I decided to stay.
WoW is so deeply ingrained in my life at this point, I am positive I couldn’t leave without feeling it’s loss more strongly than… well none of the comparisons I could make would sound very good. WoW is more than a game for me, it’s a hobby and a connection to my life. Where was I when I worked at Sega? Raiding in ICC. Where was I when I got hired at TfB? Waiting for the Cataclysm. When my son was born? Prepping for Mists of Pandaria.
More than that, it’s a connection to people. I am an extrovert. I love being around people and feed off talking and interacting with people. WoW lets me do that every single day. I have so many friends that I would not have if not for WoW.
So where does that leave me on the topic of sexism in WoW?
Freaking pissed still that’s where.
I won a trip to BlizzCon this year, again. I know! I KNOW. It’s weird right? The only thing I can ever win is trips to BlizzCon. Eh, I’ll take it. So I went. And of course, they announced a new expansion.
Warlords of Draenor.
And they did it with a big picture of all the Orc Warlords. My very first thought when I saw the picture was, “Oh lovely… a bunch of dudes.” As they did the initial – Things that are happening in WoW panel, that immediate reaction got even worse. I was so excited about Draenor, New Character Models, Garrisons, LEVEL 100!!!! and they were systematically stomping on that excitement by showing they were continuing down the path of not supporting the ladies.
None of the lore characters mentioned were women. There were no women sitting on stage. The character model updates they showed off were all males. The story was dudes, doing manly men things with other dudes. I tweeted each thought more and more furiously. I was excited and yet angry. Why? WHY was it SO ONE SIDED?!?
But I wasn’t the only one tweeting. There were a few. Then a few more. THEN MORE. The flood of tweets loaded with people asking where the women were. After that panel, I went to the lore one. There Metzen did something really stupid.
Someone asked about Aggra and where she would be when Thrall went to Draenor. He said she would be staying in Azeroth, as she had a kid. The “boys club” would be going on the trip to Draenor.
How many people can you offend in ONE statement?
Yes, they also talked about a Joan of Arc character. (Though really, thanks for telling us she’s going to die after being called crazy. Women LOVE that. As far as heroic females, can we not use her? She’s a trope AND well… look at how her life went?) Drakka was mentioned, but only in relation to Durotan.
Here’s the thing… Women are wives. Women are daughters. Women are mothers. Women are also warriors. Women are also stubborn. Women are also capable of violence. I am a mother. But I found someone to watch my kid and went to BlizzCon.
Metzen implied that the reason Aggra would be staying home is because she was a mother. No other explanation or reasoning, just because she was a mom, and that’s what moms do. They stay home and take care of the kiddos.
Oh boy. Queue shit storm. That’s when it hit me. That was the BEST thing he could have said. Absolute best. Why? Why would that be the best? This. And This. And THIS. Especially THIS ONE. (Oh wow, I missed this one – GLORIOUS!) And it just keeps going. Here we are, a week after the con, and people are STILL talking about Aggra. Not Thrall, Durotan, Gul’dan, or any of those other dudes, but Aggra. *silent cheer*
People are being loud and vocal. People are directly messaging Metzen, Ghostcrawler, Kosak, ALL OF THEM. Telling them, that we weren’t happy with the gender imbalance BEFORE, and we sure as hell aren’t going to take them relegating one of our favorite characters to the sidelines. Someone asked about Moira at the Q&A. They had said nothing about her before that point. Turns out, she has some major plot going on in WoD!!!
Now, I do want to address WHY this is such a big issue. The ratio of males to female in the lore characters is about 7 to 1, so about 86% male to 14% female. If that were the real world there would be a CRISIS on our hands. In China, it’s split about 52% to 48% male to female and it’s ALREADY CAUSING PROBLEMS.
The WoW player base is speculated to be between 30-40% female. (My anecdotal data backs that up.) That means there are a ton of people out there, like me, who are playing this game. They raid, they quest, they level. They are heroes, and yet, in game, they have very very few female leads to look up to. And every time there is one, they are overshadowed by the males in the game. Where is our Thrall to look up to?
Even more worrisome is the systematic destruction of the females we DID have. We have so few to begin with, so losing some to plot lines is problematic unless there are new ones to replace them. We need lots of new ones. That is why the loss of Aggra to something so stupid is so frustrating. They took away one of our good female characters for an incredibly sexist reason.
Okay, before the response – is being a stay at home mom not heroic? I would NEVER say that. I stayed home with my kid for 3 months, and at the end of it, I was a basket case. BASKET CASE. Being a stay at home mom is quite possibly the most insane thankless job ever. But having said that, this isn’t an issue of staying home and raising your child instead of going to work. This is a matter of SAVING THE WORLD. If you don’t, it doesn’t MATTER if you raised your kid, THERE WON’T BE A WORLD FOR HIM TO GROW UP IN. Not to mention, Aggra has never backed down from a fight before, why would she start now? Draenor was her HOME after all. She had to live/grow up on the shattered remains of it.
I was happy at the Art panel they showed off the female models a bit. Their work on the female dwarves is nothing short of astonishing (they are so beautiful now!). I also noted that was the first panel with a woman on it (hurray!). As the weekend went on, I heard and saw all the many responses and so many of them are people talking about these issues. I think I made the right decision. Stay, speak, fight.
And I think, they might be listening.