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:
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?”
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:
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?