Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

General: The Slippery Slope of Stereotyping

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

Stereotypes are an unstoppable force of human nature. In today's Player Perspectives column, MMORPG.com writer Isabelle Parsley takes on the issue of stereotypes in the MMO world. See if you agree with her assessments and then add some thoughts of your own in the comments section.

Many MMO-stereotypes arose in the early days of the industry, some of them created by a weird mix of the pen’n’paper legacy and internet anonymity; so for instance, “girls don’t play RPGs” merged with “there are no girls on the internet” and became “all the female avatars you see are played by (socially inept and desperate) men.” I’m constantly surprised at how long that particular stereotype is taking to kill, though it does at least seem to be slowly but surely dying; it’s difficult to maintain a patently ridiculous stereotype in the face of so much evident contradiction.

Read more of Isabelle Parsley's Player Perspectives: The Slippery Slope of Stereotyping.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


«1

Comments

  • astoriaastoria Member UncommonPosts: 1,677

    I'm a successful attorney, singer in a band and covered in tattoos. I am a white male - but my wife is neither white nor male and she games a little with me. You never know now who is an avid gamer. Was in an airport waiting on a delayed flight a few weeks ago (for work, in a full suit & tie) and this guy must have been 60 and looked over at me playing Age of Conan, asked "where are you?" and I said "sorry?" and he said "what zone?" I told him "field of the dead" and a minute later his avatar walked up and waved. We farmed leather until our plane came.

    "Never met a pack of humans that were any different. Look at the idiots that get elected every couple of years. You really consider those guys more mature than us? The only difference between us and them is, when they gank some noobs and take their stuff, the noobs actually die." - Madimorga

  • erictlewiserictlewis Member UncommonPosts: 3,021

    Yes the stereotype thing goes on in these very forums.  Just the other day somebody actually replied to one of my treads telling me to get out of my mothers basement.  ROFL.  I see a lot of the same remarks made every day on and on and on.  We even seen some post shows of photos of some poor overweight guy in his underwear.   Then last night on CSI they showed this overweight gamer and his chubby chasing girl friend as part of the plot line.

    I get a kick out of it when somebody said move out of you mothers basement.  While my 87 year old mother lives down the hillside I sure don't live in her house.  Her and dad have their on place, and I go down there once a day to make sure neither of them have fallen and cant get up.   Sometimes I even send one of my kids down there to cheer them up.

    Lol and not all folks who game are males,  my wife games as well and she always runs a female toon.  I kind of get freak out by guy who run female characters, something about that disturbs me.  But we had one guild mate who said hey if I'm gaming 12 hours a day i want to took at the rear of a lady and not a dude, so that made since.

    /sarcasm Oh well I guess its time to get my troll mask, my tin foil hat and go back down to the basement,  /sarcasm off.

     

    Addendum  love the pictures in your article i got a good laugh out of the cop/donut shop one.

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Member Posts: 1,832

    I think there is an evolutionary utility to stereo-types which is why they are so persistant. For example, in nature alot of brightly colored toads (insects as well) are toxic. Being brightly colored serves the toad well...as it doesn't really help the toad from a survival standpoint if the animal that eats it dies AFTER it gets eaten. Being brightly colored is the toads way of hanging out a warning sign "Danger don't eat me". Most predators have learned instinctualy to avoid brightly colored toads as there is a chance eating them will kill the predator. That stereo-type also helps serve the predator well as it reduces the chance of it getting poisoned.

    Now as it so happens, not all brightly colored toads (or insects) are toxic. Some, that are in fact perfectly safe to eat, seem to mimic the color patterns of thier toxic cousins. This benefits them as they get some measure of protection from thier false warning sign. A predator that could with 100 percent accuracy discern the difference between a toxic and non-toxic specimen would be at advantage since it would have more food sources. However, the consequences for making a mistake are serious enough that most predators are better off going with the blanket assumption that all brightly colored toads are toxic...even if many aren't.

    The same basic mechanisms exist in human beings...instilled by millions of years of evolution and instict. Which is where the mechanism for stereo-types, I think, are derived. They are usefull because alot of times humans are called upon to make decisions that have very serious consequences with very limited information.

    For example, if you're alone walking through a rough neighborhood at night and you see a a large boisterous group of teenage males hanging out on a street corner.... 90 percent of us are going to try to avoid them.....and we are well served to do so. It's a stereo-type, it's not really fair to the teenagers....as most of the time they are probably harmless. However the consequences of being unlucky enough to run into the exception are serious enough that it's generaly not worth the risk....and safer to go with the assumption that they may be unsafe, in the absence of further evidence.  Just the way things work in an imperfect world.

  • wfSegwfSeg Member Posts: 96

    Wow, that is cool.

    "I am the harbinger of hope. I am the sword of the righteous. And to all who hear my words, I say this: What you give to this Empire, I shall give back unto you."
    -Empress Jamyl Sarum I

  • k11keeperk11keeper Member UncommonPosts: 1,048

    I can say that even though now I am successful, self-sufficient, and in a loving relationship with a female. At one time (sadly my prime as far as gaming goes) I was a white, teenage/young adult, that lived in my parents basement and rarely go laid. Also, many of my friends at the time also fit that profile. One of then lived in a loft over the garage and not a basement because his parents had no basement. So I can honestly say that I see where the stereotypes come from. On top of that I can't tell you how many female characters I knew were actually male, some hid it for a long time some didn', some you never knew for suret. At one time it was well over 80% but now I would say it's about 50/50.

    So maybe from your personal experience you can't see where the stereotypes come from and you have never fit the stereotype yourself. Sadly I have to admit that I know many people, including myself, that fit this stereotype and the majority of the people I played with online fit it in some way shape or form. This might not be the case now but for me it was 8 years ago.

    On a side note though I was never really shy or socially inept IRL or online.

  • wfSegwfSeg Member Posts: 96

    Originally posted by astoria



    I'm a successful attorney, singer in a band and covered in tattoos. I am a white male - but my wife is neither white nor male and she games a little with me. You never know now who is an avid gamer. Was in an airport waiting on a delayed flight a few weeks ago (for work, in a full suit & tie) and this guy must have been 60 and looked over at me playing Age of Conan, asked "where are you?" and I said "sorry?" and he said "what zone?" I told him "field of the dead" and a minute later his avatar walked up and waved. We farmed leather until our plane came.


     

    ugh i meant to quote astoria.

     

    On topic, I think I've read this article somewhere already. Gamers aren't what they used to be. Met someone from U of Michigan playing LoL last night.

    "I am the harbinger of hope. I am the sword of the righteous. And to all who hear my words, I say this: What you give to this Empire, I shall give back unto you."
    -Empress Jamyl Sarum I

  • Shane16Shane16 Member Posts: 5

    Great article.Stereotypes of any kind really annoy me but some of the worst game related stereotypes,in my opinion,are that all console gamers have ADD or something and that all PC gamers are elitist.I'm both a PC and console gamer,so both of those really piss me off.

  • YsharrosYsharros Member Posts: 87

    @wfSeg "I think I've read this article somewhere already." -- I'm pretty sure you have. It's something most people who think about games (or sociology) like to think about. Besides, it's an issue that crops up now and then, for instance when gamers are really negatively portrayed in fiction (TV) or the general media.

    I don't claim originality -- there are no new opinions, just new ways of expressing them. ;)

  • YsharrosYsharros Member Posts: 87

    And yes, I totally fail at the post editor here. My IT-training background is rolling in its grave. :P

  • RudeaspRudeasp wysiwygMember Posts: 49

    Keep casuals out of hard core content. 

    Mhmmm

  • battleaxebattleaxe Member UncommonPosts: 158

    I don't find anything wrong with stereotypes.  They are quite often true.

    Dwarves are short, lusty, bearded, and love drinking.  They often sound Scottish.

    Trolls and Ogres are large and stupid.

    Elves (except for the Keeblers) are intelligent, tall, frail, and look down on everyone else.

    Minotaurs are big, strong, and love it when you "moo" at them.

    Of course, these stereotypes don't really work that well without a lot of RP in the RPG.

  • LiltawenLiltawen Member UncommonPosts: 245

    Streotyping means turning off your brain and not thinking about where you are and what you're confronting. Maybe it would keep you from getting poisoned by strange frogs or whatever but that sort of automatic thinking is also what killed the dinosaurs when they couldn't adapt to changing,non stereotyped conditions in their world. Same for people. It hurts no one exept yourself if you can't recognize the variety in the world.

    One thing I like about gaming and MMOs in particular is that you can go in one for a few hours and involve yoursef in a totally different world. I think it shakes your mind and it's expatations/stereotypes up a bit so when you come out you aren't so prone to stereotypical thinking. Exposing yourself to a variety of different reality maps.

  • gaeanprayergaeanprayer Member UncommonPosts: 2,341

    Stereotypes are generally incorrect, but they're far too pervasive to see an end to them any time soon. I'm an artist with a mind for physics and mathematics, I'm so light-skinned no one ever believes I'm puerto rican, I'm also openly gay and no one ever believes me. I literally have to whip out photos of me at Pride before people figure it out. My boyfriend has a shaved head, a goatee, and a Honda (motorcycle). And FYI, I have more straight male friends than I do female friends. Although yes, the token fag-hag is a given.

     

    I have more male characters in games than female. In fact, if you really think about it, doesn't that make more sense? Why is it assumed that a man using a female avatar is gay? If he were gay, wouldn't he want to stare at a male avatar more? *raises hand* Why yes, I think so. I also know plenty of female gamers, and most of them are FAR FAR more hardcore than I am. These girls have the best gear first, run the largest guilds, and more than a couple of them are downright scary in PvP. Seriously, it's like some exorcist shit; nicest people in the world till it's time for PvP, then their heads spin around and they're off stabbing people. And the stuff that comes out of their mouths in vent...make a sailor proud, it would.

     

    By the same token many of my fellow players, male and female alike, go to work as lawyers, doctors, dedicated college students, etc., when they shut the game down. Knowing this, it seems a shame that gamers are among those most likely to stereotype, especially when they feel threatened. One would think that, as a community branded all kinds of badly in the media (socially inept, lazy, losers, etc.), we'd be a little more open-minded and embracing toward each other. Sort of an 'us against the world' mentality. But no, we're in fact more likely to tear each other down than any others can, and we do it regularly. *shrug* Such is life.

    "Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  • tutistutis Member Posts: 14

    Just on the naked female toons - I joined a PUG about a week ago in DDO and everybody was meeting up near the quest giver.  A naked female character was in the PUG.  I asked why she(or he) didn't have any armor on.  She responded that her dex was high enough that she had a higher AC without armor on.  Then we of course questioned why she wasn't wearing a robe or an outfit or an armor type that wasn't actually armor for other effects, because it doesn't cap your dex to AC.  One guy even offered a nice robe he had in his inventory.  She then gave us a resounding FU, and dropped group.

  • KyBoKyBo Member UncommonPosts: 140

    Stereotyping is merely playing the odds.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Member RarePosts: 14,247

    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

    I think there is an evolutionary utility to stereo-types which is why they are so persistant. For example, in nature alot of brightly colored toads (insects as well) are toxic. Being brightly colored serves the toad well...as it doesn't really help the toad from a survival standpoint if the animal that eats it dies AFTER it gets eaten. Being brightly colored is the toads way of hanging out a warning sign "Danger don't eat me". Most predators have learned instinctualy to avoid brightly colored toads as there is a chance eating them will kill the predator. That stereo-type also helps serve the predator well as it reduces the chance of it getting poisoned.

    Now as it so happens, not all brightly colored toads (or insects) are toxic. Some, that are in fact perfectly safe to eat, seem to mimic the color patterns of thier toxic cousins. This benefits them as they get some measure of protection from thier false warning sign. A predator that could with 100 percent accuracy discern the difference between a toxic and non-toxic specimen would be at advantage since it would have more food sources. However, the consequences for making a mistake are serious enough that most predators are better off going with the blanket assumption that all brightly colored toads are toxic...even if many aren't.

    The same basic mechanisms exist in human beings...instilled by millions of years of evolution and instict. Which is where the mechanism for stereo-types, I think, are derived. They are usefull because alot of times humans are called upon to make decisions that have very serious consequences with very limited information.

    For example, if you're alone walking through a rough neighborhood at night and you see a a large boisterous group of teenage males hanging out on a street corner.... 90 percent of us are going to try to avoid them.....and we are well served to do so. It's a stereo-type, it's not really fair to the teenagers....as most of the time they are probably harmless. However the consequences of being unlucky enough to run into the exception are serious enough that it's generaly not worth the risk....and safer to go with the assumption that they may be unsafe, in the absence of further evidence.  Just the way things work in an imperfect world.

    Well said. It's simply a matter of, as another poster put it, simply playing the odds.

     

    @OP,

    Your article seems to be an argument against the use of sweeping generalizations (from the article: "all gamers are..." "“all the female avatars you see are played by..."  "“All male gamers are..."  "“All female gamers are...") but isn't it very rare to see any of those phrases used outside of trolling or joking? It seems the argument is being made against a non-existant counterpoint. 

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • YsharrosYsharros Member Posts: 87

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    @OP,

    [snip] but isn't it very rare to see any of those phrases used outside of trolling or joking? It seems the argument is being made against a non-existant counterpoint. 

    Did you read it, or even just the title? Yes, that's what the post was about.

    And no, those phrases are not exclusively used in a trolling or joking context. I hear them regularly in normal conversation with strangers, acquaintances and people I consider friends. Some of my blogging acquaintances (whose opinions I otherwise very much respect) will maintain that because I'm a female gamer, I will accept gifts from other characters because its "in my nature as a female" to ask for and accept such things.

    That's stereotype.

    And a facile, snappy one-liner is not a refutation. It's just a one-liner. Just because "the odds are" you won't die if you jump out of a second floor window, would you do it anyway?

  • ErstokErstok Member Posts: 523

    Sterotypes are the unwritten rule of life. Everyone sterotypes. Why argue or debate something that is just apart of everyones way of life. Bet OP is a meat shield in MMO's. Stands their and gets hit by everything while he gets healed. WHY DON'T YOU MOVE OR SOMETHING, GAWD!

    image
    When did you start playing "old school" MMO's. World Of Warcraft?

  • JumdorJumdor Member Posts: 62

    The best way to beat stereotyping is to train yourself to consider an alternate choice to your original thought about someone. If you begin to judge someone as being a basement living man child. You must also consider that he could be the same as yourself whether that is a working slob, accountant, or just some pot smoking millionaire mother of four. To consider one you can then adjust yourself to consider alternates as well.

    Most often stereotyping comes from insecurity and results in lashing out at others with predetermined judgement. Change your thinking. Become a different person. You may find you will have truer friends and be more confident. It's just a thought...

    image

    "Love can be innocent and can be sweet, but sometimes about as nice as rotting meat."

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Member RarePosts: 14,247

    Originally posted by Ysharros

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    @OP,

    [snip] but isn't it very rare to see any of those phrases used outside of trolling or joking? It seems the argument is being made against a non-existant counterpoint. 

    Did you read it, or even just the title? Yes, that's what the post was about.

    And no, those phrases are not exclusively used in a trolling or joking context.

    Yes, I read it. If it was 'some'  'many' 'most' then I'd completely agree those are common phrases to hear. However, it's odd that you are regularly hearing people use such a sweeping generalization as 'all' without it being said in jest or as trolling.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • KithcaKithca Member Posts: 118

    I've seen a lot of stereotyping in the world go on, especially towards gamers. This article came out a good while back, and was widely misreported by a number of news sources, is a somewhat common, but damaging stereotype of gamers: http://www.gossipgamers.com/employers-not-hiring-wow-mmo-or-fps-gamers/

    I think stereotyping is a natural human habit, and like all habits can be broken.  They tend to be used in place of proper and correct information. The problem is people tend to go on what they hear from others and/or assume rather than investigating the issue for themselves to find the truth of the matter. It reminds me of a rule of genealogy: If you didn't research it yourself, don't trust it.  

  • goblagobla Member UncommonPosts: 1,412

    Originally posted by Liltawen

    Streotyping means turning off your brain and not thinking about where you are and what you're confronting. Maybe it would keep you from getting poisoned by strange frogs or whatever but that sort of automatic thinking is also what killed the dinosaurs when they couldn't adapt to changing,non stereotyped conditions in their world. Same for people. It hurts no one exept yourself if you can't recognize the variety in the world.

    One thing I like about gaming and MMOs in particular is that you can go in one for a few hours and involve yoursef in a totally different world. I think it shakes your mind and it's expatations/stereotypes up a bit so when you come out you aren't so prone to stereotypical thinking. Exposing yourself to a variety of different reality maps.

    Yes dinosaurs got totally killed because they weren't able to adapt to non-stereotyped conditions in their world.

    Silly of them really to hold onto their stereotypical physical bodies and not instantly metamorphose into another physical form so they could survive the global catastrophe of a giant meteor hitting the earth.

    Or even if you hold to some of the other theories such as ecosystems diversifying while the Dinosaurs did not diversify as such it's got absolutely nothing to do at all with stereotypes.

    No matter what stereotype I attach to cyanide it's still likely to kill me if I ingest too much of it. No matter what stereotype I attach to vitamins I still die if I don't ingest enough of it.

    Stereotypes can be bad, we all know that. But they're not the root of all evil and the cause of all the world's problems. Dinosaurs would not have survived if they were less prone to stereotypical thinking. In fact I'm not sure if they even were prone to stereotypical thinking. Never did any psychological research on any dinosaurs. Maybe velociraptors which apperantly apperantly had quite large brains were the masters of non-stereotypical thinking.

    Stereotypes are there for a very good reason. Our brains are incapable of processing all possible situations. So we stereotype situations in order to make it possible for us to categorize them and learn from them. This leads to good things like the stereotype that people holding physics degrees know a lot about physics ( yes, that is a stereotype... ). It can also lead to bad things like the stereotype that black people are criminals.

    Stereotypes are a way for us to react to the unknown. Instead of having to do intensive research on every single new thing that comes into our lives we look at a few prominent charasterics and we compare them to known things that share those prominent charasterics and conclude that likely they'll also share a similair functionality.

    There's good stereotypes and bad stereotypes to base our thinking on, but it's impossible to not base our thinking on some stereotype.

    We are the bunny.
    Resistance is futile.
    ''/\/\'''''/\/\''''''/\/\
    ( o.o) ( o.o) ( o.o)
    (")("),,(")("),(")(")

  • vazzarothvazzaroth Member Posts: 111

    I just wanted to say that the idea that all female characters are actually desperate males is a huge defense mechanism. As a 21 year old, non-drinking, overweight and nerdy male who works in an office based around social MMOs, I don't get much female contact. When I do, I desire to make it a quality connection (In other words, I want to round out my interaction in accordance to normal human socilization, and want more female friends), but there have been too many times where I hope or think I am talking to a female and of course they turn out to be male. Or at least I assume that's what would happen, since I usually just avoid getting too involved with new, random people in MMOs because of the decepetion potential.

     

    My point is,  the "All female avatars are dudes" has a very real reason for existing as a social defense, and I think it won't be going away anytime soon.

    --------------------------------
    -Been there, done that: Xsyon, WoW, EVE, Maplestory, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, FF11, Rift
    -Currently playing: Not MMOs
    -Wants to check out: SWTOR, Dark Millennium

  • ste2000ste2000 Member EpicPosts: 6,194

    Nowadays gamers aren't geeks

    Games took over TV, as young people prefer to interact rather than absorbe passively the TV, they use Facebook to socialize, and games to kill time.

    The Nerd as the image of the gamer doesn't exist anymore, in fact I hardly believe there are still nerds around at all.

    Gaming is mainstream, everyone does it.

  • MeowheadMeowhead Member UncommonPosts: 3,716

    Originally posted by vazzaroth

    I just wanted to say that the idea that all female characters are actually desperate males is a huge defense mechanism. As a 21 year old, non-drinking, overweight and nerdy male who works in an office based around social MMOs, I don't get much female contact. When I do, I desire to make it a quality connection (In other words, I want to round out my interaction in accordance to normal human socilization, and want more female friends), but there have been too many times where I hope or think I am talking to a female and of course they turn out to be male. Or at least I assume that's what would happen, since I usually just avoid getting too involved with new, random people in MMOs because of the decepetion potential.

     

    My point is,  the "All female avatars are dudes" has a very real reason for existing as a social defense, and I think it won't be going away anytime soon.

    This is why you should always hit on guys in MMOs, on the random offchance that they're a totally hot female who has to use a male avatar to protect herself from all the attention she gets.

     

    <- Totally not helpful.

    Though it is true I know a lot of women who use male characters... hmm... maybe most of the male characters are women.  It couldn't hurt to check.

Sign In or Register to comment.