Typically there would be at least one other female gamer in the guild that I was in. I don’t know if this is because we tended to find each other due to the type of leadership that the guild had. I had refused to play with certain guilds due to how I was treated, or if they had provocative pictures on their forum. I am fine with pictures of beautiful women but I’ll be out the door if they is pornography in your player forums…just….no.
In my experience there is always a lot of flirting in games. When your guild has a male to female ratio of 15:1 you tend to see the women getting a lot of attention. I have benefited from lots of help over the years in the game, I will assume that it was due to being a female. I always try to pay it back or pay it forward but I’m sure there is an imbalance in my favor.
Along with the attention, women can also be the target of unwanted harassment. There have been more than a few times where I received inappropriate and unwanted private messages. It was even worst if it came from people that I played with on a regular basis or members of my guild. It was a difficult position to be put in. If a woman deflects advances she gets called a bitch and I’ve seen this type of negative notions get spread throughout a guild because rather than nurse a bruised male ego quietly, it was done with rumors and trash talk. For about 2 years I refused to play in the same guild as my husband (boyfriend at the time) because there was this ONE GUY that would call me a “little c**t” every time I joined up with them to do group content. I told him to cut it out, but he saw that it irritated me so he kept doing it. One of the benefits of being the guild leader is that people don’t test my boundaries like this. If they were to call me any sort of derogatory term they would be out the door faster a speeding ticket.
I’ve been exploring the world of how female players are treated in gaming to gain a broader understanding beyond my own experiences. I found the Not in the Kitchen Anymore where a Jenny Haniver publishes clips of negative interactions that she has with other gamers. I will tell you that I’ve listened to these clips and was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were “yea I hear this all the time” and it didn’t seem out of the ordinary. Have I grown complacent to the verbal abuse that we face in these games as women?
So why do these men berate women in these games? Is it a power thing? Are the motivations to cat call women on the street or call them whores in video games the same? I’ve often heard that women would be better off if they confronted the abuser and to this I am conflicted. A few weeks ago I was the target of unwanted advances while at a fair grounds. I will tell you that I did not give him an ear full for a few reasons, first – he was operating a ride that my child was on and I didn’t want her to become a target for retaliation after I rejected this man. Second – I didn’t know what this guy was capable of, was he prone to violence? or stalking? I don’t know and I’d rather not put myself in a position to find out.