Tuesday, March 5, 2013

RTMT: Hearth and Home

Mataoka shining her armor. Oh, wait...no..

These posts on sexism (and yes, as Fueghan mentioned on Navimie's post, that sexy hammer swings both ways-I'm with him on this one) have been so interesting to read. I first read Ironyca's post, which lead me to the Bossy Pally's post, which circled back to Apple Cider Mage's post. (How come every time I think of the word 'twins' I think of a Seth Macfarlan-esque colloquialism for 'boobs?' Am I going to burn in Hell now?)

And though I have a few random thoughts on this topic, two off-shoots came to mind this morning: this is the Random Tuesday Morning Thought after all.

First--I read this article about Princess Leia before this "Brouhaha on Boobs of WoW" in Wired magazine, long before the above posts were written, and I had something to say about that, but then forgot.

But now I remembered I forgot.

Second - okay - this is the heart of this post. In all the discussion of hyper-sexualized fantasy role playing game models, (and this is back to the Princess Leia thing: if one more person said in the comments "It's for MEN," I was going to throat-punch a bunny. I swear! I was going to do it!

Star Wars was MY coming-of-age movie. At the time, I didn't notice that Princess Leia was the only girl, any more than I noticed Dorothy was the only one with the ruby slippers. (You all see that parallel too, right? Tin Man= Luke, Chewy=Lion, Hans=Strawman? Maybe that's a stretch.) What I did notice, even if I wasn't conscious of it, was that she, Leia, had great dialogue and smarts. I remember being disappointed in the slave costume scene, although at the time, didn't recognize that feeling either. I guess I just chalked it up to proving how awful Jabba was, to demean the good princess that way. She'd get her revenge, right?

Okay - think I'm going to let that one sit for a while.

Back to my second point, really: I am not sure the issue is solely with sexy male and female models in games. I think the real issue is that people continually think these are the domain of male players. Let me be clear: I love the sexy models--they are the kinds of things I drew in figure drawing class, when I stylized and tried my own hand at fantasy art back in the day, and I find beauty in figurative art of all genres, including games. The trouble happens at home.

There is a colleague of mine who, when he posts things on Facebook about his young son, he's shown throwing a basketball, driving a play tractor, etc. His little girl, though, is shown with play kitchen tools and around her pets and cows (they have cows, okay? Some do.) So, he's shown as a sports hero, she's shown as a milkmaid. That is if you want to read that much into it. Okay--next. A blogger I read who's a kindergarten teacher and male (and makes a point of bringing up both of these facts) recently posted how surprised he was that both his girls and boys loved the original fairy tale Cinderella. While I am not surprised AT ALL -- it's basic story is that we all win when we're good, and who doesn't love that?
The problem isn't that there is a game with boobies and pecs, the problem is that moms and dads want to both play, and we have yet to deal with that successfully. All other conversations get mired until we deal with this:

Who's taking care of the kids while daddy's killing scourge, and mommy's in a raid?

And be careful readers: please do not project anything more on here. This is just a discussion, and some observations.

Here is what I do know: it's not that it's important to spend a lot of time with children when they're young, but the right kind of time--reading, playing, talking, sharing experiences. We all know this. But this new element of moms playing too has added a new straw-on-the-camel's-back of gender and household negotiations. women comprise 47% of the workforce in 2010 in the U.S.; coincidentally, there are about 40% of female players in WoW. So, does that correlate that for every woman who is playing WoW she also has a job? That may or may not mean she has children, too.

So how do couples deal with negotiating play time versus family responsibilities? The undercurrent of "wife aggro" is so sexist it chaps my hide. Consider who's actually paying for the accounts, as well. If women are bringing home a paycheck, and not doing stupid things with it like buying shoes, lipstick, or getting mammograms, and a percentage of their income goes toward that monthly game fee, shouldn't they be getting some consideration?

How many times have you been in a dungeon when someone shamefully asks for a moment to quiet a crying child? Or have you experienced when you are just so damn tired, but it's your turn in the house to take care of your children, and can't 'play?' And that question is for both men and women. BOTH.  I guess when I asked Azeroth to be more family/life friendly, I want it for all of us with responsibilities outside of service to good king Wyrnn or supporting Garrosh's dictatorial demands. They can just keep their pants on.

And in the case of Garrosh - please.

I know, I know. Responsibilities are boring. But guess what? When we're in the game, both us girls and boys, we all love the Cinderella story--no more analysis required.

Update: Shut up and start playing, woman: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/8713870/

Theme song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and not the Judy version:

Postscript: I know I left a split infinitive in there somewhere....damn!


  1. I love where your mind takes me. Here I was thinking it was going to be a feminist rant but it turned into something else. Good post matty!

    1. Since I wrote this half asleep I just noticed all the typos; I will fix them later cause I can't do that at work, the work that pays for the game. But thanks Navi...much appreciated!

  2. What the Shift did a great comic post on this subject (well kind of) a couple of days ago...the one with the view of the male character and the scantily clad female character - with a geeky girl looking at the screen going, "WTH!?". I often think that too!

    As for moms and dads who both play, my hubs and I both play games. I'm on WoW and he's a Halo man. By day he has a respectable job, where he wouldn't dream of telling the other execs that by night he's taking out aliens etc, and I am 'the mom' as well as being a freelance designer who wouldn't dream of telling the other moms in the playground that I like to heal various races in a MMORPG. (Although gosh darn it - I'd love to *share that nugget* at a PTA just to get a reaction) As for game time - our rule is only once the offspring are sorted and asleep. Which means 8pm+. Of course being a freelancer it does give me some leeway with my time, and if the work is done - the playtime is on! At least until the offspring return from their place of educaiton, at which time the mom hat comes back on.

    1. If you do share that with the Mommy-Crew of the PTA, please share. Those are some harsh judges, I know. Thanks for the tip on Shift's post - I'll go check it out!

  3. I was going to make an effort to write a compelling comment but now it's impossible. I can't get the horrifying vision of a pantless Garrosh out of my mind. I need brain soap, lol!

  4. *sends Tome brain soap, STAT*


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