Tobold's Blog
Thursday, April 24, 2014
 
Are choppers sexist?

Blizzard this month started a collaboration with a TV series American Choppers to produce Azeroth Choppers. And the way I heard about it was by reading my MMO blog newsfeed, where several feminist blogs complained about that move as being sexist.

I find that complaint itself very sexist. It suggests that women could not possibly be interested in choppers. That is like saying that World of Warcraft, which is a game about hunting and killing, is a game for men and could not possibly appeal to women. Female gamers have fought long and hard to be recognized as being equally interested and good at games about killing. Why should women not be interested in choppers?

Feminists complaining about choppers are reinforcing exactly the gender stereotypes that true gender equality is trying to overcome. I would find it extremely insulting to women if anybody suggested a marketing campaign linking World of Warcraft to knitting and quilting in order "to appeal to women". Gender equality requires us to forget about those stereotypes, and to recognize that men and women can be equally interested in the same things. Putting male/female labels on items like choppers or cooking pans is unhelpful.

Comments:
It is passively sexist since it is advertising to a mostly male demographic. It is sexist in the way that advertising for a job but specifying that vacation cannot be taken during school holidays is sexist because it adversely impacts on women.

Demographic based advertising requires balance. Advertising exclusively to one demographic is ...ist. If it is only part of a wider campaign then it is acceptable.

I think a fair proportion of the WoW community consider this as sexist because they've recently been hit with bro-gate, betapax-gate and other similar macho items coming from Blizzard and are not seeing WoW advertising aimed at the non-bro crowd.
 
Yes, saying that women could not be interested in choppers is sexist. The problem is that this is precisely what Blizzard is doing.

How many women are there on Team Alliance? Zero. How many are on Team Horde? None. Were any in-game female characters shown riding choppers? Of course not.

Maybe the future episodes will do something to change the perception of the project. Maybe we'll see an interview with Nethaera or Кихьяви about their team of choice, or a bike race between Moira and Aggra. However, at this point, the message is clearly "Azeroth choppers is made by men, for men and all about men. No girls allowed!"
 
What's the word for motorcycles have zero place in a fantasy game be it for men or women?
 
@dobablo: " It is sexist in the way that advertising for a job but specifying that vacation cannot be taken during school holidays is sexist because it adversely impacts on women."

That's actually you being sexist and assuming that women are the one that must take care of schoolchildren during holidays.

@jim999999999999999: "What's the word for motorcycles have zero place in a fantasy game be it for men or women?"

the word is 'wrong', motorcycles are fine in a fantasy game.
 
Why at times I get the feeling that anything and everything is sexist...?

I wonder if it's something like the "beauty in the eye of the beholder" thing.
 
Were any in-game female characters shown riding choppers?

Imagine you had the choice between three images:

A) A male orc on a chopper.
B) A female orc in the type of outfit that is common for WoW, aka "chain-mail bikini" on a chopper.
C) A modestly dressed female orc in a domestic setting.

Which one would you say is the least sexist? I'd say A.

motorcycles have zero place in a fantasy game

WoW has had motor-cycles, helicopters, and even space-ships for years. There simply isn't just ONE sort of fantasy environment possible, there are more low-tech and more high-tech fantasy worlds.
 
I'm not really interested in AC and I only recently heard about it, but as far as I can tell the criticism is not aimed at what you're trying to say here. I don't know which sites you read ofc but at least for those I have come across the main issue isn't the choppers (there have been choppers before in wow) but as usual the presentation; the whole Blizzard "bro club" for one thing and again no female characters included in the ad, which was already the case in WoD marketing. Blizzard could easily sell choppers to everyone in their audience if they were more inclusive and balanced in the way they address their audience (not just the "guys") and also in their choice of NPCs.

And from that PoV I think you have it the wrong way around; it's Blizzard's way of marketing that suggests choppers just aren't for the womenz. you can't continuously only depict yourself and then go with the "hey, you are always included even if we never mention/show you"-excuse. anyone with an inkling of marketing skill understands why that doesn't work.
 
All these years blundering about at the top of the MMO castle and Blizzard STILL haven't learned that what they're really supposed to be doing is all about being more feminist and 'genderqueer'. Hunting! Fighting!! Orcs!!! Choppers!!!! When will this masculine monstrosity be sanitised?
 
@Mike Andrade

Assuming that women are the one that must take care of schoolchildren during holidays would be sexist.

Checking to see if a demographic is impacted more than others by a decision then using empirical evidence to show that they are, is not.
 
@dobablo

"Checking to see if a demographic is impacted more than others by a decision then using empirical evidence to show that they are, is not."

Couldn't an argument be made that this is very similar to what Blizzard has done? Blizzard is aware that while many women play their games, their primary demographic is male. Similar empirical evidence has shown that males were also the primary demographic of AC was also male.

I don't disagree that Azeroth Choppers could have been made a better show with the inclusion of some of Blizzard's very talented female personalities and influential female characters. But in the end Azeroth Choppers is nothing more than a giant, serialized commercial playing to both companies known largest demographic.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Or you could stop being so moronically sensitive over a video game because the world has bigger problems.
 
because the world has bigger problems

Comments like that reveal a profound lack of knowledge about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. These are first-world problems, but to the persons concerned they don't appear "smaller" than the world's "bigger" problems.
 
"Checking to see if a demographic is impacted more than others by a decision then using empirical evidence to show that they are, is not.
"
Let me analyze a situation using your proposed methodology:

Ok, so let's say gender A currently makes more than gender B, per hour, for equivalently skilled work performed for a government agency. Now let's evaluate a proposal to remedy that by equalizing the pay grades. The decision would harm the demographic of gender A more than the demographic of gender B, so, I deem the proposal "sexist". Therefore, to avoid sexism, the government agency must continue to pay gender A more for the same work.

I don't like your methodology.
 
"Ok, so let's say gender A currently makes more than gender B, per hour, for equivalently skilled work performed for a government agency. Now let's evaluate a proposal to remedy that by equalizing the pay grades. The decision would harm the demographic of gender A more than the demographic of gender B, so, I deem the proposal "sexist". Therefore, to avoid sexism, the government agency must continue to pay gender A more for the same work."

The original suggestion said "impact" not "harm". Your example does not illustrate why group A is harmed more.
 
"The original suggestion said "impact" not "harm"."

"adversely impacts on", actually, was the original usage in comment #1 of this thread, which I replied to in comment #4, etc.

" Your example does not illustrate why group A is harmed more."

Let's put some hypothetical numbers to the old situation: group A earns 55% of the total wages X, group B earns 45% of the total wages X, group A and group B are of equal size. New situation: group A earns 50% of X, group B earns 50% of X, group A has been 'harmed' by 0.05X, group by has been 'harmed' by -0.05X. Since X is positive, 0.05X > -0.05X. Even if you change X so that 0.50Xsub2 is greater than 0.55Xsub1, .55Xsub2 is still greater than .50Xsub2, and I would argue that this counterargument is just attempting to confuse the issue by conflating two changes; as total resources are limited, allocation is in at least some ways a zero-sum game.
 
Agree completely -- it's akin to telling a little girl that she's not allowed to play with remote control cars because they are a boy toy. Sorry little girl, you need to play with dolls and dress-up outfits because that's all your gender has been approved for by the evil overlords we call "society". :)
 
Your example does not illustrate why group A is harmed more

How does your example apply here? Even if you insist in the totally sexist notion that it is impossible that a woman could be interested in a chopper, I still don't see how women are harmed by a chopper ad. Am I harmed by an ad which I feel isn't targeted towards me?

Turn on your TV. Watch the next random ad. Does it have an equal number of men and women? Does it have gays or lesbians in it? Are handicapped people represented in that add? Are all minorities represented in the percentage of their demography? It is rather unlikely, if not completely impossible, to make an ad with completely equal representation of every group you can possibly think of.
 
"How does your example apply here?"

It doesn't, really; I was responding to dobablo not to you directly.

"I still don't see how women are harmed by a chopper ad."

dobablo said they were, and I disagreed, using that example.
 
"Blizzard is aware that while many women play their games, their primary demographic is male. Similar empirical evidence has shown that males were also the primary demographic of AC was also male."

The WoW community as a whole has quite a balanced demographic yet the more recent attempts at publicity are all heavily weighted towards the more macho end of the market. Advertising only to that audience will recruit from just that audience, leaving those players outside the core demographic as an increasingly small, isolated and unsupported group.

On the commercial side, I understand that you want bang for your buck in advertising so you target those you think more likely be sympathetic to your product, however you also need to consider:
1) Is my product being heavily consumed by one particular demographic because I am advertising only to that group.
2) Am I missing interested low-hanging fruit in other demographics by failing to advertise to them.
3) Focusing on a single demographic leaves you more exposed to environmental factors.
 
Tobold, have you ever considered if the demographic driving the subscriber base of MMO's has changed since EQ, through to the WoW era?

What percentage of MMO players were male in the EQ days? What percentage were female? Apply these same questions to WoW in 2004 and the here and now.

Is it sexist to inquire if more males plays said games than women, and is Blizzard at fault here for using targetted advertising? Or is this nothing more than Politically Correct driven sensitivity training?
 

Imagine you had the choice between three images:

A) A male orc on a chopper.
B) A female orc in the type of outfit that is common for WoW, aka "chain-mail bikini" on a chopper.
C) A modestly dressed female orc in a domestic setting.

Which one would you say is the least sexist? I'd say A.


Really? Are you saying here that these are their only possible options or that what they have chosen isn't technically the single most sexist thing they could have possibly chosen? I'm not sure I understand what point you are trying to make here...
 
Is it sexist to inquire if more males plays said games than women, and is Blizzard at fault here for using targetted advertising?

My point is that it is sexist to consider choppers to be targeted advertising.

If we say that a MMORPG which features hunting and killing as main activities is NOT a male product, and can be equally appreciated by women, then why can't we say the same about choppers? I would say that the Azeroth Chopper marketing campaign is targeted towards everybody who can appreciate both WoW and choppers, regardless of gender. And there is nothing in that advertising which specifically excludes women, or shows them in a negative or sexist way.

Imagine you wanted to advertise the game Rome II Total War, and you do that by showing footage from the game showing a battle between a Roman legion and some barbarians. Would you consider that to be a sexist advertisement targeted exclusively at men? I don't. The sex of the virtual or real characters depicted in an advertisement are NOT indicative of the game being in any way gender-exclusive.
 
What if the barbarians were babes in chainmail bikinis?

Wait, I WANT this game...
 
Well, everything I wanted to say seems to have been covered in one way or another so I will drastically simplify it.

Opinion: Choppers are not sexist. I would never have one myself, ever, but the idea is cool.
Source: I am female.
 
Yeesh. I have to say it because no one has yet. (Maybe not enough Brits of certain advanced years reading, but:)

Fnarr, fnarr! :o)
 
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