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‘Girl’ is a four letter word

I have sometimes found it a bad idea to reveal my membership of the female sex to online gamers. Sure, it’s a great way to meet gamer guys, but all that attention isn’t necessarily a good thing.

I was playing my Alliance Priest on World of Warcraft, with my boyfriend at the time sitting next to me leveling his Hordie. I was partied with some random people heading over to an instance. Some guy referred to me repeatedly as ‘man’ or ‘he,’ which got my boyfriend a bit upset, so he told me to tell the player that I was not a ‘he.’ I think this can be interpreted by some as being aggressive about one’s gender, which is understandable. Most men would probably be offended if they were called ‘she’ by default.

One player seemed to think that since I was a girl, I would need all the help I could get, so he made it his job to protect me in the raid group. And since I was seemingly offended by ‘he,’ rather than just calling me ‘she,’ I became ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie.’ This didn’t go over too well with me, and it was even worse for my boyfriend.

He felt he had to defend my honor, so he logged onto his high level Horde Tauren Warrior (a most imposing figure) and proceeded to chase us down. Our lower level raiding party was ambushed by a very angry Tauren on a PvP server, though of course the Allies had no idea why.

Some random players came in to the fight, so it developed into a kind of faction war. The Hordies and Allies fought to the death in a prolonged epic battle. I was healing my Tauren “champion” and my allies. Amazingly, in the end we managed to put down the mad cow. I then explained to my party members that the rampaging bull was my boyfriend, and that he was sitting right next to me.

That’s why it’s easier to just let people think I’m a guy when playing online. No stereotypes, no pet names, no being looked down on. Sometimes it’s just easier to let others believe what they want.

But I wonder… is it right? Should I politely correct others if they make the easy mistake of assuming I’m a guy? I’m not ashamed of being a female gamer; in fact I’m quite proud of it, so why should I feel the need to hide my gender?  If more female gamers were open about their gender, maybe male gamers would become more comfortable with encountering us. Perhaps my mistake was in letting the insult stand and in letting my boyfriend defend me. I should have stood up for my gender as equal to his, rather than ignoring his attitude. If someone called me ‘honey’ in such a derogatory manner in real life, I would be offended.

Readers, is it better to ignore sexism or try to correct it?


4 Responses

  1. I think that this is a debate that will go on until the end of time if you are a gamer. Personally I have no problem knowing and I hope that I am told and it’s not a reason as to ‘chat her up’ etc but like you say some girls/women may take offence which is harsh if we don’t know.

    I have known many female players during my wow time, some are very timid and others give as good as they get from the guys (especially on vent)and it really comes down to how you feel yourself about guys knowing.

    I was a Guild Master for a while (of a large guild) and whenever a female joined all the ‘kids’ would start chatting her up, make sexual suggestive comments and I had to put a stop to it and too be fair once I told them too they did but it’s not fair to give all this crap to gamers of the fairer sex. Get a woman on vent and suddenly all the guys appear to lose the ability to talk properly and go all gooey which is always fun as I usually knew before anyone else so was expecting it.

    Who am I kidding eh? It’s human nature, guy’s love hitting on women and sometimes they rise to it and go along with it and othertimes its /leave guild so it’s an awkward one. I personally would never assume that because you are female that makes you an inferior player and why should it. Women can move a mouse, click a button, hit a number the same as any guy can.

    Too answer your question if you are a confident player, confident outside in the real world and can give it back then I would say tell them, then go into a riad with them and show them exactly what you can do.

  2. I understand this perfectly—When I’m in a raid, I always greet people with, “Good evening gentlemen”. As soon as I do, two or three people go, “And ladies too!!” And I’m quick to say, “As a fellow female, I apologize!” This gets all the formality out of the way and we can focus on more important things instead of being passively aggravating at being referred to as the wrong gender. Most people assume that most WoW players (or any video game avatars) are represented by men. Statistically, more men game then women, although the numbers are changing and women are gaining a greater foothold. It’s just an honest mistake.

    As far as men calling you “honey” and “sweetie”, that’s just them trying to hit on you because we all know that gamer girls are the hottest type of woman. 😉 I think it’s okay to tell people that you’re a girl, but expect to be flirted with as a result. Expect to defend your territory and skill as a player too. A lot of people were shocked to find out that our regular raid leader (who always topped the DPS charts and was a top tier player in EVERY way) was a girl.

    At the end of it, either don’t be bothered by being referred to as a guy, or correct them while risking the chance of being treated a bit differently sometimes. Good luck and happy questing!

  3. Interesting and thought provoking post. I don’t often think about whether or not the people behind the avatar is male or female, because in the end I’m not using WoW as a dating scene; and if I were I wouldn’t be ‘chatting up’ the girls..

    But I don’t think you should be cautious about letting people know that you’re a girl. And I also don’t think it’s right that you have to expect to be flirted, as V said. But there is a layer of anonymity inherent in WoW that allows people the freedom to be whoever they want to be in-game without facing the same repercussions that they would normally face in the real world.

    • Moenghus, I think you make a good point, some people view their avatars as disposable, so it doesn’t matter what they say or do online. Sometimes female gamers are either put on a pedestal or thought to be lesser than their male peers. But I think you guys are right, it’s better to just be open about being a girl and show them that you’re just as good as the guys.

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