"The new face of online gaming is feisty, foxy and female." The fact that women play World of Warcraft isn't exactly a secret. So why did the Times of London present the game as some new form of online dating?
I love when women gamers receive mainstream media attention, as it underscores that we do exist and we do play. Unfortunately, gaming while female is still seen as some extreme novelty, which leads many writers to conclude that women are attracted to gaming in order to meet men. Phoebe Frangoul lays the stereotypes on thick in her piece:
Girls got bored with watching their boyfriends spending hours playing computer games, logged on, and got hooked.
Because there's no way these women could have enjoyed gaming in their own right.
But how have the boys responded to women invading their virtual world?
My, my - I didn't realize there was a "Boy's Only" sign under the Blizzard logo. Imagine that.
Has it led to romance? Sexism? Drama and intrigue? All of that, actually, and lots more . . .
What the hell is this? Are we talking about Warcraft or a James Bond movie? The Times could have really titled this article "From Warcraft with Love."
Guilds are often known for their interpersonal intrigues - feuds and flirtation are the order of the day in many. Throw some girls into the mix and geeky gamers - not famed for their social skills - would be forgiven for getting their joysticks in a twist.
Sigh. Once again - all male gamers are geeks, all females (who are not gamers as a rule) woo them with their feminine wiles.
Women say they can catch up with friends, flirt and even find love in this virtual world. It's like Facebook. But with dragons. And swords.
Sheena agrees: "I think the guys secretly like to get some insight and listen to all the gossip we toss about when we aren't talking about WoW."
At this point in the article, I wanted to gouge my eyes out, Oedipus style.
Sadly, right after quelling that response, Frangoul gives us a damsel in distress who met her knight in shining armor in the game.
Twenty three year old Jennifer started playing Warcraft "as an escape from boredom." When her IRL relationship hit the skids, she found solace in her guildmate, Nicky. In the context of another article, this story would have been cute. But in the hands of Frangoul, reading what happened next made me want to retch:
As her feelings for Nicky grew, Jennifer's relationship reached crisis point: "Me and my partner separated shortly after this, however, we were forced by financial difficulties to live in the same house. One night we were arguing and I didn't realise I'd left the webcam on and Nicky had helplessly witnessed us fight. It was at this point he came to my rescue. Nicky and his dad drove across the country and took all my stuff up to Cumbria, where I stayed with his parents until I had enough money to support myself. This was a true escape for me as I had little family I could rely on and I had nowhere to go."
The women finding love in the World of Warcraft