"SHOW US YOUR T*TS!!!"1Link (Thanks, Aaron!)
As a researcher, I felt I initially approached the idea of sexism in the virtual world of World of Warcraft in an almost totally unbiased way. Granted, I myself had experienced a fewinstances of sexist behavior, but I went into my procurement of interviewees with what I felt was a total lack of expectations as to what reactions I would receive from the general World of Warcraft public. My forum post stated that I was exploring possible instances of sexism towards female gamers, and using my name in the post clearly identified me as a woman, but the post made no claims as to whether or not I felt sexism even existed at all. However, very quickly I discovered the true feelings of players about the topic I was exploring. Comments such as the one above demonstrated a total lack of regard for the academic nature of my undertaking, and instead focused on trivial and sophomoric comments about my level of education and the personal motives individuals felt were behind my study. Many of the sexist postings on my original thread, in my own opinion as a researcher, justified the need for such an undertaking in the first place.
The world of any Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game is often an intimidating one for women. The gaming industry is still viewed as a primarily 'male' environment, and women are thought by many to be out of placeand even unwelcome in a MMO game. While the numbers of online gamers who are women are growing significantly, many players feel that the mindset of the industry as a whole has not caught up to the statistics, being that games are still designed and marketed almost entirely to men. Slightly over half of online gamers are women, and 20-30 percent of those gamers that play MMOs are women.
1 One response to my request for participants.