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Women in Raids

An interesting article was posted today at the Ten Ton Hammer website. It is about how having a female in a raiding guild affects the dynamics of the group. It is a well written article that does seem to bring to light a lot of perceptions that obviously exist in the game but are often unsaid.

Here is my response to some of the issues raised in the article (quotes from the article listed in blue):

In a raiding guild, an organization of dozens upon dozens of men, adding women into the mix causes certain reactions…. Many women — certainly not all — either knowingly or unknowingly inject a large amount of drama into a guild. More often than not, bringing in a new, single female player is a gamble that winds up costing more than it gains.

The negative reactions that he goes on to speak of are reactions that the men are having to the girl. I’m not responsible if someone has an immature reaction to the fact that I am a girl in a video game. Playing WoW, for a lot of girls, is like walking into a boy’s club of some sort. It can be a bit intimidating. The point of a good guild is to make people feel welcome and work with everyone on an individual level. Acting inappropriately or causing excessive drama can certainly come from both sexes. In my own guild experiences, the only drama and fights I’ve seen have been between guys, and it had nothing to do with a girl.

I don’t have room to quote it here, but he also tells a story about having troubles with some couples being in the guild. Basically the issues, from my perspective, came from couples being protective over one another. This should be expected and the way to avoid it is in how you present criticism and try to help the player improve. My husband and I play together and you bet that if someone starting pointing out everything he does wrong, I would be upset! You have to keep perspective when you are in a game. Is the raid/loot/etc. more important than your friendship or a couple’s relationship? In most cases it isn’t.

“This is important. I’m going to offend a few of you here, but the truth is, women are vicious creatures. No, not all. “

Well of course you are going to offend me when you say that. Isn’t that the point? Why say something so negative if you don’t believe it to be true? And no, saying “No, not all” doesn’t make it any better. People can be vicious creatures. I has nothing to do with male or female, its just personality, priorities and morals. Thats it.

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.”

How unfair is that? Just because I am a female I have to fit into some predefined category? I don’t get to be taken seriously on an individual level. Just as a person, as a gamer. If that isn’t sexist, I don’t know what is. Then he goes on to portray both the “serious gamers” and the “MSM” as basically catty and hate-filled. I won’t hate anyone in a game unless they give me some personal reason. Be a jerk to me and I won’t like you. Thats it. I’m not going to “hate” another girl gamer and think I’m better than anyone. How silly is that. I’m happy to meet people in game who can have fun and enjoy whatever aspect of the game they like the best. Be it raiding or spending all night mining. The major issue that I am having with the article is the contradiction. In the end, he tells readers to “reconsider” their stereotypes, only a few lines after outlining the stereotypes and talking about how true they are.

While I disagree with generalizing and basically blaming women for negative issues that happen in WoW, I appreciate his stories of the “serious female gamers” that he has known. Way to go girls! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

Read the whole article here.

10 Comments so far
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Wow…he must’ve been burned by one of those Men-seeking missiles..seems like a tirade to me…or maybe some girl kicked his ass and his nuts are in a twist lol…=p

I am in a guild with several woman in it and I would not have it any other way.

Last week during Kara we had at least 2-3 of the ladies in the raid and they were just cracking me up on vent, lol.

Honestly I do not know what the article writer is talking about. If anything it is the men that cause the vast majority of drama.

If anything the ladies add spice to the guild. I enjoy raiding with them.

P.S. I love your idea of a female WoW perspective podcast. I look forward to future episodes and wish you both the best of luck with this adventure outside of Azeroth.

Thanks so much Jeff! Its nice to see that not everyone agrees with such a negative viewpoint.

Strange that the OP guy has such clear cut way that women behave as gamers.

In fact it has more been the case in my experience that after a long time of gaming with a lady, that she slips up and mentions it and I hadnt realised up until this point, to me she was always a gamer and will remain that way. (Used to happen a lot in EVE where said women would normally prefer to hide that fact that they are women.)

I had this happen to me the other evening when running on of the Outlands instances. After a while the PUG that I had been running with copped out (as it often happens) and there was only myself and one other character left. We chatted a while and then she mentioned that she was a girl. She was shocked and amazed that I didn’t have any sexual comments or say anything about her being a ‘girl-gamer’.

The only explaination I could think of was my age. I think this is one of the main problems, actually. Not the fact that male gamers have a predefined attitude towards female gamers, or anything of that nature, but more a level of maturity of respecting that a woman can do something better than you, and that in the teenage years, women are more mature than their male counterparts. Therefore teenage men tend to ‘freak out’ and get all hormonal to women over the net. There is no accountability, and it’s a lot easier to get away with making sexual inuendoes.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the world of serious female gaming (My GF plays SIMs and doesnt consider herself to be a serious gamer, this thread allowed me to start looking into what you ladies go through on a daily basis and I must say, much respect!). In fact you have steered me into posting a thread on my guild forums about tolerance towards ALL players and treating everyone with respect.

Thank you

Thanks Pyro. You remind me of a point that I forgot to say when I first posted. Age really is the most important thing in this issue.

Hmmm…I think this article must have been edited at some point after this post, because the version I read doesn’t have anything about the three types of women gamers in it. Unless I am completely blind, of course. ((Nope, I’m not blind–did a ‘Find’ on both MSM and missile and couldn’t find either.)) I guess the controversy got to be a bit too much…?

But I definitely agree; as a fellow female WoW player (my boyfriend got me into it and now I play more than he does) I’m always excited when I find another female who plays. I haven’t gotten a chance to do any raiding yet (I have too many alts–my highest level is 47) but I happen to be in a great guild with a female GM. Several of our top players are also women. We have many great male players also. (Shameless plug: the guild is Draco, alliance side on Azuremyst. Our GM is Deedra.) Perhaps I’m luckily sheltered, but I haven’t experienced much sexism yet. I’m sure if/when I ever get to raiding that will change, of course. Great post and response!

I read the original article, and upon following here (your article and the original appeared in WoW Insider 30 Oct 2007) and it does appear that the other article has been edited significantly in response to your article…but without acknowledging it.

I think it’s an interesting topic that needs more research. There’s nothing new about girls being just as capable (or better) than men, so I don’t understand the purpose of the original article.

I am interested in the effects that different genders have within the group. I believe that the Mars Desert Research Centre is examining this very topic for the purposes of working out the best mix of gender groups to send on a theoretical Mars mission.

What are the effects of different genders being in the group? Are there advantages/disadvantages? Do mixed groups work better/worse than segregated groups? If there are problems, what kinds of things can be done to adapt to them? Are there advantages/disadvantages to couples within a group? What can be done to mitigate the disadvantages and promote the advantages? What are the behaviour changes in men when women are introduced? What are the behaviour changes in women when men are introduced?

I think that is just a small set of questions that would be more interesting to consider about gender differences and effects.

I didn’t know about Epic Dolls podcast until just now. I’m looking forward to listening when I get home!

Let me first preface this with, my fiancé and I both play WoW together and are in the same guild.

I love how you pick apart the article but then cheer his praising of female players. Underlying issue with criticism maybe? His points were all valid; whether or not they apply to you is something entirely different.

Regarding the “hardcore/casual/MSM” comment and your taken offense to it, well face it. You are not unique, those are pretty broad groupings, and you do fit into one. Would you have raised such a fuss if he had said that guys fit into “hardcore/casual/jackasses” categories? Likely not because it’s true. We either play this game to raid regularly and clear new content, play casually when we have the time for the overall fun of the game and interacting with people, or are a combination of either of those and the 3rd category.

I’ve been with my fiancé now for over 6 years, been playing WoW together for nearly 2 of those. Our guild knows we are a couple but they also know our very strict rule. We are to be treated as individuals; we will not “stick up” for each other in any way. I criticize her mistakes, she criticizes mine, and we ask they do the same without fear of upsetting the other. I am not her knight in shining armor; she’s a big girl and can handle her own problems as I can mine.

Your responses to this have that all too common lingering trace of entitlement attitude. You want equality, but at the same time you don’t. If a single girl joins a raiding guild and drama arises with 2 or more other guy players, what’s the easiest solution? Kick the girl, plain and simple. I’d expect the same treatment – as a guy – if there were to be drama between myself and multiple other players regardless of gender. You expect equality, but at the same time expect some people to change their behavior specifically because you’re a girl. With the exception of harassment, this is unreasonable.

I have played with plenty of excellent female players, most being DPS casters or healers. I’ll firmly stick by my belief that women make the best healers. But I’ve also played with a good number of horrible female players. The ratio is about the same between men and women, at least through personal experience. It has nothing to do with gender, it has everything to do with a person’s ability to play any particular class, or do they just suck at the game in general.

So, two months later and suddenly WoW Insider decides it’s time to comment on Ciderhelm’s essay.

Worms, meet can opener.

i really have to tip my hat to you – how you managed to respond to so much sexist bs while remaining calm and rational is beyond me. Gratz and thank you!

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