I’m Not Really Sure What to Say…   18 comments

Today while I was checking the tomato meter for my weekend movie picks, I was perusing through the reviews on Letters to Juliet. (Yes…I like chick flicks and I will likely cry like a baby watching it, get over it!). In doing so, I came across a commentary from Kerry Lengel of the Arizona Republic, a “cream of the crop” reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes, that not only caught me a little off guard, but I think also somewhat offended me.

In her review she states “’Letters to Juliet’ is a guilty pleasure for the ladies, perfect Blu-ray fodder when their significant others turn them into World of Warcraft widows for the evening”.

Ok, I’m totally fine that she called a chick flick out for what it was…a chick flick, even though I’m going to go see it anyhow. I mean, I am fully aware that the only reason Brade is going to see this movie is because I drag him to it. But what did raise my hackles was the term “World of Warcraft widows”. Um…WTF? Did I miss something here? Is this a common term that I’m not aware of? Do women really feel widowed by a video game? And if they do…is it really the video game’s fault? It’s almost like a bad B film: WoW – The Widowmaker. But I digress.

I think that what bothers me about the statement is that it was made by this supposedly respected journalist and she all but stated in that one phrase that WoW is a man’s game and that it takes up all of your time (such that your woman must entertain herself with bad chick flicks because you won’t give her the time of day). It blatantly feeds two stereotypes about gamers (and is a movie review for Pete’s sake!) and is completely unsubstantiated by any factual data! I mean, I know it’s only a movie review, but isn’t it somewhat the equivalent of my going around and saying that the only people who will enjoy Iron Man 2 (/drool RDJ!) are comic book nerds who have their glasses held together with masking tape?

I guess as a very avid female gamer, I’m finding myself annoyed. Sure, the number of men that play the game is greater than the number of women…but the number of women who also play is not so insignificant that WoW should be categorized as a “man’s game”. I’m also finding myself annoyed because I game and I do other things. I also game with my better half. Sure, I’ll admit that sometimes when he’s playing other games for extended periods of time I can feel a bit lonely…but do you know what I do?! I talk to him about it and request some time together. I know that communication in a relationship is a novel concept and all, but seesh. If a video game is “widowing” you, your marriage likely has more problems in it than WoW. But I digress again! (dammit!)

Having been in a relationship where gaming is a part of it, and being surrounded by people in my life who accept and support my past time, I guess that I never really understood the stereotypes that gaming has in the larger, non-gaming world. But to have a journalist, likely un-educated on gaming, just toss it out there as one giant stereotype like that irks my sensibilities. And the fact that she’s a female journalist who sees gaming as a “mans” past time just seems a bit like a slap in the face to a group of people who already have to work hard for respect in the gaming community.

Somewhat doesn’t this one sentence in a movie review speaks volumes about how a large chunk of society views gamers? Male and lacking social skills. To me it’s very interesting. I would also wager a bet that this woman has never played WoW…but has someone close to her that does. While I know her statement was meant to be innocent, and I’m probably reading way too much into it, there is something to be said about it, isn’t there?

So I’m curious, do women really feel like they are “WoW widows” when their significant others get behind the computer for a raid? Is WoW really viewed by non-gamers as a male dominant activity to the point that frigging movie reviewers are all but referring to it as such? Am I the only one that got a bit of a rise from the first sentence of this woman’s movie review? What do you think that sentence says about your past time?

Posted May 13, 2010 by Beruthiel in Deep Thoughts

18 responses to “I’m Not Really Sure What to Say…

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  1. I see this sort of comment all the time on parenting focused (so primarily female posters) message boards. It seems to be a common feeling among non-gaming women (or if not common, at least noisy) that any time a guy is playing XBox, WoW, or whatever else, that he’s abandoning her to do so and it’s immature of him and it’s damaging to their relationship. It seriously pisses me off every time I see something like that, though I usually keep my mouth shut.

    For some reason that I can’t fathom, games seem to be a favorite scapegoat for whatever problems are in these people’s relationships. I don’t know why console and computer games are worse than, say, playing basketball with the guys, but that seems to be a not uncommon sentiment.

    Ugh. And it’s bad enough coming from “average” people. It coming from a “professional” article is indeed worse, I think.

    • I often think that things like this aren’t a two way street. I very much doubt that you will see men complain about scrapbook or pampered chef parties.

      Like most other things, I am sure that it is easier to blame what is at hand rather to accept some responsibility and really figure out what is going on.

      I also love it when I hear father/mother and son/daughter stories about WoW. I don’t know why more people don’t make it a family affair! At least that way they know where their kids are and what they are doing :)

  2. This is a fairly common phrase I hear where I live. WoW is definitely seen as something that possesses a husband’s brain and makes a shambles of his family and marriage. Halo, oddly enough, seems not to fully share this stigma (again, only speaking about where I’m from).

  3. short version?

    http://www.gamingsucks.com/

    long version? yes, the term is unfortunately too widespread and the women (or men) who use it piss me off. I think there’s a subsection of football widows? maybe? but world of warcraft is singled out as the most popular MMO right now. why MMO? becasue their husbands are not just daring to have lives and interests outside of their marriage, they dare to have their own friends! not our friends, his friends.

    her statement is meant to be thinly concealed bitterness IMO. there are interests that my husband has that I do not share. there are interests that I have that my husband could care less about. But I cannot begrudge him his hobbies anymore then he begrudges me mine. unlike some people, these “gaming widows” we don’t need to do everything together.

    you are absolutely right btw,those people who feel widowed by the game usually have some other underlining problems in their relationship, they would just rather blame a game then even consider that they themselves might be responsible even in part.

    • Wow, I guess I’ve just been under a rock then! :)

      It is too bad that the term is what it is. I do think that there can be contentment in relationships where a gamer is involved, but just like everything else it takes communication and understanding from their partner. And probably some compromise from both parties involved… but then again, what in a relationship doesn’t?

      I can’t help but agree that often the game is not the underlying problem in a lot of relationships.

  4. I don’t think her statement is true, Personally, I originally joined this game at 14, and my first boyfriend told me to play, and if anything he is the wow widow. I was already into rpgs on ps1/2, and i dumped him because really…I out levelled him and he didn’t play as much anymore. Yes these are early stages of the addiction, but after having another relationship where wow played bit of a part in it, it wasn’t the reason for us breaking up. It defiantly brought us together and it did cause arguments but really it was just a cover argument for an underlying problem.

  5. Also my post got snipped cause of a bad net connection but i also said you should watch the documentary second skin. Its has a lot of stats in relation to female;male ratio in most mmorpgs and it also has some couples that will remind you probably of your own or someone you know relationship.

    • Really I don’t think that anyone should be a “Warcraft widow”, with a little communication about scheduling and what is going on I think you can probably find a fairly satisfying medium for everyone involved.

      I certainly don’t want to imply that you should forego relationships over a game, but I also think that it is wrong to assume that the game is THE problem. If you are unhappy about something in your relationship, it would seem to me that you would want to communicate and compromise.

  6. When I read this, what comes to mind is her playfully making fun of her husband. But obviously we’ll never know. :)

  7. The sad thing is that most of the married/attached men who play WoW would absolutely love it if their wife/girlfriend played WoW. IMO, nothing says that you love someone more than taking an interest in their hobbies.

    I have been playing MMOs since 1999 and have tried to get my wife to play SEVERAL times to no avail.

    Vyll

    • I can’t agree more! I think it’s great when spouses play together. The first thing I often ask when people indicated spouse agro is “does s/he play?”.

      Even if it’s just questing together here and there on lowbies, it can be significat!

  8. Hey Beru,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, but this is my first post. Loooove the Blog.

    My wife jokingly refers to herself as a “wow widow” on raid nights because someone else on another gaming site that we are both mods on called her that. She doesn’t mean it literally though. I’ve tried to get her to play, but she is a gamer too and is afraid/convinced that she will get “too” hooked lol

  9. I play more than my husband does. He’s not even raiding anymore.

    What does the WoW-widow stereotype have to say about THAT? ;)

  10. WoW has a stigma attached to it that other hobbies do not and it is very frustrating. It is not to be blamed for communication issues or lack of affection any more than golf, cars or football.

    Yes, this stereotype bothers me a great deal. And I say that as a wife who started playing WoW to spend time with her husband. We do not hide what we do in our spare time for fun and we don’t hesitate to explain/correct somebody when they make a stupid assumption about it. But unfortunately I don’t think we’ve been able to change many minds, it is so much easier to blame the game.

  11. I have heard that “WoW Widow” thing a lot… I think when I first heard it, it was from my (now) fiance, who always commented that he was my WoW Widow as a joke.

    I don’t understand though why some women are so offended by their significant others playing video games. Should this person really be spending every moment with his lady? Personally, I think she should get over it and find her own thing to do.

    (I’m a woman, btw)

  12. It’s also a matter of time. When a guy goes out to play basketball with his friends, he probably doesn’t play for 5 hours each night, 4 nights a week. However, if you are going to be in a serious raiding guild, you’ll going to be doing at least that much raiding, plus your heroic instances each day, and dailies, and that’s just for one toon.

    I know my wife felt like a wow widow when I was raiding 2 nights a week and working on 2 80′s all the time. However, I quit playing for 4 months and found a balance again. When I started playing again, I found a casual raiding guild that ran one night a week from 9-12. Now, I’m playing less than 10 hours a week. I have fun playing, but have time for and interest in other things, outside WOW.

    As for girls in the game- I’m sure less than 25% of the players in the game are girls. maybe as low as 10%. They are pretty rare.

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