Confession: I started blogging to meet women

| Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Not really, but I did run into an interesting observation a week or two ago in SAN gchat: there are a lot of women in the guild. As I thought about the blogs I follow, I realized a lot of them are written by women. Are women more likely than men to be bloggers? I forgot about it for a while. Then Pugnacious Priest posted today about what effectively seemed to be a virtual escort service: pay for a girl to play with you. That seemed creepy. And almost entirely irrelevant to this post, except for having been about women, and acting as inspiration for my attempt at an ironically funny title.

I decided to get numbers. Total blogs followed: 31. Blogs that I'm 99% sure are male: 19. Blogs that I'm 99% sure are female: 11. And then a few that I'm not sure. Okay based on the numbers it looks that the "few I'm not sure" are actually just one. Maybe I put the unsures in with male.

A bit over 35% of the blogs I read are written by female bloggers. Numbers vary, but I'm pretty sure less than 35% of players are female.

Clearly women, more so than men, like to talk a lot.

While we're on the sterotyping train, one is a mage, one is a warlock, I have no clue, and the rest are healers; priests and druids. That last bit may be biased because paladin blogs appear to be universally boring. I suspect it's because we play a boring class. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong. On the boring blogs part, don't tell me how to play my class*.

Since I'm the one with the blank page, I'll just go ahead and make up useless theories which have little to no basis in reality.
- Social or biological pressure pushes women into the 'maternal' role of healing.
- The dominance of men in the medical field causes women to go for the one place a man won't tell them they can't heal.
- Men are too insecure to wear dresses and not hit things in the face, leaving women to fill the gap.
- Any attempt to talk on vent results in "omg a girl?", so a blog with the ability to delete jackasses is a better way to talk.
- Women are more social than men and therefore more likely to join SAN.
- Women write in a different manner (statistically speaking) than men and this happens to appeal to me, causing me to read their blogs more often than randomly sampling of the WoW blogosphere would predict, meaning that my observations are statistically not useful and therefore any conclusions I attempt to draw from them are best ignored.
That last one seemed pretty good, actually.

I also seem to have a lot of European blogs. Either they are a talkative sort, or I'm statistically invalid. Or my methodology sucks, since I did kinda sorta shove the Australians into the European category as a sort of "not North America" category. Sorry guys, but I'm legally required to add an "us vs. them" comment into every post; you just don't usually notice. I can't go into details, but let's just say I ordered french fries in 2005.

* Why the fuck do people say this? It's a bit of advice, an observation, a suggestion of room for improvement. So what if they're 'telling you how to play you class'? You're playing a like a fucking jackass! Stop using seal of wisdom as ret and exorcism while tanking! It's fucking stupid! Ahem. Sorry.

P.S. After I wrote this, I found another blog to add. So make that 12 female out of 22.


LarĂ­sa said...

Hm... Maybe we're somehow drawn to the opposite gender? I've always found myself much more at home with men than with women. Goes at work as well as in game. All-female groups generally makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I took a quick glance at my blogroll and if I counted right, 46 out of a total of 64 blogs belong to (as far as I know of) male writers.

Blog Azeroth made some sort of un-scientific survey a couple of years ago and if I remember it correctly there were about as many male as female bloggers around.

Dwism said...

More scewed statistics:
The female bloggers I follow (bar one), I follow because they are much better at not falling into the rantraging pittfall i seem to fall into all the time.
And the women I meet in game, are either very open about it "/s I wouldn't know, I'm a girl..." or very secretive about it (in the 'don't think less of me just because i'm a girl' sort of way) -both these are excaturated examples.
Oh, and none of the women in my guild have yet to speak on teamspeak.

Anonymous said...

I have more blogs on my list then u do but I agree most of the healing types are more likely to be females - ESP the priest and Druid types- males go feral kitty - there will always be exceptions and no one has done a census on gender. though from a shadow priest gender thing it's about half half for the bloggers - I fought a great deal to not get slotted into the healer role - fought gquit cried ranted and I'm still shadow! If u were in the san vent 2 weeks ago when they did the dk run - you would have seen omg boy! there's a lot of chickies in there :p Women like communication.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh but in relation to dwisms comment we mostly like communication when we are supported By other women - and a male based vent channel can be threatening -

Klepsacovic said...

@Larisa: Normally I'd correct you and say that the proper word is sex, but in this case it actually would be gender. Maybe there is some style of writing or choice of topics which attracts the opposite. But that would suggest that all bloggers don't quite like what they write.

@Dwism: Maybe they're just cross-dressing guys RPing/pretending to be girls.

@pugnaciouspriest: I'd join the SAN vent, but my mic doesn't work. I feel awkward having to respond in raid or guild chat.

Way to not fit your comments in one comment.

Faeldray said...

I suddenly feel like an anomaly. >.> My main is a hunter, with my second most played character being a prot pally that I absolutely love tanking on. I'll talk on vent a lot but only with people I know very well. Outside of the game, I'm a horribly shy girl. Oh, and I'm a Canadian blogger. ;)

Although like Larisa, I feel more comfortable with men than women. Most likely because I have much more in common with them than I do other women (ie. I'd rather spend money on video games than shoes and clothes).

Analogue said...

Female here. I have a max level arcane mage and prot pally that I love but my main is definitely my resto druid and that's my comfortable role for raids. Wasn't my first main, healing was a new challenge for me, but I do get the feeling that women are more drawn to healers than to other classes, and more than guys are. (Although the first Resto druid I really remember noticing in game was male. A gay male... not sure what that says)

Personally I believe that sex-related differences have biological roots not just social ones and that woman are naturally more drawn to "nurturing" roles while men are more drawn to "protect/destroy" roles. This varies person to person of course and yes, societal norms have an influence, but deep down there are real reasons why women tend to be chattier and tend to be more nurturing. Hence, Resto Druid bloggers are women.

LabRat said...

Most of the bloggers on my blogroll are male, but I think it has less to do with me being drawn to the opposite sex's writing style than it does with me being a tank and that role being male-dominated. I don't read (most) healer blogs because I don't heal; it's the only raid role I haven't tried yet, though I mean to play with it one of these days.

I think the dearth of female tanks has less to do with us wanting the "more nurturing" role or not being as biologically drawn to the "protective" one than it does with the fact that there's a very different social dynamic with the rest of the raid expected of the tank and healer. They're both in a nurturing/guardian role with making sure the rest of the raid stays alive rather than focusing on killing the boss, but the tank has by far the most visible role and the most perceived responsibility. My healer has commented before on how she couldn't handle the pressure of tanking, but honestly, I'm not sure I could handle the pressure of healing- it seems like they have a much more actually difficult task than I do in 90% of fights.

Tanks are more visible in their responsibilities and more expected to be tough leaders, which, socially speaking is much more "masculine" in its expectations. Very broadly speaking, men are rewarded for being thick-skinned assertive leaders and women are either noticed less or actively punished for the exact same behavior- "take charge" becomes "bossy bitch" in perception. Healing is an essential job, but it's also one few really notices unless it goes badly.

I'll stop rambling as it occurs to me there is probably a post in this. Content yay.

Klepsacovic said...

@Faeldray: Maybe you enjoy being around practical people with the ability to figure out that a $50 game that may be played for hours, perhaps more than once, is a greater value than a $150 pair of shoes (or is that cheap?) that is worn once. Of course I'm exaggerating, but that's my right!

@Analogue: I wonder how that could be tested. Maybe see how people act when they don't think they're in those roles? For example, the healer dies, is the male or female ret paladin more likely to fill in? Or alternatively, if the tank dies?

@Labrat: The biggest split in WoW is between healers and tanks arguing that the other one has the more strssful job. I claim it is the healers.

Maybe this is just mirroring society: behind every great man (tank) there is a greater woman (healer).

Sven said...

I think I play with a weird group of people. All are top DPS are women (2 melee + 2 ranged) and all our healers are male. At least our tanks fit the (male) stereotype.

Anonymous said...

On a whole I do find more women healers then men healers. Another common role I see women in my guild do is dps. With as many women that are in my guild we have 0 women tanks. With a 30% ratio of women to men I would think that we would possibly have 1 tank out of the 10-12 tanks we already have.

I have a feeling that it may have something to do with the tanks being in a leadership role and that the women don't feel comfortable doing this possibly due to social pressures. Even for raids our healing leader is a male even though 80% of our heal force is females/gay males. When he does not show up there is absolutely 0 leadership shown for the healers and its goes all willy nilly until one of the tanks sorts them out because even though they have done the same thing over and over none of them want to step up to the plate and actually lead.

It really is kind of an odd dynamic as a whole and I think looking at these types of situation brings a good grasp to where society still is as a whole. When one can take an anonymous character in a game and technically do whatever role they would like, that they fall into the same types of stereotypes that many try and fight to get out of.

Klepsacovic said...

@Sven: Weird today is just tomorrow's norm. And normal today is outdated tomorrow.

@kamiken1: What are the approximate ages? I expect that they are all young. Older women might be mothers, the leaders of children. Anyone who can tame a herd of children can lead a raid. But I might be entirely wrong.

Hana said...

Hm... I counted my blog subscriptions up and I think I have 17 bloggers that I think are male and 7 that are female, so about 30% female. I'm less sure about location. I know two are Aussies just from haphazard comments, and several are definitely in the US, but most are unknown.

The vast majority of the blogs I read are druid or paladin related, but none of the paladin ones are written by women (as far as I can tell), which strikes me as a bit odd. The last one I can recall was Banana Shoulders, which hasn't been updated in ages.

As far as my guild goes... I'd love to get another woman in here, but currently I'm the only one, and I have performed all three roles of tank, heals, and dps in ICC and I'm the raid leader besides, so I'm probably not normal. :P

LabRat said...

I think age and potentially parenthood definitely has something to do with it. The only regular healer we have who is in any way hesitant to provide leadership is male, and a younger college student; our normal "backbone" healers are both mothers and neither shows any hesitancy whatsoever to provide leadership in healing assignments. Before our current incarnation, our raid leader was also female and also a healer, though not a mother.

I personally don't prefer to lead, but I'm awfully quick to pick it up if I don't see anyone else doing it, or doing it reluctantly.

Klepsacovic said...

@Hana: New program: Recruit a Girlfriend; 30% extra DKP if she stays past a month and isn't terrible.

@LabRat: Aha, my pack of unruly children perspective of raiding has one more piece of evidence!

Cassandri said...

I read somewhere that Book Clubs are really for women: "only women feel the need to talk about a book that they have already read - most men are content just having the actual experience of reading a book." Or something like that.

I think a lot of the female bloggers are trying to understand our in-game experiences by reliving and sharing them. The bookclub for WoW perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that every girl I've ever played with (using vent) plays a Hunter. ALWAYS a Hunter. It's bizzare.

I can only ASSume it's because...

1. Pets. Girls don't want to be alone, even when playing solo. Girls are social creatures, and when alone in an MMOrpg of millions of players, a pet companion gives the illusion of companionship. Also, Hunter pets are always animals needing love and care (Warlock pets are ALL boy's toys that serve a purpose and are then dismissed)

2. Range dps via weapons. The person holding the gun is emotionally distant from the violent act the gun causes. Mages/Warlocks shoot stuff from their hand, but it's still THEM that are doing the killing. A gun is an object that all the violent negativity is projected on to, and can be put down/abandonded at any time, leaving the user emotionally cleansed of it's violent history.

* Of course, melee dps are always boys. Boys LOVE the "Run up to them and HACK HACK HACK DIE DIE DIE PANT PANT PANT" physical rush. It's a biologic thing. Ask anyone with kids.

Daxlim said...

I'm a guy. I've got all healer classes in healing spec. I like melee dps the least of all roles. This post and it's comments has made me feel insecure about my masculinity. Being insecure is also more typically female than male, which makes me even more insecure. Damn those vicious circles.

But, I kid. It's true there's a lot of women playing the healer role. I think they're quite often mildly forced into the role. If a guy is asked to heal on a hybrid class, he'll say "I'm dps, go *beep* yourself", in general (...careful here) women tend to happily agree, because they like to feel useful to the group. In my case, I chose to be healer for my first class because of the simple matter of supply and demand, I wanted an edge in getting into raids and I ended up liking the job more than doing some boring dps rotation with 15 other guys, only having some arbitrary number to show for it in the end. As healer I know when I made a difference.

Anyway, women should play tank more. The few women I met that were tanks were better at the job than most men, not kidding. Still trying to figure out if there's a stereotype I can (ab)use to explain that, because I like stereotypes :)

* Oh, and I hate it when people tell me how to play my class too, usually because they are just to stupid to realize they're the ones that don't know what they're doing. There were few occasions in the past where I later realized it was actually good advice, but 95% of the cases, it's just terrible, toe-curling horrible advice that brings out a primal urge to bring pain. It usually starts with "tbh".

Klepsacovic said...

@Cassandri: Oh great, now I'm at a book club. At least they didn't pick a sappy romance this time.

@Anonymus: I know only one female hunter. Then there are many healers, at least one elemental shaman, though I know of no melee DPS.

@Daxlim: The first time I was told to heal, that's pretty much what I said. I'd healed before, but no one told me to do it. On the other hand, since I mainly raid as ret, I feel like one of a dozen.

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