Thursday, March 25, 2010

Musings over boobs and my liberating lack thereof

In case you didn't know (why would you?), I'll tell you right away. I don't have any boobs.

Or rather: I admittedly have two of them, but they're not big and beautiful enough to pull any attention. They're like the breasts of any 42-year old woman who has fed two babies. With the size of dachshund ears they don't live up to the expectation of what real "boobs" should look like. In real life I don't have any pink pigtails (sorry); my hair is indisputably turning greyer with every haircut, and my face is slowly cracking up, wrinkles growing in number and size.

No one at his full senses would ever consider paying a single cent for the pleasure of gaming with me. (Link through Pugnacious Priest) If anything it would be the opposite - they'd try to charge me for toy boy services.

Getting out of the sex trap
This revelation abut the state of my body probably sounds a bit sad for all of you who are in your 20-30's, still looking for The Love of your life, someone to cuddle with a bit or possibly the Mother/Father of your children. I know what you're thinking. I know your ideals. You want to look, if not like top models, at least good enough to attract men or women, whatever you prefer. And you pity Larísa, who has passed the height of her lifetime, and now is going down, down, down towards the inevitable end.

But do you know what?

I don't care. I really don't. Eventually I've reached the point in life where you get over it. An ageing body can actually be somewhat of a blessing. I'm once for all released from that meat market game play, with all that it brings of broken dreams, pressure and self-doubts. I'm free to be me. I'm free to be plain Larísa. More than anything I'm a human being. Not a couple of boobs on two feet. It's very liberating to think about.

Or as the Finland-Swedish Poet Edit Södergran wrote almost a hundred years ago:

I am no woman, I am a neuter/I am a child, a page and a bold decision/I am the laughing strip of a scarlet sun...[...] /I am the leap into freedom and the self.

This is how I see many of my favorite WoW bloggers. Not as women or male, but as minds. They disregard completely of what is expected from their gender. Take Pike, who before she quit WoW blogging openly showed her Linux geekiness, normally not so much associated with girls, while also drawing cute cartoons, talkinb about pets and analyzing damage charts, all over the scale of what's supposed to be male or female things to write about. There's Tamarind, who is much more emotional and vulnerable than any female blogger I can think of. There's Spinksville, who isn't just a tank in game, but who also has a tank-like position in the blogosphere. She's as far from that idea of the "nurturing" healing girl standing in the back in her sissy robe, giggling and flirting as you can come. She's talks with authority about serious stuff.

We are so much more than walking sex machines. We are brains, united in a network. When I read my favorite bloggers, I feel as if I'm taking part in a Vulcan mind meld.

My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts.

And I honestly believe that my apparent lack of interesting boobs (age says everything) helps me to get out of the sex trap. When people can stop thinking of me as a potential partner, they'll start listening to what I have to say.

Gender and gaming
Gender vs gaming is a topic that the WoW blogosphere really never grows tired talking about.

And who can blame us? Like it or not, the Fantasy and Science Fiction genre is more or less entirely built on clichés. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between to say the least.
Most of the time I'm in denial about it. A happy, no-regretting denial. Yes, I know that there wasn't a single woman allowed in the brethren in LOTR, I know that the only female warrior only got happy and sane once she lay down her sword and got married like any decent woman. Nevertheless I re-read the entire series about once every three years and I enjoy it equally every time I do it, not once raging about the lack of equality in it. I like fairytales, even if they don't describe a world where I'd really like to live.

Following the tradition the fantasy games are teaming with stereotypes about men and women, and even though there are more female gamers than ever, we're still a minority.

Of course we want to reflect on those aspects once in a while. Where is the gaming business and the gaming community right now? Is there anything we want to change and how could we do that?

Whenever those questions are brought up, I hesitate a bit. I can't rid myself of the feeling that if we talk about perceived differences between male and female players, in the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" tradition, you'll easily enter the land of stereotypes. The more you talk about them, the stronger they grow. Eventually they'll have such an impact on our mindset that we start to hold them for truth, imprisoning women and men into tiny boxes they can't easily escape. We get boob trapped.

On the other hand - women are still struggling to get fully acknowledged and accepted in the male dominated game industry. Blizzard hadn't got one single female in their epic anniversary interviews with the staff. We're not helping anyone by remaining silent.

Archetypes of female gamers
This post has turned into a little monster plant, ideas growing wildly in all directions. For the few of you who are still following: don't despair! I'll soon land it, but before I do that, I'd like to give credit to what inspired it in the first place. One spark came from Klepsacovic's post about female and male bloggers on his blogroll. Another inspiration was a post written by Holly, who has previously published a few guest posts at the PPI. She has now opened her own place, where one of her first post is about the archetypes of female gamers and whether female gamers are treated differently. It's well written and entertaining, so make sure to read it!

Holly muses over a few types of female gamers. To be honest I don't quite recognize it from my own experiences in WoW. Until this day I have never ever ran into someone who expects to get special loot because of her boobs. Those girls might exist, but if they do they're certainly rare spawns. Mostly I think they're in the mind of young, hormone affected male players (yes, now I'm the one jumping into stereotypes, will I ever free my mind?)

On one thing we agree though: women players don't want to be treated differently. Especially not for boob reasons.

48 comments:

Klepsacovic said...

I disagree completely! I would love to play with you. You see, what you lack in boobs, you more than make up for in being a person worth interacting with. No payments needed for anyone.

HP said...

I don't expect to be given loot because I am a girl. I never have but I have expected rewards for working my ass off to be a consistent performer and I have never not been a core raider in any guild I have been in.

I feel like it's important to establish I am a female gamer because I am proud of my gender. However, it's always those rumors that you hear about females generating drama etc that make me want to represent our gender well. Even though knowing that even thinking in lines of male vs female gamers can produce bias.

I'm not even quite sure what I'm saying anymore -=X

I guess maybe that I never hid the fact I am female but I always only wanted to be judged as a player by my abilities not my sex.

Shintar said...

From one woman to another, comparing your chest to a small dog's ears really cracked me up. It really is sad how hung up people are about a woman's looks, more so than a man's.

Back when Chastity from Righteous Orbs was still I, Deathtard, he made a post in which he noted that women are pretty much allowed to be whatever they want these days... except that they are still expected to look attractive to as many people as possible no matter what they do, which is just plain sad.

And that's the thing that also bugged me about that "play date" thing when I read about it - not so much that people want to play with girls, but that in the end it still just comes down to people wanting to flirt with "hot girls" on webcam and such. Le bah!

Fremskritt said...

One of the things about blogs is the fact that I can't see the person who is writing them, which means that I only have one thing to judge said person by. This one thing is what they are actually saying. This had helped me stop caring about the sex of whoever's blog I am reading, because it shows that sex just doesn't matter in the long run.

I do believe that you being male or female will to some degree (differing from person to person) have an impact on the content of your posts, but that's beside the point really. Since I can't judge by looks I actually have a chance to be truly objective about the words I read, without being affected by how attractive the writer is.

Grimmtooth said...

"... nd my face is slowly cracking up, wrinkles growing in number and size."

I have a tagline in my ancient tagline file (carried over from Fidonet days): "God made wrinkles to show where smiles have been." If it's wrong, don't disillusion me. :)

Gevlon said...

Most of those "special" girls wanting "special loot", are actually boys who want to get ahead of the other ones.

Among people with brain it's not the player's RL sex, but the playing itself matters. Just like in workplace it's your work matters not your boobs (I know there are sad exeptions with harassment, but I doubt if they are more common than mugging on the street. Happens, but rarely).

Flex said...

When I came across the news article in question, the first thought that occurred remains the most disturbing: is this, intentionally or not, simply diluting the distinction between normal inter-gender interaction and prostitution? Does this risk conditioning a person to accept the notion that they should pay to interact with someone of the other gender at even a basic level? And that they therefore come to accept the idea of payment for anything more than just a text chat?

spinksville said...

Oh, Larisa. You make yourself sound so old in this post, but you're only 42!! (Am I allowed to say that? It's my 42nd birthday today :) ).

Something that did change my views about aging was hanging out with older people as well as younger ones. I do some volunteering at the moment and most of the other people there are older women. And they're smart, witty, driven, caring, well groomed people too. We don't get a lot of good older role models in films and TV, but I find it makes a huge difference in how I see myself and where I'm going, if that makes sense.

But I hear you. I find being online and gaming online intensely liberating in some ways, we're free of the constant pressure to be pretty and look like 21 year old supermodels. And I bet even 21 year olds feel that pressure.

On the internet, nobody know you're a dog. Or a 42 year old woman.

HP: I'm with ya! I'm an engineer iRL so I always felt that I wanted to excel because of my ability, not because I got special treatment due to boobs and managers wanting to show positive discrimination.

Anonymous said...

I agree with HP - I'd never try to hide the fact that I'm a female gamer, because we're still a minority and I like to point out that we do exist. Just as I like to point out that I'm a Swedish-speaking Finn and yes, we do exist as well :) It's part of who I am, and I enjoy getting closer to some of those I play with; I consider them my friends.

One thing I'd never do is expect special treatment because of my gender, and so far I haven't seen any of that sorry behaviour either. In our guild, I think the female gamers helped establish a more relaxed, be-nice-to-eachother-feeling, where everyone's trying to be polite and always remember to include both sexes (good job guys AND gals!).

I've always been a believer that it's for everyone's best if the workplace is a mixed one with both males and females.

And last, I'd very much prefer to play with a human being that is intelligent and witty, rather than someone who only has good looks :)

Cheers, Charlotta

Toes said...

Thought I doubt it is intentionally inspired/imported thus, these kinds of things have been popular in Japan for a long time now.

On one hand, if people can get paid, and other lonely people can get (hopefully) harmless company, assuming the cases where Everything Goes Wrong are ignored, where's the harm?

On the other, possibly bigger, six-fingered hand, well, I'm not an alarmist thinking that this is a major step back etc., but I think it is Wrong.

It's an entirely personal perspective, but I never had any respect for people who touted their gender.

You're a female WoW gamer, you say? That's great, now press your buttons like Greg, here.

You're a female, you got great boobs and want special treatment, you say? Congratulations, you are the most hated individual in my book now.

Anonymous said...

Actually your little show-down with aging and attractiveness, surprised me. That is actually the second post about emotional solitude within one week.

I start worrying a about you.

You are a thoughtful upright mom, at the age of 42, far less geeky than you always claim to be. You should be far away from age or beauty concerns.

I am 32 and if everything works well with the charming and beautiful women at my side, I will probably be a dad at the age of 36.
So when I have raised two lovely children and found time for myself again, I will very likely be 52.

Considering this, you are 10 years younger than I am! And you are swedish!

So I expect you to throw out a big party for us.

Usiel

tankforlife said...

That poem-quote reminds me of something that one of dear Richard Bach's books tought me once - if anyone ever asks you about your age, there is really only one true answer: "I am ageless" and then you can add: "Oh, this body? The Earth revolved around the sun some 42 times since I arrived in it" .)

Dwism said...

I read something about boobs and kindda lost track for a minute there.

huh what?
Right? Because that sure as F**k is how games, movies, music porn and every other industry views males.
look at http://www.mmo-champion.com/general-discussions-22/l2armor-ladies/
(not the thread, that is a dumb thread, but the first images linked... ill save you the hassle; it big boobed slimmed fit women without clothes on. Thats how wow got 12 mill subs

Meka said...

Bewbs! *blank stare* *drool*

Dwism said...

...(cont since something cut half of it) 12 million subs; by giving all of us testosterone filled nerds wet pants, by giving us exotic yet strangely familiar looking women with a body figure that would make frikking Barbie feel the need to go on a diet.

And we talk about women being discriminated?? f**k women, men are getting discriminated.
How would you feel if they "made a game for you" -knitting while cooking: the game.

And another thing!

"getting out of the sex trap" Well at least you know what is sexy, men haven't got a clue here. This whole venus vs mars discussion has gotten so flipsided that im having to have to apologise for being male.
- Sorry we like boobs.

And its not just the industry that is messing us up. Look at fellow bloggers like http://highlatencylife.wordpress.com/
(yes i am naming and shaming) That twat has pics of half-nude-totally-unrelated-women on his blog "goldsellers needs a spanking" so ill add a pic of two slutty female elfs getting spanked.

Quality right there mate.
Well, Lar, i'm glad you are out of the sex trap. Wish I could say the same.... ehh, But you said something about boobs right?

Zaeni said...

We project our own perceptions of what other people are onto them, other people also often hide behind a facade so as to present a coherent stereotype that other other people may find it easier to acknowledge or at the very least, easier to recognize given their preconceptions.

I find it, therefore, truly hard to know a person, for isn't the basis of any sort of relationship be it between friends or lovers based on trust and honesty? I find real life is restrictive in this regard, since expectations are placed on you, be it by society or relatives, to be what you're 'supposed' to be. At least the only expectation that is placed on me in Wow is to heal/dps to a sufficient degree as to not cause aggro and still preserve the party.

In that regard, I find wow somehow the paracetamol to my headache that is real life.

/rantoff

Great post btw!

Tam said...

The boobs I can cope with, the lack of pink pigtails I'm struggling over... ;)

To be honest, I think boob-focused gender stereotyping reflects incredibly badly in both directions - not just that women feel defined in-game by the existence of boobage out-of-game but that it is generally assumed that men are stupid enough to be somehow influenced / controlled by said boobery.

I remember Keredria recently linked to a model who thought it was important enough to tell us she played WoW naked - I mean, woot, be still my beating heart, a hot chick in another country, completely disconnected me from me, is naked.

It offends me on all possible levels: that this woman feels this is a necessary attention-grab to make, and that, err, it must to some degree work or she wouldn't have bothered.

I think I read somewhere about the age of gamers increasing - since we're all essentially growing up (or older) along with our games. Perhaps we can also hope to leave behind the boob obsessions of our youth...if only the industry would let us.

Anonymous said...

May I add something to Tams thoughts?

The average age of Gamers is indirectly increasing.

We grew up with Mario, Zelda and Tetris, even for non-Gamers, Games are a regular entertainment.

The problem is, that the games, are still made by youngster.
Tesh explained it brilliantly in his blog.
Geeks create games for geeks, but we are no geeks.

I am pretty sure, that if we all would go to a bar, where nobody knows us, nobody would describe anyone of you as a geek.

So "we" grew up, but the industry did not.

gustav/katu/ghozm said...

Hear, hear! The wisdom of age..

.. and you just made me realise that my favourite mmo blogs are all written by females.

Keep up the good work girls!

Ravven said...

I love this post. I'm a female gamer, and I'm going to be (*stab me through the heart*) 50 this year. I don't hide it, nor do I either hide or announce the fact that I am female. I don't feel that I've ever been treated any differently for it, nor do I feel that my abilities, responsibility, or anything else is affected by it. Although I've recently stopped raiding, I was a core raid member of a progressive/hardcore/description of your choice guild for a long time.

As someone who leads tech teams for large-scale web projects, I'm used to being "one of the guys"...and working with people almost exclusively male and pretty much all decades younger than I. Raiding is much the same.

Anonymous said...

*Warning Crit of Text*

I'm a 42 year old man and I will always like boobies! Of course, at my age I now have to reach down to my wife's knees to touch them, but, they're still BOOBIES - just longer :)

In all seriousness (well, at least as serious as I can be), I think part of the draw of the online gaming thing for me is two-fold. Firstly, you have the extreme idealization of the avatars themselves - seriously, who doesn't want to beat the crap out of all forces dark and evil looking buff and without breaking a sweat? Think about it, there are few of us who could even walk up the hill into the gates of Ironforge, let alone while running, without needing a friggin' oxygen tent and a defibrilator upon getting to the top. I know I couldn't and I'm not even a total sludge-packer (roughly 6'1'' and 190, if you must know).

Secondly, and more importantly, the real draw for me is that I have no clue who is behind the avatar that I am interacting with, nor they I (well, at least until this post). This causes me, and hopefully them, to leave our preconceived notions of people in re: their age, gender, sexual persuasions, etc., at the portal to the game. Ultimately, it at least allows me to base my in game impression of people solely on how they interact with me, regardless of gender. In truth, however, I am not creating an opinion or impression of the person, I am creating an opinion and impression of the avatar that the person is manipulating. This is one of the reasons I tend to gravitate away from Ventrillo and other VOIP systems. Quite frankly, gender is the last thing on my mind when gaming - all I need to know is whether or not your capable enough to help take down Hogger, because that dude pisses me off :)

Finally, just remember that all of us guys out there aren't 14 year old testerone loaded "man-childs". There are a few of us stooped over and shuffling older farts out there -- not necessarily stooped over from the brow beatings we have received from our significant other over the years (as many think), but stooped over hoping to cop a feel of the middle age ladies and their long BOOBIES! :)

SpiritusRex

p.s. my apologies for the rambling post, kind of got lost there in the middle

Arceopteryx said...

There is sexism anywhere.

One question: "Why?"
The answer: "The Media"

The way that women are presented to young boys, give them images. When they go online and watch "Adult entertainment" and the girls are all like "Hey, you look nice, lets fuck!" then of course they think like that too. That is how you get girls!!

Oh wait...

Ever since males are young, are they presented with "The Right Way A Girl Should Look!!", and that is hard to change.

It is some kinda harassment at some point. I've been mistaken for a girl several times, due to smilies and female characters. It's not fun and I feel violated with the stuff some people tell me sometimes....

I'm not even a girl RL..

A thing I always have said is that every person is beautiful, in their own way. Just because someone doesn't look like a certain celebrity, doesn't mean that they are unattractive.

I once protected a female guildie, from harassments and such. One of the guys responded with: "Why don't you just shut up Arce, you ain't getting any."

Hopefully they will grow up at some point, and restore my faith in humanity.

(I do not mean to offend anyone, except sexists with this comment)

Jim said...

Admittedly when I first started playing the effect of female avatars made me think they were girls even though I knew better. Now after years of being involved with RPrs I hardly notice anymore. In my guild there are females with male avatars and many many males with female avatars playing and all for their own preferences, story line, whatever. I play both female and male characters myself and rarely give it a thought.

It is nice to get to know people beyond the screen and when you do its sometimes a surprise, they are highly professional or talented or older than you might imagine. It makes the game a fun social experience which it should be as well as a team effort.

This whole play with a girl thing seems pathetic and for insecure people who probably suffer from shyness.

I am 53 and I enjoy every aspect of this game

Larísa said...

@Klepsacovic: I wouldn’t charge you either, I assure you.

@HP: I think we’re very much on the same line. Even though I know that my boobs don’t mean anything anymore, I don’t try to hide my gender either. I am who I am. A player. A human being. A mind.

@Shintar: I guess it’s the ape-subroutines, as Gevlon would call it, that sometimes prove to be just too strong. And I don’t know who’s most humiliated by it. Probably the men using that service tbh.

@Fremskritt: Yeah, I think it’s just great that there normally are no pics of the blog writers. It helps me to free my mind and not getting stuck in prejudices and quick judgements. It’s not only about the gender thing, but also as much about the age thing.

@Grimmtooth: smiles, but also worries I guess. My forehead is pretty much wrinkled from passed life sorrows. It all puts traces. In one way you could see it as the tattoos of life itself.

@Gevlon. Yeah. Whenever I read about those things I can’t help giggling a little. I don’t feel all that sorry for the tricked men who thought they were courting a girl.

@Flex: I guess it’ just another version of the telephone pay-services that have been out there for quite a while. It would really please me if the gaming community didn’t jump on this service. However I have little hope for it.

@Spinksville: hm… maybe it’s just one of my moods. My mental age is always in a pendulum movement between 17 and 80. Some days I feel like bringing out the Yoda within me. And this was one of those days. Other days I’m a merry, innocent child. We have all those possibilities within ourselves. (I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’m so attracted to role playing).

And yes, one of the benefits of growing up/maturing/aging is that you realize how little things such as physical age really matters. And I think that was one of the things I wanted to point out with this post. There’s something weird in our society where especially elder women are sort of frowned upon. It’s about time that someone speaks up and say: Yes, I’m 40+ and I actually feel pretty good about it.

Funny to hear that you’re the same age as I. I never knew. For some reason I pictured you as a bit younger. Probably because most of the people I play with are in the 23-30 bracket, so I sort of take for granted that everyone in the community is it as well unless they say something else.

AND Happy birthday!!! 42 is a magic number, remember. The answer to the question about life, universe and everything basically. Not bad.

@HP: I simply hate positive discrimination for whatever reason. Women are good enough to compete on their own merits, thank you.

@Charlotta: Yeah, I enjoy mixed groups as well. I don’t think I’d feel at home in an all-female guild.

@Toes: I guess in one way there isn’t any big harm in that service, but I don’t know… the whole system somehow bugs me. I’m just glad I’m out of it I suppose. Older, more jaded, free from expectations, done with the breeding, ready to just… live. I feel sorry for those who are boob trapped.

@Usiel: Hm… Damned it. Am I starting to make my readers worried now again? I thought this post somehow could be inspiring. I wanted to show all those girls with boob complex out there that you can have small boobs and feel very much OK about it. That being an attractive female isn’t all there is to life, that we’re most of all humans… And all I come out as is lonely and sad. It wasn’t my intention, really.
And YES I’m really glad that I made the decision to have children at the age of 25. They’re soon ready to stand on their own feet. And I will have many, many years left to enjoy all aspects of life. Those who chose to have children very late will be facing retirement as the children have grown up. I’m still just halfway through life. And that honestly makes me thrilled. I don’t need huge youthful boobs to enjoy it though.

Larísa said...

@Tank for life: That’s really a beutiful quote. I’ve never heard of Richard Bach. Should I check him out?

@Dwism: yeah, those pics that some blogs use for decoration seem quite unnecessary to me. I really think that a good blog can stand for itself, without hot chick photos. I agree about that the ones who are most discriminated in this probably are the men. You’re expected to go nuts about boots, which really is a bit insulting when you think about it. I loved your rant on this at your own blog btw.

@Zaeni: “I find wow somehow the paracetamol to my headache that is real life”. Oh, I loved that! Even though there are some problems with stereotypes in the game and in the community, most of the time I still can enjoy being free from prejudices, practicing being me. The “naked” soul and mind of Larísa.

@Tam: Yes, the assumption that men are controlled by boobery is indeed offensive and I feel with all those intelligent young men like you and Dwism who are dragged into the dirt because of it.

Indeed the gamers are growing up and the industry needs to follow. Tesh has written on a couple of occasions about the problems it causes that most people in the business are more or less in the same age and of the same gender. In the long run it certainly will mean that you lose potential customers who eventually just can’t put up with the immaturity of it.

@Anonymous: oh, you referred to Tesh as well, yep. I agree. Although I must admit that I’m still a bit stuck myself in my perception of myself as a geek. Maybe I put the wrong connotations to the word.

@Gustav/katu/ghozm: thank you!

@Ravven: 50, yay! You beat me on that.  And yes, I think that a bit of age actually can be quite an asset, both when it comes to lead people in real life or when it comes to raiding.

@SpiritusRex: how I loved your rambling comment! As well as there are women with hanging boobs behind the avatars, there are equally many old farts among the male players. And we all can interact forgetting about those superficial circumstances and that’s why I simply love WoWing. Rant on my friend!

@Areceopteryx: yeah, it’s everywhere around us. And that’s why it matters that people like you and me once in a while step up and give another picture, offering another way of viewing the world.

River said...

My other nickname is Cougar Bait.

Anywho sometimes my gender never ceases to amaze me, really pay to play with a girl.

Dude, go to craigslist, find a horny girl and be done with it. Geez.

Analogue said...

It doesn't surprise me that Blizzard doesn't have any notable female developers. When I was in computer science grad school, in 2004, it was 90% male. It actually got worse since the 80s when things were closer to 80% male. For various reasons, few women choose a career in computer science, and fewer than that choose game development. It's stereotyped as insane hours, frustrating coding and not at all conducive to having children which I think is something most of us girls and none of the guys cared about.

Going from that male environment to WoW - well, WoW is a lot less male dominated! Though more overtly unfriendly to women, but you can block trade and /ignore people and I'd have given a lot for that feature back in school sometimes.

Jb said...

After strugeling for freedom for so long we finnaly get it only to find ourselves trapped in our own expectations. Everything comes with a price it seems. As for sex, do not underestimate it. Its been around for a while. Cheers.

Ysharros said...

RAR! You go girl! I mean, woman. I mean, gender-neutral carbon-based lifeform!

And hey, we're the same age. Meaning of life age and all. :D

Jb said...

And in case you missed it, here is the typical wow player in my mind when Im pugging these days :

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96586-Americas-Next-Top-Model-Winner-Plays-WoW-Naked

Kurnak said...

Well, you might not have boobs but you indeed have a sweet voice ;)
Anyway... as time passes everybody (even we men too) get out of the sex trap. It might take more time for us, but specially when you're playing over internet you don't care about the sex of your guildies/pug fellows. And if anybody ever tells me "I deserve loot because I'm a girl" I'd answer with "go to the sexshop and get a dildo".

GeeBee said...

Actually, after reading this, I'm looking forward to my 40's. No more having to worry about my boobs! (or lackthereof!) 8D

Ratshag said...

About a year ago, I met the most wonderful woman in the world (TM), through WoW of all things. She was smart and funny and kind and sexy and even before I met her in real life, she was beautiful in my eyes. And, yes, she had a pair of boobs. Boobs that could simultaneously fire off the neurons in my brain with a delightfully Freudian blend of want sex and wanting to be mothered.

Ten days ago she had them surgically removed, as part of the effort to stop the cancer which would otherwise kill her. And you know what? She is still beautiful in my eyes.

Everyone looks like what they look like. Good for you, Larisa, for being so comfortable with who you are, and being beyond the trap of appearances. I wish you many, many decades of being yourself and enjoying it.

Toes said...

@Jim, On the "pathetic" nature of this all;

Do realize at first that I am of the opinion that tanks who want payment for their services, simply because of the scarcity in LFG atm, should all be thrown to rabid platypi.

That aside, I can't quite condemn these services altogether. You can't call it "pathetic" in the same sentence you say it is "for insecure people who probably suffer from shyness."
For some, this shyness and insecurity is rooted deeper than being something you can "snap out of" no matter how much you wish they should and could.

I don't think paying for a playdate in this manner is good therapy, heck, it might even be counterproductive - I'm no psychologist - and the motive of the men on top is probably money, as with all things. But it serves a purpose, doesn't it?

It's not a charity, but it's not a brothel, either, no?

I ask because I don't know, which again is because this is very new. But I just think it's too easy to jump on this and condemn it.

The whole females and games, however, it's easier to have an opinion on, because that's an older issue; there, I can speak with sincerity and security of my nuanced opinion, and engage in debate.

On this, not so much.

Anonymous said...

I never realized how much I love reading this blog! :D

The stereotypes are in full force in WoW and having 14-yr old boys looking at a female NE in gear that barely protects any part of the body just leads to that behavior. I wonder what would happen if the only female avatars available would be tauren, dwarf, undead and troll. lol! (The only avatar that sparks my interest is a female gnome. Guilty as charged!)

There are so many male players with female toons that I don't even give actual gender a second thought when I am playing.

"Bring the player, not the class" (or gender) in this case.

Just for reference, I will be 48 this summer. Another old fart that plays WoW. *laugh*

Markus said...

Doh! Script blocker on Firefox didn't let me put my name in my post. *pout*

*points up*

Anonymous said...

And to add a side note to this conversation, today Blizzard put a picture on the Fan Art page of female/Illidan and female/Arthas. And mysteriously enough, switching gender caused half of Arthas' armor to disappear! And it wasn't boots or gloves, for some odd reason...

lonomonkey said...

You are making me worry I'm insensitive or something. I mean that I never give much tought to the gender of another player. It doesn't even cross my mind.

Akara Ari said...

While I don't support lying to readers (saying my post was well written) I am grateful for the publicity! And now I have my domain working! muahahahahahah *cough* hahahahah next job: make the site pretty! luckily I can allocate others for that. In other news very well written post, but now I can't get the image of you with two dachsunds under your shirt, barking and trying to play tug of war with the sweater you -currently- have on.....yeah I'm weird.

Yaggle said...

I think a lot about how women worry way too much about their boobs. I feel sad when I see women having surgery on them. At the risk of sounding like I missed the point, I think a lot of men are like me that they like all sorts of boobs on women. Little, big, firm, saggy, droopy, big nipples, little nipples, ones with freckles, etc. I guess some guys are picky about them but I like all kinds and I told some friends this and they agree. Yeah I know we(men) talk about them way too much. I'm 42 later this year and I see myself sagging and my hair starting to grey, too. But I figure I have to get old, too, and you never know what nice lady will like my stuff some day. As far as the other things, I'll just say, "Yep!" though I cannot see it through a woman's eyes, you do have my sympathies for how you are seen in yet another male-centric circle. I'm glad you're here and putting up with it, anyways!

Chev said...

I'm male and prefer to play WoW with female guildies, or mixed groups. It's no different than in real life, I prefer to spend time with the fairer sex than a bunch of blokes, apart from two or three close male friends.

The women who I most admire and respect aren't at one end of the spectrum or the other, they are balanced. Let me explain.

They're not just brains without a sex/gender who demand to be treated exactly the same as everyone else (as if that were possible) as if their gender didn't exist.

Nor are they flaunting their sex and leveraging it to their advantage, other than the natural effects this can have.

They embrace their womanhood (large breasted or flat chested), know what they want, and won't settle for second best. They're funny, friendly, engaging and self-assured. There's nothing more powerful than a woman who's the 'total package'.

I swear women worry more about their perceived physical shortcomings more than men focus on them. If you're attracted to someone else, you're attracted - you can't help it, regardless of the physical.

Some women like men with nice eyes, hands, posture and smile, when the man might be worrying about thinning hair or growing waistline. Some women might worry that they're 'past it' because their breasts aren't perky, when the man who's interested in her prefers shapely bottoms and a sharp wit, who makes him laugh and not be so serious. You just never know, so don't worry about it!

I like playing with women in WoW because they bring a different perspective to things, see things differently somehow. It's refreshing, and fun.

Guess what I'm trying to say is 'Viva la différence'!

Renald said...

I see one flaw here - being 42 you are not past "sex games" you are just in different target.

42 yo woman may be not sexually interesting for average WoW gamer who is still in school/uni/flipping burgers in spare time. In office, with more mature people you would be as good target for office romance as any. So feeling of being liberated is false to some extent.

Its generalisation I know, but we all play sex games, in office, bus, Starbucks, in WoW. Fact that 40+ yo guys don't greet their female coworkers by shouting "tits and asss!" (my old RL used to greet any girl on Vent in such charming way) doesn't really mean anything.

But bottomline is, you want it or not, you will be perceived as sexual being much longer but it doesn't change anything. Same people who find you attractive can respect your skils, or just find your company as human being (not pair of boobs) pleasurable.

Larísa said...

@Jim: For some strange reason I have felt some sort of resistance against playing a male char all this time. But it really is about time I try it, if I’m serious about my claims to be a human rather than a female… I’ll see what happens next time I roll an alt. Maybe this time?

@Analogue: I have never played another game so I haven’t got much to compare with. What I’ve understood women are more common in WoW than otherwise, among the players. But in the staff… Yeah. It’s amazing to see for instance the group picture of the ones managing the community issues. Was there two girls on about 30 guys if I remember it rightly?

@Jb: Hm… That was a bit deep. I don’t quite follow. But you’re probably right!

@Ysharros: yay! Another 42:er. (although admittedly I’ll turn 43 this year, but not until December, so I cling to the magic number for a while longer).

@Kurnak: Cheers! And yeah, I agree that both men AND women need to get out of the trap.

@GeeBee: Cool! I’m glad if the post somehow helped you to cope with the course of life…

@Ratshag: Thank you for your wishes Ratshag. And the same for you and for your lovely wonderful woman. This comment was the most beautiful love declaration I’ve read in a long time. You two have something very, very precious. And what are a couple of boobs, compared to Life? Easy choice. Big hugs and best of wishes for you two!

@Markus: Awww you’re a gnome lover! Cheers! And thanks for the kind words. And yet another 40+:er steps forward. It’s somehow reassuring to see it. I’m not the only jaded gamer around.

@Anonymous: yeah, that fan-art… Not a selling point for wow for me. If the game looked like that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t play it tbh. I don’t want to participate in the sex fantasies of 14-year old boys.

@Lonomonkey: no, you’re not insensitive at all. Just rational and maybe a bit mature?

@Akara Ari: I’m sorry for messing up with your post a bit, but this was what I thought was the best way to handle it. And I hope people will come back to your blog. About that image of yours I just say: hm…. 

@Yaggle: I hope a nice lady will like your stuff too. You sound like someone who it would be easy to like. And yeah, all that surgery and body fixing… I could never quite understand it. How many failed surgeries haven’t we heard about over the years? (Michel Jackson isn’t the only one…) I think that women who are comfortable with their looks without doing this cutting many times are much more beautiful. They’re sort of shining from the inside if you get what I mean.

@Chev: Yeah, I prefer mixed groups as well, so I guess there ARE differences. Sex however is just one dimension – there are so many other things that has an impact on our personalities – age, social background, ethnicity etc etc. Sometimes I think the gender thing is just a bit overstressed.

However – I’m not a completely un-sexual person. I realize that the post might have come out like that. It’s not as if I’m denying the existence of attraction between people of the opposite (or for that sake, for those who are inclined in that direction the same) sex. It exists and we can and should enjoy it for what it is.

I’m rambling a bit… Just trying to get through that I like differences too. But I don’t like to be expected to be in a certain way just because I’m a woman.

@Renald: Good point. I don’t say that 40+ers aren’t sexual beings. But I DO think that we can be a bit more relaxed about it than you are when you’re 25.

Tesh said...

http://www.brainygamer.com/the_brainy_gamer/2010/03/what-color-is-your-hero.html

More food for thought, as long as we's talking about wimmenfolk in these har' game thingies. (Yes, it leads in with color/race, but it dives in to genders as well.)

Carra said...

I'll have to disagree that the Science Fiction genre is built on clichés. The last couple of science fiction books I've read were completely different.

Solaris by Lem was dealing with topics of loneliness and regret all wrapped in a Sci Fi story. Ubik by Dick was about reality and if we can be really sure of what is real. The dispossessed by Le Guin felt like reading a social criticism of the times. And Clarke's Rendez-Vous with Rama was about well, meeting aliens which makes it a cliché I suppose.

Sure, a lot of sci-fi and fantasy are based on clichés. But they're broad genres which have been also used to cover a plethora of ideas.

Chewy said...

Wonderful post. Your contributors have said all that I feel. Do check out Richard Bach, it's worth the time.

Jim said...

Really people should not be overly concerned about whether the person behind the screen has boobs. For many WoW is play acting as well as stats and min/maxing dps.

I often think of Shakespearean times when all the men played women because of discrimination. Acting was thought to be degrading and not proper for women. It would be a real stigma for a woman to be a actor. And that makes me think of the stigma video games have around them also of the stereotype of too old awkward boys living in their parents basement. I believe that perception has changed largely due to this game and the mainstream marketing of video games .

And Larisa you should play what ever makes you happy.

Echo said...

@Larísa - I've met Girl's who've ignored gender stereotyping and girls who've abused it to take advantage. Obviously I had more respect for the former and most of the guild I'm in would agree with me. As a guild primarily focusing on raiding we look at the player not the genitalia. Obviously being in a traditionally male dominated sphere of influence means we have a lot more guys than gals.

I'd say with female gamers I tend to be a bit more wary purely because I've been on the recieving end of a woman in WoW who took it upon herself to try to turn my friends against me because she saw me as a threat socially. It's again for this reason that I tend to mark Drama Queens (both male and female) early in any new apps we have.