• First of all, I will like to say that I cannot and do not speak for every female gamer because my voice is only one of many. I am only able to share some of my personal experiences, and my thoughts, and that is all I will do on this post.
• Second, I am only going to mention below my experience with PVPers. I do have stories with PVErs, but I shall continue that in another comic.
• Third, I realized shortly after writing this post that this is a much longer “essay” that I originally wanted to write. I think I will have to write several posts (every other Thursday) about a thought, a personal experience, or a friend’s story on gaming and gender issues.

“99.99% of girl gamers only play healers; you’re playing a healer too, how typical”
o Backstory: While I was streaming on Twitch, a couple of my viewers felt a need to point this out to me. I was not sure how to respond to this, so at first, I decided to ignore it and continue to play my healer. Even on days I would stream on my DPS toons, different viewers would still say, “it’s a fact. 99.99% of girls only play healers.” Something about that comment irritated me and on some of these nights, I would refuse to play the one healing character I have (I have 2 tanks and 6 DPS) – just to rub it in.
o My Thoughts: I am unsure why someone would just make up a stat without citing proper sources, but I do see that these people were trying to make a point. A lot of girls play healers. I get it. However, there is a difference between “a lot of girls play healers” vs. “girls only play healers.” The latter statement assumes that the only role a girl wants or is capable of playing is a healer. I felt that this latter sentiment accomplishes two other things: 1) it establishes that healers are easy to play, which is why “less-skilled gamers” (i.e., girls) would play them, and 2) it undermines the work of talented male gamers whom primarily play as healers. I thought to myself, why is it that whenever a healer turns out to be a girl or when they see that a girl is playing a healer, these people feel the need to point it out?
o Why I have a healer: My real life gamer friends recruited me to play as their healer, a class they did not want to play. I was in graduate school at the time and did not have any extra time to level an alt to max level. When I PVP’d, I only had one character at the time, which was my healer.
o Why I think people choose to play healers: it’s fun, people like playing the support role, no one in your group of friends wanted to play heals, or likes the spotlight of being targeted.
o Why I think girls MAY prefer playing heals in PVP: Same reason as above.
*** Here’s some food for thought – oftentimes when I play as a DPS with a team, guy gamers seem to prefer a guy calling the shots than a girl when it comes to strategy and tactics. While people do not explicitly tell me not to make calls, they normally brush away my suggestions with dismissive comments such as “no, no, let so-and-so make the calls,” or “just follow my lead and focus on my target.”
Maybe it is just an ego thing or maybe some guy gamers are natural leaders – but the effect it had on me was to shy away and follow. I was to remain a follower and only speak when calling out CC breaks or asking for permission to switch targets. Some can argue that this is because I am truly not as good as other players, but when I watch or listen to a group of guy gamers (DPS/tank) calling out targets and working together, a part of me feels that maybe some guys just simply do not like taking orders from a girl.
I found that I started making excuses to myself and find a non-sexist explanation for why this was happening, reasoning that it could be a class thing. For example, if I play a melee instead of ranged, maybe they’ll let me make the calls? Unfortunately, it did not make a difference. Perhaps they felt I am a less skilled or under-geared player? No, it did not make a difference even when I consistently put out the highest numbers in the entire match. There is more about this that I would like to discuss on a later week.
o Why I think it is easier to assume girls only play healers:
• Psychology studies have shown that our brains tend to oversimplify and categorize memories, thoughts, and ideas in order to efficiently store and process information. This is why stereotypes exist because it is just simpler to assume the information than to perform a full analysis when assessing a situation or a person. Therefore, because the assumption that girls only play healers is itself a stereotype, it is easier to rely on this and proclaim it as “fact.”
• I do think that it is easier to notice a healer regardless of his/her gender simply because it is easy to remember a healer’s name than to remember a DPS’ name. Objective-minded players usually recognize healers to kill or CC early on in matches. In games like SWTOR, when you receive heals from a healer, his/her name flashes across your screen many times to tell you who is healing you and how for how much. Sometimes it even feels like you’re being spammed with their names.
• While often one may notice that many girls enjoy healing, it is also the failure to notice them playing other roles that can further perpetuate this stereotype. Due to the role that healers fill in PVP, there is a tendency for players to reach out to healers because of the healers’ direct contribution to the success of an individual player in a warzone. Often one might think “man, if it was not for so-and-so healing me, I would have easily died in that situation.” However, rarely does a tank or DPS gain that type of appreciation because their accomplishments do not necessarily have direct impact on the player and may even be counter to the player’s ambitions (e.g., kill stealing). Due to this sampling bias, it is more common to notice the female healer rather than the female DPS or tank, and thus the stereotype remains enforced.

That’s all I have to say for now, I think. I don’t really know how to end this…Thanks for listening to my ramblings. Post your thoughts in the comments 🙂