No Room for Negative Characters in WoW?

There has been a lot of controversy in the MoP beta over Ji Firepaw and his dialogue. More specifically something said to female characters.


To Males he greeted them with:

“Hello, friend! You’ve got a strong look to you! I bet you’re all the rage with the ladies! Join me! You and I are going to be good friends!”

To Females he said:

“Hello, friend! You’re some kind of gorgeous, aren’t you? I bet you can’t keep the men off of you! Join me!”

This upset some people and the line has been changed. I have to say was pretty creepy, but then I think the male version was too. My take on it was he was trying to flatter either gender into joining him but getting it wrong and going waaaaaay too far. I’m not sure what it’s been changed to, not having played in the beta. And I’m not against the changes.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about. It got me thinking though.

Is there no room for ‘offensive’ characterisation in games any more?

I’m not sure I worded it right there so I’ll try and explain.

For example a dev wants to write a new character for the game. This character needs its own personality, and that may depend on what part of the storyline it fits into. Let’s say he is a member of a faction you have to deal with to gain acceptance. But this guy, well, it turns out he really doesn’t like women. And says so. Possibly in vocal terms. And part of the storyline is about you overcoming that. Either he gets cut down to size, or you change his opinion, whatever. My question is this.

Would people allow this to remain in game?

Personally I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Oh, sure, the quest line may make my blood boil, but in the end, as long as the over all message isn’t “Hurr hurr, wimenz are useless” and finishes up with only male characters getting passed it, I’m not going to demand it changed. Shit like this exists in real life, and I hate that, I really do, but I feel removing all traces of offensive subjects from the media would harm rather than help. Show it being challenged. Show it bring overcome. But please don’t act like it never happens, because if people don’t know it does then how can it be beaten.

Another example:

A new game comes out. In this game female toons can only take the cooking profession and their level cap is 5 levels lower than a male toons.

Now THAT I’d have a major problem with. It doesn’t highlight any issues other than the devs are assholes, and can influence young males into thinking of women as inferior.

Im not saying that it’s ok to have a character do a sudden about turn in personality and abuse someone out of the blue. I’m not saying it’s ok to have offensive content for the sake of the ‘lols’ or to troll users. But I am saying that in my opinion content shouldn’t be sanitised too much.

I hope this makes sense, as it did in my head, but on print I’m not so sure!

Gender Stereotypes and Your Not So Average Tom Boy

I was lying in bed this morning reading some MMO Melting Pot articles when one got me thinking. Or rather one of the posts linked did, by Mataoka, and what she said about being a Tom Boy AND a girly girl.

Let me show you my last two purchases.




So a computer game and a handbag. Pretty much sums up my life.

From a young age I was a bit of a Tom Boy. I hated wearing skirts, and would tramp up and down the local countryside with two of my best friends, who were both boys (one of whom was G, who I’m now marrying), climbing trees and getting covered in mud exploring. But at the same time I loved My Little Pony, and would play with them for hours with another of my best friends, a girl.

Fast forward to now and it’s pretty much the same. I love computer games, and horror movies, and caving, and I loathe Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, give me Supernatural or CSI any day. But I also love pretty jewellery, I own far too many handbags, I like expensive perfume, I buy dresses and I still love My Little Pony. All mixed in with the Goth stuff, but that’s not relevant to this post.

I’ve had my fair share if being judged by men for being a girl and playing computer games. But that’s been written about a few times. I’m going to write about the other side of things.

Being judged negatively by other women for liking ‘manly’ things. Because other women can be just as sexist as men.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the case with every single woman out there. I have female friends quite accepting of my Tom Boy side. And not all of them are Tom Boys themselves!

But I’ve had women sneer at me for liking computer games. I’ve been calling a “f***ing lesbian” because of it, and accused of being a slut because the only reason I show interest in games is to get men to like me. More often though I am judged not worthy of attention by them though, or someone to be humoured. This is usually by women I’ve worked with, though relatives and friends of friends have reacted the same way. And in a few, thankfully rare, cases, it’s come from total strangers.

One example: At an old workplace I turned up at a get together in a dress. I’d really made an effort, it was a special ‘do’, and I got quite a few compliments. And then a condescending comment of “Oh, you’ve tried so hard to be normal! You look great!” from a female coworker. Kind of ruined the night.

And it’s been the same in most places I have worked, because I like things perceived to be ‘male’, my interest in things ‘female’ is treated as a thing of ridicule by some. Sexist? Damn straight it is.

What hope do women have for equality if women themselves enforce gender stereotypes? Why CAN’T a woman like gaming without being feminine as well? Why does one aspect of our lives prejudice others against us in this day and age?

“A woman can be whatever she wants” shouldn’t be followed with “But she’s a weirdo if she’s _______”.

So sadly, in some way men and women are equal. Equally ignorant.

When I have kids, the will be free to be whoever they chose with my full support. That’s a promise.