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Around the Web: Jane McGonigal, Felicia Day and the Women of WoW

I know a lot of other ladies, besides myself, who play WoW. I'm pretty good friends with many IRL, and I've also met a ton of talented ladies through my guild. But I don't often hear many stories about the women of WoW and how they're making an impact on the world we live in. That's why I perked up recently at hearing two fine examples of women who play WoW, and why they're shattering stereotypes on gamer girls and, more importantly, on the gaming industry as a whole.

The first story I came across on game designer Jane McGonigal doesn't deal directly with Warcraft (although she mentions WoW as one of her favorite games), but more on innovation in gaming and promoting the positive aspects that games can have on culture. Last week, McGonigal spoke on this topic at the TED 2010 conference (TED, a nonprofit organization, stands for "technology, entertainment and design"). The conference featured big-name speakers including Bill Gates, Jamie Oliver and Sarah Silverman. But it was McGonigal who drew my eye. Here's a brief interview CNN did with her:


While it's not a huge feature, the video and accompanying story is unique to mainstream media in that it focuses on a woman who really knows what gaming is all about and can express that knowledge in a  straight-forward way. It's a much more positive (and frankly, realistic) piece than the video-games-as-a-scapegoat-for-everything garbage that has become commonplace.

A second feature story in the UK's Times Online tackles the stereotype of women playing (or, rather, not playing) games. The story focuses in on the personal stories of several women who play WoW, and even includes commentary from Felicia Day, who is described in the article as "the world’s most famous female gamer." Here's excerpts from Felicia Day, on her hit series The Guild, and on playing WoW in general:

“I hear from people that it [the web series] makes them less ashamed to say that they game as a hobby, and I’ve had a lot of women say it’s made them start playing on their own, or with their boyfriend or husband. I love hearing that...

"I love the immersive environment [of online gaming], the achievement of building a character, and having a community at my fingertips that I can connect to and play with. Collaborative gaming is a very satisfying hobby.

“I would consider myself a feminist. If I’m helping women get into playing games when they wouldn’t have before, I’m proud of that. Women should be on equal footing everywhere.”


The story also explores the aspect of relationships forming in WoW, which is something I've always found fascinating myself. While the story probably doesn't tackle anything that you and I didn't already know about the role of online gaming, it's another positive example of how storytelling can show the world that gamers aren't the evil that we're sometimes made out to be.

Reader Comments (7)

Is there any way we can get the full talk on video?

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCalvin

I think they're planning to publish the full talk on the TED website (linked in post). But as of tonight, I didn't see it.

February 26, 2010 | Registered Commenterpixiestixy

I thought that was a great article in Times Online, and I especially loved how they summed up WoW at one point: "It’s like Facebook. But with dragons. And swords.". I still think it's gonna be a while before gamers loose their stereotypes, but as with every major new media, once the current generation starts getting older, it will become the new norm - like how it was with TV for example.

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhanttas

i like tge backround music

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercocopuff

That interview is so pathetic. They're gonna release a video game so that gamers can help solve the world's problems over a ten week period...LOL..and (as if it couldn't get better) at the end if you complete all the missions you get "socially certified." The way she incorporates everything in her life into a video game...hmmmm...the words just escape me on how pathetic that really is.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMoophobia

-discount Paul Frank Canvas Shoesane McGonigal doesn't deal directly with Warcraft (although she mentions WoW as one of her favorite game

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwepepsibv

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December 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternenpgx nenpgx

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