(Just to clarify, I don’t intend for this to become a WoW blog – but there’s some WoW stuff that’s totally blogworthy, and when it pops up, I’m totally gonna blog on it.)
How do I even start – this has been talked to death at this point on all kinds of communities, in PUGs and LFDs, and in g-chat in three guilds I’ve been in, so I know it’s not new. But some people just never seem to get the memo that when they open their mouths [type in-game]the stuff they say matters. It’s not even just in PUG dungeons, either – some days I trip across fuckery enough that I wonder if maybe I’m a magnet for it. Or if the entire player base has collectively lost its sense of propriety.*
I won’t even get into ableism** or homophobia*** – isms are a whole can of worms for another day. What I want to talk about is use of the word rape.
In a LFD group today in Violet Hold, things seemed to be doing well – very well, in fact. Even with us all under 77, the DPS was mighty, the tanking was strong, and the healer… well, the healer was a little bored. It was a lovely group, really. Then this happened:
DPS1: we’re totally raping this place!
me: no, no we’re not. we are, tho’, beating it up pretty well.
What I wanted to do was scream, but really, who the heck is gonna hear me? What I wanted to say was, So while we were all pew-pewing away over here, you were trousers-down fucking & demoralizing dragonkin? Or maybe, I wouldn’t advise that you stick your dick in any of these monsters – even if it is your cartoon cock. Put your epeen away, buddy.
But let’s be honest – snappy and witty as they are, either of those responses would have been trivializing. As someone in my guild is quick to point out, if you’ve ever spoken to a rape survivor, one thing that you’re guaranteed to not hear them tell you about the trauma was that it was, “…just like this one time in Arathi Basin – when I was running up to lumber mill – and this warrior came out of nowhere and stun-locked me – and and and the alliance at the same time took the stables and the farm and the gold mine – I wanted to die.”
It drives me crazy that the term rape is bandied around so casually in-game. Rape is not a light issue. It shouldn’t be, and yet we live in a culture that supports rape and rapists, and it shows through language, attitudes, and assumptions. Why is it ok to make light of a traumatizing and life changing experience? Because it’s a game?
It is a game – but it’s a little like being on a (psychedelic) softball team, really – you need ten to raid (if you want to get specific about the softball analogy, assume it’s progression and someone is tanking the floor), you should all generally like each other enough to not bitch about loot (trophies), if you’re guilded (or on lootship), you’re prolly all wearing the same t-shirt or all in T10… Think about this – would you really, in the middle of a softball game, expect to hear a team captain proclaim that they’re raping the other team? How is it that it’s ok to do that in WoW – it can’t be just because the monsters are make-believe, because it happens in PvP too.
And even if it is that it’s justified because the monsters are pixels, why is that ok? I’m not talking about monsters-have-feeling-too**** – this isn’t about hurting monsters’ feelings. It’s about attitude. It’s about not towing the line that rape is just something that happens – or what more, that the person doing the raping is some kind of hero.
What can you do when you run across this kind of business? Simple: speak up. Be willing to have that awkward moment of cricket chirp. Suggest that rather than rape the monster, we spank it, kill it, embarrass it, steal its lunch money, give it a wedgie, school it, murderate it, paint it purple, or make it run back from the GY. When someone in your group says, “Let’s rape this place!” clarify that you’re not a rapist. It’s not cool to talk like that – it’s ok to say so.
Azeroth is bigger than the NPCs – it’s comprised of the real people who play there. Our toons are an extension of ourselves – a little stronger, a little more skilled, maybe even more wealthy. May we all be more heroic.
*There’s a wee bit of hyperbole here, natch, but it’s been an awkward few days.
**When you call someone or something retarded, you’re making a statement about retarded people being as crummy as the person or thing you’re talking about. But you know that already.
***Just for the record, people tend to take it poorly when their sexuality is used as an insult. But you knew that too, as you are a kind and gentle reader. Which is why I adore you =)
****Lord Marrowgar needs feeding more than he needs hugs – have you seen how thin he is? You’d be angry too! I’m betting there isn’t a pizza place in all of Azeroth that delivers to ICC. Try something new this Tuesday – bring a casserole along to your raid! Perhaps he’ll fight with you! Bonestorm v. Defile FTW. I’m just sayin’.