Sometimes Even the Thickest Skin is Not Enough

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.


6 thoughts on “Sometimes Even the Thickest Skin is Not Enough

  1. Funny thing is…This can be applied to the real world as well. I know a bunch of the guys I hang with sometimes forget that, yes I do not have a penis so watch what you say and do around me. Though I always find it funny when you call them on something, then THEIR the ones getting emotional and pissy. :/

    But I completely agree, both gaming and real world, women need to grow a tough skin. You’re not going to get anywhere being weak and a pussy, and you sure as hell won’t prove yourself if you cannot stand up to the boys and their little toys.

    1. Yep, it’s hard whether it’s the real world or the gaming world, especially when there are so many women out there that give us normal ones a bad name (I’m only a crazy person sometimes, I swear!). Hopefully things will start to change when those of us with similar minds speak up and loudly more often.

  2. While I agree that a tough skin is necessary, I also think that sometimes it’s necessary to call the men on their lack of tact. Let’s face it, for many of them, we’re some of the few women that they interact with. Since they haven’t learned that there are inappropriate things to say, someone’s got to point it out to them. I’ve got no problem doing that, and I don’t think any other woman should hesitate to call them on it either.

    1. I absolutely agree. You guys weren’t around back in the day when I used to be a raid leader – that really toughened me up and taught me how to 1.) tell people what to do 2.)tell people what I thought of their crappy performance and 3.)all other misc. duties. After doing and being an officer for so long, I have no problem calling people out – I expect a lot from my guildies and raid members: If you can’t read a strat and/or follow directions, get the fuck out of my raid. If you don’t like the way we do things, get the fuck out of my guild. There have been a few times when I’ve asked guys (in game) to do something, and they’ve laughed in my face. Obviously, those guys didn’t last long 🙂

  3. I think the best moment I can remember had nothing to do with online gaming. My wife went to work, and, later, I showed up to attend the usual holiday office party, and she promptly demolished all of the guys talking about football playoffs. A few weeks later, (I being crafty) I bet on the Baltimore Ravens in the kitchen pool. I walked with a considerable hunk of cash after they won the Superbowl, and simply handed to her. A tough skin is one thing, belief in yourself is far more powerful. I’ve met several types of women in the cooking business, and the big thing to track on, is much as Angel says, fear of interaction. You don’t need to forgive, as, for the most part, they won’t even recognize it for what it is, but don’t stand down. On the other hand, the faster, smarter, better you are, some of us knuckleheads notice, and it finally breaks through that maybe we aught to listen. Keep up the good work, there are quite a number of us who are proud to have you as a friend and a Guildie.

    1. Thanks, that’s sweet of you to say 🙂 Most of my guy gaming buddies are the best and I wouldn’t trade you guys for anything. But yeah, after playing for so long I’m more confidant in my abilities in general, and getting more confidant as a tank – but sometimes someone will say something and it’s soul destroying no matter how much you believe in yourself.

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