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Gender-specific Blogging

August 19, 2008

The topic for this post was sparked by my realization during the “Subscribe-a-thon” that there are a lot of World of Warcraft blogs that are written with a title based on the fact that the author is a) a gamer, as well as b) a female.  Many of these are great blogs written by wonderful bloggers, even some of my favourites.

The thing is – I don’t see what the big deal is about being a female geek.  I (obviously) do not have a problem with female gamers OR female bloggers.  But I don’t understand why some women seem to think this is such important distinction for their blog.

Okay, so there are less females than males that play World of Warcraft.  This is a fact.  But does this really affect how or why you play the game?  When I am playing, I don’t make decisions like, “I’m going to spec BM because I’m a girl.”  Or “I’d rather quest in Terrokar than Blade’s Edge because I have woman parts.”  The fact that I am a female does not affect my in-game life on a day-to-day basis.  Sure, I’ll have the occasional person who thinks I’m a guy playing a girl (not very often, Trolls are much less likely to be cross-players than Elves)  or that I’m a guy playing a guy (in the case of Ferguson, which is a reasonable assumption to make.)  The thing is, I don’t take offense from it.  There is no way for someone to know if I’m a lady or a guy until I either tell them or they hear me talk.  I’ll correct them if necessary, and then move on.

Can you really base an entire blog on this?

I am of the opinion that your blog title should either be terribly clever or be informative about the subject matter (preferably both… see Secret Agent Cat).  I also believe it’s important to have something special, some quiddity, that makes your blog different from others.  Which I guess is where the girl blog thing comes from.  However, the “I’m a girl who plays WoW” blogs I’ve seen are rarely actually about the fact that they are a girl.  They are no different from blogs written by guys. In fact, I could title my blog about the fact that I’m a Troll (since Trolls are a minority in WoW) but it would be deceiving, because I don’t really blog about the fact that I’m a Troll.

Maybe a blog that actually discusses the topic of being a female in the gaming world on a regular basis could justify the title, although I can’t really see there being enough to discuss to keep an entire blog afloat.

Maybe I’m just used to being a minority.  I work in a very male-dominated field.  At my current job, I’m the only girl on my team (of about 15) and there are only 6 females in our company (about 60 people total).  Again, it doesn’t affect me.  I don’t care who is a male or who is a female, if they can do their job right – that’s great.

I also don’t think women are as much of a minority as some may think.  In my guild, our 25-man raids are always at least 1/3 female, and 3/4 of our guild leaders are female.  Many of our most active players are female.  As WoW becomes more and more mainstream, it becomes more and more common to run into a female character that is -actually- female.  Actually, when I see a female toon, I always assume it is a female until I’m told otherwise.  Like I said, there is no other way to know!

So I guess what I’m wondering is: is it really THAT big a deal that you are a girl that plays games?  Does that make you any more/less important/knowledgeable?  Must you really rely on your gender to get people to visit your blog or find you interesting?

No! You are a great writer.  You are a passionate gamer.  You are a good and fun person.  That is why people read your blog and play games with you… so why focus on the fact that you’re a girl?

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27 comments

  1. Well said. Although, I’m getting the impression that female WoW bloggers are becoming (or already are) the majority population in the blogging community. I would like to see someone do some research on this.


  2. Actually, I did have a bit about that in my post, but took it out because it didn’t really fit. I have noticed that the majority of the WoW bloggers I read are female! Maybe I’ll go through them and count, do a comparison.


  3. My most-commented on article (“I Love Women”) was about an extremely similar topic. While I didn’t focus on the blogging aspect, I did note that a lot of women emphasize the fact that they’re female as if it really that incredibly rare — even though we’re not that uncommon.

    There are sites that focus on gaming for women. Their names are appropriate because they examine gaming from the perspective of some women, which is an interesting idea and can be rather insightful. However, anything else looks like they’re emphasizing the fact that a female is on the site as a gimmick when, really, I don’t think gender should be used that way.

    What I would love to see, however, is less “Yes, I’m a girl on World of Warcraft!” or “We do exist!” comments on about pages. That’s a load of tripe.


  4. Cynra – Great article, not sure how I hadn’t read it before! I see that you made a few very similar points to me. I’ve always held this opinion about women in the game… (I hate the “guild princess” complex) but I decided to focus on the blog world for my post.

    The blogs that actually focus on issues about being a female and about gaming, then my quibble doesn’t really apply to them, as that can be quite an interesting topic – it’s the ones that are playing the gender card for the sake of attention or something, when they give no real significance to it in their actual blog.


  5. “Trolls are much less likely to be cross-players than Elves”

    ^ Made me giggle, because it’s true– my fem-tauren has had about ten times more creepy guy stalkers than my fem-nelf, and I think it’s cause fem-taurens are more likely to actually be female!

    I think that some people are influenced to include a female term in their blog, if they come from a background where females truly rarely play the game? Just my hypothesis! As I have noted before, I come from a very female-gamer heavy background so it was never a big deal to me (heck, I was actually surprised the other day when I heard a female acquaintance make some sort of disparaging comment towards video games– I’d forgotten not all girls play! =P)

    I do note that I am a girl on the front page of my blog, and on the about page– both in passing– but they are there (they originally weren’t) because sometimes people have assumed I’m a guy =P So another thing is, putting it in your title, ensures you aren’t going to have any mixups of that variety! Maybe that’s another reason why there are so many? Dunno, just tossin’ theories out there!

    Though to be truthful, even before I had the occasional “I’m a geekgirl” statements on my blog, the gender mixups were rare; most people, I think, go to my blog, see my super-cutesy chibi night elf layout and can guess for themselves =P I don’t much talk about the fact that I am a girl, unless I am talking about byproducts of that fact: “I rolled a blood elf male. Now I know why so many guys roll elf chicks. Mmmyummy.” =P

    Huh, my comment is super rambly =P But very good post!


  6. Pike – I know exactly what you mean about being a female gamer – I’ve always been a gamer all my life, so it’s never been such a big deal to me. It’s perfectly understandable to make a note of the fact that you are female on your page, it’s just a fact about you that people might as well know! But I think putting it in the title just to avoid mix-ups is a little bit over-doing it. To me at least, mix-ups don’t worry me so much. It is bound to happen, and I don’t really get offended by it… I don’t think being called a guy by someone who doesn’t know my gender is an insult.

    I guess what I’m saying is: don’t be ashamed of the fact that you are a girl, but it’s unnecessary to flaunt it!

    I’m glad to see others agree with me here! :)


  7. “so why focus on the fact that you’re a girl?”

    Because it’s scientifically proven to get you at least 75% more readership. It’s simple.

    *pulls out chalkboard and pointer*

    Socially mal-adjusted teenage males + female on the internet + sexual frustration = obsessive infatuation.


  8. Rilgon – The thing is, I think that’s a silly way to get more readers. I think it is better to rely on, I don’t know, skill and talent rather than biology.

    Also, seeing as so many bloggers seem to be female, one can only assume that many blog readers are also female. I think it’s a false assumption to think that the majority of readers (or players of the game) are socially mal-adjusted teenage males.


  9. Well yes, but when the real methodology of skill and talent fail, females have boobies to fall back on, and it works. :P


  10. No it’s not a big deal. I recently had an outburst over it on my blog. I’ve deliberately NOT named my blog with something like “mum”, “chick” or “girl”. It really isn’t important.


  11. Eh, my subtitle is “A Girl in a WoW-blog World”, quite honestly there was no forethought into, “well I should put girl so people know.” It just sounded good to me. I suppose I could just have easily said “A Person in a WoW-blog World” or “A Druid in a WoW-blog World” or whatever. Then again my blog isn’t actually *about* anything besides general day-to-day things, sometimes I mention my boyfriend if it’s applicable, etc etc.

    I’m quite used to being called male, in fact my real life name is gender neutral and I’m quite often Mr. Awlbiste (more so than Ms. actually) on my mail.

    So I see where you’re coming from but at least for myself my blog subtitle just came from no serious though about advertising my gender. It just seemed to flow well.


  12. Awlbiste – I do understand that. And some of the “girl” blog names are pretty clever! But the ones I have a problem with is where it almost feels like they are throwing the fact at you. As in, they’re About page says “OMG, Yes, I am actually a girl that plays the game, can you believe it?”

    I’ve seen your blog – you aren’t one of those people! :)


  13. Ok, well yeah I’m a girl, and my blog title has LADY in it. Is it to get more readers? nope. Do I think I’m ZOMG speshal!! because I’m a girl gamer? No, in fact I don’t even consider myself a gamer, I only play WoW. Do I run around in game bragging about it and shouting from the rooftops I’m a female? no.

    Why is it Lady Jess? because my main character’s name is Jess, Jess is a female. Jess was doing dailies in Skettis when an NPC said “Lady Jessmyn good to see you!” or some such thing. I was at that point trying to figure out my domain name, everyone calls me Jess anyhow, and it clicked. Later when I decided to move my non WoW blogging over, it still worked for me because it gave me more anonymity, being that MY name isn’t Jess.

    There are two bad things about being a girl that games. One being guys that treat you like a simpleton or act like they’ve never seen a girl before, and the other being assumptions that when we act feminine, or let it show we are girls we draw attention to it for extra bonuses.

    Of all the female bloggers I read, not one of them strikes me as saying “HEY! I’m a girl read me!!”


  14. Also, I DO understand the annoynce of the “guild princess” types, and the ones that use the “sex sells” approach (sex meaning gender here), I just have yet to run across it in blogging.


  15. I couldn’t agree with this post more. ZOMG I’M A GIRL GAMER LOVE ME is very 1995.


  16. My opinion here does extend directly to the actual gamers, not just bloggers, and in fact I’ve seen a lot more of it in game than on blogs. The fact that I’d recently read so many new blogs and encountered this a few times is why I chose to focus on the blogging world aspect rather than just in game.

    I’m glad that the majority of the blogs I read, whether they have some form of the word “girl” in the title or not, don’t really get too princess-y, but nevertheless, I’ve seen it enough to know it’s out there in the blogging world as well as in the gaming world.


  17. I’m lucky enough to rarely have gotten the treatment in game from guys (awesome guild ftw), never having seen a guild princess, I apparently live in a bubble though because I hear about it often…lol


  18. My guild is really great for this as well. There is rarely a comment about any of us being girls (which many of us are) and I don’t think anyone is uncomfortable talking in vent just because of their gender. In fact, I also have almost never gotten the “ZOMG” reaction from the guys in the game, but I have had the experience of meeting girls who are just looking for a “ZOMG” reaction, or take things that really aren’t that kind of reaction as such.


  19. My declaration of gender on my blog had nothing to do with readership it had to do with helping others to come up with the right pronouns when quoting me. I got quoted on WowInsider, WarCast and a couple of other places and in -all- of those quotes I got referred to as “he”.**

    Why should I just be ok with that? It seems that most people assume gamers..and especially game bloggers are male. My gender isn’t relevant to my message.. but it makes me happier when it’s known/acknowledged that girls can think up this kind of stuff too.

    So in response I decided to make it easier for readers to figure out that I’m a she instead of a he.

    So now I’m using my sex as a PR tool? Give me a break.

    I’m a great writer. I’m a passionate gamer. I’m a good and fun person. And when you quote me because I have good ideas.. or great macros.. use the pronoun “she” ’cause girls think this stuff up too.

    **In my early days on the Internet I hid my sex and purposefully suggested I was male. This was because the Internet was immature. Finding out I was female -then- usually led to “show me your pic”. It’s not like that now. Times have changed.


  20. Nibuca – I am not saying you should have to be okay with people assuming you are a male. But I doubt when people do assume, that they mean any offense by it. Maybe it’s an English language thing, we don’t really have a good ‘neutral’ term. Would you rather people call you “it” when quoting you, if they don’t know your gender? Would you rather everyone refer to everyone who’s gender they don’t know as “she”?

    There’s no perfect solution to this. The only solution is to not over react when people that don’t know your gender guess the wrong one. And some people just don’t find it in their abilities to do so.


  21. No.. there is a perfect solution. If the gender confusion bothers me.. then I need to do the things I need to do to make the gender less confusing.

    I don’t think I ever -over- reacted. I didn’t write in and call Schramm an idiot.. or tell Renata that she was a sexist bigot. I just made it easier to tell my gender without digging too deeply into my blog.


  22. [...] know that you wrote your post as a response to Brajana at Mend Pet, who wrote her own thoughts on why some bloggers put words in the title of their blogs when they [...]


  23. [...] to be. What does this have to do with WoW? You’d be surprised. A topic started by Brajana at Mend Pet stated Brajana wrote: “The thing is – I don’t see what the big deal is about being a female geek.  I [...]


  24. [...] (on a budget!) August 29, 2008 On his post about a post about my apparently pugnacious post, Big Bear Butt Blogger happened to mention an unrelated point that he was looking for a good [...]


  25. [...] After I went back and listened to the podcast I feel totally guilty that I sound like a total flake. I mean seriously.. I went on and on and on about how I can’t justify getting a second account for me to get a Zhebra.. but I can justify spending $40 to get a bear for fiancee.. Add to that, the flip flop I’ve made in my online life moving from “no no, I’m Monte, not a girl” to “I’m a grrl damnit, and don’t you forget it” It just sounds schitzophrentic. Especially when considered against the current tempest in a teapot that is “Gender specific blogging”. [...]


  26. [...] Mend Pet [...]


  27. [...] Mend Pet [...]



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