In which I have a golden ticket. And are bunny ears sexist?

spinks with bunny ears I logged into WoW late the other night because I wanted to touch base with a friend (I knew she’d been a bit down), so we settled down to collect eggs while chatting. I take back slightly what I said about Noblegarden, it’s still dumb but at least it doesn’t require much in the way of actual thought.

I also hadn’t realised how annoying a starter area full of tiny rabbits could be until I saw them all zipping around and stealing my eggs!

There must be some primal human instinct that says when you see something small and fluffy speeding away, you want to go and stomp on it. Or maybe that’s just me?

Duly encouraged by the rest of my guild, I submitted a ticket:

I am a warrior of the horde in full platemail. Surely I ought to be able to crush little bunnies under my booted feet, but it doesn’t seem to work when I try. Is this some kind of a bug?

I got a form letter back later advising me to post it in the suggestions forum. Very witty.
Have you ever posted a silly ticket? Or been tempted to?

More on the Bunny Ears

You can see Mrs Spinks looking like the fearsome warrior of the Horde that she is in the picture above. If that doesn’t destroy an enemy’s will to live, I don’t know what will.

But the bunny ears and the associated achievement have been quite controversial. This is because the achievement requires you to stick bunny ears on female characters over level 18. (Bunny girl? Get it? No, I didn’t laugh either.)

When I first saw the achievement lists for Noblegarden, I eyed that one and thought ‘Ah yes, casual sexism,’ but I can’t really bring myself to get up in arms about it. I prefer to pick my fights. But I can understand why people aren’t thrilled with the idea.

The ladies (and gents?) at Feministing have worked up a decent rant on the subject though. While I think the achievement itself is puerile and Blizzard should fucking quit with the Playboy jokes, I don’t have a vast amount of sympathy for the female player who was complaining about being chased around. I remember being hunted during the Valentine event because Spinks is an undead warrior and people wanted to throw petals at her. And that was nothing at all to do with her in-game gender.

People enjoy the holiday achievements where you get to play scavenger hunt with other players. I like them too. They aren’t grindy, it gets people to interact with others without killing them and if you don’t like the rabbit ears you can always just click off the buff.

I personally think that achievement would have been a lot more fun if when you put bunny ears on someone, you had a 10% chance to get stunned for 3 minutes and had your PvP flag set. Then if a female character with bunny ears killed you during this period, they could get the achievement, “That Rabbit is Dynamite!!!”
Now that’s the sort of achievement I could really get behind.


15 thoughts on “In which I have a golden ticket. And are bunny ears sexist?

  1. The distinction on the ears is that being eared is involuntarily (unlike, for example, the casual sexism in the holiday gnome suits) in addition to the gender specific achievement. I dunno, stalking someone who, in hindsight, was acting like they did NOT want to be eared *feels* like a not very nice thing to have done to someone else in the way that previous, opt-in activities have not.

    • If it didn’t feel nice, why didn’t you stop doing it? Is there not a point where you feel ‘ok, this achievement is obviously upsetting this person, it’s not worth it?’

  2. While I also think the achievement is sexist and stupid, like always, I can only laugh on the feminists who want to ban it. Removing that thing is just a click away, just like the sexist guy with his primitive comments is just a “do that to your mother” away.

    BTW I find the whole event pointless and stupid and collected no eggs at all.

  3. Not all the in game holidays have run their course yet. It would seem fairly Blizzard-y to balance the equation and objectify men. Not quite sure what might qualify though.

    Maybe a wand that nakifies male avatars and puts bow-ties on them?

    • People would complain about Horde bias though. I mean, our guys are all quite hot but Alliance would be full of nekid gnomes, humans, and dwarves.

      (Granted, naked dwarves are an aquired taste.)

      • I know what you mean. But what can you do when your faction leader is the most eligible bachelor in Azeroth? It raises standards.

  4. It is nothing to get worked up about too much, but Lum also got the same impression I had: Blizzard is often so thoughtless. See the armory issue, some people did not want others to check their gear from the armory. Blizzard posted the link to the tinfoil hat page, they are about as thoughtless as most people are with “casual sexism” and similar issues. Then there is also the double standards issue that Lum already mentioned.

    Also related, why do all achievement systems sooner or later get more and more ridiculous achievements for basically every bullshit. There are websites that provide generators for achievement names/titles, I just wait for the moment when Blizzard finally adds an achievement for using the /sit command or pressing X.

  5. Let’s all just keep in mind that this is the same game which at it’s very foundation is killing people that are a different race than you. For that reason when approaching any of this, we have to understand that this isn’t just a game, it’s a fantasy game. Perhaps, the larger issue is it’s too much a male-oriented fantasy game.

    To which I ask the question…

    What would a female-oriented fantasy game be like?
    Can a fantasy game exist that is both male-oriented and a female-oriented?

    • I don’t see ‘shake your bunny-maker’ as a core game mechanic. It’s just occasionally they don’t /think/ about diversity. It’s the same reason that the achievement requires over 18s. In the UK the age of consent is 16 (I get the joke but I wonder if they meant it to be US-centric or just didn’t think… I’d put money on the latter.)

      Most of the time, I’d say WoW is pretty good about being universal in its appeal. But there are parts where it isn’t which are mostly cosmetic, such as the stupidness of having identical armour look skimpy on female models and more badass on males, and the incredibly dumb night elf female dance and idle animation. Also, the lack of dark skinned options for humans (I guess you can just say there are no dark skinned humans in Azeroth but it still grates.)

      It’s a good question though.

  6. Yep, casual sexism. I’m a guy, and it still annoys me when WoW does stuff like this (spinks also just mentioned the midriff-baring tendencies of female armor, etc). On the one hand, it’s a miracle that the game is as feminist as it is: female avatars are as powerful as males, there is at least some variety in the female avatars that starts to match their race (though in some cases the gender dimorphism does get to be a bit much), and they don’t have to wear pink bikinis all the time. Blood elves may be impossibly skinny, but at least they don’t also have giant fake gravity-defying boobs (that’s reserved for the human females, who are more realistically curvy overall). That makes it all the more annoying when something sexist slips through.

    There’s so much ingrained casual sexism in the world that it’s just going to come out eventually, I guess. 😦

    The really lame part of this achievement is actually how it’s brought out the usually-hidden sexism of the playerbase. There are tons of decent people out there, but there are also a surprising number of immature, insecure jackass boys who feel the need to make comments in trade about some female races being ugly and even start threads on the official forums about how, and I quote, “Female dwarves need to be more attractive”.

    BECAUSE THE ONLY PURPOSE OF A FEMALE IS TO BE AN OBJECT OF YOUR ATTRACTION. How DARE they make an avatar choice that forces you to actually look at a female that isn’t a porn star barbie doll? So what if you are a fat, hairy, greasy, pimple-faced geeky kid in a cheeto-stained shoryuken t-shirt? THEY MUST LOOK PRETTY FOR YOU! THAT IS THEIR FUNCTION!

    Whoa, sorry, raged out there for a second. Too many women in my life I care about and seen hurt by the casual sexism of others.

  7. I see the level 18 requirement as a way to stop people from just making level 1 dwarf female alts and summoning them to dalaran — it’s a level that is non-trivial to get a character to, so you’d be better off finding someone who’s already at that level. I’m not going to lie and say they chose 18 instead of say, 20, for any reason other than a playboy reference.

    But at the same time, I just don’t see it as offensive or objectifying (and yes, I am a girl). I kinda chuckled a little to myself when I saw it. I don’t know why. I don’t see why people are getting all worked up about this. What’s so bad about having bunny ears on your in-game character? A lot of the people with female characters aren’t even females in real life anyway.

    I have yet to encounter anyone who acted like they actually cared about the bunny ears — everyone I’ve done it to either ignored it or was actively clicking it off to help other people get the achievement.

  8. Let’s see what happens with Childrens week then and taking your orphan into an effective warzone or jamming your face full of crap while letting the poor little bugger starve as you eat all his sweeties. Politically correct, it isn’t!

  9. Silly pop culture references I can live with. Casual sexism is annoying. Blizzard does a lot of things well, but they really don’t seem to understand people all that well, especially if they *aren’t* 18-35 raging hormone males.

    It’s not a huge surprise; I’m not the only one that’s noted they make great games but don’t really get the whole “virtual world” bit, which includes psychology.

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