Ophelie posts today on issues touching on being a female gamer, specifically today regarding handling of spontaneous gift-giving by male players, which apparently happens to a lot of them. (It’s part of a larger series on the treatment of women in-game, which is interesting reading.)
Interestingly, it has *never* happened to me. I get in-game gifts sometimes from Stingray, who is married to me and obviously fond of me, and every so once in awhile from guildies- but always as an explicit return for a favor done, not “just because” and certainly never because I’m a woman so far as I’ve been able to determine. In terms of the random gift from a stranger, acquaintance, or for-no-reason from a male guildie, it just lies entirely outside my experience.
Oh, there are a few obvious reasons; it’s likely that I never got anything while levelling either of my two 80s up there was because the kind of players that do this either assumed I was a male player, or that I wasn’t the kind of girl they were interested in. Jumuuji the hunter is a male tauren (I just thought being a bull-man was a scream), and simply nobody assumes that the giant sneering cow has a waifish lovely on the other side of the keys. Juujube the paladin started off life as a female dwarf named Hamcrusher, and everybody makes jokes about female dwarves needing beards and otherwise being aggressively unsexy*. Evidently, people that would choose the “ugly” femdorf are assumed to be either male players that don’t want a beard you could hide a chicken in, or hairy-legged butch lesbians.
The other obvious reason, I suppose, is that it’s well-known within our guild that I’m married to Stingray and that’s why I don’t get it from guildies. A relatively high proportion of us are married or long-term couples (including *all* the officers- six of us, three married couples), so it might just be that it doesn’t occur to anyone to do anything to remotely disrupt the arrangement.
Neither of these reasons completely explains it, though. Juujube is now a blood elf (though she’ll be a tauren the second Blizz lets me), and she is the typical flirty-looking “sexy” character just because it’s nearly impossible to design a female blood elf that’s *not*. I’m surprised our idle animation doesn’t include twirling a lock of hair around our fingers along with the headtilt and hip cocking. She is, however, clearly a tank with the gnome-coffin shield she totes around, and I’ve noticed that most people tend to assume any tank is a male player. (Two of our guild’s male players have tanking alts that are female blood elves, in fact.) Either way, I get the impression that friendly flirting and the like is still the norm even for female players that are known by all to be involved in a relationship or married. That also never happens to me.
There’s probably no true great mystery about it, though. The likeliest reason, when I get right down to it, is probably the same as why I didn’t get any of this kind of treatment in high school- whether it’s the girl in real life wearing combat boots or the female avatar in game wearing plate boots, she just doesn’t come across as all that open to it unless she clearly indicates otherwise. Hell, even over Vent I come across as a lot more “grrr” than “giggle” if only because my voice is naturally low enough that catching a cold means I will be addressed as “sir” over the phone for the rest of the week.
That, and seeing me in /gchat describing someone in a PuG that’s irritating me as a douche-dripping cumburrito probably isn’t all that alluring. Oh well…
*I always thought she was cute in a stout sort of way, actually. In some agricultural cultures and I imagine dwarves among them, what you want in a woman isn’t so much long twiggy legs and delicate wrists as it is the ability to lift a sheep under each arm. While giving birth.