The following are some excerpts from the responses I received to my World
of Warcraft survey. Original spelling and grammar is still
intact. [Note added 6/29/06: I did not write any of this myself. These are the voices of many different women, and I did not exclude excerpts from anyone who responded.]
I am disappointed that
Blizzard is very shallow and predictable with the design of the female characters. It’s all of the
character choices really. If they really want people to be able to customize how their character looks,
they need to offer more choices besides superhero and barbie.
lot of the time (unless someone’s making it an issue by saying women play bad, or hitting on girls or
something) I don’t think all this “girl gamer” stuff should matter as much as it does. Why is it such a
huge deal? Everyone likes to do fun things; games are fun. It’s when people flip out and act like it’s
something completely out of the ordinary that it starts to get separated from “I’m having fun” to “I’m a
girl gamer, and that’s unusual.” Sure we’re a minority, but it feels like focusing on it isolates us more.
Maybe that’s just me ;)
WoW is cool? And it’s pretty damn sad that anything
technological has been so stereotyped to men that it’s OMGWTF UNHEARD of that a woman can like
computers/technology/video games. Then again, I do like the extra attention my gender can bring — as long
as it’s within reason.
My boyfriend’s friends tend to always want to help me
“learn how to play” everytime they see me playing on one of the fraternity house computers or at his house.
It’s a little annoying because I pretty much know what I’m supposed to be doing at this point–I’m just not
very fast yet, and not nearly as good as they are. But it is kinda cute, because you can tell they just
really want to help out the newbie girl gamer.
It’s absolutely amazing to see so many women play World of Warcraft,
and it’s just as amazing to see how many men are still sexist assholes
in-game. (”LOLZ WOMEN DON’T EXIST ON THE INTERNET,” and “I don’t group
with women because they don’t play the game well,” anyone?) When those
boys can beat me in HKs, fewest deaths, and killing blows in a single
Arathi Basin or Warsong Gulch game, then maybe I’ll start to believe
One of my personal beliefs is that in order to change how the gaming
industry treats women gamers, women need to become a lucrative
demographic. I play all female characters because it’s important to
see females in the game. In my experience with FPS games, there were
few players who played female characters, so the game experience
presented itself as all-male. I appreciate that WoW doesn’t give
fewer hit points to female characters, or lower stats than male
characters, as I’ve seen in some games. Having a female character
shouldn’t automatically make you more fragile or vulnerable. Blizzard
didn’t build that into it’s play system, and I appreciate it.
I met my current boyfriend through my guild. We now live together and
I couldn’t be happier. WoW FTW :D
Lots of people don’t believe that I am really female, I guess when
they see a cute female character they assume a guy is playing her so
he’ll have something nice to look at. But I really am a cute female,
it’s sometimes annoying.
I was once in an all-female WoW guild and found out that most of the members
were male, which surprised me. WoW and UO are the only online RPGs that I
have played extensively, and UO does not seem to have the amount of
gender-crossing that WoW does. (If it does, it is more subtle, and I missed
I am often surprised at the amount of sexual conversation in WoW. I played
for a long time on an RP server, where I couldn’t bear to be in the /rp
channel because it was sex talk all the frickin’ time. I don’t know if that
annoyed me because I’m older than most players, or because I’m a woman (most
of the participants were men playing woman characters). To each his/her own,
I suppose. I just got sick of listening to it.
I feel the game is sexist and racist, but I also feel that the pvp
nature at least encourages other players *not* to respect each other
I imagine it’s not really much different than being a male WoW player.
Men don’t usually go around saying, “I’m a guy! I’m a guy IN REAL
LIFE!” because it’s no one’s damn business. Sure, my friends know, but
girls who announce their gender all the time annoy me, and the ones
who exploit guys for free equipment or money flat-out piss me off.
I may not be the typical female player as I tend to be “one of the
boys” both in game and out and game with 99.9% male players. Thus, I’m
almost always mistaken as a guy playing a girl by strangers in game.
I play mostly with guys. Most of the girls I know hate WoW because
their boyfriends play it, which is stupid to me. It does bug me when
the guys play girls just so they can get more attention and free
stuff. I don’t know, that just seems silly. I guess its the way people
in our society work.
If I go “Away from keyboard” my character sits in a kneeling
position. I have often come back to find male characters with their
crotches in my character’s face making blowjob comments to their
friends or other passers-by. That is the most frequent occurance.
Rarely because I’m an officer in my guild and my boyfriend is a
guildleader. Randomly people don’t give me trouble and if they do I am
relatively aggressive about asking why and find they back down… i.e.
“why did you spit on me – who the hell are you to think you can do
this to me.” and find most people do not have the balls to stand up to
direct questioning. This is the only game I’ve had this problem with.
Also I have a lot of male friends/guildmates and they have no problem
with standing up for me if anything happens so I feel bad for anyone
who does anything to me.
I find that most men are more comfortable opening up to me (as an
officer or as a female – in TS or online) and it makes my job as
liaison or arbitrator easier. I have played longer than many people
and attained my level 60 earlier than most so perhaps that’s something
to do with it too. I don’t use the /flirt or female emotes as much as
many of my male counterparts do (the ones that are male and PLAY
female toons). So I am not sure if that has something to do with it.
However most everyone I know is quite aware of my being female becusae
of Teamspeak where you can’t really hide who you are.
Not really…people do tend to dish out more attention when they find
out you’re female (I recently made 2 new characters on the new
servers– one horde, one alliance– and joined guilds on both. In the
guild where people know I’m a girl, they tend to be a lot more chatty
with me. The other guild is fairly quiet)… I don’t know if that
really counts as “harassment” though.
Yes, I have. There was one instance a group invited me to quest with
them. I was en route to join them and had to travel through an area
full of high level mobs. I died on numerous occasions and was told by
my group that the ’stupid girl’ better ‘hurry up’ because I was ‘too
slow’ and ‘didn’t know what to do’. One of the other members of the
group happened to be the same level as me and was male. The group
never made one negative comment about him.
The majority of the folks are decent, but there are always going to be
jerks that say things like: O RLY UR A GRL! OMG YOU MUST BE FAT AND
UGLY CUZ U PLAY GAMES AND HOT CHIX DON’T PLAY GAMES LOLZ. (And then,
shock! surprise! I’m not fat or ugly!)
Over time, I have learned to exercise discretion when disclosing my
gender, and to not take things too seriously in an online environment.
After all, you know what they say about arguing on the internet… :)
I find “gamer girls” that broadcast their feminity as a ploy for
attention and “benefits” very distasteful.
Usually it’s someone making comments in game about my female human
toon’s body, like that has anything to do with me. Occasionally my
guildies will tease me about posting my photo on our guild website,
but I’m pretty sure they don’t mean anything harassing by it…
have found very small percentage of people in WoW to be actively
harassing of women, no more so than would be found in real life, I
suspect. What gets me riled is some of the language that is accepted
in game, specifically when the word “rape” is used to mean “kill” or
“dominate”. Nothing but bad things can come from making “rape” into
something else; we need it to be an awful word in hopes of perceiving
it as an awful event.
I generally tend to laugh at this sort of thing so i can’t say i
remember “harassment.” If someone is an ass, i generally write them
off as such and that’s that. People do occasionally act funny when
they find out i am “a girl on teh internets! zomg!” but by and large I
have not had any of the experiences one reads about where females are
bothered with constant tells, having their skill questionned etc.
Most people, upon finding out my gender, are just like “cool” and we
move on. But then, I’ve gravitated towards more mature guilds with
each of my characters.
I specifically avoid visiting the official Blizzard WoW forums,
because the level of discourse is infantile at best. I have been
harrassed on more than one occasion due to being female. I have three
I had a guild leader hit on me a great deal and pressure me to “marry”
him in-game. I refused and left the guild as soon as I found another
guild that would invite me. However, I did feel some pressure to
treat this man with kid gloves so he wouldn’t badmouth me to other
guilds or kick me out before I was ready to move on.
Once I joined the next guild, I was introduced to TeamSpeak, the talk
server. Once male players heard my voice, they began teasing me and
some hitting on me because of it. One player told others in the guild
he had a crush on me, and that he liked to log into the TS server to
just listen to me. This was all unbeknownst to me until a fellow
(female) guildmate told me about it. It was a bit unsettling to think
I was being observed.
I joined a third guild (the previous one imploded) and I still have
all my Alliance characters in this guild. The guild has more people
who know each other in person, are generally older people (at least 22
and older) and are generally more respectful of each other. However,
I had an incident where our guild invited a pickup player to a raid,
and invited him onto our TeamSpeak server. He liked my voice, so he
began sending me messages asking me whether I was married, (I’m not)
and if he could have my photo. I refused to send him a photo. The
raid finished, but the guy didn’t log off. Over the course of another
week, he continued to hang out on our Talk Server, trying to find me.
My guildmates made a password-protected talk channel because they saw
him lurking and didn’t want him to join us. Once I logged in, this
guy sent me messages saying he wanted to raid with us again. I
explained there was no room available, he responded that he really
just wanted to listen to my voice on the TS server. I related all
this to my guildmates, who were prepared to harrass the guy or report
him. Thankfully, he logged off when I told him he made me
uncomfortable and hasn’t returned.
In general, I find that I am treated differently when it comes out
that I’m a real woman, not just playing a female character, but not in
a bad way. I find most the male players are surprised that I am
female when they discover it. Perhaps I play a lot like a male
player, or something. Beyond the three incidents above, I haven’t
received any comments about not being a good player because I’m female
- which is something touched on in other communities, like the
Blizzard forums or even the worldofwarcraft LJ community. I expected
more of that, since it’s very common in FPS games to rag on women for
being bad players. However, there is also a tradition of trash
talking in FPS games that I just don’t see in MMORPGs. I receive a
lot of compliments on my playing skill, primarily from men, and there
are several very skilled women players in my guild whom I respect.
Not in Game itself but on TS there were different occasions in which I
felt really hurt by the expressions. (As it all was in german I’m not
able to tell you the story as they happend) There were always some
(often realy young) guys who either didn’t believe me that I didn’t
let the computer alter my voice and really am a woman, or they made
condescending comments about women even though they knew I was in
there with them. This is better know, since I play in a guild in which
the average age is about 25 and there are two more women.
In-game, while playing female characters, I’ve received comments that
in real life could be construed as sexual harrassment. To paraphrase
one male character, “Hey baby, can I lift up your skirt and do you?”
It seems to be easier to get help from
the male players as a woman. If someone assumes I’m a guy, I
sometimes don’t tell that I am a woman so that I will be treated as an
equal. I’ve seen guys pretend to be women to get help from other male
players. Not all players treat you differently when they know you’re
female, but there’s just enough out there to make it annoying to me.
it seems that the men who play the game either think
women gamers are extremely hot or extremely annoying.
Only once when a 13 year old kid found out I was female and started
asking me all sorts of weird questions in game
I find that while some guys act like complete idiots when they find
out you’re a girl, most guys are actually cool with it. They do
sometimes get the better than you complex but if you kick their butts
enough times they lose that pretty quickly. I also think that a lot of
the miscommunication about guys not respecting/accepting woman gamers
comes from that guys act a certain way online, the same way that they
act with their mates and so some woman are uncomfortable with the
bawdyness that guys operate with sometimes.
I’ve been propositioned for cyber on numerous occasions. Beyond that,
I was one of just a few girls in my Scarlet Crusade guild who ever
went on our Ventrilo server, where my guildmates would get into
fabulous in-depth discussions about porn and the hawtness thereof.
They gave me a lot of shit, and I had to give it back tenfold.
When I was younger, I’d be on BBSs or in games where there were very
few females and I would be frequently singled out. I’ve only been
actively harassed a few times, but because of the system admin’s
desire to keep me (and other females) around, such incidents wouldn’t
happen for very long.
I think my gaming experience has been a positive one. In some
cases, being a woman has worked to my advantage. Although there aren’t
as many women as men playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Guild
Wars, from years of gaming I can see that women are slowly entering in
larger numbers. It is becoming more socially acceptable to be a gamer.
My views might be colored because I try to limit my exposure within
online games to mature players and don’t generally do pick-up groups
or expose myself to the WoW community as a whole.
I was once harassed by someone in Dark Age of Camelot who would not
leave me alone when he found out I was female. He would ask me to
visit him and saying how much he “loved” me. It was very uncomfortable
for me because I had only talked once or twice to him in a casual
manner while grouping, I finally ended up ignoring him. Other then
that though, I have had good experiances with online games.
I’ve been finding in World of Warcraft, that since playing a warrior
as my main character (compared to a mage or priest) the majority of
males assume that I’m actually male and tend to treat me rudely, once
they do figure out I AM a girl the whole tone of how I’m treated
changes. Suddenly they’re nice and sweet. It really does bother me
sometimes. Just because you’re playing a non-typical female class
doesn’t mean you aren’t a girl.
Because of the fact that I’m friends with all of the guys I play with IRL
and I’m extremely close to a number of them as well, at times in guild chat
or on vent they like to poke and make fun of me at anything to which other
girls would seem like harrassment but to us is just a joke and having fun. I
can’t recall any situations that have stood out in my mind. There was a time
I was grouped with my friend Sean and an online friend of his. My character
is a guy so the other person had no idea I was a girl IRL. This person
started saying about how girls would not be able to get far in this game
because they wouldn’t be able to understand it or learn how to play it. If
they somehow did, they wouldn’t be very good and be one of the worst in
their class. He made a reference to my character and said, “See now this guy
knows what he’s doing. There’s no way a girl could play that character”.
Sean got extremely mad (he has a bad temper) and they started an argument
about it. It wasn’t until I spoke in Vent that he finally believed that I
was a girl. Needless to say we kicked him from the group.
I love the fact that even though I play an online game, I’m still considered
“one of the guys” with my guy friends and not given any special treatment.
They all know that I play my character well class-wise. When they call me in
the game or in our guild by my real name, everyone else is surprised to see
that it’s a girl playing a guy character. Same as when I talk on Vent. At
this point the other guys are shocked and intrigued to have a girl with them
and from then on are nicer to me in general or give me attention (not
sexual) instead of leaving me invisible like I was before they found out. My
guy friends *always* back me up when someone is being an ass to me or just
rude to girls in general. I’ve found most guys to be supportive of me and
they don’t mind at all that I’m a girl – with the occassional joking from
some of them of course. They’d never say things though if they knew I would
get mad or if it was completely inappropiate.
Not on the forums, because I don’t talk on them, but I have been
harassed in game, once a guy in my guild found out I was a girl, he
started running me through instances etc, and flirting a lot, even
though I let him know it was unwanted attention. This was not innocent
/flirt-ing, he was borderline cybering, saying nasty things to me in
vent, I ended up ignoring him and the guild kicked him since he was
getting pretty bad to me and a couple of the other female guild
Yes actually. I find it’s harder to be taken seriously in-game when
those you’re playing with discover you’re a girl. It’s as if only boys
are ‘real gamers’ and girls are, of course, assumed to be playing only
because their boyfriend/brother is away from the computer. Or
something. It’s annoying .. I’ve been asked before to use teamspeak or
ventrillo to ‘prove you’re actually a girl’ but since I don’t use
either, they assume I’m not one. As if I have to prove it. ^_^; It’s
obnoxious. That’s why I normally only play with people I know, or with
my all-girl guild on Bronzebeard.
Actually aside from the ’stalking’ incident, most guys think it’s cool
that chicks play MMORPGS. I’ve found a lot of respect among the guys
playing. 90% of the time, I have positive experiences in game.
Although hearing “Wow, you’re cool, I wish my girlfriend played!” does
get old sometimes. LOL :)
Its very hard to be taken seriously in game sometimes by other players
(male). My opinions and plans are often glaced over when they know I’m
a female in RL. I’ve also noticed on the positive side that because I
am female I tend to receive more attention from my guild. Its hard to
explain. Not the “oh look its a girl?!” attention. Its more that I
have closer relationship as friends with guild mates than my fiance.
Usually I’m not a social person but it seems that they open up more to
me because I am a female. *shrug*
Oh sure…my guildies used make demeaning comments all the
time…ostensibly to get a rise out of me. When they realized it
wouldn’t work, they stopped. In game, alot of players will say “he” or
“him” or “thanks man”, to which i simply respond “i’m a chick”. Most
are pretty cool about it.
I’ve been fortunate not to have been harassed in-game…unless you
count the time I had my Nelf dancing with a male friend, and some guy
came by and buffed me but ignored my male friend who was also dancing,
then thanked me for the entertainment. Or the time I was running
through Stranglethorn Vale with my Nelf, and some random male dwarf
asked me to dance because he “heard that female NEs had a cool dance”
(riiight). Or the occasional horny little male gnome who will come
along and dance behind me so he can “spank” my Nelf’s butt. Or the
times my Nelf is dancing, and males of all races come by, strip,
dance, and ask me to strip. Insert other variations of this kind of
behaviour. Hrm, yeah….my tauren female has never experienced
anything like this, hehe. Says something, I think. Fortunately these
things are pretty minor compared to some of the stories I’ve heard
(like my guildies who were harrassed by this guy who was really
hateful and kept telling them their place was in the kitchen, and to
get off the game cuz women don’t belong on a game like this, yada yada
yada). Even so, most of the “minor” harrassments I’ve experienced
in-game would be considered unacceptable IRL…and I never experienced
anything like it when I played MUDs or UO. I’m not sure what attracts
the assholes to WoW.
i have guys sending me messages saying i’m so hott! and i tell them
alright 12 yr old i’m in my 20s and taken. they still do it! these
guys have no life.
it’s real sad.
Have you ever been harassed in game or on a forum because of your
gender expression? In game yes. I was on my first character questing
in Un’goro with my boyfriend and two friends in my guild (one of these
friends I had met in real life by then, the other had been a long time
online friend who I have met since then). A random guy runs up while
we’re killing devilsaur and demands to join. He was kind of rude about
it but we invited him anyway. We went on with our business and then
one of the enemies dropped a quest item. Both the new guy and me
reached down to loot it and I got the quest item first. He went crazy
on me, and one of my friends said “That’s a girl you know!” (and in
the context it sounded more clear that he was kind of joking
aroundish, trying to calm the guy down with the knowledge that he was
swearing at a girl). The guy got even more hostile though. He first
said that if they all believed that, then they were really stupid.
(girls don’t exist on the internet omg) To that they replied, No,
she’s really a female… I’ve met her in real life. The guy then said
that if I really was a girl, I must be ugly, because pretty girls
don’t play games. My boyfriend booted him from the group after that.
This guy (as I found out after that incident) was kind of the asshat
of the server and he treats everyone like crap. Other than that people
don’t react negatively at all, but I’m not sure if that’s because 99%
of the time they find out because they find out that my boyfriend is
grouped with them as well.
I’ve also seen girls spoken down to badly on ventrilo in my old guild.
Some of the boys would say “Wow she sounds hot! I’d do her!” and other
lame things like that. They only really said that kind of stuff to the
new girls in the guild. They’d joke that the other ones sounded hot
but wouldn’t ever say things that made us feel like the “I’d do her”
comment would. I left that guild, partially because of this.
I did have a guild on my first character that just about jumped all
over me as soon as they knew I was a girl, but I was more amused than
anything so I let them go to my website to see pics and stuff and
answered almost anything they asked, I didn’t really mind it, if
anything I liked the attention, hehe
Well, had one guy stalk me in WoW recently. He somehow knew my RL name
and my main character’s name and would stalk all my alts over lvl 20
-.-; I put him on ignore. About a week after that I took him off of
ignore and I was almost instantly messaged by him. Which obviously
meant that he was messaging me at least once to twice each session. I
finally just wrote him in game mail saying leave me alone. (basically)
“You creep me out knowing stuff about me and you don’t love me. You’ve
only talked to me a couple of times… it’s creepy.” He did write
back, apologized and he hasn’t bugged me since. I never threatened to
nor contacted GMs. The problem hasn’t been an issue anymore.
only once, where a low level priest was staring at my warlock talking
about how hot she was. it was very short lived and i brushed it off.
now i’m in an all female guild and i don’t post on the forums. on my
first server i was one of two girls in the guild and they were aware
of my gender and it was never a problem – they respected me and
grouped with me and helped me out (didn’t hurt that i was a priest and
so was the GM, of course heh)
Yes, online once. Someone said in general that no actual females
played WoW and I begged to differ. Him and a bunch of other guys in
the area started ragging on me for being a guy playing a girl avatar
and actually pretending to be a girl.
I’ve never been harassed, cause I generally don’t tell people that I’m
female.. and if I do tell them, then it’s after I’ve been grouped with
them for a while and they know I’m not the stereotypical female gamer
(grrr, that stereotype pisses me off). Although… (this cracks me up)
one this guy started hitting on me HARDCORE when he found out I was a
girl. I was in an instance with my fiance and some other random
people.. well this guy found out, then gave me a flower and started
flirting with me like crazy. and then he gave me the BEST pickup line
I’ve ever heard in my life: “I want to grind your sweet ass all the
way to 60″ XD wahahaaa. I was on the ground laughing at this point. So
I let the guy know that I was engaged and my fiance was IN THE GROUP
and I don’t want “my sweet ass grinded to 60, thanks”, and to kindly
backoff. :P of course he pulled the whole “oh, I didn’t mean anything
by it” thing that guys always do when they get called out. :P but he
stopped talking to me alltogether after that XD
Yes, I’m opposed [referring to exploitation --LD]. But I think
there’s far too much hype about certain issues being sexual
exploitation/ oppression when they’re truly not. For example – I have
no objections to men have ‘Men only’ organizations. It annoys me when
women try to force their way into those. I feel that men are becoming
the oppressed gender more so than women lately.
Are you against sexism, sexual exploitation, and oppression? Well,
yes, of course. I don’t like this question however, because worded
the way it is no one would ever answer “no.” If you have specific
questions about sexism, sexual exploitation and oppression, my answers
may vary. For example, I am not fundamentally opposed to pornography.
Many women feel its existance is degrading to women. I am more
concerned with how the sex industry treats women. I respect porn
stars that own their own film rights and have their own production and
distribution companies. I think there’s a non-degrading way for women
to participate willingly in pornography which is often obscured by
Puritanical notions of sexuality.
I believe that while, yes, women are capable of doing anything they
want, and men can as well, I believe that some things are better done
by women and better done by men. Stereotypes, yes. However, even human
anatomy leans for men to be a stronger gender just on genes alone. I’m
not saying women couldn’t/shouldn’t be a weight lifter, or be able to
work at a job that has them doing streneous labor, I am merely saying
that males were perhaps more built for it. Same with home tending.
*MOST* women have a motherly/caring instinct. Ever notice how women
are lighter sleepers than men? It’s because of the instinct to listen,
to make sure everything is okay. Our home is our nest and we’ll be
damned to have anyone/anything invade!
Perhaps I am a bit feminist in the thinking of, -If you’re qualified,
you should be able to do it. Men, women, doesn’t matter.
…but I am also a believer that while there are exceptions to the
rules, based on geneology and evolution, men and women are built for
certian roles in life.
Yes, definitely. In fact, I kind of use WoW as a soap box of sorts.
I’m in a pretty intense raiding guild, and alot of guys will comment
on my healing or call me the best healer or whatever. Which is fine,
but when the same guys get in vent and talk about how women shouldn’t
be in politics b/c they’re “too emotional”…hehe…it’s fun to call
them out. :D
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Very much so. I don’t even care if people think of me as a
man-hater and bra-burner, ’cause I pretty much am. The only reason
this word has a negative connotation is because of the patriarchal
society we live in where females are made to feel ashamed of ever
wanting to believe they’re equal.