Girls, “Girls”, and MMOs

TL; DR           **In my first blog post, I shared with you, (the wonderful g1 community and everyone this reading this), things that I experienced while growing up that I never shared with anyone before. It felt great, actually. Knowing that there are other girls who have experienced the same or similar interactions with others really means a lot and not just to me, to girls everywhere who enjoy games. **

Since I’ve gotten the past experiences out of the way, let’s converse on some more recent ones. I noticed that there were a few (out of the MANY positives) somewhat negative comments regarding “gamer girls” or “girl gamers”. These are the kind of comments that I have referred to and will continue to refer to in future posts. There are (at least in my experience and quite possibly in others’) multiple different types of “gamer girls” (I’m going to use this phrase for sake of simplicity, so just please bear with it). Keep in mind that the five types listed below are just those that I have experienced, if you feel that this list needs to be expanded, please let me know! <(^.^)>

  1. First Type: Girl who has played game her whole life, just wants to play and, generally, would like to be left alone.
  2. Sub-type 1 of the First Type: Girl who gets “up-in-arms” and very defensive regarding her gender.
  3. Sub-type 2 of the First Type: Girl who doesn’t care if someone knows her gender and dismisses any comments (positive or negative).
  4. Second type: Girl who has never played a game before (meaning console or pc-based) and has picked up a game due to friends or girl/boyfriend.
  5. Third type: Girl who thinks she is better than everyone because she plays video games (regardless of skill – this refers to console, PC, or MMOs, etc… and yes, male equivalents DO exist).
  6. Fourth type: Girl who only plays games for attention, the “Attention Whore” who may or may not play badly and promises favors/pictures in return for in-game items, currency, etc…
  7. Fifth type: The “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Males pretending to be females playing female characters in-game to obtain items, currency, etc… Yes these do exist. BEWARE!

I first experienced these various types when I began playing World of Warcraft in January of 2006, about a year and half after its initial release and I was pretty excited about it. I had played the first games in the Warcraft universe, (Warcraft: Orcs &Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal, and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos – which I never finished because, well, life got in the way). This was my first ever MMO to play and I honestly had no idea of what to expect so I just used my previous video game knowledge and went from there. Although nothing in my gaming past could have prepared me for the many derogatory comments that I received from fellow players.

Needless to say, the gender gap was, and still is massive in that game (as well as many others). Anytime I would mention my gender I would receive comments like, “lawl grls dont play video games you are really a dude” or “lawl girl means ‘guy in real life’”. There were even comments regarding my sexuality and appearance, “wow, ur a grl? you must be gay or really ugly”. Now, I’m not bashing the entire male population, just the small percentage of those who still fail to see that yes, girls do play video and yes, quite of few us are quite good at them and will most likely whoop you.

Regardless of what “type” of gamer you are as a female, you are usually meet with a situation that makes either you or the person that you are talking to uncomfortable. The first type of girl really just wants to play the game, that’s me. Now, whether she actually lets the negative comments get under her skin or just dismisses them as spewing filth for the ignorant is where the line is drawn. Once upon a time, when I first started playing MMOs, it really did bother me that these players, who didn’t even know me, chose to verbally attack me (even though it was all text based in the beginning and later changed to verbal abuse when I started using Ventrilo) when I announced my gender. And I will admit; I did get up in arms about it. But how many people would not step and defend themselves when attacked and/or made fun while trying to do something that brings them enjoyment? I’m thinking very few. Through the years, I’ve learned to ignore the badly informed player-based that has invaded a game that I used to love, and generally just keep to myself. If the topic of gender does come up, I don’t hide the fact that I am a girl and just ignore those who want to provide any negative commentary (I FREAKING LOVED THE IGNORE FEATURE).

Now, the second type of girl has potential to become that first type. I have friends from college who never played a game before trying WoW (due to peer pressure) but then become hooked and even whoop me on occasion. Di you notice that I mentioned peer pressure? These friends were adamant about not playing games but eventually gave in but it is really in our nature to do so. Whether we realize it or not, we strive to fit in. We want to find our niche in the world, in society and feel comfortable with doing so.

The third type of game girl is, well, a bit extreme. She is incredibly competitive and will take sniper-shots and camping personally. These individuals really do see themselves as superior to others just because they play CoD or Halo, etc…etc… Think Master Chief from “Arby and the Chief”. Please bear mind that this ALSO refers to the male population. Both genders are guilty of it and I sure as hell am not going to defend them for being so extreme while playing a video game. Even I have gotten pretty dang competitive while playing WoW and SSBB but I never went as far as these girls. Please keep in mind that even the male population has also participated in flame wars such as this and it is pretty sad. I’m not praising the words that were said in the video and I was actually pretty frightened. Viewer discretion advised, by the way.

The fourth and fifth types of gamer girls are the two I would like to stress the most. There are gamer girl/girl gamers and then there are “gamer girls/girl gamers”. The second phrasing is in quotations because it refers to those girls who play video games just to get attention from the male population, regardless is said attention is positive or negative; they just want attention in the form of words, items, in-game, currency, etc… They promise favors and pictures to receive items, rank promotion within a guild, whatever gets them attention; they want it. And you girls know exactly you are. But you really can’t blame just the girls for this. The guys are just as guilty for letting it happen, as are the girls who are not the attention whores.

The gang at Extra Credits said it best, “While the industry is using women for sex appeal, some women are guilty of using the industry for the same reason; and it’s not really helping things. Being sexy and being a girl who plays games are both easy ways to draw attention.” Feel free to watch it! <(^.^)>

The fifth type of “girl” is not a girl at all but rather a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, a guy pretending to be a girl so he can get items; yes, I’ve seen them. And the below picture just made me laugh so hard, I had to use it.

So whether or not the Ta-Ta’s are real, keep your guard up if someone if offering favors and pictures in return or items and the like. I know I’ve probably beaten this “horse” half to death but this is not going to go away on its own. Both males and females alike are the cause of this sexism in games and WE have to correct, not the game developers.

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2 comments on “Girls, “Girls”, and MMOs

  1. The CollegeHumour video guy is a total dweeb though. He’s losing a flame war because he sucks at telling those other players that they suck, (which they do, given that first line was necessary) and that has nothing to do with sex. The first “What’re you wearing” comment was obviously to hide her embarrasment for not keeping her ground with the flag, which by the way is one of the first things any decent player learns to do. The rest is just escalation.

    • I forgot to emphasize that him being picked on his sex, yeah, that was just because that was the easiest thing to latch onto. Was he a woman like the rest of them they’d picked some other excuse, but otherwise the harassment would’ve gone its course just the same. Making it out to be about gender and not general douchebaggery is just unhealthy obsession about things regarding sex, or dare I say, sexism.

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