Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thoughts on Girl Gamers

I've recently read a lot of blog posts concerning sexism*, racism and other stereotypisms**; How we all subconsciously or consciously discriminate not only others, but also ourselves (!) because of gender, race, sexual orientation etc. In national and international media there are also discussions; "Can you blame yourself for getting raped if you wear sexy clothes?" and "Can you blame yourself for getting killed if you're at the wrong place, with the wrong skin colour, wearing the wrong clothes?".


I consider myself a feminist. Not the kind of feminist that wants women to take over the world, but the kind of feminist that wants there to be equal rights and equal possibilities no matter what gender you are. The kind of feminist that wants gender to not be either a limitation or a bonus; but to not matter!

When I work with Hunterstalker I use a spreadsheet***. In this spreadsheet I have things like "link to armory", "how many spirit beasts", "PVE progression", "honorable kills", "is the person a GM?" and a lot more. Faction, race, gender and spec of the character. There's also "real life country", "real life age" and "real life gender", which aren't published. I do this because I'm a stalker.**** We do those things. A month ago, when I last updated Hunterstalker, I wrote this comment:

Some observations on the 63 hunters I'm following:

Female IRL: 19
Male IRL: 21

Rest is unknown. I didn't tag the characters with this, as it really isn't relevant. Still fun to see the summary, I think some people might be surprised by the numbers.

Why did I decide to mention it at all when I at the same time say that gender isn't relevant? Because I think there are more female gamers around than what people think there are. And because you're assumed male until you prove otherwise. So an objective***** overview with only raw numbers seemed to me to be a good way of displaying gender diversity without labeling all the hunters with their gender.




Using Frostheim and Zeherah as examples. Is it because Frostheim is male that his website is one of the best sources of hunter info out there? Is it despite that he's male? Would Warcraft Hunters Union be better if he was a she? Is it because Zeherah is female that her website is the best hunter optimizing tool out there? Is it despite that she's female? Would FemaleDwarf.com be even better if she was a he? No, of course not. Their sites are best because they're great hunters who happen to be excellent at theorycrafting. They both fill very important roles in our hunter community, and thank the Titans we have them!

So why would we call ourselves Girl Gamers? Are there Boy Gamers? Or is Gamer a male word, so that we need the anomaly/companion-word to be correctly labeled?
If you were in a band with only girls would that be a Girl Band? Is the direct opposite of a Girl Band a Boy Band? If it is, what about all the bands that only have boys in them, but are most definitely not Boy Bands?
What about doctors and female doctors, presidents and female presidents, nurses and male nurses?
What about "male" being the default in web forms, so you have to change it to "female"? Or male being listed before female, even if alphabetically it would be the other way?

Doesn't it piss you off!?

"It's typical for female gamers to be healers. Or hunters. And they don't PVP. And they don't exist." Yes, I'm a hunter! Cause it's badass to be a hunter, not because I'm born a girl. I hate healing; I really suck at it. And I do a lot of PVP, but I get so furious that I feel I should worry about my blood pressure, so I don't know if I should do it that often. xD

We have to start with ourselves! Try thinking outside of the limitations. Assume all characters you meet in Azeroth to be genderless until you know otherwise. If you write fiction, try altering gender, race and/or sexual orientation of all your characters after you've finished the story/manuscript/book. How does it look now? Don't stop insisting on your rights. Never stop correcting wrongs!

Do what you want, and wear what you want! But be at the same time aware that if you're part of a "minority" in some way; all your wrongdoings can limit the others in your [stereotype box].

Lae



*        I will talk about gender and race a lot. Although not relevant or directly transferable, all other discriminations are included in this short sum up of "gender and race".

**       Not really a word.

***      I would like to flesh it out as a dynamic website, using API's. I just need to learn it first. :)

****   Out of context this doesn't sound very good. I stalk fellow hunters in the nicest possible way; collecting links to their armory, blogs and twitter in one place, adding a picture of their character. Then I bask and take dives in this virtual hunter bank.

***** Or perhaps not so objective after all; I may subconsciously feel more drawn to female players, and thus being more prone to add them to my stalk-list. If I hear of other girls that play World of Warcraft my heart jumps a little with joy; We have two things in common! Add alliance, hunter, draenei; suddenly we're up to five things in common! What if you then have a blog, live in my country and vote for the same political party as I do? Eight things in common! Eight times as much chance of us having some fun things to talk about. Finding mutual traits and interests help people bond in all cultures. And now, with these eight mutual traits, I've actually stereotyped both you and me. /sigh

10 comments:

  1. Great post, Lae! I'm a feminist too. I think those against female equality are the ones trying to stick feminists with the stigma of being militant angry man haters or feminazis. Feminists just want equality. That's it. Anything else doesn't even fit the definition of Feminism.

    I love men. Some of my favorite people in the world are men like my brothers, friends, and boyfriend. And my bf is the type of man who sees me as his equal yet has no problem opening a door for me or being chivalrous. Now that's a real man!! :D

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  2. I agree with you. :)

    I think most agree with us if they put some thought to it, but we have these old thought patterns that we're not even aware of. Subconsciously following the old stream.

    I too have amazing brothers, cousins, friends and boyfriend, so any inequality I meet is luckily outside my social circle. :)

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  3. One of the. Great things about the hunter community is that our many leading voices have proven that gender is immaterial, as long as you're a dwarf.

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  4. Exactly! Waith, what...? ;)

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  5. I couldn't agree more. Heck, my first blog post was about not liking the term girl gamer and how some of us women and girls are part of the problem. I'm proud to say that I suck at pvp because I hate it and I'm a total care-bear, not because I'm female.

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  6. Agree Dhevon. My personality traits and affinities are cause of my personality. Ofc we can't ignore that both genes and our surroundings mold us a little, but we're still all different! Which is the main point.

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  7. I have to say, nice post Lae. I find myself often wondering why there is a defensive/offensive struggle that goes back and forth between folks in this community regarding this topic.

    Plain and simple, can't we all just get along? I don't care what gender anyone is or plays. My only preference is that they all be hunters, if anything. Joking aside, I am annoyed solely by anyone who cannot openly have a mature discussion. If you aren't sure what the person means, ask them. If you feel offended by their opinion, then tell them that you disagree and don't take kindly to their words, tone, or context.

    Discussion and debate are always driven by a difference of opinion. Arguments are driven by the unwillingness to accept those differences.

    And BTW...the Hunterstalking thing is awesome. We all have done that, stalked each others toons through the armory. Kept up on achievement points, gear, progression, etc. You just openly put it out there. total applause for that!

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  8. Thank you Quori, that's a really nice feedback to receive on both this post and on my baby Hunterstalker. :)

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  9. Part of the stigma surrounding everything is the anonymity of the internet - unfortunatly we don't operate in this virtual world with proper moral restraints. I am sure that those who stigmatise girls who game have their own issues anyway :P

    The more girls that game the better!! that at least doubles the playerbase :D

    I am finally getting to catch up with all your posts I have missed, you are still easily one of my favourite bloggists :) (although I am sure it would be even better if you were a guy... KIDDING! don't hurt me..)

    (ps. Lae, do you have an email I can contact you at? if so hit us up at admin@quelshuntingcorner.com)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot!!!

      Sending you a mail now. (And for others; laeleiweyn@hotmail.com is my mail. I don't check it every day though!)

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