Gender + WoW = Nonissue

February 16, 2009 at 6:22 pm 9 comments

Larísa made an excellent “Why aren’t we over this yet?” post today in response to the perennial debate about women in WoW.  I’m not really interested in chiming in (those six little words sum up my feelings on the matter exactly!), but I was somewhat startled to realize that I’m the only female raider in my guild.  

You’d think that someone who actively blogs about her guild, and spends significant amounts of time observing and analzying its social and political currents, would be more aware of this. 

But, no, it came as a complete surprise … which just goes to show how much of a non-issue it truly is!

Taking a few minutes to look at our roster — and forcing myself to think of our players as male and female, rather than as individuals (which is surprisingly hard) — we have:

  • Me, core-raider and guild leader;
  • a Marksmen Hunter (and certified altoholic) who raids exactly once a week, because she lives in Australia and can only make our Saturday raid;
  • a still-leveling Mage, who joined to play with her boyfriend — a raiding Rogue — and stayed with us after they broke up (he /gquit because she wouldn’t);
  • my Mom, still-guilded on her Warlock (even though she now leads a social guild from her new Death Knight main); 
  • another Hunter, the fiance of one of our long-term non-raiders (who himself was “grandfathered in,” as a member of one of the several smaller guilds we absorbed as we grew);
  • our Paladin tank’s sister, who is guilded on a level 20-something so she can keep an eye on her her son (our youngest member at 12, who joined as Friends & Family for no other reason than to share a guild tag with his Uncle); and
  • our Holy Priest and healing lead, who is actually male, although half of the guild still refers to him as “her” because his character’s name is Annah and he doesn’t talk on Vent.

And … that’s it. 

I guess someone could look at this list, realize that most of our relatively few female guildmembers joined through a real life association with another (usually male) player, and make some kind of inference about women in a supporting role vs. men in an active role and present that as evidence of an in-game glass ceiling.

But that would be silly.

Besides, we actually had a fairly balanced mix in The Burning Crusade.  Unfortunately, real life crit us at about the same time the expansion came out and we ended up opening recruitment for WotLK raiding.  All of our new applicants were male, so the balance shifted. 

And I didn’t even notice.


Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: , , .

/blush My raid is naked!

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Crucifer  |  February 16, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Our female player list is as follows:

    – Level 80 Fury Warrior; plays with her level 80 mage bf, wants both socialization and raids.

    – Level 80 Retadin; Got her son involved in WoW (not the other way around).

    – Level 72 Rogue, plays to get away from her 3 kids. Recently moved home, hence the lack of levels.

    – Level 61 Hunter, playing because her male gay friend got her interested in playing [he plays too, level 80 Mage].

    – Level 80 MM Hunter, playing because her husband plays along with his best man, and her 2 kids (who play Alliance to get away from the parents) so either she got involved or she’d never see them.

    One thing I’ve definitely noticed – there aren’t too many female players as Tanks. In fact, I can’t think of anyone, either in the EU or US servers whom I’ve played with who was a Tank.

    Not that it bothers me. Play what you find fun! 🙂

  • 2. Karthis  |  February 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    *ponders* Our raiding core is at least 20% female, I believe (not including non-raiders). The class breakdown is:

    – Holy Priest (guild master)
    – Boomkin
    – Affliction Warlock (officer)
    – Holy Paladin
    – 3x resto druid (tree form popular with the ladies?)
    – Rogue

    Lots of healers, come to think of it!

  • 3. Jirschi  |  February 17, 2009 at 4:25 am

    check out our homepage and requirements to join the guild :S (finitas eu kil jeaden)

    woman are evil and we are ruled by them …

  • 4. Larísa  |  February 17, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Out of about 40 players with raiding characters I THINK that six are female (but you can never be completely sure, can you? For some reason half of us are mages and the rest healers (priests and pala). So yeah, there seem to be a bias. It’s strange and a bit sad that you so rarely see female tanks. I really don’t have the time to reroll – I would miss out raiding too much – but sometimes I wish I had a tank warrior just for the heck of it, to proof that we really can play anything – and not just necessarily healers.

    A good thing is that it doesn’t feel as if any of our female players are there just to be some kind of company to a bf. We’re all there out of our own will because we like to raid.

  • 5. Karthis  |  February 17, 2009 at 5:56 am

    “A good thing is that it doesn’t feel as if any of our female players are there just to be some kind of company to a bf.”

    We’ve actually had a few husbands join the guild to be with their raiding wives. =)

  • 6. Elleiras  |  February 17, 2009 at 8:03 am

    @Crucifer – My guild’s very first tank was female. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very good (and wasn’t willing to take constructive criticism … at all), so we ended up parting ways relatively early into our raiding career. She plays a shadow priest as her main now. (But I suppose that plays into the stereotype rather than alleviates it.)

    A couple of thoughts:

    It could just be that main tanking is a demanding role no matter who performs it, since the MT becomes the de facto leader of any party or raid. (Even if the MT isn’t a guild officer, he — or she — still often controls the pace of the raid simply by virtue of his — or her — role.) If there are a relatively few number of players with the skill set to main tank(strong situational awareness, combined with the ability to multitask and both confidence and patience to lead), statistically, there will a small percentage of males (the majority of the player base) and even smaller percentage of females (the minority of the player) in that role.

    Or, it really could be a result of our culture’s long-established gender roles, which encourage women to be nurturing and supportive and men to be aggressive and … well, protective! That’s more a function of expectation than ability though.

    There may also be an element of self-fulfilling propechy here. If female gamers aren’t taken seriously (or don’t expect to be taken seriously) as tanks, they may not be inclined to play them.

    Either way, you’ve definitely given me something to /ponder during the long, boring hours at work today … so thanks! 🙂

  • 7. Karthis  |  February 17, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Oh! Since we’re now talking about gals who tank…. here’s one:

  • 8. Elleiras  |  February 17, 2009 at 8:16 am

    @Karthis – We used to have a similar ratio, so I was a little surprised to realize that it’s deteriorated to exactly 4% … except on Saturdays, of course, when our lone MM hunter is able to raid with us. Ironically, her husband joined the guild to be with her! She’s definitely the better, and the more serious, of the two when it comes to raiding. He tends to prever PvP. /shudder

    @Jirschi – Ich spreche kein Deutsch! Which is unfortunate, because I’m totally in suspense now.

    @Larísa – The more I think about it, the more I agree that there is a bias towards healing and ranged DPS. I only know of one female tank, personally, and she rerolled shadow priest. I can’t think of any female melee DPSers, either … (That I know in-game, I mean. I know from blogging that they do exist!)

    Just for fun, my boyfriend and I started Alliance characters on another server to play when we need a break from our guild. I’m a druid tank and he’s a shaman healer — a complete role reversal for us, lol.

    I’ll be honest: I do miss raiding with other women, especially when the conversation inevitably turns to hockey (although that could be because we’re half Canadian rather than overwhelmingly male …)!

  • 9. Elleiras  |  February 17, 2009 at 8:21 am

    @Karthis – Tank Like a Girl is in my feedreader (if not in my Blogroll; I’ll get around to updating it … someday). She’s awesome, and I absolutely LOVE the name of her blog. 🙂


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