Gender issues raised by Blizzard, again.

There is fairly little that will make me take to my soapbox in a knee jerk reaction to something I see, but when I do you can bet it’s probably got something to do with gender issues.

I’m not one to use or throw around the term feminist often because personally I think there is too much emphasis placed on definitions and unfortunately often it creates a negative stigma and can create too much focus on female aspect of the gender divide when it should be discussing equality for both sexes but I do hold very strong views surrounding gender issues. I firmly believe that in public forums there needs to be equality especially in views expressed from people or companies that are in a very prominent public position.

So when a company like blizzard, which has already gaffed and highlighted their attitude towards gender inequality issues recently by referring to the upcoming expansion as a “boys trip”, goes and posts, on a public forum, something like this:

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They’re your brothers, they’re your guild! What are your fondest memories of them? 

I tend to see red.  This is not a person posting a photo of their toon and their guild, this is a public entity asking you to celebrate your fellow players… except they have managed to exclude a significant number of that player base by yet again only showing male toons.

Not only does this annoy me as a female playing predominately female toons, it annoys me as there are a ton of males who play females toons. Take a look around the shrine next time you’re there I’ll guarantee you’ll see just as many female toons as you do males, not every one of them will have a female’s hand on the keyboard. So why in the hell, Blizzard do you not show  or acknowledge female toons more?

With statistics floating around the web stating that female player base is as high as 48% across gaming genres and platforms, completely ignoring a portion of your player base is a pretty ignorant and rude tactic to take. Add to that, by not showing representations of female toons Blizzard is now choosing to ignore the percentage of the male player base that chooses to play a female avatar as well.

I just simply do not get why a company, that can surely see a significant amount of their players are either female or prefers to play a female representation, time and time again choses  not to portray the female representation of the game.

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4 thoughts on “Gender issues raised by Blizzard, again.

  1. I have to admit this bothers me less than everything else they’ve said/done recently because I “assumed” that with the choice of the word “Brothers” they were evoking Shakespeare and Henry V.

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

    I suppose it also depends on where the picture was from. It looks like one submitted by a random player which would explain the lack of females minus the succubus perhaps.

    Either way though, they should know by now that they are under huge scrutiny about this area of the game and work on improving not doing the opposite.

    • I think the photo is actually fan art, and as art goes I actually like it, regardless of it not showing female toons. The thing I took offence is to the caption, there were a ton of captions that could have been put to that picture that wouldn’t have come across as so exclusive of a certain population of the player base.I think there just needs to be much more awareness that the message/opinon that comes across is carefully thought about especially since there is already a history of this company having issues with questionable comments and attitudes already.

  2. Good post. When I saw the original tweet, I kind of scratched my head. Really? I simply replied and said “some of them are even our sisters. :)”.

    I’ve seen the argument that they were using the colloquial expression of “brothers-in-arms,” and that puzzles me even more. Because that phrase still excludes women, whether or not that was the intended reference!”

    They’re your friends…
    They’re your family…

    So many easy, inclusive ways to go about it, and they went the narrowest route. I’m sure it was meant as innocuous by whomever was managing their social media this morning, but given the outcry in that past related to diversity and representation in game—and in the shadow of Mike Morhaime’s acknowledgement that they need to do better—this was just disappointing to see.

    • I saw your twitter response and it was actually my intial reaction too. I just think there should have been more care taken in what was captioned to it. It’s a fantastically done photo but using it to ask people to celebrate all the players doesn’t work.
      If you are in the position of putting out messages to the player base as a whole, you would think they would be much more aware of what could be considered a not so inclusive comment/

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