I’ll begin this by saying I am writing this post because there’s a creeping, nagging feeling that I should not write it. This creeping, nagging “don’t say it” feeling bears examination, as I pretty much talk about whatever I want to talk about. What’s the deal?
My World of Warcraft guild and raid chat … specifically guild chat and vent chat during recent raiding.
I talk pretty nicely about my guild. Overall they are a good bunch of eggs. From time to time, I experience a bit of irritation. I do get tired of hearing guys say things like, “let’s rape the bitch/slut/cunt/whore” prior to a fight. I do get tired of tiresome sexual innuendos. I do get tired of unfunny sexist jokes. I do get tired of listening to men talking smack about their girlfriends, wives and partners (ex or otherwise). I do get tired of hearing about men’s sex lives, or their fantasies thereof. I do get tired of sex being inserted into every freakin’ conversation.
I’m a good egg too. Even though I frequently have some very scathing things I could say in those sorts of moments. I don’t. I roll my eyes, keep my mouth shut, turn up the tunes, master the fights, cross my fingers and hope for good lootz.
I was raiding last night and I turned vent off. I have also turned guild chat off from time to time. I’m getting saturated. Last night’s guild chat was full of discussions about sex, sexual aggression, menstruation, tampons, whores, sluts and eating pussy to mention a few.
Raid chat included the usual sexual innuendos, stale jokes, sexist comments blah blah blah … but also amped up to include a conversation about a female player putting her legs over her shoulders and being used as a beer/stubbies holder … and another conversation about the first time a couple of the male players ever “ate pussy”[age 3 I believe was the youngest] and how it tasted [like piss if I recall correctly] the usual crap about ex wives and partners, how much pussy/sex these ‘gentlemen” are getting etc.
Of our 10 (wo+)man raid team, there are two guys that I cannot recall ever speaking like this. They don’t say anything against the bullshit, they just don’t join in. (Kind of like me overall). We have three men who regularly kick off or instigate the bullshit and a couple of guys who will chime in when they can. Plus one guy who doesn’t speak on vent. Leaving myself and one other (lovely and gracious) female player who advised me that English is her second language and she is able to filter most of what is being said by simply switching her brain into her first language. (What a bonus!)
Sadly, guild wise, we are taking in new members who seem to think this obnoxious, sexualized conversation is good times. The social calibre of the guild is nose diving (in my opinion). More guild chat is centred around sexualized or derogatory toward women conversation and no, its not just a man problem. We have a couple of the usual women suspects who take it in, giggle about it and say things like …. “oooo you’re so bad” and “I’m soooo drunk”…. and otherwise encourage or participate in the shit behaviour.
I had a chat with our raid leader and GM last night. I said I was going to mute vent – that I was sick of listening to the bullshit. He took it in and was okay with what I was saying. He told me that if chat content was getting to me, it was ok if I muted vent. (Thanks, but I shouldn’t HAVE to!) and to his credit also said he would try to check the crappy sex chat when he noticed it. He also acknowledged that he’s one of the worst offenders and that he eggs people on.
Back to the beginning. Why didn’t I want to write this post?
Well, I know as soon as I open my mouth, or let my fingers scamper across the keyboard … this will become my personal, Fiona problem. And I know it’s not. I could get into a whole expose about sexism in MMO’s but its been done, and done a lot these past few months. If you want to read an article that has liberal links all the way through it, you can check out Carol Pinchefsky’s, Sexual Harassment in Videogame Culture in Forbes and clicky her links and have a read. There’s some good stuff in there like:
According to psychologist Scott, “My thought is that we continue to live in a real life culture that continues to be alarmingly misogynistic under the surface, but the hostility that many males feel towards females is suppressed by social forces (like mothers, law enforcement officers, etc.). In secondary virtual worlds, like MMOs, those controlling social forces are largely absent…. In secondary worlds, males can be anonymous, and allow aggressive impulses to have free reign – and some seem to feel very empowered by this. These are likely men who don’t experience a sense of strength or personal power in their primary lives. Perhaps they are threatened by women, and deeply angry at them. They carry those feelings to secondary life and it feels really good to them to act out that hostility – and they are able to do so with impunity.
Pretty sure the guys engaging in the behaviour won’t see it in that way, or at least won’t acknowledge that they do. I have some good male friends in WOW, who don’t engage in sexist assholishness. My favourite guy friend says this sexist stuff is an issue of men having no class or manners. Another guy friend says men do it (are sexist) because they can, it’s like stealing something, in this case, women’s self-esteem, confidence and freedom to join in without feeling harassed and assaulted/insulted. Yes, there are some smart, switched on, wonderful WOW guys.
Anyway, I know that I don’t want to debate the issues, argue them, get into a social justice fight over them, discuss feminism while I am playing a video game or defend women (especially against other women). I don’t want to be backed into corners where I have to come out with witty little zingers to shut the bullshit up. I don’t want to be told that I don’t have a sense of humour, or that I need to lighten up, loosen up or get laid. I don’t want to have to have conversations about sexism in my gaming. I don’t want to have to write this post. I just wanna play the fuckin’ game, without feeling like I need to mute the other players.
At the end of the day, we’re all replaceable. If this is how the guild is gonna go, and how the raid chat is gonna be … it might better for them to take on another sexist bastard who can raid heal and it might be time for me to move on. It wouldn’t be the first time I have left a guild because of sexist bullshit. My last major raiding guild I left after being asked if I wanted to switch raid teams as the other raid team needed “fresh pussy”. Yeah, so this is not new.
I’m off to Bali on Monday and will have a 10 day break from WOW and from raiding/gaming and am looking forward to it. Not because I don’t like gaming – but because seriously, I can hear you and I can’t keep my mouth shut much longer.