Monday, August 17, 2009


Healing is widely regarded as a girly role. Admittedly, most women seem to play a healing spec, but it’s a silly stereotype, as stereotypes usually are, and I know several men who enjoy bringing those Health bars back up and they are definitely not gay or anything.

It happens that I'm starting to prefer healing with my Holy Paladin over DPSing with my eternally favourite character, my Rogue. My boyfriend is a healer first and foremost – his main character is a Priest, main spec Discipline, dual spec Holy. Healing is all he does. But me, I’m attracted to manly. I like masculinity: melee, Solid Snake, oyaji – manly is my thing. I even rolled my healer to be the least girly possible: he's a plate-wearing Paladin (no skirts for me, T8 and T2 can DIAF!) and a bearded burly stocky Dwarf of all things! But that supposedly "womanly" thing called healing is growing on me to the point of making me consider rolling a healer first on my next MMORPG (possibly Aion?), and a rogue-assassin type only later! Could it be that I'm unwillingly developing a fondness for the "passive", "caregiving" role, thanks to my "gay gene"?

I have to say I personally don't see healing as particularly "girly". Healing is undeniably more peculiar in being cooperative instead of competitive: healing meters mean nothing, unlike DPS meters, which can coldly display how useful you really are. While DPSing, you aren’t much more than a number in a list. And sitting at the top spots of the DPS chart grants you the prerogative to show off: you are "the man"! On the other hand, people hardly ever notice healers, unless they do something wrong and wipe the raid. If you want glory, healing can definitely be a rather unrewarding role, and boasting about prowess, competitiveness and that elusive term called “skill” are features usually more related to men.

However, a great deal of fun as a healer for me lies in PvP, and PvPing as a healer works almost like a PvE tank – you have to maximize your survivability, endurance and lasting power, since you are likely focus-fired all the time, and at the same time protect your allies with your supportive spells. It’s very intense, and I doubt people think of tanking as "womanly". To me, being incredibly tough to kill is also part of being a healer, even if that side of the role only comes into play in a whole different aspect of the game. So, while in the sense of "bragging rights", healing could possibly be considered less masculine than DPSing, PvP healing is every inch as "manly" as tanking is.

Also, even in PvE, the most captivating aspect of healing to me is how important you are. Healers are crucial to a party. They keep you alive, and if you are dead you might as well not even be there. Being a healer is being blessed (or burdened, in some people’s view) with great responsibility, which again makes them very closely related to tanks... who, as I said above, are usually regarded as "manly". Double standards, much?

I prefer to think those stereotypes are unfounded and healing isn’t as "girly" as some might say. Even though an astonishing amount of female players choose healers, healing can be manly, it can be girly, and it definitely can be gay. Come to think of it, every player who made my gaydar tingle (let’s just say Ventrilo can be very revealing) is a healer or has a healer alt... maybe it is in the gay gene after all. :)

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