I’ve been accused more than once of not having my own mind. Anyone who knows me knows how ridiculous that statement is. But since I’m a Stay at Home Wife and Mother and since I often defer to my husband in public, the accusation comes about.
We’ve been called backwards because of how we handle our marriage… because I address any issues in private rather than make a fuss in front of friends. Even because we made the choice that I stay at home with any children – something I was told that I’d never be satisfied or fulfilled by doing [boy were they wrong]. I mean, my husband is also my best friend – I should have his back and he should have mine and we do. Bringing that kind of teamwork and attitude to raid is a blessing.
And yet, despite being called backwards and such, we keep running into these strange creatures in WoW… these strange creatures that seem to believe that woman’s place is behind the controls of a healer – or caster dps and has no business being in the tanking business… that’s for the menfolk don’t you know?! Which one is actually backward there?
Back on our old server in our first guild, my husband actually tried to get me interested in tanking… kept saying I should give it a go because I might like it. I never gave it a second thought until I stopped enjoying my warlock and my husband couldn’t keep a reliable or sober offtank. That part you’ve heard before, I know. I got a few reactions of what amounted to “Look at the cute little girl trying out tanking” but my husband was determined that if tanking was what I wanted to do, he’d help me learn how… just as he always has with every dream I’ve pursued or goal I’ve had.
I was the offtank for my husband in our ten man and the alternate tank in the 25 man… meaning most of the time I was paying my dues by going dps back then. I wasn’t great at it then either but it was a casual guild so it was alright. Our main tank at the time was our GM who played a paladin. Our main offtank was another DK who was blood. Ven was the third tank in the 25s. I wasn’t given much thought for a few weeks until our normal DK couldn’t show up for one. Ven moved up to the secondary tank position and I consequently got the third position. I was psyched. And then our GM lost a piece of tanking gear to me. And suddenly I was a threat. It was all fair and by the book – we used a straight SK system for 25 man and he’d lost pieces to OS tanks [both of the tanks for the third raid were MS dps] before and it had not been an issue… but I was a woman. This, somehow, made a big difference.
I didn’t really understand what was going on… I was feeling pressure but I was having the most fun I’d ever had in game. I’d discovered my true role… and yet somehow I was being treated as a threat. One of the officers finally pulled me to the side one day and explained that our GM believed that women didn’t belong in tanking or in the officer corps. That’s “just the way he is”. Basically that I was going to have to fight for every scrap I got. I was going to have to work twice as hard to be thought half as good. Whatever. In truth, I was really upset. I mean I’d looked up to our GM and he’d been right good to me, until I started tanking.
I didn’t give up – obviously. But I did have to fight every step along the way. Worst of all were mornings – especially if the GM and I were the only ones online. I’d finally made officer at some point in this mess. Ven had gotten promoted probably 7-9 months before based on raids that we organized together. Anyway, I started logging into an unguilded alt to see if any officer besides the GM were on because if it was just him and I, Officer chat was pure nastiness. A Vault of Archavon pug we both happened into one day sealed that deal. They made me the main tank and he gave me nothing but grief in officer chat. Oh how bad I sucked… oh how I couldn’t keep threat off him going full bore… despite pretty badly outgearing me. The group lit into him for refusing to tank swap and I was ready to throw up my hands and leave… but the taunting in officer clinched that I was absolutely going to stay this time.
Why didn’t I ignore him? One of the rules of the guild was that you were not permitted to ignore any guildies – it was literally grounds for a gkick. Most of the other officers supported me… we needed the tanks around and our GM was being simply ridiculous. A couple of them taught Ven and I how to raid lead and organize raids – sometimes by showing us the best way and sometimes by showing us what not to do. And then our GM took a hiatus.
By ToC our other DK had dropped out… he was apparently upset that I had managed to match him. He came back later on a resto druid until one of our druids outhealed him. At this point I did what every tank was supposed to do – when you find someone of your class interested in your spec, you mentor them and help them. We had a caster who was interested in going to his blood dk and he came to me for advice. I was thrilled beyond belief. Until I started getting reports from his raidmates that he was infatuated with me… and he was friends with Ven, knew we were married and started hitting on me in a creepy way anyway. It was a very weird situation that ended with him leaving guild to my relief.
Our GM came back during this period and was with us into ICC. Tanking with him in ICC was an exercise in frustration. Imagine the stereotypical LFR pug tank. Any mob I was assigned, he’d taunt off me – even with his own still up. Not many people would dare give him what for over vent but Ven had had enough by this point and told him off. It still kept happening periodically when he thought Ven wasn’t watching. Ultimately he ragequit his own guild, leaving a friend of ours in charge. Lots of animosity ensued.
I still run across the same breed of person now and again. You know the “get back in the healing/caster dps and make us mana cakes” type? They still exist and it’s a sad thing because you should be able to do what you love in a game [how does this bode for these people in the real world?]. Some of the best healers and caster dps I’ve ever known have been men. And some of the best melee types – whether dps or tank have been women.
Just because Jaina is a mage doesn’t mean I need to be. if I want to be a tank, I can be a tank. I am a tank and I am a woman. I am proud to be both.