Muddled Times
Issue:Issue 28, September 2004

Gender Questionnaire - Part 2

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill in the Gender Questionnaire in March's issue. Due to the sheer amount of information this questionnaire has gleaned the summary of the answers have been broken into three parts. Part 1 can be read in the June 2004 issue, the final part will appear in a later issue.


Q5. If you are female, have you ever experienced any overt sexism? What happened and what did you do?

Out of the 9 females 5 replied "no" and 4 replied "yes".

The 4 who replied "yes" described the sexism they received as either in the form of personal abuse, being "hit on" or general ignorance. Examples of sexism were given as such:

"I was the victim of a series of nasty mudmails calling me a whore etc ..."

"During a debate about whether witches are wizzes or not I asked "Just how do you think I made wiz?” the response was, "dosent bother me if u went to a wizzard. hello witch what do u think he will say".

The implication being that witches don't make wiz through playing ability and skill.

Only 1 person replied with what they did in the face of sexism:

"Yes, and I screamed at them for being sexist pigs"

Although 5 respondents replied "no" there were implications of sexism having been experienced but then rationalised. This was reflected in comments such as:

"Nope. Well, not in a bad way."

"None I didn't initiate."

"I was hit on, as I think most female players tend to get as the endangered species on the game."

"Never, except some jokey comments."

It would appear that sexism is perceived in two forms, negative and positive. Negative sexism including gender-based abuse and insults and general ignorance. Positive sexism including the attitude adopted in the 'damsel in distress' scenario. The later being more acceptable, even to the extent of it not being acknowledged as sexism by respondents.

It is interesting to compare the responses given to this question and that of Q20 (If you are female would you like to be, or have you been treated like a "damsel in distress" persona?). One respondent who replied "no" to this question with the comment, "Nope. Well, not in a bad way" responded to Q20 with, "lol. Yes, all the time. Wouldn't change it for the world." Another respondent who replied to this question with "Never, except some jokey comment," responded to Q20 with, "Have been a few times but I don't appreciate it." It is interesting to note that these two respondents either don’t consider being treated as a damsel in distress as sexist, find this attitude acceptable or don't acknowledge it as sexism.

Another comment of note with regards to Q20 is:

"Sometimes it's nice to be treated as if you are inept and need protection, but other times it’s nice to prove you can play and look after yourself - a lot like Real Life I suppose!"

Q6. If you are male have you ever witnessed any overt sexism towards a female player? What happened and what did you do?

Out of the 16 males 4 replied "yes", 10 replied "no" and 2 didn't answer the question.

The 4 males who relied "yes" made these comments:

"General sexist behaviour such as women are crappy drivers or women aren't killers therefore they suck, that kinda crap."

"Nothing sexist as in 'women are second class citizens'. More the opposite - women get spoiled by the lads who seem on the pull!"

"Yes, but I hope they're only pretending to be male pigs!"

"I've seen comments that would not be acceptable in the work place, e.g. 'Don't worry your pretty little head about it deary'."

"I've been shocked in the past by things people have said."

Two of the males who responded "no" rationalised any sexism they witnessed as not being overt by responding:

"Nope, there's always a little sexism, but you can't escape that."

"Nothing really overt."

The respondents to this question made the distinction between real-world sexism and role-play. For example one person replied:

" ... but I think it comes back to the role-play thing and I've never taken it as directed at the player behind the persona. Surely it's reasonable for Biggles to expect women to be tending the Home Front and 'boosting the lads' morale, wot wot.'."

In the previous question one female made this comment:

"Once, when I was still relatively new and a low level, a male player who had been flirting a lot with me found me in The Land. He got me to follow him to the kitchen where he proceeded to give me a rolling-pin, told me to "stay here, this is wimmens place" then locked the door and left! It was all totally in character and I was killing myself laughing in real life. Of course when he came back to let me out I pretended to be outraged and hit him repeatedly with the rolling-pin!"

Other comments of note from the male respondents were:

"Personally, I don't see what fun can be had, pulling the leg of a female that way. It's hard to tell how things are meant with text. I generally speak out against it, side with the women. Then I get accused of being gay or some nonsense, well only from the immature people."

" ... [sexism] was always taken in good humour and no-one seemed to get upset ... so I guess I'm just overly sensitive."

Both of these comments demonstrate that one comment can be perceived in many different ways. The giver of the comment may have meant it in one way, the comment could be received in a different way and any witnesses could interpret it in yet another way.

Age and maturity may also play a part. Theman's questionnaire has demonstrated that the average age of a mudder is lower than it was a few years ago. It could be asserted that a younger player, whilst not necessarily trying to be sexist, is more likely to speak without regard to the consequences and implications.

Q7. If you are male, have you ever knowingly been overtly sexist as either a joke or seriously? If so, what happened?

From the males 6 responded "yes", 8 responded "no" and 2 didn't answer the question. The 6 who responded "yes" gave answers such as these:

"As a rule my persona is pretty offensive to nearly everyone. I think everyone knows everything I say is a joke."

"Anything for a cheap joke but always within the boundaries of the person who I was taking the mick out of."

"Yes, a couple of times. I apologised straight away."

"Everyone jokes about in the tearoom."

This shows that those males who admitted to being overtly sexist meant it as a joke, either as part of role-play or in the context of the situation.

As with the previous question it was acknowledged that a comment meant in one way could be take another way.

Those who replied "no" made comments such as "Nope - I'm very against sexism" and "hopefully not a joke that has been considered serious."

Q8. As a male persona, have you ever experienced any overt sexism?

Of the 16 males 11 replied "no", 4 replied "yes" and 1 didn't answer. Of the 7 females who have played a male persona 5 replied "no" and 2 didn't answer.

It was generally accepted that male personae are not on the receiving end of sexism however the 4 males how did reply "yes" had this to say on the subject:

" ... have a feeling male wizzes pamper to females more as they are rare."

"[have experienced] female players EXPECTING to have their hand held, or receive favours for easy advantage."

"people trust you less when you are male ... [before getting to know you]."

These 4 respondents discussed how there was gender-stereotyping and any sexism experienced was on the basis of this. The subject of favouritism was also mentioned. Examples were female personae being more likely to receive a prefix and how certain wizzes are more likely to be visible if certain (female) players are on.

Q9. Regardless of your gender would you consider yourself sexist in any way?

Of the males 4 replied "yes", 11 replied "no" and 1 didn't answer. Of the females 2 replied "yes" and 7 replied "no".

Interestingly enough this does not match up with the responses from Q7. In Q7 6 males responded that they had been knowingly sexist. A distinction has been made between acting in a sexist manner and being sexist. This reflects the views on role-playing.

The 4 males who considered themselves sexist had this to say:

"Yeah, I think I am. However it's not just females, males do things as bad, if not worse, deserving a good sarcastic comment too."

"Only in a jokey non-serious way. I don't mind a lady buying me a drink or holding the door for me" Ohh, was that inverse sexism?"

"Everyone has preconceptions."

" ... [I] would relate to females slightly differently to males. Don't know if that qualifies - I'd certainly never see it as a negative thing."

Clearly these forms of sexism are on a different level to the sexism experienced by female players in Q5.

The 2 females who considered themselves to be sexist said this:

"Yes, I do generally assume most players are male unless told otherwise."


There was one female who responded to this question as follows:

"Apart from silly jokes which everyone says from time to time, I believe all is fair in love, war and mud."

However in a later question (Q14) she had this to say:

"Women have far more to do in RL than to worry about making wiz."

And so in one fell swoop she demonstrates some arguably sexist preconceptions about both male players and women in general, as well as having a dig at witches!

Q17. Have you experienced or witnessed any unwelcome obscene behaviour towards a female player?

Of the males 10 replied "yes" and 6 replied "no". Of the females 5 replied "yes" and 4 replied "no".

Specifics that were mentioned were "virtual rape" scenarios acted out by anonymous male personae during Wireplay days, obscene anonymous mudmails that were also mentioned in Q5 (also from Wireplay days) and PKs harassing specific female players because they were deemed to be a 'bimbo'. One female had also been the recent subject of unwarranted sexually explicit messages, again from an anonymous player.

The amount of unwelcome obscene behaviour seems to have been greater during Wireplay days. This is probably partly due to the fact there were more players so therefore there was a greater chance of this happening, but is more likely due to the fact that anonymous accounts were easier to create. One common feature of all the scenarios described was the anonyminity factor.

2 people (1 female, 1 male) implied that the victim of specific abuse might have deserved it:

" ... because they are female or because they're a bitch? Not because they are female ;)"

" ... some to others but that was in response to nasty stuff they had done."

Q18. Have you experienced or witnessed any unwelcome obscene behaviour towards a male player?

Of the males 10 replied "yes" and 6 replied "no". Of the females 6 replied "yes" and 3 replied "no".

The only specific incident that was mentioned was abuse resulting from a mudmeet photo. It was emphasised that role-play and the whole mysticism of the game was broken down when one player abused another player's persona for how the player looked in the photo.

It was mentioned a number of times that the obscene behaviour was persona rather than gender related, i.e. due to a personal feud or real-life related.

The main difference between obscene behaviour towards females and males is that females face more sexually explicit abuse and the abuser is normally anonymous.


These set of questions picked up on similar themes to the first set of questions. Namely that of differing perceptions of the game and why people play MUDII and the use of role-play. A more detailed overview of the responses will be given after the last set of questions and answers which will appear in the December issue of Muddled Times.


Prior to my writing up the last set of questions and answers would the person who responded to Q12 (Do you think that female players have a harder or easier time wizrunning? Give examples.) with "Yes, I would let a wizrunning male mage go for it, but not a female." please contact me via the feedback form. I'm interested in why you would not let a female mage "go for it". I'm not going to make any judgements and I would prefer if you remained anonymous, I would just like some further insight into your response before I write up the answers to this question.


If you would like to discuss or debate any of the issues raised here please contact the author by using the link below.

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