Women in Gaming — A Social Experiment That Needs YOU

I’ve been a World of Warcraft player for the past 11 years. The game came out and I was a part of it. Mind you I was 11 year old at the time, but I avidly PvP’d and joined into as many pick up raid groups as I could. By the time I was in college I was in a steady raiding guild and by the time I finished college, I had been interviewed and accepted into a top raiding guild. While in this guild, I briefly led their healing team and parsed numerous times.

Two months before my interview into that guild I thought of quitting the game entirely. I wasn’t bored with the game, and I definitely hadn’t lost ability. In fact, the issue was the amount of sexual harassment I faced at the hands of other players, notably my GM and fellow raiders. The level it had reached made me hate logging into the game. It made me hate trying to be better, because the better I was the more attention I was receiving from people who viewed me as a sex object and not a teammate. In the end, the guild I joined featured a positive environment which helped me as a player thrive and feel unashamed of any ability I possessed, but there was a problem I just couldn’t ignore. How many other women have faced this type of harassment and given up on goals or on a talent that they could have fostered?

Then I had an idea. What if I took some of the most popular multiplayer games on the PC market (World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) and tested how people responded to me. There’s a catch though; the person on the other end of the microphone won’t always be my soprano voice. Half of the people who will play with me will get to talk to male friends instead. Their responses will be recorded, whether that be vocally, through text, or even through friend requests. For the next 8 weeks, this is all I’ll be doing (so my stream followers, sorry…I’ll try to keep you all entertained as much as possible :p). Hopefully the response I expect isn’t what happens, but only time and bad mechanics will tell.

Here’s where the community can come in to help me. I’m looking to collect various stories and opinions from all perspectives. I’m not just looking for women with stories on their experiences, I’m looking for men and women who have opinions on how we can fix the harassment problem that holds back so many. Opinions on how to further empower specifically young female gamers. Opinions on how to empower all gamers and how to create a community where negativity isn’t the expectation. I even want opinions on why this may not be necessary or potential problems people may see with my plan. My plan is more in-depth than the blurb above, and I’d love to talk with as many people as possible about the specifics.

The best way to make a positive change is to speak out and work to improve what we have. Let’s do that together.

iLuffhomer — aka rektbecca