Sep 8, 2007

[Women and Raiding]

Even though, according to some guilds, 'girls will ruin everything' and thus refuse to even recruit them to begin with. But that's a topic for another day. =P

Patrick at TenTonHammer recently wrote a pretty decent article dealing with women gamers and guild relations. It sparked a pretty interesting discussion on it's comments page, as well. ANYway, he touches on the topic of 'serious' raiders vs two other types of gaming women:

"As it relates to gaming, there are three major groups of women. The first is serious gamers, the second is social gamers, the third is Man-Seeking-Missile (MSM) gamers. Serious gaming women dislike social gamers when they share a guild, and want to strangle all MSM gamers. These are the ones you want in your guild; they are better than most men you'll ever play with, they care more passionately about performance than most raiders, and they are confident.

Serious gaming women despise Man-Seeking-Missiles, though. At least a quarter of my conversations with great women over two years of raiding involved this in some form or another. MSMs are not universally awful players, but they all reinforce our stereotypes as men. Women are subpar players. Women rely on men to game. Women can't think for themselves. Women only get ahead using sex. Strong, sensible women recognize these stereotypes and work against them; Missiles think it's "cute" to reinforce them. That's why the hate exists."

I'd label myself as a 'serious social gamer'... I like to be effective and knowledgeable at whatever class I'm playing, but I'm I don't consider it a waste of time playing just to roll alts with friends and chat, either.
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what his definition of a 'social butterfly' gamer is. Someone who never gets far past the newbie zones? Someone who plays without really being interested in higher game mechanics? Does he simply mean a 'super- casual' gamer? If so, then I can see how that kind of player would annoy a raiding guild, regardless of their gender. I'm not sure why such a player would even be allowed in such a guild in the first place, however.

I also agree with his description of the frustration a lot of women gamers feel when they see someone playing off the stereotypes and sexism of the guys in a guild to get attention. Sometimes I wonder if I sometimes don't do that myself unintentionally, since I have what could be considered a 'cutesy' personality a lot of the time. I think the more I got fed up with dealing with guys who took that as a cue to harass or disrespect me, the less often that aspect of myself shows in-game as time goes on.

But on the most part, my guild (I've been in the same one since before WoW was even released) is filled with great people, and is run by folks who value respect and an inclusive guild environment. I've been very fortunate, I think, because I hear some really awful stories from lots of other women who have played WoW as well. I think some quit the game entirely when they could've just quit their crappy guild instead -- a good guild makes all the difference in how much you enjoy a game, in my opinion.

I wholly agree with Easter's take on how women gamers should deal with bad behavior or sexism in their guilds:

"I think the way to get around all this gamer sexism is to take the same path I’ve been taking. Be female. Game. Win. If guys are offensive, say something about it. If you want to do something and your fellow gamers aren’t cooperating, find more cooperative ones. If your guild is full of drooling idiots, leave. Find a great one, like the one I’m in.

Don’t be afraid to cross the finish line first. To say “Excuse me, that’s wrong.” To seek out people that will encourage you to run fast and avoid people who only love you if you hold back.
You can get attention by flirting, sure, and you can also get attention by spray-painting political slogans on your butt and running naked through downtown during the lunch rush, but it probably won’t be the kind of attention that will ultimately make you happy.



tekanji said...

One has to wonder, though, why there are all these different categories that women are put into (usually revolving around how much, or little, attention they pay to men), but there are no corresponding categories to men.

The "MSM" gamers don't happen in a vacuum, and they couldn't survive if not for the men who seek out and encourage that kind of behaviour. The kind of men who put all women in that box, and therefore make it harder for us to game seriously. The kind of men who are "WSM" and will hit on you no matter how many times you tell them to, "STFU, n00b".

Frankly, I think we have more than enough division bewteen gamer women and I think that it's because there is far too much emphasis on "good" female gamers versus "bad" ones (virgin and the whore complex, anyone?). I would rather see people focusing on the root of the problem -- ie. the environment that fosters the behaviour -- than to keep presenting it as if it's an issue that solely rests with the women involved.

Pai said...

Oh, definitely there's a bigger issue here than just the women. I thought the best thing about the article is the fact that he addresses that sexism is a problem in the first place, when so many gamers flat-out deny it.

Thallian said...

I don't deny it. I have seen it first hand having been a guild master in wow. It was a constant battle to get people to treat women and men equally in principle and yet celebrate the good differences. Being a guild master I can't tell you how many girls came on to me in my "power" position because I was kind to them but I told them were just friends.

Anyways, my favorite women usually were already married or in a boyfriend girlfriend relationship, but we had a few outstanding single gals too. (And we had one boyfriend/girlfriend thing where both were officers and things went really sour)

All women are unique just like all men IMO, even so there are a lot of categories (broad ones) you can shove people into so I have seen my share of each of these.