Archetypes of the Female Gamer, revisited


Shock. Frustration. Anger. Despair.

Before last week, these are words I never would have connected to my experience with World of Matticus, either as a writer or a reader. However, last week Lodur’s article on guild Egoists just left me cold. I’ve invoked these four words to let you the readers know what powerful effect such things can have, in the short term at least. Over the weekend I did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking, and I think I’m finally ready to explain why a recitation of stereotypes about women disturbed me so much. First of all, I would like to say that I mean Lodur no disrespect. I am quite sure that his intentions were good, and in his own mind, his article is not even about women.

This piece is my attempt to explain why these stereotypes can never be gender neutral, and also why they are so harmful. I will say that even in the places where Lodur claims that the stereotypes could apply to men or women, it is “feminine” behavior that he abhors. Mischief is caused either by women acting like women or men who, aberrantly, act like women. These negative stereotypes are, at their core, the narratives by which male gamers understand their experience of female gamers. They act as framing devices, informing all interactions with “real” women gamers. For this reason, the female gamer has to earn the grudging respect of her fellow players, while a male gamer may start out with a measure of respect and either keep it or lose it by his behavior.

We’ve Heard It All Before

When I read Lodur’s article, it struck me as eerily familiar. I’ve seen much the same recitation of feminine sins on the WoW forums, usually as a justification for excluding women from raiding guilds. Archetypes, or stereotypes, help people quickly make sense of the world according to pre-determined building blocks. Moreover, they are are seductive because they are impossible to disprove–everyone can think of some story that corresponds in some vague way to the type, and as far as most people are concerned, one example is sufficient to prove the rule. Moreover, they carry the weight of repetition. The Princess, the Diva, the Vixen, and the She-Wolf (or, if you like, the Femme Fatale) exist outside the world of MMOs. I am just as likely to see women called “Princesses” on Perez Hilton or the WE network as on the WoW forums. It doesn’t surprise me that all four terms are misogynist in origin: the stereotypes are very old, and they certainly pre-date the feminist movement of the 20th century.

Most intelligent people will agree that negative stereotypes don’t apply to everyone, but there’s usually the sense that they apply to most people in a given category. I challenge that notion. Stereotypes are convenient. They offer an easy framework. It’s possible to act them out, and it’s possible to interpret people’s actions according to them–but that does not make stereotypes just or accurate, not for anyone.

In this article, I’m going to go through each of these four types and explain how, in my limited personal experience, I’ve seen them used to restrict or punish female gamers. I want to recognize the power that these stereotypes have as a lens for understanding the gaming world. At the end of the article, I will draw some conclusions about online feminism and offer some suggestions on how players–both male and female–can work to establish equality in the virtual world. In this article, I’m not arguing for replacing Lodur’s terms with gender-neutral “PC” phrasing. Instead, I encourage people to discard stereotypes altogether–both their names and their content–and undertake the far more difficult task of addressing every situation in all its messy specificity.

The Princess

Calling someone a “princess” implies that she is selfish, entitled, and weak. Storybook princesses like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White need a man’s help to fully realize their life goals. Princesses don’t slay dragons–they get eaten by them. Remember Princess Peach from the Super Mario Brothers game? She’s an aloof, ungrateful brat who skips off to another castle the moment her brave hero unlocks her cage. My father, incidentally, calls me Princess when he wants to piss me off, especially if I’ve tried to borrow money. The very essence of the Princess is that she wants something for nothing, and she doesn’t want to say thank you. In Lodur’s article, he tries to explain how a Princess can be a man or a woman, but I don’t buy it. The Princess’s narrative is too coded in our culture as a woman’s story. The closest I can think of to the Princess stereotype for a man would be calling a gay man a “Queen”–but that means something quite different. It does strike me, writing this article, that women gamers face many of the same prejudices applied to gay male gamers, but that would be a topic for a different article. The Princess Gamer, as it were, is not very good at her chosen game. She’s nice and sweet, even “attractive,” if such can be said of a virtual personality, but she’s not capable of earning her place in a raid. She may be the significant other of a “real” raider–a sort of rider on his contract. Single or attached, the princess always needs someone to rescue her from her own inability to earn DKP!

My experience in WoW extends to three raiding guilds, one casual-raiding, one fairly serious guild, and one hardcore guild. In all three environments I have played with other women. Some of them were better-than-average, and some were worse. I can say with perfect confidence that my own skills are sufficient for a good raiding guild. I’m also not afraid to admit that several of the women I’ve played with were better than me! What I’ve never experienced, however, is a woman receiving preferential treatment despite poor play. Each guild had at least one woman officer, and in all three guilds, women received high-end loot. However, no one got more than her share. In fact, most of the women I knew received less than their male counterparts of similar skill and attendance. I’ve only seen one woman who managed to close this gap, truly getting an equal portion from the Loot Council without incurring any resentment in the process. She’s an excellent player who has never, ever talked on vent–the only way out of the Princess stereotype, it seems, is to effectively hide one’s gender. The shadow of the Princess haunts all women players who are “out” as women, and women raiders come under heavy scrutiny. In my recent experience, one woman player’s initiation period was extended far beyond what it should have been, just in case she made some mistakes down the line. When a woman is married to or dating another raider, she becomes doubly suspect. The assumption usually is that she plays only as a favor to her man, and that she sucks at the game. I’ll tell you now that my fiancé and I are a gaming couple, but good as he is, he follows me from guild to guild, not the other way around! However, people usually assume the opposite to be true.

The Diva

This idea brings me to the next stereotype, the Diva or Prima Donna, who by her very nature, wants everything. Unlike the Princess, the Diva gamer is actually a good player. The Diva is not like other women–she’s exceptional. The guild needs her, and she knows it. She makes ridiculous demands, and the rules don’t apply to her. Her attendance will be terrible, but she’ll expect the guild to save her a spot just in case she shows. Even if she has no DKP, she’ll expect people to pass her loot because, well, she’s the best. If there’s a new guild policy, she’ll certainly take offense to it. Unlike the Princess, who can be meek and beguiling, the Diva just can’t shut up. She always has an opinion, and she screams it from the mountaintop. Regarding the question of gender neutrality, I have, in fact, seen the terms Diva and Prima Donna applied to men, usually gay men. The implication of using the terms is that the man in question is behaving like a woman, and that such behavior is reprehensible. Even this category, which is the most applicable to men of all Lodur’s terms, never rises above is misogynist origins.

Every guild mistress or female guild officer confronts this stereotype at some point. I’ve been an officer in three guilds now, and I’m also a feminist. That means I rub elbows with the Diva stereotype any time I express my opinion. I am a thinking person, and I don’t lack for opinions. I’m not always right, of course, but I feel strongly about many things. I am quite capable of going on crusade if I feel that fairness is on the line. My point is that outspoken women incur risks in guilds that outspoken men do not. There’s a sense, especially in very hierarchical guilds, that not everyone has a right to an opinion. I’ve gotten more careful on this point over my years of gaming, and it sort of saddens me that I have done so. I’ve actually turned my mic off during raids to keep myself from speaking!

Lodur incorrectly connects up the word “virago” to vixen in his article, but I find it much more proper to give it a treatment under the diva category. A virago is a manly woman–a woman who looks, acts, or thinks like a man. The assumption is that “manly” behaviors like playing well, expressing one’s opinion, and getting angry are somehow unnatural in a woman. I’ve seen women respond in various ways to this idea, but most follow one of two patterns. Women seem to either embrace “masculine” behaviors or else over-perform “feminine” ones. In my former guild, an excellent female healer played two male toons and dissociated herself from all the other women raiders in an attempt to be “one of the guys.” She even named her main character after a beer! What she was doing, essentially, was getting herself out of the diva stereotype by embracing the virago. In my case, I’m always more likely to make a performance of my gender in ways that display to the guild. I collect cute pets, and I display them proudly in raids. I change my hairstyle often, and I comment on others’ trips to the barber shop. I talk about kittens, rainbows, and unicorns in guild chat. This assault of cute is, I think, meant to reassure my guild that I am, in fact, a “real” woman with a soft side, and not a heartless bitch. Both responses to the diva stereotype ring false to me–I suspect that neither represents the real player’s personality.

The Vixen, the She-Wolf, and the Bitch

I’ve deviated from Lodur’s formulation here in order to combine a group of like stereotypes. Each word refers to a female animal, and all three terms have to do with women’s sexuality. The Vixen is the seductress, the She-Wolf the deceiver, and the Bitch the punisher of men. I’ll invoke the term Femme Fatale as well here, as that may be a more familiar image for some readers. The Femme Fatale is actually all three of these things, and that’s what makes her so deadly. The animal metaphors I use here imply that women are less than human–they are savage beasts, much to be feared by male gamers. The deep assumption is, of course, that women’s sexuality is by nature deviant or wrong, that all women should be good little prudes. As animal types, these women go about their destructive behaviors without thinking–they are primal forces, out to disturb the happy homosocial world of male gamers.

Lodur uses the “Vixen” as the archetype of a seductress. This woman uses her sexuality to get what she wants or needs. The innuendos fly thick and fast, and she’s able to keep a straight face as her male “victim” blushes. What does she want? It’s not entirely clear. She may just be lonely, and those late-night tête-à-têtes on vent might be her most meaningful connection to another person. What is clear, however, is that any romance with a Vixen is doomed. It most definitely will not work out in the end–the motif is a tragic one. Most guilds don’t really appreciate star-crossed love affairs among their raiders! To the patriarchal raiding guild, mixing feelings with progress is a threat indeed.

As for the She-Wolf, she’s an animal of a different sort. While the Vixen might be seen as needy or lonely, the Wolf is a predator. She’s crafty and devious, taking advantage of “innocent” men. Lodur applies this term almost exclusively to men who pretend to be women in-game in order to enthrall their fellows into giving them gold or items. The Wolf uses her sexuality as a weapon, and her tools are morally suspect–racy whispers filled with innuendo, even cyber sex. It’s an equivalent to online prostitution, and I have no doubt that there are in fact some real cases of such behavior. What’s less clear to me is how typical these cases are, as I’ve never witnessed one or heard of one from a reliable witness.

The Bitch, on the other hand, is the logical endpoint of all the animal archetypes. The Bitch is the female version of the Grim Reaper. She is out-and-out hostile towards men and has very little use for them. She lives to wreak havoc, and she laughs at men’s pain. The fear, of course, is that both the relatively innocuous Vixen and the more sinister Wolf will, at some point, remove the mask and reveal themselves as the Bitch. All of the Femme Fatale types end at the Bitch, unfortunately for everyone.

Of the group of stereotypes I’ve discussed in this article, I find the animal types the most humiliating for women. All of them have something to do with women’s sexuality, and the overwhelming implication is that any invocation of sexuality in an online context has a sinister purpose. That’s fairly ironic, considering that your average male gamer is no prude. Sexual innuendo is a huge part of gamer culture, especially raiding culture, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Some dirty jokes offend me, sure (especially rape jokes, for obvious reasons), but most are innocuous. They are simply the result of putting a mixed group of adults together, encouraging them to have a few beers, and then giving them microphones. As far as online relationships go, in my experience the good outnumber the bad. I’ve known one gaming couple to go on to marry and another to date for more than a year. In both cases, there were no animals involved.

The Truth About Vixens and Bitches

For every feminine stereotype I’ve invoked here, I could probably come up with male ones as well. We could fill the whole barnyard with Pigs, Dogs, and even Teddy Bears, but that wouldn’t be very fair either. The truth is that stereotypes are attractive because they make things easy. They give us a means by which to fit our guildmates into predetermined, simple narratives. Stereotypes break down the mess of reality into easily digestible pieces, but they do not represent that reality fairly or equitably. Real situations are complex, and real personalities defy easy definition. These stereotypes, or cultural types, do in fact come from somewhere, but not from the truth of everyday, ordinary gamer experience. They existed before the invention of the MMO, and they apply much more widely.

Most of these negative female stereotypes hint at, in some oblique way, survival techniques that minorities of different types have used to get ahead in a society that is unfriendly to them. They are, in feminist terms, tricks of the weak–in order words, the most convenient strategies available to disadvantaged groups. They may be present in gaming life because women are truly a minority. I’m not saying these are good techniques to use; rather, I’m pointing out that the stereotypes are exaggerated versions of real phenomena. Even though WoW is famous for attracting women players, in my observation women make up less than 10% of the raiding corps of most serious guilds. As such, women are at a serious disadvantage, and not much can be gained within a guild by the techniques of feminism–solidarity and rational discourse. In order for solidarity to take effect, a woman has to go outside her tiny guild community to form bonds with other female gamers. I would say that the WoW blogosphere provides solidarity for many women bloggers and has the kind of active, intelligent community of men and women needed to carry on rational discourse. Inside the male-dominated micro-community of the raiding guild, many women might choose to play dumb and hope not to be noticed. They might represent themselves as the exception–the one woman who’s not like all the other “bad” ones. They might do what I do, and use unicorns and rainbows to disarm their guildmates before expressing their opinions. They might even flirt with men in their guild! Heavens preserve us from these evil acts. While women might display unwelcome behaviors or even, consciously or unconsciously, perform one of the aforementioned stereotypes, I doubt that there are very many Evil Women Gamers who are out to cause trouble. There is absolutely no reason to exclude women from raiding or from guild leadership. It won’t stop drama–because nothing can.

As I understand it, human beings have a great capacity to do evil–it is perhaps as great even as their capacity to do good. It’s not just women who love guild drama–it’s all people. There is a part of all of us that seeks chaos and destruction, and in the relative anonymity of the online world, drama is common because it has low stakes. Those who form part of online communities should understand that. Yes, do what you can to keep the peace–but that shouldn’t involve excluding women. The best way to keep drama out of a guild would be to have no members, but then it wouldn’t be very much like a guild.

For women, it is worth noting that the stereotypes themselves have a certain attractiveness. It’s possible to live out a type, and this is usually done unconsciously. My advice is for every person to be analytical about his or her own behavior. Play against type, and don’t seek out the chaos. Make sure that it’s you–not the prescribed storyline for female gamers–making decisions.

I’m Not a Feminist, But. . .

Most of the time, I use my virtual soap-box to tell people how to game, not how to live. In this one case, I’m going to make an exception. Call me a bitch or a diva if you will–I expect it. I will also tell you what I really am. I am a feminist. As a bonus, I will even tell you how I got there.

When I was a freshman in college, I took an English class with Pat Johansson, one of the Deans. She was one of those people that you’d never want to mess with. A tiny grey-haired woman who walked with a cane, she nonetheless had a presence that commanded instant respect. Only now, as a college professor myself, can I appreciate the amount of effort that it must have taken her to produce that effect. In one class session, we were discussing women’s roles in society, and I prefaced a comment with “I’m not a feminist, but. . . ” I’ll never forget what happened next. Dean Johansson stood up, assisted by her cane, and declared to the whole class that ANYONE who said such a thing was, in fact, a feminist, but was lying to herself to please men. I was extremely embarrassed at the time, but now I am grateful. That moment has stuck with me, and ever since, I’ve made exactly the same response to every woman I’ve ever heard repeat that hackneyed turn of phrase. Dean Johansson forced me to be honest with myself. Did I believe that I should receive the same salary as a man who did the same job as me? Yes. Did I believe that women and men had equal potential? Yes. Did I think that I should have access to an education? Yes. Did I think that women should be free to create their own life narratives, independent from the stereotypes? Resoundingly, yes.

Now, feminism might mean different things to different people, but at its most basic, it’s about equality. The stereotypes about women gamers restrict what women can be or do in game by guiding people’s understanding of their behavior. Gaming society ought to be a sort of utopia–after all, we choose our avatars, and they can free us of the constraints of class, race, and even gender. Equality ought to be easier, not harder, to achieve in the game world, but the opposite is true. MMOs are a sort of frontier society, and like the Wild Wild West, they are unfriendly to the few women who venture beyond the borders of the civilized world. I find more gender discrimination in-game than out, and part of the blame can be laid at the door of pervasive stereotypes about female gamers. I urge you, dear reader, to think very carefully before applying any one of these terms to a real person. I think you’ll find the cookie cutters a poor fit. If anything I’ve said in this article strikes your imagination, I urge you to consider whether you are, in fact, a feminist, or rather, an e-feminist. And yes, I think that men can be feminists too. Do you think that women should have an equal opportunity to play in raiding guilds? Do you think that they should receive the same loot as men for the same effort? Do you think that women should be judged as individuals and not types?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, I urge you to put the Princess, the Diva, the Vixen, the Wolf, and the Bitch behind you. Regardless of your intent in using them, discerning reader, these words have their own connotations, and they are decidedly misogynist. Instead of taking advantage of the convenience of stereotypes, I urge you to address drama and misbehavior in your own guilds in their very messy and complicated specificity. Believe me, the results of thinking outside of types will do both you–and the object of your analysis–more credit.

208 thoughts on “Archetypes of the Female Gamer, revisited”

  1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I was very disturbed by the article by Lodur, but I couldn’t make myself commenting on it. It just left me… silent and tired. I guess I thought: haven’t we come anywhere further than that? Are we still that stuck in the sterotyped thinking? Is there any point keeping fighting for our rights to be HUMANS rather than genders? But I decided against posting anything, I think I’ve said those things so many times before. So I decided to turn my eyes towards somewhere else, pretending the post didn’t exist.

    But you managed to say what needed to be say and noone could have done it any better. Thank you. You’ve restored my respect for World of Matticus to where it was before it was damaged by Lodur’s post..
    .-= Larísa´s last blog ..The first horde application to our alliance guild =-.

  2. Wow, I never really thought of it before, but I also collect the vanity pets and make sure the guys know when i can’t raid its because of a hair appointment or some other girly reason. I really feel the need to embrace and put my feminine side out there in a raiding guild that is essentially a boys club.

    It still saddens me that when my sister and I joined the guild we’re currently in, after our 2nd trial raid the GM whispered me and said “I’ve never played with girls that were so good before!” As much as I knew he meant it as a compliment, all I could do internally was /sigh
    .-= Lath´s last blog ..The Evolution of My UI =-.

  3. For the record, though I have read this blog since it was just Matticus, I don’t believe I have before commented.

    One word.


  4. As a gamer who happens to be female, if I wanted to read point and counter point on feminism, I’d be reading another blog.

    It appears Matt and his cohorts have involved themselves less with the Warcraft and more with social commentary, which quite honestly, is not in keeping with their general readership.

    • @Felyrawr: My general readership begs to disagree. And I’m going to lay it down here for everyone else that doesn’t “like” what they’re reading.

      We write about Warcraft. It’s what we like to do. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to occasionally branch out to other topics that involve Warcraft on a social level. In order to survive and stay relatively fresh as a blog, we have to diversify. There’s only so much about healing that we can write about. A lot of other blogs have shut down. I’m proud to say we’re one of the oldest out there (2 years now) and I have no plans on leaving any time soon. In order to do that, we’re going to stray every once in a while. This is an MMO which is going to involve other people. So I’m going to put it this way.

      If you don’t like what we’re selling, don’t buy it.

      Mark as read, and move on. We’re not journalists. We’re writers. We produce opinions, thoughts, reactions to anything Warcraft related. Not everyone’s going to agree with them. That’s kind of the point. I don’t want all of the readers here to be sheep. I don’t want us to write to sheep. I want you guys to have your OWN opinion and reaction and you’re encouraged to discuss that here. I don’t screen posts produced by these guys. I have enough respect for them that they have an understanding of what to write, and what readers are interested in. This blog has three distinct categories: Healing, guild business, and raiding. Lodur’s and Syd’s posts would fall under guild business since they’re personnel related. You’re under no obligation to subscribe or to read the blog.

  5. Mark me as another lurker who’s never commented before. Thank you so much for this post. I’m with Larisa–Lodur’s post just made me feel TIRED. I’m GM and raid leader for my guild, but even though I’m the one in charge I still have to fight against the weight of these stereotypes during many of my interactions with people on the server and in my guild. I’m so glad to see you come out with a well-written and passionate response.

  6. This is truly great post Sydera!

    “My point is that outspoken women incur risks in guilds that outspoken men do not.”

    In regards to this quote, I struggled with this notion just the other day. It’s amazing after dicussing it with people in my circle that they won’t accept that women are, for the most part, treated like second class citizens in game. Some I would say even have blinders on to avoid looking at blaring discrepancies within raiding guilds and guild leading between male and female gamers.
    .-= Napaeae´s last blog ..Gut Feelings: Part Deux =-.

  7. Brava! Well written and imho much closer to what goes on than Lodur’s post.

    I’ve caught myself with the ‘I’m not a feminist, but’ before – it’s true what your Professor said. It’s hard to overcome the subtle ways ‘pleasing’ is reinforced in society from birth on with women, even today.

    It would be fantastic if there was more gender equality in game and RL, but what I’ve seen in game – just as many women use or fall into the stereotypes, just as many of the men believe them.
    .-= ziboo´s last blog ..Tada! She’s back! =-.

  8. I also was a bit disturbed by Lodur’s article and did not know what to think of it. I am a new reader of this site and loved it so much I have shared it with my guild.

    I met my current boyfriend in game a few months ago. Early in our relationship he made a comment that offended and flattered at the same time. He said that I was unlike other women gamers. I was a quick learner and very intelligent with the ability to excel in not only the hated PvP he forced me into but also as a raider. My snappy comeback? “So you’re saying that men are automatically better?” Unable to back out gracefully he listened to me rant a few minutes before conceding that he was wrong to judge a gamers performance based on their gender.

    That being said most of the women I have met while raiding fit into these archetypes so perfectly I almost thought you were talking about them! However, I have met many more men who behave in the same fashion and sometimes even worse. What does this mean? Gender isn’t the issue here. Maturity is.

    I have met mature players of both genders, and the in-betweens, that are excellent raiders. Like me they are competitive and strive to be the top of their class and raid roles. The only reason other gamers get away with the behavior you outlined in your article is because they are allowed. Guild leadership turns a blind eye and the rest of the guild population follows suit. Why? As you mentioned, it has a lot to do with personal relationships. Women follow their men around. I do not. I have strong opinions with a stubborn attitude. I don’t need to bat my lashes and flirt to get what I want. I work hard and raid endlessly.

    I could type about this forever, but should keep my comment short and sweet. Thank you for an excellent post. I hope that everyone who reads your words understands the archetypes presented and turns a blind eye to gender, focusing instead on the player’s skill and potential.

  9. Excellent post.

    “In all three environments I have played with other women. Some of them were better-than-average, and some were worse. I can say with perfect confidence that my own skills are sufficient for a good raiding guild. I’m also not afraid to admit that several of the women I’ve played with were better than me! What I’ve never experienced, however, is a woman receiving preferential treatment despite poor play.

    This has been my experience too. I don’t do the rainbows and cute pets myself, although I apparently squeak in a girly way when we have to fight giant spiders (that wasn’t faked though 🙂 ). We do have a woman in our raid who puts on a cute little girl voice in voice chat, I think for the same reason as the rainbows and cute pets — I hate being a traitor to the sisterhood but I find that really really annoying.

  10. All of your comments and ideas were built off of the stereotypical guy gamer. The guy who sits alone in his parents basement playing games all the time and wishing girls would talk to him.

    This isn’t allways true.

    You got offended because the stereotypes that Lodur presented meant that stereotpyical guys would use the stereotypes of women gamers to push their own stereotypical objective!

    I would hope though, that in a formal blog like this one, that players are people not stereotypes. Lodur was applying a name to a type of player not, 100% of them. Do you believe that 100% of men honestly read that article and thought OMG ALL WOMEN GAMERS ARE JUST LIKE THAT!!!

    No. Atleast I hope you didn’t. Because that is insane.

    It seems very odd to me that you are so offended by stereotypes, when you in fact, are stereotyping the gaming population more so then Lodur.
    .-= Whats my main again?´s last blog ..Plans for 3.2 =-.

  11. Fantastic post Syd, I had a similar reaction to the post you are responding to. Well done.

    Anyone that hasnt had at least a little epiphany reading this should go and read this (some adult language):

    Quote from above:
    “As long as we live in a culture where the good guys sometimes sound just like the misogynists, the misogynists are never going to get the message that they are not normal and that most people–strong, successful men included–do not hate women.

    When you trivialize what even the women you love are saying to you, when you let sexist remarks slide, when you insist that women view things from your perspective (rational! calm! reasonable!) because you don’t feel like trying to see theirs (emotional! hysterical! nuts!), when you sit around laughing with other men about how crazy chicks are before you go home to the wife and daughters you love more than life and always treat with respect, when you say the fact that online harassment disproportionately affects women somehow doesn‘t mean we should be considering it through the lens of women’s experiences in particular, you’re not ****ing helping.

    You’re being willfully obtuse. You’re enjoying the luxury of not having to take what we’re telling you seriously–and that’s why we get so goddamned frustrated and angry and hysterical. Because we don’t have the option of not caring about this shit, and you just keep telling us not to.”

  12. This “Article” is a Joke. Seriously. I’d post a face-palming picture here if I could.

    I think a lot of female readers are feigning being appalled, because they do not like seeing some behavioral traits of theirs falling into the above categories.

    I will dare say say that the writer of this article is a Diva herself.

    There is a *reason* why there is a saying “behind every stereotype is a grain of truth”

    I’ve run into female gamers who fit these descriptions. Undoubtedly, there are numerous (straight) guys who are Princess-like (“I put in a year here, so I’m entitled!”) and Diva-like (“I am the best healer in the guild, you *need* me … so it’s my way or I’m gone!”).

    Now, when the ratio of male gamers to female gamers is like 5:1 or 7:1 or whatever, I’m sure everyone can agree that female gamers are a distinct minority. As well as that many of the male gamers will be of the real-world socially awkward sort … or just broadly inexperienced with women.

    This creates an environment which is highly conductive to those sort of male players bending over backwards for the female gamers that they “fawn on” … as well allowing for some female gamers to aggressively take advantage of it. Inevitably leading to problems in the guild either way.

    And that is how these so called “stereotypes” come into play.

    Perhaps the female gamers posting here are “above it all”, and are thus quite fortunate to have a “drama-free” guild experience. But let me tell you, there are assuredly numerous female gamers who fit these description “to a T”.

  13. I can appreciate the intent of Lodur’s post, but the article ended up drowning in sexism – intended or not.

    I believe that he meant no offense, and I believe that the direction and intent of the article was quite different to the way things turned out. But I think it was pretty short-sighted of him to believe the article would be interpreted as gender-neutral. Not when it was peppered with female references. Long-standing, deeply-ingrained, negative female references.

    You can’t set an article up with a picture of a girl throwing a tantrum, an outline with strongly negative female labels, and then ask readers to remember that you’re actually being gender-neutral.

    No matter how many disclaimers there are, you will never convince me that men can be vixens and princesses – even if their characters are skimpy blonde Blood Elves. Those terms are too deeply ingrained, and when people hear them, they will think of women. Not men playing women and acting like princesses to get free stuff. Princesses are princesses. It’s not a neutral term, even if the person’s avatar is female. No disclaimer will change that.

    It could have been done is a much better way. Not simply to pander to over sensitive females .. but to be genuinely neutral, and shift the focus from sex to the actual topic – manipulative personalities within a guild (of either gender). Brats, leeches, brown-noses.. there are plenty of labels that could be used to describe the personality types – without people thinking that the writer is leaning towards manipulative females in particular.

    It’s frustrating because I can totally see what Lodur was trying to say, but regardless of his intent, it came out the other end smacking of sexism and the same, tired old stereotype of “(many) female gamers are trouble.”

    Like Larisa, it just made me feel weary and disappointed.

    A good idea, poorly executed.
    .-= Keeva´s last blog ..The new Empowered Touch – will you use it? =-.

  14. Like many others, I found Lodur’s post disturbing but didn’t really know what to do about it. Since childhood, I have always enjoyed gaming, and I have always seen that women are viewed differently by gamers – even as male friends scoffed that women were no good at video games, I was beating them at those same games.

    It is hard not to try to protect yourself by being extra-masculine or extra-feminine in the gaming context, but it is something I and the other women I play with work on every day (mostly unconsciously, it is true.)

    Thank you for this article. Thank you for writing out so coherently not just why the stereotypes are wrong, but why it is wrong to stereotype at all. Thank you for stepping up. I am a feminist, and I applaud you.
    .-= Taz´s last blog ..Patchy Day =-.

  15. Thank you for such an astute article and think GM’s should make this required reading for any and all applicants. As a member of wow_ladies on lj, a group to say that I am proud to be a member of, I read about how wow women suffer from many of the stero-types mentioned here on a daily basis.

    A comment floated through trade chat this weekend in response to a reply from me about this group of lady gamers. The someone popped up was saying that all gamer chicks were fat lonely girls looking for a bf. When I asked him what his evidence was he referred to pictures on a WoW dating web site. I was quick to point out that there were over 11 million accounts and correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Fortunately I think he was very young, poorly informed and in the minority as I was getting a number whispers from women, as well as men, in support of female gamers. I am, btw, over fifty and fabulous, happily married for 30 years and have successfully raised two sons and a husband.

  16. Wonderful post. I tried to articulate some of the same things in a discussion recently, but had trouble. Some of your points are so clear and obvious that I’m kicking myself for not mentioning them.

    My biggest beef with the stereotype of a female gamer and the traditional treatment females receive in game is that it, like many other sexist attitudes, treats male players as though they are the norm and therefore correct. A statement you made that really resonated with me but that didn’t get as much focus as other ideas in the article:

    For this reason, the female gamer has to earn the grudging respect of her fellow players, while a male gamer may start out with a measure of respect and either keep it or lose it by his behavior.

    Isn’t this how it is for so many females in male-dominated spheres? There is much truth in that statement that it astounds me. I’m so pleased I read this article; fabulous work.

  17. I have played with all kinds of both sexes. Lootwhores, divas, dramaqueens (strange how those insults always have a female *ring* to them).
    And the most important thing I’ve learned:

    “Never assume, for it makes an ASS out of U and ME.”
    A good thing about the Internet is that it enables millions of people to express their thoughts and opinions freely. And the downside?
    It enables millions of people to express their thoughts and opinions freely. Because people, sadly, are idiots.

  18. I was expecting Lodur’s post to be a 2 parter, the first stereotypes of women, the 2nd stereotypes of men. But the 2nd post never appeared. Making his post rather … odd to say the least. Why did he choose only female stereotypes? No idea.

    Certianly we’ve all met people that fit stereotypes. And we all resemble some to a certain extent.

    While it’s fun to poke fun at ourselves and others and post lists of stereotypes, honestly I’ve never before seen a post that only listed stereotypes fitting one gender. (even to go so far as to point out that when men do it, they are doing it on female toons, that really stretched the credulity.)

    And THAT is the reason I think it bothered people. Because it was presented as “this is generic” but then every single stereotype was of women. That dichotomy made it seem like it was a comment that the problem causers are women or men who “act like women”. Not because “some women cause problems” that was never suggested by the article.

    Of course I was not offended, I just noticed the slant of the article and it affected my opinion of him is all. But that’s what writing does.

    I notice when men are stereotyped and offended by that too 😉 Being a man I notice it more than women I know do, and if I bring it up often they’ll say I’m being too sensitive or imaginging things. But really the emotion and offense needs to be removed from the observation. Instead of saying “I am offended this makes me angry!” saying how things can seem to mean something different. Then others who say you are wrong wont’ react with defensiveness and “you’re being too sensitive and a diva!” but also more likely to react objectively.

  19. First off Sydera, I see that there are a couple of “troll” type comments above. Ignore them and take the people behind them for what they are. Trying to upset you.

    /clap for Sydera
    Amazingly well written article. When I read Lodur’s article I didn’t really have any huge problem with it, however you wrote your response article so eloquently it’s hard to argue with.

    I can’t completely agree that men never fall into the above stereotypes…having had a guildie once who accused me of being a “Princess” and favored for loot while in fact he was the one being a “Princess”. Definitely not a gay man…maybe if we had to attach a name to that stereotype it could be “The Spoiled Child” instead. However, I didn’t realize until after reading this that, being priest class leader and raid heal leader and a top level officer in my guild, and with my personality being outspoken, powerful, and sometimes demanding, I’ve had instances where I’ve actually been afraid to speak my mind when something upsets me because a few of the men (and boys) in my guild, including my GM, will choose to brand me as a “Diva” instead of listening to what I’m really upset about, even if it’s something that is probably upsetting other guildies as well and they just aren’t speaking up.

  20. Thank you so much!

    I felt the very same emotions when I read Lodur’s post the other day. I got so frustrated, I even didn’t bother to comment. It just felt so much like: Nothing will ever change.

    Yours is an excellent article, well-thought and written and you can be proud to be such a “natural woman”, in every way as it seems.

    Greetings from a fellow feminist. 😉
    .-= Jarla´s last blog ..Pausing. =-.

  21. I am a female gamer. I appreciate addressing the stereotypes but I have to ask – how is feminism about equality when there is no opposite yet equal term for men (masculinism?)?

    I saw how Lodur tried to maintain gender neutrality in how he applied female stereotypes (I don’t think it worked very well for him in the end) but in addressing his article, this post focuses glaringly on the fact that these stereotypes are rooted in real-life experiences. I applaud the message that us female gamers should apply critical thinking to their decision making but shouldn’t this be for men and women alike?

    I simply don’t see the need to go out and address women specifically in the name of “feminism” when men and women both need to apply critical thinking to their decisions. Frankly, everyone needs to think before talking and/or doing anything.

    The fact that the end of the post tells female readers to “go against the types” implies that you believe female gamers play according to these stereotypes more often than not.

  22. So you’re a troll if you don’t agree with Syd harping on feminism and language. If you found Lodur’s post, aside from gender based language (because, hi our language is a product of millenia of history and gender and there’s not much we can do about it) to express a topic that because of all the rabid feminizing out there is never talked about on warcraft blogs. Those warcraft blog writers are too scared to deal with the rampaging feminists that will jump down their throat over the words they choose to use, rather than really deal with the ideas expressed.

    I loved Lodur’s post. I’d really like to see SOMEONE write it using gender neutrality. So far I haven’t. If there is one out there, feel free to link it. I’d love to read it.

    Lodur’s post did not make me feel tired. It simply put into words a lot of what I see and what I experience, and it dealt with a topic which seems to be pretty common at least on my server but no one ever talks about for the above reasons.

    Someone actually said “Guild Princess” and instead of jumping on them “oh my gosh that is so sexist” I simply wanted to know “what the hell is that?”

  23. Sydera,

    Thanks so much for responding to Lodur’s post. I understood from his comments that he didn’t see anything wrong with it and didn’t mean to offend, but it still was unsettling to read. I do sometimes feel like I’m a fish out of water in game, and none of what he said made me feel better.

    I think what tweaked me out the most was that I started going over in my head my interactions with my fellow guildies, second-guessing my personal interactions with them. If I joke around with one of our tanks during a massive wipe session, will people think I’m flirting with him? Or will they get that we’re just friends? If I say yes when someone offers to help me farm an instance am I acting princessy? Or just taking up a fellow guildy who offered to help me out, as I have done for other people.

    I know the above probably makes me sound massively insecure, but I think there was something about the article that made me worry about the “correct” way of behaving as a girl gamer. As if there was a perfect balance that needed to be achieved in order for people not to think less of you. I think it goes back to what you were talking about in terms of women having this extra bar they need to cross to prove themselves. Which is not something the guys in my guild seem to spend a lot of time worrying about, LOL.

    Jennifer summed it up much better than I could by stating it feeds into the idea that normative behavior is “male”, and anything smacking of “female” is therefore deviant. And that’s what makes me feel so frustrated and tired.

  24. *applauds* I am very glad to see a counter point to Lodur’s uncomfortable article here.

    While I have known precisely one woman who has used her sexuality to lie and cheat her way into high end raiding guilds, she is the exception to the many hundreds of sweet, talented, incompetent, cranky, patient, sarcastic, silly, smart, or foolish people who play this game who happen to be women. (And the issue with her is not that she’s female, it’s that she acts like a psychopath.)

    The worst “compliment” I’ve ever received in game was from a friend who I shared photos with, who told me, “you don’t look like a girl who plays WoW the way you do.”

  25. To be fair it isnt anything to do with female gamers. I have seen many female gamers who ALWAYS get treat just as a male gamer would do. The only difference is they get hit on by some guys.

    The stereotypes are real world stereotypes not linked to the game at all. Diva, Vixen, Bitch etc. **Edit: admittedly I may have missed the point re. Lodurs post so the above may be wrong in relation to his post**

    I see feminism and most “isms” to be anti at what they want to achieve – by standing on a soap box and being P.C. about everything they incite hate towards their “opposition” and themselves.

    As an example – Gay pride. A festival in the streets.

    Straight pride? That would be criminal.


    Equal is the way to be.

  26. You know it is funny, because I have had problems with the God complex gamer, usually men, epitomized by the: I will tell you how to specc and play and you will have fun by doing what I tell you to do. I ALWAYS referred to them as divas. It was not meant to be a sexual innuendo at all. The type to say that you do not enter a dungeon for pets, even if that is what you find fun. That is the type I call a diva, I find they are almost always healers or tanks, and almost always men. They like to decide who lives and who dies, and tell you about it in Vent. I hate those players and there are more men on my ignore list than women.
    I have more fun when I am raiding or doing a dungeon with at least one woman. To me they tend to be more open to the unconventional mini-games of WoW, collecting pets and so forth. I can chat with them in Vent, and have fun killing whelps for hours upon hours. I entered LBRS just to collect the pet spider, and worg with two women. I have always felt more comfortable playing with women than with men. I am happily married, but I grew up with a lot of abuse at the hands of men. I have learned to forgive, but forgetting is harder. So I am the anomaly I gravitate toward women.
    The guild I am currently in is led by a woman, and the guild I am raiding with is led by two women. I don’t feel comfortable when men try to tell me stuff, I have an expectation that it will end badly. I usually get defensive, and sure enough it does end badly. However when a woman tells me the same thing, I am receptive, and quickly make recommended changes to find out if it will work.
    That said the manipulation doesn’t work on me either, mostly because if you want something and I can provide and you are a friend, I will provide it. I just ask that you provide mats if possible and if we are raiding and it is needed I give it out. I want to finish.
    My avatar is female, and I sometimes roleplay, but I am more of a wonder woman type. (I always liked Linda Carter and Wonder Woman comics in general.) I play as a real women epitomized by the strong powerful women, white, black, latino, whatever, in my life.
    I think after reading all this talk from Larisa, you, and Lodur, I play as a women because I like them more than most men. I tend to fear men, and the more power they have the more likely I am to take a defensive stance. And the male avatars in WoW are freakish and scary.
    I love being a man, but I have never been afraid to express my feminity. I have an eye for clothing colors on people and other typically female things, but I am a man. My wife will always ask for my opinion on clothing. As a litigator in poverty law my field is dominated by females, but we are in WoW terms tanks for our clients. We go in and take on the boss to get a chance at loot. (Client keeping their housing, or damages, or something.) I am constantly surrounded by powerful women, and I love it. So to everyone who thinks it is a stereotype get over it. Weak people will always be insecure and if they are women or men. They are weak. You get over your stereotype of women, and I will try to overcome my stereotype of men as power hungry jerks who want to control your life through whatever means possible.
    .-= Arkaneena´s last blog ..Heroic Instance Healing for a Paladin Update Halls of Lightning =-.

  27. Stereotypes are just images used to quickly convey meaning to some issue being discussed. Yeah, their origin can be based in prejudice, but some are just based in historical roles. The meaning may not be current and cant be applied nowadays in reference to a gender, but the stereotype still serves its purpose and I dont think their use should be treated with such “Shock. Frustration. Anger. Despair.”
    Everyone has the same idea of what a Diva is, the same way everyone knows what a Dick is. If the post was about the Guild Dick, I doubt men would complain about it being sexist and there would be an overall understanding that the stereotype wasnt being used to single out the men, as women can be Dicks too.
    People should just have the maturity to separate the stereotype and the image it evokes (wheter it’s current and accurate or not) from any real implications based on gender or whatever. It’s a code. A poor code, but just a code.
    I do understand we deal with people who might not be so mature, and fighting against stereotypes ends up being a fight against the prejudice itself, but I like to worry more about our actions.
    Treat the women in your life (and in your guild) with respect and no gender or any other kind of prejudice. Dont let a harmless use of stereotype hurt you so much.
    Part of the feminist movement has been way too focused on changing these male-centric ideas, instead of focusing on changing how women are actually treated. It’s a lot harder to promote abstract and historical changes than practical ones. I think we’re still at a time where the prejudice against women is present in actual life (like gender-based income disparities), so let’s keep that in mind, and focus energies for now.
    I really appreciate the discussion that this has brought up, and discussions like this do bring change in our way of thinking, but it’s not a short term fight. These stereotypes will be amongst us in the near future, probably in our life times, so deal with them without taking them as an insult all the time. Discuss them, understand them, but let’s not condemn their use like some unforgivable sin.
    If it was a post about how female gamers should not be given loot, or an officer role, because they suck and should lrn2play – then yeah, let’s burn everything to the ground!
    .-= Wangari´s last blog ..Speculation Cataclysm =-.

  28. Syndera,

    Thank you for a very well thought out and expertly written rebuttal to Lodur’s post about Female Arch-types. Being categorized by gender is something that I have been facing in the business world since I got my first job. Strangely enough, the same stereotypes are used in both environments. In both places, they also demean the vast majority of the women they are directed at – although there are some women who enjoy those titles and work to insure that they are recognized as such.

    I enjoyed your point by point rebuttal and the depth of thought that you provided for each of your arguments. The fact that women are such a vast minority in gaming means that any time drama occurs involving a woman, it will be focused on far more than a similar action by a man, because that action has been exposed far more often in reference to a male gamer. It took many decades for the number of women in the work place to be equivalent to the number of male employees, so shall the number of female gamers increase – and far more quickly. Once the scales are more even, there will be less gender specific bias – simply because women will no longer be a novelty in a raiding guild. Unfortunately, that is going to be down the road a bit, so in the mean time it is extremely refreshing to have a web site that allows one writer to bring up his beliefs and then allows the next to refute those statements and redefine those stereotypes while imparting some very sage advice from a female gamers perspective.

    Perhaps one day enough female gamers will get together to create a survival guide for new players who just happen to be women and want to be accepted and progress on their merits and abilities.

  29. Alas, I am not a feminist and I don’t honestly see how any rational person can be one. The idea of equality is a sound one, gender, sex, colour, hair length, or any similar thing should not be the root of discrimination for a role that you are qualified for, a meritocracy is the best route in my mind. I know how you are using the term “feminism” and alas I have seen more of this group than I wish to, there are the “equality feminists” who are actually interested in equality and then it starts to get worse as you go through the various sub-categories (most of which tend to end up being misandry based). The basic building blocks of the clique are designed to discourage outside views and actual discussion because an attack on “radical feminist encouraging the slaying / removal of all men” is an attack on “I think we should be paid equally feminist” resulting in a solid front for a solidly fractured movement. The basis for things like “patriarchy” and similar as a catch all make the term suspect ( if you want to go through it, though its fairly vanilla feminism).

    Equality within WoW is easy to achieve if you simply play it as a game. The second you start bringing in identity and gender politics it becomes harder because you are no longer playing the game you are attempting to win the sub-game of real life through a game which does not have an appropriate system for this. You can play the game as a gender neutral entity, or as part of the majority simply by saying so, or you can play coy and make it ambiguous or even play into these stereotypes.

    The major point with stereotypes is that they hold true, or are a mixing of various personality types that we see. Your article puts the male gamer into the shaming role, forcing women to be better than they are to prove a point and get what they deserve. This is as much more misandric than the misyogony of the original article because the stereotypes are applied generically rather than actually attempting to perform a class analysis on a group that is composed of all walks of life. The stereotypes presented do exist, there are women that use their sexuality to gain benefits over other gamers and there are men that apply the same techniques. Using a non gender neutral term that evokes the correct behaviour is a useful tool for this (else we wouldn’t call murder muder, it would be something like “the non-natural reduction of the life span of the defendant to a duration less than the currently elapsed time”).

    In terms of the princess, yes it is a stereotyped word however it is gender neutral if you look at the attitude and actions rather than the story behind it. The role is of someone wanting something for nothing, to be served and gifted things on a plate, thats a gender neutral concept even if the word derives from the fairy tale concept of the female role. Sydera you mention this yourself what he role entails and then ignore it to be upset by the female biased title?

    The prima donna is even more likely to be male in this game given the dynamics (2 Tanks, 7 Healers, 16 DPS) where a greater than average number of males (ok technically this is anecdotal, however I shall pluralise that to ‘not quite data’ but assuming the role is split by gender numbers it still holds true) play the tanking classes making them the prima donna. Guilds put up with a lot for a good tank because they know and trust them, breaking in a new DPS or healer is a lot easier than breaking in a new tank is because the tank controls the movement and pacing of the fight. The role can be seen as the diva from a female perspective but being honest this is more of a male role in 25 man raiding guilds (though in 5/10 man content it can often be the healer’s role).

    All of the stereotypes are exaggerations however they also all hold a kernel of truth. You mention the feminist techniques of solidarity and bonding however this in itself is just as bad as the stereotypes you rail against. Rather than presenting a competent front to your raiding guild you mention tricks to get ahead. I know of several raiding guilds that do not use vent / ts at all, text chat only, there is no requirement in raiding to “be female” or “be male” you can simply be a damn competent “role”. Why is it a requirement to have solidarity and suchlike to get ahead in a game where there is no advancement (you don’t get promoted to MT and get a raise) and is played for fun, in a fair loot system there is no bias. If your loot councils are biased against women then perhaps you need to pull out some numbers and show them it, if they are the right people for the council they will get it right from then on.

    This view is compounded by yourself in the paragraph covering the blogsphere and being rational, you immediately just stated (rather misandrically) that the majority of WoW players are far from rational and intelligent enough to deal with women. The behaviours you describe as natural (flirting, unicorns, rainbows) are distracting to a guild because they can setup mini-cliques within what should ideally be an even distribution of friendships. These might not be evil and intentional however the harm of creating these is a real issue if it starts to harm the guild, and several have been harmed before because offense to one clique member becomes offense to the whole clique. This is problematic because rather than losing one member you lose a group. Again this is compounded by what you describe basically as the need to sugar coat your actions, why not simply throw out the suggestion (in a guild appropriate way so no talking over the RL etc) rather than going with bunnies and picnics.

    Replying to commenters:

    You mention that the good guys are misogynists, that is not really a true statement in that most men do not hate women. You are really looking at a class representation and applying it to widely disparate groups because we all play the same game. Rational, calm, reasonable are the only common threads anyone can take in a game like this. if you get riled up, angry, emotional, upset, (hysterical, nuts) then of course people will not treat you seriously because that is not a reasonable way to deal with people. A guild is a social environment however it is also a business (with the aim of downing bosses / pvp etc), you do not go into work and deal with things emotionally you calm down and deal with it rationally because the world we work in (and play in) has rules and structures to deal with situations if we deal with them in this way.

    The comment on viewing things through a female perspective if harassment disproportionately affects them is in many ways nonsensical because you cannot solve a harassment problem (unless you accept partial blame for the harassment?) from the view of the victim. We all went through high school and we all saw people being victimised with the teachers telling the bullies to “think what its like for the victim, to apologise” when in truth the victim turning round and flooring the bully was 99% effective.

    As males, and especially males with female characters we do deal with the same situations you do in non-guild situations and we can end them as easily as you can. To state that we cannot comprehend the process when the default in this game is “for all we know its an alien from the planet zarg” is to be disingenuous and to again start the “us vs them” problem.

    The picture was as I recall from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and is a rather famous picture of the princess stereotype in a non-fairy-tale setting, it was appropriate for the article and could equally have been replaced by any of the spoilt rich kids from any other series.

    I have seen many male princesses, and way too many male divas (in fact the majority as I mentioned above). The trick to actually perceiving the article correctly is to look at the ways in which it applies to the target audience (female biased) and then to look at it as it applies to the other gender (male bias) and realise that although the terms may have female roots there are many male personalities in there as well.

    Be yourself, acting uber masculine or uber feminine for the reactions of others is what generates a lot of the bad blood in these stereotypes.

    You got trolled, and successfully. The troll entered into an environment you created to be self positive and applied a stereotype (same way all male games are 25+, virgins, living in our parent’s basement with a beard and acne and a strange addiction to caffine). The troll actually managed to reinforce the positive attitude of your environment however making his trolling ineffective (or perhaps some ladies posted pictures making his trolling effective?). Trade chat is like high school… there is always a troll (and if not you haven’t reached the bridge yet).

    You are correct in that women come with attached stereotypes (imo likely due to the limited number of them compared to men in a serious raiding environment), however the gaining of grudging respect sounds unlike most guilds I have been in.
    DPS prove their worth by the damage meter
    Healers prove their worth by being competent
    Tanks prove their worth by not standing in stuff while not yelling “omg healz healz healz me please” (serious rep loss if you do need to yell that :P).

    Automatic respect is rarely found in this game because as Gevlon would put it the number of M&S. Simply each new person you meet is liable to:

    Pull something
    Stand in the fire
    Stand in the thing that is not fire
    Stand in the void zone
    Stand in the thing that is not a void zone
    Do something stupid
    Do something competent

    Most people do not get respect until they do something competent, especially as healers and tanks because a large part of their role is not to do stupid stuff. No one gets instant respect from me in this game because there is an easy test for competence and thus the beginnings of respect, to blindly give it to everyone is to devalue its meaning.

    TL; DR:
    Though the original article may have a female bias all of the terms can be applied to male gamers as well, and if the article is viewed on the basis of the actions of the named groups rather than the title itself it is relatively gender neutral.

    Much solidarity gathering / support / mutual loathing of the typical gamer came out in this and it seems really to be exactly the behaviour you are protesting against when it is applied to you / your stereotypes yet without the negative connotations.

    Feminism is bad because its a fractured movement harbouring those who actually want equality and those that want things far from it yet using the term to create and support a group attitude that discourages comment and actual evaluation of the policies of the sub-groups.

  30. This is, by far, the best article I’ve read in many years. So well-spoken that even I couldn’t think of any way to rebute, rephrase, or reject it.

    Thank you, so much, for speaking so clearly on the side of female gamers who simply want to be individuals. I have worked so hard to achieve just that.

    This post is most certainly worthy of literary praise. I recommend sending this to your old teacher, if you are in fact still in touch with her. I would be proud to show everyone what great work you’ve done.

    I am not someone to lavish praise. I’m incredibly analytical and critical of everyone’s work, including my own. So please believe what I’ve written here.

    Thanks again, and please keep writing.

    <3 Nass
    .-= Nassira´s last blog ..Greatness Gives You Wiiiiings! =-.

  31. High five! As a bonus, you’ll totally get laid from this blog post. </flippant humor and irony>

    I must agree with Cat that sexism (the biggotry kind, not the getting-laid kind, that’s sexyism) can go both ways. Why not stop using negative “-isms” and just consider each other as people? A boy could be a “princess” as easily as a girl, it just has a different term. Let’s ditch the terms; “douchebag” works for girls, boys, black, white, gay, straight, old, young, or [label here].

    Equality via language! Down with “diva”, up with “asshat”!

    .-= Nim´s last blog ..Blizzcon craft, ahoy! =-.

  32. Thank you for all the positive comments! I was expecting something quite different.

    For those of you who disagree with me–I don’t mind. I was actually expecting some choice epithets laid at my door. That’s it’s been restricted to the ones on my own list is a relief. To the dude who called me a diva–when anyone makes a list of stereotypes, there’s always one that you can fit your perception of a person into. That’s how silly magazines hook you in with their checklist. It doesn’t mean that it’s a meaningful lens for your experience–just a convenient one. I don’t fit the diva box any better than I fit any other checkbox in the world.

    For the record, there are many feminisms, probably as many as there are feminists. If you associate a trait like “man-hating” with feminism, well, you’re not talking about my feminism. I like men quite a bit. I could have written this article with a list of stereotypes about men, but I didn’t. I don’t think male stereotypes are the least bit fair to men. I do hint, in one part of the article, that we use animal words to describe men as well as women. The reason I don’t go into detail is that I believe that ANY stereotypes are full of crap.

    One of the things I wanted to point out here is that the stereotypes are available guides for people’s life stories. Just as someone might call a woman a Princess, she might also take the “Princess” type and make it her own. Both people would be participating in restricting this woman’s choices. Sometimes our greatest enemy is ourselves.

    The point is, that by thinking through and analyzing our own actions, we can be both better friends and better individuals. I’m not saying I’m always right–I’m patently NOT. I also don’t mean this article to be in any way unfriendly to men. I see myself criticizing a social phenomenon, not specific people (even those who perpetuate the type). I’d like to point out that I did consult a male perspective when writing this article. My fiancé and I work on a lot of our writing projects (both professional and amateur ones) collaboratively, and he did my second edit. This isn’t meant to be just a woman’s rant against the evil male world–it’s a person’s plea for an abandonment of gender types.

  33. I’ve been reading this blog since it was just Matt, and I almost took it off my feed reader because of Lodur’s poorly-executed post. Not because I was personally offended – because seriously, I don’t have the time to get offended by every stupid thing I see on the Internet – but because it was framed in a way that made it clear that stereotypically male behavior was the norm, and anything viewed as stereotypically female was a recipe for OH JEEZ DRAMA!

    Let me tell you, Internets, after watching my high-end raiding guild fall apart because two adult men hurt each other’s feelings (I really wish I was joking or exaggerating) I found myself questioning my own attitudes, and I will try my best to never make those assumptions again.

    Thanks for this post, Syd – though a lot of people who are quite gleefully missing the point might do well to take a step back and recognize nobody’s accusing them personally of anything, and challenging your own assumptions and unconscious reactions is not easy or painless, but is definitely a good thing.

  34. When some of the commenters say that feminists have the responsibility to make sure all is “equal” and that we are being unfair to men, I think they are forgetting the playing field is not level. We are not starting out “equally”. Women are the subordinate class in terms of power and the use of negative stereotyping and language is just one tool to imbed negative self-worth in women and create disrespect for their contribution to society (as compared to men) generally.

    Language is constantly evolving and is not fixed as of one point in history. There are many words we do not use that we would have a generation ago. People just have to make an effort. (One good one would be to stop calling women “girls”. A good rule of thumb–if you wouldn’t call him a boy…).

  35. @dino: I love what you say here–“challenging your own assumptions and unconscious reactions is not easy or painless, but is definitely a good thing.”

    This is exactly my point. When I include samples from my own behavior, I’m criticizing myself. In the process of writing the article, I discovered a few less than pleasing things about my own behavior. It’s uncomfortable to think, gee, I shouldn’t ask my Dad for money. I have to think about the motivation behind my behavior. Is it that I actually need more money to pay for my wedding, or is it that I know that he sees me as his little princess and some part of me wants to play along? For the record, my dad is a great person, but he would probably buy into many of these stereotypes about women. Real people are complex, after all. In this situation, both I and my dad could stand to wise up.

    The process of thinking before one acts is very difficult and messy. I’ve used a fairly trivial example, but I think that I could benefit–and many others could benefit–from putting our actions and responses to scrutiny before we actually commit them.

  36. I can recognize myself very well in the self criticism, Sydera. I see it in my own way of viewing the tank/healer roles for instance, sort of automatically labelling them as female/male activities. I have to struggle to free myself from all the crap I’m indocrinated with.

    And sometimes I probably “use” my gender even though my intention wasn’t to do it. Thinking especially about when I got “married” to a guy in the game and accepted 3 k gold as a gift to an epic flying mount. Looking back at I think it was rather stupid of me. I deserve better. I deserve to respect myself.

    It’s a constant struggle. But articles like this one give us the inspiration we need to keep going.
    .-= Larísa´s last blog ..The Alt patch will leave my alt out in the cold =-.

  37. Sydera, thats the problem… its never my feminism.

    If you claim the title, you accept the groups under it, it may not be how you act or want to see it however the groups under the title feminists go from the mundane to outright genocidal.

    Volanta… seriously?

    A night out with the boys/girls || men/women

    please delete as appropriate. I am willing to bet you use girls to refer to a group of women, as men do with boys. Referring to a woman as a girl happens a lot as does men as boys (what anyone below 30 often gets called girl / boy from what I have seen, after that you graduate to some other diminutive). It is far from gender abusive to use the diminutive in a large number of contexts.

    As for making things equal, of course that has to be your aim if you want to be treated seriously.

    “I want to be treated exactly the same way a man is, to be paid equally, to maintain the same public rights and to be rewarded in the same way.” is a good statement to make (though since the majority of public life is gender neutral in terms of pay, laws etc its largely a silly statement).

    Tacking on

    “… but my boyfriend (damn that word boy got in there, manfriend?) must treat me with respect, listen when I am being non-rational, not put anything down to PMS, must tell stories with respect about me and women even though they don’t about themselves, mustn’t use derogatory language around me to convey a point, must ensure that I am treated with more than basic human rights, must never joke about the bias in the world, must never class analyse me or women in general, must listen and comfort me irrespective of his feelings and must never consider me to be playing the victim even if I am”
    (long paragraph derived from the linked feminist website by Kate Harding mentioned earlier about the ways in which men act to reinforce the victim complex of women)

    deprives your argument of its sincerity and equality message because that is not equality, its female privilege without female responsibility. If you want equality fight for it and you will have my support, if you want something else then be above board.

    What way are women in a negative power situation? Women generally have a better education than men now, women have more effective spending power, have laws to protect them (and in many countries especially in Europe to make positive discrimination legal against men). Language is a tool that can be used to imply many things, however if you want to create respect and harmony we all need to be using the same language rather than loaded terms that have meaning within certain groups (as a good example see patriarchy).

  38. @Nim: on “douchebag”–

    My fiancé and I have been having an amusing argument about this word. We have been debating whether douchebag is more or less offensive than retarded, and whether it is misogynist.

    Conclusion–after a 12 hour drive in which we call many, many people (sorry, fellow drivers) douchebags just to see how it works:

    It means about the same thing as “tool.” It’s more demeaning than tool, because it’s a tool used in cleaning female genitalia. It’s also misogynist, as it’s another term that implies that something about female sexuality is dirty. “Douche” is less insulting than “douchebag,” because at least it you’re a douche, you’re the primary, important tool. The “douchebag” is an assistant to a tool. Instead of being a hammer, the douchebag is the wooden handle on the hammer. Very insulting indeed.

    Regrettably, I’m going to try not to call people douchebags, even in jest, anymore. It’s too bad, because it’s a funny word.

    Long live asshat as an insult. We all have asses, and well, we can all wear hats.

  39. I am confused, how can douchebag be misogynist, its a term used to refer to the vessel for holding the fluid for douching (which can be any orifice not just female genitalia). Also it appears to be a relatively male only insult (see cite) with the implication that the douchebag is a negative source and irritating but non-malicious behaviour… which is pretty much what a douche does in destroying the natural eco-system of the female reproductive organs. Doesn’t seem hatred of females but an apt description of a piece of technology applied to a human behaviour.

    (Cite: Wikipedia:
    Douchebag, or simply douche, is considered to be a pejorative term in North America, the United Kingdom and some other English speaking countries. In some English speaking countries the term is not well known. The slang usage of the term dates back to the 1960s.[6] The term implies a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and engaging in obnoxious and/or irritating actions without malicious intent. It is generally used for males only.)

  40. @ Taz “Thank you for this article. Thank you for writing out so coherently not just why the stereotypes are wrong, but why it is wrong to stereotype at all. Thank you for stepping up. I am a feminist, and I applaud you.”

    People are individuals and should be judged accordingly. Lumping together a stereotype, while it may apply to a demographic in parts, is just a nice way of judging and dismissing people without spending the time to to judge them individually on their own actions.

    Very well written post and thank you for writing much more eloquently than me. I couldn’t say exactly what I wanted to convey and this is wonderfully written.

  41. @2ndNin, there are always “exceptions” to any stereotype, to any story, to any social theory, etc. But you have to look at any situatation in the aggregate in order to get a real sense of the extent or existence of a problem. To use real world examples in the American context, for everyone one woman who succeeds in corporate world while being a mother, there are many more who have had to sacrifice their families. For every one poor person who pulls him/herself up by his bootstraps and makes him/herself into a success, there are many more who live in misery and will never escape that place. Holding up those few stories and saying look such and such a narrative is possible is an exercise in obscuring the larger social reality behind it. The same “exceptional” stories can be used to negatively mark a social group. Just because one poor person abused the welfare system, does that mean that every other one is also abusing it? If the answer to that question is yes, one has to take a hard look at one’s motivations for “wanting” that to be true.

    In terms of stereotypes, our brains are hard-wired to favor categorical thinking. When you’re a hunter-gatherer in a hostile world, you need to make snap decisions. If it looks like a bear, get the hell out. However in the modern world, life is less immediately dangerous. Nevertheless, our brains are pretty much the same and most of our experience of the world is still constructed below our conscious awareness. We act on reflex more than we know. Stereotypes are one part of this. They can get reinforced over time to the point that they become automatic. While our brain likes to think in categories, it doesn’t necessarily matter what those categories are. This is awesome because it means that we can change the stereotypes and narratives use to interpret the world if we’re become aware of just how pervasive and automatic they are in ourselves and others. I’ve talked to Syd about this a lot and I think her point is that the battle is never won. Every individual has to continually stay awake and watch how they’re interpreting the people around them. The battle against stereotypes will never be “won.” It must be fought every day anew. I should remind you that I’m a man here. I’m nonetheless a part of that fight.

    For me personally, when you say that “though since the majority of public life is gender neutral in terms of pay, laws etc its largely a silly statement,” I don’t know what world this is, except perhaps a fantasy one. I think that one would be hard-pressed to find many women who agree with that statement. People (men and women alike) may know how they’re “supposed” to act, but that doesn’t prevent them from harboring other ideas about gender and playing out internalized prejudices in subtle and unconscious ways. And many women still aren’t getting equal pay for equal work. I’ve even had conversations with men in business who don’t want to hire women for management roles because they’re just going to get pregnant, require maternity leave, and they’re going to have to hire a replacement anyway. So there’s a lot more work to be done.

    I do think there is a fundamental core to feminism. It’s about equality. Once you start talking about how to define that equality, how to work for it, and how society should function differently, that’s where people diverge. Suddenly everyone’s individual, idiosyncratic life histories, values, and experiences come into play. And that’s as it should be. If everyone agreed implicitly, we’d be robots in some totalitarian society. We wouldn’t even be able to talk about what words like feminism or progress mean. And we’ll never agree. The meanings of “loaded words” will always be loaded. This is a good thing because how would we imagine the future without disagreement? Disagreement does help us have a pretty awesome discussion about this question. This is the rational discourse Syd was talking about. And while I don’t agree with your take on the question or on the world, 2ndNin, I’m glad you’re here in the debate. 🙂

  42. No, no flack for Seri from me.

    I’m actually bothered equally by Syd’s post as I am by Lodur’s. Namely: not much.

    Yes, Lodur probably could have worded things in a more gender neutral way, but the intent (the intent I got at least) was leaning more to stereotypes of gamers in general than anything gender-specific.

    On the other hand, I think Syd blew things out of proportion in her response, and could have been a wee bit more understanding on where he was coming from in the article. The points she makes are valid, but this much of a rant at least implies that she feels more strongly about the rebuttal than the original post merited.

    So, instead of smacking Seri, I’m gonna agree. Blown out of proportion.
    .-= Jov´s last blog ..Jov sez: 3.2 Changes (the ones I care about, at least) =-.

  43. Respectfully, to Jov and Seri, I don’t think I’ve blown anything out of proportion.

    Now, my beef has never been with Lodur. He’s an innocent victim of these malicious stereotypes–just as much as women are.

    My point is about the stereotypes themselves. They weren’t created for harmless fun. They are part of a cultural narrative about women’s inferiority, and my response has always been to the types themselves rather than Lodur’s specific use. He didn’t mean to be demeaning towards women.

    The point is that these words have a life of their own, and this post is about exploring what they really mean. So when we use them lightly, trivially, we’re not meaning to restrict or punish women, but the words have that history. I believe that words are very, very important, and thus it is incumbent upon thinking people to use them carefully.

  44. Love. This. Post. Kudos to you Sydera. Super-classy, too, where someone like me would have gone on an angry rant. Quote of the post:

    “They are, in feminist terms, tricks of the weak–in order words, the most convenient strategies available to disadvantaged groups.”

    This very succinctly explains how these supposedly “female” behaviors are a result of the group in question being barred from real power.

    My girlfriend is also my GM and co-raid leader. I watch her work 10 times as hard as me for the same amount of respect, and I watch her get treated with less respect by otherwise good men who just don’t realize what they are doing. Even though she is just as good a player as me and a much better leader. People just assume she doesn’t know what she’s doing as soon as they find out she’s a girl, while they give me the benefit of the doubt. It’s really tiring for her. It sucks.

    And the worst is when other women all around her fulfill these stereotypes by doing things like messing up, then giggling an “oops” as though wiping the raid is *so adorable*. It makes everything even harder for her.

    Hopefully we can try to remember that people are people. You may notice that 90% of the female players you meet suck. Well also notice that 90% of the MALE players you meet suck, it’ s just that so many more men play that you end up meeting, numerically, more good men. Maybe some of those women have learned that trying to be cute protects them from further social embarrassment. Meanwhile, a guy who made the same mistake will claim it’s lag, because that works for men. Our stereotypes are feeding the behaviors and making them worse.

    And yes, men can be feminists too. The word “feminism” is about equality, not female dominance. Just like you don’t call, say, the black civil rights movement “equalism” either, even though it’s about *equality* and not turning America into New Africa. Don’t be scared of the term, guys. It’s about equality.

    Anyway, thanks for having the ovaries of steel needed to post this. Bravo!

  45. I’m another of those that reads here but has never posted. Let me start by saying this entire thing is stupid and overall pointless. Lodur may have used gender stereotypes but he tried to put them in an equal light (even if maybe he didn’t succeed). Sydera either forgot or ignored her own stereotyping (a couple of other replies mention this as well). In her article she makes assumptions about men, and an assumption is really just a stereotype. You assume something about a person, therefore you lump them into a category based on general, overarching traits of people, i.e. a stereotype.

    The thing with stereotypes is that they are ingrained into our culture and our thought processes and our speech. They’ve been around for a long time, and as such it’s hard to change them. In all likelihood, we’ll never be able to really change them. Yes, the stereotypes that Lodur used were feminine stereotypes but can any of you think of a gender neutral term for ‘Diva’ or ‘Bitch’ or ‘Femme Fatale’? I can’t, and I’d bet that they don’t exist in the English language, unless you go the route of saying someone who wants something for nothing, and doesn’t say thank you’ (borrowed Sydera’s words there). But who is going to say that, really. No one will, they’ll say ‘Princess’ or something equally similar. They may not intend it as an insult to women; it’s just a code as Wangari pointed out.

    Lastly I’d like to point out that I am a girl, and I play WoW (obviously). Lodur’s post did not in any way offend me because I took as I’m sure it was meant to be taken, a guide for how to deal with problematic people in a guild or party. The stereotypes he used are just that. Beyond the basic meaning of them, i.e. Princess being someone who wants stuff for nothing, the gender aspect should be ignored. It’s not intended to be an insult to women, but there any other expression that suits the behavior more clearly, if there was a gender neutral or male term for the stereotype I’m sure he would have used them as well. I think Wangari probably said it best, if the article had been about the Guild Dick or some such, no one would have raised a ruckus over it. Dick is equally gendered as Princess and Diva and Femme Fatale, but guys (and yes this is a stereotype) don’t really care about it. If you want to be equal, stop stewing over gendered stereotypes, most of the time it’s not worth it.

  46. 2ndnin said: “since the majority of public life is gender neutral in terms of pay, laws etc its largely a silly statement”

    Oh, how I wish this were true. Just because laws say one thing does not make it true, because of the stereotypes and negative reinforcement that women (and other historically disenfranchised groups) face. The importance of changing our word choices is BECAUSE it helps us (including me, I’m certainly not innocent) expose our underlying assumptions.

    In the US, women are paid 77% of what men make, across the board. Women are more likely to be impoverished, especially young adult women and elderly women. This gap gets wider if the women are also from racial minorities. Women 25-32 with 4 year degrees are paid 14% less than men in the same categories. Women are more likely to choose low-salaried work, and roles which are considered historically “female” are more likely to BE low-salaried. Women are highly unrepresented in the highest roles in business, as well as government and military life. Women face sexual assault at a rate staggeringly higher than men, and are blamed for their own abuse on a regular basis.

    Obviously, this is nothing compared to the overbearing oppression that women in other countries face today, though I feel silly comparing women who are unable to vote or wear clothing of their choice without government sanctioned beatings to that time someone was really mean to me in a video game.

    The importance here isn’t that anyone was butthurt about Lodur’s post. No one is saying he’s a mysogenistic ass who set out to destroy women. Sy is using it as an example of failing to confront underlying prejudices and using gender loaded language, which is *still harmful* to women. It’s not the articles themselves but the discussion that’s important.

    Obviously there are men and women who treat women in game with basic equality. I play with them daily. I play with straight men who have 89 mini-pets. I play with women who play male characters, and men who play female characters. I play with strong willed female GMs and raid leaders. I play with men who happily raid under my lead, even though I like to talk about kittens. But I have run into idiots, male and female idiots, who use these underlying assumptions to believe inaccurate and harmful things about women, and have used that misplaced power to try to undermine real women, or to undermine their OWN dignity.

    Edited to add:
    And might I suggest the following gender neutral terms, as defined by Lodur/Sy:

    Princess = Freeloader
    Diva = Control freak
    She-wolf = sexual predator

  47. Briolante, the world (at least in the so called Western Democracies) laws are defined generically unless favouring a minority or women (take for example HH’s recent equality bill in Britain legalising discrimination against white men). We have had equal pay legislation since 1974 or something similar and the vast majority of jobs are based on lock-step progression or performance related pay with the largest difference (the wage gap) in this area essentially being a maternity gap which reduces the effective years worked / skills relevance of the person taking a long break (typically 6 months per child + options for longer in many public funded organisations). The Fawcett society is up in arms right now because the gender pay gap is basically a maternity gap caused by taking a long vacation from work (and yes that is a highly inflammatory word to use for it however taking time off to not work is a vacation from work).

    The laws of our counties support equality, and normally equality+, with the education system of most countries now favouring women. What we have is residual discrimination in the upper ranks caused by the flow through of people. We then have the fact that maternity does place a significant time penalty on women. You make the point that some women get to the top with kids, others have to sacrifice the top for the kids. That is exactly the choice men have been making since the system started and while it was beneficial to women they supported it, now feminists want it all (god I know I want £5,000,000 a year, 360 days holiday and a tax haven in some beautiful island with awesome internet speeds) without sacrifice.

    Dealing with individual prejudices and similar cannot be dealt with in a systematic way, you cannot simply declare it wrong to make fun of something and have people obey because we are all individuals. I see so many feminist sites start claiming to perform class analysis on men yet ignoring anything that is against their expected results, and at the same time I see those same sites (the moderate ones) backing up others that come in with lines like “all men are rapists”.

    Of course the success stories are brought up because they highlight the good in society rather than the problems, where as we should probably look to solve some of those issues. Problem is a lot of it comes down to the individual to make the most of what they have rather than the government forcing it on us. Taking the British parliament we had “mandatory female shortlists” (only women could win these seats), and they were typically posted in safe areas (where it would take an act of God to change the way people vote). Rather than taking the best politicians we can (best n% of 100% of the population) we selected the best 1 from a shortlist of 4 women picked because they were female. That is not the way to an honest or working government and stigmatises every woman that was involved (though tbh most of the ones voted in through that system spend more time with their foot in their mouth than any other politicians I have seen) as being “in because they are a woman”.

    Equality needs to be approached rationally and sensibly because otherwise its going to cause bad feelings. Look at Sydera wondering if the word “douchebag” is misogynist, the word is being eroded (hatred of women) when its a perfectly fine technical adaption of the word to meet the needs of an insult (a non-malicious tool causing an upset in an otherwise stable environment). So much misandry (hatred of men) is thrown around if we apply the same criteria to its usage as we do to misogyny, and its even more subtle.

    As for the hiring of men over women, isn’t that purely logical? You have two candidates, one a childless woman of fertile age (statistically averaged to have 1.9 children at some point during her life) and a childless man of the same age. At the best case the woman will perform at the same rate as the man (I will avoid assuming either is more competent, smarter or similar since that opens up a whole can of worms), at worst she takes 6 months paid leave, then leaves (we have to keep her job open for her), she may wish reduced hours (which we basically have to grant) or similar. Statistically she is less likely to remain in a “high power / stress” job with children than a “low power / stress” one (women are statistically more likely to stay in low paid employment if they have kids than not). The logical choice is thus to hire the man because assuming he is equal in other ways he does not have the legal protections women do. in the end the woman may never have kids, but why would you take a risk you don’t have to (same way a Paladin doesn’t tank Vesax if you have a DK there).

    Feminism may have at its core equality, but at the end of the day it has its share of nuts and loons who also claim to hold to those principles. As such when you take on the name you take on them as well (equalist or something would be a better term if all you want is equality tbh).


    At least in the UK the actual number comes down to about 12% difference and disappears nearly completely if you actually compare like for like rather than taking an average of all full time salaries for men and women. I can’t find the exact reference to this but a large proportion of that was due to maternity (which is more than covered by childcare benefits). A large proportion of the gap is due to choice, and unless you want to stop women making the choice to work in low paid sectors then you are going to have a problem fixing it without screwing something up. There was a thing going on recently to classify people as doing a similar job in our government (so a road worker gets paid the same as a child care worker).

    The world really is a bad place for many people if you go outside the western democracies, however can you realistically complain about that? How petty does it seem to complain about the use of the word princess as a stereotype of free loader when 74% of women in certain conflict zones are being raped (and genocide committed against the male population). The concept of what we consider important is a heck of a lot less important if you really start to consider the world as a whole.

    The problem with this article is you can’t kick the underlying prejudices without altering how the targeted group behaves. The language used should not (and didn’t) offend many women here yet others fully support Sydera’s misandric defense against it. A lot of these things really could be solved with a thicker skin and not jumping to an emotional response. If you want to take advertising as an example Men see Mr Calvin Klein posing sexily in his white trunks showing off awesome abs, then we still walk down the beach beer belly hanging out in speedos. The opposite is true for women who are somehow harmed by seeing an attractive woman in a bikini selling perfume. There has to be a point where there is an overreaction to stuff that must be turned off to function.

  49. 1 word.


    I don’t know how the female gaming community does it. Every day on Twitter there’s another thing to be outraged about. Another rant post to read. I remember skimming Lodur’s post and was like… “WoW, here goes”.

    I try to keep an open mind, but the reality is the biggest enemy of the cause of feminism will always be females themselves. For not every female can frame their points and opinions quite like you can, Syd. Not every female understands what’s reasonable to be outraged about nor how to craft a reasonable rant.

    And eventually, we just get worn out.

    Eventually, you just get tired of hearing about every small injustice. It’s not unlike what I deal with on my site in regards to Warrior tanking. There are big problems and there are small problems and there are teeny, tiny problems. And everyone complains about all these problems, but they don’t all warrant 5 page posts.

    I’m asking, begging the female community. Please do yourselves a favour and pick your battles. Because if you keep ranting about everything eventually, just like the Warrior community, we’re just going to ignore you. Which is the worst thing that could happened because then the real issues can’t be heard.

    I’ve got a challenge for the female blog-o-sphere that I’m guessing is going to be pretty well represented in here shortly. Post about some good news. Show us something that’s going right be it a person or a company or whatever. God knows something has to be going right. Rather than saying this is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong.

    Show us results. Show us solutions. Cause we care, we really do, but we’re just bloody tired.

  50. Okay, several blogs I read have been talking about this lately and as such led me to write my own blog about my own issues today. It isn’t about anyone, and it is about everyone. I point to my own bad behavior, and suggest a solution. Take a look, I don’t think I have ever put myself so out there in so public a way. But all this self analysis caused me to look at my own behavior and ultimately I think that is a good thing. Thanks to all the posters, bloggers, and commenters that hopefully will help me be a better person.
    .-= Arkaneena´s last blog ..I’m Coming Out =-.

  51. I didn’t like the original article, mainly because it had a one-sided focus on female stereotypes and tried to hide that fact in blanket “this counts for men too” statements. (Even though 2ndNin is right, I have seen way more men referred to as divas than women in WoW. To think about it, 2ndNin is pretty much on the spot with most of what he wrote where I am concerned.)

    What I must say though is that while using stereotypes to pre-judge people is wrong, there are certain characteristics that are more often found on men and those that are more often found on women.
    I have, in my whole WoW experience, never met anyone fitting the “whiny kid” or “omg pwnzor” stereotypes that was not male. Never.
    A significant proportion of males I meet in-game exhibit similar behavior that makes me label them as whiny kids – whether or not they are actually kids.
    I don’t use this to pre-judge all males, but I do use it to judge people that exhibit parts of the behaviour I associate with the stereotype. This is simply because, in my experience, this has been almost never wrong and I simply cannot learn every person’s character in detail before deciding what to do with them. But this has nothing to do with their gender, it is simply so that certain categories (in my experience) include almost only male gamers while other almost only include female gamers.
    I have, for example, never seen a male player overplaying his sexuality. I have had various encounters with (confirmed) females though who used “flash boobs” macros in raids or talked about their genitalia in /g.
    The reason why the do this honestly doesn’t interest me. I have experience with what players that show these symptoms tend to end up as and deal with them accordingly.

    The human mind is great at pattern recognition and all of us do it day in day out. Stereotyping is just the same, pattern recognition. Whether an encounter is “Tank&Spank” or a person is a “whiny kid” makes no difference.

    Stereotypes are only wrong, in my opinion, when they are applied on an insufficient factual basis. Not taking women into your raids because they only cause drama is an obviously bad application of a stereotype. But if a woman flirts with me during our application talk or posts a picture of herself on the beach in her application then I will strongly consider denying that application – because she fits into one of my stereotypes very well and I don’t want that kind of risk.

    Same thing with kids applying to the guild. We have a strict “over 18” rule. Not because we think that there are no minors that could fit into our guild but because most tries at having them in the guild failed. We now have enough data to say that under 18 is most likely a recipe for disaster for us and therefore we don’t take kids. Stereotype? Sure. Bad? I don’t think so.
    .-= scrusi´s last blog ..Resto Shamans in 3.2 =-.

  52. @2ndNin: I’m just going to register my surprise that you’re actually suggesting that men be hired over women if their qualifications are equal.

    That, my friend, is discrimination.

    Also, you seem to live in the UK. Good for you–that means your government has your best interests at heart to a much higher degree than my government has for mine (United States).

    At least in my own industry, salaries range very very widely for the same job.

  53. Oh, and I have now added the needed link to Lodur’s post. That was a serious oversight, and I’m very sorry about it. Links are typically the last thing I do, and well, it didn’t get done.

  54. Actually UK law will happily now say if you have equally competent man and woman you should hire the woman because she is discriminated against (for?). legalised discrimination :).

    I am not suggesting hiring men over women, my ideal society would be a meritocracy. What I was tryting to express badly it seems is that from an employers perspective hiring a man over a woman given the same qualifications and expected performance is the logical choice given the additional protections in law that women have. its the same reason illegal workers work for less than union labour, because the law isn’t in their favour.

    The problem is that if you hire a woman of child bearing age your worst case scenario is pregnancy, maternity leave, hold job open, then leave / goes part time forcing you into a worse situation. realistically the solution is likely to offer all workers 1-2 years paid “self” time such that both sides are a liability rather than just one. Alas its a simple biological problem but one which underpins a lot of the issues in gender pay gaps, discrimination etc
    .-= 2ndnin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  55. Men and women are different, accept it. While I agree that some of the more obvious fallacies of gender bias should be and stay abolished, I think modern feminism should be about equity, if anything. It should promote awareness and respect for gender differences instead of trying to attain what would ultimately be dysfunctional equality. Second Nin wrote some good things in this regard.

  56. “The problem is that if you hire a woman of child bearing age your worst case scenario is pregnancy, maternity leave, hold job open, then leave / goes part time forcing you into a worse situation.”

    No, the worse situation is if you are taken to a tribunal for sex discrimination and fined very large amounts because you thought you could save a few bucks by not employing someone because you thought they were more likely to get pregnant and need to take time off.

    That is why the penalties for discrimination are so severe. They are intended to make employers stop and think before assuming that random women of child bearing age should be discarded automatically from being employed.

  57. Rock on. Lodur’s post needed a response. Seriously, discussion of raider stereotypes, especially gender-based ones, needs to only be found in sarcastic humor posts.

  58. Princess = Freeloader
    Diva = Control freak

    Those seem pretty gender neutral…

    So what would you use instead of Lootwhore?

  59. I’ve always thought men should have the right to maternity leave as well, same amount of time, same rights.
    It’s definitely not fair that my wife gets to stay home and spend time with the baby while I get 5 days off, then back to work. I might not be breast-feeding, but I still wake up at night, change diapers, go for a stroll, all that – and I want the same bonding time women get!
    That’s very discriminative against men, and yeah, it makes hiring women a liability – which is just absurd. Wish I had more people join my cause, but that will not come true in the next hundred years or so… sad, but probably true.

    You can always sue or fine companies for sexual discrimination, cause apparently the fear of law suits is the only thing that moves the US to do the right thing. If you give a right based on gender, you cant force people to overlook it when making decisions, that’s just a bad system that promotes discrimination by trying to prevent it. Dumb imo.
    .-= Wangari´s last blog ..Speculation Cataclysm =-.

  60. @2ndnin: I recognised the origin of the header image.. my point is that an image of a screaming girl immediately primed the audience for an article about girls stamping their feet to get their way (like we’ve heard so many times).

    Even if the picture was apt, it gave the article a negative slant towards females right out of the gates, and really didn’t do Lodur any favours.

    It may have been apt, but a different header and some (genuinely) neutral labels would have made a huge difference.. rather than trying to rely on disclaimers.
    .-= Keeva´s last blog ..The new Empowered Touch – will you use it? =-.

  61. @2nd Nin

    Please don’t make assumptions. Your world experiences are not universal. I never use the phrase “going out with the girls” nor does any adult male I know say he is “going out with the boys”. We generally say we are going out with our friends and leave it at that. Just as we refer to our mail carrier and not our “mailman” and the chair or chairperson of our committees not “chairman”. You see it is possible to be gender neutral and allow for the possibility that a woman might hold those positions.

    I am completely sad for you. I do not know if you are male or female but your life experiences have clearly not informed you. Perhaps you are very young. But to think that when and women have equal power in the workplace is preposterous. Women do not get paid the same, do not get promoted in equal quantities for the same positions, AND as it also pertains to Wow and pointed out by Sydera and others–often start from a position of supposed incompetence from which they must continually reprove their competence or face being slotted into some ancient negative sterotyping. Men have not of that. Men are assumed competent, are given more chances to succeed, are often considered to need the higher pay or promotion “more” than the woman, and the sterotypes about men tend to be favorable ones.

    To ignore all this and the statistics women and children and poverty and domestic violence at the hands of men is just bizarre. But this is frankly, far afield.
    And I will leave it here. We will have to agree to disagree. You are seeing a world that I obviously do not see. You seem convinced that women are in danger of getting “extra” rights that males do not have. If that were the case, Sydera would not have had to right her post and we wouldn’t be cheering her on. We women would all be sitting back all secure in our equality and “extra” rights.

    Sydera, thanks for the excellent post . It has generated some thoughtful commentary.

  62. Personally, I found that both articles were good reads. Both had their points.

    I actually must comfess that I was more disapointed with the opening of Syd’s article rather than Lodur’s. Both have some very good points, and I can understand being upset. However, here is my thought for the day.

    Is something like words on a computer screen really worth getting so upset about?

    I understand what Syd says about feminism. If more people would proscribe to that style of feminism, I think that the movement would go MUCH farther. 🙂 That being said, even if Lodur’s post was more pointed to the female half of the species… is that what we should really be worry about? Or, instead, should we be worrying about how some people took such great offense at something like that, something on a computer screen, and something that was not INTENDED to be anti-feminist?

    I say no. We should not be.

    Like everything else on the internet, we need to take what we read with a grain of salt. Read it. Digest it. Think about it. But don’t get upset by it! People are people and we all have opinions. The way to sway someone to your side is not to react emotionally, but rather with calm, cool facts and well reasoned debate, exactly as Syd has done.

    I REALLY like both articles. They are both examples of good blogs and good items to read. I find myself as someone who can easily see both sides.

    However, I guess what I am trying to say is, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. Don’t overreact. Take time, like Syd did, to think about what about the situation bothered you and come back with a good and reasoned argument.

    Only then will you win people over to your side of the debate.


  63. Lots of good discussion today and two great entries from arkslaw (above) and Sydera. Thanks for writing a counterpoint to Lodur’s article, but I really think both viewpoints were valuable on some level to move the understanding of stereotypes and gender in wow beyond the same old arguments.

    At the end of the day, you earn your reputation beyond what any stereotype says…and so remember that the next time you go play in a PUG.
    .-= DFitz´s last blog ..Welcome to Azeroth Version 3.2 =-.

  64. Bravo Lodur! Bravo


    Well this seems to be a hot topic. It seems that Lodur’s post has been taken drastically out of context, and has become a sexist issue discussion.

    I would like to hear from Lodur about this.

  65. @ Infectious (et al) — I don’t think anyone is bashing Lodur specifically for writing what he wrote — in fact, a lot of what he wrote is right on the money. For many of the women reading this, however, his post resonnated with the subtext that it’s mostly women who indulge in this kind of infantile, threatening and/or dramatic behaviour. That’s probably not at all what Lodur intended (though if he did, it’s his platform, he can say what he likes).

    Both articles are vital to this discussion and should be read together. Whatever we may think of the debate, *having* debates is how ideas, preconceptions, rules, and cultural stereotypes get changed. It doesn’t so much matter what we each think as that we can discuss our views in a moderately civil fashion.

    In fact, I’m amazed at what a model of restraint these comments have been. Thanks all for the insights.
    .-= Ysharros´s last blog ..She’s not a feminist, but… =-.

  66. After reading this whole page again I’d have to say that generalization issues make this topic nearly impossible to discuss in an open and unrestrained environment like this. Since most people seem to base their opinion on anecdotal evidence and cultural differences are only barely being acknowledged, the majority of this might as well be cloudreading.

    I agree that this blog shouldn’t be strictly limited to WoW, but at least it’s a topic that provides a much better common ground for discussion than gender bias around the world.

  67. @Dynalisia: It sparked a long interesting discussion with good posts on both sides (with a couple of trolls mixed in, whatever) – how is this bad? If you don’t care, don’t read.

    @Volanta: The “gender neutral word” feminism is, in my opinion, hurting the cause much more than it helps. For one, it makes a laughing stock out of you if you insist on it, and it’s hard to take anyone seriously that spends time and effort on pointless crusades. There are things that are well worth fighting for, including but not limited to, equal pay, equal opportunities in the workplace and protection from the biological “disadvantage” that women have to carry out babies. But instead people waste their time on trying to stop people from saying mail man? Girls night out is suddenly discriminating? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    I know a (female) university professor over here, who literally explodes when people put her title in the “correct gender”. In German, feminists want female professors to be called “Frau Professor”, which roughly translates into “women professor”. Apparently professor is a male title. Instead of accepting that she is just as good as any man in her field and giving her the same title, those feminists try to single her out by giving her a separate title. That’s not only pointless but actively hurts your cause. Stop the semantics already and have a look at the real issues instead. Maybe we can actually have equality then someday, semantics are not getting you an inch closer to it.
    .-= scrusi´s last blog ..Resto Shamans in 3.2 =-.

  68. Thank you, and three cheers, Sydera, for your well thought out and well written post. I feel a little sorry for Lodur as I’m sure he never intended to write a slur on female gamers – but isn’t that the point, that language is loaded in many ways against women so there are many negative concepts for which it’s a considerable effort to use words that *aren’t* gender specific. Consider the different connotations of ‘pairs’ of terms such as bachelor/spinster, master/mistress, wizard/witch, dog/bitch (when applied to people). Language both exposes and imposes prejudice. Keitosalmon asked if there was any gender neutral term Lodur could have used instead of Diva or Bitch or Femme Fatale – the question is, surely, why are all those very specifically female terms loaded with negative connotation, and where are all the male-specific pejoratives that should, statistically speaking, be available as their counterparts? Why is ‘Princess’ a bad thing to be labelled, but ‘Prince’ is not?

    Also, I would like to thank you for helping to rescue the word ‘feminism’ from the pairing of pejorative terms (‘bra-burning’, ‘hairy-legged’, ‘feminazi’) with which it has been harnessed for too long. As a technique to discredit the whole concept and ideal of feminism this has been depressingly effective, as illustrated by your own “I’m not a feminist but…” example. I found the following article to be a refreshingly clear statement of definition that made me once again proud to identify myself as a feminist:

  69. This article and the comments made me think. I applaud you for speaking your mind, and I for one agree.

    Also, instead of loot whore, may I suggest Greedypants or greedy goblin. Same basic idea, but now with less sexism!

  70. Thanks Sydera 🙂

    Some people seem to think it’s an overreaction but I see it as a persuasive writer giving us an insight into an issue she’s passionate about and making us think about ourselves in the process.

    Interestingly, what I think I’m trying to express when I go to say “I’m not a feminist but” is “I don’t fit your definition of a feminist but” or “I don’t want to say I’m a feminist because I don’t want you to stereotype me based on what you think a feminist is, but”. I don’t think saying that is to please men at all, to me it’s saying, I have this opinion but I don’t want to be labelled for it 🙂

  71. @ scrusi

    Please spend some time reading and educating yourself about the power of language and the influence it has on the way it the perceptions we have of each other. If language were not so powerful, why have we evolved from calling African-Americans “colored people” , Indians “Native Americans, Asians “Orientals” etc.? Calling grown women “girls” diminishes them and makes them less than equal to men–even if it is subconsciously. Just as many other terms we have used to create otherness in “different” groups from the white male have. Most people do it without thought and aren’t aware of it, other can’t wrap their mind around it because they are resistant to change it’s the “way we’ve always talked” and they perceive language as frozen instead of fluid and everchanging. And, of course, the average white male has no incentive to change unless he is a feminist and interested in equality and a better life for his female relatives, friends, and perhaps lover/spouse.

    @ Frangus

    Is anyone upset? I think people on both sides are having a well-reasoned discussion here. Or are you assuming we are women and therefore must be upset. *giggle*.

  72. @scrusi

    Oh no, of course not! 🙂

    I am merely pointing out that an emotional reaction from someone who believes strongly about something, be they male OR female, can react badly to something. 🙂 I overreact CONSTANTLY. 🙂 It is one of my character flaws and something that I have worked very hard to minimize.

    I have enjoyed the discussion. I did think that quite a few people’s immediate reactions to Lodur’s piece would have been much more mild if they had taken a moment to chill and think. 🙂 Same with the way that a VERY FEW reacted to Syd’s piece.

    I try to be laid back and calm… but it is something that I have had to work on. It has made my life infinitely better. 🙂


  73. I think it’s interesting over at wow_ladies on LJ how it’s common for girls to rant about “guild princesses” they have encountered, and other such stereotypes. I’m actually assuming the term originated there, though I’m not sure. It was the first place I heard it, although I don’t frequent too many other WoW communities.

    I know a lot of the members there have issues with the term too, but I wonder if people are more riled up here since Lodur is male? >.> Is it more acceptable for females to rant about our own gender?

  74. Speaking from a WoW perspective, Lodur’s post has merit in that, these stereotypes, DO EXIST. and they DO CAUSE PROBLEMS. The issue which he was trying to bring up was, in fact, to keep an eye out for these stereotypes in your own guild and to nip said problem in the bud. Male OR Female.

    To argue about the choice of words is to simply argue about conventional words used to describe the situations in question. If I found someone acting like a princess, I’m not going to spend time finding another word used. Male OR Female, I’m going to call them a princess and attempt to get the issue dealt with. Chances ae, most would, because the significance is in the issue itself, rather than your descriptive term. There are better terms, but sometimes, your just going to use the easiest term. The point is the destructive situation behavoir, not what you decide to call it, to mistake it for anything more is to miss the point.

    Such as with the situation of a female riding on their boyfriends coattails. This DOES happen, and yes, if one is attempting to become a mainstay raider, she should be under extra scrutiny to ensure she isn’t just getting through due to her significant others “ability\. Now apply to the reverse, a boyfriend riding on his girlfriends coattails. Just change the word she above to a he. I’ve seen both situations happen and both disrupt a guild significantly. More often in Vanilla where fewer players saw endgame content.

    To continue with my above example, the reason the female one is more often noticed is simple statistics. You have 1000 male players and 500 female players. Both have 20 such situations occur. More people would notice the female ones because there is less in the first place. In fact in WoW itself more male players play the “princess” role because there’s more male players in the first place. However, when it occurs involving a female player, more people would notice and treat it with more significance because its a rare situation in a minority therefore looking more common than it actually is.

    Also, to say the male gamers are inexperienced with interacting with females as the norm is in itself a negative, gender specific stereotype.

    Anyway, thats just my reaction to this whole situation for TL:DR version – Missing the Point

  75. If I read the comments here I can’t help that people read Lodur’s article as an article about archetypes of female gamers.

    This is not how I read the article.
    I read the article as: “let’s discuss 1 archetype: the guild princess, with the different subtypes.”

    Where in my opinion this archetype only concerns a small minority of gamers, male or female in the game.

  76. @volanta: I have read a bit (Nothing extensive, mind you. A couple of papers really.) about that topic during my studies and that was one of the reasons why I didn’t pursue that direction any further in my education.

    I can understand losing words that are clearly used in a derogatory way (i.e. the N word) – but girls don’t become women when they flip 18, not really.
    I call women I meet socially girls and those who I meet officially women. I use ladies for both when I feel like it. I do the same exact thing for males (obviously with the respective words.) This has nothing to do with discrimination (unless you suggest that referring to the gender difference is inherently sexist.) and everything with social function. And maybe age in that considerably older females are often called women and not girls – again because of their social function.

    In fact, if a friend told me that he met a woman last night I would be far less interested in the story than if he had used the term girl. You see a woman on your way to work but you meet a girl at a party. No discrimenation, just naming of recognized patterns.

    If we would be talking about derogatory terms like “babe” or “chick” I could actually understand where you are coming from. It’s true that semantics can matter – but I feel that feminists (as a gross generalization) are wasting far too much time on reaching far to deep.

    (Same thing on the racial issue. I honestly wouldn’t mind being profiled as white or, hell, pink – because that’s what I am. Even though I find pink a terrible color. In fact, “black” is mostly seen as racist because the same people that used the N word before were then coerced to use “black” instead. I personally find “African American” more derogatory than “black” by a long shot. You don’t go around calling other people “Irish American” or “European American” do you? You single out the black population instead of making them equal. Obama is the first black president of the US, not the first afro-american one. That’s a real step towards equality. )

    To sum up: Get rid of clearly derogatory terms, but don’t overdo it. And realize that while some terms may, in some cases, be used in a derogatory way (“she’s just a girl”) similar examples can often be found on the other side (“he’s just a boy”). Add to that, that some of “your” (read: the various feminists) proposed changes are either just humorous (“Thank you madame chairperson” – really?) or even derogatory to yourself (as in the professor & black examples above.)
    .-= scrusi´s last blog ..Resto Shamans in 3.2 =-.

  77. @Debrashavi
    “What evidence do you have? Like you were there and know this for a fact? Get real or get out.”

    Firstly I won’t know if I was there, I have been on many servers and have seen said group mentioned in trade before as well as many other troll attempts so I can’t honestly say (perhaps if you had more details?). The evidence I have is your story, putting it as a simple narrative we get:

    A group [of female gamers] was mentioned in trade
    A statement appears insulting said group [of female gamers] using stereotypes
    A defense is made of the group
    A series of whispers are received in support against the insults

    From what I can see and from normal trade chat behaviour this would appear to be the phenomenon referred to as “an internet troll”, commonly abbreviated to “troll”. You reference this “attack” on your community as a horrible occurrence with a misogynist basis rather than assuming it is a troll. Of our two theories mine has the most support on the internet (see the internet farkwad theory or simply Occam’s razor in that in a situation with no comeback people can act without fear of retaliation). Just because you are a female group does not make any attack on you misogynist, sometimes they just want to provoke a response or dislike you as a person.

    As for getting real, you are talking about being up in arms essentially over one comment when the overwhelming majority expressed a don’t care or positive response to you and your defence. You got trolled, and it worked out well. That is the most likely reality of what happened without further information, now if the perpetrator was a known misogynist or has expressed serious serious misogynist views then your theory becomes more likely, but that would require evidence on your behalf to prove.

  78. @ Volanta

    Maybe when 2 males and 3 females are waiting to go on a trip in a people carrier and the driver (happens to be a male in this case) turns round to the other male and says “Hey, check to see if the girls are ready and we can set off” he actually means “Check to see if the girls are ready and we can set off” and not “Haha secret dig at the women there, mwhahahaha”.

    I agree with scrusi, down with derogative terms, stop the other P.C. madness.

    And for the record I hear females use the term “going out with the girls” frequently.

  79. One of the things I wanted to convey in this article was the idea that you can’t “save” these stereotypes by changing their names. They are, intrinsically, stories our culture tells about “bad” women.

    Let’s say we follow a commenter’s suggestion and rename the types the Freeloader, the Control Freak, and the Sexual Predator. Ok, these names are now gender neutral–but they also mean something entirely different from what Lodur’s terms meant. They have lost whatever didactic purpose they had. Sure, watch out for sexual predators, but doesn’t that mean nasty men who prey on children, not people out for a vent conversation with another adult?

    I don’t want to invent stereotypes to replace stereotypes. I want to break people’s attachment to stereotypes as a lens for understanding the world.

    And on offensive language–I’m actually not offended by the words girl, chick, or babe. Every feminist will define her take on language differently–there’s no code that says how I have to think or feel. For me, I’m ok with the three words I’ve mentioned because they have positive connotations–youth, cuteness, beauty. They are also words women can use to refer to each other–positively. I’m a hell of a lot more offended by princess than chick. After all, chicks are nice little animals. I call one of my best friends chickie-poo (and have since we were 14–that will have to be my excuse). I disliked the terms in Lodur’s article because they all had very strong negative connotations. Either they were words to describe women’s behavior or words used for men who acted like women. Either way the common denominator is “womanly” behavior.

    Interestingly, I added one word to Lodur’s formulation, bitch, and it’s got a complicated history kind of like the n-word or “queer.” All three words have been “reclaimed” by the communities they were traditionally used against–that’s another trick of the weak, by the way. I’m not particularly offended when I hear bitch in everyday life, especially when women use the term. Women have “accepted” bitch, giving it new, positive connotations when used among themselves. As in, if I call somebody a “tough bitch,” I’m expressing admiration. I have a college friend that calls me bitch-o, and I find that funny. I think it’s her way of saying she thinks I’m a strong woman. But that’s just me and my particular tiny social group. That said, I’m not going to be crazy about it if a man calls me bitch in a way that’s meant to sting. People will complain that they can’t use bitch freely, in all contexts, especially if a feminist like me can say it sometimes (carefully, and only in a positive way), but them’s the breaks when you’re dealing with a disadvantaged or minority group from the outside. The use of language–who gets to use it, how, and in what context–is a very nuanced thing. I expect some flames for this, but well, if it clears anything up for one person, it’s worth it.

  80. Enjoyed this post. thanks Sydera.

    In regards to some comments that suggest you shouldn’t bring your identity into WoW (like you wouldn’t bring up politics etc): when you get into a relatively serious raiding guild you’ll find yourself spending many hours a week with the same group in what amounts to a giant open telephone conversation. Pretty hard to be part of that and not bring your identity into it.

    Usually when I talk about Divas in WoW I’m thinking of a string of demanding I’m-not-going-to-sheep-that mages and warlocks that I’ve raided with who not only think they know best, but believe they are somehow above doing the hard/boring stuff. Hopefully others out in the gaming community are also starting to disassociate this word with women.

    I like to think that in game I stay true to my personality. I think it helps that my siblings and some friends play who know me in RL and are also part of my in game circle of friends – keeps me grounded. However I have to be very careful over vent not to come across as flirtatious, and this is where I break with my RL behavior the most I think. I bite back my jokes/teasing comments a lot.
    .-= Cassandri´s last blog ..Tier 8 vs Tier 9 Gear Comparison =-.

  81. I agree largely with what Sydera said there in that redefining the stereotype doesn’t help since it doesn’t accurately portray the behaviour of the group. However bad the word itself and the stereotype though I cannot help but think that the current cultural definitions make those words the best ones to use precisely because they already come attached with the behaviour you want to generalise.

    I am from a technical back ground and from that perspective it is so much easier to be able to generalise. So lets talk about wrenches…

    You want a tool to loosen bolts, you know the mechanism you want to use and you ask for a wrench. Now wrenches are individuals as well (coming in many sizes, with different heads and stuff), but the idea of needing a wrench conveys the basics automatically of what I want. If what I actually wanted was an allen wrench I am likely to get the wrong thing because my generalisation was bad because my wrench is normally something akin to a spanner.

    So using the term Princess might not be the best because its “womanly” behaviour and can be read into. However as a tool to say “privileged and wanting stuff done for them for nothing and likely without thanks” then it becomes a useful description much like wrench generically applies to a ridiculous number of tools.

    What we need to do (as a society and as individuals) is move beyond jumping on words and look at what people actually mean, if all someone says is Princess you need to qualify if they mean a torque princess or an allen princess otherwise you end up looking silly.

  82. Was I the only girl not “seriously disturbed” by Lodur’s post? I mean…was it biased? Yes. Was it, perhaps, not as well-thought-out as it could have been? Perhaps. But it’s just a game in the end. All that it showed me is that people think of girls like that, sure…but girls think of WoW guys in the same light.

    There’s the lazy loot whore, the angry mid-raid-logger, the terrible rl friend, the “I’m too good for WOW” guy (who talks constantly of his female conquests and partying)…not to mention the “guy who hits on everything that moves and several things that don’t.” I’ve never run into ANY of these female stereotypes aimed at myself. I play with quality players who don’t judge on this sort of stuff. I think THAT is the biggest difference. Who cares if a few guys think this stuff? It was the biggest lesson I learned when I was an officer – there are injustices and false opinions. Do what you can to change them by being the opposite of what they imagine.

    Instead of a point-by-point analysis of something that was better left dead, I would rather have read “Archetypes of the Male Gamer” as a counter. I do appreciate you voicing your opinion on something that hurt, but I think that one should take it as a simple-minded guy’s opinions and nothing more.

    Plus, one key point I want to make: Lodur entitled his article as “stereotypes.” He didn’t say “the personalities of all girl gamers.” Stereotypes means what one generally (and often incorrectly) assumes of a group of people. I don’t think he meant for people to take it as people have seemed to. Because let’s face it: those ARE our gender’s stereotypes! They aren’t correct AT ALL, and I don’t believe that they were written to be taken as gospel.

  83. quoting Tulani: “Because let’s face it: those ARE our gender’s stereotypes! They aren’t correct AT ALL, and I don’t believe that they were written to be taken as gospel.”

    I’m still not sure why people think it’s okay that there are NO positive narrative frames for women in a game. The closest I could think of, in terms of an actual positive female type, was “guild mom,” and to me, that would not be a positive thing.

    I do think there are some for men–the strong raid leader, the uber tank, etc.

    If I did a post on “archetypes of the male gamer,” it wouldn’t be possible to fill the list with pure negatives. Even stereotypes like The Jerk would probably be termed good gamers. And why would I want to make a post in which I deliberately try to bash male gamers, when I think stereotypes are crap anyway? I don’t see this as men v. women but rather people for equality v. people for traditional roles.

    I think that gender discrimination is worth looking at in any part of life. It’s a big part of the human experience–not just mine, but everyone’s. If people want to ignore it, that’s fine, but I choose not to.

  84. “The Strong Tank” in one of my guilds would have applied to a woman. I know plenty of strong raid leaders who are women – and honestly, “strong raid leader” to me says woman just because of those experiences. If you choose to see those titles as “for men” then that’s because of your experiences and visions – not because anyone makes you. That’s how roles work. The only “roles” we have are the ones we put ourselves and others into.

    Besides, if we’re going to say “The Strong Tank” is a male’s role, then “The Lighting-Fast Healer” could be a woman. A title I would happily accept 😛 And that’s how I think roles should be placed – on the player, not on the gender. Like I said, I don’t agree with Lodur’s post, but I don’t necessarily agree with points in your’s. I’ll chalk it up to different outlooks.

  85. I’m an officer (the only female one) in a raiding guild I’m also healing lead. Honestly the other officers do tend to leave all things healing to me. But I have had my fair share of frustrations in game.

    Here’s the part where it gets frustrating these men are by no means sexist in inclination for the most part.

    Usually the biggest thing is the other officers disregarding my suggestion/comments especially when it comes to raiding strats, boss abilities etc. Specifically knowledge that I usually learn first hand on PTR’s concerning new bosses, and even other small game details. When I pass along that knowledge its disregarded/ignored.

    The funny thing is my significant other is also an officer. And I’ve gotten to the point where I just tell him to type it or say it on vent. Which guarantees that the information will be acknowledged. It’s a funny little test I’ve been doing for a while now. It also leads to less frustration in the long run trying to make my voice be heard.

    I’ve even had some healers whose stated goal was to not be out “played” by a female. Whatever that’s supposed to mean… its too funny because I’ve never seen it that way.

    In a lot of ways its very interesting to watch all of this in a petry dish, social experiment sort of way, but over time I’ve found it to be very, very draining constantly having to prove my right to be healing lead. I understand there’s always a certain amount of pressure that the masses apply to anyone in a position of authority. In my particular case the comments/challenges that I usually get are gender based.

  86. Femaleofficer12, I can vouch that that happens to guys as well. In various guilds I have been in as MT or pretty much MT the RL / GL has ignored my strategies until I post them on wowwiki. We had something like 5 priest healers for Void Reaver (and void reaver alarm was not working so the ranged were dying like flies), my suggestion was a fully melee ranged attempt, ignored for several weeks till it appeared on wowwiki as “the alternate strategy”… then suddenly it became viable.

    Unless your RL or GL is open and willing to accept other strategies you get nowhere making suggestions. As demi-raid-leader in other guilds I listen to others and try to make it work because I know I miss things that others might catch.

  87. @Sydera

    “And on offensive language–I’m actually not offended by the words girl, chick, or babe. Every feminist will define her take on language differently–there’s no code that says how I have to think or feel. For me, I’m ok with the three words I’ve mentioned because they have positive connotations–youth, cuteness, beauty.”

    “I disliked the terms in Lodur’s article because they all had very strong negative connotations. Either they were words to describe women’s behavior or words used for men who acted like women. Either way the common denominator is “womanly” behavior.”

    The “positive” connotations that you’ve given to “girl, chick, or babe” are a result of what society has commonly used to objectify women based on [usually] physical features, which is negative and counter-intuitive to the concept of equality for all. But yet you like them.

    The terms used in Lodur’s article are what society has commonly used to describe abrasive behavior found historically exhibited more commonly by women, which is also negative and counter-intuitive to the concept of equality for all.

    Girl, chick, babe – common denominator? Positive physical female features.
    Diva, princess, bitch – common denominator? Negative “womanly” behavior.

    It sounds more like you’re willing to accept “positive” stereotypes (babes are called as such because they’re attractive) but will renounce the negative ones. This isn’t a debate on the nuances of language. Your choice to accept the girl, chick, and babe shed quite a bit of light on where you stand as far as female stereotypes go and it detracts from the whole point of this post and your follow-up comments.

  88. I don’t think girl, chick and babe are coding for any specific story. They’re terms of endearment, like dude.

    I call lots of people dude (both genders).

    To me, one of my friends opening an email with “Hey babe!” is like someone in Spanish or Italian saying “ciao, bella” or “hola, guapa.” They’re words often used among women as pet names. In fact, my major experience of all three words is women (that I love) using them for other women.

    I also don’t think calling children kids or kiddos is demeaning. I call my students the equivalent in Spanish and they like it. It’s meant to be affectionate.

    French people call each other cabbages as a term of endearment.

    Language is funny.

    People see what they want to see in anything–and Dianovia wants to find a bone to pick with me. Now, if we were discussing some stereotype behind Chick–which is a word that I think has really lost most of its content, then that would be one thing. But I think for most people it’s as neutral as kiddo. Then again–maybe Dianovia is in a different age group and social group from me, and thus has a different experience. I’d be glad to hear about that.

    What I’m not glad to hear about is when people expect All Feminists (or all, say, people of color) to feel exactly the same way on every point–as if we’re some sort of fake people, imitation humans, if we don’t perform exactly according to each person’s preconceived notion of the word. I try to take a nuanced look at absolutely everything I do and think–and I try to represent my feelings honestly and accurately. As a real person, I’m going to be idiosyncratic, and I’m not going to fit anyone’s checkboxes exactly. No one does.

  89. I gave both “babe” and “chick” as examples because both of them (babe more so than chick in my experience) are used to reduce women to their sexual features. Now, I consider sexual attractiveness in women to be a good thing (hey, I’m a guy after all :P) so clearly both terms can have good connotations. But a woman means much more to me than just her looks and these terms exclude everything else.

    I would actually consider “babe” a stereotype, describing women that limit themselves to looking as good as possible. Fittingly enough, these often end up with guys that call their girlfriends (Womenfriends? Personfriends of the female variety?) babe. Funny how that works. In that far I can understand Dianovia, the difference between “babe” and “princess” as concepts is blurry at best. I’ve seen princess used in positive connotations too. (And, hey, Diva used to be a title. It only became a stereotype because of some common behaviour among those star singers.)

    Of course it would be optimal if we could examine every person we meet carefully, but we really can’t. Pattern recognition (or stereotyping if you will) helps us to quickly filter out those people that we don’t want to have around. It also helps to convey a description of a person to other people. “He’s a great tank but a bit of a diva” is a helpful piece of information and far shorter than describing that person’s behaviour in detail. “She’s such a spoiled princess” is also easily understandable and conveys much meaning in a very short sentence. Stereotypes are useful, I’d even say necessary. We use them for almost all things in our life. If I use the word “fork” you know what kind of tool I’m referring too, without ever seeing my fork nor needing a description of it. It may be a very special fork and meaning gets lost on the way, but in almost all cases your imagination of my fork will be spot-on in every aspect that counts. A diva is just the same.
    .-= scrusi´s last blog ..A Theory of Small Steps =-.

  90. Sydera, people aren’t expecting feminists to act with a single brain or a single unifying concept, we understand that within movements there are a range of people and view points.

    The hard part about feminism is how broad the category is. It runs from the simple first dictionary definition of a person interested in equality, to the second dictionary definition of someone interested in promoting and increasing female rights and representation (no mention of equality). From there it gets worse, you can tack almost any verb or noun onto feminism and wiki it from “sex positive” feminists to “radical” feminists to who knows. The issue is then that if someone attacks the radical end (say McKinnock or Dawkin) you are then seen to be attacking “feminism” and all of the “feminists” rally to defend the point.

    Secondly the field has developed so much loaded language and internal meaning. If a non-feminist argues that there is no such thing as a patriarchy as evidenced by female presidents and prime ministers, votes for women etc they are yelled down and told that feminism is not under discussion. The issue there is that the feminists don’t want to explain that the term patriarchy refers to an underlying system and not to the meaning of the word, and that they do not want to have to actively define it because doing so alienates certain groups of feminists.

    Language as you note is important, you dislike the term princess, but like chick, you also want to be a moderate feminist yet by accepting the term you are placed in with others who make terms like princess seem like nothing.

  91. @Sydera: IMO, there absolutely is a positive narrative term for females in MMOs; One of the Guys, indicating that she enjoys absolute equality with her male counterparts in the guild. By the bar laid out in the comments and your post, I would imagine that to be received as high praise indeed.

    @Volanta: First, you could stand to take your own advice some; language does indeed need to be carefully used and considered. To me, however, you appear to want equality w/out responsibility; condemning others in the same breath you violate your request of them. Your biting remarks do your point no justice, especially given that the thrust of scrusi’s post was that semantic arguments do nothing more than diminish the righteousness of your end goals. And that is something I find to be absolutely correct.

    So, Lodur’s post. I posted nothing there, because it is what it is. IMO, it’s a reasonably well thought out perspective on individuals who cause drama; sadly, the case is the loudest drama deals with women. You don’t really see stories about guys selling sex for 5k gold in WoW. You don’t see posts about guys flirting with the GM and all their officers, promising pictures of their enormous manhoods to guarantee a raid spot or piece of loot, regardless of performance.

    However, in the last few years, I have seen stories on several MMO news outlets or blogs detailing instances of those two exact situations, with women. As 2ndNin and others have mentioned, stereotypes exist because they are based in reality. Are they, from time to time unfairly applied? Absolutely they are, and it’s sad when it happens. However, such is life; it’s simply not fair(and I could tell stories for hours, albeit unrelated to the topic at hand detailing that).

    Ultimately, I don’t really have much more to say on the matter. I find that 2ndNin’s posts are everything I could want to say, and worded very well. The search for equality between the sexes is truly it’s own worst enemy.

    As a member of the Armed Forces, I see this on a daily basis with PT requirements. Equality there is a joke; physical requirements are adjusted down for women, and waivers for physical strength are more common than they should be. Case in point: I have several friends who have spent time in the aircraft maintenance careerfield. Due to the amount of heavy lifting involved, there is a strength requirement. To be able to do your job, you NEED to be capable of lifting large amounts of weight. One maintainer in particular went to technical training school with a girl who was 5′ 2″, weighed less than 100lbs and had a hard time lifting more than 15lbs over head easily. The requirement for being able to clean 70lbs+ was waived, and she was sent on her way to school as well. Fast forward to the last few months, when that strength requirement bit her; she could not carry her toolbox out to perform work. Ultimately, she was reclassed as a linguist. The point? There are women who label themselves feminists that would decry this fact as unfair. Why shouldn’t she be allowed to continue? Please note that I do not make this point to decry feminists after true equality. After all, I have known several female maintainers who truly set the standard in their units.

    But that is the true measure of equality. Equality among the sexes is ONLY when it is equal across the borders, and the same expectations are put into place. Matters of maternity leave, half days and the like either need to go out the door, or there should be similar measuers available for men in the workplace. 2ndNin’s point about women who take maternity leave and return to half days, or terminate employment is particularly interesting to me, as I’ve seen it on a fairly frequent basis in the military; women who get pregnant, and STAY pregnant to avoid deployments, work, etc. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing equal about that. She’s getting paid, receiving benefits, etc to have children at that point. A man going through similar medical issues and was unfit for duty would find himself medically discharged in very, very short order. Yet this behavior is considered fair?

    Ah well, such as it is, I’m well aware that I’ve put myself in a similar position to Lodur, and I’m fine with that. I’m also well aware that the situations I present are far from the norm, and I am thankful to the women who want true equality that strive to that end. I share in your struggles against those who willingly perpetuate the negative stereotypes perpetuated by but a few. It really is a miserable situation. But at the end of the day, it also nothing more than what it is.

  92. Thank you so much for this thoughtful response Sydera. Like so many of the commenters here, I read Lodur’s post and simply felt tired – commenting on it seemed like yet another uphill slog underwater that I just didn’t have the energy to face. Well, you did it so much more eloquently than I ever could have.

    As a senior officer and raid leader in my guild, I face the dreaded “double standard” every day. I tell someone to keep chat in vent to a minium while we’re fighting a boss, and I’m labelled at bitch. My GM does it, and he’s considered a strong leader. /sigh

    The positive experiences I have gaming however, still outweigh the negative so I will continue to move forward, wearing my “I’m a feminist” tabard for all to see.

  93. This is probably my last response here, but I have to say that I’m only down for 2ndNin’s “meritocracy” when there is an equality of opportunity for all people.

    I would also suggest to all of you that you be very, very careful generalizing what you know of one profession/country to the next. I’m going to use the question of maternity leave as an example. State laws vary really widely in the U.S. In addition, a lot of industries self-regulate, and for whatever reason, their protections for parents are lacking (for both genders).

    In some jobs, maternity leave is just for women.

    In some others, there are equal amounts maternity and paternity leave.

    In some jobs, there’s no maternity or paternity leave at all.

    In some jobs an employee has to put in a certain number of years before they earn maternity or paternity leave. (mine is in this category)

    Some jobs have no benefits whatsoever and the problems are a lot bigger than lack of maternity/paternity leave.

    It becomes very difficult to argue that women “have it easy” in life because they get good benefits somewhere, in some type of job. I’d like to see policies be more coherent. I’d like to see every job have a standard amount of maternity/paternity leave, and probably also an option for at least unpaid leave for care of elderly parents or sick kids.

    This is just one small example, but gender equality issues are always complex. Understanding them takes research and careful thought. I’m glad to spark conversations like this. I’m always shocked when I read how many people would prefer an even wider gender gap. I’m always surprised when members of relatively advantaged groups think that somehow minorities lead privileged lives. I should stop feeling surprised, though, as I see it so often. I wish I had a brain-switching machine that made it possible for people to exchange places. That would make so many things more clear (for me too, of course). No matter how hard I try to imagine what it’s like to be someone else (different education level, racial background, religious background, social class, gender, sexual orientation), I’m still me. I hope I’m a better me for the effort.

    What I ask of readers who have made it this far down the commentary is to take this issues and continue to examine them in different expressions of culture (not just MMOs). Gender issues are worth thinking and writing about. You don’t have to agree with me–though I’m glad if you do. What I really want is for people to be aware that controversies exist, and to at least make steps toward empathy with others. If you come out with a different opinion? Great. My own opinions on things are complex and nuanced. I never take the easy way out–thinking in slogans and stereotypes–and in this one thing I think I’m an example worth imitating.

  94. Sydera, haven’t we got equality of opportunity generally in at least the first 20-25 years of life now in many countries?

    Taking the example of the UK we all get the same pre-natal care, going on we receive the same schooling (or opportunity of schooling), and we receive reasonable access to university based upon that schooling. Leaving University we have a very low gender pay gap and discrimination caused primarily by career choice rather than actual gender or discrimination issues.

    The US is different since your higher education system is far more costly however generically Americans all have access to the same basic curriculum and with the internet it is far from hard to get far beyond that.

    The laws of the country already have equality of opportunity at their core, equality of outcome is totally separate and when its implemented it tends to fail (and is only applied positively not negatively). Even in the US you have had women in high ranking offices, so it is possible provided you don’t Segelene Royale yourself.
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  95. This may not be the best time to say this, but I’m gonna say it anyway:

    Smart, strong women are just amazing. (Under the circumstances, calling them “hot” is probably not the best idea, but the thought is there.)

    ‘Kay. I’m done.
    .-= Badger´s last blog ..Hunter’s Rise … ? =-.

  96. Damn. Not “done” after all.

    Sorry for the double-post, but your site is telling me the window of opportunity to edit my original Comment has come and gone.

    I wanted to add that I have, unfortunately, seen some examples of players who not only fit, but wholeheartedly embrace, the stereotypes you’ve cited above. Over on WoW Insider, I have seen so-called “Princesses” from time to time post about how easy their lives have become, simply by flaunting their femininity in-game. Free loot, reserved Raid spots, anything is apparently fair game for them. It’s the equivalent of bribery: Speak cutely into the microphone over Ventrilo and you’re guaranteed Epics, essentially. (Matticus, who posts there from time to time, may not have seen this himself, but it’s there – ironically, it often follows posts regarding feminism in-game. Don’t get me started on how I can’t stand the person writing most of those original posts, however.)

    Also, I would add that the archetype of “Divas” often suits – to an uncomfortably precise extent – the concept of “Gamer Grrls.” You’ve seen them from time to time, I’m sure: They’re the well-dressed, bitter yet flagrant female gamers who show up at gaming tournaments and expect to ascend to the highest echelons of gamer infamy simply on the virtue of being female. Unfortunately, this is easily turned into something “marketable” for some of these women. (I’m looking at YOU, so-called “Frag Dolls.”)
    .-= Badger´s last blog ..Hunter’s Rise … ? =-.

  97. Commenting as I continue to read:

    “The Wolf uses her sexuality as a weapon, and her tools are morally suspect–racy whispers filled with innuendo, even cyber sex. It’s an equivalent to online prostitution, and I have no doubt that there are in fact some real cases of such behavior.”

    Yep. Speaking from (very unfortunate) personal experience, they are definitely out there. You should see the alarming change in their personality when you threaten to forcibly remove them from a Guild (or sometimes even after you’ve already removed them).
    .-= Badger´s last blog ..Hunter’s Rise … ? =-.

  98. @ scrusi

    Here is my last word for you. (Not going to beat a dead horse any longer. 🙂 ) The studies show that if you refer to women as girls all the time while you refer to men as men or guys (but not boys) and you refer to all doctors or professionals as he (or always use that pronoun instead of a nongendered one), subconciously it becomes acceptable to think of women as something less–not equal to men.

    No one is demanding you change your behavior. I am merely suggesting you might want to be ahead of the curve. Society moves toward equality (the changes I spoke of previously in language affecting other lower status groups). Some people will catch on; some will not. Some don’t even get it–they think I am accusing them of calling women “girls” on purpose to insult them rather than it being a product of our culture.

    If you are ever interest I could recommend a few books. 🙂


    I don’t believe I said that I ever said that no one says “going out with the girls”. I believe I said that no one I know says that phrase. My friends are all professional women and, of course, are feminists as is every women playing this game–just to a different degree.

    And obviously, I do not believe language and gender is a mere matter of “PC correctness.”


    There is no tone in text. As a matter of fact I mentioned somewhere how nice the discussion was. It was very nice of you to come to scrusi’s defense, however. You are very sweet. You seem like a very nice boy.

  99. My last word to 2ndNin: the UK is not the US. Don’t get confused because we appear to speak the same language.

    There is no equality of opportunity in the US, either pre-25 or post. Every state has their own laws. I have lived in three of them, and the difference between, say, the rural South and Northern California is as great as the difference between two countries.

    Prejudice is an ingrained part of our society. People of color face it more often than women, but women confront it as well. Our government has also been radically changed since the Clinton years to protect business interests at the expense of the common people. Sure, it’s better to be poor in the US than in a developing nation–but does it follow that poor people in the US have a good life? Frankly, no.

    Gender, race, economics, religion–these continue to be hot-button issues in US society, and as most protections for the people are left to the state, laws that protect the less powerful are much less common and much less enforced than in Europe. A woman of color who grows up poor in the US faces incredible odds against her. There are a few examples of success, but they are the exceptions.

    I’ve also lived in France and so I’ve seen the other side. Though even in enlightened, women-friendly France, North Africans face a ton of prejudice that the system can’t quite undo.

    I’m very US-focused in this blog because, well, I’m a professor at a US university. American society is what I know.

    Let me compare your statement about the UK to the state I currently live in:

    “Taking the example of the UK we all get the same pre-natal care, going on we receive the same schooling (or opportunity of schooling), and we receive reasonable access to university based upon that schooling. Leaving University we have a very low gender pay gap and discrimination caused primarily by career choice rather than actual gender or discrimination issues.”

    In my home state (in the South), there are programs that provide pre-natal care to the poor. Like other social services programs in the US, they are difficult to navigate and require a woman to go through many application procedures. I have a friend who had to do this because her insurance specifically excluded maternity care. In the US, everyone’s insurance is different. Many people don’t have it at all, but those who do generally have a limited choice of plans from their employer. I’ve had better and worse coverage myself with different jobs, and my fiancé’s insurance is way better and more convenient than mine, while I pay more. We live in different states, which explains the difference.

    In the US, access to university is determined primarily by money. Grades and SATs factor in, but so does the location of one’s high school. Also, guess who has the best SATs? That’s right, rich kids who can afford private classes in how to take them. Private high school ($$$) raises the odds of university admission to something like 95%. Once you’re admitted, you have to pay. For an example from my own life, I was accepted to Yale, but there was no way I or my family could pay, even with loans. In the end, I took a scholarship to a much less prestigious school (and have been happy about that ever since). I was one of the “lucky ones.” I know many people with $100,000+ in college debt, and almost everyone’s opportunities were determined by money. Now, as a professor, I find that at least 15% of my students aren’t really qualified to do the level of work demanded by my college. However, they’re really rich! I call them the Junior Brain Dead.

    Leaving University, US residents face gaps in pay based on everything under the sun, including gender and race. We also face enormous unemployment. Women, like European women, often choose lower-paying jobs (teacher, nurse, etc) that are considered women’s professions. Young businesspeople–of both genders–are having a hell of a time of it right now. Everyone’s making less than they should. Of course, I know my own field best, but in my limited experience (other young faculty) there is actually a pay gap between men and women because each of us negotiates our salary individually. The point is that in the US salaries aren’t regulated. They vary at the company’s discretion. Some companies discriminate, and some don’t. It’s a huge country, and it’s both profoundly conservative and growing more conservative over time.

  100. @ Volanta

    Sorry, my end comment regarding “going out the the girls” wasn’t directed at just you, the little hyperthetical story above was though.

    Jason made some very good points: “@Volanta: First, you could stand to take your own advice some; language does indeed need to be carefully used and considered. To me, however, you appear to want equality w/out responsibility; condemning others in the same breath you violate your request of them. Your biting remarks do your point no justice, especially given that the thrust of scrusi’s post was that semantic arguments do nothing more than diminish the righteousness of your end goals. And that is something I find to be absolutely correct.”

    He’s not saying text does not have tone or meaning yet your sarcastic comment at the end suggested thats exactly what he was saying?

  101. @Sydera

    A large part of what you bring up is monetary based discrimination rather than class, race, or gender based.

    Ok I cannot actively compare the UK and the US then, however from the way it appears from an outsider’s perspective you do not have any laws mandating that women are second class citizens, nor do you have a political establishment that is against women in power (iirc McCain’s vice president , Sarah Palin, was female. The Secretary of state for George W Bush (Condoleezza Rice) was also female).

    Your culture is different to ours and it shows in many ways however looking at your government ( a large proportion (all bar 7%) of the wage gap can be explained in ways other than discrimination or sexism (and parts of that 7% have non-sexist roots as well from the looks of it), over all years from 1988 – 2007 when the gap varied between 28% and 11%. This seems to suggest that at least at government level your country is actually pretty equal, whether or not you have laws that say “a person doing the same job gets the same pay” I do not know off hand, however from what I have seen a lot of your culture is also more towards long work weeks, and a lot more non-salaried work compared to the UK (37.5 hrs suggested with governments wanting to enforce 40 maximums).

    The difference in education by race appears to track reasonably well towards the trends in income. This maybe a correlation rather than a causation however it would seem to fit that children who go to school in deprived areas tend to attain less from formal schooling (at least anecdotally I can confirm this from my own schooling). Again though this would seem to be a monetary discrimination rather than a gender or racial difference.

    Universities in the US will of course show far different results to the UK because of the massive cost incurred with your schooling system. However at the end of high school there seems to be about an 8% gap in attainment that rises to 20% at the end of university. It again may be correlation rather than causation but it seems related.

    I will leave the finer points of US life to you since you have first hand experience however at least from the outside while life may not be a bed of roses 7% is a hell of a lot better than Blizzard manages and they are working in a closed sandbox.


    Gender normalisation is coming, ok I can dig. So what term would you like for a group of MD Doctors (quacks obviously being off the table) and what gender neutral term would you like for a person since typing

    “The doctor saw me”

    instead of

    “He saw me”

    takes significantly more effort, can we settle on a useful term?
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  102. “Any romance with a Vixen is doomed”

    Met my boyfriend of 1.5 years on WoW and have been raiding with him ever since, I think he might disagree with this statement; I’m fairly certain his relationship with a Vixsin is going just fine. ^_^

    All humor aside, I think there are things worthy of intensive debate and those which become a waste of breath after the first 15 minutes of back-and-forth. Intelligent discussion is fine, but on this type of issue, it is rarely objective/unbiased. Confrontation of stereotypes is something I deal with daily outside of WoW, simply because I work in the construction industry and have a position of some power. I’ve been called names on both ends of the spectrum, by people with innocent and malicious intents alike. Gaming isn’t the first and only male-dominated arena, as so many have pointed out.

    Truly, what I believe it comes down to are your actions (and humor/ability to take adopt a higher perspective.) Debate is fine, but trying to argue someone into changing their stereotypes is a losing battle. Giving him/her actual reasons to discard them, however, is motivation that I rely on every time I set foot on a construction site or log into WoW. It’s a challenge–call me anything you’d like, throw any stereotype my way–and I’ll try to give you a reason to change your mind.

    Hopefully, in the end, the players (guys and gals) that I bump into in WoW can at least say they’ve met one Vixsin who didn’t align with the stereotype.

  103. @2ndNin, Sigh, now your comments are getting tiresome. It sounds like you have an axe to grind. If you want to ignore certain things, by all means you will find a way. Better examples would be to consider the differences between the ways McCain and Hillary Clinton were portrayed in the primaries. When they were both assertive, McCain was the strong leader while Hillary was the cold bitch or the tiger or whatever. Nancy Pelosi encounters the same challenges. Obama was also exceedingly careful about how he could allow himself to come across to the public as a man of color. If this doesn’t hint that there are still all manner of stereotyping at work, I’m not really sure what will. Considering a few exceptional situations without examining the process and other less successful examples is ignoring much. Witness the recent Gates controversy in the US.

  104. “The studies show that if you refer to women as girls all the time while you refer to men as men or guys (but not boys) and you refer to all doctors or professionals as he (or always use that pronoun instead of a nongendered one), subconciously it becomes acceptable to think of women as something less–not equal to men.”

    Is this some sort of joke?

    Nobody calls their woman, female, lady doctor (or other professional) “he”.

    It IS acceptable to think of women as not equal to men. I don’t want the woman I’ve been dating for a long while and sometimes have the pleasure of sharing quality time with while not being married to, to be equal to me. I suck at fixing plumbing, if she were equal to me she’d suck too, thank goodness she’s quite good at it.

    Don’t use “equal” You really don’t want to be equal to men. I’ve never met a bigger group of assholes and morons then men. You don’t want to equal that.

  105. A loot whore is a loot whore.

    A greedy goblin is a greedy goblin.

    There is no way calling somebody a greedy goblin will have the same impact (or meaning) as calling them a loot whore. Try again.

  106. @Briolante

    If you dislike my comments feel free not to read them.

    I have no axe to grind, in many ways I just like taking the opposing point of view to see how well arguements hold up.

    I linked various documents throughout my post which showed (from government sources) that some of the issues being brought up as massively imbalanced were actually far closer. I have been told it is ridiculously difficult to get ahead in various societies in spite of things like Section 9, and even the examples of women in all of the roles that they find it hard to get to.

    We didn’t get the same coverage of this election as America did (for some strange reason) however from an outsider’s perspective it seems that anyone with sufficient funding and a reasonable record can run for these roles and have a reasonable chance (not seen an election more than 60/40 that I can remember) which implies that there is a good percentage of the population would support the candidates.

    At each stage I have tried to support my views with backup, please refute and show me where I am going wrong if you want to. If you just want to hide behind the insult of saying I have an axe to grind is part of the same dismissive tactics used when someone has no real point and wants to shut down the discussion.
    .-= 2ndnin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  107. Thanks for this post. I found the one that you are referring to as being very distasteful. The main problem I saw was that all the options were negative–that a female gamer would then have to fit in one of these boxes.

    If we’re talking about categories for gamers, let’s go back to the GamerDNA profiles. If we want to discuss how people can be obnoxious in groups in MMOs, do it in a way that’s not gender-specific.

  108. @belck:

    I’ll be happy to write about WoW when WoW gives me something worth writing about!

    I’ve been wondering how exactly I’m going to say “3.2 is terrible” in new and interesting language.

  109. As so many said before, bravo Sydera. I’m a long-time reader and… well, I didn’t know how to respond to Lodur’s post. Like you said, I’m sure he meant nothing by it, but in a sense that’s part of the problem. Stereotypes are insidious beasts, and we often don’t realize how deeply our judgement is colored by them.

    It’s a bit unfortunate seeing how many people have completely missed the point here, but how do you condense down the entire subject of feminism in a form the internet will understand? I’ve always liked the quote “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” That’s sort of the jist of it – if you believe women should have the same rights as men, you’re a feminist.

    There’s so much fail in some of these comments here I don’t even know where to begin… I take some solace in the fact that, over the long term such attitudes must die out. And I do mean *long* term – many generations, at least. But I have some faith that people will someday learn that just because they ran into one female gamer who fit a stereotype does not make the stereotype any less harmful and wrong. (As I like to say, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”!) My guild’s main tank, top DPSer, and a seriously kick-ass healer are all female – but you don’t see me drawing the stereotype that women are superior players. I *have* seen my mom try to play, after all.

    But seriously guys, stereotypes: they’re bad for you. If you think “well, every stereotype has a grain of truth!” – even on the off-chance that the stereotype *is* statistically significant, which isn’t usually the case – you can’t judge individuals by that standard. Otherwise I’d probably assume because we’re all posting on a WoW Blog that we’re a bunch of pimply male virgins living in our parents’ basement, and I have some pretty incontrovertible evidence that’s not the case. My parents don’t even *have* a basement!

    Also, to the commenter who posted the “feminism —- equality —- misogyny” continuum, *feminism is about equality*. When you claim that gay pride is somehow a denunciation of straight values, your bigotry is showing. Seriously, you want a “Straight Pride Parade”? How about *every minute of every day* (void in some extremely cool and groovy places, like San Francisco). The majority, the power structure, is white heterosexual males. We do not *need* a parade, or affirmative action, or Title 9 or whatnot, for being white heterosexual males, because we already run the damn show. Not I in particular, as I often lament, mind you…

    Grrr… it just makes me so… *angry* sometimes. HULK SMASH PATRIARCHY!

    Anyway, thanks from a too-much-testosterone-for-his-own-good feminist, and here’s looking forward to the day when “feminist” sounds like “abolitionist” (well of course I’m an abolitionist, but I don’t need to explain to people why slavery is wrong on most days)… we ain’t there yet, but we’ll get there eventually. As the good Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

  110. You talk about not labeling people, yet you mention that every person that believes the sexes should be equal is a feminist. I don’t care how you define a feminist; I would be affronted if anyone would call me one without my consent. It’s the usual idiocy that plagues the world. Am I a socialist if I think everyone should get equal health care? No. Does it make me a capitalist if I oppose state owned corporations? No. Am I a cold blooded war machine who support every armed conflict if I am enlisted in the army? Of course not.

    The idea that there should be equality between the sexes isn’t feminism. It’s common sense. Humanism. That you’re calling it feminism is a grave mistake, since it suggests that only women (or men with “womanly” characteristic) are capable of “higher morals.” It is ludicrous.

    Lastly, many of you who call yourselves feminists are paranoid and delusional. There is no mass conspiracy of men pushing for laws and such that could worsen women’s situation. There is not even a wide spread dislike or contempt for women or “female values” (because honestly, only dumb and lost people are misogynist). You’re only “oppressed” because you can be oppressed. There is nothing more to it. That’s nature; survival of the fittest. Things are quickly changing, but old patterns take time to get rid of. You shouldn’t expect everyone to understand these issues right now, today.

  111. @Wall:

    How exactly are “equality” and “survival of the fittest” the same thing? Last time I checked, that sort of policy didn’t do the human race much good.

    Pardon me if I try to teach my readers the most basic, lowest common denominator meaning of feminism. It’s not about taking away men’s rights. This is not a zero sum game.

    In any case, I hope no one takes comments like that seriously.

  112. Wall – it’s just a question of what things mean. I’m sorry if you’re offended that I’d consider someone a feminist if they believe women and men should be equal, but it should be no more controversial than saying someone who believes slavery is bad is an abolitionist (even if they don’t know the term). Would you be offended if someone called you a human just because of your DNA? I mean, I call ’em like I see ’em. You’re not a socialist for believing in universal health care, but if you believe in the worker’s control of means of production and the democratization of the economic sphere, then… well, that’s pretty much the definition.

    And I’m not saying – and in fact nobody is saying – that there’s some kind of vast conspiracy of men. I’d know about it, since I am one after all. But that’s a really weak counter-argument, known as a “straw man” – instead of engaging with other people’s arguments, you make a weak argument that you think is similar and then argue against that. It’s a fallacy, and a pretty weak one at that. 🙂

    I made it clear I’m *not* oppressed – I’m a white hetero male, I’m about as unoppressed as you can get. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see gender, race, and orientation inequality. And if you don’t see it, you’re really not paying attention. Some very simple examples are that women make 77 cents for each dollar men make, the prison population in the US is disproportionately black, and you still can’t get married to someone of the same gender in most states. These are only the tip of the iceberg, and you have to consider the various stereotypes, taboos, and prejudices that society has – not because some vast hidden conspiracy is propagating them, but purely through the effects of individuals being raised in a society with those preconceptions and propagating them. There are obviously systemic problems leading to these inequalities, and the solution isn’t to simple give every woman a raise, free a bunch of black inmates, and… well, okay, the solution to the last problem *is* really simple. But the point is there are systemic effects that result in these indicators, and you can’t solve the systemic problems without a shift in society – you can’t just fix it all by passing laws.

    Anyway, we do agree that this process takes time, but it doesn’t happen on its own. People like Sydera willing to take a stand and point out when people are making baseless and unfair assumptions is part of how we get from here to there. That doesn’t mean we should make it illegal for people to be bigoted, though – freedom of speech and thought is a good thing – but it’s just as much the right of others to illuminate the problems with these outmoded ways of thinking.

    It honestly seems to me like your heart is in the right place, though we might disagree on some smaller points. Every reasonable person today wants to see a more equal society. Not everyone agrees that the stereotypes people have lead to systemic inequalities, though, and that’s a reasonable point of contention. I think the evidence is pretty apparent, but I’m open to discussion. Just keep it factual, and resist the temptation to revert to straw men and ad hominems. 🙂

  113. This will be poorly organized, since I’ve just come off 14 hours in the office, so I reserve the right to further explain anything at a later time. 😀

    Sydera, I was disappointed when I read this article. I’ve always found myself impressed by your articles, as they usually demonstrate sound critical thinking and solid premises, but this article has several major problems, and I’d appreciate it if you would consider addressing a couple of them, if only so that I won’t be stuck thinking about this particularly poor piece of work whenever I read one of your better pieces.

    First, this article exhibits reason #1 of why I so often find myself saying “I’m not a feminist, but…” (Oh, I’m a man.) That reason is that I do not wish to be associated with the feminist label when an apparent requirement is the willingness to jump to the defense of “the cause” regardless of whether or not “the cause” is under attack. (Note: I don’t care to what extent you may take “the cause”. You may be, on the feminist scale, anywhere from Anthony to Wollstonecroft to Sanger, or beyond. [As a matter of explanation, I tend towards the position espoused by Anthony – men and women should be equal under whatever law governs a situation, without requiring some kind of twisted belief that men and women are “equal” in a mathematical sense.] What I am addressing is the tendency to leap into action for “the cause” based on your own perception of a need for defense, without giving fair consideration to what the other party actually meant.) This is one of the most disturbing forms of gender discrimination because it assumes that “the cause” needs defense at all times and in all places – a position which assumes the worst about anyone by whose comments or behavior the practitioner of this behavior feels threatened, while simultaneously assuming an inherent weakness in the feminist position, such that it has to be defended against any possible attack. And this type of feminist activity (as far as I have seen) only damages the reputation of those who, under the label of feminist, are genuinely striving to arrive at a reconciled equality under the law implemented through the culture, rather than a veneer of good intentions foisted off onto the populace at large as a matter of politically correct behavior. Those feminists in history whom I have most admired have been those who demonstrated superior judgment between attacks meriting defensive responses and comments which, if taken as intended, had nothing to do with their “cause”, at whatever level they were at. By deliberately choosing to respond to Lodur’s article as an attack on feminism when it was clearly not intended that way, you’ve demonstrated the overreaction that drives so many people to say “I’m not a feminist, but.”

    Before you repeat what you said in your article about how you were addressing the stereotypes Lodur used, rather than any wrong intent, let me posture a hypothetical situation: in this series he apparently proposes to write, his first article (the one I desperately hope will come next) was about the stereotypes that men so often have to deal with regarding being boorish pigs who consider raids a place to get drunk and screw around, verbally and in game. Those stereotypes are as pervasive as those regarding women gamers, possibly more so in my experience, and are just as likely to be true, which would seem to call for just as strong and immediate a rebuttal. And his second article was the one to which you have reacted so strongly. Would you have been as quick to the trigger about the injustice inherent in the stereotypes addressed in the (hypothetical) first article?

    Second, you’ve unfortunately proclaimed yourself gender discriminatory against male gamers. “These negative stereotypes are, at their core, the narratives by which male gamers understand their experience of female gamers. They act as framing devices, informing all interactions with “real” women gamers. For this reason, the female gamer has to earn the grudging respect of her fellow players, while a male gamer may start out with a measure of respect and either keep it or lose it by his behavior.” Why would you assume that male gamers understand female gamers strictly through stereotypes? And perhaps as telling, why wouldn’t you assume that female gamers do the same thing? Ideally, in WoW, people start off by treating other avatars as just that… ‘toons. Then as the player behind the avatar reveals more about who and what they are – as a person, not a gender – players can begin to interact as people, not just electronic data. Why would you assume that male gamers as a whole do not do that, strictly because they are male?

  114. Thank you so much for your article Sydera.
    Lodur’s collection of female cliches couldn’t be further from my own experience as a WoW player.
    We are 5 girls raiding regularly in my guild and we receive no favor treatment for loot or spots. But we earned the men’s respect through our skills, to the point that 2 of us are officers.
    I must say that most of the whining and drama we have in the guild comes from men, whereas women hardly make any trouble, come on time and prepared with food, flasks and whatever is needed for the raid. So, I would say that having some women in a guild is good news. The only cliche that turns out to be true is that 4 out of those 5 girls are playing healers (and are pretty good at it 😉 ).

  115. @Random: I’m not a feminist theorist by trade. I’m a professor of medieval/renaissance Spanish literature, and my main objects of study are male authors. And yet, I’m a feminist–let’s call me a civilian feminist. If I didn’t say something “perfectly,” it doesn’t mean that everything I do is wrong.

    I think, using my own very good brain, and also recalling a few required harassment seminars, that it is a very good thing to point out hidden prejudices. It’s called a “teaching moment”–helping well-meaning people see how they’re being discriminatory. By that standard, it was a very good idea to look at the stereotypes cited on my own blog by a different blogger. To not do so would have been to tacitly endorse Lodur’s article, and that’s not something I was willing to let stand.

    I certainly don’t judge all men negatively. When I say “men” or “women,” it means certain men or certain women. If you read all my comments, it’s clear that certain men (or people who have male internet personae) judge women by the stereotypes and wish to keep them in a subordinate position. I also have recruited for three guilds now, and I drew much of the basis for my arguments from reading guild ads that excluded women. It’s hard to cite such things, as internet writing has a tendency to disappear within weeks or months, especially on the fast-moving Recruitment Forum, but after many readings such ideas really leave an impression. Many, many top raiding guilds have caveats about women. Either they don’t admit them at all (because women are bads who cause drama) or they only admit women who can be “one of the guys.” (that is to say, an exception, not the rule). Moreover, I’ve personally been treated according to stereotype in game. My experience spans more than one guild and more than one server, and also various stages of being “out” as a woman gamer. Much of the inspiration for my article comes from personal experiences. I’m a blogger–of course I use my own experience as fodder for blog material. For example, I used to tank on a male character. I remember how shocked my own guild was the first time I spoke on vent–the reaction was pretty darn negative to my being a woman, despite the fact that there were other women in guild. I also remember how, in one of my guilds, the officer tasked with demoting and promoting was informally titled “Guild Designated Bitch.” Sure, she kind of ran with that and made it her own, but the language sticks with me (she’s GM of that guild now). I remember how, in a former guild, one officer complained that another officer’s significant other was a Yoko Ono (now, I didn’t like her either, but it’s still mean). In my current guild, I had to fight really hard to get rape jokes banned from raiding time, and most people still don’t understand why (and some like to joke about “graping” things, including my character). The point is, I have firsthand experience and secondhand experience (the forums and the blog) of women being judged by stereotypes. That’s very good justification for writing about them.

    And also, how am I supposed to make arguments based on Lodur’s “first article” about stereotypes about men when it doesn’t exist? All there is in this “series” is a set of types about healers (innocuous) and then the very different set of types about drama causers (all women). I see Lodur as an innocent victim of stereotypical thinking. If this is a somewhat indirect response to him, it is because I don’t want to pick an even more serious fight with a fellow Matticus blogger. I will say that I was either going to write an article like this or have to quit the blog. The first day after I read it, I felt like women just weren’t welcome on the blog or in the game–and why would I stay where not wanted?

    And Random, when you write posts like that, it gives the impression that women should just shut up. I don’t think you should hold your average blogger to the standard of Susan B. Anthony. Shutting people up, after all, is what the opponents of equality do.

  116. As someone who plays WoW but doesn’t read forums or weblogs about it much, I just wanted to stick my head in and say Nice Post! And nice dealing with the comment-storm that followed. 🙂

    Rebecca West quote seems called for here: “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat”.
    .-= Spennix´s last blog ..Send yer ideas for the SLCC Music track! =-.

  117. I don’t believe I was operating under any assumption that you were a feminist theorist by trade… at most I was assuming a certain familiarity with basic feminist writings and stances, as I would assume of any well-read person claiming to be a feminist. It isn’t my intention to hold anyone, be it you or anyone else, to a standard of perfection. Rather, it is my intention to point out where, rather than helping feminism in its most basic form, your article harms feminism by reinforcing a certain… hmm, how ironic, stereotype… regarding the defensive nature of feminism.

    As one who’s sat through my fair share of required harassment seminars, I understand that it’s a good idea, as a rule, to point out hidden prejudices. However, I also understand that if you attempt to create a “teaching moment” based on hidden prejudices without sufficient proof of said prejudices’ existence, you create resentment rather than enlightenment. And your article attempts to address hidden prejudice where there is little proof that it exists. Had you cast your article in the light of examination of prejudice in WoW in general, much of it would have been extremely solid. Much of it is extremely solid anyway, but it is undermined by the fact that, from your first paragraph, you are explicitly responding to Lodur’s article. My hypothetical situation is an attempt to point out that, rather than addressing Lodur on the ground from which he wrote (specifically archetypes into which players you may meet fit and how to deal with them,) you chose to drag him into different territory (specifically stereotypes that one may apply to others without ascertaining who and what the person is,) which he had no intention of approaching. I understand that you did so with the intention of generating a “teaching moment” regarding prejudice that you felt he was displaying, but because you acted in such a precipitous manner, you come across as very defensive of the feminist position, which leads to the perceptions I mentioned in my first comment.

    I sympathize tremendously with the drive to generate a “teaching moment”. But I also understand (both academically and from painful personal experience) the danger that comes with trying to teach where there is no need perceived on the part of the proposed “student”, particularly by attempting to engage them directly on the ground you perceive as the problem, instead of helping them from their position to yours. Rather than helping, you offend people, driving them away from what you would like them to learn. What I’m attempting to point out is that you made no attempt to interact with Lodur’s article in a meaningful way as it presented itself. Rather, you (at least apparently, which is why I’m seeking further clarification instead of issuing a flat denunciation) assumed certain things about the article and didn’t attempt to engage it except to prove your own point.

    My hypothetical situation, by the way, isn’t as far-fetched as you apparently believe. Lodur stated clearly in the beginning of the post under question that this “post series will explore some of the more common ones [guild stereotypes]” etc. This is merely the first of a series, as explained by the author. My hypothetical situation and the question that followed from it are simply intended to determine if you would have reacted as strongly against “male” stereotypes as you did against “female” stereotypes. While “feminist” as a label carries the obvious implications regarding concern with female equality, it carries a much deeper and more serious commitment to equality, period, regardless of which side of the question you may land on. So, with that clarification added, I repeat my previous question: would you have been as quick to the trigger about the injustice inherent in the stereotypes addressed in the (hypothetical) first article? Or perhaps, if the hypothetical seems to you to include too many variables, a different situation: if the next post in Lodur’s series addresses these “male” stereotypes, will you post another article condemning them as strongly? Or perhaps most importantly, my real question: is your article really concerned with the underlying principles of feminism, specifically equality between sexes, or is it a reaction against a more shallow concern? Prima facie, it appears (at least, as I’ve said, to me) to be an overly defensive reaction, rather than a carefully reasoned rebuttal to a serious issue. This is why I chose to use a hypothetical situation to attempt to further understand your actual position, rather than assuming myself into the same position you seem to have taken regarding Lodur.

    I’m right there with you against guild recruitment that excludes women. It’s bloody stupid, and I oppose it on the platform that men and women should be equal under the law governing the situation – in this case, the guild recruitment rules. There’s no reason to make an assumption that gender affects player quality. I can’t do much about it, because I’m not in any of those guilds, nor will I ever be, but at least I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that those guilds are defeating themselves by denying themselves the possibility of recruiting excellent players for no real reason. However, that hasn’t really got anything to do with my objections to your article. Nor does how you or I have actually been treated in game. I’m certain you have been treated poorly simply because you were female. I’m equally certain that I’ve been treated poorly simply because I’m a male. We could probably trade stories and commiserate. But, again, that has very little to do with the objections to your article that I’ve raised. If you had written your article as an independent commentary on the discrimination you see in the game world, my first objection, at least, would be non-existent. But you made such a point of responding to Lodur, rather than general discrimination observed/suffered by you, that I feel I have to raise the question of whether your article is actually being objective in response.

    That being said… I’m not certain that my second objection would go away even if you had written your article as an independent commentary. However, I think you’ve adequately answered that you were referring to certain men or certain women. Not to contradict myself regarding a requirement of perfection, but in the future, could you then refrain from using universal language, and possibly stick in a “many” or two? As a teacher, I’m sure you’re aware that people do not respond well to implicit criticism of them, but are much more willing to examine themselves and learn and improve if they feel that you aren’t addressing them on a personal level by addressing, as a whole, a group to which they belong.

    To clarify: as a male gamer, I very strongly agree with your conclusion that cookie-cutter stereotypes based on gender are a poor way to judge players. But I fear that this excellent conclusion will be lost to many of the people who most need to consider it if you seem to be saying that all men, or even most men, who play WoW use stereotypes to judge female gamers. And I fear even more that your article, which many may still see carries a valid conclusion, will reinforce a stereotype of “the feminist movement” which can only be harmful to us all.

    On re-reading your comment, I have two minor additions. First, I’m not certain what in my comment gave the impression that I was saying women should “just shut up”, particularly given that the comment was inviting a woman to speak up, and that my entire expressed concern is that people will be unfortunately swayed against feminism because of this article. If you could provide further particulars so that I can attempt to avoid similar mistakes in the future, I would really appreciate it. And second, it was never my intention to hold you to a Susan B. Anthony standard in terms of what you write. What I am attempting to do is to hold Anthony up to you (and myself, and anyone else who writes on this subject) as a role model in the realm of the manner in which we write, and to what we respond. As a historical example, Wollstonecroft, despite raising a number of excellent points in her writings, often did so in such an offensive way as to raise so much ire against her, and by extension her movement, that they did more harm than good. Anthony, as demonstrated by how well-known she remains today, is a role model in this regard, and one that it would do us all good to consider when we prepare to write in defense of the feminist cause.

  118. Thankyou, Sydera. Thankyou. 😀

    I was somewhat uncomfortable with Lodur’s article, but not nearly as distressed as reading some of the comments on both articles has made me. It saddens me greatly to see readers attempting to justify or in some cases build upon sexist stereotypes, and to shoot down your refusal of them. But most of all it saddens me to see people pretending that there is no problem and that “feminists” (going with Sydera’s definition here) are just out to get all the reasonable, sound thinking people in the world.

    So thankyou, Sydera.

  119. Sydera, I love you so much right now.

    In vanilla I was involved in guild and raid leadership, and led several raids on my own. I got hit with a lot of this shit. It got worse when I retired from leading and my fiance ended up filling the void- suddenly I was the attachment who had no skill or value of her own. I am the best healer in my raid and I still feel this way at times. And this is to say nothing of my experiences in hard science in real life.

    I too am tired. But it was refreshing to see all of this rebutted with such detail and intelligence- perhaps there is some hope after all.

    Also- the ONLY person I have ever met online who tried to get more than “her” due through sexual wiles and charm was, in real life, a MAN who was abusing this stereotype and exploiting the sexist expectations of other men for personal gain. Food for thought.

  120. @Random: As I respond, I’m quite aware that there’s nothing I can say that can convince you that I have a right to blog as I see fit, on questions that are important to me and at least some portion of my readers. Heavens to Betsy, a woman decided to write a response post to an existing post on her own blog! Good lord, what an off the wall topic.

    Likewise, there is no reasoning that will convince you that I have a right to my opinion, and this is the last I will say on the matter. I hope that, if you cool off a bit, you’ll see that many of the things you’re accusing me of have to do with something you have imagined.

    My hatred of men? You’ve imagined that.

    Lodur’s article on male stereotypes? Imagined.

    My celebration of negative stereotypes about men? Imagined.

    My silence on said topic? Likewise, imagined.

    I have no idea what I would think should such an article appear. It still may, and I’m quite sure that if it does, I’ll write something. I’ll probably spend about the 6 hours that I spent on the women post, because that’s pretty typical for me. Please notice that I haven’t made a list of male stereotypes and said how much I loved them. Many commenters mention the stereotype of male-gamer-in-mom’s-basement–but not me. You won’t see it from me either. The only place I hint at male stereotypes is in the animal section of my article–the pig, the dog, and the teddy bear–and I state that they “aren’t fair.” I think that’s a general indication of the kind of response I might write to negative male types.

    I do think though, that women stand in need of defense by humble bloggers like myself more often than men do. I know (now that I’ve been doing some looking around), that there are organizations, and entire forums, of people who believe that men are victimized by women on a grand scale–and that women deserve the violence they receive in “retribution.” Pardon me if I don’t quite believe it myself. I will once again, reserve the right to form an opinion based on my reading and my experience.

    I stand by my opinion that gender is an important topic for the readers of World of Matticus to explore and think about. I have a slim hope that Lodur might also have learned something and might be a bit more careful about the connotations of words in the future. My article has clearly elicited a response, so I am reinforced in the belief that such things are needed. I’ve been doing some reading in the blogosphere from both women and men who write about gender issues. The coverage in mainstream media on blogs, especially about George’s Sodini’s murder of three women last week, is very telling. Misogyny runs deeper than I knew in our culture, and knowing more makes me both understand the negative response I get from male commenters and how deep hatred of women runs in our own culture. It turns out that I’ve been sheltered. For a very small example, I thought rape jokes were some gamer-only freak phenomenon. Surprise, surprise–they’re in tons of comedy acts, and even on t.v. This makes me think that maybe I should try watching television sometime, I might learn something. However, the something I learn might make me afraid to leave my house.

    The point is, Random, that the main gist of both of your comments is that I should never have written my article. Now, I take the point that YOU would have written it differently if you were me, but in fact, you’re not. You may of course, write your own response, on your own blog, and I will endorse your freedom to do so.

  121. As an addition, I’ll add this thought that came out of a discussion with my fiance.

    Random’s hypothetical is in fact far-fetched.

    There wasn’t likely to be an article by Lodur on bad male stereotypes. The original article supposedly was not on selfish, drama-causing WOMEN, but on selfish, drama-causing people. It just so happened that every type mentioned was a woman.

    I’m not sure there would have been a future article where every negative type mentioned was a man. It could happen, I guess.

    I don’t even think I could come up with more than say, two male negative stereotypes that gamers have to confront. I’m not sure what would even be in the hypothetical article–but when I see it, I’ll make a response.

  122. Again, I’m somewhat confused regarding the conclusions you are drawing about me, my attitude, and what I’ve said, since many of your conclusions are diametrically opposed to what I have actually stated – in some cases, repeatedly – but as I’ve already seen my requests for clarification on these points ignored or turned into straw men for you to attack rather than interact with in any meaningful way, I don’t suppose it would do any good for me to continue to ask. I am disappointed. I will simply state – again – that I think your article comes to a good conclusion, but does so in a poor manner that may well rebound to counter-act your stated purpose. Beyond that, I can only hope that you will at some point reach a position where you are willing to respect what I have actually said, instead of selectively ignoring and/or misinterpreting it.

    Oh… and if you choose to try watching television sometime, let me know how it turns out. I tend to avoid the stuff myself. 😀

  123. @ Sydera

    Wall was quite correct and didn’t say Equality = Survival of the Fittest. They said the reason women were originally oppressed was due to Survival of the Fittest – due to men in general at the time having more power and being able to oppress women. They also said this was changing.

  124. Wow, way to continually miss Random’s points. He never said, don’t blog about the subject. He never said you didn’t have a right to your opinion. And way to reinforce negative stereotypes; he disagrees with you so he must be nerdraging mad, so he should “cool off a bit”.

    As I understand it, he was saying that your post could have been done differently, and offered his views on how. He sought clarification on some of the points you made, to better understand *your* view.

    You seem awful defensive.

    And it was a great post, let’s not ignore that. But I also think it was a well-written, measured response from Random, which you seem to have dismissed simply because he has an alternate view.

    Pfft, drama queen blogger, should go back to writing about WoW.
    OWAIT! cwhutididthar??

  125. Some of the arguments in this discussion were of such quality that it was a joy and enlightment to read them. While I feel these arguments deserve a more personal encouragment rather than the disagreement they received here, I fear the fire has been fed so much oil that water will dissolve into oxygen and hydrogen, thereby feeding the fire instead of quenching it. So, I’ll just cowardly thank everyone that made time and effort to write a sensible, well reasoned post in this discussion.

  126. @Random: Let me tell you why your comments are so upsetting, since you keep fishing for it. In a very pedantic tone, you have accused me of being a false feminist and, in your words, discriminatory against male gamers. If this is not an attack on my right to post, I’m not sure what would constitute one. It should be pretty obvious that an accusation of being a bigot, directed at me, is going to hurt pretty badly. Another feminist (who declares himself a better feminist than me) tells me that, despite the obvious intent of my article, I damage the feminist movement with all my efforts to educate people about stereotypes? Definitely ruined my weekend. It leaves me with a sense of desperation. If feminists attack each other when we have slightly divergent points of view, how are people who disagree with us on major points (like say, equal pay for equal work) ever going to hear the message?

    Let me ask to the remaining readers the question that keeps me up at night–how are feminists to go about talking about issues like stereotypes and gender roles if we have to give even coverage to men and male stereotypes on every point? Why is a defense of masculinity so needed if I am talking about women? Is there some kind of crisis of masculinity going on right now that I don’t know about? I’d say maybe the Judd Apatow movies hint at something like a cultural crossroads for men, but I’ll also say, those films, while pretty conservative in outlook and focused on their male characters, tend to be fairly woman-friendly. Well, maybe not Knocked Up–but certainly the 40 year old virgin and Funny People. Seth Rogen’s character in Funny People actually tells a joke meant to shame men for rape jokes!

    Now, I don’t see feminism (at least not as I’ve learned it in the context of late 20th century cultural theorists like Judith Butler) as in any way threatening of the rights of men. In fact, it would seek to give everyone the same opportunities in law and society. There’s a very good reason that feminists collaborate with LBGTQ organizations and racial equality movements–we all want exactly the same thing, which is for all people to be equal. It is clear–to me anyway, based on my experience and reading–that now is a VERY good time to be a man in many different avenues of life. My students adhere to more traditional notions of gender than I do, and that’s only, say, a 10-12 year gap in age. The things their mothers taught them were more restrictive of women than the things my mother and my peers’ mothers taught us. And that’s just one decade. Some people may see the article as overreacting, but I see such discussions as needed. Many readers already get the message–the stereotypes don’t describe real behavior–but many do not. Not only are there men who could stand to learn what it means when they call someone, say, a princess, but there are women who probably should learn how those stereotypes–which some women wholeheartedly embrace–narrow their possibilities in life.

    My question to Random specifically is how do I accomplish what I want to–consciousness raising–if I’ve got to let an opportunity like Lodur’s article slide because the author’s intentions were good? And why should I write an article arguing against stereotyping men either first or alongside? What I got from your first comment was that I needed to somehow earn my right to speak through 1. ascertaining Lodur’s true intent (never mind what the genuinely discriminatory message that the article projected) and 2. make sure I defend the men too. I just don’t see how that would have made for a better post. I think it might have obfuscated any argument about women’s roles in a game to the point that the post would have been a praise of Lodur’s article and a paean to the virtues of men.

    From where I’m sitting, I see that all raiding guilds I’ve heard of are happily recruiting men right now and promoting them to high guild ranks. I have never–ever–seen an ad for a female-dominated guild that doesn’t admit men because they cause too much drama. It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t exist, but I do read a lot of raiding guild ads. A defense of the male gamer just doesn’t seem needed. Yes, I know that non-gamers discriminate against all gamers with some ugly stereotypes–but the non-gamers aren’t my audience. Thus, an article arguing that gamers aren’t violent couch potatoes isn’t really needed here either–every person reading is a gamer, after all, and almost certainly not a violent couch potato (or she-potato).

  127. Hmmm, I’m a bit puzzled as I read Random’s comments as well. If you go back and read some of the early comments on the article, Sydera was not alone in taking offense at the underlying misogyny of many of the stereotypes Lodur raised in his seemingly gender “neutral” article. Anyone who has written an email will know that there can often be a significant gap between what a writer intends to say and the effects that the actual words produced. Sometimes we just don’t know what will set someone off. Is that our fault? No. Should we listen carefully to how our words made them feel? Yes. Should we then adjust the way we speak on the matter in the future? Yes. Sydera has said repeatedly in the article and in the comments that she meant Lodur no disrespect and she was sure none of the these reactions or offenses were intended. And yet they are there, for some.

    Second, I would imagine that any of us could think of something a teacher said to us that we didn’t understand fully at the time, but only became clear much, much later. A teachable moment doesn’t always require a willing student, and sometimes teachers have to know that they will never witness their most successful teaching moments and effects because they happen years down the road. So I don’t see why “unwilling” students are sufficient grounds to stop looking for teachable moments and thus this article should not have been written the way it was. If we waited for such moments, most teachers would be out of a job. As someone who as a small child was called out on a racist joke by a teacher, I can say that the initial reaction was shock and anger, followed by acceptance and gratitude much later. It’s hard to think you’re a well-meaning person and then realize you’ve offended someone. But how are we to move forward unless we root out those unconscious ways of thinking and speaking? It takes courage and compassion on all sides.

    As for different kinds of feminism, Random, you may in fact admire the more “reasoned” or “dispassionate” forms of feminism, but the simple truth is different kinds of liberation movements have always existed. There are the more dispassionate forms, then there are the more provocative forms, and all manner of gradations in between. While you may prefer one, that does not take away the rights for others to exist. In fact, they both require each other to exist. One always needs more provocative examples of something to think outside the box and stir people up where they are stuck. Then you have other kinds of writers and thinkers who find ways to bring it in the main stream. I actually doubt that you could draw a clear line and say that people are always one or the other. They are probably more like different roles or personas that feminists or other activists take on as the circumstances warrant. You can’t ever assume you know someone or can make judgements about them from their writing. All writing is ultimately just a persona; it changes from one article to the next. This is why Sydera was very careful to say that her response was not in any way an attack on Lodur or male gamers. One deals with the behavior, not the person.

    As admirable as 19th century feminism is, this is the 21st century. We can always find inspiration in the past as well as horror. For example, it was possible to be a determined feminist in the 19th century and also to support racism and colonialism without seeing the contradiction. Note that we are writing in the present and there is a whole history between the past and present that affects not only our reading of the past, but our writing of the future. We also have blindspots and prejudices right now that only our children’s children will finally recognize.

    As far as your second objection, I think Sydera has already adequately addressed it in her various comments. If you spend any time reading the guild recruitment forums, you will see that women gamers are often systematically excluded from some raiding guilds because they cause “drama.” These posts see women through stereotypes that have acquired common currency. I’m not sure you’d want to read an article with endless quotes or footnotes of this. I get enough of that in my day job. She also has spoken quite eloquently about her own personal experience and that of others. I have followed Syd around to many different guilds and can vouch that these things did happen and I have seen many latent prejudices play themselves out in many male gamers. And we’ve been in mostly progressive guilds. As for stereotypes in actual female gamers, as the comments from women above attest, many female gamers lack power and have to work harder to earn respect, whereas that is automatic for the majority of men. As with one of the comments above, there have been times where I have heard Syd say something during a raid and it was ignored. I then repeated it and it was immediately listened to. In fact, I’m acutely aware that in posting this comment, I’m probably just reinforcing the problem by coming to Syd’s defense. But I wanted to post anyway. This previous example is just a small, everyday one. As a consequence many female gamers have to learn (either consciously or unconsciously) what the narratives and stereotypes are that some (or many) male gamers use to interpret female gamers. In order to have some measure of power or get their ideas or opinions heard, they have to learn either how to manipulate or diffuse them. Obviously, I’d prefer they do the latter. But one of the most telling comments here was the female gamer who said that she used pets, unicorns, and other girly talk to disarm men and she wasn’t aware that that was what she was doing. If that isn’t an example of a female gamer having internalized some of these stereotypes without her conscious awareness, then I don’t know what is. I will take your point that the language in Syd’s sentences could be softened as follows: “These negative stereotypes are, at their core, the narratives by which [many or most] male gamers understand their experience of [most] female gamers. They act as framing devices, informing [many of their] interactions with “real” women gamers. For this reason, [many] female gamer[s have] to earn the grudging respect of her fellow players, while [the majority of] male gamer[s] may start out with a measure of respect and either keep it or lose it by [their] behavior.” However, I don’t think that it’s fair to use that small generalization to invalidate Sydera’s intentions or her attempt to advocate for woman gamers. No one, not me, not Syd, not you and certainly not Susan B. Anthony, are perfect. Human reality is messy, as this fascinating collection of comments and misunderstandings illustrates. Sometimes we unknowingly hurt those we respect or (partially) support.

    If you go back and read some of the early commentary from female gamers above, you will realize that this issue does correspond to social realities in the game and it deserved to be treated when Lodur’s article did actually offend a number of women, even though he didn’t intend it and he’s an all-around nice guy. If anything, as I’ve said, that makes it all the more important to talk about, even if it’s not always pleasant to do so and we sometimes don’t do so “perfectly.”

  128. I know Sydera isn’t responding to my posts anymore, and Briolante has me on ignore till I read a book for her but I thought I would chip in as a non-feminist equality wanting person.

    From the non-feminist perspective, feminists are annoying precisely because you tend to read misogyny into words and actions which could be explained otherwise. You have all mentioned the use of words lacking tone, (potential) context and more that could be implied in speech yet rally against the words as written as if they are immune from this effect. We could all write with clarifying sections such as:

    The Princess [ref: lazy, requiring support, spoiled] stereotype can be applied to gamers [primarily female however with non-insignificant male membership]

    If a point is subsequently called (such as Random put forward) you then begin a defence of feminism not of the points you have put forward. Your first mentions of feminism are to frame these actions taken as “tricks of the weak” in feminist terms rather than noting simply that those lacking direct power or influence (officers / gm / rl) have to resort to influence tactics (which is what these are) rather than direct presentation to achieve the ends most effectively. This is subsequently reinforced as needing the feminist methodology of solidarity to overcome these and feel comfortable. Again this is not a feminist issue or method its something humans and animals naturally do, we form groups with those we can get on with and have something in common with. The fact that you must for female-sub-domains and band together as feminists implies something is lacking in each group member that they cannot work with the other people in their guild without support (I know you are not saying this directly, however that is how the jump to solidarity and such like can be read).

    This is part of the issue that random wants you to address. He is not saying that the stereotypes are not harmful to women (though I would question the misogyny in them in current society) but that the defence against stereotypes and the harm they can do should not be to defend feminism and its role but to address how stereotypes harm people. Stereotypes are by definition easy to fit to people (given its a subset of common behaviours), and useful for quickly framing people until you can give them a proper analysis. Your issue is I don’t think with the quick framing tool but the use in long term proactive usage against people, however without a different tool to classify people then stereotypes will continues to be a fast and easy tool to do so.

    To look at it a different way take the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) tests, these divide every person on the planet into 16 basic types through 4 categories with 2 settings each and a strength in each indicator. Now these are taken quite seriously and used effectively yet are little more than stereotypes if looked at simply. Characterised these are (

    * ISTJ – The Duty Fulfillers
    * ESTJ – The Guardians
    * ISFJ – The Nurturers
    * ESFJ – The Caregivers
    * ISTP – The Mechanics
    * ESTP – The Doers
    * ESFP – The Performers
    * ISFP – The Artists
    * ENTJ – The Executives
    * INTJ – The Scientists
    * ENTP – The Visionaries
    * INTP – The Thinkers
    * ENFJ – The Givers
    * INFJ – The Protectors
    * ENFP – The Inspirers
    * INFP – The Idealists

    So one of the most respected personality indicators can be broken down into 16 stereotypes. The tool itself is not wrong, its the application you dislike and the implications for the mental health of people who are diagnosed with a stereotype and then begin to act to fulfil it.

    The reference to male stereotypes is an important one, and not from a “and what about men too” perspective because your point (if I read it correctly) is that stereotypes harm people in general because they are applied without knowledge of the individual (thus a stereotyping and profiling tool used at early onset of a relationship). He puts forward that if Lodur’s article had comprised of:

    The Guild Egotist – Diva Tanks, the Jock club and the Old Man

    Your defence would likely have been less vehement (if at all), and if it had been put forward it would not have defended feminism but would have addressed the stereotypes in a more appropriate way (showing why the stereotype is harmful even if the actions of the player fall into that category and how to resolve to help them). If the defence of feminism was necessary you would have jumped in with it in that article as well and made the points for equality there. Now debunking all of these stereotypes is hard but its easy to frame why using them as a framing tool is bad for the target of the framing.

    If you wish to discuss male only guilds denying women access because they feel that they cause trouble, then you should realistically address women only spaces and how they exclude men (and in the US / UK these are on the rise while male only are in decline). The issue can extent to women only swimming venues, why tennis is split by gender rather than duration, etc right up to why abused persons shelters do not accept men. I have seen many feminists defend segregation in favour of women only spaces with arguments such as “certain women feel uncomfortable with men around”, if its good for the goose its good for the gander (equality). Thus why should a guild (a private social establishment) have to take women if they feel a female voice on vent will distract their players ( in a similar way to the affect on male soldiers when a female companion is wounded (Lt Col Dave Grossman’s study on the IDF). There have been no studies that I am aware of comparing the effectiveness of male, female and mixed gender raiding guilds and how the gender ratio affects performance (for example a lot of research at school level indicates that female and male students perform better when separated by gender, and often best when segregated totally from others). A better question is why do you feel the need to be included in every guild, is there a reason you want these guilds to be gender mixed or is there a harmful issue with them not being so?

    Those of us who are interested in equality (ok, when I am not in troll mode 🙂 because in that mode I am simply going to be contrary to see how you respond) will listen to your arguments as long as they are logical and rational. This is often dismissed as being argumentative or contrary however any argument without a solid rational basis is about as useful as an internet argument which is defended by “op is Hitlar lol”. Typically Godwining a thread is seen a automatically losing yet its the same effect as starting with no sound basis or support, there is nothing you can argue against. Your argument has to focus on the point and in context, arguing that calling someone a princess is bad if they exhibit the behaviour because of a wider cultural issue with similar titles is not a valid argument given how wide spread and different uses the word gets and achieves. Approaching the behaviour that leads to the stereotype (unicorns and stuff likely) is more of the approach we want to see and will appreciate because that is the underlying issue.

    At no point in this does you being a feminist matter, nor should it come up because frankly its irrelevant unless you want to drag in the whole movement which just causes issues. As both you random and Briolante have noted feminists come in different flavours, and defence of your “feminism” without qualifiers is defence of the same feminists who said such statements as “all me are rapists and that’s all they are” (which ironically is misappropriated by most articles to the wrong feminist). There is little reason to ever bring in an organisation or archetype like feminism to a discussion because what can it bring that citing the scholarly works of its members cannot? You don’t support IBM saying “computers get faster lol”, you support the evidence gathered that upholds Moore’s law of transistor density doubling every 18 months or so.

    From the perspective of writing articles such as this you write in support of a view point or statement rather than defence of a loose organisation that cannot even define itself. There is no need to write a male + female defence post if your original article is about why stereotypes are bad as a tool rather than why specific stereotypes can be harmful to a specific subgroup because of anecdotal evidence (and afaik there is no study that shows these issues make women less happy overall compared to men, or why this effect occurs if both are equally stereotyped).

    Being a lecturer Sydera you will likely have put forward a thesis defence, this is no different, each point must be clear and concise with a defence of itself to sway your readers, brushing over these and considering the wider picture will not get you any headway.
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  129. First of all great article! I’m a man and it got me thinking a lot as I have seen most of the stereotypes you have described, an guilty of using them also.

    My point is not that however, I was a raid leader for a 2 years during vanilla wow and most of BC and as such to decide who would get to come or not. As you probably already know progression raiding is an exercise in keeping you raiders happy and wanting to come back. So you have to strike a balance between performance and keeping the group happy.

    Over time we’ve had quite a few women raiders and from my experience the guild always wanted to include them in raids. Maybe its stereotypes at play again (in fact I’m pretty sure it is) but more often than not people would expect me to pick up our women for every raid. And like their male counterparts some would be great, other would suck, etc… nothing different there.

    What I noticed though is that nearly every woman we invited expected to be treated diferently in some kind of way. Some would come yelling they wanted us to be fair with them, others would play the part of the victim when things dint go right, even had one telling me the healer was letting her die on purpose so we could get rid of her because she was a girl (it was found out later she din’t understand the boss mechanics). What I mean to say is that by doing that most of them would defeat the very purpose of wanting to be treated like an equal.

    I distincly remember being unable to bench a woman because she made sure to make lots of friends in the guild and play the “girl” card when I wanted to bench her because I needed to let other in her class get loot too. Being treated fair means taking the good and the bad too.

    My point is that if women want to be traited fair and see stereotypes disapears they need to accept being treated like equals. And that means that when you get kicked out of a raid or passed on a piece of loot it’s not because your a woman but maybe simply because you failed, like any man can.

  130. Someone said /facepalm?
    Breakdown of the article seems alot like
    “I get less loot cause I’m a girl, so give me more loot”.
    Not really a new concept if you ask me.

  131. First of all, I did not read the entire article, I think i understood the jest of it with what little i happened to read. But I never really witnessed any female injustice while playing WoW, in fact, I’m usually more wary and unsure of the ethics of men when it comes to WoW. Women form the backbone of our small guild, Women fill powerful roles and preform them admirably well. While the men joke and make…. inappropriate conversation.

    The only injustice I’ve witnessed is against children and younger players of WoW, such as myself. People seem to jump to the conclusion that if a player is immature or somewhat unintelligent, that it is a young boy, and if they don’t think that, they make a point to say that they are like one.

    As a young player of WoW myself, I’ve often been mistaken for an “Adult” because of my behavior, and even mother makes comments about immature players being “little boys” I can agree that a child can be less knowledgeable, but maturity is not based on age, and I believe this is a stereotype that equals the plight of women stereotypes.

    Playing WoW from age 14-16 still loving it.

  132. @Gareld: the fact that women behave like that isn’t excusable. While you address their behavior as a problem towards equality for men, it is equally a problem for other women that are judged by stereotypes this ‘bad behavior’ reinforces. This puts ‘feminist’ in a difficult position as they have to fight on multiple fronts:
    – they have to counter women behaving like that, telling them it is _not_ ok. You too should not hold back just because they are a woman!
    – men must be told it is _not_ ok to use these experiences to reinforce a stereotypical view or prejudice on other women

    It must be stressed that stereotypes are two edged blades. They hurt the gender wielding them as well as the one being targeted.
    While the following example is perhaps ‘pale’ in comparison to some of the issues raised in these comments, its simplicity might perhaps elegantly clarify my point: I “astounded” more women by showing them respect than I have seen women be “offended” by rude behaviour of other men. It reveals to me there is a great problem with what behaviour men consider acceptable or expected as well as what women expect and accept of men. IMO there is no blame on one gender in specific as the source of the problem lies with both offender and the victim tolerating such behaviour.

    However, this does not make me a feminist. While I will fight side by side with feminists to counter injustice against women, my goal doesn’t end there. I will fight just as hard for the rights of men where they are endangered. The word ‘feminism’ thus fails to describe my position imo. Sad but true, men too need some help and fight against the stereotypes by which they are judged!

  133. “I’m not a feminist, BUT….” I loved you sharing that with us, it is so true. People think feminism means an extremely left movement led by women wearing flannel, unshaven armpits and all lesbians. That is not true at all; in fact a lot of men are feminists too! Men with families, men who like to work on cars, men who teach, all kinds of men. A TRUE feminist does not want to push men down and replace them with women as the superior gender, he or she wants women to have the same opportunities, pay, treatment, for equal effort, equal work, and equal responsibility.

    Feminism is, as Sydera pointed out about EQUALITY… not entitlement and hatred. If a women shoots a man, she should be tried the same way a man would. If a woman lifts 50+Lb boxes all day she should earn the same as the man that works along side her. If a woman wants to voice her opinion in a logical and succinct fashion about an important issue, she should be viewed as an intelligent person and not a bitch or deemed unfeminine. This can be seen in politics when a woman comes into power. She is often considered unfeminine or a bitch. And if she is viewed as feminine, she is at risk of being accused of being incapable or unintelligent. We have had a few recent examples at both ends of the spectrum.

    I really enjoyed reading your response to Lodur’s blog. I don’t think any blog should promote generalizations pertaining to people.

    I will be following your blog posts much more often now. 🙂

  134. @ Roary

    The thing is though Roary, Maturity, the actual meaning behind the word, has EVERYTHING to do with age.

    That said, you can get some immature behaving 20-30yr olds and some rather mature behaving 15yr olds, like yourself.

  135. Something I noticed the other day was the math behind a Physical Education Award calculator database. (In England Physical Education is the lesson in school related to fitness and sports – not sure what its called in USA).

    Basically you input the score a pupil got while doing any one particular sport (For example the time in which the pupil did the 100metre sprint)

    On each of the sports the math behind it was like this: (i dont remember the exact coding, nor the amount thats a satifactory 100metre sprint time).

    IF Sex ==”Male” AND Time < 10s

    IF Sex =="Female" AND Time < 15s

    This lack of equality is greatly benefitting female pupils passing their P.E. exams.

    Is this right or wrong, as if women were held to the same standards doing these sports the general results of women would be far worse than that of men (thus why these deviations are created – its done scientifically and mathematically, not due to some random male examiner saying "Women are weak, make it easier for them"

    I am not opposing equality with this question by the way, I'm just curious to where "feminists" stand on this.

  136. @ Cat

    I don’t know the word maturity by definition or anything, i guess. But the way the word is thrown around is how i use it.

    So i guess I mean not by definition, but by how present day society uses it.

    Maturity in the respect of being mentally matured, able to be respectable, to respect others and to be able to behave in a manor that would project such an age.

  137. @2ndNin:

    Some points of clarification.

    1. Briolante is a man.

    2. I live in a different country from you, and I’m not sure what’s usual in the UK, but in this country a lecturer is very different from a professor. I am a professor in good standing with the profession, which means I have that academic driver’s license called a Ph.D. Lecturers often have doctoral degrees, but not always. I don’t like to make such a big deal of this because I believe that anyone can make an argument regardless of the letters one appends to one’s name. But it’s interesting to me that you should feel the need to “lecture” me on how to construct an argument. I doubt I’d do the same to you or to my students.

    3. My article is not about women-only health clubs, which I’ve never experienced first-hand. I go to a mostly male gym, which is pretty typical for a college campus (that is, if you’re picking the gym with the weight room, and not the cluster of elliptical trainers). My article is about games, and I have spent some time thinking about whether there were women-only spaces in WoW, and I have to conclude that I’ve neither heard, read about, or participated in one. I have never even played on or witnessed in one of my guilds an all-girl arena team, and that would only be a group of 2-5 like-gendered persons that shouldn’t scare anyone in their right mind.

    If I find some area of gaming that excludes men, I’ll blog about it, and that’s a promise. No one’s yet written in to tell me about an all-girl raiding guild–which is a shame, because I’d interview them. I still think we should keep the focus on women as that is the point of what I’m trying to say. I have yet to be convinced that men, as a whole gender and not individuals, are being discriminated against in-game. Out of game, gamers of both genders face prejudice from non-gamers, but once again, that’s not the point of this discussion.

    @Zusterke: when women are surprised at the good treatment they receive from you, they are probably surprised and PLEASED about it. The fact that they expect misogyny probably tells you something about the treatment and indoctrination they’ve received their whole lives, from many sources, from family to school to media. I don’t think it means that women think that men are abusers–just that, to some degree, they’ve internalized the criticisms and don’t expect to be (or think they deserve to be?) treated as equals. This is not my reaction to things, but then again, I’m older than dirt in gamer years and have been a practicing feminist for longer than I’ve been a gamer.

  138. Sweet, I’m a woman now. I guess I’m off to Victoria’s Secret and then I’m going to hit up the shoe stores. Later, I might ask for my daddy’s credit card and during the raid I’ll be sure to go afk to do my nails and then ninja all the phat lewtz. (Skimmers, please note the sarcasm.)

    But seriously, being a feminist of any variety doesn’t make one a woman, a raving lunatic, or a lesbian. Sucks though because that would be really convenient for everyone. (again, note the sarcasm)

    It is interesting that for all 2ndNin’s instructions about making clear arguments, I’m not entirely sure that he’s read everything carefully. Clear arguments start with close reading and reflection. When one reads quickly or the emotions kick in, it’s easy to read things into writing that simply aren’t there. Syd was only offering a history of some of these stereotypes as she’s seen and experienced them (and clearly others have as well, *see the comments*). Someone else might have written a totally valid article using a different approach. I’m sure everyone here would love to read and comment on that article too.

    It’s not incumbent on anyone with an opinion on a defined topic to consider every possible example outside the scope of that topic (women only swimming venues? are you kidding me?). Since Syd doesn’t talk about tennis court etiquette in the UK, her article on women in WoW is clearly full of fail. As I’m sure you know from your own academic work, making an argument in a limited number of words is about defining a manageable scope for a particular area of inquiry.

    As for Myers-Brigg, it’s like tarot cards, horoscopes, and astrology. The system depends mostly on what you want to see in it. I don’t think the human comedy can be reduced down to 16-neat types that are ahistorical. How I score on the Myers-Briggs test depends on whether or not I had a good poop that day. But since I don’t offer a 10,000 word analysis with footnotes and case studies to support my opinion, it’s totally worthless and I withdraw it.

    Oh, and by the way, the only invocation of “Hitlar” in this whole set of comments is in yours. Go check out that book.

  139. @ Roary

    Being mature and behaving mature are two totally different things.

    You behave mature for your age, but real maturity comes with age and experience.

  140. My point (which I obviously failed to make sorry) was simply that:

    a) Feminism has no relevance to the discussion because there is no attack on feminism here. Doing so effectively Godwins the thread because it draws in extra extraneous arguments of no relevance to the original topic.

    b) Stereotypes may be harmful, yet as psychological profiling tools show basically at the end of the day we categorise people into stereotypes whether its 1, 16 or 256 we still put people into little boxes and expect their behaviour to be similar to their box.

    c) There are studies which show a male bias towards women in a counter productive way to a team environment especially when the women in the team are at risk. This could explain why male only guilds form not because women are causing problems but because of the actions the male guild members take around them.

    d) There are educational studies that show students learn certain things best in single gender (and often totally segregated environments). Again this could be part of the reason behind gender specific guilds.

    Sydera, in the UK Lecturer is a generic term covering anyone in the process of Lecturing, typically we have Mr/Ms, Doctor, Professor as their title for non-doctoral lecturers, doctoral lecturers and heads of committees. I was lecturing you on writing an argument not because you haven’t written a nice one but because a lot of the flack you have drawn is not from the meaning of your piece but from the extraneous linkages you have brought into it. As for not seeing female only environments, you could even take the gaming ones like the “Frag Dolls” or similar ( is a short list, couldn’t find a similar one in the top 10 of google by replacing female with male but I assume there is one, yeah exhaustive searching :P). There clearly are a number of non-coed teams (and it might be interesting to actually see the reasons given by these groups and the male equivalents).

    Brio, sorry for calling you a woman, I did clearly miss the part where you said you were a man. However my point was not that Sydera missed / didn’t include the whole world as an appendix, its that she included a feminism defence when that area wasn’t under threat and has concluded that stereotypes are bad when large proportions of our psychological analysis is basically class analysis (put people into groups and analyse them ignoring personal differences) and so too is feminist / most other theories. The point is that doing so makes it easy to work with groups and is accepted.

    Yes I technically Godwin’d the thread, however it wasn’t in direct relation to the thread as the context pointed out, it was an example.

    As for MBTI being like Tarot, its not. Its a well thought out reasoned set of unverified results which look impressive and people read into and associate with, finding people similar to them through it. So it maybe hokum but its attractive hokum at worst because people feel they fit into the stereotypes it creates


  141. I find all of these points pretty baffling.

    (a) What discussion are you claiming that feminism isn’t relevant to? Sydera’s post talked about feminism in various ways, you yourself made the rather radical claim that no rational person could be a feminist, and so on. Are you saying that mentioning feminism in a response to Lodur’s posting wasn’t relevant? That seems clearly wrong to me: the fact that this kind of narrative is harmful is exactly the kind of fact that feminism concerns itself with.

    (b) Not sure what you’re saying here. Are you suggesting that because we use stereotypes as cognitive shortcuts all the time, that therefore stereotypes are immune from critique, or that therefore any and all use of stereotypes must be legitimate? I doubt you’re saying those things because they’re so clearly false; so what *are* you saying?

    (c) That’s an interesting point, and should certainly be part of this discussion. But it doesn’t render Sydera’s original posting incorrect; even if there is some relatively benign psychological-genetic tendency contributing to gamer behavior toward women (I’m not at all convinced that there is, but it’s worth considering), that doesn’t excuse the harmful narratives and stereotypes that Sydera is calling out. I’m not sure whether or not you were claiming that it does.

    (d) Same as (c).

    On Myers-Briggs, I think it’s amusing that you say it’s not like Tarot, and then proceed to say a bunch of things about it that apply almost perfectly to Tarot as well. 🙂
    .-= Spennix´s last blog ..Art Box =-.

  142. On stereotypes:

    Yes, I am aware that they are a cognitive shorthand.

    I am also opposed to the use of all stereotypes in all contexts. The human mind favors them, but we can be critical about their use–and that’s what I want to be. Critical.

    On Myers-Briggs: I’ve taken the test many times and gotten many different letter combos. The only thing I am clearly is N. In all other categories, I’m about 50-50, sometimes varying enough to push me over. So, with my personality type of XNXX, I can read a book on Myers-Briggs and learn pretty much nothing of use about myself and how I interact with people. I hate to say it, but I associate Myers-Briggs with bad orientation activities for college freshmen (shudder). I always feel sorry for the poor kids who get subjected to that. As for me, when it’s my turn for college service, I’m much more likely to organize a dinner or a book club for students. That’s a more meaningful get-to-know-you than finding out everyone’s Myers-Briggs type.

    I personally get much better results out of Tarot than Myers-Briggs. At least it involves pretty pictures.

    In short, I question the reality value of any stereotype. Any sort of deeper learning about the world has to take place at a level beyond snap analysis–and that goes for any field. If I judged say, Don Quijote, on the stereotypes, there wouldn’t be much point in writing a book about the novel. Sure, he’s crazy–but that’s not satisfying or deep. I wouldn’t encourage my students to make a snap judgment about anything and be satisfied by that.

    @Spennix: You’re totally right.

    I’m not sure why 2ndNin thinks that a set of misogynist stereotypes cited on a public blog (however naively) are not material for feminism. One of the main things feminism works with is stereotypes about women. It’s one of the oldest and most basic topics for feminist writing.

  143. Spennix, what I was saying is that stereotypes are not bad as a general tool nor harmful, most of us like to put ourselves in a box and to know that people in similar or related boxes feel a similar way. Its the basis for things like group sessions, we feel better talking to people who have shared experiences because we feel they can relate.

    The MBTI type stereotypes are useful in that they quantise society into a usable number of groups (with associated strengths they quantise 160,000,000 types which is kindof useless as a tool). It might be no more than tarot to some on the border line but for those solidly within a group it can provide useful insight. Of course no quantisation process is perfect without an infinite number of bits so you cannot recreate the person from the stereotype.

    What we get is an issue relating useful stereotypes and categorisations (since our brain is largely a giant pattern matching machine) against those that cause harm, and even defining the harm given that some do not find them harmful. Sydera and others (including most feminists on the topic?) view these presented ones as both harmful and misogynistic yet others looking at it from a non-feminist pov do not see it that way but looked at the underlying context of them. That would have been an interesting article.

    As for feminism not being relevant, well I can’t see how it is. I can see that stereotypes and negative effects of them is a feminist issue (actually not given by the definition earlier unless said stereotypes affect women more than men but we will ignore that). The question I have is what makes feminism itself relevant to the discussion rather than simply ripping out those parts and continueing on without it.

    “They are, in feminist terms, tricks of the weak–in order words, the most convenient strategies available to disadvantaged groups.”
    – Most groups would consider these to be tricks of those without direct power.

    “As such, women are at a serious disadvantage, and not much can be gained within a guild by the techniques of feminism–solidarity and rational discourse.”
    – solidarity and rational discourse happen in many other fields as well, and I thought the point of these stereotypes was that they are irrational meaning rational thought is a solid counter to them.

    None of the sections on feminism added anything to the article itself, if you removed these sections the article would be largely unchanged in intent and meaning. Maybe I am an idiot thought and don’t see why these make or break the article. If there is something that makes feminism relevant I am interested because I have missed it (other than the fact that feminism is related to these fields as a body that is interested in them and makes statements on them, but in which case I would have expected a cite more like “the British Medical Council journal states that …”)
    .-= 2ndnin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  144. @2ndNin: I would argue that many systems meant to make something large and complex (human personality) easily understandable (Myers-Briggs) are actually very, very harmful. A reductive analysis of human variety? Annoying. Hiring decisions made based on the 16 types? Horrifying.

    Many corporations use these things in their seminars–but to what end? Probably harmless fun, but what if, say, a certain office decided they wanted to foster collegiality, so they were only going to take E’s?

    What if a laboratory decided that they needed the personality type that worked most like the scientific method, so they were only going to take STJs? What if a very good scientist using great lab methods happened, in his personal life, to be a touchy-feely NF?

    What if a grad school program in Spanish decided that ISTPs would make the best paleographers? Then they’d have missed out on some great candidates (including me).

    The point about the stereotypes about women, unlike the Myers-Briggs tests, are actually used by raiding guilds to unfairly criticize or to exclude female members. This is not just pretend, or just hypothetical, but is something I’ve both observed and seen reported in the comments to this very post.

    Both the Myers-Briggs stereotypes and the typical misogynist types are harmful–but there are degrees of harm at work.

  145. I agree with you there Sydera, using it as a 100% tool to find people for a task would likely be bad and result in less than optimum result in the final selection. Willing to bet though that some statistically significant number of these people show up in these kinds of jobs.

    There are reasons to want a single gender environment which we haven’t explored and maybe the benefits outweight the disadvantages for these guilds. I think we need to look at the actions of their male members, did they focus badly, did they run into fires… we don’t know. The problem may be the males of the guild the solution may be to exclude women from the environment given the gender ratio disparity in gaming, it misplaces the cause but has the desired effect in a simple manner.

    Alas WoW and games aren’t like real life where we can have truly exceptional people who can act in ways that are outside the norm enough to make exceptions for, instead we have a very defineable skill cap (and technology cap) meaning that no matter how exceptional a candidate may be they are no better than anyone else who has reached the skill cap. This means that situations like this are much easier to justify in a scenario like WoW because you are not losing someone potentially irreplaceable you are losing a skill capped player. thats part of the issue here is that beyond a certain level we are all the same so certain aspects become far more dominant.
    .-= 2ndnin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  146. Oh, no no no no. Especially when it comes to raiding, the suggestion that all skill-capped 80s are of the same value to the guild seems just completely wrong to me. It’s entirely possible (typical, even) to have two guildies who have completely comparable stats and gear, but one of them is completely key to downing the next boss, and the other is the person that you hope is on vacation that day. (And given that, I think all of the arguments that a guild might be missing out on the very best members by excluding women, say, work very well.)
    .-= Spennis´s last blog ..Arcana =-.

  147. @Spennis

    I am confused. Once a player reaches the skill cap for the game they are almost entirely interchangeable with other members of their class as I would see it from a purely game perspective. They will not be affected by positional hazards, will maximise their class effectiveness, will gear appropriately, will not take additional damage, will react nearly perfectly to all known situations (and likely a lot of unknown ones). What difference is there in their actions (they will produce identical DPS and take identical damage in the same situation or have no statistically relevant difference because they are at the skill cap)?

    I would assume these gender differentiating guilds recruit on a class basis like most other guilds so you are not competing vs other classes but other players in your class. If we include a class bias in the selection then of course there is a difference given the fact that Blizzard cannot balance the classes. Within a class there should be a skill cap at which you can do no more (physically limited by the GCD, movement rate etc).

    There are technological differences then (latency, lag, fps, hardware input latency, visual latency), and raid organisational differences (raid leader potential, good at working out plans for new bosses etc) however generally these are secondary characteristics. I would also suggest that these be ignored across gender (anyone can buy an awesome PC or move to sit on top of an exchange), and I have no idea of the distribution of raid leader characteristics across society so I can’t add anything meaningful there other than to note it exists (if anyone has stuff would be interesting).

    While you need a good raid leader, you need one, and a good one will understand healing lead, tanking lead, dps, will evaluate strategy and reorientate the guild strategy while playing. This though is a meta job, a single great raid leader can be replaced with individual roles who can be better positioned than a single person to observe. There are guilds that utilise multiple people in these roles but it is rarely all 25 active raiders, and I have never seen a guild actively recruit a raid leader (I have been promoted to RL 5 times but never applied for the job).

    I would assume you basically mean a meta role in which one player is effectively helping to organise strategy and suchlike however most skill capped players I have met (anecdote, data, yadayada) are capable of doing this stuff because they have time beyond the theoretical skill cap / input limit to watch more (and at this point I may have undermined my own statement since a guild wanting better meta-raiders can have uses beyond the skill cap since it would translate to more nths of a GCD of thinking time).

  148. @ Sydera

    I have NEVER seen a male picked over a female in our guild due to their sex, it just doesn’t even come into the equation, however I have seen poor female players not picked due to being a really poor player yet moaning “they didn’t pick me because I’m a girl”.

    I, myself have not been picked sometimes due to having insuffient gear.

    Don’t forget perception. A persons perception can be totally different to someone elses. People will very often think there is a ultamatum to why they weren’t picked and won’t consider the fact they may simply just not be very good, or lack in gear.

  149. @2ndnin: I’m not sure what guild you’re playing in.

    I have yet to meet a player at said “skill cap,” which seems to mean perfect in every way and immune from occasional errors. Now, I play in a good raiding guild, and every member of our team has made a mistake before. Longtime members also seem to improve over time.

    I think the “skill cap” is theoretical–except maybe for a guild like Enisdia?

    That said, as a recruiter I find skilled players who fit immediately into the guild’s agenda without further training to be hard to find. I can’t pass up a good application just because it’s the wrong class–so why would I do so for the “wrong” gender (sexuality, body type, income level, age, ethnicity, etc).

    I think you need to take a step back from your devil’s advocate position. I have seen many ads for guilds that don’t take women “because of our guys’ bad behavior.” Likewise, there are ads that say or imply “no gays.” There have even been high profile cases of gay guild members being kicked when others are harassing THEM “just to shut down the problem.” I say, if you want to base your guild makeup on supporting people’s prejudices, pretty soon you will end up with a guild full of assholes. They will not just be racist/sexist/classist/homophobic, but they will also spew any amount of garbage at people they consider like them. As a person who has recruited for a long time, of course I don’t automatically take all the female apps. Then again, I don’t automatically reject them either. Judging apps on their WoW-related criteria only lets me get good recruits in whatever guild I’m working for. Typically, my recruits are less trouble than the guild’s original members (who tend to be recruited far back in the past and utterly at random, probably through trade chat). As long as I’m doing better with my selections (both in play and personality) than a random set of players, I feel pretty good about it.

  150. @2ndNin: wow, you must do your raiding in a completely different universe than I do. 🙂 Is it really the case in your guild that all that matters to success is the stats and gear of the raiders, and the “meta-skill” of the RL? In the raids (and just instances) that I’ve been in, even if someone has good gear and good stats, the skills of the *player* (as opposed to the toon) matter a whole lot; for instance:

    Some players use well-thought-out rotations; others just spam and flail.

    Some players know exactly where to be; others get lost, or ignore the leader’s marks and attack the wrong mob, or get ahead of the group and pull things early, or stand right in the way of the incoming flame-breath.

    Some tanks are good and vigilant about holding aggro, protecting the healers, and so on; others just stand there and hit the boss regardless of what’s happening eleswhere.

    Some healers pay good and balanced attention to the party; others ignore everyone but the tank; others are too conservative (or too liberal) with their mana.

    Some players do good and effective communication, others whine or moan or generate hostility, others remain silent even when they ought to be informing the raid of something.

    and probably a dozen other differences.

    I’m getting the feeling here that you’re so committed to a contrarian position in this thread that you’re starting to say things that you wouldn’t normally believe. I mean, “Once a player reaches the skill cap for the game they… will react nearly perfectly to all known situations (and likely a lot of unknown ones)”???? If that’s really true of the people you’ve been raiding with, I’m green with envy. 🙂

    But anyway, the relevance of all this to the original discussion is that there really is a big range of player skills (even among essentially identical *toons*), and so any guild that excludes people by gender due to these narratives (or for any other reason), even if it’s due to “legitimate” concerns like boys tending to inappropriately defend girls, or groups functioning more smoothly when there is no potential sexual interest among them, is going to be excluding some potentially valuable members. So these anti-woman narratives (for instance) are not only harmful to the global karma, if you will, they’re also harmful to the success of individual raid groups.
    .-= Spennix´s last blog ..Arcana =-.

  151. Spennix,

    Most of those things you discuss are things I would expect any raider to be capable of. Failing to maintain a good DPS (and overall damage, since I adhere to the school of though that 5,000,000 DPS for 0.000001s is not as awesome as 2,000 DPS for the whole fight) and situational awareness. People that do not have these capabilities are not generally what I would consider raiders but casuals since they lack some of the gaming skills required to make progress (actually not true, they will progress but not at progression rates typically).

    As for skill capping, maybe its a bad term but I can’t think of anything else to use in its place. It is for someone that can maintain their rotation, react to situations, does the correct thing, doesn’t need the RL to set them up. I have met lots of them (EU Silvermoon, we have a world 6th Guild, 9th on All alone, with 5 guilds in the top 500 worldwide). Being honest they are the kinds of players that actually push you to try, I have one player in my former guild that could almost push me on threat on 4HM zerg (100% heroism uptime + ~60-90% pot / cd uptime on Thane), yet I have seen many others that can do it while pugging. I wouldn’t say its rare to meet people that can handle all the game has to throw at them.

  152. Ah, okay, I misunderstood; thought you just meant by “skill cap” being at a high enough numerical level for whatever skill / attribute of the toon that raising it more doesn’t do much good. So yeah, I agree that there are some very good players in the game. But if we water down the statement that much, then it’s true of real life also 🙂 and no longer is any kind of argument for it being less of a bad idea to discriminate by gender in WoW than in real life. If you’re not arguing “well, it doesn’t hurt a guild any to discriminate against women, because there are enough good men out there that they’ll have no problem filling all their needs from the pool of available males”, then I’m okay. If you *are* arguing that, I still think you’re wrong 🙂 but I’m not sure I have anything new to say on the subject…
    .-= Spennis´s last blog ..Arcana =-.

  153. It is an argument though as the skill cap for WoW is much lower than the real life equivalent. Thus while a company in real life would harm itself (or restrict its potential more likely) by refusing candidates on gender or other discriminatory restrictions, because the skill cap is lower the number of players they can recruit with sufficiently good skill is much higher. This means the effect of losing 1/3rd of the applicants is much lower (last I heard about 1/3rd of WoW players were female, so assuming an equal skills distribution as the male players seems sensible), to the guild as they still have many good applicants.

    As the all of those applicants can be assumed to be at the skills cap then the only differentiators are meta-skills (which fundamentally only 1 player in the guild needs, but more is better) and social skills. This means that for a skill capped guild uninterested in meta-skills there is no differentiation between the top n% of the WoW populace. This means that discrimination is more likely and rife because you lose nothing by choosing between two good candidates, so if there is a “women cause drama because our raiders have the mental age of an immature 12 year old” attitude then it can be resolved without issue to the guild.

    That is the problem with discrimination in this area, you lose effectively nothing by applying your discriminatory tactics, without loss there is no way to persuade people to become more open. If the skills cap was higher, or meta-skills more important (both of which dissuade casual players so are bad for overall subscriptions) then you would have a problem with this attitude as losing 1/3rd of the potential say 1% of applicants is a lot worse than losing 1/3rd of the top 10%.

  154. Sure, it’s *an* argument. But I think it’s an incorrect argument. 🙂 The notion that every application to the guild will be one of those people who are so perfect that you can’t get any better is completely contrary to my experience. Even the milder suggestion, that there are so many people at that “can’t get any better” level of play that you can toss out 1/3 of them without doing your guild any harm seems wildly unlikely to me. Apparently it seems significantly more likely to you. Not sure what sort of evidence we’d gather to help decide whose intuition is more correct. So we may have to leave it at that. Unless someone else chimes in. 🙂
    .-= Spennix´s last blog ..Arcana =-.

  155. I have a question relating to said argument – if all applicants to this hypothetical guild are equal in everything except social skills, why then are the immature 12 year olds accepted?

  156. For a proper progression raiding guild, most of your applicants should be at that level. For a > 500 in the world guild, your mileage may vary, I have seen some awesome players apply to guilds I have been in, and some players that make me wonder how they got to 80. For most raiders, it should be easy to be near the skill cap.

    I suppose the easiest way would be to put out a survey to GMs/RLs in the top 1000 guilds world wide and see how they would judge their players in terms of competence on a scale of 1-n. Repeating for say the 1001-2000th guilds as well to see if this varies. My gut instinct says something like:

    5-10 players in a normal guild will be close to the skill cap
    15-20 in a progression raiding guild will be near the skill cap
    20+ in a top 500 guild will be near the skill cap
    22+ in a top 50 guild will be near the skill cap

    That is my gut instinct anyway from having played in levelling to top 1k guilds.

    As for why immature 12 year olds are recruited, I have no idea. One would guess that social ability is not a major contribution to value for a raider, thus fitting in (in what ever way that means) is a more major issue than not being annoying. It depends how you view the position really, is a raider a position you need to fill, then anyone at the skill cap that does not disrupt your raid is fine (and I have seen guilds that mute everyone but tanks and RL on vent), while if its a socially inclusive position then other aspects such as social ability count.
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Divine shield =-.

  157. Thank you for this article Sydera, and for your courage in addressing a topic that you knew was going to attract its fair share of misogynist trolls piling on to justify their privileged worldview. People who argue ‘oh, they’re just words and I mean them in a gender-neutral sense, really’, or ‘but women in general really do conform to stereotypes’, or even the ‘no, YOU’RE the sexist for your portrayal of male gamers’ whines in an article addressing explicitly feminist concerns really need to read over what you’re written here again. Your old professor sounds like an amazing person, and it looks like you’re now following in her tracks! 🙂

  158. Vara, how can you alter the way a phrase is meant, if it is meant in a gender neutral way should that not be accepted rather than adding your view point to it and creating misogyny where there was none intended? Also as I think we have all realised people do conform to stereotypes otherwise the stereotype would not exist, the issue is the harm the stereotypes do.

  159. Heavens, no! If I slap you across the face, and then smile and say I didn’t mean anything bad, should you accept that, rather than adding your viewpoint to it? If someone lays out a narrative that’s harmful to women (or for that matter harmful to people in general), but they didn’t *mean* for it to be harmful, should we therefore not critique the narrative? I think it’s actually *more* important to critique the narrative in that case, so the person realizes what they are doing.

    And I wouldn’t go as far as to say “people do conform to stereotypes otherwise the stereotype would not exist”. Stereotypes are sometimes *roughly* accurate stories about how some people sometimes behave under some conditions. That’s a much weaker statement. But I’m glad you realize that the harm that stereotypes do is a legitimate issue anyway. 🙂
    .-= Dale Innis´s last blog ..Pointed Babble =-.

  160. 🙂 Given the number of Women I see slap men everyday and no one but me sees anything wrong with it :). So I suppose it depends on your situation, I meet few people that consider that violence against men, yet the same in reverse would be violence against women.

    Depends on the narrative, if its a harmful narrative directly then yes, if its a narrative you can read a harmful thing into then I think you need to give it the benefit of the doubt or watch how you attack them because it is then your interpretation of their statement and not purely their statement you are attacking leaving you open. A lot of people use their own experience to read far more into something than was ever written, and good writing is designed to do that.

    No matter how you phrase it, stereotypes have to be at least partially accurate otherwise their usage is useless, its a common shared interpretation and it carries into many other areas of shared experiences. Depending on the stereotype and how tightly its worded it can go from horribly vague to dreadfully familiar (I have met the Princess Lodur described).

    😛 and eventually we will get a single post from you in row under the right name :), thankfully mine is autoremembered so I just type.

  161. (How often *do* you see women slap men every day? The number’s zero for me.)

    I don’t think there’s any question these are harmful narratives, and Sydera was entirely right to critique (“attack”) them. She was careful not to attack Lodur, which I think was also appropriate, given that he probably didn’t mean them harmfully. I guess I’m no longer sure if you’re disagreeing with any of that. 🙂

    It’s just not true that stereotypes have to be at least partly accurate to be useful. Your typical “[insert name of oppressed minority group here] are stupid” stereotype, for instance, is invariably false, but people use it all the time to signal their own group membership, to justify their oppressive behavior, and so on.

    More philosophically, I would put it to you that you have not met the Princess that Lodur describes. You have met a person who, under some circumstances, acted in a way that you interpreted as fitting a certain preconceived narrative that you have been trained to find in the world. Maybe for practical and useful reasons, maybe for pathological and harmful reasons. We need to continually critique and examine *all* of the narratives that tempt us, to avoid having too much between us and actual experience.

    But now I’m going all Buddhist on ya. 🙂

    (Got my name right this time!)
    .-= Spennix´s last blog ..Pointed Babble =-.

  162. Generally at least once a day will I see a woman in a social situation hit a man. This might be defined as playful by them however it’s relatively ubiquitous here.

    As for going Buddhist on me, no I met and know the princess. Actually a better term would be a tactically selective limpet mine with multiple ordanance payloads, but princess is shorter. Her behaviour was to seek out a profficient player that is socially lacking or msnipulateable and to bond with them. Typically a person in authority or a required role such as tank or healer. She would then grow closer segregating them from their guild while she acted as a social hub. Due to positioning she would have preferential raid slots and the social hub made people willingly favour her with loot. When the target became unable to advance her gear needs or a liability she detached and began the process again with another target. The word love came up a lot. The pattern was repeated over a two year period with four different guys, all of whom honestly believed she was in love and or seriously liked them to the extent of intimate online behaviour.

    If she didn’t fit the princess Imisunderstand it. 95% of online time for each of the guys would essentially meet her objectives. She is the only one I have met who was a living stereotype though so maybe she is rare.

    Sorry if any mistakes in this, am posting from my phone.

  163. This is an absolutely fascinating discussion. It’s so interesting how much people reveal about their own values and positions the more they talk.

    When it comes down to it we’re all individuals reacting and interpreting from within our own subjective paradigms.

    My subjective reaction: Whilst many good points were made by Sydera I did also feel a little that ‘the lady doth protest too much’. I would argue that 2ndNin and Random have also made some very good points.

    Ultimately I don’t believe there is any ultimately ‘right’ answer or position, we humans are complicated creatures.

    I’m happy to say that in my guild and raid I have never ever experienced behaviour that felt in any way misogynistic. In fact in my experience of MMOs (7 years worth) I have seen less of this type of behaviour than I have observed in ‘real life’.

    I applaud the call to critical thinking. I’m amused by the use of intellectual capital to justify arguments.
    .-= Jezrael´s last blog ..Character =-.

  164. @Jezrael: I’m not sure you intended to say what you did in your comment.

    I’m going to talk about this case at length because I think your comment can help me illustrate my original point–about how language has a life independent of the person who used it. Basically, I’m going to use your barb about the “lady doth protest too much” to show how a phrase has different meanings to different people. The words themselves have connotations and denotations beyond what the writer may be aware of.

    “The lady doth protest too much” is a Hamlet reference. Gertrude says it about the queen of the play-within-a-play, meaning to implicate this “queen” in her stage husband’s murder. It’s also quite ironic, as the speaker (Gertrude) is herself suspected of participation in her husband’s murder, and her son Hamlet had orchestrated the play-within-a-play in order to find some proof of her guilt. Jezrael’s use of that citation means–to me–that she find me–the person, the blogger–guilty of enacting every one of the stereotypes that I critique. That is a very personal–and highly negative–judgment to make of a stranger. But if I were someone else (not the Shakespeare fanatic that I am) would I have taken offense? Possibly not.

    Here is a situation where language becomes very, very important. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to choose words carefully–after all, that’s what we’re really talking about in this discussion–the meanings of words, and how those meanings impact others. Jezrael may have only meant that she doesn’t see much harm in the stereotypes themselves. That’s totally fine, as it’s just an opinion on an abstract subject–but that’s not what was said. That is very, very different from calling the blogger Sydera a Princess, Diva, Vixen, a She-Wolf, and a Bitch. But what was meant? It is very hard for me to tell from where I sit.

    This comment definitely irked me–it made me wonder how a commenter could know anything at all about my play style, my skill at the game, or my personal relationships, other than what I’ve shared here. It also makes me wonder why my personal status should be even be relevant. It reminds me of that moment in the (terrible) movie The Ugly Truth when Katherine Heigl calls into Gerard Butler’s cable show to protest his misogyny, and he claims that because she objects to his ideas, she must herself be ugly. Of course, she’s rather pretty. Even that horrid excuse for a romantic comedy recognizes the right of a woman to protest against misogyny–and shows us that intelligent critique doesn’t make someone “ugly” (substitute here any other negative words for women that you can think of).

    Such comments are really common among internet trolls. For example, I’ve seen it in recurrent threads with titles like “All Girl Gamers Are Fat/Ugly.” I’ve seen versions of this thread on the forums for multiple games. Inevitably, when a presumably female poster protests, the trolls reply: “anyone who disagrees with us is fat/ugly,” which can actually make people afraid to protest because they don’t want that label to be applied to them, even by an obvious troll.

    But was the comment here actually meant to be personal? Or was it “harmless”? I honestly don’t know. The internet is an anonymous medium, and it doesn’t let us know the real truth of these things.

    My advice (to all readers) would be to be very, very careful about drawing negative inferences about a stranger’s personal life and choices. The internet can be a very mean place, but most of us want to be good citizens of it. That means taking time and care with the words we choose.

  165. I think that Jez knows the play given it is written as a quotation, however Sydera I think you are reading into it too much. Wouldn’t the Shakespearean protest be more equivalent to protestation meaning that the point is you are too insistent on reading into things rather than the modern meaning of protest as to deny and object.

    It seems that we all utilise stereotypes and fast judgements at one time or another for the purposes of classification, fitting in, or worse. Thus the very stringent defense of their negative effects when you have likely used them yourself (and feel free to correct me there) is in fact fitting of the comment. That is of course if you want to look at the actual history of the comment, initially I just read it as too defensive of the idea. The comment would thus indicate that you are too actively defending these points to make up for and justify some world view you hold which is likely a valid reading of any defensive article.

    The statement as it would appear in Shakespeare’s intent would make it hard to see how you were defined as any of those terms and seems more as though you are reading into the words written more than the author intended (thus making your point nicely in a circular way that if intended is a nice technique but prone to misunderstanding). I cannot see how you were defined as any of these stereotypes by that quote.

    The commenter likely doesn’t know more than you have written or given about yourself however has inferred points from your statements and affiliations. If I said I was a member of the “20 Badges per day average club” you could likely infer some things about me which may not be true (I have been members of societies I hold no interest or affiliation with). Thus while your personal status may not be relevant to how you play the game, it is relevant to how you blog and the status of your comments, when you write in a public way your life is torn apart and analysed (and I really pity authors who have their works torn apart for meaning that often was never intended). Thus it is important because it helps us to understand where your world view is situated and where is is pointed thus letting us see how you actually view the world.

    The trolling posts are obvious, they are trolls and responding to them feeds them. Thus no one commenting kills the troll rather than enlarging its effect. I can’t see people being scared because some anonymous person decided to classify all random people as ugly. It would take a fairly shallow person (imo) to actually fall into the trap of not responding (or responding) for fear of being called ugly by some random. Honestly if the worst that ever happens to me is that I get called ugly by a troll on the internet, I will have lived a blessed life.

    The Ugly Truth was an interesting movie, more so due to the fact that in his eyes she was likely Ugly as she did not fit his ideals for a woman. Later on he gets to know her, and she breaks character massively becoming more the kind of woman he wants transforming her from ugly to beautiful in his world view.

    The whole movie was about two world views that were incompatible and both rotate to become acceptable to the other. They realise that their existing world view was no longer sufficient to cover what they needed or wanted in life. You define her as pretty, yet that is a subjective view, if he was basing his world view on aspects other than conventional beauty then she was ugly in many ways. She did not fit with the world as given, she was controlling, (go through the list of flaws the movie lists :P), she was ugly from the personality pov that he wanted (look at the difference in beauty ideals between western culture and almost any other). To simply say that him calling her ugly is misogyny is to ignore the whole point of it, her personality did not fit the stereotypical need so was classified badly, when it suddenly became more fitting and his view changed she became the woman of his dreams. That is not simply misogyny but the basis for multi-cultural issues.

    Again I think we are using the word misogyny too easily here, its beginning to sound a lot like Eddie Izzards take on Jihads. A lot of the misogyny can instead be written down as two incompatible view points looking at the same issue. Its in the eye of the beholder which means we all bring a lot of baggage to any conversation with us that stops us looking at the issue itself (the conflicting view points and if there is actually an underlying issue).
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Thinking about death knights =-.

  166. @2ndNin:

    Gerard Butler tells Katherine Heigl “You’re not ugly at all” the first time he sees her.

    She’s never “ugly” to him.

    The point is that, as far as his character is concerned, her entire worth is concentrated in her physical person. Sure, she’s neurotic and kind of mean–doesn’t matter, because his character’s no peach either. His mission is to take that pretty exterior and match it with a suitably compliant personality. Katherine Heigl’s learned personality–slutty, agreeable, and dumb–doesn’t stick, but that doesn’t matter either! It’s clear in the film’s final scene that the characters continue to hate each others’ personalities. They’re just able to look past that because hey, they’re both really hot. Just great.

    I’d have to say this film takes the cake as both one of the most superficial and most vulgar movies I’ve ever seen. That script is a total train wreck for men and women both. It makes everyone look bad–and I say shame on the writers of the comparatively charming Legally Blonde for stooping that low.

  167. This is hilarious. Well done for ignoring every other part of my comment and leaping on my use of a well known literary quote to infer that I’m impugning you personally. I was trying to say that I think many of the comments here as well as points raised in your original post have merit however I thought your framing of the argument detracted from it’s power.

    The real dig in my comment was my reference to the use of intellectual capital to justify your voice as authoritative. Which is utterly ironic.
    .-= Jezrael´s last blog ..Character =-.

  168. Before he sees her physically she is ugly to him… after he sees her she is physically beautiful and still personality wise ugly from his perspective. The crafted personality he suggests for her smooths over any issues yet doesn’t fit her (and note that her personality takes a complete u-turn in the film anyway). Eventually they realise that their lack of a complement is a complement of sorts.Seems like a reasonable romantic comedy really, they both learn to adapt and live with each others differences and form a semi-harmonious partnership.

    She was still ugly to him, the fact that it was personality and not looks is irrelevant to the matter, you can look like and still be uglier than sin on the inside. Also Butler’s character is not 100% physically obsessed (a high percentage) however he has some respect for more than that. The personality he gives to her for a short period was not designed for long term use really, it is an ice-breaker which if you look at her actions she needs because she does not let down her emotional and mental guards while viewing the world through an analytical lens. She needed to let down her guard to actually find a chance of happiness, while Butler’s character was far from perfect his attitude allowed her to drop her guard but still be able to draw it back when needed precisely because he was abrasive and physically focused. If you want to really read into it then it is all about the dating issues that INTX type personalities can encounter (Myers’s Briggs classification), people that think too much and have emotional guards set in place that don’t really conform to the normally emotionally expected response.

    I also note that you dodged the Shakespeare part, you made a large thing of reading into that one phrase using modern English to make yourself a martyr to the cause yet don’t address what the poster actually says s/he meant (and I am sorry I have no idea Jez if you mentioned you are male or female but I have been wrong once already :)). Yes I do mean martyr here because you seem to be taking it as a personal insult rather than analysing the issue (:P yeah, I can relate to Heigl’s character).
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Thinking about death knights =-.

  169. @2ndNin and Jezrael:

    The Shakespeare quote, both in its context in the work and in its use now as a cliché, is an insult. Interestingly, it’s meaning actually hasn’t changed since the turn of the 17th century when almost everything else in language has. That’s just the way it’s used, and I can hardly be blamed for taking it at its connotative rather than denotative meaning. It’s a phrase that–in its original form–had a double meaning. It has always meant that, based on the speaker’s point of view, the person this quip is directed at IS the thing he or she criticizes. “Protesting” is equivalent to an admission of guilt. And that’s what I resent–the notion that critique itself is reprehensible.

  170. As other people have already pointed out in their comments, your argument (whilst I will again state, having valid points) is detracted from, in my opinion, by your use of stereotypes which are the very thing you are actually railing against. I’m not saying that you the person are indeed any of the stereotypes you castigate, I’m postulating that your argument is bound and framed by what you are arguing against. I don’t see you as your argument. I don’t know you at all so I’m not judging you the person. But you put your argument out here in the public domain and by that act you should understand that you then allow that argument to be called into question.

    I could use another Hamlet quote here: “Words, words, words”. By which I mean to say that words are just objects of communication from which meaning is extrapolated by the reader through their own distinctive and subjective lens. Before we read and interpret they are just marks, empty and devoid of meaning. No reiterating of your subjective point of view using whatever discourse of power you feel gives you authority to speak necessarily makes you right. And that goes for everyone, including me. So feel free to disagree with my argument, just as I disagree with yours. The thing I most take to task, as I will once again reiterate, is your use of intellectual capital to insist on your voice as speaking authoritatively. Which is, I again argue, highly ironic.
    .-= Jezrael´s last blog ..Character =-.

  171. I don’t see Sydera claiming to be authoritative due to any kind of academic status or intellectual capital or anything; where did she do that?

    (Also I note that this discussion has wandered a bit off of the actual topic into the “who really said what about whom and who’s at fault” thing, which is generally not all that interesting.)
    .-= Spennix´s last blog ..Quick Evony Update =-.

  172. In what way is it an insult? Most of the references I find to mention it as too firm an affirmation of the overacting, thus indicating guilt (since there . Nothing I have found would imply that it is an insult (to offend or demean) but rather to indicate a falsehood or cover up which is more in fitting with how I and others seem to read the line.

    (First two cites I found referencing it, there are way more but pasting from google seems pointless)

    The context of the line would also suggest that it is the vehement affirmation to which there is objection (since the player queen does not protest her treatment in the other uses of that word). Thus it is the defence without question that is questionable making the quote relevant since you are defending the principle that stereotypes are bad without question especially in relation to their derogatory usage against female gamers.

    Taking the connotative rather than the denotative meaning is an interesting trick given that the denotative meaning of the statement is applicable here, as well as the conotative meaning others seem to read into it. I suppose this is personal since you are reading into what you believe was implied and not what was directly stated. I believe was the point of your post several above this that speech has to be used carefully lest we corrupt the meaning or utilise the connotative to hide reprehensible behaviour inside seemingly unbiased wordings.

    Jez never states that the critique is reprehensible in fact he gives you credit for it, then notes that the approach and vehemence with which you use may be inappropriate for the post which Lodur initially wrote making the defence seem inappropriate.

  173. Thank you, Sydera. And all of the comments saying… “it just makes me so tired”.

    Now that I’m a granny gamer AND back at university studying gaming/digital culture I am shocked at the unchallenged stereotypes, misinformation and lazy prejudices abounding even at university and the number of supposedly intelligent informed culturally aware post grad students completely missing it.

    I mentioned the need for a bit of feminist analysis in my 2nd class and was ‘gagged’ for causing an ruckus. Everyone went off! Feminism is apparently SOO unneccesary! I was censured for sidelining a discussion about ‘the digital divide”. WTF?

    I’d prefer to game in my free time (LOL) not fight and fight against stereotyping. But I forget that it’s a load I’m always carrying on my own, regardless, until I read a post like yours and walk away with a lighter heart and my head held higher.
    .-= Andra´s last blog ..SocialAction =-.

  174. I am really excited that I stumbled upon this article, partly because I relate to the topic, but more importantly, I am currently working on a paper on Female Gamers for my Linguistics, Language and Gender class. This topic is very relevant to the class simply by the use of the gendered terms. For those of you who seem to have a concept of feminism that reflects male-bashing, I hope that you look more into the intent of the movement.

    A great deal of research has been done on the topic of language and gender and how certain terms can signal inclusion of a group or can define the power relationships among genders. True, stereotypes can reflect reality, but according to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, it is more common that our perception of reality, i.e. the stereotypes we associate with our lives, is constructed via the language we use. Therefore, there is a strong relationship between the language we use and how we see the world because our language reflects the way we see the world and reinforces it constantly.

    It follows that, if we use gendered terms, i.e. ones that have some connotation of belonging to one sex over the other, we actually reinforce the actual inequality of the genders if the terms are used as derogatory terms for other people. Those who might dispute this, should really look into the literature.

    So, unfortunately this means that even when the terms Vixen, Diva and Princess are said to be used as gender-neutral, they still carry an underlying connotation of femininity which, though not explicit, express the assumption that these are females causing problems. Sorry if you disagree, but there is a huge body of research supporting this issue.

    Feminism in this respect, is about finding these sort of terms and showing people that they indeed carry some gender bias REGARDLESS of the intention of the speaker. The idea is to expose the underlying assumptions that shape our perceptions of reality, and in this case, of the female gaming experience.

    This is what I’m attempting to accomplish in my paper, and what many other researchers have tried to accomplish since the advent of the video game.

  175. Great article and right to the point.
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  176. The worst type of woman in wow is one who thinks she’s special and hot shit because she’s the only one on the raid team/in guild and the men are after her.  In reality she wouldn’t get a man to look at her if she stood outside naked. We had those in the military.  They are mattresses and wastes of space.  They ruin how men see women; how they see the rest of us who are normal, balanced persons inside the game and out.  Telling such a worthless speciment of women that she is a Diva or a Princess will only fuel her; in reality she is nothing but a toad.


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