Thursday, October 9, 2008

WoW Sexism: One More Thing

I recently wrote about sexisim in World of Warcraft, but having done so, I realized I forgot a very personal moment that seems silly for me to have forgotten. (This story probably does deserve its own post anyway, I suspect. The old one was long enough.)

First, a little background. Generally speaking, guilds that participate at least semi-regularly in raids have a Ventrilo ("vent" for short) or TeamSpeak server for voice communication during raids (and off-times, for social interaction). Since our raid leaders are overwhelmingly male, you tend to hear mostly male voices.

I don't tend to speak very much in vent. I raided before the expansion, when the largest and most common raids were taken on by 40 people. So our raid leaders at the time were pretty strict about vent use - no chatter, no off-topic conversations. Only information that all 40 people needed to hear was allowed. So I learned to be pretty silent, since I'm not a raid leader. And that's stuck with me. Even though the largest raids nowadays max out at only 25 people, crosstalk is still a problem.

And so, when one of our female members spoke (who has been in the guild for some time, I believe), she was mistaken for one of the other female members. The officer was lightly ridiculed (by his fellow male officers), and he responded by stating that he has a hard time telling us women apart. I stated in a matter-of-fact-but-lighthearted-manner, "Sexist prick." There was laughter, followed by, "I'm guessing that was Casp." Yes, it was Casp.

I do not have a hard time telling the males from the other males, nor the females from the other females. The only exception I can think of - and it's a rather obvious one - is in the case of new people: it merely takes time to learn their voice and manner of speaking, particularly if they don't speak often. But this was not the case this time.

Usually, there isn't a terrible problem with our male players confusing women's voices. It has happened more than once though, in current and past guilds, with different men each time. This time stands out to me mostly because it's the most recent, and - importantly - because of his response to me. With the way the exchange progressed, it felt as if the word "bitch" was on the tip of his brain when he correctly guessed my identity. I believe I have a reputation for calling people out. Does speaking up make me a bitch? According to the co-founder of Bitch Magazine, yes. Is that a bad thing? According to the co-founder of Bitch Magazine, no. And I agree. Calling people out on sexism is never a bad thing.

There is another woman in the guild that I have great respect for, who has an even greater and more infamous reputation for being a bitch. Nanika calls out ignorance, untruth, whining, illogic, and bullshit in general. Some men unseriously state that they're afraid of her. I admire her.

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