Girls Just Want To Have Dungeon Runs

“Cassandra” at Left Mouse Button writes about the sexual politics of online life in WOW and, as she puts it, the myth of the meritocracy. Hits some regular riffs, but with a lot of local colour. The quote from a 17-year old guild leader – annoyingly, with his name changed, which does undermine its credibility – is particularly memorable: “Girls just aren’t on the same level. Sometimes they’re okay as healers or whatever, and I’d rather have a girl than an empty raid slot, but they lack that primal aggression that a man needs. They don’t need the kill as bad.” It’s the modern-day equivalent of the playground game where you stomp around in a conga shouting “WE ARE PLAYING ARMY! DO YOU WANT TO JOIN US?” continuously until a girl tries to, at which point you stop and shout “NO GIRLS ALLOWED!”, innit? Of course, it’s mostly anecdotal, which is why I bring it up – what are people’s experience with this?

(Image from here)


  1. anomie says:


    You make great points, and I’m not disagreeing with anything you said. However, my point is that many people here are acting under the assumption that all 17 year old males are sexist, which is completely untrue.

    As for what to blame, you do indeed blame overall ignorance. I do not know him well enough to say he’s stupid, but he is ignorant. You can’t guarantee that this person will become less ignorant through experience, because there are plenty of ignorant people out there who are much older than 17. Any form of discrimination forms from ignorance, it is THE “reason”. It’s what you blame.

    Unfortunately, after thousands of years, there still is no end-all cure for ignorance. We still end up in debates such as the one we’re having now.

    • Senethro says:

      Most 17 year olds are bloody stupid though and I was definitely one of them. And so were my friends. There may be a correlation of some sort there…

      If you don’t think that your younger self was an absolutely contemptible idiot then either you were god’s gift to the world or you haven’t finished growing up yet. I just cringe at the things I used to believe and attitutudes I held.

    • alm says:

      I still haven’t worked out how to be completely open minded and I’m nearly 27. I still think that people choose to be ignorant though, and that ignorance in society keeps it alive.

      EDIT: Hmm, rereading that, I’m sure there are lots of people who know no different than ignorance.

    • anomie says:

      Yeah, I’m not saying I wasn’t stupid either, most people wouldn’t say that. But there are kids out there that are “well mannered, disciplined” and so on. To discount every 17 year old male as ignorant based on what some of them do on the internet is no different than saying all men are vile pigs, and that all women are attention seekers based on what we’ve seen on reality tv shows…

    • anomie says:

      Haha, I think ignorance keeps the debating side of our society alive, that’s for sure. I can’t imagine a world without ignorance, so I obviously can’t say for sure whether it’d be boring or not, but I like to at least imagine that it’s not…

    • alm says:

      LOL, I even had the wrong idea of ignorance when typing that. Looked it up on Man do I feel ignorant…

      Can you really have a go at people for being uneducated though? I mean I thought it was more when people deep down knew what was right but through some sort of sub-conscious trickery fobbed themselves off to believe something that was easier for them.

      But no, Ignorance = The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Here’s why it’s a conscious problem. The cure for ignorance is education. Beyond a certain point in life, your education is your own responsibility.

      Learning is hard work; it is painful.

      Most people, after a certain age, tell themselves they ain’t gonna larn no mo’. They make a conscious decision not to grow, or learn, and they spend the rest of their lives justifying their beliefs, rationalising their experiences, and ignoring the times when the two collide.

    • anomie says:

      The word you’re describing is bigotry, and many people have issues with bigotry as well as ignorance.

      Individuals are definitely to blame for being ignorant. Maybe not before the late 90’s or early 2000, but now that you have a resource such as the internet that gives you more information and knowledge than any resource in the past, you are responsible for your own knowledge. So yes, I do think it’s fair to go at people for being uneducated.

      Bigotry is different, and falls into what I said earlier about how you can’t expect a 17 year old to “grow out” of sexism. He very well may be bigoted, thus unwilling to give up his ideas regarding women. I don’t know him personally, so he might not be, and instead is just ignorant.

    • anomie says:

      Yeah haha, Sheffield totally beat me to the point. Well said.

    • Lestaticon says:

      I think parents of kids hold most of the responsibility in educating their children. I know a mother of 3 who has single-handedly produced kids who have been educated enough (by her) to be able to independently see what is the best way to treat others with kindness and respect. And these kids are in the 7 to 9 age range and are apparently leaps and bounds ahead of this 17 year old in emotional/rational development.

    • Weylund says:


      The brain of a 17-year-old is a very, very different organ from that of a 7 to 9 year old. I have an 8 year old, who is a brilliant angel raised by a nearly perfect mother. Significant chemical changes are going on in the 17-year-old that the younger person does not have to deal with. Also, the older child has much more advanced peer and societal pressures helping to form their thought processes.

      In other words, I expect my 8-year-old to be a confused gangly 17-year-old kid without a clue of how the larger world works, no matter how cogent he is now. I’m sure he’ll be fine after a few years. Like Mark Twain said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Teenagers live in a different world.

  2. spinks says:

    If you’d like another view, talk to Kadomi at Tank like a Girl — I think she’s the GM of an all female guild.

    There are always some dickweeds, but really quite a lot of the WoW population are female (I remember seeing a poll that put it at about 40%). There are lots of women in my guild (inc. me) and I’ve never seen this as an issue. We also have a bunch of younger players, and I haven’t seen this kind of attitude at all.

    I think Cassandra is fluffing it to make a better article because it just isn’t the norm. Now, if she was looking at TS2 servers or something like that, then I wouldn’t be surprised. But most people in MMOs are not like that in my experience. There are other reasons not to reveal your RL gender (such as not being stalked by the guild loser) but even there … I think it’s not as bad as it used to be.

    • Alaric says:

      How do you not reveal gender? o.O Do you have one of those Darth Vader voice changers for use in Vent?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Maybe it’s the RPPvP servers then?

      Because I found it was that bad. When the main thing in the game it has is a chat box, it doesn’t help when most of the game’s population is still a disassociated homophobic whiny bunch of teens.

      I mean honestly, the game isn’t really that fun, especially if you’re stuck with a bunch of children who half the words out of their mouths is ‘fag’ with the fantastic sugar coating of sexual frustration because they play the game all the time and never actually meet anyone.

    • kromagg says:

      I think in a way if women feel it necessary to start an all-female guild it means the community has failed, though. If they weren’t the discriminated against party in this case we’d be judging them by the same standards as we do that 17 year old guild leader, i.e. what the hell do you think is so wrong with men that you won’t admit them to your guild?

      @DJ: the older more mature people are really less likely to speak up in the general channels, so perhaps what you experienced on the RP servers is just an instance of that (selection/observation bias). They didn’t make the “I survived barrens chat” t-shirts because of the high-society aspect of its conversations.

  3. Tei says:

    No one know if you are a man, women or dog if you don’t tell. And for most games is not important. On a game like BF2, I don’t care if the pilot of the jet on the sky is girl or garl.
    Maybe MMORPG are different, because are more like a socializing area, with all the bad and good things of socialicing.

    • disperse says:


      So you’re endorsing a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in online games?

    • Jeremy says:

      What’s a “garl”?

    • frymaster says:


      more of a “don’t care” policy :P

    • Psychopomp says:

      Social icing!

    • Pantsman says:

      As the article mentions, many online games require voice chat for effective play, and talking gives away your gender.

      If some guys aren’t mature enough to handle knowing that there’s a girl on their team, that’s their own problem, not the girl’s.

    • Nalano says:

      When in doubt, it’s a guy.

  4. Serenegoose says:

    My experience of sexism mostly comes from a transgendered perspective, where people try and assert masculinity onto me despite my protestations. If I’m on a random TF2 server and I use the mic (because I like winning, and silent teams lose) then I can expect a barrage of abuse based solely on my voice and how it isn’t male enough whilst also not being unquestionably feminine, until I either quit or shut up. If I find a server I want to play on regularly, I can get abuse if I assert that I’d rather not be ‘he’ or ‘him’ to the other regular players. Similarly, I’ve never been able to get to the high end areas of MMOs due to the fact that it’s largely text based to introduce someone, except when mics are involved, whereupon I’m ‘outed’ rather instantly, or I come up with an excuse why I can’t speak, and don’t get to play. The amount of flack I can get for ‘claiming’ to be female and then ‘obviously not’ being is phenomenal. And so far, all of it has come from -exclusively- male players. So maybe this isn’t conventional sexist abuse. It’s my experience though that I’m simply unwelcome in multiplayer games that require high levels of team co-ordination, and it’s because of my gender.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Sadly, I think it’s more because many people just like to be able to put others into neat pigeonholes. Uncertainty is frightening!

    • Dave says:

      I think it’s more that people are jerks who don’t understand each other, and also don’t understand that you don’t have to understand people to give them some basic respect.

      I just don’t bother with the mic in TF2. In most public games, I enjoy myself more with voice turned off completely.

    • Shalrath says:

      Do you play WoW? If so, which server? I’m in a guild that is rather full of, how would I word this well, ‘social misfits’? If you don’t mind leaving an alts name, I could send you a message.

      (On cenarius server, myself. Horde.)

    • Serenegoose says:

      Cenarius is US servers, yeah? I’m EU, otherwise I’d have alted myself up.

  5. Ketch says:

    I’ve played dungeons/raids where girls have been more efficient than me! I think it depends more in the person rather than the gender. I’ve been playing games since I was about 4, some of the girls I know haven’t done that and therefore wouldn’t be as interested, but those who’ve played from a young age like I have I would say are at the same level as me and I don’t think there is any valid reason to doubt them!

  6. Zyrxil says:

    So to “prove” their point, they interview a 17 year old? I’d say more successful guilds are run by 27 and 37 year olds.

    • El Stevo says:


      Specifically 27 and 37 years olds? Nobody in between?

      (Sorry. No need to reply to that.)

  7. SheffieldSteel says:

    Be careful, people, when making assumptions about others based on their age and gender. That seventeen year old guy might not have rampaging hormones at all. It is perfectly possible that he is a statistical freak instead.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s not likely though.

      The thing is (IMHO), that there will be ‘idiots’ (or people who don’t like to think about things too much) in every age range. It is generally though (hoped, expected?) that at least some people wise up a bit and that with the growing of the years the percentage grows smaller and smaller.

      But hey, you only have to look at some football ‘fans’ to see that aging isn’t likely going to take them all away until mortality comes around.

      Regardless there are plenty of teenagers who act far more mature than most people think possible. No, I’d say this kid is an example of a broader group which isn’t necessarily defined by age or sex.. but rather by behaviour.

  8. C4Cypher says:

    You make a good point Zyrxil, it’s telling that they’d grab a 17 year old, but ultamately, age isn’t supposed to matter. Guilds and entire games are defined by their playerbase. It’s not fair enough to say ‘if the community sucks, find a better one’, as I’ve seen certain levels of sexist behavior in online play, it’s impossible to escape completely without completely concealing one’s identity (hard if you want to use voice communications). However, good, open-minded, mature communities are out there. They’re harder to find in some games than others, but they are out there.

  9. Wednesday says:

    Dear lord, back when I used to play we’d have never turned down someone decent. Raids are to much hassle to not bring along the best people you can.

  10. El Stevo says:

    Making generalisations about groups of people is fine, but judging individuals based on generalities is stupidity. The end.

  11. Wulf says:

    So it’s common for WoW guild leaders to be yelling “OOK! OOK! KILL! KILL ALL! KILL NOW! UNGA-BUNGA!” and that wasn’t limited to the one I was in?

    On a more serious note, I’m not at all surprised by this. My time in World of Warcraft introduced me to no end of nutters, people who were sexist, homophobic, racist… good grief, people whom I would never care to know, and that’s why I spent so little time with that MMORPG and why my skin crawls whenever I think about it. The problem with World of Warcraft and MMORPGs like it is that–like XBox Live and unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey–it’s full of sociopaths.

    This is actually one of my primary problems with gamingkind, and you’ve all seen me air these feelings before, but aside from small pockets of thinky people, gaming is centred around a subculture that is, for all intents and purposes, incredibly homophobic, fascist, and anti-intellectual. I could draw so many parallels between the denizens of the bible belt and the gaming subculture that it makes me sad inside.

    Thankfully though there are little sects of gaming that don’t fall prey to this, and those are where I’m usually found. But if you need proof, try the Eurogamer comments threads, or Kotaku, or Destructoid… and if you want to lose any faith you had in humanity, try playing any 360 game multiplayer.

    Conclusion: Unlike some people, even someone I previously argued with here–I think arbitrary hate/dismissal of anyone is as unacceptable thing as gamingkind’s speedy march toward anti-intellectualism. It’ll all pique when someone demands the Gov’t to draft a legislation that makes it illegal for women and gay people to play “MAN GAMES”.

    • Eplekongen says:

      Play EVE, it requires a mental capacity above that of a dog :)

    • Psychopomp says:

      Skills the average EVE player needs:
      1)Ability to click his buttons
      2)Ability to follow orders

    • Serenegoose says:

      Psychopomp: remember that to play Eve you also need the firm conviction that by doing so you are -better- than every other MMO player out there. :P

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Having been in leadership roles in a few MMOs in the past, I think I should point out that the ability to follow orders is a lot rarer than you’d think. Also, the ability not to be such an abrasive jackass that no one wants to play with you should be considered an essential skill for all MMO players. When people say they’re social games, they aren’t just talking.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      @ Wulf: “This is actually one of my primary problems with gamingkind, and you’ve all seen me air these feelings before, but aside from small pockets of thinky people, gaming is centred around a subculture that is, for all intents and purposes, incredibly homophobic, fascist, and anti-intellectual. I could draw so many parallels between the denizens of the bible belt and the gaming subculture that it makes me sad inside.

      Thankfully though there are little sects of gaming that don’t fall prey to this, and those are where I’m usually found. But if you need proof, try the Eurogamer comments threads, or Kotaku, or Destructoid… and if you want to lose any faith you had in humanity, try playing any 360 game multiplayer.”

      I think I understand where you’re coming from on a lot of things a little better now. You’ve sought out the most vocally obnoxious minorities in gamer culture, been rightly offended by them, and you’ve assumed that they represent the majority of gamers. Dude… you shouldn’t just automatically believe what horrible people say. When some asshole on Eurogamer, or Kotaku, or Destructoid, or whatever bullshit site you’re visiting tries to convince you that they represent the majority of gamers, what leads you to believe that they’re telling you the truth? Seriously, think about it a little bit. I’ve had my issues with gamer culture as well, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve also been playing MMORPGs and other multiplayer games for a while. You shouldn’t look at the most easily accessible web sites and chat channels and assume that what you see there is representative of gamers, because almost all of them are already overrun by the moron minority and abandoned by the majority of basically cool and reasonable people. Trust me, I played City of Heroes on the Virtue server. It was a bit of a master class on the differences between forum/blog/web site culture and actual in-game culture. They are very far from the same thing.

    • kromagg says:

      I hate to be the one to break this to you but gaming is pretty mainstream now, especially when we’re talking WoW. And the world out there is indeed full of racist, sexist and homophobic nutters. You seem to assume those people don’t like games. Afraid not. :-)

      In the end you have to do the same in these games which you do in real life: find a crowd that suits you and stick with it.

      Now I’m not saying we couldn’t do with dialing the homophobia, sexism and whatever down a bit in online games. It’s good that this bad behaviour gets called out and we should absolutely try to fix it. But it’s not like these kinds of things are all that unexpected. If you don’t like being confronted with the ugly nature of humankind, you should probably stick to single player. (and then start asking yourself what prejudices are inherent in the fundamental design of some of these games, but I digress)

  12. skalpadda says:

    Oh, come on.

    I’ve been in three guilds in World of Warcraft, the first one (which I’ve always had a couple of characters in ever since I started and was an officer for a good while) with a female Guild Master. It started as an all female character (characters, not players) guild, later turned into one of the largest guilds on the server and I’m pretty sure still has the largest proportion of female players. There’s certainly no differences being made between players based on genders there.

    The second also had a fair few girls in it, girls who had officer positions, raided, did PvP and all the things everyone else were doing.

    After that my main character moved to one of the top raiding guilds on the server. With a female GM who was also the main raid leader and guess what? She’s was probably the most respected player in the guild and extremely good at everything she did. And she certainly wasn’t the only female in the guild.

    I’ve also had girls gamers in arena teams I’ve been in, and in various other gaming guilds and clubs and I’ve never seen or heard anything that would indicate that they’re being secluded or treated any worse than male players, often quite the contrary.

    So I guess my point is that anecdotal evidence from asking questions to 17-year old idiots is a really bad thing to build assumptions on.

  13. St4ud3I says:

    I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I had pretty much the same experience as that little boy. When I played WoW, I regularly did dungeons with a few girls, but when it came to raiding I stuck to an all male group. The girls I played with were not bad players per se, but they were definitely not outstanding and that was just what I was looking for in a raid group. After doing some casual raids with people not having potions and generally not having prepared for the raid at all, I just joined a guild, that allowed me to do raids fast and efficient without stupid wipes.

    There are probably girls, that play much better than me, but the ones I know just don’t have the ambition to be one of the best players or strive after the best equipment.

    • Nalano says:

      And we should accept your personal anecdotal evidence… why?

    • Kavika says:

      I’ve seen both great and terrible female and male players. (here’s where the generalization and anecdotes start). In my experience, few people were decent players. Those who were decent players often had an attitude problem. Women don’t tend to have attitude problems about their games as much as young, adolescent males. Hence, with my completely fallacious logic, most women weren’t very good.

      Oh wait, I forgot that most men weren’t very good, either.

      Looks like laziness breeds ignorance!

  14. Xavii says:

    Skill has nothing to do with aggression… It’s dedication and calmness that’s required. Aggression can only lead to hate, flaming or a ragequit

  15. Alaric says:

    I’ve been in a number of guilds where the leader was a woman, and I have nothing bad to say about their in-game performance. Granted, some of them were utter scum, but that had nothing to do with their sex. In raids, I often found myself competing tooth and nail for the top DPS spot and on many occasions losing to women.

    So in conclusion… that 17-year old just needs to get laid.

  16. Dave says:

    My WoW guild had a female leader. It wasn’t a serious raiding guild, since many of us were game industry monkeys. We were about hanging out and having fun and occasionally getting together to kill some stuff.

    From what I’ve seen of serious raiding guilds, I never want to stop mocking them anyway. Anything where you get kicked out for not showing up to play for eight hours on a Friday night, or where you absolutely must play the build that you are assigned and push buttons when told to, just does not sound like fun.

    But anyway, we did have the #1 battlegrounds warlock, and our two most serious go-getters were women. So, whatever.

  17. Jambe says:

    At the Over 30 Club about… 5-10% of the active players are female? But the group plays shooters and such like, and since we have our own servers and are a fairly tight-knit group there’s rarely any problems. Pubbers make crass or otherwise inappropriate remarks and are permabanned. I permabanned one of our own members once for some gross remarks.

    As people have pointed out time and time again, it’s about ignorance. Play with people who aren’t ignorant and you don’t have many problems.

  18. undead dolphin hacker says:

    If I ever ran a guild in an MMO I wouldn’t allow female members in.

    It’s pretty simple, really. Once the guild knows one of the members is female, every lonely nerd tries to fuck her. This can be as tepid as some very mild flirting on ventrilo, or as frustrating as raid leaders giving loot priority to the pussy, or as hilarious as guild members actually going out IRL and hearing the joyous horror stories that result.

    I’ve been in plenty of guilds, seen just about everything, (one guild member ended up cheating on her husband, who was also in the guild, with their guild leader — and she eventually left her husband for the guild leader), and there’s always the token piece of pussy. And I say that not to be sexist, but because the token girl has no self-respect to play any other role than “token piece of pussy.”

    I guess they’re just lonely nerds too and like the attention and favortism, so they act like sluts and flirt with everyone, often with not-subtle-in-the-least motivations behind it.

    It doesn’t matter if she’s 50 years old and weighs 300 pounds. Her blood elf is hot and has a female voice behind it.

    • alm says:

      So you’re saying you wouldn’t let female members in because your guild would be full of wannabe rapists?

    • Alaric says:


      a) How about you not allow lonely nerds instead.

      b) People meet in different ways. I’ve met a girl from my guild IRL and we had lots of fun and even broke the bed. Why would you deny people an opportunity to socialize?

      c) Sure it sucks when a piece of loot goes to someone because of favoritism, but I’ve seen dozens of cases of it that didn’t involve women.

      WoW (or any MMO) is just a reflection of real life. The politics, the relationships, the emotions. What you are essentially saying is that you’d like to ban women from life.

    • Dominic White says:

      “If I ever ran a guild in an MMO I wouldn’t allow female members in.”

      I already had you pegged as a pretty miserly and unpleasant individual, but this is the last nail in the coffin. I’d have thought that a ‘No creepy obsessive losers’ would be a far more resonable and inclusive rule, but that’s just me.

    • undead dolphin hacker says:

      I’d need people in my guild for it to function. “No creepy lonely nerds” pretty much prevents that in an MMORPG.

      If you’re talking about guilds in a “family friendly chatroom” sense, then I really don’t care. I’m talking about guilds in at least the “softcore raider” sense.

      Now, if you had more than one or two women in the guild, things might be different. But for some reason it never falls out like that for raid guilds. There’s the token guild girl/whore, and that’s it.

      Get enough women in a guild and I think the problems would go away. Act like a pig or a horny teen and half the guild hates you? That’s how to fix it. Right now that behavior is just kind of looked over. Boys will be boys is the attitude.

      But none of this is going to change. Women seem strangely disinterested in raid guilds. Probably more proof to them being smarter than us, come to think of it.

    • Alaric says:

      @undead dolphin hacker says

      I’ve played WoW since release to about a year ago. During that time I’ve been in a number of raiding guilds, and yet I have not seen that which you are talking about. You have either been fundamentally unlucky, or you are enhancing the truth for some reason.

      As to your assertion that MMO raiding is impossible without lonely nerds – that is simply not true. My last guild didn’t have a single person like that. No individual was maladjusted or socially awkward. Everyone had a social life, interests, friends, family, work, school, hobbies and all sorts of other things outside of WoW. To all of us the game was just another cool thing to do, and we had fun doing it.

      And we didn’t have “token girls” as you put it. Instead there were 3-4 women, some single, some playing with their husbands/boyfriends. And I never had problems with any of them but one, who was annoying and bossy, but to be fair an excellent player.

      Throughout the years I’ve met people from guilds I was in, drank with some, hooked up with others, and once again, I never saw the issues that you mentioned. In fact I still keep in touch with some of those guys/girls, even though they live all over the world.

    • Nalano says:

      The top four raiding guilds on my server not only have female raiders but female officers among their corps.

      Your argument is akin to those of ultra-conservative Muslims, claiming that women must bundle themselves up in burqas because guys just wouldn’t be able to control themselves if they were to catch a glimpse of an ankle. Truth is, however, that you’re a social reject and so are your potential guildmates. All of you need to get a goddamn life and until you do, nobody should inflict your type on girls.

  19. ulix says:

    When I played WoW (for about 4 months after its release) I was in a guild with two female leaders (one for alliance & horde respectively) and a bunch of female members. Also, one of my good female friends is the biggest WoW junkie I know – male or female – and leader of the biggest and baddest raid group on her server (which was also my server and the server of all our friends that also played or still play WoW).

  20. BigJonno says:

    “Female players were accused of causing too much drama, distracting male players, and not bringing enough skill to the table to make up for these shortcomings.”

    I laughed when I read this. I then asked my wife, who has played the game since launch, how many female WoW players she thought that applied to. “About 99%” was her reply. We had a bit of a discussion about it and came to the conclusion that female players are no more likely to be problematic than male ones, but most female problem players share similar traits, so it’s easy to make blanket statement about female players.

  21. Smeghammer says:

    My lady destroys me at any fighting game or rts we play. There’s no shame in losing to a lady, she’s simply the better player. Try telling that to a 17 year old who’s been trained by the media his entire life to objectify the fairer sex. They don’t understand because to them women are inferior creatures.

    I win when we play quake though, so I am redeemed.

    • Alaric says:

      Ok now… I’ve made a few posts previously arguing that women are just as good of players as men, but this is another topic altogether, so…

      The media DOES NOT teach men to objectify women. In fact it does something else entirely. If you look at any TV show, men are shown to be complete and utter morons. They are often well-meaning but pathologically dim-witted and always end up being outsmarted by women. More than one generation of TV viewers grew up being taught that males are intellectually inferior brutes.

      I won’t go into detailed analysis, because this is a topic for a dissertation or perhaps a series of books, but the observable damage this is doing to both men and women is vast. And who knows what unseen harm is being caused.

    • Alaric says:

      Oh and I’m not even talking about the way girls are taught to see boys (and boys are taught to see themselves) when it comes to emotions, relationships, etc.

  22. jalf says:

    Something I found curious about the kid’s quote is that he’s generalizing just as badly about men:

    Girls just aren’t on the same level. Sometimes they’re okay as healers or whatever, and I’d rather have a girl than an empty raid slot, but they lack that primal aggression that a man needs. They don’t need the kill as bad

    now, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m pretty sure I’m a man, and I definitely don’t “need the kill”. I might get a thrill out of doing well at a game, and out of winning, but (virtual) kills are just a way to achieve that. The “kill” itself is utterly meaningless.

    But according to this kid, not only are all women bad at games, but all men are testosterone-dripping psychos whose entire personality is molded by aggression, and who are apparently addicted to killing.

    Funny that people only get worked up over his generalizations about women. I’d say his portrayal of men is just as bad…

    I think he just needs to get out more. ;)

  23. Malcurie says:

    Most of the women that I regularly play/have played WoW with played quite successfully primarily as hunters. To generalize, I suspect that this trend represents a more-common interest in strategic thinking (skewing away from faux-primal-aggressive-maleness) than anything sexually physiological about the player.

    See, while anybody can be proud of a single-point metric like DPS — often used to compensate for an utter lack of strategy — actual success (aka: winning new boss fights) usually relies on a wider awareness and competence that makes range of a wider skill-set (such as what a competent hunter, often more than other classes anymore [sadly]) can bring to the party/raid. The fact that most content in the game these days can be slammed with little more than primal aggression is more disparaging of the content designers’ thought process and the lack of esteem they hold their target market in more than a genuine player-based attempt to make WoW a boys’ club (with virtual paper-pirate hats and 16-verse tone-deaf anthem, no doubt).

    It used to be that strategy really mattered… and I think the game was a lot more engaging that way.

  24. Arsewisely says:

    The media DOES NOT teach men to objectify women.

    Oh man, that’s such a load of balls.

    The only reason that dynamic you refer to exists is because there’s the inherent belief that women are inferior – hence the dunderly male in so many sitcoms.

    The reality of it is far more insidious and socially ingrained.

    • Alaric says:

      The only reason that dynamic you refer to exists is because there’s the inherent belief that women are inferior – hence the dunderly male in so many sitcoms.

      Please explain how you arrived at this conclusion so that we may point out the problems with your logic.

    • Wulf says:

      Media might not teach men to objectify women, but gaming does!

      And you can’t really disagree with that, because in almost every mainstream game we have oversexed naughty/subservient women. Morrigan, anyone?

      Furthermore, this is just evidence that gaming is behind the times, and it’s teaching young gamers old fashioned values, which might have something to do with why we seem to be going backwards, lately.

      Sure, television allows for equality, as do some movies, where women have equal roles, where even gay people get a look in (and that’s amazing). But gaming is terrified of gay people (Bioware, again), and it’s just as terrified of women that actually have a mind of their own. From what I’ve seen, gamers in general are distressed by undersexed women, and it bothers them a great deal if they don’t show an interest in them.

      And this is part of the problem, gamers seem to have separated women as sex objects as characters in games from girls who can’t actually play games, and that’s interesting on a psychological level. Why? The reality of women would challenge their fantasies.

      So yes, other mediums are embracing more open minded ways, but gaming is lagging dreadfully behind.

    • Alaric says:


      That argument is fallacious. The way that game designers treat men and women is essentially the same. Both sexes are represented as idealized versions of themselves. You cannot possibly claim that women are singled out for an unrealistic representation.

      The fact of the matter is, it is considered politically correct to talk about the poor, oppressed, exploited women. They are made to look hot in games, oh no! Anyone who wants to appear progressive and worldly can effortlessly hum this tune and pretend to be a champion for women’s rights.

      In truth, men are represented equally unrealistically. I don’t know what you look like, but certainly don’t have the appearance of any of the famous male protagonists from the games we all play. I’m fairly decent looking, fairly strong, fairly well trained in the use of weapons, but still I’m quite inferior next to those fellows with their handsome looks, limitless strength, never-ending stamina, gravity defying acrobatics, and so forth.

      Should I bitch about Prince of Persia, Commander Shepard, and Minsk lowering my self-esteem? Should I?


      Because games are fiction! They are a make-believe idealized version of the world. Saying that it shouldn’t be like that because it is “unrealistic” is like complaining about fairy tales, myths and legends.

      I don’t know about you, but when I listen to a story, read a fantasy novel, or play a game, I want my heroes and heroines strong, fast, hot, smart, etc.

    • ET says:


      No offense, sir, but I have the feeling that there might be less issue at hand if, say, female characters were physically idealized—perfect hips and breasts and all that—-but are not sexed up. In general, women also like to play reasonably good-looking versions of their sex, it’s kind of why we have celebrities, but following this logic there is absolutely no reason to dress them in bikinis. Except for the fact that sex sells.

      It’s not really an ‘equal’ idealization. It’s an idealization in favor of the masculine idea of strong men and attractive women. And frankly I would be really quite happy if women get male character models that actually pander to their fantasies (it’s a bit more varied than the typical male fantasy, granted), it would give me something nicer to stare at when I play male characters. Dangit.

      I do agree with you that there are harmful stereotypes on both sides, very much so. Which is why my gender identity is a little bit dodgy. The world would be much better served if we could just see people as…..another specimen of the same species who have the same needs and wants as us. It’s just that your logic of ‘unfairness toward males in society is greater than unfairness to females’ is also a little bit fallacious.

      There’s also this : while most of the stupid dunderhead characters on TV are male, most of the competent/supercapable/professional characters are also male.

    • Muzman says:

      The point you’d be missing Alaric is that games generally pursue versions of males and females based on male ideals. The women are the male ideals of what a woman should be (and there isn’t just one) and the men are the male idea of an ideal male (and probably the very model of a modern major general as well).

      Tying in to the above argument about representation of males in the media; what you observe is true, men are goofy lads of late (last ten fifteen years it’s been big). But a comedy history lesson is in order. Men have been goofy idiots verbally fencing (and losing) with smarter, more sensible women since the 1940s. We’re not going to lay The Honeymooners down as some sort of emasculating feminist tract now are we.

      The better point perhaps either side of this argument is missing is, it’s not so much that the media is instructing people in damaging gender stereotypes. The goofy male for instance, is a performance trope as much as anything and the scenario where the girls always win is one designed to appeal to the female audience. I’m quite sure guys are capable of ignoring it, not feeling it refers to males generally or themselves specifically. The media is far too wide spread, with many tropes and stereotypes, to pin down what it actually does influence wise. (I think the ‘lads mag’ era has produced a new pride in reclaiming ‘boys will be boys’ masculinity and being a boorish idiot that least talks about women as fuck toys and little else, for example, but you won’t find that on TV much. Which is a Femmo /PC conspiracy depending on who you talk to).

      No, role models and symbols are too nebulous to nail down. What the media does know perfectly well is that there is a gender divide and it’s much easier and more lucrative to exploit that rather than go around building bridges.

    • Alaric says:

      I do not believe that unfairness is towards males alone. Unfairness is a fact of life and it extends equally to males and females. What I do believe is that people seem to notice it disproportionately more when it extends to females.

      Now, let’s not forget, that sex is only one way to divide society into groups. There are other ways as well. Each of us belongs to multiple groups and each of those groups is portrayed in a certain way by the media. Some of these ways are flattering, some are demeaning.

      Here is an example:

      I work in the IT industry, listen to metal, read fantasy and sci-fi and play computer games. People like me are branded nerds/geeks and in pop culture are usually presented as socially awkward, weak, maladjusted, repressed, etc. Not a very pleasant image.

      I am also a former Marine. And here the representation takes a complete U-turn by becoming overwhelmingly positive. Now people like me are presented as “tough-as-nails” indestructible warriors. Agent Gibbs and Detective Stabler are on TV every day. The Spawn is in every comic book store. And games… well I’m not even talking about those.

      Both these descriptions are inaccurate, but is it really a serious problem?

    • ET says:

      Regarding the disproportionate attention to female woes : it saddens me to say this, considering I do not actually identify myself as a woman (a lot of sexuality, in that context, baffles me to be honest) and this does have a pretty good chance of sounding like argumentative whining : if there is an elephant and a rhinoceros standing in the room and people point them out and say ‘look at the size of that thing!’, 99% of the audience will look at the elephant. The sad truth is, although unfairness is everywhere, women make up more of the population than nerds or any other demographic will.

      I do not usually group myself with sex, either, and rather prefer to use my professional and personal interests for that purpose. The fact remains, however, that it is one of the most common dividers, and both sides of the argument WILL get pigeonholed with it regardless of what they do, what they have been, or what they think. That’s why, I feel, gender-related incongruities can be more severe than other forms. I wish we would group people by what they are as a PERSON instead and weigh the merits and incongruities of that (such as you being a nerd and an ex-marine) and see if they make sense, instead of pigeonholing based on your capacity and role in reproduction.

      That’s why the argument exists, I think. And that’s why how this particular way to group people deserves more attention than most of other social divides. I would love to see more media attention on the rich-poor, developed-underdeveloped and racial groupings, too, but it seems it will take some time for games to get there. Short of overthrowing the Always Evil Empire, of course.

  25. Duncanthrax says:

    Always remember, boys and girls:

    All-Female Clan (no boys allowed) = COOL
    All-Male Clan (no girls allowed) = Bunch of sexist assholes


    • Wulf says:


      it’s very short-sighted not to consider cause and effect.

      CAUSE: A few girls try to join a major guild, this results in them being insulted based on their gender and nothing else, and an outright refusal to allow them in.

      EFFECT: A few girls decide that they could be independent any way and create their own ‘all girl’ guild to show that other guild what’s what by playing them at their own game with nothing but girls, and succeeding them.

      I don’t think anyone is really saying that it’s ‘cool’ for an all girl guild to exist, but what I do think is groovy is that those girls took the initiative to do something about the anti-girl attitudes found in gaming. If those attitudes didn’t exist, then they wouldn’t have to have done that.

      And besides, you’ll find that female dominant guilds are far more the meritocracy, willing to allow open-minded guys into their guilds, than male dominated guilds are.

      Am I saying that females are by far and wide more open minded in general, and that males are still swinging their ‘clubs’?

      When it comes to gaming… yes. Yes I am.

    • Alaric says:

      A few girls try to join a major guild, this results in them being insulted based on their gender and nothing else, and an outright refusal to allow them in.

      That, kind sir, is a load of crap. If you are going to make outlandish claims like that, you better provide conclusive and verifiable proof.

    • Wulf says:


      Alaric, Alaric, Alaric…

      “That, kind sir, is a load of crap.”

      Nice way to open an argument.

      “If you are going to make outlandish claims like that, you better provide conclusive and verifiable proof.”

      link to


    • Wulf says:


      Point is, I have my opinion, you have yours. You don’t need to throw your balls around by calling mine a pile of crap and then thrusting upon me the burden of proof.

    • Alaric says:


      You made a claim. Here it is:

      A few girls try to join a major guild, this results in them being insulted based on their gender and nothing else, and an outright refusal to allow them in.

      I think it is reasonable for me to ask you to support your claim with evidence. Do you not feel that way?

    • Duncanthrax says:

      @Wulf: I actually don’t feel strongly about the topic. I’m too old :)

      It’s just the hypocrisy that always surrounds gender discussions that bothers me a bit. Because noone seems to notice.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Point is, I have my opinion, you have yours. You don’t need to throw your balls around by calling mine a pile of crap and then thrusting upon me the burden of proof.”

      Don’t really understand. You made the claim. Why is the burden of proof not with you?

    • Metha says:


      Point is, I have my opinion, you have yours. You don’t need to throw your balls around by calling mine a pile of crap and then thrusting upon me the burden of proof.

      I think all girls are stupid.

      This is my opinion, and therefore fact.

      If you call my opinofact wrong then I shall say that it is opinion.

      If you ask me to prove my opinofact then I shall say that I do not need to prove my unsubstantiated claims. But I shall still act as if it is fact.

      I have made the most unstoppable arguement.

      Thanks Wulf, I would never have found out how to make a arguement without your help


    • hmm says:

      omg, it’s like, totally reverse sexism!!!

  26. jsutcliffe says:

    I can’t speak about MMO guilds, but every FPS clan I’ve been part of has had female members, and they’re in general far more polite and pleasant to play with than guys are. I don’t know what to attribute it to other than a lack of the competitive male cock-flapping one-upmanship.

    • Wulf says:

      “[…] other than a lack of the competitive male cock-flapping one-upmanship.”

      That’s pretty much what it is, and one of the reasons that there are a lot of competitive situations I hate. You’re also right about FPS games, because–as bizarre as this is–there does seem to be more of a sense of equality and fair play in those games than in MMORPGs. This only applies to the PC though, because from my experiences, people in FPS games on the PS3 and the 360 are just as bad as people in MMORPGs.

      In fact, the only MMORPGs I’ve found where this isn’t a problem is where the PvP is separated from the PvE, as I talked about in another comments thread, because the problem with these fappers (I’m not going to be quite so politically correct) is that they don’t choose fair targets, they choose easy targets to prove their meta-cock size against. And this is why guilds are so popular in World of Warcraft, because raiding is bloody easy and yet they get an over-inflated sense of accomplishment from it, just as the World PvPer gets an over-inflated sense of self-accomplishment for taking down an under-equipped PvE gamer who doesn’t raid.

      And should they lose to you… well, prepare for every ethnic and phobic slur under the sun, you’re gay, you’re also black, you’re African, Indian, and Japanese!

      But yes, MMORPGs are games in which this attitude flourishes, at least on the PC. I don’t know why this kind of attitude also flourishes on the consoles and not on the PC with FPS games. Is it because it’s more easy to take advantage of situations and find only players that the fapper can actually muster the skill to defeat? I don’t know.

      It’s interesting though, but as I said, in FPS games and even MMORPGs which have no PvP, or separate PvP from PvE (like Guild Wars), this problem doesn’t exist.

      I can’t really say why that is.

  27. bananarchist says:

    It’s interesting to me that so many of the responses here are along the lines of either “but I’m not sexist, so this girl’s story is obviously anecdotal” or “boys will be boys, so girls should hold themselves to a high standard of behavior and/or avoid revealing their gender so as not to provoke them.”

    I’ve played WoW (on and off) for a long, long time — going on five years now. I’ve been in four raiding guilds; I was an officer in two of them (I’m a guy, for the record). I’ve seen a whole lot of drama, I’ve met hundreds of players (and probably at least a hundred female players), and I can say with great certainty that on at least two servers (particularly my current server — Alliance, PvP) sexism has been and is absolutely rampant. Women are harassed and discriminated against in more ways than I count — scapegoated for others’ failures, blamed for drama they had nothing to do with, verbally abused at every turn, etc.

    The average female player and the average male player, as many people here have said, are no better and no worse than one another — they’re both average. The average female player, however, is subject to closer scrutiny, constantly used as a representative for her entire gender, and assumed, if/when she makes mistakes or underperforms, to have done so because she’s a girl. That’s the essential point, really. If a male player is bad, he’s just bad. If he causes drama, he’s just an asshole. If a female player is bad, it’s because girls suck at videogames; if a female player causes drama, it’s because all women are loot whores and drama queens and sluts and so on.

    Also, this “no girls allowed” policy that people claim never to have encountered — really? Really? I’ve seen it quite a few times. There’s no better example than of US-Crushridge; they’re ranked 38th in the world right now.

    • bananarchist says:

      ha, whoops. html thinks guild tag bracket-y things are trying to tell it something

      the guild “No Chicks Allowed” is probably the farthest-progressed guild with an explicitly male-exclusive recruitment policy

  28. Rhade says:

    In my experience, girls are often spoiled in WoW. They often get differential treatment (from guys) just because they’re girls. The result is that many of them are sub-par players who get insulted when someone tries to show them how they can do better.

    That said, I’ve seen many excelent female players, and there are definitely male players that are just as bad, so maybe I’m just being stupid.

    • Wulf says:


      You have a point, but I have a counterpoint.

      It’s a well known thing for farmers that if they roll a female character, they’ll be able to do part of their farming by acting slutty around gullible straight males, it’s an old trick. It’s been theorised before that many of the ‘women’ who’d show interest in a guy in a game without actually knowing anything about them (most the women I know aren’t that shallow, or shallow at all) are actually guys doing abstract farming runs.

      Some of the women I know (such as my sisters) happen to play a mix of male and female characters, too, and they have too much pride to even think of whoring themselves out, they find the concept utterly disgusting, and I don’t blame them. They’re also competent gamers too, who’d give any guy a run for their money.

      Furthermore, the women I know are also fiercely independent, they don’t like handouts, and they get good by learning to be good by their own initiative. Therefore, I find the idea of spoiled, sub-par female gamers rather ludicrous. But again, this comes back to people being afraid of reality challenging their fantasies, because fantasised women–such as those farmers–might meet this profile, but actual women don’t.

      This is just my opinion, of course, but my sisters show me all I need to know.

  29. The Hammer says:

    Ah, this is a good discussion.

    When I posted a link to this article on my guild forums, I mentioned that when you’re in a great guild with people you enjoy spending time with, you can sometimes become complacent and forget that a lot of WOW’s playerbase is made up of unsavoury sorts who believe in all kinds of weird and not particularly wonderful things.

    Then something like the Looking For Group tool comes along, and you find yourself looting through instances with people who are often impatient, ignorant, and bigoted. You realize that these sometimes young, sometimes old sorts are actually in guilds, and when you Armoury them, you realize they’re progressed guilds. And then you wonder if all the members in that guild are like that.

    I suppose this is something that is more prevalent in guilds looking to win big when it comes to raid and PVP content, because then socialising doesn’t matter so much. In a more social guild, or an RP one like the one I lead, it’s far more important that a member fits in. As someone above said, raiders are often inclined to let troublesome sorts stay, if they are good at what they do.

    Contrastingly, I make a habit of kicking members early on, if they display signs of any xenophobia. This has happened when one member decided to type a flurry of racist jokes in the guild chat, and should that happen again but with misogyny I’d do the same. I gather that this happens more often too on RP realms.

    There are three sorts of people who join RP realms: those who have come to RP, those who haven’t come to RP but want to enjoy the calmer atmosphere and will respect the policies anyway, and those who think “RP” stands for “Really Powerful” or some other lark and are wondering why people around them are having these in-depth conversations about the threat of the quilboar. This latter group are much like their normal realm counterparts, except they sometimes find out that “RP” actually means “Role Play” and either ignore it and pretend they didn’t make a mistake when they rolled their character, or actually try and harass RPers. Or sometimes, and this is when my heart swells, they actually join in.

    But because RP realms are inhabited by those who wish to create their own characters and stories and not just go onto the complex rollercoaster rides of raids and epics, they are often more thoughtful. Please note here that I’m not claiming RPers can’t be twats. They most certainly can, and those who create can often be extremely bigoted (Hi, Lovecraft!). But what I’m saying is that if they’re mature enough to look past the “Ohhh, that sounds a bit nerdy!” conundrum, they’re often mature enough to look past the “Ohhh, she’s a woman!” puzzle.

    It doesn’t help, of course, that Blizzard seem to be demented on providing titillation to their male audiences. The Queen of the Dragons herself is dressed absolutely ridiculously, and there can be absolutely no reason why she wears this (link to ) other than the fact that the designers thought it’d be hot. It isn’t hot. It’s just cheap and chatty, and undermines the character. Even if robed, female characters (and player characters, as a lot of the armour models can be tiny when compared with male counterparts) have little bits of flesh around the torso revealed.

    Now, I’m not for a minute suggesting this is causing such sexism, but it does not set up an environment bred for equality. Whilst the behaviour of female characters doesn’t seem to be exploited, Jaina Proudmoore in particular is often called a slut on forums and in-game. Slut, whore, a woman who doesn’t stand by her man… and whatever else that comes to mind.

    What’s strange is that there doesn’t seem to be any signs of Blizzard changing course in how female characters are designed. Surely now that they have an expansive playerbase they would see how counter-productive such male fantasies are? The very fact they’re so predictably given bras as armour makes the whole thing much less alluring, which, I guess, is the purpose of it all. It’s lowest-common denominator stuff. (Or “stiff”, as the case may be)

    In my own guild, we’ve got a roughly 50/50 member split. Maybe it’s more like 55/45 in favour of males. It’s a superb guild culture, at once mature and obnoxious. I like to make sure that, despite our CAPS LOCK chat and profanity, we’re not 4chan. Racism/homophobia/misogyny isn’t wanted, even in jest. And somehow, it works. There is, of course, personality differences between male and female members (there’ll always be. I used to be one of those who thought there would be absolutely no difference in my a-bit-too-liberal-mind. Ironically, I was 17 at the time) but these complement each other rather than cause tension, and they certainly don’t cause the kinds of tedious sexually-fused creepiness that has been mentioned before. It’s a fucking awesome set-up. My favourite bunch of people on the ‘net. They’re my second family.

    WOW is one of those gaming phenomenons that, much like the Wii and The Sims, invites players of all ages, genders and cultures to play. It is more of a traditional action-orientated, fantasy-world game than those other two examples. I think sites like and blog posts such as these do a good job in promoting different perspectives other than the perceived young white male gamer. It’s looked down upon by many gamers because of reasons different to those that it is looked up upon by many others. Because despite the aforementioned 5p eye candy, it’s a welcoming game to women, in ways that Warhammer Online couldn’t be and Age of Conan didn’t even try to be.

    It’s inclusive, bright and colourful, and yet it’s about goblins and dragons and all those things that 12 year olds, 20 year olds, and 40 year olds can all appreciate. It’s not about controversial subject matter and so many are comfortable with playing it. And, much like a Disney film, it can be played by all demographs. This is both a blessing and a curse.

    (Sorry for typing so much. You always make me type lots, RPS. <3 This is a great, great discussion, and the reason this site is the best for comment on games on the web. Keep it up, yo!)

    • Alaric says:

      So it bothers that Alexstrasza wears a bikini, but you are perfectly fine with every single male in the game looking like an imbecile bodybuilder? At least the human female models have a slight touch of intellect to their faces. Whenever I look at any of the human male models I have a hard time believing they have enough brain function to maintain bladder control. =)

    • The Hammer says:

      Never said I wasn’t, nor did I imply it. My post was entirely about the female audience and representation.

      Plus, gnomes aren’t THAT stocky. 8D

      (for reference, I was one of the people who got annoyed when Blizzard buffed up the male blood-elf models so that they had more muscle, and didn’t get called “faggots” by dickheads quite so much. I liked the old look. It was refreshing, and when Blizzard kowtowed to pressure I lost a bit of faith)

  30. Arsewisely says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    “<i>The only reason that dynamic you refer to exists is because there’s the inherent belief that women are inferior – hence the dunderly male in so many sitcoms.</i>”

    Please explain how you arrived at this conclusion so that we may point out the problems with your logic.

    It’s not my logic, you cheeky little imp, it’s the accepted belief of numerous gender theorists. If you’d care to read Foucault’s History of Sexuality, you can see the ingrained phallocentrism of modern Western culture which emerged from the power of the masculine discourses of science and medicine and their ‘scientification’ of gender.

    You can see an extension of this in Mulvey’s theory of the Male Gaze, which we can apply to those sitcom dynamics, whereby the female falls into an idealised image perpetuated by the heterogeneous heterosexual stereotype of the married couple we so often see (Happy Days, The Good Life, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens etc – the wives are so often hot, have you noticed that?)

    Of course, if you read Butler or Helene Cixous, you can interpret the dunderly male/tutting female as a further perpetuation of binary gender stereotypes (pink/blue, strong/weak, form/matter) which is a patriarchal institution in and of itself.

    You are correct and valiant, however, for identifying the need to recognise masculism and male stereotypes as well.

    • Muzman says:

      I know the point you’re making generally, but Happy Days? I’ve honesty never encountered overt or otherwise Mrs C fandom (this is not a call for anyone to Rule #33 either).
      Perhaps the Brady Bunch is a better choice (but the hubby isn’t schlubby in that one)

  31. Vinraith says:

    It’s funny, the way these kids regard girls in online games is pretty much the way I regard kids in online games. While it’s not impossible to hit upon a young player who’s actually mature and nice to play with, the vast bulk of them seem to be, well, as immature and unpleasant as this article makes them out to be.

  32. Alaric says:

    @undead dolphin hacker

    I’ve played WoW since release to about a year ago. During that time I’ve been in a number of raiding guilds, and yet I have not seen that which you are talking about. You have either been fundamentally unlucky, or you are enhancing the truth for some reason.

    As to your assertion that MMO raiding is impossible without lonely nerds – that is simply not true. My last guild didn’t have a single person like that. No individual was maladjusted or socially awkward. Everyone had a social life, interests, friends, family, work, school, hobbies and all sorts of other things outside of WoW. To all of us the game was just another cool thing to do, and we had fun doing it.

    And we didn’t have “token girls” as you put it. Instead there were 3-4 women, some single, some playing with their husbands/boyfriends. And I never had problems with any of them but one, who was annoying and bossy, but to be fair an excellent player.

    Throughout the years I’ve met people from guilds I was in, drank with some, hooked up with others, and once again, I never saw the issues that you mentioned. In fact I still keep in touch with some of those guys/girls, even though they live all over the world.

  33. Minehowe says:

    What I found interesting about that is the implication that healers aren’t competitive… I can only assume he isn’t a healer and doesn’t hang out in his guild’s healing channel much.

  34. Davie says:

    “Primal aggression?” It’s WoW, for god’s sake! How much primal aggression does one need to double click and then carefully press number keys in the correct order? I’m sorry I didn’t type several paragraphs like the rest of you (great discussion) but I just found that particular line hilarious. World of Warcraft is probably one of the least testosterone-fueled games I’ve ever played.

  35. Mark says:

    Interesting discussion.

    The problem is anonymity gives people the power to take their discriminatory attitudes a step further and actually enact them in an environment with other people when in general in polite society they simply wouldn’t dare.

    The thing is always find funny about gaming communities is that geeks and nerds are stereotyped as being downtrodden and bullied by people with more social value and capital – yet when you look at online communities created by them they often go to great lengths to create stratified elitist structures that firmly place other people outside them. Instead of being set free by the online arena they are just free to impose their own form of bigotry and bullying upon other people. I don’t think this is simply in revenge for their own percieved treatment either.

    To some extent is it natural and part of being human to want to exclude others and stick with the tribe, but essentialy the question this begs is do ALL people want to oppress and denigrate other as soon as they have the opportunity to do so? Can you truly honestly safely say if you were born with a quaterback physique and good looks into a wealthy family you wouldn’t be more of a dick? Honestly?

    Anonymity brings out the worst in people and online communities simply open up opportunities for exclusion, especially for people who are exluded in normal society.

    • Atalanta says:

      @Mark —

      yet when you look at online communities created by them they often go to great lengths to create stratified elitist structures that firmly place other people outside them.

      In my experience the lower someone is on the social ladder the harder they fight to make sure the people below them stay firmly in their place and to draw a clear line between them and the even more undesirable undesireables.

    • Wulf says:

      Depends on the desires of the person.

      “[…] a quaterback physique […]”

      I do not desire a quarterback physique, therefore it would make no difference.

      “[…] good looks […]”

      I do not desire the looks of a playboy, therefore it would make no difference.

      “[…] wealthy family […]”

      Wealth cannot acquire what I desire, therefore it would make no difference.

      So at the end of the day, I’d still be me, whether I had these things or not. These things don’t matter equally to everyone, and to some eccentric types–like myself–these elements have never even begun to enter into their dreams.

      And if I had my desires, I’d have far more interesting pursuits than being dickish to people.

      Maybe the difference in my case is my obsession with ethics, I can’t say.

  36. Jezebeau says:

    I’ve had mostly positive experiences with female gamers, but I’ve also seen a middle-aged stay-at-home mom with mediocre playing ability decides that she’s the guild’s mom, acts like she has the authority of a guild leader, and generally tries to make decisions for everyone until she gets ignored and moves on. It’s really annoying.

  37. Breaker Morant's Ghost says:

    I stopped reading at “sexual politics”.

  38. Spacegirl says:

    Most females I saw in WoW were average, just like most players were average! I.E. I saw no difference in skill between male or female. Playstyle and personality perhaps (men and women are different!) but skill no.

    the GM of the first and mostly only major guild I was in was a baffling paradox: A hot, female GM! She wasn’t super good tho, more into goofiness and team spirit than Min/maxing and perfecting skill rotations in battle (she was a lock.)

    It’s unsurprising that a Woman would be more into the social / dress-up aspects of role playing whereas a male would be more into the pure statistical BIG PENIS DAMAGE NUMBER aspect of the game. This is maybe why some1 would think a woman would be “worse” but there were plenty of terrible men and plenty of good women I played with as well as plenty of ppl who dont adhere to that stereotype.

    Still a hot female GM is pretty rare I bet!

    • Wulf says:

      I like this post, as it’s good to acknowledge that stereotypes can be broken, and sometimes stereotypes might even be in the minority. I’m of the mostly male variety biologically, but according to what most would expect of a woman, I’m apparently female, it’s all very confusing to the people who know me, but that’s alleviated a bit for them since they know I’m gay, anyway. I might be a stereotype in that respect, actually. Ha ha… doubt.

      Anyway, point is, I love roleplaying and puzzle solving just as much as I do any other kind of activity in gaming. I was there for the beginning of Uru, and what times those were, wandering around as a mildly overweight hippie in sandals. There were a large number of women playing that game, probably because of the puzzle-solving and roleplaying, I wouldn’t mind betting that it was assumed that there was a woman behind my avatar too, which is a terribly funny thought.

      Most fun character I ever roleplayed, that, though, a ploddingly curious mindset, almost erudite, but offset by a Summer of Love attitude to everything.

      Ahh, I miss Uru. :<

  39. Gabriel G. says:

    I don’t like them not because they’re girls, but because they’re alliance.

    I mean come on, even I have standards.

  40. pimorte says:

    Not going to bother commenting on the article, but I do find it interesting reading the comments to see the writing indicates a near 100% male audience for Rock Paper Shotgun.

    • Vinraith says:

      Careful, the people that comment are only a very small subsection of the actual readership for a blog or forum.

    • Psychopomp says:


      You say that now, but it’s only a matter of time before some fangirl writes a slashfic about the hivemind.

  41. Puto says:

    So being practical is politically incorrect now? Oh, well…

    • Psychopomp says:

      It’s practical to turn away a raider, because you perceive them to be calm, and composed?

      Oh yeah, let me tell you about how much fun it is playing with aggressive dipshits.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t know if anyone has seen me make the point before, but does anyone remember that I’m against forced grouping? Mainly because it tends to group one with sociopaths who can be racist, sexist, phobic, or worse?

      Yeah. This guy. I don’t want to be forced to group with this guy. Give me a calm, composed woman who knows how to have fun any day of the week rather than an angry, shouty, narrow minded, wingnutty, sociopath of a gamer.

    • Psychopomp says:

      In my experiences, solo friendly environments that produce total assholes. Every single person I ran into while playing FFXI was kind, helpful, and generous. No one wants to group up with an asshole, so they don’t get very far before quitting.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Y’know, it hadn’t really occurred to me before but that makes sense. The community in Everquest back when I was playing it (from launch up until shortly before Shadows of Luclin) was great in a lot of ways, and I’ve been kind of mourning the loss of that sort of community since then. I hadn’t really considered that soloability could be the factor that empowers shitheads in a game community, but given my experiences in City of Heroes I think maybe you’re onto something. Too bad, since for a lot of reasons I’m not crazy about forced grouping.

  42. Kommissar Nicko says:

    My missus played WoW a lot longer and more vigorously than I ever did. I’m also pretty sure that she wears her gender openly because she’s proud of being a female gamer of the not-healer, not-a-nancy, look-at-my-boobies, oh-god-this-isn’t-THE-SIMS-OR-FARMVILLE variety.

    Likewise, when I played WoW, I was always pleased to announce that if I wanted to play dressup, I’d just play the Sims. But I am no true man.

    • Wulf says:

      You nor me.

      Not that I’m convinced that anyone can be completely masculine/feminine anyway, as biology doesn’t like working that way, everyone’s a per centage something else, no matter which way their body leans.

  43. Name says:

    I think women are inherently inferior in basically everything… they lack the simple intelligence and coordination to be able to play videogames. It’s not sexism. It’s biology

  44. pimorte says:


    RPS Solium Infernum II – in which the Temple of Lust is entirely staffed by commentors.

  45. Serenegoose says:

    @Hammer: So… is your guild EU based?

    • The Hammer says:

      Yep. Why?

    • Serenegoose says:

      Because it sounds interesting and I was wondering if I could join.

    • The Hammer says:

      Ha! That’s the first out-of-game recruitment post we’ve ever made, seemingly. How about sending me a PM on the RPS forums, and I’ll tell you the details?

  46. Ergonomic Cat says:

    I practice my own form of elitism, and just don’t join guilds run by 17 year olds, be they male or female.

  47. BAReFOOt says:

    Well of course. The boy is right. He just defined the difference between men and women pretty exactly.
    The problem here is YOUR sexism, of thinking that young women/girls would have to run after MALE ideals (fighting, hunting, etc).
    It’s funny how the strongest feminists are actually the strongest pro-male sexists, exactly because of that.

    You hate sexism, but put yourself in such an extreme opposite position, that you’re no better!

    Men and women HAVE de-facto different abilities.
    In a team whose job it is, to do things that men are good at, you OF COURSE prefer men.
    And in a team whose job it is, to do things that *women* are good at, you OF COURSE prefer *women*.

    Everything *else* would be unrealistic and unfair!

    • Serenegoose says:

      Bullsquid. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. you’ve taken a generalisation which is primordial at best and made it out like some sort of real defining difference. I’ve known women that are absolute killers. Not literally of course, but they will be as aggressive as they want to be and they won’t hold back. I’ve known men that are staunch pacifists who find it difficult to stand up for themselves at all. So no, he didn’t define the difference between men and women even slightly. Certainly not in the contemporary world where people can and should be treated as individuals, not generalisations which lost their relevance when we built our first permanent residences.

    • Alaric says:

      What Barefoot said makes perfect anthropological sense, but in case of the article we are discussing here, it simply didn’t need to be expressed rudely.

    • Wulf says:

      The rational element here is ignored: can a person go beyond predefined biological parameters and do we have the inclination to do so? The answer would quite logically appear to be yes, on both counts, as history has shown us that any role can be equally supplied by any person who has the appropriate skills, gender has never been a relevant consideration.

      Furthermore, one would have to posit that sexism is borne of the desire to pigeon-hole people into roles, regardless of capability and skills, but instead influenced by arbitrary–and indeed, irrelevant–factors, such as gender. A person may be capable of many things, but the problem here is that a narrow minded view might only allow one individual to perceive some of thee capabilities.

      For example, a person is of the male persuasion, and therefore they can only perform certain duties within their range of capability and skill, regardless of what they’re actually capable of. The way to sidestep sexism is to consider gender irrelevant, not unimportant, but simply irrelevant. A person’s gender has no impact on their capabilities, and which of those capabilities they choose to exercise and become skilled at is their own choice.

      If a female chooses to be a housewife, then one cannot find conflict with a conscious choice providing that it really is a conscious choice, but to inform a female who’s capable of martial combat techniques that their place is in the kitchen, thus attempting to override their individual choice, that is sexist.

      I do not believe anyone should be forced to supply any role, it’s a sapient individual’s choice which role one takes for oneself. I would consider any manner of thinking that would pigeon-hole people into roles as outmoded, as the world has moved on and let such ways of thinking behind, which is for the betterment of humanity as a whole.

    • Lilliput King says:

      That’s… that’s exactly it.

      Women may be more likely to be less aggressive, but this doesn’t mean any given woman actually is less aggressive. Essentially, people are individuals, with their own particular attitudes and skills, and gender doesn’t actually have an impact on that except in a statistical sense. Ultimately, the conclusions you should be drawing, instead of this

      In a team whose job it is, to do things that men are good at, you OF COURSE prefer men.

      should be this

      In a team whose job it is to do a selection of things well, you OF COURSE prefer those who can do these particular taks well

      Wulf abandons his own good sense again and again above for internet white-knight duty (“Am I saying that females are by far and wide more open minded in general, and that males are still swinging their ‘clubs’?”), but let’s ignore that.

    • Wulf says:

      What you see as abandonment of sense and white-knight duty might actually serve another purpose: such as provoking people in a tongue-in-cheek—indeed, blithe–way to kick-start the reader’s mental processes. Certainly, that reader might be angry at me for acting so flippantly, but some of them might stop and examine why they’re getting angry over it. In which case… mission accomplished.

      Sometimes I apply cool rationality and logic, and sometimes I’m very subtly tongue-in-cheek, in ways that only a few people actually seem to pick up on. All of my efforts are to try and get people to see things from another angle. I’m particularly drawn to Chaos Magician methodology for drawing conclusions, that in order to understand something, one should consider something from every angle, even taking stances which aren’t at all their own, for the cause of understanding.

      Reality isn’t magnanimously simple, and when it comes down to it, people aren’t either. There’s usually more to a person or an opinion than might initially meet the eye.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Unwise. Being irrational in a riposte on the internet is only going to turn things into a shouting match. In a peculiar way, that actually validates their opinion, putting it on the same level as yours. In a topic that actually matters, like this one, best to stay as rational as possible and hope that others follow suit.


  48. The Walker says:

    On the subject of 17 year old boys, it’s probably a good thing that they’re brazen, overconfident dickheads. If someone realised their stupidity and ignorance at that age they’d probably never learn from getting into trouble, and develop an inferiority complex a mile high. That’s been my experience, anyway.

  49. Catastrophe says:

    I find many of the comments here humerous and ironic; they remind me of the “I’m not racist at all, I have a friend whos Black and he has a proper job!” style irony.

    Being a female or guy in WoW makes no difference in general. I have never even been asked my sex in WoW.

  50. Steenie says:

    It’s the internet, it doesn’t surprise me at all that someone would say this. Besides, the internet allows for people to comment without borders or consequence (almost.) The stereotypes that revolve around female gamers are usually based on some truths, as all stereotypes, but there’s a wonderful thing about the internet: it makes an initial level playing field for everyone.

    I was a guild and raid leader for a guild for a couple years before Wrath came out, and I successfully led my guild to clear BT and Sunwell before I gave notice I was returning to real life. While I was not only leading my guild and raid leading on a regular basis, I topped the DPS meters consistently as a shadow priest. Not a healer. A DPS. Additionally, I later made a warrior to tank due to guild needs and still managed to gear up to BT raidiing standards. In the meantime (not to toot my own horn), I was a 4.0 student during the entirety of my WoW raiding career. Before any men can declare women aren’t biologically suited to a leading position, one has to wonder; if women aren’t suited for leadership, men aren’t suited for responsibility, time management, and general organization.

    And as stated earlier, the beauty of the internet lies in the ability to mask stereotypes and be anonymous. Unless a person makes it blatantly obvious to their audience, it’s incredibly difficult to differentiate between the sexes online.

    • Wulf says:

      To be fair, I don’t think humanity is really suited for any of those things, and it’s only out of necessity do we show any degree of capability, and thus the old wisdom is true were the person who’d be the most capable of these things, of leadership, responsibility, and the rest, is usually the person who doesn’t want the job, because they know how well they’d have to do it to satisfy their own standards. Whereas those who desire the job are often the first to fail at it. I believe it was Douglas Adams who pointed out that particular bit of wisdom, with his own punchy brand of wit.

      I don’t think roles are relegated to gender, anyway, and I never have, as capability speaks volumes over everything else, and capability, over gender, and over willingness, should be valued. One thing I’ve noticed with many guild leaders in World of Warcraft, even most of the big ones, is that the leaders wanted the job for the prestige. And thanks to that, we end up with people like the chap quoted in the article, whom otherwise wouldn’t really be in a position of any merit to talk.

      I suppose it’s our own fault for putting entirely incapable and irresponsible people in power, so the sad part is that they’re probably inculpable too, as they were given a vessel for their words, and a position of power from which to speak. More fool us for electing the town fool to run the town.