GUEST EDITORIAL by Hayley Conway (@haylenore, previous editorial)

A few weeks ago when I was playing a MMO called Neverwinter, I had an incident with a fellow guildmate, a female. This guildy and I had played together for months. I was in the guild, as the only female, long before she joined. I was thrilled that she was another female to game with. We both played the same class (control wizard), and we shared tips and pointers about how to play our characters. She went with one build, I went with another. We helped each other out. We talked every day, and we had some good times. We even gave ourselves a nickname: the Control Sisters.

But then this girl started doing PVP and became a competitive player. I don’t do PVP; I have no interest in trying to best other players. I don’t play to compete – I’ve always played to have fun. She made new friends who liked to PVP, and I made new friends who did not. We were still okay and joined together to run dungeons and get our daily quests done.

Little by little, she turned bossy, controlling, and competitive – especially when guys were around. She was promoted in the guild to the rank I belonged as an officer, and the power, well, went to her head. We ran together less and less, but then when we were together, she was critical of me and of others in the party. There is a line between constructive criticism and telling people what to do. She blew up that line with C-4 and left a smoldering crater.

When my other guildmates got offline, I started running with another guild. I enjoyed their company because they were all friendly and welcoming. They didn’t lecture me about how I should play my character. They didn’t brush me off when I asked for help with quests. They didn’t bail on me to run dungeons with other people.

Our guilds formed an alliance, and it mostly went over well. The other guild’s leader asked me if I’d like to help them with some stuff in their guild stronghold. I thought that would be a great way to build more friendships between our guilds since ours was smaller, so I switched over to see what information I could bring back to aid my guild.

My guild founders were fine with the idea and even temporarily switched over to help out. The only person who wasn’t fine with it was my fellow female guildy. She made a terrible scene in a party chat with my a-ok guild founder and the other guild’s founder and senior members. She made herself look horrific, she attempted to make me look stupid, and she shit on everything I tried to do that would have been beneficial for everyone involved.

Suddenly I was a threat to her dominance. I was competition. I did something that she couldn’t take credit for, and she didn’t like that one bit. I’ve never been competitive. I’m happy to just be included. I play support roles. Numbers on a leaderboard mean nothing to me.

Long story short: I left that guild because I wasn’t going to subject myself to the whims of an unapologetic bully. Later I found out that guild fell apart because of her garbage attitude and behavior.

Thankfully, I’m in a better guild now, with people who don’t treat others like trash. I still talk to my friends from the old guild and do stuff with them. However, I’m flabbergasted about the entire situation because it’s just a video game.

Right? It’s just a video game.

People I’ve told this story to all say the same thing: some women who play MMOs are terrible. They fight each other, they lie and backstab, and they tear guilds apart.

Ladies, we have a problem. Women are not pushed out of tech/gaming/whatever by men. Women are pushed out of tech/gaming/whatever by other women. Most dudebros are happy to have females play vidya with them, and they treat women pretty well with all that free stuff they give away.

Within the last year and a half, a lot of us have discovered social justice and third wave feminism. We’ve seen all kinds of internet slapfights between #GamerGate supporters and social justice warriors. We’ve seen the women and minorities of #NotYourShield silenced and erased by the supposedly “tolerant” progressives.

You’re the wrong kind of queer.

You’re the wrong kind of ethnic minority.

You’re the wrong kind of woman.

I’m writing this because I’m the wrong kind of woman. I’m not a feminist. I love video games. I love bouncing breasts on sexy redheads. But goodness me if I’m also not the right kind of woman for GamerGate too.

When I say this, I’m not talking about every single woman in GG. I’ve not met every single woman who supports ethics in games journalism and wants to fight censorship. But many I have seen on Twitter are really kinda insufferable. (Insert fake geek girl meme here.)

Envious. Competitive.

On whom or what do we blame this competitive nature? Is it feminism? Did feminism instill inside us women some kind of need to tear other women down because they have the wrong ideas or because we’re jealous of them? Does this go back even further to Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera? To Eve and Lilith?

Where is this mythic sisterhood? Where is the solidarity? Why do women have to be fake and disingenuous? We’ve seen feminists and SJWs eat each other alive for wrongthink, but what about those women who don’t follow the cultish behavior of so-called progressivism? What about those women who love video games and aren’t in this social media slapfight to be somebody’s perceived competition? (I’d say this about men as well, but women are far, far worse.)

Many female GG supporters have unfollowed me, and I have muted and unfollowed quite a few as well. (But yet, for some reason, the amount of male followers I have grows daily. Must be the lewds!) This is not a competition. We’re here for our love of video games.

I think about Clementine Ford who relishes in getting men fired over calling her a slut but then also calls plenty of other women she doesn’t like sluts. What is that helping? When you go behind someone’s back and tell loads of people that you think a newcomer is a sock puppet even though you have zero proof, you’re not helping. ” When you “leave” a hashtag, making as much of a scene as possible, and then continually talk about the hashtag and get your tits out because your YouTube following has bombed [EDITOR’S NOTE: Example], you’re not helping. Go on and tell everyone how SJWs nearly drove you to suicide if it makes you feel better, but that’s not helping either. What this DOES is give ammunition to some women to use against others they don’t like. I’ve seen it happen to my friends, I’ve had it happen to me, and it’s goddamn infuriating.

Stop being bitches, okay? It’s not attractive or endearing at all. Let’s not tear each other down. I’m not going the “muh PR” route, but I am asking for women to back off and be kinder to each other. Be nice. Be genuine. But have fun too because we’re in this together.

48 comments
  1. To be fair I have my share of similar “guild stories” coming from males – and sometimes worse ones when they are defending the honor of some gamur grill.
    But yeah, women tend to get bossy when they are around the typical players of of MMOs who are 90% turbobeta passive-aggressive fedora types.
    People even make female characters because men in MMOs are so submissive to the other sex, so I imagine grills can easily exploit that.

    1. I’m a little surprised, though. Most of the guys I game with are all disabled military veterans. They don’t strike me at all as being passive-aggressive fedora types. I haven’t had too many guys give me free stuff. Usually I’m the one handing out things to everyone to help them get better gear.

  2. I have noticed over the course of being online for 17 years that every website, community, group, etc that has a high amount of women and feminine men are usually drama filled hives with lots of backstabbing whereas places with a balance of women/feminine men and masculine men or higher amount of masculine men are usually calmer places with less sniping and backstabbing. (I think part of that is, that the “dudebros” punch it out quick, have a beer, and get back to life.)

    I say usually because there are outliers that are different but women are often their gender’s own worst enemy.

    Any time I’ve every needed help online, guys are often very nice and helpful but then again I don’t go into a site with a bitchy attitude and a chip on my shoulder.

    Just my two cents, for what it is worth.

    1. That’s the key. Don’t go in there — in games or anywhere else for that matter — thinking your shit don’t stink.

    2. It’s definitely odd.
      I’m an egalitarian. I’m socially liberal. I’m a damn socialist, so I’m definitely a bleeding heart and try to treat everyone fairly (I put all my gold into the community, I help folks with whatever I have and my only request is to “pay it forward”)

      My community is well over a decade old (first formed in Planetside) and I joined the WoW branch mid 2007 (Black Temple) became raidleader early 2009 (Ulduar) and have now lead the guild (after a split caused largely by a young lady, and now in the reformed original) since Cataclysm.

      We have some amazing, friendly women.
      And yet I’ve struggled to find women to promote. I do not believe in “affirmative action” and will only promote those that earn it.
      My one female officer was the guild leader of a guild we merged with (and is an awesome Swedish lass, totally lucked out there, the other officers I picked up from that guild were a mixed bag to say the least & she’s the last one standing)

      As you say, drama seems to follow women if they let it.
      The other lass that is likely to get promoted soon, amusingly, is the very one that caused the guild split.
      She matured into a better person and learned to appreciate that nobody was “out to get her”

      I’ve found that even the good ones can get a little catty with “strange women” but I think this is largely because they understand how easy it is for drama to happen. Seems they are more prepared to go to war on the chance a newcomer is “that kind” of girl 😛
      I don’t think it’s always jealousy (though I think sometimes it might be. Many nerd girls like having the harem of nerds and don’t want to share, right? :D) but perhaps “protectiveness”

      Thankfully, as you say, dudes can coexist even when there’s no love lost, most of the time.
      (me and the old Guild lead, for instance, buried the hatchet pretty quick despite what happened. I go sit in his yard in Denmark every summer & get drunk at our community BBQ)

      As to “gamergate women”
      Maybe this is limited to “ecelebs”?
      The women I’ve interacted with have been standup lasses.
      Met a few at GGinBrum and they were lovely.

    3. Just about how many women do you personally know that follows the very essence of honor , the Reciprocity Principle? , simply put : “You shall not attack anyone who hasn’t attacked you first and if forced , you will only act in a reciprocate way towards another human being in self defense”. This principle is also tied with the Non-Agression Principle : “You shall allways atrive to achieve a pacefull , non aggresive way towards a conflict, if possible through dialog , negotiation and agreement”.
      So take a chance , ask your fellow female friends, how many of them follow these two very essential but simple principles of honor ?.

  3. I have learned whether it be on the blogosphere or in MMORPGs, or in well, anything… you’d damn well better have some men in your circle or eventually everything will collapse into misery and catfights. Why, I’m not sure because so many female friends were absolute sweetheats but inevitably there was always one girl that made me uncomfortable and used the “sisterhood” to keep me in line. My happiest times were with my one female friend and our four dude friends.

    1. I would much rather play with dudes to be honest. Women feel like they have something to prove, but I have nothing to prove to anyone. And if I did, I wouldn’t drag other people down so I could be on top of the body pile. That bad attitude does nothing but alienate people. So much for sisterhood solidarity!

      1. I’ve never had any other women need to prove but it’s just…. those that are antagonistic do it in the most catty, passive aggressive ways. I don’t like the shit-talking regardless of who says it but I’d rather silence a dude who’s obviously being a jerkface than a girl who uses other channels and other players to play the me-versus-her game.

  4. In Star trek on line I lost a good chunk of my fleet to one women and her “progressive views” we had an open door policy take any one in but don’t assume you’re gonna be coddled every step of the way. Well we get this lady in and at first she was nice we gave her some starter stuff and said have fun.

    No pressuring any one in the fleet to donate to the fleet holdings or any thing like that. then we hit a hard dry spell that every one was rather burned out of the game.
    So 2 months pass and we gave the lady a promotion but still no access to the fleet bank. the major players that put stuff intot he fleet was because they bought keys for lock boxes and left hem there for every one. We told member if they want it they can have it just by asking.

    Well she was upset over the whole “I can’t have access to the fleet vault”

    She donated nothing to the fleet holdings, donated nothing to the vaults and her only redeeming thing was she got our fleet numbers up.

    So the 6 leaders and I talked about it had a debate then had an open voting in a fleet meeting. 6 to 1 in favor of not giving her access.

    She went fucking Nuclear on us. Ranting and raving even went on the forums calling my self and the other leaders sexist racist pigs and tried to get us banned.

    Well one of the members is in good grace and plays a lot with I think the community manager and the fact that the 7 of us have been playing since the game was beta, 3 of us are life time members and the rest are paying (Yeah i know we are supporting them for the game we like it let us have our autism) so there was no real damage to us, like banning or removal.

    Any ways this went on for 3 days and we were trying to be diplomatic about it but she was having “NONE OF THAT SHIT” 3rd day I hop on she was ranting in fleet chat about me my self so I said fuck it and kicked her from the fleet and told any one else you can follow her if they would like, we been nice to you all. Well she took half the fleet and the ones she recruited.

    So not its just the 7 of us and a few people left over in the fleet and our alts.

    All because we let a woman join and let her ego control her.

    Edit: she called us shit like sexist cis white men and other things. even white washing our born trans friend.

    1. Fellow STO player here.

      Our fleet uses ranks as levels of permission. There’s a special admin-only bank tab (for lockbox keys, ships, etc) for Rank 6 and 7, Rank 1 only has access to the “Mk I-XI” space gear gear tab, and that’s only to get a max of 4 items.

      If you want to rank up (and get more bank access) you have to contribute a certain amount of fleet credits of items towards our fleet holdings.

      1. Well We have a lot of crap that we collect and use in our bank vault from seasonal events and so on… If you were in the fleet and wanted the fleet costume We could go on and grab the winter jacket, we all use, buy one with ornaments or hand over a spare. When summer event hits we can toss ya a board or something. If you help the fleet the fleet help you its rather simple but this person DONATED NOTHING.

        Nothing to the fleet nothing to the bank. Did help with STF missions and what not but never once dropped a single item into the vault or contributed to the fleet holdings. Hell i remember the Slogging pain in the arse grind so she could get full M.A.K.O. Space set a few years ago.

      2. Sounds a lot like the fleet that I belong to in STO, put more in get more out. People who don’t want to commit don’t get squat. It was a similar policy in the WoW guilds I’ve belonged to in the past, one guild I was friends with(and our guild was competitive with on the server) had a bunch of their rare mats(lotuses, and resist gear mats) stolen by a female class lead who got a chip on her shoulder over it being “too manly” in vent.

        Their only saving grace was that our guild helped them out by donating mats, and taking their newbies through lower geared content to get them up to scratch on gear while they were scrambling to fix themselves. I do miss that type of camaraderie even among adversaries.

  5. “Misogynist — A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.” -H.L.Mencken.

    There is no sisterhood. There never was. Chances are high there never will be.

    The reproductive and survival strategies of men and women created a brotherhood, and a den of screeching, jealous harpies with the occasional sane bird.

  6. I am all for supporting female gamers, many of them would easily squash me in terms of raw knowledge and skills, which I have no problem with, for isn’t gaming all about fun. (I don’t get into this competitive games, I don’t like how its been hijacked by big ad companies)

  7. “Does this go back even further to Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera? To Eve and Lilith?”

    Pretty much. Biology is a hell of a drug and whoever thinks humans are rational creatures are deluding themselves. While we are above other animals, we still have our vices and issues that can only be suppressed and will never go away, unless transhumanism happens, but then we will cease to be humans.

  8. I am a low-ranked clerk in a mall and what you said about female gamers competition can be said about female workmates and superiors at my workplace. It’s terrifying and bone-chilling to see them gossiping and backstabbing each other when, as someone who struggled to get out of unemployment, I think we, male and female companions of misfortune who often hail from the french slums, should help out and support each other.

    I know a girl who stuck through hard times with me, and had it even worse than me because she have diabeetus. Because of that, she may get sick, but her manager (a woman), and also mine, sometimes think that she is just slacking. And my long-time workmate eventually left about two years ago, because of her manager. Fellow workmates who came after me, and eventually left, were all amazed that I managed to stay after all that time, under that manager, that many from other departments refuses to work with. I feel like a MMO tank who get to bear the blow of a nasty boss. It’s amazing that I have not gone through depression or even attempted suicide yet because that abuse dished out by the manager could get nasty.

    1. Don’t let anyone try to make you feel bad. If it happens, go somewhere else as fast as you can. Other people’s garbage attitudes should have no bearing on how you choose to live.

  9. I tend to pretend I am a guy while playing and am one of those people who’s mic is always broken so I can’t get on voice chat. Why? Because I know how other female players are, I know they use people for free shit, I know they start drama, I know that they become extremely territorial and honestly I expect others to have a prejudice towards me, because they most certainly would have something to base it on and I am not blaming them, in a weird way I too have become prejudiced with my own gender. I’m blaming other women and their behavior. I know I now sound like some special snowflake with my “I’m not like all the other girls”, but that is not really what I am trying to say, what I am trying to say is that I don’t exhibit negative behavior which was and is realistically more shown from my gender. I am far from perfect, I too used to get pissed at inane bullshit, but I don’t mind other women, I mind the behaviors that they sometimes bring to the table and I would mind them the same if those behaviors came from men (and it has certainly happened tho it’s more rare). Part of the issue is certainly boosted by men who enable these women, I wouldn’t use the term beta, because it’s derogatory and in the end these guys are just trying to be nice and don’t know better but damn it’s like some of them figuratively drop their pants and want to be grabbed by the balls in any way possible. Was I as a player always perfect? No. But hearing stuff like this and seeing some behaviors I have become more critical of myself, I tried and am trying my best to be a better person and be a better player (teammate or guildmate) and this is something that wish others would do. I don’t want any woman to stop playing games if they enjoy them, but some of them really need to hear your words, and my words. There is nothing wrong with being a shitty person, it’s only human, what’s wrong is when you don’t try to be a better one, when you don’t listen to critique and don’t acknowledge others and when you don’t objectively observe your own behavior. I don’t know why women are like this to each other and to others in general, I never thought I am gonna utter these words but I think we would need a sociology major to explain this shit to us lol.

    1. Ha, you’re right. Men can be awful too, but in the months I’ve been playing this game, I’ve never had trouble with a guy. Only with women. I have lots of guys asking me if I would run dungeons with them because I’m a good player. I’ve had lots of guys asking me for advice because I’m knowledgeable about things. But I don’t think my vagina has ever been an issue with anyone except — another woman.

  10. I thought I was in a guild with a girl like that. First impression of her when I joined was her telling people not to call her ‘bro’ because she was a girl, and going on about how hot she was. I kept my head down, knowing what some women can be like when they’re no longer the only girl in the group. She would appear to just kick people from the guild on a whim, and be really mean and aggressive to others… Then our GL had enough one day and kicked her. I found out then that this guildie was actually a G.I.R.L and the others knew all along.

    In gg, in the beginning it seemed like every other week one popular or well known gg girl started shit with another, in a classic attentionwhorish “I’m the only girl in the clubhouse” way…

    1. *fingernails on a chalkboard*

      The GG attention whore shit destroys me a little inside. I’m following fewer and fewer women because of that stuff. I saw this today and wanted to vomit. There are only a few women on that list I like. The others are just awful. JOIN MY POPULAR CLIQUE WHERE WE TELL GIRLS WE LIKE THEM TO THEIR FACES BUT TALK ABOUT THEM WHEN THEY’RE NOT AROUND.

      1. I hated that about high school… Even the swotty group of unpopular girls I was in were like that. Bitchy, jealous, and two-faced, with a few fighting for dominance.

        1. It’s such a waste. We should be building people up, not tearing them down. High school was a hard time for a lot of people. We survived and made it through, but yet people still want to revert to that mentality. It makes no sense to be an adult and still behave that way.

  11. I’m no women but I’ve got the edges of one or two of these little snaps. I tend to stay away from guilds myself as they almost always end in drama (though that’s simply my experience) I Just like to game with a couple of friends I know real well. I know a handful of girls who game and the ones i know well have all been pretty awesome people. That’s not to say I’ve not met a few that have not. but same can be said for guys.

  12. This looks like a good place for this story. I used to SWTOR and I belonged to a raiding guild. We weren’t server best or anything but we cleared content pretty steadily. So one day during a recruiting run we invited a girl for a dps slot in our secondary team. She joined us in vent and the very first thing out of her mouth was, “are there any girls in here? I won’t be in a guild that doesn’t have girls in it.” We did indeed have two other girls in vent with us at the time and being friendly they spoke up and made their presence known. This new girl immediately starts talking about how she is a lesbian and only joins guild with girls in them since she took that mean the guild wasn’t filled with sexist dude bros.

    Naturally I was immediately wary of this girl and I told the GM so in the officer’s chat. The GM agreed but since we liked to foster a welcoming environment, he told me we would give her a shot since he really wanted to get the second raid team going.

    For a few days things went as normal. We took her to an old raid and she was decent, not great but passable. However it was during this raid that she learned that we had a 12 year girl on our raiding team, the GM’s daughter. None of us thought much of it at the time since our GM kept a pretty close eye on his daughter’s in game activities, including forbidding her from using vent. But a few days later I log in and people start talking to me about how the new girl had sought the GM’s daughter out, gone questing with her, and eventually started asking creepy questions like “do you masturbate.”

    Naturally our GM was livid and immediately kicked the new girl from the guild. I thought that was the end of it but that night she came onto vent and started screaming about we were all sexist and were discriminating against her because she was gay. Fortunately our GM wasn’t having it and threaten to report her to Bioware if she ever came back to vent or tried to message his daughter again. She did the smart thing and left for good after that. That incident taught that women can b just as creepy online as men can. Trust no one.

    True story.

    1. The guild leader only threatened to report that girl? He fucking SHOULD HAVE. That behavior is inexcusable, lesbian or not. Ugh ugh ugh.

      1. I wanted him to, but in the end he decided against it since girls like that love to trashtalk guilds to other guilds they become part of. I know she did that because it was alot of what she when she first came to vent. We were really pushing to expand the guild and didn’t what that bitch to be spreading false rumors about us. Left a bad taste in my mouth but it is what it is.

        1. There are plenty of other people out there who don’t do that sort of stuff who could have joined your guild. Integrity is far more important than letting something as serious as preying on a minor slide.

          1. Oh I agree, but in the end it wasn’t my call. He had the chat logs and chose to do nothing with it. Fortunately his daughter had gone straight to him after the girl started getting creepy so at least she’d been taught to avoid scum like her.

  13. You need to understand this is all instinctual. As much as they try to suppress and deny it, the natural instinct for women is to breed with the best genes. Other women are competition for said genes. Men, can fuck anything anytime, and most likely will, and as our biological imperatives are to spread our genes as widely as possible, we are generally much less desperate for the “best” one, and can get along accordingly.

      1. Yeah, but the women who act like that don’t see it that way. Besides, as I said, it’s instinctual, not necessarily even a conscious effort.

        1. The worst part is that the girl already has a boyfriend. He sits beside her on the couch as she plays. But then she also gets into party chat with other guys and flirts with them the entire time. I’m married. I’m not trying to steal anyone’s man, least of all hers.

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