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Posts with tag feminism

Why is Blizzard still OK with gender inequality in World of Warcraft?

Editor's Note: Comments on this post have now been disabled. It's getting late and we'd like to let our comment moderators get some sleep tonight.

In most games I play, from World of Warcraft to Star Wars: The Old Republic, I make an effort to play mainly female characters. Unlike other males who play female characters, this isn't for cosmetic reasons; I'm not one of those dudes who can't bear to stare at his male character's butt for multiple hours a day. (How this is ever an argument that makes sense to people, I don't know.) This was a conscious decision on my part a few years ago, when I started to become aware of the discrimination faced by female characters.

See, when you make the decision to make a female character, you're intentionally and unintentionally signing up for a number of things. First, you are intentionally signing up to play a female character. This could be because you identify as female, because you prefer the look of female characters, or any number of other reasons (including the butt one). What you're unintentionally signing up for goes further.

You're unintentionally signing up for jokes made at your expense in a raid, like when my priest hit 85 and did BH in leveling gear, and my low HPS was mocked because I was a girl playing WoW. 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. You're unintentionally signing up to be victimized by other players because you dared roll something other than male at level 1, and you didn't know there'd be consequences for that choice.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Noblegarden: Sexy or Sexist?


We are nearing the end of Noblegarden, but haven't discussed here at WoW Insider the most controversial part of the event: Shake your Bunny-Maker. For this achievement, you have to put bunny ears on one female of each race that is over Level 18.

Before we go any farther in this discussion, I would like to state that I am female. Not that I am speaking for all females (no one can), but I think that it is important that you know where I am coming from. I also have a young daughter and would like the world to be a better place for her, as all parents do. It is also worth noting that the title for this post was inspired by one of my favorite movies: This is Spinal Tap. The band wants to release an album called Smell the Glove with a cover of a naked woman who is leashed and is forced to smell a glove. The lead singer mistakes the word "sexist" for "sexy". Hilarity ensues.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, Achievements

All the World's a Stage: If looks could kill

All the World's a Stage is a column for inquisitive minds, playing with roles every Sunday evening.

The media usually portrays WoW as a "boy's game." That's not to say girls don't play too, of course -- just that the game is basically about qualities such as aggressiveness and violence, and our culture expects males to be interested in that sort of thing.

Whether such a designation is true or not, the "masculine equals violent" stereotype is very pervasive, and it is natural for many male players to begin the game with a powerful and intimidating character in mind. The player may imagine that his avatar is warm and kind-hearted inside, but outwardly, his character looks as though he could rip out your throat with a flick of his pinky finger.

But there are many men out there who don't like such exaggerated manliness in their characters, just as there are many women who don't want their character to look like a dainty barbie doll. Being a person isn't just about just one gender attribute, after all. Indeed, female characters in WoW can achieve a full range of human attributes in their appearance; they can look friendly and intelligent, yet lightning quick and deadly at the same time. However, the appearance of male characters is often so filled to the brim with "strength and honor" that there's not much room left for any other human quality.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Girls That Play Games: Redux

Browsing the Warcraft forums this afternoon, I ran across a post advertising a WoW Gurls, a new forum for female Warcraft players.  The response it's getting ("a/s/l plz" and "300 cooking is a prerequisite") does not surprise me, considering the venue, but it's still sort of disappointing.  Another poster pointed out a more established forum, Women of Warcraft.  While these forums theoretically provide a safe haven for female gamers to come together and talk shop, it sometimes seems that the establishment of a site for women merely attracts and encourages all of the typical forum trolls.  Is this behavior simply to be expected when you mention women to Warcraft's target demographic?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves

Girls That Play Games

There's a interesting article on the Play Girlz blog discussing women who play Warcraft, and some of the treatment they face.  They link back to a survey that has collected comments from female gamers, which range from interesting to unusual to disturbing.  Being that I have recently taken to playing characters that are not in my raiding guild in order to avoid some of the more juvenile antics of my fellow (and overwhelmingly male) players, I can certainly understand where the author is coming from when she points out the following:

Many people play games so they can get away from “real life” but when this fantasy that is supposed to be fun starts sounding so much like what you’re trying to get away from in the first place, it’s hard to ignore.

[Thanks, Keegan]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves

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