I don’t mean to keep using other people’s articles as fake posts of my own, but if you read one thing about women in MMOs, this should be it. It says everything I’d say except the author remains calm and rational throughout, whereas I’d probably end up foaming at the mouth… or trying too hard to convince.
When something is right, you don’t need to froth to pass the message.
Archetypes of the Female Gamer, Revisited — and the first paragraph to whet your appetite.
Shock. Frustration. Anger. Despair.
Before last week, these are words I never would have connected to my experience with World of Matticus, either as a writer or a reader. However, last week Lodur’s article on guild Egoists just left me cold. I’ve invoked these four words to let you the readers know what powerful effect such things can have, in the short term at least. Over the weekend I did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking, and I think I’m finally ready to explain why a recitation of stereotypes about women disturbed me so much. First of all, I would like to say that I mean Lodur no disrespect. I am quite sure that his intentions were good, and in his own mind, his article is not even about women.
EDIT — and to the “there’s a grain of truth in every stereotype” response, I’d like to say this. A grain of truth does not the entire beach make. Sometimes I drink too much and go over the legal limit — that doesn’t make me a hardened criminal, even less so an alcoholic. Not a great analogy, but it serves the purpose well enough especially since it illustrates, I hope, the fact that you can’t take part of a thing and make a hard and fast rule about the whole thing. That way lies sophistry. More to the point, why is it bad when women display stereotypical behaviour but not when men do? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.
In gaming or anywhere else, it’s wise to examine one’s assumptions. Stereotypes are nothing but assumptions and while they have their uses, they’re extremely limited as tools for predicting (or even meaningfully illustrating) human — or gamer — behaviour.
EDIT 2 — in real life, I translate project documents and other such stuff for various humanitarian agencies working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of the projects there have a Gender component. It’s sobering — and in some ways heartening — to realise that I can sit here and rant about debate gender issues in the comfort of my own home and with very little risk of being summarily raped and beaten by some passing soldier (or civilian) next time I set foot out of my house. Everything is relative.