I’ve been thinking about what it is to be female in Azeroth. Certain posts, like this one at the ‘mental shaman, and certain experiences I’ve had in game have brought me to the point where I should address the choices I’ve made in portraying my femininity, whether they are particularly helpful or not, and how women are looked on in Azeroth and how that carries over from your world.
First, let me reiterate. I am not a woman. What I am is the corpse of a woman, raised by the Lich King as a weapon against the living. You won’t have to worry about me TMIing about periods, for as a corpse I don’t have them. I will never have a child. I cannot blame, or accept blame for my rage as being “hormonal” because I do not have hormones. I am dead. Half of my internal organs are decorating an Abomination’s meathook somewhere. My skin color is bled-out blue-grey. I have no pulse. My body temperature is whatever the surrounding temperature is, and let me tell you freezing solid on a cold Northrend night is an extremely unsettling experience. You would think questions of attractiveness, of sexuality and gender roles, of fair treatment due to my gender would be long behind me. I certainly thought so, when I thought about it at all.
And, well, we were wrong.
I also noticed few, very few strong women in leadership roles, whether Horde or Alliance. Sure, most of the rank-and-file are pretty much even, but when it comes to people I’m getting quests and taking orders from, they’re generally men, or answering to men. Don’t get me started on how the full-plate armor Saurfang wore, that can cover the frame of the mightiest (male) Tauren warrior with thick protection becomes, at best, a sports bra on my slender little frame. The magic that does this is apparently called “teen boys as target audience”, and I have been informed that I should just accept that the gear upgrades or the holiday dresses display my body for their amusement and interest and STFU.
Right. That’s going to happen.
The thing is, if it were my choice to display myself more sexually than a male avatar, if I could choose my responses as to whether or not they were gendered, that would be one thing. But, like world PvP, I’m not really given the choice to avoid it.
And men are.
You may think it’s hypocritical of me, seeing the art and fiction on this site. But those are my choice. And it’s supposed to be an ironic juxtaposition of “come-hither” sexuality used by a dead person. But a lot of you, and I hate to point my finger at men but most of you are, don’t get that. I can see the confusion – look at the art on the Blizzard site for female blood elf death knights sometime. The one I found looked alive, was on all fours, had breasts the size of her head, and was wearing painted-on black leather. And this is the only model I’m given on how I should act.
I don’t need to modify my behavior for you. I don’t need to be a stone-cold harridan or a fragile flower that needs protection. I can get up there in the front line and stand up to the most terrifying threats to Azeroth imaginable without flinching and still have my soft, emotional side. And neither of them needs to fit your stereotypes.
But I shouldn’t have to worry that a feminine voice over Vent, passing on a mark of sanctification, will get me nominated as the centerpiece for a gangbang – or, to be more precise in my terminology, gang rape. I shouldn’t have to be called a bitch because I won’t drag your lazy ass through AQ40, or drop whatever I’m doing to walk you through a lowbie group quest or the DK starting zone. If I won’t take my top off for ten gold pieces, the problem is not mine. And I don’t need to shut up, or go away, or roll a healer, or act like I’m alive and I want to have sex with you, or conform to your stereotypes. And it is not sexist or hateful of me to refuse this.
And again, I’m a corpse. How much worse is it for living women?
So what does this have to do with feminism?
Feminism has, and has been given, many different meanings. My meaning is simply that being female should be no worse than being male. If I present as female – though, biologically I have no gender because I don’t have a functioning biology – I should have the same opportunities, the same chance to succeed at whatever I choose to do as a male would.
And this is not true in my world, and it is not true in yours.
I have been told that I shouldn’t tank or I tank poorly because I’m female. I’ve been told I shouldn’t DPS or that I DPS poorly because I’m female. I’ve been told I’m a humorless feminazi bitch because I don’t find jokes about gang rape funny. And many of the people that tell me these things are the first to accuse me of “reverse sexism” and tell me that feminism is no longer needed, but that WoW is a guy thing so I should shut up or get out.
With all due respect, I don’t feel it necessary to justify the existence or need for feminism in Azeroth. When a main endgame raid boss can be female, when a female faction leader doesn’t have to be the “bitch” stereotype or the “weak-willed victim” stereotype, when we don’t get cookie-cutter hourglass figures and chainmail bikinis unless we want them, then you can argue with me over the necessity.
Because for better or worse, dead or no, my very corpse puts me on the feminist side of this issue.