Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Real ID: Putting my Feminist Thinking Cap on

So, as I think more about this Real ID forum debacle, something occurred to me.

Blizzard is coming at this from a viewpoint of white male blindness.  It's really the least cynical explanation I can see for why they can't seem to understand that many people do NOT WANT.  Basically the thought process goes something like this...
I feel/think this way
Everyone else (or everyone else who counts) feels/thinks like me
Therefore anyone disagreeing with me is irrelevant or insane.

Now, this isn't thought out consciously, and most of the time people who think like this aren't even aware of it. It's just the way they think, and if they're made aware of it they generally do try to change it. The problem is that until they start realizing how they think, there's no point in arguing with them. If you do, you're crazy or misunderstanding them or misinterpreting them or doing anything else they can think of to use to dismiss your argument.

Blizz is thinking...
I have no problem putting my real name on the forums, so no one else should either. Or at least no one normal should, and the abnormals, well, they're trolls anyway.

Obviously there's some HUGE problems with this.  So why might people not want their names on the forums? I've complied a short list...
1. Anyone who would like to prevent or avoid stalkers. I'd suggest you go read this blog entry on RL harassment coming from WoW for more insight.
2. People who are seeking employment or feel they may seek employment at any point in the future and are aware of the negative gaming stereotype and don't want to be associated with it.
3. People whose names give away gender or racial identity and do not want to be harassed based on the same.
4. People who don't want random strangers to know personal info.
5. People who are transgender and whose name does not match who they are now. (Aka a female to male whose real name or name on account is still Alice when he goes by Alan now)

That's a lot of people that Blizzard is discounting. I can only hope that the 10k post thread plus all their green posters saying "NO!" plus the harassment of a blizzard employee who posted his own name on the thread (and I don't condone the harassment in any way) will make them see that all these people might have a point. I don't know about you, but I can only hope they realize that it only takes one crazed individual with internet and a grudge about a class nerf for one of their blue posters to get hurt or killed.  I really really hope it never happens, but it could, and putting their real name next to their posts makes it much more likely.

(And for the record, I am a feminist. I believe in equal rights and equal responsibilities for both sexes. I don't hate men, I don't think men are evil, and I've never burned a bra. I just think that things should be equal, which does include women registering for selective service, being put on the front lines in battle, that sort of thing. Part of being equal is dealing with the sucky stuff, after all)


  1. I'm seriously depressed by this whole thing. I just can't get over how utterly wrapped in privilege this whole move is, and how utterly incapable people are of admitting it.

    To the extent that people REALLY ARE arguing that because *they* have no problems revealing their real name online then *neither should anybody else*

    It makes me a sad panda.

  2. It is really sad, and really makes me angry too. How dare they say that my experiences are invalid because they've never had the same experience? I really thought we'd made it past this, but I guess not. sigh.

  3. "I feel/think this way
    Everyone else (or everyone else who counts) feels/thinks like me
    Therefore anyone disagreeing with me is irrelevant or insane."

    Gawd, yes. This tendency is what makes discussing issues of race/gender/etc with some people SO frustrating, since if they can't see your perspective right off the bat, instead of sticking with you and trying to understand your logic, they instantly wave you off as 'imagining' stuff or being a nutbag. =/