Many of you know I have a Hunter. She's a female Dwarf named Sugarcake, and her pets are all named similarly silly things, like Sprinkles, Cinnamon, Gumdrop, etc. It is very, very (speaking in stereotypes) girly. Extremely girly. Like, Princess Lollipopsparklelips girly.
At first, I was kind of...well, kind of leery about the name. I honestly don't like attention focusing on my gender. Unless I know the people (like my guild or friends) and know they are joking around, it just serves to make me uncomfortable and awkward. I don't mind people knowing I'm female, just them making it into some sort of big deal or focus of conversation. Of course, writing an entire blog post about the subject undermines the idea that I dislike attention focusing on it, but I am able to disable that to explore something that intrigues me.
For example, a ToC 25 in which I was healing on Bellwether, my first comment in Vent brought about "cute" comments and "OMG A GIRL." Seriously, guys. Cut it out. Maybe pay attention to healing so I'm not doing 20-30% of overall healing done? Maybe? (I am not kidding about this).
The thing is, when I'm not in Vent, I'm automatically assumed to be a guy. Bellwether is perhaps somewhat neutral, but Bellbell and Sugarcake? Those are pretty cutesy names. I've seen a few guys with humorously cutesy names, but it's pretty rare. So what, then, is it that causes my characters to automatically be filed into the "male" category?
First and most obvious would probably be the prevalence of male players to female. Though there is not a huge, impassable gap, characters tend to be controlled by males more than females. At its end, I was the only raiding female in Vigilant, and one of three or so in the guild. We're by no means an endangered species, but we're certainly the less likely variety.
Next would be some stereotypical expectations of female players. One such expectation is us needing our hands held through everything. We will be bad. We will be low on DPS (LOL GURLS DONT DPS LOL). We won't be able to keep up. We will need special attention because we just don't know what's going on. Since I've been in a top raiding guild, and done very well for myself, the above doesn't apply. In fact, I am often the one leading the raid or group. I am the one giving the explanations and assignments. I am obviously not the princess-in-another-castle waiting for my plumber boyfriend to map warp his way to me.
Another expectation is in the way girls communicate. I know some of you have been in raids with sugar-sweet hyperactive flirty girls who punctuate every sentence with some word like "cute" "cutie" "sweetie" "<3" ";)" etc. They flirt with any player willing to respond (and some unwilling), whether they know them or not, and make any excuse to "pout" or inject sexual innuendo. Yeah. You all know what I'm talking about. In small doses or with friends and guildmembers, sure, that's cool. Everyone likes to be a little silly/flirty at times. But it's those who make it into their entire personality and force it upon strangers, who take a huge flashing sign and say "AMG I R A GURL PAY ATTENSHUN" that make me twitch. Gender does not make you special.
Like one of my previous, previous guildmates who alternates between acting like a concerned, condescending mother and an overly-flirty 13 year old, who dances naked/scantily clad at the South Bank and makes exaggerated squealing noises over anything "cute." While, you know, hitting on everyone and everything with two-handed weapon specialization. She also can't do anything wrong, is easy to upset, and likes to play damsel in distress. At the very least, she is a decent healer.
I don't act like that (I hope I don't act like that!). And thus Sugarcake and Bellbell and Bellwether are assumed male until proven guilty. It's odd to me, to realize my concerns about possibly being discriminated against because of my name (or even harassed, which has happened before with people who knew my gender) were completely irrelevant, because I don't "play like a girl." It's at both times a welcome relief and a concerning realization.