Saturday, April 2, 2011

Girls = Drama?

Some time ago I wrote a post about some drama in my guild. Since this particular guild drama happened to be between two girls, some people argued that "having too many girls in a guild means trouble". A guildie posted a post on the forums called "Raidingschedule: Adapting to the "cycle"!" stating that we should adapt when the females of the guild can raid to when they have their period, because they obviously can't act normally otherwise. Or as the poster states;

"With this i dont imply that the women perform worse or anything like that... however i do think that there are periods during the month when the women´s mood, by no fault of their own, might affect the guilds progress. Therefor the officers have a suggestion to minimize this effect, and that is to adapt our raidingschedule to the womens menstruation cycle."

It is meant as a joke, and I don't post it here to point at the poster and call him a jerk. Seriously I don't. I like this guy and I do think people can joke about most stuff, and this post in particular isn't an issue. But it could be part of an issue. It would be horrible if people actually thought that women = drama (or even worse, if women actually equalled more drama). And apparently this impression does exist among some people, and it has to come from somewhere. But where? Are women really more prone to arguing than men? My personal experience says no. In the guilds I've been, men argue at least as much as women and are just as stubborn, and yet when women do it, it somehow stands out as special. It's not only when females argue amongst eachother, but when a woman argues with a man she usually comes off as the obnoxious one. Why is that? At first I wasn't going to care much about it. I did write some thoughts down on the matter but decided that it probably (hopefully) was limited to the particular situation in my guild. But then, just the other day, I was watching a morning show on swedish television and they had a special program called "Jealousy among women - do women keep eachother back?" (paraphrased). I was startled, and even though I was at work (ahem) I tried to listen to as much of it as possible and jotted down what the four women in the studio were discussing. The question was about how women act towards each other at work places, and if women are inherently more jealous than men or if we only think that is the case and that in turn make us interpret regular quarrel as some special womenly catfight of jealousy. It made me return to my original notes and think more on the subject. Why is it that women arguing is something that stands out? Either we have to accept that women argue more than men, which I don't, or we have to understand what about women arguing that is so special that people think it is a female trait to argue.

I have thought of some reasons;

Girls shouldn't have opinions
People notice when girls argue, or have opinions, because that is out of the ordinary. I know that girls in school get reprimands for being 'talkative' and 'disturbing' when they talk and act out as much as many boys do. But 'boys will be boys' as they say. Girls aren't supposed to be arguing, or confront an issue. I'm not saying people expect girls to be mindless, standing in the kitchen all day. But still we have some sort of opinion about how girls ought to behave, and if you don't conform you will stand out as the "provocative" person. Eventhough you're really just as annoying as 10 other guys in the guild. In fact, in the tv debate this was one of the things they offered as an explanation. Even though men are as jealous and argumentative as women, they simply do it in another way. Since the tv debate were talking about work places, which might work slightly different than a WoW-guild (although the resemblances probably are more than we'd think), theyir theory was that it's "uncool" for men to express their feeling vocally. Instead they do it through action. If women prefer to tell eachother they have an issue with the other person, that might be more noticed, and be interpreted as the women arguing more often.

Girls care about other stuff
One reason girls stand out as drama queens could be because they argue about stuff that guys don't care about. So when an argument starts between two girls, the guys stand by and just don't understand what's the matter. Same thing if the girl is arguing with a guy and he just doesn't understand her problem. They might think the argument is unecessary and meaningless and therefore the girls get branded as quarrelsome and as someone who argues about nothing. Although guys in turn argue about other stuff that don't really matter. Because the guys make out the majority of people in WoW, the female will be seen as the odd minority. This requires us to accept the view that men and women understand basic stuff in fundamentally different ways, which I don't personally believe to be true enough to warrant this kind of trouble. But maybe it is some small part of the problem. With the issue I mentioned that blew up to a guild drama, part of the problem was that my complaints about us healers having problems when one of us didn't want to communicate, weren't understood as important or serious. We had done well all through Wrath, why would communication suddenly become a problem? The people who argued against me weren't healers, so they didn't always see that healing issues were the reasons we wiped plenty of times.

Girls aren't arguing
Although plenty of arguments are real enough, it might also be true that guys perceive a normal conversation between two girls as arguing. Maybe the girls don't have a real quarrel at all, but the guys interpret it as that and so most conversation between girls is seen as arguments, and again - about nothing (since they're not really arguments). Another possibility is that girls, more than guys, are perceived as being bitchy and nosy when they tell people, or ask people about their performance (or yet again, have an opinion about something as mentioned above). A guy who is a bitch is perceived as a whiny pro, a girl who is a bitch is just simply annoying. In many cases I have honestly not meant to be rude or offensive, but have been perceived that way. And I am completely sure that if someone else (a guy) had asked the exact same question, it wouldn't have had the same impact. When a girl asks about someone it's because they want to make a statement, but when a guy does it it's just pure curiousity. Or when a guy does it, it's ok. Love calls it "authority", and there seems to be something to it. This too was something they mentioned in the tv program. When women ask questions or comment on other peoples performance, people will question their intentions, and usually interpreted them as ill-willed. I think this could be part of the reason, but I also think that this relies more on personality than sex. If you have an undiplomatic personality you will be interpreted as always having ill intentions in your questions and comments, regardless if you're female or male. I know many guys fall into this trap as well, they don't mean anything bad but are always perceived as "elitist jerks". Still there is a difference regarding perceived competence. Most people seem to have trouble realizing or accepting that girls can be really good gamers, and any claims from a girl will initially be interpreted as her trying to be someone without proper authority. Even if some people don't enjoy a guy acting like an elitist, guys are overall viewed as more competent gamers when bragging than women are.

Girls are scapegoats
Melfina over at The WoW Noob makes a really good suggestion.

"there is some female drama that the woman herself has nothing to do with. If player A finds out player B is female, and treats her differently from then on, then the fault lies with player A, not with player B. Any drama caused by this different (and likely preferential) treatment is player A's fault. But sadly, many will look at a scenario like this and say "See, girls in game cause drama!" and place blame on B instead of A. This is rather like introducing a minority person into a group and having drama because a member of the group reacted in a racially-insensitive fashion. Would you really blame the minority person? I doubt so."

The idea that girls are more drama makes it easy to ascribe any drama that comes up to their doing, whether that is the case or not. As soon as a girl has her finger in the drama bowl, the easy explanation to the source is she. And if two girls are at the center of the drama, well what other explanation is needed?! The fact that there might've actually been an issue is covered up, just blaming the girls for being dramatic is a lot easier way to handle things. Because we all know girls are drama, right?

Girls really do argue more
It could also just be that girls have another way of "hanging out" or socialize. Guys and girls both bully, but they do it in completely different ways. The internet medium does work better for the girl type of bullying, in that you can talk behind peoples back and post evils things about them on forums and the like. Guys usually become physically offensive irl, and that is difficult in a game. Instead I can imagine they become verbally offensive, but girls could've taken this to another level. Maybe girls just don't work together in groups? The TV show actually did talk about women possibly simply being more evil and malicious than men, which I don't believe at all. Still, I'm one of those people who think there is a grain, however tiny, to any rumour or prejudice.

All of the above could be true, or none of them. Probably a little bit of each of them. Like mentioned, by personal experience, 9,5/10 of my girl relationships in WoW are awesome and I've argued with more guys than girls, even when taking into account that there are more male players than female. Yes, I probably have a 'provocative personality' in that I confront stuff. I also apparently suck at phrasing my thoughts so that people don't get offended, and wham - you have drama. I like to think people just want to misinterpret me, but at some point you just have to realize that you're the common factor. In the end I don't think girls equal drama any more than men do. Some people equal drama more than others do though. I seem to be one of them. Still, if people joke about female arguments and go "look at her quarreling again, catfight lol!" there is a foundation for problems. It doesn't really matter who's fault it really is if you always get the blame in the end anyway. I know it's not easy or fun when I'm not being taken seriously and I get the impression that it is just because I'm a girl.


  1. Interesting points brought up. Sort of links in with a few things I been posting as well. But showing some of the different aspects from a female point of view might in time bring better understanding. The only difficult time that will occur is that most men hate to ponder or think on things. Very few want to really address anything that may make them think beyond the next meal lol. I know, as a guy allot of times if the simple answer doesnt fit...then ignore and drive on because anything else means I have to ponder and that can get most painful to my little brain ROFLMAO!

  2. I have been reading your blog now for a bit and I completely agree with you on this. I have personally raided in top US 100 guilds, and in guilds that slacked behind a bit. With both experiences girls tend to be the scapegoats for the real issues in the guild. Also, the more sensitive/nice you are, the easier it will be for you to become a welcome mat to those issues. I am a very open minded and nice individual. I do express my opinions with the leadership because I am under the impression the game is a game and we all should work together to accomplish goals. It's hard to work with others when there is a lack of communication and understanding on both ends, especially due to the "WOMEN = DRAMA" crap.

  3. Actually, I think its because of the way most women handle situations that makes them dramaqueens.
    Its common that if two girls are annoyed for some reason they are overly pleasant with each other in conversations then they talk behind each their backs and tension arises slowly to all of a sudden *wham* catfight! By that time its all claws and "you bitch" flinging around which might be the top reason why guys think woman are short fused pms monsters, when they in reality most of the times have dealt with the situation on hand for some time in quiet. Men usually shows that they are annoyed and the arguing wont escalate to the same degree.
    Girls arguing with boys.. well, thats another story and I'm partial to yours "boys doesnt understand how girls work". If they did, there would be alot more romance going on in the world and less playing wow.

  4. It could also be that you just perceive this as being a serious problem.
    Guys, as another commenter pointed out, don't really care to think all that far when it comes to anything. So if we can just point out any obvious inconsistency as the cause for anything, we'll just do that. Regardless of what it is.

    In my guild we tend to blame each other's nationalities more than gender because it's a more obvious difference than gender due to us having almost equal amount of women and men in the guild.

    Wipe? "You damn Scotts, always dying to everything. W T F."

    Wipe? "Omg greeks what the hell are you doing!? aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

    I like this post of yours Zinn because it really emphasizes the difference between men and women. You like to think of all the implications and possible causes and solutions to this, to you, serious social problem. While us guys are like; "Social what? Whatever, let's kill some bosses".



  5. I think you have some great observations here and I appreciate that you acknowledged that people, of any gender, may be more predisposed to drama than others. If you were to entertain the idea further that women interact differently with each other than with women-men interactions, I would recommend that you continue your thought that women are socialized to behave differently. So yes, they may be more catty and secretive about creating rumors and rallying support, and it is likely due to the fact that they aren't socialized to have a screaming fight or punch someone in the face. Also, your second quote pretty much sums it up: a minority group asking to be treated like a human being instead of a stereotype isn't in the wrong.

    Really wonderful post, I enjoyed reading it :)

  6. Hey Zinn,

    The following is only my personal experience, from my own environment, but usually:

    _Women care a WHOLE lot more about the details of everyday life than men (food quality, children education, living environment, relationships, ...)

    _Women talk more than men (statistics unclear as to wether this is a complete truth or a small difference, women seem to express themselves with more words than men for the same thought). What do YOU feel about this one?

    _Men are less emotional than women, and tend to keep their feelings to themselves more.

    _People (men and women alike) talk a LOT more about what's wrong than what's good, in french there's a saying "we never talk about trains on time"

    => If you agree on these 4 "reasons" (which are again only the fruit of my personal experience and not out of some heavy scientific backed data), in everyday life, overall you'll probably hear a whole lot more women complaining about details => "Girls = Drama".

    Quite luckily, we just can't seem to live without you ;)