Women in Role Playing Games

Being a female in on-line gaming communities isn’t always easy, but at least it’s amusing.

Reactions to females playing role-playing games on-line have always been a varied assortment, varying from mostly shock from other non-gaming females and mostly wariness from the males. But who can blame them? On-line role-play games are, and will be for some time, a male dominated sphere. There are only so many females that can stomach the blood splattering when a mob expires. Only so many girls are aggressive enough to be willing to fight and kill in a game. And there are only so many girls who would have the guts to face down a platoon of trolling males.

The killing of monsters has always been the easy part for me, where I dissemble, use a fraction of my brain to differentiate killing a pixel creation and a real life animal, and slash away. One of the reasons why many girls do not play role-play games, is because they cannot comprehend the minute differences between slashing a pixel concoction of a monster and a real life fluffy bunny. A friend of mine once gasped in horror when I explained my text-based role-playing game to her, “You mean you kill things? But that’s so violent!” It takes a very special breed of person to perceive a string of “Kill mob, poison, poison, heal” as violent, but that’s some females for you.

The difficulty in being a female in a role-playing game arises when there are males around. There are predominantly two types of males in on-line games, when it comes to interacting females, the male chauvinist pig, and the male chivalrous pig. That is not to say that there aren’t nice understanding males on-line, but there are rare and few between.

The male chauvinist pig is a type that all females would be familiar with. He would be the one who looks down on you simply because your character wears a skirt. Somehow seeing a pixelised skirt sets off triggers in his brain that go “Okay, here is an easy kill”. Having to fight doubly hard to win the respect and recognition that others get, is an uphill task, and makes the game somewhat harder for a girl. In an old browser based game I used to play, after ruthlessly crushing the enemy player and successful defending my territory, I was sent a private message that went “Hah, now I know you must be a guy, you’re too good at this.” I was torn between bemusement and insult.

The male chivalrous pig on the other hand, while a far kinder and gentler soul, still functions on a similar mindset as the male chauvinist pig, and makes being a female on role-playing games a little harder than it should be. He is the type who declares eternal love for you, just because you saw that he was a newbie and needed help. The type who proclaims his admiration of your great beauty, even though you use a very standard avatar. He showers you with free equipment and constant attention, even though you just want to be left alone. As much as a female would enjoy such attention, sometimes it gets tiring trying to be firm and yet polite to a horde of strangers who declare “Wan 2 b my steady?”.

Being a female in a role-playing game isn’t easy, with people doubting your capabilities and your gender, but that’s not to say it hasn’t been rewarding. I’ve made many friends, both of the female and male gender on-line, and that makes it worth it.