I was reading your latest post, about having the word ‘Chick’ in your blog title, and I was inspired to write you a letter, since this is way too long for a comment on the post.

 

I know that you wrote your post as a response to Brajana at Mend Pet, who wrote her own thoughts on why some bloggers put words in the title of their blogs when they create them, emphasizing the fact the writer is female. As you mention, words such as “Lady”, “Chick” and so forth.

Brajana wrote:
“The thing is – I don’t see what the big deal is about being a female geek.  I (obviously) do not have a problem with female gamers OR female bloggers.  But I don’t understand why some women seem to think this is such important distinction for their blog.”

I can certainly see why you’d feel the desire to respond to it, no matter how well written or friendly the tone. And it is a good question to ask in this day and age.

It seems people forget that the way it is NOW ain’t the way it always was. And that statement up there shouldn’t read ‘why some women seem to think’, as much as ’seemed to think’, since like many others you’ve been writing for quite some time now.

Heck, you made the decision on your blog title long, long before Mend Pet was just a twinkle in a Hunter’s eye (Sept of 2007, to be exact)… and the tone in the game and on websites was a bit different back then. And when you take into account that Breana started to play WoW in 2005, boy the tone aruond here has changed! (Oh yeah, and not a stalker, you said so on Matticus’ interview).

But I’ll get back to that thought in a moment.

When I first saw a link to your blog at Big Red Kitty, I loved the idea of the Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick. The banner picture rocked, too, but the blog title grabbed my sense of humor immediately. And once I got to know Pookie, I had to stay.

I love the point you make in your reply to Brajana that there is a big choice when creating a blog, as to whether you choose to name it for a topic of discussion, or whether you will name it based on who is doing the talking.

Your name does exactly what you say you wanted; it tells someone visiting that it’s going to be written by a gun *(and fun) lovin’ dwarf chick with a damn good, if possibly quirky, sense of humor.

And I think you successfully bring that every time you post.

When I visited your blog for the very first time I came with certain expectations from that name… expectations I felt would not be met, because that name was just too awesome to be real. It’s a lot to live up to.

I’d have to say that you not only met them but far surpassed them… but it says a lot that after I read your first posts, there was no question as to whether the title fit the blog, or the blogger.

AS to the issue of having blogs with gender identifiers in them… yeah, I said I’d get back to this.

I think that the discussion only has a home now, because of the very fact that you and so many other female gamers stepped up, unafraid of being mocked by morons or of even acknowledging their existence, and made your own blogs that specifically said “I am a gamer AND I happen to be a female. So what? What exactly is your point?”

You could have used any number of names for a blog, and made it all about the topic and not about you. That’s cool, there is nothing wrong with that, not at all.

But at the time your blog was created, and before that for others, the voice most commonly heard in WoW was that of the young male geek jackass that would loudly deny the very possibility of women playing games, let alone (Heaven forbid!) playing them damn well.

We had posts on blogs about encounters folks had in game with the usual jerkoffs that thought that every female character was played by a guy, since “everyone knows girls don’t game”. Idiots.

We had posts about how women either do or do not get treated differently in guilds once someone hears them in vent and knows “Omigod it’s a real girl! For reals!” And we had quite a few people admit that they don’t speak in vent because they just don’t want to deal with the hassle.

It was a big issue due to the very real annoyance, and it was talked about a lot.

I read the WoW blogs these days, and it seems to me that, compared to when all this WoW blogging craze kicked off, the overall tone of blogs, and their content, has matured dramatically. And I mean mature as in “learned from the past, gotten past youthful exuberance, settled down and taken to writing well presented, thought out, reasoned and informative articles.”

I am, of course, not including myself in this. I remain a random idiot. I’m almost forty. Did you really think that in a year of blogging I was going to grow up? Nope, this is me. Don’t pity me, pity my wife, she’s stuck with this. At least, she is so long as I hide the ammo, have our son taste my food first, keep the knives dull and sleep light.

And at the same time, I think the attitude of the gamer-that-you-meet in WoW has, on the average, also matured considerably. All this stuff has been pushed out into the open, and these idiots have been mocked. LOUDLY.

So, yeah, back in the dark days of WoW blogging, you put who you were right out front, with pride.

And I think that it is because you and other female gamers put your gender into your blog titles, and have afterwards shown so clearly that what gender you are has nothing whatsoever to do with how skilled you can be at playing a game OR enjoying the Roleplaying or PvP or raiding or whatever you want to do, that Brajana now has the luxury of wondering “what’s with all the bloggers calling themselves chicks or girls? It’s so not necessary.”

No, Brajana, it’s not. But at one time… at one time, it was a big thing, at least to me. It was coming out and saying “Just because my toon has a female name doesn’t mean I’m a guy, damnit. And when you read what I have to say on a blog, judge it based on it’s merits, but when you log into the game don’t be surprised when Breana kicks your ass in PvP, noob. She’s been doing it for a long time now, and she’s damn good at it.”

I want to give a big thank you to every single blogger, no matter who you are or what gender, or what class or spec or topic or style, that writes what YOU think, HOW you want, and keeps coming back to do it again whether you get 1 comment or 50, or 1 reader or 5 million.

And most especially, a big thank you to Breana, for being yourself.

I do feel that it is mainly because of you all that so many people in the game have just, well… grown up, damnit.

And I also think that it is because so many of you blogged openly and happily about having fun and kicking ass, that my wife was willing to give the game a try. After all, clearly if YOU enjoy it, then the stereotype of the game being ONLY for young male immature asshats must not be true. Right?

Whether you know it or not, you are an inspiration to others.

So really. Thank you.

EDIT added:

I had been looking for a Hunter guide to crafted, badge reward, and Kara/Heroic gear this morning when I came upon Breana’s post. It prompted me to write a reply, and then after I posted it I got back to reading Hunter blogs looking for one that has the work done for me.

There are tons of awesome Hunter blogs, surely ONE did a nice gear guide for the BM Hunter that wants to know what to look for as the best goals if you can get badges, Kara gear, Heroic boss drops, and crafted stuffs.

Minutes later, as I read 35 Yards Out, I find his post called re: Girls in Games.

Oh crap, let me guess, I just posted about something two days after someone already covered it. /Sigh.

Yep. And from his post, I followed it to the one that inspired him, A Girl, a Gun and a Striped Cat (love that name, by the way), who in fact seems to be saying, from her own personal, direct experience, that, at least in the game, things are utterly unchanged. People in the game are apparently still sexist asshats.

So, I am full of BS. Now, this ain’t exactly news, but rarely have I been PROVEN to be full of BS in quite so short a timespan. I mean, I publish a post,  read a blog, and boom. Proven.

Not to mention that 35 Yards Out links to Critical QQ, who has recently said his own big thank you to female bloggers.

Do I need to mention that everyone involved has been far more eloquent than I am?

/sigh

Well, at least I can send you to three people who really are talented. Go shoo!

30 Responses to “An Open Letter to Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick”
  1. Awlbiste says:

    This is an issue I’m conflicted about. I don’t care whether someone calls me “he” or “she”, I truly 100% don’t even care. I probably won’t even correct them (and generally don’t). I’ve been playing online games and participating in online communities for the majority of my life (which granted hasn’t been *that* long but still) and it’s just not something that has ever bothered me.

    I’ve never hid my gender purposefully, but I’ve never gone out and made a big flippin’ deal about it either. Guys game, girls game, so what? I just don’t believe it needs to be an issue whatsoever. And before the comments of, “well thanks to other people you don’t have to.” I’d like to mention I was the only female in a hardcore raiding guild for 2 years pre-BC so I know what it’s like to catch flack for being female.

    Then again, as I mentioned on Brajana’s post my own blog has the word girl in the subtitle. And I see nothing wrong with just casually mentioning “I’m a female who plays WoW.” Yes, I do in fact play with my boyfriend, but I was playing WoW before I met him anyways.

    But I most certainly *do* see something wrong with people who use their gender to gain tangible benefits, be it gold or in-game items or blog comments. Most decent bloggers do not do this because it’s frankly stupid and eventually the rest of us notice you’re just throwing your gender out there to get things and don’t actually have anything worthwhile to offer.

    Anyway those are my thoughts. I should probably have just made this a blog entry… maybe I will.

  2. Brajana says:

    I know this post is aimed toward Breana, not me… but thank you for your input nonetheless. I really like to hear what others think about this kind of stuff.

    As I said, I really do appreciate many of the blogs out there that have “chick” or “girl” in their names… the ones that use it well, such as Breana. Because “Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Person” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. :)

    When I wrote my post, I had just gone through what felt like every WoW blog in existence. And I’d come by a few that were barely candid about their purpose in using this title, with names resembling “A Girl that plays WoW.” Those were the ones that I had a problem with.

    It’s also comments like “just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t kick YOUR ass.” Because, just because you are a woman also don’t mean you CAN kick someone’s ass. It doesn’t mean either.

    It’s true that there are a lot more women in the game now than there were a few years ago. But no matter how many or few of a gender that are involved in any activity, I still don’t think it’s right to use gender as a ploy for anything. Gender doesn’t make a signifcant difference in how this game is played. It is something that can be done equally well by both sexes, and therefore, being a woman that plays doesn’t make you “special”.

    What makes you special is your play style, your writing style, your charisma! And I agree with BBB here, you do in fact have that covered Breana. :)

  3. bigbearbutt says:

    Well, I can totally understand that, Brejana. I think I’m too insular, because I read so many blogs that I only read on a feedreader.

    So I have dozens of blogs I read every day, and I don’t visit blog websites, so I don’t see link or blogrolls that get changed or added.

    It’s only when I started chain-following blog links looking for resources that I suddenly got exposed to a much wider, vaster community.

    I swear, I had no idea just how many more awesome blogs there are now. It’s scary.

  4. Relmstein says:

    I’m not sure if including the fact your female in the title even helps traffic overall. It’s funny but the proxy at my workplace has a tendency to block any blogs that uses the word lady, chick, or girl in the title. I’m guessing the proxy is very backwards and the network admins simply exclude those sites because they assume its pron related.

    I know a lot of people check blogs at work and I assume other people run into the same problem.

    http://relmstein.blogspot.com

  5. Pike says:

    I have a confession: I can be rather insecure about myself and sometimes worry that some of my blog traffic is coming because “I am a chick who plays WoW– on Linux”. I certainly don’t think that of my regular readers, and especially not the vast majority– but sometimes, I do worry. I can’t help it. So, I try not to play up the fact that I am a chick too much… I do have it in the little “about me” blurb and I will reference occasionally it via normal posting and storytelling, but I definitely want my writing and content to sell itself.

    Though admittedly, “Linux-Lovin’ Geek Chick” does have a ring to it ;) Almost as much as Gun-Lovin’ Dwarf Chick does. (GLDC is a great blog title by the way, I’ve always loved it Bre!)

  6. breana says:

    *Speechless*

    <3

    /Big Red Kiss.

    Thank you.

  7. Kestrel says:

    I just wanna know if putting “butt” in your blog title is a traffic-enhancer or not. ;)

    Great article, my friend. In fact, I was just telling Bre that “BBB’s a guy I could drink beer with…after all, he’s only a 12-hour drive away!”

    Cheers!

  8. Pike says:

    P.S. in response to…

    “There are tons of awesome Hunter blogs, surely ONE did a nice gear guide for the BM Hunter that wants to know what to look for as the best goals if you can get badges, Kara gear, Heroic boss drops, and crafted stuffs.”

    If ya want me to cook somethin’ up for ya Bear, I can certainly try my best! <3

  9. Heather says:

    I think a lot of one’s perception of the way women are treated in the game has to do with the people with whom they choose to associate. I hardly ever group outside my guild anymore, and they all *know* I’m female and have forever, since we use vent a lot. There’s occasionally a moment with a new person in the guild when they realize it, but not often. I believe that I am valued as a good player and a decent leader in the guild, without regard to my gender.

    If I pugged a lot, and used voice chat with people who did not know me, I’m guessing my experience would be different. I do recall a lot more disbelief before, and I was *very* nervous to actually speak in vent at first, after I joined a guild that had a vent server.

  10. bigbearbutt says:

    Pike, if you would be so nice as to come up with something for a poor lazy BM hunter to hunt up, I would be forever grateful, and would make the big eyes at you.

    O.O

    see?

  11. bigbearbutt says:

    Kestrel… any time you’re in the area of Minnesota, lemme know :)

  12. Nim says:

    So, yeahhhh. 1) Girl gamers are still lower in population than guys. 2) Girl gamers who blog about it … well, maybe that’s better represented. I mean, girls have the stereotype of blogging more anyway (omg, i’m totally blogging this!). Go us. Be loud, proud geeky girls.

    And stereotypically, last night even!, I ran across someone on my vent server who asked if 1) my boyfriend got me into the game and then 2) “let me guess, you played a support class at first? a priest or something?” I actually think he was trying to be a douche and I should have just banned his IP.

    For the record, my first toon was a warrior and, as I told him in snippy tones, I had tanked Gruul and Mag the night before, regularly tank ZA, and led an all-girl raid in Kara for which we had a shortage of healers, tyvm.

    Grr!

  13. Intresting. I think I have a lot to say about this but it will have to wait. Anyways though on the topic on Hunter Gear, there are some gear guides posted by Benameless over at http://www.benameless.wordpress.com He’s all about the hunter gear XD

  14. Ally says:

    Nim, I gotta say, I feel your pain. Ok, yes, my fiance did get me into the game, but mostly only because I didn’t have broadband before I moved in with him, otherwise I’m fairly certain I would’ve found it on my own. And why do they always assume women want to be healers and that’s it? I can’t STAND healing and yet Malfean likes it just fine. Calls it his Zen. I call it the ‘oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-pull-my-hair-out-quit-taking-freaking-damage-ahhh-you’re-all-dead!” nightmare. Let me just beat the heck out of things and worry about aggro management and popping pots.

  15. Stupid Mage says:

    I have a female NE Resto Druid.
    People get me on vent and say “Dude, stop talkin, you’re throwing me off.”

  16. Niyahti says:

    I remember raiding BWL and being one of only two female gamers at the time. I DO remember guild and raid members making stupid jokes about how hot (or not) I sounded on Vent and what I looked like. At the beginning, it was kinda like I had 30-some-odd brothers, who would tease and pick on me but fiercely defend if anyone outside of the guild or raid said anything. =) A mixed response, for sure, but not completely negative. However, I did tend to keep quiet on Vent and just focus on getting the job down.

    Now though, I am blessed to part of a guild and raid that is nearly 30% women. I don’t know if it’s because most of us are adults, with real life jobs and not just college students, or because we DO have a higher presence of women than I typically find, but I enjoy the guild chatter much more than before. I’d definitely say it’s more common for women to raid now.

    Anyway, my 2 copper.

    PS — And yes, my fiance at the time ((and now husband)) did get me started in the game and my current main does not have a heal button for a reason. Lol!

  17. Badger says:

    I agree with everything BBB said.

    I know, I know – short clipped statements like that always sound like lazy cop-outs – but it’s the truth.

    I’ve actually gotten angry on more than one occasion where a female gamer puts her femininity at the forefront of everything she does, both in-game and out-of-game. My thinking was always along these lines: “Dude, I don’t *care* if you have breasts. The only thing that I give a damn about is whether or not you can keep that horde of slathering Worgen from biting a chunk out of my butt.”

    As I only started playing in late 2006, however – which, as you all know, was quite a while after the game had already been released and the community had already grown exponentially – I never even gave a thought to what it must have been like when women-folk first began locking-and-loading and marching into Blackrock Spire.

    This post puts that into perspective. Thanks to the Chicks and the Bear for bringing this into the spotlight.

    As for Mithrilina: She needs to just drop her Guild, obviously, and find a group of people who can see beyond their own chromosomes. Not every male player in this game is a chauvinist; she’s just had absolutely horrible luck getting into a Guild full of self-centered and hormonal individuals. She even admits that her luck has been terrible in the Comments space of that original post. That doesn’t make it any less awful to deal with, but it *can* be dealt with appropriately.

    Just don’t let her near Amanda Dean. The gender-hatred will twist he thinking and we’ll never hear the end of the “All Men Are Pigs, Just Admit It” argument.

  18. Badger says:

    Addendum: I hope to God every gamer in the world doesn’t think of these overpaid, overpublicized bands of idiots when they formulate the concept of “Grrl Gamerz.”

    http://www.fragdolls.com/

    http://thegamedame.com/

    You want to talk about “sexploitation?” Look no further.

  19. Badger says:

    Please note that the second site I linked is NOT NATALIE’S BLOG. It’s … I dunno. Some narcissistic poser.

    (Triple post – sorry)

  20. Loronar says:

    I’m in the opinion that a topic is never too old to be revisited. When I first read Euripedes’ praise of female bloggers, I couldn’t think of a response. Only when I read Mithrilina’s post was I reminded of the things he had said two months prior.

    Having a discussion like this, I believe, promotes the necessary medium for a discussion. We help raise awareness of certain issues and bring them to the table for others to think about.

    Cheers!

  21. Taurack says:

    I really have to say… who gives a shite?

    Male, female… dude, chick… whether they announce it or not… WHO CARES? On either side of the fence?; There is no awareness, there is no narcissism, there is no “sexploitation”… no more than what you make of it. Jeebus… leave it alone.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve always been in a guild that has females and just… I don’t get it… all I have to say is… WHO CARES?

    I’ve already written to much on the subject… just wow… people still care about this? GIRLS PLAY GAMES? ZOMG?

  22. Badger says:

    Taurack,

    If you read far enough into BBB’s original post, you will see his point: When “World of Warcraft” was first released, it had a lot of barriers to break down, but now, many of those barriers have been entirely dismantled and forgotten. The reason that you can say, today, “WHO CARES?” is because so much time has passed, and the Warcraft community (not to mention the entirety of the gaming community) has made so much progress toward looking for a player’s SKILL rather than their CHROMOSOMES, that you actually feel comfortable largely ignoring this particular argument.

    Personally, I agree with you. “Who cares?” If a guy can shoot arrows into Onyxia’s enormous eyes with the precision of his female counterparts, then the gender argument is a moot point.

    However, saying that “there is no awareness,” “Narcissism,” or “sexploitation” is absolutely, irrefutably incorrect. For awareness, you need look no further than the very subject of this post; for Narcissism and sexploitation, you only have to do a little digging to find any of the female players (such as the so-called “Game Dame” or the Frag Dolls, linked above) who flaunt their sexuality as an excuse for receiving superior treatment in all they do. They take the oft-maligned adage – “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” – to a new extreme. Pretending that gamers like these do not exist does not make it true.

    Thankfully there are approachable human beings in this community, such as Breana and Brajana (hope I spelled those correctly!), who continue to prove that the so-called “gender divide” doesn’t have to be a “divide” at all.

  23. nefer says:

    ah well interesting topic.

    when i still played wow by the time i had, after playing since us open beta, build myself some kind of base to play with. playing on one of the oldest german servers i never had that much of those feared pugs tbh.

    when i started to organise we had a few girls in our kara run (ah good times) and i honestly always enjoyed playing with them- not because they were girls but – careful prejudice incoming- they always seemed to be more team oriented and not that lootwhorish and egoistic. and yes that makes them in fact better players ;)

    while nobody of us would have permitted sexist comments i cannot remember a single case where we had trouble with that, but i recognise this as a widespread problem.

    i think this comes from all the boys playing computer games. the pc doesn’t require social skills and people with a deficit are attrackted to pcs for them not beeing confronted with it. not saying only those play but some definitly ;)

    and as they are still young some might not be that certain about their manhood and feel threatened by girls in “their” game- another justification for sexist comments in computer games comes not to my mind.

    as wow picked up momentum and lost some of its geekish touch more and more people were interested. i even think that it was played by so many people attacked even more girls, as it seems to me girls choose to play by different reasons. more often they want so socialise with others and where is a better place to do that than an mmo?

    hmm tbh i played wow also for the interaction with others…hmm think i have to rethink my theory…or what do you think?

  24. lisa says:

    Have to say I always assumed the ‘their are no girls on the internets’ people were always being ironic. Perhaps because I’ve known so many women who play warcraft, and even one who didn’t seem to find the problem with taking ingame gifts and such from people because she was female.

    Aside from that. The only way to respond to real ingame harrassment is to not allow it to continue. Don’t respond with wit, don’t respond in kind, just respond with a firm statement of how innapropriate the comments are and you want them to stop right now. Say ‘no, you will not speak to me that way’ and stand up for yourself.

    The comments don’t stop, you leave and you do not return. Simple as. Is it a cop out to leave? No. You are having the guts to take yourself out of a very bad situation. This goes for any type of uncomfortable situation you end up in when people are not respecting you.

    And screenies are your friend if it ever comes to having to defend yourself. If you have never responed in kind, or trying to pass off the comments with wit, the people harrassing will not have the thinnest of ‘it was a misunderstanding’ legs to stand on.

  25. Valyre says:

    I think maybe the rant is a bit off-base. It’s one thing to announce to the world via your blog title that you’re a girl gamer. There’s plenty of examples of that around. But why would you think that this would even remotely apply to “Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick”?

    You (and apparently GLDC) have honed in on “Chick.” Not “Dwarf Chick” which is a description of her character. Where’s the same outrage from Ratshag and his “Red Hawt Dwarf Chick” posts? Why isn’t he upset? Maybe it’s because as a guy, he realizes that it doesn’t apply to him. But because GLDC is a female player, it MUST apply to her because it was a callout to girl players?

    The name of your blog doesn’t have to be a direct reflection of the author. I no more think that BBB is a bear or has a giant behind irl than I think GLDC is really a dwarf with a closet full of sawed-off shotguns.

  26. Ally says:

    All this aside, you know what freaks people out more than a woman playing? A lot more? My 65 year old mother playing games. ;D She’s a Final Fantasy addict who recently bought an XBOX and got into Mass Effect. Hee.

  27. Scott says:

    Joss Whedon was asked by a reporter..

    “So, why do you write these strong female characters?”

    His answer, “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

  28. Tydo says:

    To completely avoid the primary subject of discussion (I personally think it’s awesome that there are a growing number of girl gamers out there and I believe that they can bring and have brought a lot of good things to the game), I don’t think that you should worry about covering something that someone else has already covered, BBB. You’re honest and straightforward enough to mention that someone else has done a great job on something and help to expose the rest of us to all of the other great bloggers out there and I certainly appreciate it.

  29. bbr says:

    There’s plenty of female gamers out there if you keep an eye out for them though.
    Funny enough the majority tends to be healers somehow.

  30. bearmeup says:

    All “Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick” tells me is that the author plays a female dwarven hunter – it doesn’t tell me anything about his/her the gender.

    I don’t get the issue though, I really don’t. As far as I’m concerned people are allowed to call their blogs whatever they want, personally I prefer the word pun’s but if someone wants to tell you their name, gender, race, whatever in their blog title then it’s fine with me.

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