Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill in the Gender Questionnaire from last year. Due to the sheer
amount of information this questionnaire has produced the summary of the answers have been broken into
three parts. Part 1 can be read here and part 2 here. What follows it the third and final part.
Of the males 9 responded with "would treat the same", 6 with "would treat differently" and 1 didn't respond
at all. Of the females 8 responded with "would treat the same" and 1 with "would treat differently".
The general consensus between those who said that they would react differently to an obvious-gendered
name can be summed up with the following quotations:
Clearly there is a perception that females will receive more help (also implied in the answers to Q8) and
therefore it is assumed that a female sounding newbie will receive preferential treatment. One question is, are
those who believe that female newbies receive more help the ones actually treating the female newbies
differently? And is it done consciously?
Of the males 9 replied "yes", 3 with "no", 3 with "no idea" and 1 didn't answer. Of the females 5 replied with
"yes", 3 with "no" and 1 with "no idea".
Most respondents seemed to be of the opinion that when they are new female players get more (pleasant)
attention therefore are more likely to be helped. This was reflected in comments such as:
However, respondents indicated that when it came to highlifes and wizrunning, females have a harder time
Perhaps it can be suggested that those giving females a harder time when they get to the highlife stage
are over-compensating for the easier time those females had when they were newbies.
The subject of wizard to female player interaction was also brought up. Some respondents felt that wizards
favoured female players and this was reflected in the giving of prefixes, wizards being visible in the company
of certain players, cliquey conversation in the Tearoom and so on. If there were more female wizzes it would
be interesting to see whether the reverse happened.
3 males responded with "harder", 1 with "easier", 6 with "no different to males", 4 with "don't know" and 2
didn't answer. 2 females responded with "harder", 1 with "easier" and 4 with "no different to males" and 2 with
Despite the comments given in the previous question the majority of respondents felt that female wizrunners
have neither a harder or easier time wizrunning than their male counterparts.
One respondent did comment that female’s wizrunners have a harder time because they have more prove.
He then went on to explain that because of the perception that females have an easier time when they are new they then have to be an even better
player than males once they get to the highlife stage to prove that they didn't get there by flirting or 'on someone else's
Of the males 6 responded with "low", 8 responded with "reasonable" and 2 didn't respond. All 9 females
responded with "low".
These figures would suggest that the ratio of female wizzes is low compared to our current player base.
For clarification, the 4 witches this question refers to are Xia, Suzy, Karya and Lexley. Polly and Hail were not
included as they are the secondary personae of Richard and Foddy respectively.
Those that replied suggested that the ratio is low because a) female players tend to be socialisers or b)
females don't like fighting or finally c) females have a harder time getting to wiz. One female responded by
suggesting the following:
Q15. Do you perceive there to be any difference between a wizard and witch?
Most people responded with "no" however 3 males and 1 female responded "yes".
Those that responded yes said that they perceived witches to be friendlier and more helpful. These
attributes were extended to the active witches of wireplay days and in some cases other MUDs. The
following is an opinion shared by several respondents:
"I expect witches to care more and generally be more socially aware then the average wizard-nerd"
One person objected to the term witch used in this context. He replied to this question saying this:
"... and witch should be a unisex name anyhow ... please read the Oxford dictionary!"
Richard's article on the subject may prove enlightening.
Q16. Do you treat a witch differently to a wizard? Give examples.
4 males responded with "yes", 10 with "no" and 2 didn't answer. 3 females responded with "yes" and 6 with
Comments of note were:
"No they are all people, some are nice some are nasty"
"No really, only following social conventions and maybe topics of conversation (avoiding potentially offensive
stuff with the witches as I would in female RL company)"
"Both worked hard to get where they are and both should be treated with respect"
"Hmm, I suppose (in my sexist way) that I don't consider them a source of good PK advice"
"No, I treat wizzes based on their personalities. But witches seem nicer ;)"
Despite most people responding with a "no" it would seem from the above comments that players do treat witches differently to wizards by inadvertently conforming female players to social stereotypes.
Q22. Please leave further thoughts and comments on this topic here:
Some of the comments that were left are included here along with a brief response:
"There were some things said regarding Lexley in the group discussion that I thought were not quite right. You
would get the impression that she was a martyr when it was rather more mixed than that. She seemed to
relish polarising opinions and being at the heart of dispute. After a while other people settled on negative
opinions of her and were quite nasty, but to attribute this is sexism is to be a bit simplistic about it"
I don't believe that the group discussion this respondent refers to attributed the nastiness that Lexley
experienced to sexism, but rather that nastiness was an example of sexism. There have been many very vocal
players who loved 'being at the heart of dispute' but it would seem that Lexley received the most grief over
her views. Was this because she's female and seen as an easier target for abuse (a subject brought up in the
questionnaire) or because she was sometimes vitriolic? In this game outspoken female players have tended to receive more abuse and criticismthan their male counterparts, or at least the criticism has been more obvious.
"I feel less attention should be given to the gender of players and maybe more attention given to those who
think insults are the way to go"
This questionnaire is one subject of interest to both the author and to various readers of Muddled Times. If
anyone wishes to do so they can submit an article on the subject of insults and abuse. Within the game
insults and abuse are tackled fairly, when known about, regardless of gender of either party.
"I think the whole basis of this questionnaire is flawed, do you think female players are different to male
players? I think there's just more men play is all, a coincidence, therefore more wizards than witches."
Whether female players are different to male players is irrelevant, it is players perceptions towards female players that this questionnaire strives to investigate.
The answers to the questionnaire have shown that on the whole female players are perceived differently to males. There has, however, been a tendency to rationalise or normalise any sexist or stereotyped attitudes.
Maybe the low ratio of male to female wizzes does reflect an era when there were far more male players then female. But now approximately a third of MUDII’s players are female.
Two themes have arisen from this questionnaire. One being players attitudes towards female players and the other being players attitudes towards the game itself.
There seems to be a fundamental assumption that females are not interested in playing games such as MUDII. Many responses had comments such as “if in doubt assume it’s male” and “this is a male-dominated game” attached to them. However a third of MUDII’s players are female, but this is not reflected in the wiz population. Is this because females are not driven to achieve wiz status as suggested in some responses? Or is it because female players are treated in such a way that they are likely to fail, as also suggested in some responses.
An interesting point and the focus of the second theme this questionnaire picked up was that of players’ attitudes towards the game. This was in reference to some players viewing MUDII as “just a game” and others seeing it as another society. Depending on which view the respondent held their reply to certain questions was affected accordingly. For example, respondents who see MUDII as just a game were not bothered by males playing as females and vice versa, whereas those who see MUDII as another society were more inclined to see any consequences of such role-playing.
This questionnaire has led to some interesting points and no doubt further topics of debate. It must be remembered, though, that a lot of generalisations have taken place. It would therefore be unfair to say that all female players prefer socialising to actually playing the game although it would be reasonable to say that female players are perceived as being socialisers rather than achievers.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this questionnaire and please feel free to pick up on any theme
covered in this questionnaire. Any comments can be sent to me directly by using the author feedback button
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