Yet again, women who play videogames are rare, perhaps mythical, beings.
WA Today has issued an ominous warning to “Warcraft widows”:
Widows of Warcraft, be warned – you may not see much of your boyfriend/partner/husband/defacto/intended in the next six months or so.
Today is the day that millions of online players descend into the fantasy world of Azeroth for the newest instalment of the phenomenon that is World of Warcraft.
Before editing, the story led with “Gamers’ girls be warned – you may not see much of your other half.”
But you can’t really blame Aussie journalists, this time. The article was lifted straight from the Times Online: Day of dread arrives for World of Warcraft Widows“.
Invisible women gamers, compulsory heterosexuality, women as passive whiners whose only issue is whether their men pay enough attention to them… this story’s got it all.
For a more feminist and/or female approach to gaming, check out these links:
Cerise Magazine and the Iris Gaming Network
The Hathor Legacy’s gaming section
Feminist Gamers (currently hibernating)
feminist_gamers, girl_gamers or wow_ladies on Livejournal
[image: detail from “Sexo en el World of Warcraft“, by pcesarperez on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.]
Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies, gender & feminism
Particularly amusing considering the Melbourne Herald Sun ran an article about a couple who divorced due to the husband having an affair with another woman in Second Life, and the husband’s comment was that his wife “never did anything around the house because she was always playing World of Warcraft!”
When I started playing computer games and roleplaying over 15 years ago, being a female gamer was slightly rare, but these days, we are all over the place so really whats the issue. They love to beat the old dead gnome every year or so.
Rob and I are SMH poster children for couples who play WOW together and love it…shock horror!. No divorce in sight.
[admin note: blogger blocks these photo links sometimes, so you can view the blog post it comes from here]
There is at least 5 couples in our guild and lots of people whose partner doesn’t play but they somehow all cope.
I can see there could be tiffs over the amount of time someone can play, but its the same for any hobby. I’m sure people have fought over time taken in stamp collecting and football
Anyway Lich King is teh awesome. On Proudmoore server, if anyone plays say Hi to Weatherwax, Yarrow, Merlo and my Death Knight is called Daiquari.
Thanks for the link! We’re cooking up some new gaming articles in the near future! 🙂
Jenn@The Hathor Legacy
I agree that gaming is popular and fun and a normal thing to do for both men and women. I used to do it, though I allocate most of my computer time for blogging and email and newsgroups now.
And the problem with people ignoring other people and preferring to play games or do other stuff online happens with both sexes and in all kinds of relationships.
And yet I can’t help feeling that it could be more likely that the ignored person is female and the gamer who does the ignoring is male.
Women are socially pressured to care about others more, and are conditioned to be the ones who take care of the house and the pets and the kids and the shopping and the food. So a guy could more easily move from home where mom does all that stuff, to marriage or living with a woman where the woman does all that stuff.
I’ve heard complaints about this stereotype from women who are in egalitarian or reasonably egalitarian relationships, or who aren’t in hetero relationships at all. But they don’t represent all women.
Some protests seem to suggest that if you’re not a gamer, if you’re not “one of the boys,” you’re a drag. Let me make it clear that I don’t get that vibe here but I’ve gotten it elsewhere. The woman cast in the role of complaining nag when in reality she’s stuck with all the work isn’t new, and it isn’t fair.
It’s not privilege, maybe, to not see how people in less enlightened relationships aren’t just going to change everything, or stand up and leave, when they realize they’re on the shit end of the stick. But it is a kind of blindness.
Though maybe it is privilege, if both people in a relationship have time for leisure activity, when in some situations, only one does, and hey surprise, it turns out that the one who does ends up being the male.
“I wouldn’t put up with that.” “I’m not forced to follow those societal rules, all this whining by feminists about social conditioning proves they’re weak people.” “I don’t mind it when they harass me when they find out I’m female, I just tough it out.”
It’s that kind of a social libertarian / queen bee / honorary man argument that pushes my buttons.
I think we need to be careful about claiming some kind of equality in the leisure time area, and I suspect many of the women on the gaming sites you mentioned are aware of and have posted about this.
Ah, gaming. In my teen years, I played a number of collectible card games and the odd computer game, but I never felt comfortable with identifying with gamers – I had the misfortune of meeting too many who were disturbingly close to the stereotypes.
Then there was the way many of the games and their publications were targetted squarely at men without even recognising gaming women. InQuest Gamer, for example, frequently featured scantily-clad women on the cover, and objectification of women was common. It was embarrassing having to endure crap like “hottest fantasy babe” polls in order to read the stuff that discussed strategy and tactics, so I stopped reading and eventually moved on.
I won’t touch online games, especially ones that are open-ended, because that way leads disaster. These days, I have a small collection of more accessible card and board games (Citadels, Settlers of Catan, etc.), and I generally stick to solo variants of the more “gamer” favorites (Middle-earth CCG, Mythos CCG, etc.).
I’d imagine there are a fair number of World of Warcraft widowers out there as well. Luckily my wife and I are addicted to the same online game (not WoW) and its pretty common to meet couples and even parents with children who play together in larger groups.
For those who haven’t seen The Guild, its a very funny take on people who play WoW: