is a guy, to giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and thinking they are the gender they portray.

    I did play a female character at one time, using the excuse that if I’m going to look at someone’s butt wiggling for months on end, I’d rather it be female. However, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with how guys I didn’t know would just come up and flirt, or be outright lewd with me. I don’t know whether it was guilt that I’ve misled them in some way or a mild form of homophobia.

    Now all eleventy billion of my characters are male, and I’ve resigned myself to watching man-wiggle.

    As an aside, my battlegroup server went down for three hours the other evening, so I decided to make a character on a new server, which happens to be yours, Lan. Maybe I’ll run into you some day when he gets bigger.

  4. See, now, this is funny to me. Granted, I’m a troll, so maybe people assume I’m a guy more (or maybe it’s because I’m 80?), but I very rarely have people come up and make lewd comments to me. This is, acutally, a bit strange in its absence. Although I guess I tend to forget about them more easily than I would if I were a guy. Maybe they just happen more often than I realise, but I don’t even register them unless they’re quite overt.

    Hm. But I tend to keep an eye for that stuff…. I think I need to hear some more stories about this. : )

    And Copernicus, you should most def. whisper me. I happen to have an alt I’m kind of interested in leveling… : )

  5. I can’t remember exactly what the exchanges were, but there was one time a guy straight up asked me if I wanted to cyber with him.

    I can see how a woman might glaze over such exchanges as “that guy is just a perv”., where for me, it struck me to my core.

  6. Yeah, okay, that has never happened to me. I *know* I would remember that! lol I think that would probably strike me to my core, as well, gender issues or not.

    On the other hand, a male player friend of mine was stalked relentlessly by a female player (so she said, anyway) with increasingly selacious comments, starting with things like, “I’m playing in just a towel. I bet you find that pretty interesting?” and moving onto graphic dscriptions of … well I wouldn’t really know : )

  7. That would be… interesting. More context would be needed for a decision to go along with it or run away sceaming.

  8. I admit, I’m guillty of assuming that people I meet in WoW are most likely male, until proven otherwise. It was pretty bemusing to log into a vent of a guild, I was pugging with on one of my alts to realize that only one person was a male – our healer. the rest were women :)

    I don’t advertise my gender either, in fact – one of the things I adore about WoW is that it allows me to connect with people as personalities first and foremost. Who they are, not what they are. Of course there are certain preconceptions still, but they are not based on your appearance, age, gender. so you get to know each other on a more even ground. And those people to whom things like that actually matter when forming an opinion of a player? well, WoW player base is large enough to avoid playing with them successfully, even when pugging.

    As for the conversations in trade? I started paying more attention to trade on my server, on both sides, after reading Ixo’s post (generally- I skim it as a pass through the city for possibly groups or deals, very rarely being drawn into a conversation happening at a time)

    What I have found out is that its always the same people. you start recognizing the names after a while. its not really the entirety of the community that thinks its ok to be homophobic, prejudicial, racist. its a small strata of very vocal people. And a few folks that meet trolling with trolling, making outrageous comments back, going on offensive (pun intended), fighting fire with fire.

    might not be the best approach, but when you hear them in vent as normal human beings and see the occasional garbage they can spew, always in particular circumstances? you start to wonder and see things in a new light.

  9. I’ve always been honest in the game about my gender and age if it comes up. Mostly it doesn’t and that’s fine with me. If you pug you focus on getting the job done, not on personal information.

    Actually I don’t think I’ve ever been treated differently than any male player. I don’t feel like an alien weirdo, but as a player as anyone else.

  10. first off, Trade chat is the new Barrens chat- endless supplies of troll bait, ignorant commenting, and pointless arguments over the most trivial issue.

    as for gender, i’ve never really *cared* about who plays what- i truly only care about whether or not they can perform adequately with the situation at hand.

    http://xkcd.com/385/

  11. @B. I just finally clicked this link you included. That’s awsome :) And perfect illustration :)

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