Sexism in Gaming: A recent example!

Posted: June 1, 2011 in Gaming, Sexism

Ah yes, “Fantasy vs. Reality” was supposed to be next, but when a golden opportunity knocks me in the face, I cannot pass it by…

As you all know, I play (avidly) City of Heroes/Villains.  So, last night I get together with the crew, who have no idea what they actually want to do, so whilst they are BS’ing away on Vent, I suggest something, they agree, I build the team that will give us smashing success, we blast through the Strike Force that I have chosen in no time, people get their awesome rewards for doing it, they say they would like another, so I, seeing we now lack a meat shield because of the toons they wish to play, switch to a meat shield who actually NEEDS this strike force like she needs a hole in the head, but the team needed her…we BLOW through it with me in the lead, faster that the previous run, no death, smooth as silk, levels are gotten and everyone is happy, then, over vent, one of the fellows in our group who is generally good to play with, even if he tends to be more complementary to the other male players than the two very solid women players in our crew, asks Mr. E what his dream team would be….

This discussion moves to our mailing list, where He, Mr.E, and another man in the group set about building their dream teams, discussing numbers and stats and how or why they would do this or that.  Is any female in the group invited into this conversation?  No.  So I insert myself in it.  Now granted, all these fellows are mathguys and can look at what powers do and figure out what seems like it would be solid on paper.  I have never bothered.  I have learned all this through trial and error in the seven years I have been playing the game- which, I might add, is a far longer and far more consistent run of playing it than any of them.

So, while they are busy building their perfect beasts and reveling in their own awesomeness, I post my dream teams.  Crickets, then, the questioning of my logic begins.  My response was calm and rational, I justified each and every one of my choices via reasoning and logic, and then added “all of your teams, on paper, would work, but the game itself works differently, what works on one AV will not work on another, I know this from playing, and not merely trying to exploit the rules….

Blarg blarg blarg rarw gar….

“Gentlemen, let me remind you of something:  I am and have always been willing to try things differently, let others plan things, let someone else take the lead, but when I do that, nothing gets planned, or led, or ends in success.  Have I not always built us successful teams- when you listen and do not try to do it all your way, and have we not succeeded when people listen to my advice?  I will take this time to-again- remind you, that in gaming, especially this game, I am NOT Mr. E’s sidekick or apprentice, and I have more level 50’s (max level in the game) than the three of you combined, more master badges and successful runs under my belt than the rest of the entire crew combined, and I would think that maybe, just maybe, this would be proof enough that I know what I am doing and I know what I am talking about.  I learned from the best, and now I am trying to share that with you.  Maybe, instead of looking to Mr.E like you always do, you should be looking towards the person he learned from and is still the far more successful player.  You can usually find me standing near by him, I am the shorter one, with long hair and the scar.” 


There was some silence after that, then one or two sincere apologies, and a one or two snarky “well, sorry for questioning your awesomeness” remarks (to wit, I replied “damn straight you should not question my awesomeness, it is evident and what I have accomplished here speaks to it!)

But, the simple fact is, well, not only do I game, but I am married to a guy who also games, and while in ANY game we have ever played together (in D&D, he is the uber mage, I am the uber fighter, in Vampire, we have both had characters who have been Princes, and Archons, and characters of serious power, so on, so forth), even when we have both had serious success, and in the case of “City” I have had way more than him…other male gamers will always look to his skill, success, and awesomeness before mine, or fail to recognize or give credit to my work and success at all.  And considering the fact that my whole crew is assholes….I cannot think of any reason why this would be other than…I’m a female, and this is gaming.

I dunno, it gets frustrating.  We succeed because I am the one who puts in the time to set up teams and events (which no one else does), I am the one that when someone says “I want or need this” I make it happen.  I am the one who makes sure we have all the bases we need to succeed covered.  I am the one who plays toons I don’t even like to fill in the holes we have. I am the one who helps people level, hell, even farms for them, I am the one who helps people get what they need, and I am the one who by far an away has had the most success in this game, period.  You’d think that would count for something….but apparently, because I don’t “do the math” or have a dick, it doesn’t.


Funny thing is, I will say flat out I am the best player in our group when no one is gonna get a hurt ego over it, and the second best after me, and will prolly be as good as me when they have more experience with the game?  Also female. 

Anyway, there is the sidebar Sexism Post, I will get back on track soon.  Grumble.

  1. Kristen J. says:

    Oh fuck all if this doesn’t also drive me up the damn wall. In our FPS teams, I am the best strategist. When M and I run through maps/scenerios in advance, I’m the one that sets up the game plan. M and I are a bit more evenly matched in performance. (He’s a better close range, reactive shooter. I’m a better distance shooter and I’m clever as hell.) But when the rest of the team joins us, even though we’ve been doing this for almost a DECADE they ask him what the strategy is. And he doesn’t freaking know. He rarely turns on his mike. I run the team and have for years. And don’t even get me started about when we’re down a player. Some new player will be assigned. Then we go through all the stages of grief (1) I’m a guy, (2) I’m a bitch, (3) I’m not very good and they should give the orders, (4) silence, and (5) acceptance or quitting.

  2. Roy Kay says:

    Oy! You seem willing to defer at times, which is sporting. But for real leadership, you are pretty much a natural. You’d make a great manager.

    If it helps, this may be the way they need to hear it, since despite manifest clarity, they don’t seems to be paying attention (Yeah, I’m a math/sci guy): “A competent scientist seeks to develop great theories and excellent operational definitions. However, when in due course, the empirical data, cast in robustly descriptive metrics, runs contrary to the theory and operational definitions, new ones must be developed. While I have not posited ANY formal theory, it appears that no one else has posited any VALID theory, nor apparently a valid methodology for evaluating failure, I think we are advised to remand to the artfulness of the ‘inspired tinker’ in the group. FWIW, as I am teaching you, you might make notes on the methodology and perhaps tease out an actual testable theory. At present you seem to be in ‘not even wrong’ territory.”

  3. dead_vladimir says:

    ahem- i feel that not everyone you runs with meets that above criteria lol

    • Ren says:

      oh, not everyone does, I run with people who are awesome and not like this at all, you are one such person, but this WAS the scenario last evening, and it DOES fit with my topic, and thus, I shared.

      As my disclaimer at the start of this series said, not all male gamers are like this at ALL, in fact, many men I have played with are nothing like this and do not do this shit. You are one of those guys 🙂

      • dead_vladimir says:

        in fact i wasn’t an elite player at COH until Mal (who is a woman ) took me under her wing and showed : )

        plus i’ve heard many a chauvinist pig curse her scrapper in RV: )

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