The NDA being lifted has unleashed (c wat i did thar) a new wave of information on the slobbering masses eager for a peak at our next fix of content. One of the things that caught my eye was recordings of the worgen/flirt and /silly emotes.
You can listen to the videos over here at wow.com
The male ones make me laugh, and I like that they have a ‘transformed’ voice that is obviously for worgen form. I imagine, after LDW and Sindragosa, they are a little wary of making a female voice sound anything BUT sexy/inviting. Some of the names Sindragosa gets called, partially due to her voice, makes me wince. Blood Queen Lana’thel doesn’t get nearly as much criticism for her voice. Is it just because the acting for Sindragosa is ‘bad’? Personally I think it’s because her voice reaches higher octaves, for me the similarity with my mum’s angry voice (and also my own) is a very easy comparison to make.
And thus, even for me, it is easy to brush off as ‘histrionic’. I certainly dismissed my mother enough when she used ‘that’ voice, and I reckon my partner occasionally stops listening when my own voice reaches a certain note.
Out of curiousity I went hunting for more female boss voices. The voices that aren’t trying to be sexy tend to have an artificial deepness to them (not that a lot of the male voices don’t have artificial effects to them either, I mean these are all creatures many times the size of your average human.)
- Eredar Twins & Felmyst
- Mother Sharhaz
- Princess Delrissa (Magisters Terrace – this makes me think of Queenie from Blackadder the 2nd)
- Lady Vashj
- Devourer of Souls and Reliquary of Lost Souls – The higher octave voice of Suffering also made players uncomfortable, if I recall correctly. The female voice sounds like Sindragosa to me, but then many parts share actors.
- Maiden of Virtue and Maiden of Grief – The contrast between these two is interesting. Note the comments on maiden of grief – ‘psychotic, bipolar ex-girlfriend’.
So, what’s wrong with the female Worgen /flirts ?
Well, I’m not going to say there is anything wrong with them persay. A woman being sexual is not a problem for me (and the six nipples comment DID make me giggle.) The bacon joke made me laugh, although it did seem to carry on a tad long. And I LIKE the English voice. What with being British myself. I hope all the Gilnean voice emotes are with English accents, although the female voice accent sounds a bit odd.
The following emotes are the ones I have a problem with:
“Being bitchy is in my blood, don’t pretend you don’t like it.”
Did we really need to use the word bitch here? The word has a whole load of uses that are really not okay. (Edit: This discusses ‘bitch’ where the other article discusses the C-word. I find this joke problematic because it is not just referring to a female dog=bitch *obvious* but because to be funny it has to refer to the misogynistic use of the word that calls an assertive woman a bitch. ‘Bitchy’ also refers to being catty or mean, but it is a very gendered way to say it.)
“I just want someone to pat me on the head and tell me I’m a good girl.”
I’m in two minds about this one in particular, because on the one hand it is again – the female ‘bitch’ that needs taming/really wants to be submissive trope. On the other hand sexuality is such a complicated thing and it is not my place to get all prudish about what another woman likes in bed.
“You can take me home, I’m house broke”
Another ‘submissive’ emote? ‘Broke’? A bit of me just feels a bit disappointed that a woman has to refer to herself as ‘broken’ in /flirt. I don’t have a problem with the aggressive sexuality in these lines, just that the male voice doesn’t have an equivelant ‘submissive’ line.
These are minor niggles – as I said there is a whole can of sexuality worms wriggling around in my objections to those two /flirts. As this is Beta/Alpha, we are unlikely to see all of these make in to the live servers (just as the Draenei and blood elf ones were cleaned up in order to help Blizzard keep their Teen rating.) The /silly emotes aren’t problematic to me – bone jokes are a-okay with me!
The male flirts make me laugh because they sound like the ridiculously over the top, joke chat up lines AND they’re in an English accent.
Misogyny and Misandry in WoW
WoW is a product of prevalent, mainstream white geek culture. And by prevalent I mean male. I’m not going to get angry and yell that Blizzard is woman-hating and needs to employ more womenz. I love this game, I love the fun of the world and the details I am still discovering, but occasionally little things like this pull me out of the game. Instead of fun, I feel disappointment. This is nothing new to a female geek. This happens a lot, and I don’t have an illusions that one day we’ll all be race/able/sexist free (because really denying differences is just as bad as only catering to the privilieged.)
At the same time just because we can’t beat it, that is no reason to stop calling out the times we feel under represented or ignored. I am utterly sick of people who think that being offended at being called an -ist trumps any offence they may genuinely have caused.
If you want some further reading, take a look at this Dissertation by Christopher Ritter:
It isn’t on gender issues, but it IS interesting reading and his analysis of the races of wow turns up some interesting observations e.g.
I’m just saying that the Horde females (except the BEs) are purposely designed to fail our society’s mainstream definitions of beauty and femininity, and that we’re supposed to notice it. (Conversely, how many of the male characters’ /silly jokes refer to their attractiveness, or to their appearance at all?)
EDIT: And now with added Goblin
I should have kept my mouth shut. I should have waited until the Goblin /silly/flirt previews came out. A lot of the individual jokes I adore, the very sexual ones included, but there are a couple (and the entire picture) that just have me making a sadface.
Jokes I did not like
“You told me to tie her up, and do whatever I wanted to her. So I took her stereo.” – Male Goblin /silly
As ‘benign’ as this joke ends, it is a RAPE JOKE. Not okay blizzard. DO NOT WANT.
EDIT: Other people tell me that it sounds like ‘She told’ and I sincerely hope this is the case – I’d rather think I’ve misheard than that Blizz actually thought this was okay to publish – in which case I apologise! I have no problem with the joke as it started ‘She told me…’.
I also did not enjoy the female goblin /flirt as a whole. One of the ‘golddigger’ style jokes would have been okay (e.g. the first one riffing on a Beyonce song, and I understand the female goblin dance is ‘Single Ladies’). On the other hand we also have the male goblin saying ‘oh just give me the money’, which I did not notice on first listen. Goblins=equal opportunity golddiggers (and silver and copper) after all. I need to listen to it some more, and figure out whether this is something that is ‘debasing’ female characters in the game. Or whether I’m objecting because of the close nature of money and sex in the flirts.
But. yeah. Just going to quote one comment from wow.com that illustrates my worry.
“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA female Goblins will be the local horde hooker..I can already see it. Sitting in Org…Tauren District to be exact…and these Goblins workin on making money…lol. this game is hilarious.”
Normally I wouldn’t worry about a random guy on the internet, but I can see this is how the jokes will end up being ‘read’ by a lot of the player base. And yes, they’ll read that the female Goblin is selling herself, while the male goblin is just money obsessed. This just leads to so many…argh. Is my objection slut shaming on my part, or objectification on Blizzards part?
Jokes I did like
The female goblin ‘bondage’ joke. There is how you joke about a sexual preference without debasing the woman.
“I don’t like being tied down. Oh. You mean literally? Oh no, TOTALLY in to that.”
“Lets get together and compare figures”
I made the mistake of commenting at wow.com with my objections and have already been told to get off my high horse and had my comments voted down. I should have guessed that would happen. There is nothing wrong with sexual jokes, but objecting to something I find somewhat questionable is somehow worse than a joke about rape. Yay!
And yes – most/many of these jokes will vanish in the actual release, but I suspect we will see the ‘sweet profit’ and ‘compare figures’ ones stay in, as will the Single Ladies reference.