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Drama Mamas: More unwanted sexual attention

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Female gamers in the wrong guilds can have a really rough time of it.
Dear Drama Mamas

I am hoping that you can help me break a pattern that has been occurring for quite a few years across many MMOs. I have tried everything I can think of but every time I join a guild, the same thing keeps happening again and again (with some slight variations). In the last three years, I haven't lasted longer than three months in any guild nor in any MMO!
The basics are that I am female, I am Australian and apparently I have a really sexy voice. This may seem like a silly problem to have but it keeps landing me in the same bunch of trouble. It doesn't matter who I play with, Europeans, Americans, Australians, in small or large or even mature guilds.

So far I have been avoiding them but I like social guilds, the sort that just generally chat on VoIP while playing. Even if I am doing something solo, I tend to like just talking to others in the guild as I play. Now I tend to join the mindless mass guild number ones that have spam invited your character.

If I join one of those social style guilds, it starts out ok. I take my time to get to know how people interact, what is and isn't acceptable and just the general feel for the place before speaking. Sometimes I am encouraged to talk and other times I wait till I feel comfortable. I will then say something.

For the most part, no one cares what I sound like for which I am grateful. But there is always one or two guys that suddenly become very interested in me. They will start asking me personal questions, either publicly or privately, innocent ones like what I do for a living, where I am from etc.

Then the question start getting more personal and I get uncomfortable. At this stage I will speak up and say something. I try and pick the response I feel will best work for them and the situation like "I am not interested in dating" "I don't date gamers" "I have a boyfriend (when I did)" etc. I never lie but I don't go into finer details, just leave it out there for them to hear and hopefully understand.

But then they will keep pushing the line. Start asking me really personal questions. Wanting to get photos of me. Getting on just to play with me and won't leave me alone. Asking me to say sexy things to them. Sometimes they will be drunk and start talking about sex or how their partner doesn't give them any or worse, they are in an open relationship and she likes to watch (followed by the all purpose wink). Every time it happens, I tell them to stop and they will back off for a while. But then they will start pushing at the line again. This will happen over and over every few days or weeks till I snap.

I will get fed up and tell them that I am not interested and if they don't stop it, I'll stop playing with/ignore them. This is when they start getting nasty. They will tell people lies about me within the guild, say how I am a slut, or I lead them on or I am a drama queen that just wants to cause trouble and wants attention.

I will normally leave the guild at this time because I will start feeling like such crap (I'm not going to put up with it) or I will be pressured to leave 'because they don't want to have any drama'. I am then left without a guild and a lot of new people hating me.

In the past, I've been used by guilds to advertise (Hot chicks on vent). I've had guildmates record me and post it on youtube without my knowledge. I've been bullied into recording 'promotional' material for the guild. I've been made a recruiter and told to invite guys onto the guild VoIP to talk them into joining the guild (apparently for everyone else it was ok just to type in game). I was even told once by a male guildmate that I should stop sounding so alluring otherwise I wouldn't stop getting attention.

I want to be able play a game the way I want, with fun people and without any dramas created by my apparently voice/accent that I can neither change nor help. I don't want to keep having to hide away and being the one that leaves because some guys can't handle rejection.

I know I sound full of myself, but please, can you help me?

Angelic Australian
Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Angelic, I'm sure your voice is lovely, but this actually happens to many women who play WoW and MMOs in general -- even if the other players never hear their voices. In fact, this will often allow unscrupulous males to take advantage of the tendency for this to happen by acquiring free items and/or griefing. Let me point you to a quote from the column that encouraged you to write this letter:
You're unintentionally signing up for harassment, for the catcalls and people begging you to talk in Vent, like you're a rare species of bird they'll only be able to hear once.
The requests for photos, contact info, chat of a sexual nature, etc. are common from lonely males who have singled a particular gaming female out for their attentions. As you have already noticed, not every male resorts to this. While it does often happen, most guys know this is not acceptable behavior.

I'm going to break down your experience into steps:
  1. You join a guild.
  2. After a respectful period, you speak in vent, verifying you are female.
  3. You receive unwanted attention from one or more males.
  4. You politely turn them down.
  5. One or more perseveres.
  6. You continue to turn them down.
  7. Steps 5 and 6 repeat more than once.
  8. Sometimes the guild does shady things like use you for advertising.
  9. Drama ensues.
  10. You leave the guild.
Some women encourage this kind of attention, but that's not you. While this isn't at all your fault, you do have some control over your situation. What your experience should be:
  1. You properly research a guild, looking for one that has rules stated clearly -- particularly rules about unwanted attention.
  2. You join a guild that seems right for you and that has the appropriate rules.
  3. After a respectful period, you speak in vent, verifying you are female.
  4. If the guild does something shady like advertising your vent voice, quit the guild. Begin again at step 1.
  5. You receive unwanted attention from one or more males.
  6. You politely turn them down.
  7. You take screenshots of the interactions.
  8. You never privately speak to any of the players bothering you, even in a friendly manner. Just say you are uncomfortable and end it at that.
  9. One or more perseveres.
  10. You turn them down once more -- firmly.
  11. If the GM is one of the harassers, leave the guild and begin this process again.
  12. You take screenshots of the interactions.
  13. You again do not privately interact with any of the offending players. Ignore if necessary.
  14. You immediately and privately inform the GM of this behavior, explaining that you have politely turned them down and that they persevere. Offer the screenshots as proof.
  15. The GM follows the rules.
  16. If the GM does not follow the rules, quit the guild and start again at step 1.
  17. If the behavior persists, you inform the GM who will continue to follow the rules -- which should at this time result in a kick. If he does not, you know what to do.
  18. You guild happily ever after.
I think you lost control of your situation by not following steps 1, 2 and 14. You cannot let it get past the second attempt by the harassers without some official intervention. Letting it go beyond that -- as you have noticed -- only exacerbates both the problem and the ensuing drama. Again, it's not your fault they are doing this to you, and of course, they shouldn't do it to anybody. But you can do your best to avoid or at least minimize the damage to your fun. Good luck in your guild search!

Image Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: AA, it's not your voice that's landing you in trouble -- it's your choice of guilds. You're scraping the bottom of the barrel, girl. Is it any wonder you're ending up guilded with an inevitable number of immature boors? Now, before anyone gets all excited, this isn't about blaming the victim here. You didn't cause anyone to abuse or take advantage of you. But while you're not responsible for "making" these guys behave in a completely inappropriate manner, you very much are responsible for choosing the company you keep.

Your first order of business is to leave the social guilds. After this long, I think it should be fairly evident that unscreened guilds filled with young males are not the place you want to be. Quit throwing up your hands and crying "Woe is me!" Wake up, smell the coffee, and move on.

Next, identify some reputable, established guilds with solid rules and leadership. I don't know how old you are, AA, but I suspect you may feel a little taken aback at considering guilds filled with adults you might feel are in a different place in life than you are. Think about it. Guilds composed of young men who tend to fall into a herd mentality based on sexual discrimination and bullying -- how's that working out for you? Right. Time for some new horizons. Successful social guilds generally include plenty of female members and a cross-section of all ages. Variety is not only the spice of life, but it's a good way to make sure you're not the odd (wo)man out in an all-boys' club.

Before you find a guild that values you, AA, you have to value yourself enough to make the time and effort to find one. The type of guild you want isn't going to slap up an invitation as you randomly ride by. You're going to have to go look for it -- and yes, you just might feel a little nervous about being accepted into this new, more established social circle. Your head knows that your voice isn't to blame for your past troubles; make sure your heart knows you're worth not grabbing the first (and ugliest) option that comes along.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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