“There are no girls on the internet.”
Au contraire, my friend. Au contraire.
Which you already know, because you have had those flirtatious little conversations with other players either as a girl, or with someone you knew was a girl, or both.
But still we wonder…. if most of the people (~79%) who play are guys, and so many guys use female toons, how do you know that sexy blood elf female ‘toon really is being played by a girl?
Well, that’s one of the things we tried to figure out in the research we did. First, a few caveats:
- I’m using using girl in the most re-claiming and feminist of ways. I call myself and all those of female gender over 18 “women”, but today I like being a “girl” and am imposing that youthful moment on the rest of you. It’s meant in the most adult and empowering of ways.
- Our research was on Second Life, not WoW, and things are REALLY different there. Our findings on player chat applied in SL, and we really have no idea if they apply in WoW (or, for that matter, if they apply anywhere other than our island in SL). We’re just thinking that maybe they might. We’ll let you know what we find when we do the whole thing again in WoW this summer. Oh, and if they apply in Spanish, too.
But first you need some general context that our data don’t tell you. For that, let’s check out the findings from PARC about things men and women do differently that we can see in Armory data. Some of the cool things in their (really very sexeh) findings:
- Player roles: US men and women spend about the same amount of time as healers (more on that); Women are about 40% more likely to be ranged DPS than men are, and men are about twice as likely to tank as women.
- Motivations for play: Men are more achievement-oriented than women, and women are more interested in the immersive component than men.
- Characters: Women have more active characters than men, but men’s are of higher average level. And everyone likes the pretty toon races best, but women are more likely to be night elves and blood elves than men are (but remember, that still means that most BEs and NEs are played by men…).
- And yes, men are more likely to gank you. Well, anyway, they have more PvP kills than women.
Okay, now that you’ve got that straight, and you know that over half the female toons you see are actually being played by men, how can you tell if that hawt female troll tank is actually played by a woman?
Take a look at what people say and how they say it.
Oh, but look, this post is really long already. I guess I’ll have to tell you how to decode gendered chat in another post. Meanwhile, go take a look at your own Armory stats and see how you fit into the stereotype for your gender. Have a lot of Achievements? How many of those are PvP? Raid? How much do you tank? What races are your toons? Check out your /hug stats, too. As gender stereotypes would predict, women do that twice as much as men.
Remember, none of this stuff is meant to be rules, just averages. Many, many exceptions abound, and, if you’re reading a blog post about it, you’re probably more likely to be an exception. (Hm. We’ll have to do that analysis next time…)