This past week, I’ve had some bonding time with one of the only other women in my WoW guild. She’s relatively new to the game (I use the term loosely), and has been having a hard time coping with some of the issues that come with being a female gamer in the MMO world. After talking with her today, I decided that it might be a nice change of pace to talk about something more personal yet game related since this IS a diary of sorts, and chronicles my experiences in the gaming world. Plus, I thought that if she reads this article she may not feel so alone.
One thing that’s been said to me many times over the years (when it comes to MMOs, at least) is that I take things too personally. I won’t argue this because it’s true. However, one thing that men repeatedly fail to realize is that that’s how most women are wired – we can’t help it, the emotional creatures that we are. Some of us hide it better than others, but just because we don’t let you see that, doesn’t mean that what you said didn’t sting a bit or downright hurt. I’m not saying that men need to walk on eggshells around women, they just need to realize that we’ll take what you said very differently than your best guy friend did.
The advice I gave to my female guildy was that when playing with the guys, you have to grow a thick fucking skin – and sometimes even THAT is not enough to deflect intentionally or unintentionally cruel comments.
Being a female gamer is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s great to prove that you’re capable of being part of a male dominated community and can play just as hard and fast as they can, if not more so. On the other hand, being “one of the guys” is hard, because when you are one of the guys, the guys tend to forget that you’re not genetically one of them and will say some very questionable things.
The biggest hurdle, in my opinion, is that I think that most guys assume that women cannot game, will not be as good as them, and will bring forth much drama. I also think that most men would not publicly admit this…however, there are exceptions to every rule, and I know many men that don’t think this way at all, so my hat goes off to them. Anyway – my point here is that in my experience, the really decent female gamers usually have to work twice as hard in the gaming world to prove their worth and gain the respect of their peers.
With that being said, respect is something that is earned, not something that is given blindly, and I think that this is an elitist attitude (asking for blind respect) that many female gamers come with (“Hey, I’m one of handful of women here! You will automatically respect me because because I have real breasts AND have a [fill in the blank] game account!). When there are so many female gamers out there with that attitude + poor gaming skills in general, it makes it easy to see why men think that we suck.
I was talking to a male guildy last night regarding female gamers, and he told me an interesting story. Years ago (WoW) he was part of a hardcore raiding guild – 5 nights a week and all of that good stuff. That guild had a no female in the guild policy. I was shocked and asked why. “Because they felt that women brought too much drama to the table and they didn’t want to deal with it”.
So come on, ladies. Grow the hide of a rhino, harden your heart, and get out there and prove them all wrong.