Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dear Luumisaurus

Speaking of delays and healers, I have a bit of news to tell everyone. Tigerlady has quit vodka. Apparently late at night after we finished our achievement runs when nobody was online, Tiger ninja transferred to Korgath with his e-girlfriend Poutyface. Not only did he leave us, but he also removed everyone associated with vodka from his RealID friends list. When Acrylic called him to ask if he was hacked or not, Tiger told him that the guild did him dirty. He was pretty much done with raiding. Tiger’s departure from the guild was met with ambivalent feelings. A lot of us were sad because we were losing one of our fellow Sons of Elune. Tiger is one of the heroes for the druid class. On the other hand, a fair number of guildies recognize how self-centered Tiger can be. For example, he left the moment we finished the achievement run when no one was around. One of the theories that is floating in the guild is that Poutyface pressured him into transferring for her own e-drama reason with other girls on the server. All that did is reaffirm the reason why we don’t like to recruit GGs or girl gamers.
Dear Luumisaurus,

I read a post and clicked a link and ended up at your blog.  I expected to learn more about your guild, and I did.  What I didn't expect was to stumble onto such blatant misogyny.  Do you realize how many nasty ideas you've packed into those last few sentences?  It's hard to know where to start.  For one thing, your language choices are telling.

Your post is from March of 2012.  In June of 2012, Tigerlady posted on the WOW general forums that he had plans to go back to college.  If he's going back, he must already have been there, so I'd guess that he's at least a sophomore.  What should I assume, then?

a.) Is he a college sophomore dating a seventeen-year-old?  Possibly!
b.) Does <vodka> "like to recruit" women 18 and above, but not girls 17 and younger?  Possibly!
c.) Do you habitually use "girls" as a catch-all term for "girls and women?"  I'm guessing yes!

Just for fun, I'm going to use the terms "woman" and "women" instead of "girl" and "girls."
The average player's age is 28, and female players tend to be a few years older than male players.
Surveys of MMO players have consistently put the average age of MMO players right around 30.
Statistically, you're more likely to run across women in-game than girls.  Why do people refer to a population largely comprised of adult women with an infantilizing term?  Misogyny!

With that point behind us, let's move on to something meatier.  You say that <vodka> doesn't like to recruit women gamers generally because of behavior like that which you believe Poutyface may have exhibited.

This notion suggests that all women are generally the same.  (Let's assume for the sake of this argument that Poutyface actually did it; we'll examine that assumption later.)  Poutyface did something unpleasant.  She's a woman.  Other women might do that, too, by virtue of their common womanhood.  Therefore, women are best excluded from the guild.

Why would you assume that other women might do something one woman has done?  Are women a monolith?  You would only expect to extrapolate from Poutyface's actions to all of womankind if you assumed that her behavior stems from the very state of being a woman, or the state of being a woman gamer, etc.

When I read over the paragraph I quoted above, do I assume that all men who play WOW discuss ex-guild members through public platforms in a negative way?  Do I assume that they all try to smear their ex-guildies' reputations?  Do I assume that they all vacate their guilds without warning?  Do I assume that all of them abandon their guilds after achievement runs?  No, and it would be foolish of me to do so, because there are a lot of different men who play WOW and they behave in different ways.  For example, Tigerlady thinks that it's okay to leave a guild in a certain fashion.  You don't think so.  Different men have different opinions and act in different ways!  "Too bad that women don't!" seems to be your mindset.

Here's the thing.  If I find a man who does something, I don't assume that all or even most other men do it.

If I find ten men in a group together, and eight of them are spitting on the ground, and two of them are instead reading books and not spitting at all, I don't assume that all men spit on the ground.  I don't assume that most men spit on the ground.  I assume that there are men who spit on the ground, and that there are men who don't, and that various men may have various reasons for spitting or not spitting depending on the circumstances.  If I'm really fascinated by the whole spitting thing, I might do more research into the situation and educate myself to find out more about men who spit.

I won't shy away from inviting men into my clubhouse in case they might be spitters, though.  If I don't like spitting, I'll enact a no-spitting rule.  Not a no-men rule.  Because sometimes men spit.  Sometimes men don't.  Sometimes women spit.  Sometimes women don't.  It's the behavior that's the problem.  Not the gender.

Clearly, <vodka> thinks that gender is the problem.  The situation with Poutyface hasn't helped you to establish your antipathy for recruiting women gamers; it's helped to "reaffirm" it.  You already had this stereotype of women gamers firmly in place.  All it took to get you nodding and high-fiving in solidarity was a rumor.  A theory.

If you believe that men spit, and you walk down the street past six men, and five of them are simply going about their business with their mouths shut, and one of them spits, you'll notice that spitting man.  He'll stand out in your mind.  "Ah, yes," you'll think to yourself.  "Men spit."  It confirms the stereotype already in your mind.  Reaffirms it, if you will.

If you think that women cause guild drama/interpersonal drama, and you hear a rumor that a woman has caused drama, you'll think, "Oh, yes, of course.  Women cause drama."  If you're you in particular, you won't even verify that she's actually guilty of the behavior described by the rumor.  You'll use the incident to confirm your prejudice, and you'll announce it to the world, and you'll roll on with life.  Did she do it?  She may as well have.  Women!  Drama!  It's virtually inevitable!

What about the women you know who don't cause drama?  Are they entirely nonexistent?  Are they special exceptions to the rule?  Are they temporary exceptions who may become drama-starting guild-destroyers someday so it's safer not to take the risk?

What about the men who cause guild drama?  What about Tigerlady, who apparently abandoned the guild without warning and struck former guildies from his RealID list and was well-known to be self-centered anyway?  Is that the kind of player you want to keep recruiting?  Maybe you shouldn't recruit men.  Maybe you shouldn't recruit druids.  Or maybe you consider Tigerlady to be an individual, a courtesy you don't extend to women gamers, who must be treated as a monolith just to be safe.

I don't know Poutyface.  I don't know what she's like or what she's done or how she interacts with other people.  I know that she's a gamer.  I know that she's a girl or possibly a woman.  I don't know much else about her.  The fact that she's a woman gamer doesn't give me much to go on, so I find it hard to extrapolate.

I don't know much about <vodka> either.  I know that they're gamers.  I know that they don't like to recruit girl gamers.  I know that you seem to represent them through a public platform and that you communicate like a misogynist ass.

TL;DR Stop basing your decisions on misogynistic stereotypes.  Recruit based on who an individual person is, not everything the patriarchy's told you she represents.

(Side note: You might want to consider how you treat your ex-guild members.  Between the post I linked above and this one, you're giving the impression that as soon as someone's out of the pack, you'll turn on a former guild member in a heartbeat.  Painting exes in a negative light and smearing their reputations may do the trick of making them look bad, but it also makes you look bad.)

In fairness, I note that you say that <vodka> doesn't like to recruit girl gamers.  Not that they never do it; they just don't like to.  It's possible that there are girl/women gamers in <vodka> right now, or have been in the past, or will be in the future.  But you blog your own misogyny and the guild's misogyny publicly and frankly; it's described here as a well-understood, well-established guild view: women are girls, girls cause drama, no girls allowed.  If there are women in the guild, they're within an openly hostile environment.

If you think this way about women gamers, I can only imagine what you think of women in general.

I hope that you'll broaden your perspective and that women will be more welcome in <vodka> in the future.  Good luck in Pandaland!

With love,
Frank Lee

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