Saturday, February 5, 2011

Women in game: Source of drama or easy scapegoats?

I was wandering through the new Raid and Guild Leadership forums when I came across How to Deal with a Girl in my Guild. Obviously I started reading it, and thus started pondering where this idea of women as drama-makers comes from and is it Truth?

First off, no, I don't think it's Truth. I think some women, like some men, cause drama. There is a certain subset of the human population that causes and enjoys causing drama, and both men and women are part of this subset.  Most women I know, both in and out of game, do not like drama. I personally hate any conflict in groups I am a part of, and want everyone to get along and be happy. Obviously I cannot make the assumption that the majority of women in game are like me, BUT neither can I assume that I am abnormal in my desire for no drama. My best guesstimate is that I have some level of familiarity with about 100 players in game, of which a substantial minority are female. With 11 million players, 100 is nowhere near a decent sample size. In fact, I very much doubt that any player could manage to interact with enough people in game to form a decent sample, not to mention the fact that different servers have different norms and personalities (for lack of a better word).  So, please bear in mind that there is no Truth here, only individual truths. 

Now, where does this women cause drama idea come from? I'm not sure, but here's my guess...

In the early days of the Internet, it was male-dominated, and dominated by a particular type of male. We all know the stereotype. The geek/nerd who doesn't interact much with women, and whose higher brain functions tend to shut down in their presence. From what I have seen, these men tend to think of women as a weird and strange species and treat us differently.  Some women (and some men) took and still take advantage of this tendency. If you like drama, and you can use your sex to cause drama, well then you're probably going to do that. If you don't like drama, and don't like being treated differently because of your sex, then you're likely to just keep your mouth shut so no one finds out which sex you are. Can you see where this is going? Those most likely to be open about being female are also the most likely to use that fact to cause drama, thus creating the perception that all females cause drama.

Now, there is some female drama that the woman herself has nothing to do with. If player A finds out player B is female, and treats her differently from then on, then the fault lies with player A, not with player B. Any drama caused by this different (and likely preferential) treatment is player A's fault. But sadly, many will look at a scenario like this and say "See, girls in game cause drama!" and place blame on B instead of A. This is rather like introducing a minority person into a group and having drama because a member of the group reacted in a racially-insensitive fashion. Would you really blame the minority person? I doubt so.

If you look at the original post in the thread I linked, the scenario is not so cut and dried. You have a loot council member who is spending most of his time socializing with a female guildie, and his loot council decisions show favoritism towards this guildie. We have no way of knowing if the guildie has asked him to give her preference, or if she expects him to socialize almost exclusively with her. It is a fairly well-known phenomenon that people tend to want to spend time with the people they're dating, and many do take that to an extreme. Also, people tend to favor giving loot to people they like, a known problem with loot councils in general. So, if you remove the female guildie, would there still be drama? I'd say yes, sooner or later. The loot council member has shown that he has trouble removing his personal prejudices from his decisions. A woman may have brought that tendency to the forefront, but it's probably been there all along.

In closing, I would like to point something out that most of us forget in these kinds of discussions. When you generalize about women, or men, you are generalizing about 3 BILLION people. Even if you're saying something like "women get tetchy once a month", which may or may not be true for any woman who menstruates monthly. Assuming that statement is true for all women still means you're ignoring a substantial population of women who have passed menopause, are currently pregnant, or due to medical abnormalities do not menstruate or do not do so monthly.  It's a natural tendency of humans to generalize, it makes the world easier for us to deal with if we can put people in neat little boxes, but in real life, people don't always fit into those boxes and trying to force them to fit is harmful both to them and to you. Sometimes women cause drama, just like sometimes men cause drama. If you're not comfortable making the blanket statement "men cause drama", then why are you comfortable saying that women cause drama?


  1. Great post! I'm writing a post about this matter myself and I will definitely add your thoughts in the mix :)

  2. I'm a female WOW player and a GM for 2.5 years (and I also worked in officer positions in my 2 previous guilds prior to 2.5 years of being a GM in this one.)

    That being said, I am very hesitant to invite females to our guild because I have had to live through and deal with very bad drama from female members far too often. And I'm not talking about "they distract the boys" kind of stuff, that's very minor in my opinion although I realize why it would be a more major concern to a top raiding guild. I'm talking about bad behaviour and attitudes that have almost taken our guild down more than once. Every major drama we have ever had in guild has been instigated by a female. Not only have they instigated the drama but they then use their influence on as many of the male members as they can to get them to back them up and even leave guild if they leave or are kicked. It's ridiculous how much damage one female can do a good, stable guild and usually over much of nothing.

    And before anyone claims it's about jealousy, no. I have no interest in any of the males in my guild as more than friends. My bf is in an entirely different guild so he doesn't figure into this at all. I simply don't like inviting females anymore because I am sick of dealing with drama after drama and having the stability of the guild threatened.

    And that is my input as a female GM on this question...