This is a post responding to some fantastic discussions about Women in WoW, both on blogs and around Twitter, over the past couple of weeks. Please read The Godmother’s, Navimie’s, and Nightwill’s excellent posts on the subject.
Now just hold on a minute. Ya’ll have some great points on this topic of female empowerment in World of Warcraft but wait just a minute.
I like that you’re looking at races that don’t have female models (do they even have females?). I’ll let the Murlocs off because they’re a tribe of frog people whose language consists of, “Mrrrghghgllll!” And let’s face it, there likely are female and male murlocs hanging around those strange little bamboo shack things they build around various coastlines. But I disgress. The point of this particular matter comes down to this: where are the strong women in WoW? Are our strong female leaders a bunch of tee hee girls with added breast? And just where do baby ogres come from?
I like that you’re looking at strong female leaders (or perhaps the lack of). Heck, there are many that seem weak when you put them alongside their men.. Tyrande seems weak and helpless next to Malfurion and Illidan. Aggra desperately just wanted to have kids. Garona and Sylvanas live for revenge because of what a man did to them. Which all sounds fine when you consider their stories and the fact that women are typically mothers BUT there is very little on women who are simply strong characters regardless of gender, and when they are they seem to come skimpily dressed. As Navi puts it: “everyone seems to be dead (eg Mankrik’s wife), off having babies (eg Aggra), or twisted by the machinations of males (eg. Keristrazsa).” I keep wanting to bring up the topic of NPCs, however. Guards and quest givers and whatnot? Okay, fine, they don’t tend to be big on the storyline but they are of mixed races and genders and I feel it’s worth taking a look at those. It’s a start, at the very least. But yes, it’s definitely time for some ladies who aren’t dead, off having babies, or twisted by the machinations of males.
BUT I’m not so fond of the idea that by dressing our characters in certain ways, we’re doing something wrong for the cause. The idea that by showing a bit of lady skin, we’re negatively impacting people’s views of women is a load of rubbish and it puts me back in mind of Apple Cider’s post about Slut Plate and how slut shaming is no better than forcing women into this skimpy gear. We, as human beings, like to make things look good. We like to feel like individuals too. In our guild, we have a jolly good mix of guys and ladies, and many of us like to whip up new transmog sets, whether we’re playing male characters or female characters, and yes, some like to show a little flesh. Is it realistic? Perhaps not. But it’s our choice, and if somebody chooses to pop on a plate bikini or the black mageweave set, why should that matter? It’s not weakening anybody’s cause, it’s purely making our characters look the way we want them to look and having fun and if anybody chooses to look at this through sexist eyes, well they have deeper problems than a few sexy pixels.
World of Warcraft is a game in which we like to have fun, and if that’s how we want to do it, then great. You know? Covering that midriff will not make a character any stronger, just as showing it won’t make it any weaker. The fact that we can now choose how skimpy or not our characters look is perfect! It was the inability to choose that was the problem before. Now it comes down to our actions as players to speak out for us. Say no to rape jokes. Report players for sexist jokes. Speak up when you disagree with a new game model. Don’t just sit back and let these things happen, even if you get laughed at. The more people see that these things are not okay, the more likely it is that women will be respected more both in the game itself, and in the community.