Episode 1: What It Feels Like For A Girl

April 17, 2011

I was seriously tempted to rename the episode “How Horny Are You?,” based on events that occurred during yesterday’s recording.


Moving On.

In this episode, we use an article from Kotaku, “I’m An Anonymous Woman Gamer,” as a starting point to chat about our experiences and opinions surrounding our own condition of being female gamers.

Of course, men are more than welcome to listen as well, and we even offer some suggestions to singletons looking to find a WoW playing soulmate.

This week’s “Thank You” goes out to Fimlys, who saved the day (or night) when the Technology Gods turned against me during the editing process. If you’re listening to a podcast with intro and outro music and a distinct lack of awkward silences, it’s all thanks to him!

Link for downloads

On the next episode, as mentioned on the show, we’ll be talking about gaming schedules and gaming addictions with the lovely Lady Erinia from Moments in the Life of a Death Knight as our special guest host.


15 Responses to “Episode 1: What It Feels Like For A Girl”

  1. Yahannah said

    You talk about whether or not women feel like they need to prove they are good at their class/role because they are women. In my opinion, this often turns people away when women get that sort of chip on their shoulder. We once had a female member (I’m female too) who had this idea that she had to prove to everyone she could run with the guys. She’d cuss more than anyone else, generally be louder than everyone else, and get overly defensive whenever her abilities were even remotely questioned. Over time, guild members started to become annoyed with her behavior and she could sense their distaste for her, which made things worse. She’d go off on long tirades about how she was one of the boys. In the end, she began to feel like she wasn’t up to par with the boys (although she was in the middle of the pack for our dps) and quit WoW. My point in all of this is that sometimes, in trying to compete with “the boys,” some women overdo it, making it worse for themselves and for the rest of us women who consider ourselves equal with men and don’t feel the need to prove ourselves.

    • Ophelie said

      Definitely agree with you there! I’ve met a number of women like that as well. I wouldn’t say it bothers me, but I do find it draining to be around a woman in game who’s pretending to be someone she’s not (or around anyone who’s trying too hard, really), especially when it’s to impress the guys.

      On the podcast we had the specific stereotypes of “girls can’t play” and “girls only play to make their boyfriends happy” in mind, but I have to admit that in the past I have had the pressure to keep up with the guys personality-wise too. Luckily, I discovered pretty quickly that people liked me better when I was just being myself and it saved me a lot of hassle. Even in a rough and tumble group, a softer spoken person can be really appreciated.

    • Oestrus said

      Unfortunately, it’s hard to determine who genuinely is that way and who may be pretending. I know I have one of those personalities where people think that I embellish when I’m online, or that’s not really who I am and I assure people that it is. It’s funny, because when I first read this comment, I thought it was about me and then I saw the “DPS” part and breathed a sigh of relief!

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can’t fault a girl for being “one of the guys” if that’s genuinely who she is and she knows how to carry that and pull it off naturally. It’s the girls who do that when it’s not really who they are that make it bad for the rest of us. But that personality trait alone does not necessarily equal trouble.

      • Ophelie said

        I don’t think it’s the “one of the guys” trait that’s the problem, it’s the “trying too hard” that’s really draining. It doesn’t have to be “pretending to be a guy” either, when someone is faking being sweet and nice, it’s just as bad. When someone is behaving the way they think others want them to behave, there’s just something off about them that gets annoying pretty fast. And it’s usually pretty obvious.

      • Yahannah said

        The problem to me isn’t when a woman is actually, for lack of better terms, a tomboy or even when she’s pretending to be interested in male dominated areas. Rather, the problem is when a woman is over the top and shoves it down other’s throats, constantly making the word for word statement “I’m one of the guys” and feeling the need to prove to everyone how she fits in with the boys. In regard to the specific offender, every new person who came to guild got her speech about how she is one of the boys. It got to the point where people would literally mute her in Vent because they knew that she would monopolize conversations trying to prove how she was the queen of being “one of the guys.” It almost became a competition with other females. She would posture for them as if to stake her claim on the menfolk. It wasn’t that she acted like she was one of the guys that was the issue, it was the fact that she insisted that everyone knew she was one of the guys. It was as if, in her eyes, you had to be a guy to fit in or to play well or earn respect.

        I doubt that you’re the same as this particular person, Oestrus. Her need for everyone to know she was one of the guys stemmed from insecurity, both with her abilities as a player and her social relationships. The more she struggled, the worse it got. She used this gruff “front” as a mask to hide herself. She was so worried about being judged as a female that she didn’t realize people were actually basing their opinions of her on her actions and attitudes. The ironic and sad thing is, in seeking acceptance, she alienated everyone around her.

  2. Apple said

    I think I’ve been lucky in that I’ve… never run into the creepy, and only once or twice have I run into guys who find out I’m a girl and immediately start treating me like shit.

    I did have one instance where a guy was insulting me, found out I was a girl, and immediately apologised, and that actually irritated me more than the insults – I’m just a gamer, I don’t want to be treated differently because of my gender, either positively or negatively.

  3. ladyerinia said

    *grins wickedly* I’m very open about being a woman in WoW. It’s probably terrible, but I use my feminimity (sic) to recruit, to soothe, and to lead. Yes, I have no problem using my phone sex voice.

    *snicker* I’m terrible. I have been lucky. I play on a server and with a group of people who don’t treat me any different than the boys. I also don’t feel the need to prove myself…in fact that never even occured to me. To my guild, I’m simply Erinia. I fit inside no one’s box and I do as a please. I help run everything in the guild, I smash buttons on my DK. (And despise healing). And I break up arguments. Yes, I nurture my guild members, but I also challenge them.

    Am I one of the boys? Hell no. I’m a girl. Do i get along well with the boys? Yes. Do i get along as well with the other girls? Absolutely.

    • Oestrus said

      I don’t know. I don’t think using femininity is bad, if that’s not all you have in your toolbox. To go with WoW metaphors, if your femininity button or spell were on cooldown, I would like to think you would have other cooldowns that could get you through said situation. The femininity certain helps and certainly is a powerful tool, but it isn’t all you have to offer or have available. I think that’s when using femininity that way becomes an issue – when it’s all a woman has to rely on. She has no other skills, she brings nothing else to the table. That’s all she has going for her.

  4. saif said

    Great episode, and this is one of my favorite topics in the game. I love talking about the anthropological aspects of gaming, and you guys hit on some fairly illuminating things.

    I must be having the most unusual WoW experience because I have consistently gamed with tons of women in WoW and had a great time with no creepy romance or drama behind it.

    There is the usual guild/raid drama of people not liking each other but no gender-based drama at all.

    I’ve been in 4 guilds over as many years (Christ) and 3 of the 4 guilds had women-GMs and I was the GM in the fourth with a co-GM who was a woman.

    In my current guild, we’ve consistently had a raid-team of at a minimum 30% female representation and as much as 60% at times. I’ve raided with women who topped the DPS meters consistently, I’ve co-tanked with women tanks, and been healed by women gamers – all with no problems.

    I do think you’re right in that I notice women who tank are a LOT more cautious about things than men (in the most generalized way.) I really love it because when I’m raid-leading I’m often worried about the big picture and when I had a woman tanking with me she’d often remind me of things or pick up mistakes that I don’t notice and save the day. That said, my current co-tank who’s male is also very awesome (but he was originally a healer so maybe that’s why he’s so good at making me good).

    And haven’t had any trouble with gender issues – our guild rules are basically summed up in that if you’re not a racist, sexist or homophobic person, if you can take a dirty joke, and if your epeen is kept in check, you’ll probably be fine.

    If anyone called my GM a bitch (or used similarly gender-based language), I’d probably get rankled, but you make a good point about gender-based pronouns being just a part of language – however, sometimes it’s difficult to tell (especially in heated exchanges) when an expletive is just that, or something worse.

    Racism and homophobia are fairly easy to spot in the game, but sexism seems like a much more difficult thing to handle (or even notice – is someone just joking about this in vent, or are they really upset about this?)

    One of the few moments where I noticed a bit of tension that kind of corrected itself was when our GM went from heals to DPS after we wound up with too much heals half-way through current progression. She swapped to her hunter and topped meters all night long, and the guys (one of them was her husband) who were used to being on top were pretty upset and she said she got some whispers to that effect.

    Was that because the guys didn’t want to be shown up by a woman? Or were they just cranky about a sub-geared hunter showing them up? Probably the former but some of the language – even in banter and whispers – was a bit difficult to parse.

    Everyone knows you need a super-thick skin in WoW these days (especially in PvP) and I’m okay with a lot of back and forth personally, and to be 100% honest, I’m not exactly the most chivalrous stand-up-and-defend-a-woman-because-she-can’t-do-it-herself type as I will only jump in if it feels like someone is getting beat up for no reason.

    I dunno, I do think language has a big effect on people and triggers do exist, for both men and women.

    I’ll stop typing now. Very excited about the next episode – thanks for covering the type of stuff few blogs and especially few pod-casts get into, and with such humor. I think the humor really cuts through a lot of the heaviness of the topic and the banter is really comfortable, like chatting with a group over coffee.

    If the editing is responsible for trimming the silences, then super good job on that end as well.

    • saif said

      Was that because the guys didn’t want to be shown up by a woman? Or were they just cranky about a sub-geared hunter showing them up? Probably the former but some of the language – even in banter and whispers – was a bit difficult to parse.

      er, I meant to say probably the latter there. >.> WTB Edit.

    • Oestrus said

      Thank you for the incredible praise, Saif!

      I don’t mean to sound like I’m speaking for Ophelie too much (I feel like I already cut her off a lot in the podcast, which is something I’m going to work on), but we do aim for that kind of feel with the podcast. We don’t try to take ourselves too seriously. We want people to feel like they could relate or chime in. I’m glad that it seems like we’re doing people proud.


  5. Troll Toes said

    A funny and honest podcast on your own experiences as ladies in WoW. I enjoyed listening and I shall certainly be back again for the next one.

    I took a look at the article beforehand, and was glad you mentioned fatuglyorslutty.com when I came to listening to the podcast.
    Personally I found the site rather entertaining. In the same way that I giggle at BG chats when people fly into frothing insulting nerdrages.

    I will point out though that the people who run the blog say on several occasions within the posts and comments they will happily post amusing submissions from anyone at all. It’s not just for things said to girls!

    As to it’s authenticity or not. I’m not entirely sure that it really matters. The website seems to have been created mostly because the things some people say are often very funny to read. As there’s an open submit button, it’s quite possibly a mixed bag.

  6. Celibar said

    Hey ladies,

    I like the pod casts. Just found this blog, but I have kinda been reading both of yours for a little while.

    I want to say that the problems girl gamers face have always been near and dear to me. I met me (now ex-)fiance through gaming in college. I really appreciate your casts and this one in particular.

    PS, I think it’s super duper awesome that you both played Magic. I’ve got interesting stories I could tell about the times that my ex and I went to tournaments.

  7. Ryan said

    Late to the party, but I enjoyed the podcast and article.
    My favorite line: ” [being a female] it’s not a huge achievment; I was born this way.”
    For some reason i pictured someone creating a level 1 character on wow and immediately upon finishing listening to the intro story, having the achievement bar pop up on the screen saying “Congratulations! Female gamer! Note: this achievement may not be linked in trade chat.”

    But seriously, regarding the ‘female nurturer healer’ stereotype mentioned in the podcast: This has definitely been very prevalent in wow my experience.
    There is a perception that taking care of the raid is feminine and killing the boss is masculine. As a male who prefers healing, most of the other healers I have worked with in guilds have been female. Some of them have felt forced into that role since the guys in the guild have an attitude of “me heal? hell no. Pew pew! Gotta top the dps meter!”
    I think that by uncritically accepting gender stereotypes, a lot of wow players miss out on an aspect of the game they might really enjoy. And that’s a shame.

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