Being a Woman in Gaming

Typically there would be at least one other female gamer in the guild that I was in.  I don’t know if this is because we tended to find each other due to the type of leadership that the guild had.  I had refused to play with certain guilds due to how I was treated, or if they had provocative pictures on their forum.  I am fine with pictures of beautiful women but I’ll be out the door if they is pornography in your player forums…just….no.

In my experience there is always a lot of flirting in games.  When your guild has a male to female ratio of 15:1 you tend to see the women getting a lot of attention.  I have benefited from lots of help over the years in the game, I will assume that it was due to being a female.  I always try to pay it back or pay it forward but I’m sure there is an imbalance in my favor.

Along with the attention, women can also be the target of unwanted harassment.  There have been more than a few times where I received inappropriate and unwanted private messages.  It was even worst if it came from people that I played with on a regular basis or members of my guild.  It was a difficult position to be put in.  If a woman deflects advances she gets called a bitch and I’ve seen this type of negative notions get spread throughout a guild because rather than nurse a bruised male ego quietly, it was done with rumors and trash talk.  For about 2 years I refused to play in the same guild as my husband (boyfriend at the time) because there was this ONE GUY that would call me a “little c**t” every time I joined up with them to do group content.  I told him to cut it out, but he saw that it irritated me so he kept doing it.  One of the benefits of being the guild leader is that people don’t test my boundaries like this.  If they were to call me any sort of derogatory term they would be out the door faster a speeding ticket.

I’ve been exploring the world of how female players are treated in gaming to gain a broader understanding beyond my own experiences.  I found the Not in the Kitchen Anymore where a Jenny Haniver publishes clips of negative interactions that she has with other gamers.  I will tell you that I’ve listened to these clips and was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were “yea I hear this all the time” and it didn’t seem out of the ordinary.  Have I grown complacent to the verbal abuse that we face in these games as women?

So why do these men berate women in these games?  Is it a power thing?  Are the motivations to cat call women on the street or call them whores in video games the same?  I’ve often heard that women would be better off if they confronted the abuser and to this I am conflicted.  A few weeks ago I was the target of unwanted advances while at a fair grounds.  I will tell you that I did not give him an ear full for a few reasons, first – he was operating a ride that my child was on and I didn’t want her to become a target for retaliation after I rejected this man.  Second – I didn’t know what this guy was capable of, was he prone to violence?  or stalking?  I don’t know and I’d rather not put myself in a position to find out.

5 thoughts on “Being a Woman in Gaming

  1. I don’t believe we have a 15:1 ratio in my guild, maybe 4:1 or less. When it comes to harassing behavior I will not even hesitate to wade through the he said she said, if someone is being harassed of either gender, and has a few screen shots as proof? I will boot the offender out the door with no chance of ever being invited back. I do not care if they are one of the best players in the game. It’s not tolerated. Period. On the few rare occasions it’s happened I use to check WoWtrack for a list of Alts in guild. Unfortunately that site is gone now, and WoWProgress is not much help. A big one on my list of improvements to guild leader powers is to be able to not only remove a persons character, but also issue not just a ban on that character, but on the entire account. Unfortunately that will never happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow that’s a much different ration than what I’m used to seeing. The most females in one guild I’ve been in was 3/20. It would be great if everyone took screen shots of harassment but I don’t think this typically happens. As women we are socialized to avoid conflict and not rock the boat. It’s sad but true. More likely the harassee will stop participating or just leave a guild. There are guilds out there with 0 women for one reason or another but some of these guilds with no women are this way because they have a culture that is not a safe place. Of course all my thoughts are based on my own experiences and what I experience in gaming won’t be the same as another females experience.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Having watched the Kavanaugh trials, the treatment of women was shocking to me. I had thought that we as a culture had (at the least) learned some manners. My raid team can be four of sixteen women and there can be teasing but never flirting. The teasing is all over the place but more smack would be tossed over being a hunter or druid than being a woman.
    This retribution idea; way outside of the realm of your discussion; my fears are in the idea of complaints against businesses and knowing full well that they have my address, credit card, name and more at their finger tips.
    Good article, lets see more!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I eliminated a lot of the problems with unwanted advances by starting my own guilds (currently at 5 guilds for mains and alts on assorted reams). By being the GM in all of the guilds, I can keep the drama down to a minimum and keep the stress to a tolerable level.

    I’m also a rule breaker with the fact that I play both factions and play both female and male characters – if the people don’t know who I am or “what” I am, that’s all for the good because I will definitely tell them if they are crass enough to force the issue. I guess you could say that I am an isolationist in some ways – I do enjoy interacting with people, however, there are times when I just need to lose myself in the game and enjoy what immersion I can find.

    Many years ago I was with a guild of people that were very nice and I had been in the guild for a couple of years. Ah ha, then Ventrillo came into being. Well, let’s just say that I left in a bit of a rush when the “boys” found out that I was a lady – OMG, a woman has been leading out raid team – what sacrilege!

    Now, my fun times are when I’m running around in a BG and get tangled up with some “hero” of the masses and finally smack his backside and announce quite proudly – “You just go whooped by a Grandma!!” I guess you could say that my sense of humor knows no bounds sometimes and my filter gets clogged (common sense still works but sometimes my humor tells it to be quiet.)

    As for harassment, I’ve learned long ago to let it ride and if you don’t let them know that it bothers you as much as they would like – the poor things just get bored and leave you alone. If it steps over the bounds of what I feel is a line in the sand, I generally unload on them pretty harshly and slam-dunk them into ignore pretty quickly. Life is too short to get stressed out over something someone has said or done to you – don’t allow yourself to dwell on it because you’re actually allowing the issue to take up time in your life.

    I know I’m weird and that’s okay because I’ve been living with my weird self for 70 years – don’t think I’ll change at this late date.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I feel you on this – I don’t play WOW but another game. Personally I have NO problem being myself and letting people know I’m female…but I give as good as I get. I think my guild mates aren’t sure how to deal with me. Not in a bad way of course, I am super helpful as often as I can. I have a very quick sense of humour so most are laughing at the things I’ve said. It can be a struggle – and i have told people straight NO when they say something not cool to either myself or someone I’m playing with.
    This was very well written and something that we deal with every time we log into a game.


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