An insightful new blog recently linked to a few posts of mine called Lost in Azeroth: Being a Female Gamer in WoW. Blogger Liz (a linguistics grad student) doesn’t stick strictly to talking gender and games, but her posts so far cover at least one or the other. I found especially interesting Being a Female Gamer for Profit….or why do I get so many presents? She writes about the attention players get for playing female avatars in World of Warcraft:
If you are supposedly a true female AND a sexy race (Night Elf or Blood Elf in particular) the attention you may receive can be insane. Being offered 5G (which when you are lower levels can be a small fortune) to “talk dirty” to a male character or a purported male player, isn’t all that uncommon.
I think that this really reflects on the role of women as gamers and players in World of Warcraft. In a seemingly equal environment, where the female characters have exactly the same abilities and traits as the male characters, from Strength to Spells, there is still inequality in the way players are treated. Although some female gamers might see the extra gold they can get as being beneficial (and trust me, gold and presents are usually not a bad thing), the fact that you can’t even find equality in a place where your character is the face you present really speaks volumes on the reality of being a female gamer.
Making the stats equal between males and females doesn’t stop a sexist hierarchy in an online game’s culture. Women may get more treats if we don’t hide our gender, but that is just a consolation prize for the rest of the shit we get to deal with.
No wonder female characters sell at a discount price when folks sell their accounts. Players pay more to be the favored gender in MMORPGs.