WoW – Gender Dynamics

Hey All. Since we discussed gender and gaming in lecture this week, I thought I’d write about how gender is represented in WoW. When creating an avatar, the default avatar is a female. I can guess that this is suppose to be encouraging for female players because there seems to be a lack of them in WoW. Or, it could also just be pointing out to all players that there is indeed a female presence in the game. According to some research  I did, only about 16% of the 8.5 million players on WoW are female, and female players often hide their true gender to avoid harassment or being shunned from certain organizations, like guilds or raid groups.  All of this holds true to the material we discussed in lecture.

So while I was playing WoW this week, I searched for some female Orcs or Trolls in the land of Kalimdor, but I could not find a single female avatar player! This is the best I could do:

This image depicts a port city (Darkspear) with FEMALE troll guards. In Azeroth, almost every city has built in elite computer guards in the event of an attack (from straying AI enemies or coordinated Alliance attacks) to defend the lower level characters. Here, the guards are female (on either side of my avatar), which is something I am not accustomed to seeing.

I believe this is another effort to show the female presence in the game. My guess is the programmers realized that almost all of their avatars involved in quests were male, so to make up for it they put the women to work as watch guards (where were they before?).  As I explore larger cities, I’ll be sure to note the gender distribution of guards and players.

Also note the body proportions of the female avatars compared to the male. Both are hypersexualized! The male Orc avatar is extremely bulky with massive canine teeth and hunched over like some kind of brute. The females stand straight up (with their chests pointed out of course), have large breasts, and skimpy outfits. Thus, it would seem that the creators of WoW are targeting a male audience, similar to other “hardcore” games we discussed in class.

While I continue to quest in the next week or so, my observations will focus on group questing and how class can effect what type of player you are. Thanks for reading!

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One Comment on “WoW – Gender Dynamics”

  1. bugjun says:

    Nice post! Actually, my friend is a serious, very committed female WoW player and her avatar is a male Orc. She said she feels more powerful and strong with the ugly looking bulky male avatar. She also tole me one incident that she was sexually harassed and was discriminated when she wanted to team up with other players.


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