World of Warcraft: Sexist by Design?

I’ve made the case more than once that Blizzard has made a choice (conscious, I’d say, by the rate that they ignore the opposition voices) to create a sexist environment that’s hostile to women in Word of Warcraft. In doing this, they have lost a portion of women (and continue to lose, as players pass their tolerance levels and decide that quitting is the only answer) for an imaginary gain of men and boys who wouldn’t play their games if not for the ability to masturbate to Night Elves who pole-dance in skimpy outfits. I am not the first woman who has left WoW in disgust, being fed up with having to deal with misogynistic asshats who objectify and degrade women vocally, and I will not be the last.

My mother and her partner still play, although they might be moving on to another game soon (for unrelated reasons). Knowing my stance on Blizzard and their choice, they pointed me to a 30 page thread on the matter entitled Female Armor Art Design (it seems to be part of a larger debate, but I’d rather not seek it out at this point given the size of this one). Ever since I saw a thread where a player wishing to find a GLBT friendly guild on his server was lambasted by 75% of the commenters, I’ve viewed the WoW forums as kin to Barrens chat: a dumping ground for bile, idiocy, and word vomit. A quick skimming of this thread yields much the same, but it’s always a good time to pull together threads that I’ve ranted on in the past.

I. The Debate

I would like to add my voice to those who feel that the art used for female character design contributes to sexist attitudes in Warcraft.

Clearly the general forums are a terrible place to have a discussion about this, but after an extensive search of Blizzard’s customer feedback options, this is all I’m left with.

I think it’s fair to say that the female armor art is generally designed to be ‘sexy’, while the male armor art is not. I assume this means that Blizzard is more interested in the demographic that likes their fantasy in a ‘Heavy Metal’ style, than the demographic that is offended by that representation of women.

I also don’t see any sign that Blizzard acknowledges that these design decisions alienate some of their potential player base. They are either oblivious, or don’t care. In either case, I can’t really continue to support them with my money.

Again, the general forums aren’t where I’d like to be saying this – I’m sure nobody here really cares what I do with my account – but I haven’t been able to find any other avenue to express this to Blizzard.

Thank you.

[From Female Armor Art Design by Eggbread]

I’m not going to bother to address the issues that came up in the responses, as it would require me sitting down and actually engaging with the infuriating ignorance and misogyny present on the boards. If any of y’all are brave enough to go wading through that sludge, please feel free to quote and critique the comments if you like. I’d certainly be interested in what you have to say.

II. Sexism Isn’t Fun

Eggbread could have been me a few months ago, although I decided that my blog was a better place than the forums to voice my dissent. Not that Blizzard reads my blog, mind, but I’m pretty sure if they read the forums they wouldn’t care anyway.

In my post, Goodbye WoW, hello disappointment, I described how after a while putting up with the sexist comments ruined the game for me. It wasn’t fun to log in and deal with harassment, both of myself and of the women (or female avatars) around me. I game to get away from stress, including the oppression of a misogynistic culture, and when my already too high blood pressure rises every time I log in, what’s the reason to stay? Why put myself through torture in an attempt to wring out that last bit of fun from a game? If I’m going to be angry, I’d rather do something constructive about it like blog. If I’m gaming, I want to be having fun.

And what’s fun about feeling alienated by the company that you pay 15 bucks a month to? Eggbread makes the excellent point of bringing up the Heavy Metal brand of fantasy, which seems to be touted as The One True Fantasy by many video game companies. The attitude that Blizzard seems to take — that of an imaginary force of horny teenage boys being so important that they feel the need to exclude women, and women-friendly men — is a disease that has infected the industry itself.

III. Objectifying Real People

In my introductory post for my Girls & Game Ads series, I took this attitude to task, arguing that men (being the ones who’ve been marketed towards since the dawn of video games) don’t need sex, as a gameplay is what will make or break a game for most of them. Furthermore, by utilizing a Heavy Metal model for how they present women in the games, companies lose potential female customers, thus robbing themselves of a chance to make even more money than they already are.

I furthered the argument in the second instalment of the series, Pitching Harassment, by asserting that Blizzard’s attitude toward this issue didn’t just drive women away, it condoned and encouraged harassment of those who remained. The game may be a ‘fantasy’ game, with ‘fantasy’ women, but behind the fantasy sit real people. The fantasizers begin to associate the hypersexualized avatars with reality, and furthermore find it appropriate to force their fantasy onto any woman who chooses to play a female avatar.

Playing its part, Blizzard has given women two choices: play as a man, or play as a sex object. What’s a woman to do? Quit, fight, or give in. The second often leads to the first; after fighting until we’re exhausted with the futility, we throw up our hands and say, “Okay, I’m done!” The third, unfortunately, often leads to women playing a complicit role in their oppression. The whole, “I’m a woman and I’m not offended, so why don’t you stfu?” or “My girlfriend isn’t offended, so why don’t you stfu?” excuses.

IV. Conclusion

Given this, it’s unsurprising that many companies remain deaf to the outcry of their female player base. Way back when I first posted about quitting WoW, Astarte took issue with my methods. Her argument was that I wasn’t doing anyone any favours by leaving. In some ways, she’s right. My 15 bucks a month isn’t even a drop in the bucket of WoW’s sales. The 15 bucks a month of a thousand, or even a hundred thousand, women like me is hardly noticeable against the millions of customers that keep the game alive. But, her solution — to stand up and fight — doesn’t seem to be working, either.

Blizzard has done one thing, though; it has created a game that stays in the minds of many players, even months after they quit. It has become an obvious example of the sexism that riddles the gaming industry from their consumer base all the way up to the designers in leading companies. In all likelihood, nothing will ever be done to change WoW for the better. Those who speak up will continue to be ignored by Blizzard and harassed by the WoW goons, but maybe, just maybe, some of the budding designers out there will take note and decline to repeat the same mistakes with their own games. Or maybe speaking up is a useless task, doing nothing to stop, or even mitigate, the rampant misogyny. I’d like to think it’s the former, personally, but, then, I was always a hopeless idealist.

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This entry was posted in Companies Behaving Badly, Feminism, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics, The Evil -ism's, Video Games. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to World of Warcraft: Sexist by Design?

  1. Mickle says:

    The thing that struck me recently as I was musing over my own love/hate relationship with video games growing up, and listening to the guys at work talk about (I think) WoW, is that gaming is an extremely social activity. Not just RPG’s, but in general. It’s one of the few things besides sports, cars, and babes that guys are allowed to bond over. (The simple fact that an internet adapter was the one PS2 add on that my brother insisted upon stands out in my mind as a good example.)

    Which is really funny, because when they were trying to come up with games to sell to girls when I was one, they kept saying that girls liked games that were more social, because girls were more social. And yet now, it’s the more solitary puzzle games that women are supposed to be geneticaly wired for.

    I don’t think that it was girls that wanted their games to be more social, but that people in general like social games. For boys, almost every game was social – you could go to your friends house and play together. Who was I supposed to play with? It was either the boys or no one, and even boys can be pretty insulting and unfriendly when you are the lone girl in the group (and I wasn’t ever one to stand up for myself as a kid). Add to that the fact that (as far as I can tell) many WoW style RPG are infinitely harder if you don’t have someone to help you, and it’s no wonder why women and girls don’t play more RPG’s.

  2. Lake Desire says:

    Aah! I never thought I’d have to lay eyes on that dreadful Blizzard thread again after I wrote my Alienating Audiences post. You aren’t alone in being too overwhelmed to tackle those wankers.

    Blizzard has done one thing, though; it has created a game that stays in the minds of many players, even months after they quit. Yes! Players like me! I–oh hell, I’m just going to write a post on this for NG+. Look what you’ve made me do. :D

  3. Chime says:

    Bit of a late response here, but I just came across shrub.com today, linked through your LJ.

    I agree with pretty much all your comments here with two exceptions/observations (which are more a matter of my personal situation than with your reaction)–

    One is that I’m sucked too far into the game to quit based on character models. (There isn’t much else to do in podunk rural Japan; if you come here like you say you want to, I recommend aiming for a city, even if it’s not a large one, unless you like being removed from other native English speakers and familiar foods.)

    And the other, more salient thing is, I don’t think it’s as bad in the Horde. The problems you describe aren’t /entirely/ absent hordeside (I think troll and orc women generally conform a little more to beauty standards than troll and orc men do), but I think they’re vastly reduced. I gather this from my experience and from what others have told me. My own experience is limited alliance-side, as I’ve never levelled past 20 there, but I got much more “attention” in 30 minutes in Goldshire than in the /sum/ of my entire gaming experience in the three equivalent Horde towns. (I mostly play female characters. It’s a gender-exploration thing, though if anyone asks I’ll claim it’s coz I like to stare at a hot chick’s ass all day rather than a sweaty guy’s.) I guess people are less interested in flirting with monsters.

    I’m not saying this to defend Blizzard; I agree they would do well to fix their game. Preferably by sexualizing men more, rather than by sexualizing women less, though I imagine they could arrive at a happy medium if they cared to. The reason I am saying this is simply to let you know: if you ever decide you want to play again, Horde might be the way to go. :)

    (And if you go Horde on Feathermoon, I could toss a set of runecloth bags your way or something, but I imagine that if you were to play you’d probably have friends you want to play with, already.)

  4. Lake Desire says:

    I’d wager patriarchy crumbles before tekanji picks up WoW again, but I play off and on when friends get me to join them. (Haven’t surpassed level twenty on any character, though. Keep having to change servers to be with people. -.- But I hear people actually RP in Feathermoon, and RP is what I want.)

    Tekanji’s plans for Japan aren’t pipe dreams, she is moving there at the end of the month to attend language school.

  5. tekanji says:

    One is that I’m sucked too far into the game to quit based on character models.

    This was actually only one of the reasons I quit. The main point is that every time I logged on some sexist shit would come out and I’d have to deal with it. When my first time doing Scarlet Monastery was cut short by me having to go to our guild master and tell him that a sexist asshole made one of our female players quit, I realized that the game had stopped being fun. I was also not too keen on the way parties are, and more importantly are not, handled in the game.

    And the other, more salient thing is, I don’t think it’s as bad in the Horde. The problems you describe aren’t /entirely/ absent hordeside (I think troll and orc women generally conform a little more to beauty standards than troll and orc men do), but I think they’re vastly reduced.

    I actually played Hordeside the most (Laughing Skull, a PvP server). When I played alliance (Shadowcouncil, an RP server) there wasn’t as much shit talking on the chat channels – though I never joined a guild, so I can’t compare it to the “mature” (as in, they were supposed to be above the stupid crap other people pulled) one I played on with my horde chara – but I did find that I got invasive tells and random people flirting with me. A female dwarf. I don’t want to know how it would have been if I had played a female night elf.

    (I mostly play female characters. It’s a gender-exploration thing, though if anyone asks I’ll claim it’s coz I like to stare at a hot chick’s ass all day rather than a sweaty guy’s.)

    You do realize that by saying that instead of what you really do it for, you’re just buying into and perpetuating the sexual culture that’s reducing women to “hot [pieces of] ass,” right? And you’re also telling Blizzard, and other gaming companies, that they’re player base really does play primarily for the hypersexualized women, even though by your own admission here that’s not the case.

    (There isn’t much else to do in podunk rural Japan; if you come here like you say you want to, I recommend aiming for a city, even if it’s not a large one, unless you like being removed from other native English speakers and familiar foods.)

    And, just an FYI, not only, as LD said, are my plans to go to Japan not pipedreams (my student visa and booked flight would be rather sad if that was the case), but I’ve also visited both rural areas and the city. I’m actually rather partial to Shikoku, in terms of rural culture (we did part of the 44 temple pilgrimage on a summer program I did once), but I’ve always been a city girl (though small cities are cool, too). Also, Japanese food is familiar food to me; I’m more likely to eat it, or Korean, or Chinese food than most types of Western dishes. And, one last thing, why would you want to go to Japan if not to get away from native English speakers and immerse yourself in Japanese language/culture? o.O

  6. Chime says:

    > I actually played hordeside the most…

    Ah, my mistake. I read in another of your posts that you were a dwarf, and thought that that represented the majority of your experience. I wonder what is the real explanation of the gulf in our experiences. Perhaps there is a bigger difference between PvP and RP servers than Alliance and Horde–though since you’ve also played on an RP server, that in and of itself clearly doesn’t explain it. It’s entirely possible that it all occurs on horde-Feathermoon just as you say it did on your servers, and I’m simply oblivious! It’s entirely possible horde-Feathermoon is indeed not as bad, but not because it’s horde or RP, but rather simply by random coincidence. (If I had to guess, I’d say a little of columns a, b, c, and d.)

    > You realize that by saying that instead of what you really do it for…

    I was not precise enough in my language. Where I say “if anyone asks,” I should say “if certain people ask.” If Blizzard or some third party conducted a poll, I’d provide the real reason. If my fairly-liberal-but-not-quite-open-minded-enough-for-me-to-feel-comfortable-offering-up-that-information friends from college ask, I’ll give the other reason (which is actually also true as well, albeit less important.) If I for some reason feel inclined to elaborate my reason when posting for the first time on the blog of someone I have uncharacteristically rapidly developed a profound amount of respect for, not only for her open-minded yet precise beliefs, but also for the amazing way she articulates them, then I will provide the real reason. I might also tack on a bit of self-deprecating humor referencing my unfortunate tendency to falter in my full-disclosure-supporting self-confidence in cases when revealing too much about myself would (in my estimation) prove more inconvenience than I care to subject myself to. Perhaps the humor will fail. Perhaps I need more practice at it.

    > And, one last thing, why would you want to go to Japan if…

    I majored in Japanese and Linguistics. I thought that I wanted to get a job involving using the Japanese language, such as translating video games or anime into English, but I knew that even with a Japanese major my skills would be insufficient. I believed going to Japan and immersing myself would improve both my use of the language and understanding of the culture, and that it would be an enjoyable experience. About getting a job, I think I was wrong–I no longer have strong interest in doing translation, though it exists as a possibility if I cannot come up with some more suitable career plan. About my stay here improving my knowledge and being enjoyable, I was right, but only for the first year. My experience here has gone downhill and recontracting for a second year was a mistake. There are many reasons, one of which is the trials I went through to get a Japanese driver’s license. That unfortunate experience plunged me into a pattern of feeling betrayed by, and thus blaming, Japan and my job for various things. This blaming has made it difficult or impossible to enjoy the things I enjoyed when I first came (or before I came), and I feel the only way for me to escape my spiralling bad feelings for this country is for me to remove myself for it for some extended period.

    Fortunately, my contract only has a little over four months left on it, at which point I’ll go back to the states and try to decide whether to get a full-time job, or go to graduate school, or soem compromise of the two. It is my hope that after some significant period of removal from this place, that I’ll be able to like it again from a distance, as I did before.

    I should disclaim; I’m actually overstating my distaste for things Japanese in these few paragraphs. I’m fr from hating everything about this place. For example, I’m about to have some sushi and I expect I’ll like it. There are more details about my frustration with Japan in the archives of my livejournal. Some of them are friendslocked, but I friended you yesterday, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

  7. Chime says:

    Hm, I actually didn’t care for the sushi as much as I expected to. The piece of toro was good, though, as were the miso and butterscotch custard side dishes.

    And “fr from hating,” as I wrote, should read “far from hating.”

  8. tekanji says:

    Perhaps there is a bigger difference between PvP and RP servers than Alliance and Horde–though since you’ve also played on an RP server, that in and of itself clearly doesn’t explain it. It’s entirely possible that it all occurs on horde-Feathermoon just as you say it did on your servers, and I’m simply oblivious!

    I think it was a little bit of bad luck on my end, and a lot bit of the general population of WoW being privileged heterosexual males (I’d add “young” to that, but most of the shit talking in my guild was made by people my age and older). And, I mean, I am trained to see that. An argument between two people on Barrens’ chat where one party is saying things like “rape,” or making jokes about domestic violence, is probably going to catch my eye. It is less likely to catch yours, because that kind of language is a mostly unquestioned part of your verbal landscape (not to say that you use it yourself, because I don’t know either way, but rather that those around you who you count as friends most likely do).

    Where I say “if anyone asks,” I should say “if certain people ask.” If Blizzard or some third party conducted a poll, I’d provide the real reason. If my… friends from college ask, I’ll give the other reason (which is actually also true as well, albeit less important.)

    I’d first like to say that I recognize your right to pick and choose your battles with your friends. If you don’t feel comfortable getting into that kind of discussion with them, then I’m not going to stand here saying you should. Only you have the power to decide what to do, and not do, in your life.

    At the same time, regardless of your decision, not saying something to someone is still being complicit in the behaviour. I address it in my How to be a real nice guy post:

    Call Others of Your Group on their Crap

    Privilege is perpetuated in part by the silence of people when one of their own group does something questionable. This can be an inappropriate joke, or someone admitting that they committed a crime against a minority (eg. rape), etc. We’re conditioned to not say anything, especially if we’ll be the lone voice of dissent among a peer group, but when you tell the offender that hir behaviour is not cool, you may be pleasantly surprised by the group’s response. Or you may be ridiculed. I’ve had both happen to me, and with certain groups (like my family), I try to pick and choose my battles. With others (like most of my friends), I’ll risk losing them rather than keeping friends with questionable values. It won’t always work, and you have to find your own balance, but just saying something, or even backing up another dissenter, can go a long way to improving a situation.

    Taking the heat off of you and putting it onto me, I have – even in recent history – bitten my tongue, or not elaborated to the full extent on, issues with people. Sometimes it was to maintain whatever dregs of a relationship with someone (like my eldest sister, who has all but written me off as a “man-hating, hairy-legged feminist”) or simply because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting into it and explaining things. We gotta do what we gotta do. But, at the same time, I know that my silence wasn’t the 100% right thing to do. Would speaking up have made a difference to those particular people? Probably not. But it might have made a difference to someone listening, or just to me- for knowing that I didn’t just sit down and say nothing when an injustice was committed.

    And I don’t mean to pick on you. This is something we all struggle with, but it’s also something I feel strongly about. Too often because of issues – whether it be our own self-confidence, or societal pressures, or family/friend pressures, or what-have-you – we are silent on issues that need to be talked about. It may just be reducing one’s genderbending experience to one element – that of a hot piece of ass – but from there it becomes one small step to saying nothing when one of your friends reduces a real woman to nothing more than a hot piece of ass, and then a small step to saying nothing when a friend treats women like nothing more than hot pieces of ass, and from there it can go on to remaining silent while your friend cheats on his girlfriend, abuses (emotionally and/or physically) her, and maybe even rapes her, or some other girl. Though I’m not a fan of the word, silence can often be a slippery slope. Again, you gotta do what you think is right with your life, but all I’m asking for is for you to be aware of the potential ramifications of staying silent on issues dealing with oppression.

    Since this has turned into a novel, I’m going to post it, take a break, then come back later to take up the part of the convo on Japan.

  9. King Mongo says:

    Wandering through, had some feedback on your well reasoned post.

    I feel it’s important to recognize that (IMHO, qualifier, qualifier) gaming companys are less concerned that by utilizing female figures as in-game sexual objects they will dissuade female gamers from buying their product; the big concern is that if they do *not* include stereotyped depictions of women as sex toys and eye candy, they will lose male consumers.

    And personally, if I take an objective standpoint and think of game companies as what they are–producers of product, desirous of kapital accumulation, and beholden to profit-minded investors–then they’re doing the “right” thing for themselves and their investors, that is, they’re taking what appears to be the quickest and shortest route to big profits.

    On Astarte’s site, her general apathy towards humankind may inform her rationale for staying in the game, but it does nothing to solve the problem. In the end, the game company *does* *not* *care* if you like the game or enjoy playing it. In fact, with the subscription model, you have a game that the company does *not* want you to play; rather, they want only that you *subscribe* (like a gym membership you never use). Her emotional detachment from the vast community of other gamers she’s nominally engaging with is more of a sad statement on generalized detachment of modern persons from larger society than an admirable reason for staying in the game.

    I mean, nihilism as a motivator for gameplaying, what an irony.

  10. tekanji says:

    gaming companys are less concerned that by utilizing female figures as in-game sexual objects they will dissuade female gamers from buying their product; the big concern is that if they do *not* include stereotyped depictions of women as sex toys and eye candy, they will lose male consumers.

    Oh, completely. And both ideas are an issue. If you’re interested on my thoughts on that end, I’d suggest reading my “Girls & Game Ads” series.

    then they’re doing the “right” thing for themselves and their investors, that is, they’re taking what appears to be the quickest and shortest route to big profits.

    But that’s assuming that their premise is true; that it’s more important to exclude women in order to “keep” or “entice” their target audience of teenage boys controlled by their hormones, than it is to take some small steps towards, at the very least, not discouraging women from playing, because even a toning down of the objectification of women would lead to a mass exodous of the boys since all they are gaming for is the T&A.

    I, personally, think that’s a false premise. I think by assuming the worst of their playership (sex = only reason to play game), and doing their damnest to further that ideal/culture, that they’re actually cutting into profits that could be made off of the people who are turned off by the misogynistic, immature atmosphere. Some players will play despite it because they like the game dynamics so much, but I would argue that more players would play despite women not being hypsersexualized and reduced to objects aimed at titilating some mythical teenage boy controlled by his hormones.

    In the end, the game company *does* *not* *care* if you like the game or enjoy playing it. In fact, with the subscription model, you have a game that the company does *not* want you to play; rather, they want only that you *subscribe* (like a gym membership you never use).

    That is very true. Which is why I cancelled my subscription and never looked back. Despite the elements of the game I actually enjoyed. Not that Blizzard cares one whit about losing one subscriber. I don’t think it would really care if it lost a thousand. I only wish there was enough drive in the feminist gaming community to stage a mass protest that showed Blizzard that they stood to lose a significant chunk of their profits if they keep doing what they’re doing. But that’s just a pipe dream. *sigh*

  11. Richard says:

    I was actually fairly moved to come across this post, but am distraught that this issue has not been carried further. I just came from the WoW website where they are now displaying a 3D diorama of the 2 “new” Warcraft races locked in combat: a male draenei paladin and a female bloodelf rogue. Not surprisingly, the male draenei is fully clad in armor with a tough expression on his face – the female bloodelf is wearing nothing more than gloves, boots and a corset. Her bust is heavily emphasized, as well as a sexy curling smile on her face. Needless to say, I think Blizzard’s sexism has gone on long enough. Have they forgotten that teenagers (and even younger) play this game? We’ve got people using their avatars to “dance naked for money”, while the other male characters whoop and holler in appreciation. How is this going to be good for social structure? My friend (who is a girl) has a female avatar who has to deal with sexist and offensive comments targeted at her almost EVERY DAY!

    I think we should get serious and get a petition going or something. It is incredibly inappropriate and offensive, and guess what – I’m male, as well. :P This masturbatory teenage world Blizzard has created is extremely harmful.

  12. Gwytherinn says:

    I’ve lurked on your blog for awhile, and have always really enjoyed it. I found this post today by virtue of the recent comment, and it really resonated with me.

    In my post, Goodbye WoW, hello disappointment, I described how after a while putting up with the sexist comments ruined the game for me. It wasn’t fun to log in and deal with harassment, both of myself and of the women (or female avatars) around me. I game to get away from stress, including the oppression of a misogynistic culture, and when my already too high blood pressure rises every time I log in, what’s the reason to stay? Why put myself through torture in an attempt to wring out that last bit of fun from a game? If I’m going to be angry, I’d rather do something constructive about it like blog. If I’m gaming, I want to be having fun.

    The first few years of my WoW experience were in a woman run/dominated guild where things like that just weren’t tolerated. You dropped a sexist, misogynist comment, you got a warning first, second time you were given the boot. Unfortunately, we didn’t last and I landed in another guild where I’m one of few women… for a long time I considered them my friends, but to be honest the atmosphere has gotten intolerable lately. I have gotten in arguments with a few people for their comments, but it really just got to the point where it made me cringe to even log on. I’ve pulled a few characters out to get away from the atmosphere, but there are guild members that just REFUSE to understand why I would prefer to have a safe space where I don’t have to hear that shit, if only from guild members at least. As far as they’re concerned, I need to get a thicker skin. I’ve given much the same argument as I quoted of yours, and I feel the same way. Doesn’t change the fact that I hear “rape” dropped in a BG at least once a day, but at least I’m not hearing that shit, along with sexually violent jokes and women being reduced to meat from “friends”.

    I completely agree that the general atmosphere and the players can be really misogynist, and I am on an RP server hordeside. Both server and faction type are generally connoted as having more “mature” players. Can’t imagine what it would be like on other servers. I used to be a pretty obsessive reader of my realm’s forums as well, but it got to the point where I couldn’t read one thread without someone dropping some misogynist comment. Had to give those up for my sanity.

    And thank the goddess for tabards…. it has always annoyed the ever living hell out of me that an armor piece on a guy avatar will cover him completely but will be strategically reduced to nothing on my avatars.

    Apologies for commenting on such an old post, it’s just REALLY nice to hear this coming from someone else. I’ve gotten the “you’re the only woman who cares, why should people cater just to you” argument, I can’t count how many times I’ve had the “when you say p***y you are degrading women” only to get “I don’t think about it that way, so clearly it’s not” every single time, and hell I have even had someone argue some angle of “eliminating sexist language would make things boring.” WTF??? Argh… my blood is boiling again.

  13. Qit el-Remel says:

    Did you, by any chance, try reporting the harassment? As I have stated earlier, it’s been my experience that they do take such reports seriously. (Especially if you quote the entire offending text in your GM ticket.)

  14. Llencelyn says:

    I think I’ve pretty much lucked out in the misogyny-directed-at-me department, while playing WoW. I turn off General chat (and Trade chat a lot, now, as well, since it has become what it is, at least on Illidan). So I miss those comments. I also haven’t been in a guild for a while. To top it all off, I play undead (female). I think the bones poking through and the “saggy” (read: real) breasts turn aside some of the comments I might get if I were playing, for example, as blood elf.

    That being said, I HAVE seen a lot in the way of homophobia. In my guild last summer, I actually had an effing MACRO, comprised of two buttons, for asking guildies not to use “gay” inappropriately (one button to make the request, then if they ask why, a second button with the explanation). Drove me batty.

    Unfortunately, I agree that ending my subscription would really not have the desired effect. Also, WoW is one of the few ways I can currently spend quality time with my significant other (we’re rocking a 1500mile, 24hr drive separation at the moment. Ugh).

    So, Word! To those of you have thrown up your hands in frustration. And thanks to anyone who takes the time and effort to try to stop awful comments when they happen.

    You know, I was thinking, even if we couldn’t stage a massive unsubscription from feminist gamers, perhaps we could still engage a mass-complaint? I dunno… Probably still wouldn’t work. Sad face.

  15. tekanji says:

    Llencelyn said:

    You know, I was thinking, even if we couldn’t stage a massive unsubscription from feminist gamers, perhaps we could still engage a mass-complaint? I dunno… Probably still wouldn’t work.

    It would have to be pretty massive; on the scale of what happened when Blizzard allowed its policies to be interpreted as advertising GLBT-friendly guilds qualified as sexual orientation related harassment. Even though Blizzard claimed later that it was one GM mistakenly interpreting things, given their slow response time I’m sure they would have let the “mistaken interpretation” slide if it hadn’t been for the mass-complaint (read: big enough to make a sizable dent in their profit-margin).

    I wonder if there are that many feminists (who believe that this issue is a problem) currently playing WoW…

  16. Llencelyn says:

    tekanji said:

    I wonder if there are that many feminists (who believe that this issue is a problem) currently playing WoW…

    There actually seem to be a halfway decent number of “Feminist Gamer” type blogs. I dunno how big their readership is, though. Minus the trolls, of course. ^_^ Sadly enough, despite being a feminist gamer, I don’t really frequent those blogs.

    But no, I don’t think there are enough feminist gamers currently playing WoW to really scare Blizzard. Plus, my threat wouldn’t have a lot of weight behind it. I won’t quit playing until the sig. other goes on deployment, and I’ll pick it right back up when he gets back.

    I wonder if we could frame the argument in terms of “save the middle school boys from teh boobies” and recruit the religious right to help us! >.> Oh wait, nvm. That idea is full of fail. ^_^

  17. Pingback: Maybe they deserve to get married « Random Insignificant Things

  18. flo says:

    not useless if you ask me…

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