When I was in my mid-twenties (and a hell of a lot happier with my figure then – but that’s another, non-WoW related, rant) I used to wear what I damned well pleased. I particularly remember a short, long sleeved black PVC dress that fitted in all the right places. When I wore it out, it wasn’t because I wanted to look “slutty” or “pull”, it was because it made me feel DAMNED GOOD wearing it. I called it my “ego dress” – at the time I played a lot of role-playing games, and you’d sometimes come across an “ego” weapon, one with a personality of its own, which would occasionally take over the person wielding it. Whenever I put this dress on, it empowered me with a sense of self-confidence such that I rarely had. I knew without a doubt that it looked bloody good on me, and in turn, that made me stand up taller, straigher, it gave me a dangerous gleam in my eye, and turned me into something sexy. It was a combination of factors, most of them psychological, which made a simple piece of PVC into something empowering.
I had a variety of clothing items like this, thigh high boots, a fantastic leather top which consisted simply of a black piece of leather for the front and two chains which crossed diagonally and linked in the middle for the back, a black velvet dress slit down the back (or front, if I chose to reverse it) and laced up, and a dress which had nothing but lacing between rings down the side. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t work clothes, and I chose to wear them to the appropriate rock and goth nights, rather than when shopping at Tescos. But I chose them and wore them for me, first and foremost. Because of the way they made ME feel.
These sorts of clothes come with a price however. The judgement of others. They can be deemed “slutty”, “whorish” and you may end up being told that “you dress like a tart”. All of which I personally find abominable, because I perceive these as gendered insults, ones that would never be aimed at a man, because of the entire double standards issue. It’s somehow wrong for a woman to be anything but untrodden snow, while a man can go about sowing his oats, and therefore be all big and clever because of it…
All of this would be fine if people simply kept their small-minded ideas inside their heads, but oh no, they need to shout it out, and humiliate people, because hey, those people might not realise that they’re wearing skimpy clothing and OMG, they must be a “slut” etc because of it – and not simply that the clothes make them feel good.
I do not appreciate “slut” shaming. It is sexist, it is downright disgusting and it is based on assumptions. Which we all know makes asses out of everyone.
So what does this have to do with transmogrification?
One of my guildies, a female and, as is the wont with our guild, a very strong player, has opted for a skimpier look for one of her main characters. And when I say skimpier, I’m not talking slit robe, I mean that I can now recognise that character’s butt when she zones in!
And I think it’s bloody awesome.
She is a strong player, a fun person, and she enjoys the look of her characters. A number of us have even chatted about cleavage baring transmogrification armour quite openly in guild chat. I feel comfortable with my main’s off-spec sporting thigh high red boots, a backless, frontless battle strap, and huge shoulders, described as the “space pirate look” by my dear husband.
Recently, that aforementioned guildie had some discussion because someone else didn’t think she was female. Because she was sporting such a skimpy outfit. There you go, another assumption.
So, on behalf of her, and me, and every other female who actively chooses a skimpy outfit for their WoW characters I would like to say this:
Yes, I AM a woman in real life, yes I DO believe in women’s rights and equality, and yes I DO believe that I should have a choice of outfits, either in real life or in any fantasty online game that I so choose, without the automatic assumptions that I charge money, that I will put out at the drop of a hat, or I’m purely after male attention or any one of a myriad reasons. I want to dress as I damned well please without judgement. End of.
Oh, and Blizz, while I’m hammering on about it, there’s a plethora of skimpy women’s armour out there, go get your act in order, and give the men a pile of loincloths and straps and side split robes too, please?