A View From the Road: Confessions of a Virtual Transvestite

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i always play female caracters when i can. Like susan said, maybe it's because half of the time i have to play a mal caracter (because it's the only one the game have)... so that i dont feel the need to do a gender swap in games...

people read WAAAAY too much into games and how people play them

I'm a woman playing a female Undead in WoW and one of my guild mates is under the persistant misapprehension that I am a guy, even though I have corrected him more than once. My GM became chivalrous and flirtatious once he learned I am female, which could become awkward if it were to escalate.

Since my first play-through in any game is on a female character, my first was my Undead female. The next two were a female Belf warlock and a female Tauren druid named after characters in one of my RPs here. The fourth alt I made male because I didn't have any males yet.

Now, though, I base my choices more and more on other aesthetic considerations. Male Undead and female Trolls have some of the best dances on the Horde side, and the high-level female Tauren and Belf gear looks really good. It's a variant of the idea, "If I'm going to have to look at this for 80 levels..." that doesn't have to do with the shape of the character's backside.

I've started playing a few more female characters lately, I do agree with others that more than anything its a "sick of male leads" thing.

Of course, there is another factor - people seeing women as the weaker sex (at least in the context of wielding 10' swords and impaling people with them) makes it slightly more rewarding when said female kicks ass anyway. Just look at any Joss Whedon show and you will know what I'm talking about.

Susan Arendt:
This is very interesting to me. I never play a male character if I have the option to play as a female. Perhaps that's because the option to play as a female is far more infrequent than being forced to play as a male.

In fact, maybe that's where this gender-swapping comes from -- in so many games, you have no choice but to be male. Maybe you're just playing as a girl because you can.

This is exactly why I play female characters 75-80% of the time. With so many games where the lead character is often male, its a nice change of pace to be given the option of putting a female into the lead role. I don't equate it as a refection of me as a person, just exploiting the choice given to me.

On a side note, I created a female character in Rock Band, and got chastised by my female friends for my ability to make the girl hotter than theirs. *laughs*

I make themed characters, usually based on stupid names.

Bad Santa the one eyed dwarf healer (with red and green holiday armor of the apocalypse and snow white beard) in Dark Age of Camelot? Yeah that was me. So was One-eyed Yogurt Spitter the human rogue but the admins changed his name to some dumb (yes dumb, in comparison my name of incomparable wit of course) generic fantasy crap.

Corn Tower the brown thing with yellow spots in him? My corn studded turd themed tank in City of Heroes. Also taken from me by those dastardly mods. Dr. Mindbender wasn't even allowed.

I wouldn't play as a female unless there was a way I could make it funny. Usually I end up being ridiculous looking or pile of muscle covered in metal with an axe (preferably a hammer).

i always choose to play as an very thin, borderline unhealthy, male whit just a bit of muscles and a whole lot of acrobatics and stealth, because thats who i want to be, but my sad excuse for bones makes that impossible and my love for beer doesn't really help either, and for that reason i always find it weird when males play as females, because i assume that like me they want to look like their character.

also you played the girl in pokemon?, pokemon offers no role playing so the difference between playing as a guy or girl is that the npc's address you "ha! you think a little girl can beat me!?(nanananununundaaaa)" instead of "ha! you think a little boy can beat me!?(nanananununundaaaa)"

Phishfood:
Of course, there is another factor - people seeing women as the weaker sex (at least in the context of wielding 10' swords and impaling people with them) makes it slightly more rewarding when said female kicks ass anyway. Just look at any Joss Whedon show and you will know what I'm talking about.

This is why I have a female main character in most games. In fact, in City of Heroes and Champions Online, it's the same character. At 5'0 and with all the sliders turned down to minimum-while-still-looking-barely-healthy, she is usually the smallest thing on the team, but she's also a fully maxed-out Mace Tanker, and has been known to single-handedly take out whole rooms of enemies when the rest of the group has died. Her crowning achievement was holding Lord Recluse (the leader of the supervillains) for two minutes while the rest of teh group ressurected, got back from the hospital, rebuffed themselves and rejoined the fight.

Even with the same slider set, it just wouldn't be as badass if it was a guy.

Despite anything my avatar may suggest, no.
I never feel comfortable playing as a lady. When I did, I would fuss over getting her hair right, realize what I was doing, stop playing & go do something manly.

Wow, now you guys make me feel all weird when I admit that I always create a character that looks mildly similar to me. Yes, I'm a guy, and I always play as a guy. I've never really considered reasons to play as a female character aside from 'well, why the hell not'. I guess that, if you make your character to be a hot ass-elf that hits on everything with a pulse, and when not doing that, hits everything with a pulse until it ceases to have one, it kills the immersion a bit. Is that just crazy to think or what?

We play as characters that we like. You play female characters because they look nice from what i read. I play characters that i find funny, like Dwarf in WoW who says something about booze when you write ''/silly''. I can't play a character that i don't like. I tried to play Blood Elf, but i felt like a gay playing that and i hated how he looked (no offense to gay's). I tried playing Tauren, but it was boring to play as a big cow, that looks ugly and has nothing interesting to show me.

I never play female characters which is kind of odd. Maybe I don't need that much escapism, I'm happy to play as the ten foot tall minotaur who has arms like two watermelons trying to mate in a sack but who spends most of his time picking flowers and making potions. I think the last female character I played was a female Darth Revan in KOTOR 1 on my second playthrough which was a long time ago.

I don't play a lot of MMOs here, or even a lot of single player RPGs that allow radical "aesthetics" customization on this end because...Well, I just think of it as a joke.

The only time I recall ever playing female characters is when the class/race I wanted to pick for my character was forced to be female, like in the classic "Diablo 1 & 2" where the options of being a rogue, sorceress or assassin were female. Honestly, while I prefer to play spell-casters, yet I couldn't force myself to play the sorceress or the assassin in Diablo 2 and opted for the necromancer instead, hoping to make him a sorcerer build but usually dying a lot. Sad (and maybe a bit sexist), but I had other complaints about Diablo 2.

I don't think of it as "playing the opposite gender just because the option is available", as Susan stated, or sexual fantasies either like the "if I'm going to be staring at an ass for X levels", I just want to get into the game and solve the challenges before me. Whether I look good in doing it is irrelevant to me. Though looking back on Diablo 2, maybe I just prefer to see myself accomplishing these challenges than an avatar that represents me. I dunno.

This feels appropriate:
image

And also being one who prefers playing female characters over male ones, if given a choice, these days... I suppose I can relate.

I do believe that people play females not just for better pandering but they also look better than manly characters.

This is an interesting article.

Odd, I usually play male characters and maybe, after I'm done with those, a female character to find out how that is. I suppose it's because I am able to identify myself more with a man than a woman.

CantFaketheFunk:

Almost all of my characters in MMOGs are female. Is there anything wrong with that?

image
Nothing at all :)

I never do that. Maybe I should more often. I don't play any mmorpgs though, but these articles on Aion are quite interesting.

Silk_Sk:
A nice article, but it's a classic case of over thinking something. You're on your way to the ridiculously simple answer but you don't quite get there. I'll provide the solution right now.

It's true that our online personas are idealized versions of ourselves. And of course we don't want to be women. What we want is to be good-looking. Hey lets face it, we men are butt-ugly. That's as true in the virtual world as in the real one. Whatever your preference, there is no denying that women are all around more aesthetically pleasing than men.

There's a reason God created women second. Men were just his trial run. An imperfect Beta. Women are the final product. There's no shame in aspiring to that.

In regards to your first point on over thinking, I personally, don't feel he did. I felt he was trying to discuss all potential rebuttals in advance which could prove rather difficult in an article where you essentially maintain a conversation with yourself while still attempting to keep an open mind. However, now that I think about it and read what I just said, who am I to say he wasn't over thinking. I am the queen of over thinking and over analyzing! ;-)

As for everything else you stated; I couldn't agree more. :p

Maybe it's simply the novelty of playing something a bit different. The attractive male is getting stale, so there's either an ugly male or attractive female if you want a change.
Back when I played DaoC the majority of avatars were male, in Aion it's almost the reverse. I think it is now more obvious and accepted that female avatars are played by men (who are honest about their gender), where as before it would lead to a few more awkward situations.

I take it everyone saw last weeks Penny Arcade? :)

Honestly, gender socialization could come into play here. Men and women are both able to have masculine, feminine, or androgynous qualities depending on their family and peer influences as a child. It might be prudent to argue that some one who "roleplays a female better" simply was socialized more feminine.

However, someone who plays a character of the opposite sex who considers themselves masculine will probably have a variety of reasons for doing so. Undoubtedly there are certain people who wish they could be the opposite sex, others will do it for the interesting social implications, and still others will do it purely for aesthetic or undetermined reasons.

I seriously doubt that playing a character of the opposite gender automatically makes you homosexual or even a wannabe transvestite. I'd wager that people who play the opposite sex in their games fall into a few categories:
1. Those whose gender socialization neutral/counter to actual sex means a person can identify with the opposite sex as well or better than their own.
2. Homosexuals who want to be the opposite sex.
3. Those who like a female character from a non-fiction or fiction literary work and want to play a character that mimics their actions for want of nostalgia.
4. Those who do not associate their character with themselves (i.e. those who reject the suspension of disbelief, those who take character creation from an artistic stance, etc.).

I'm telling you all there's no androgy-whatever implications or peer influences or upbringing involved. We all just want to be sexay. Women are sexier than men. Simple as that.

I already play a man in real life (thought not by the Book. You know which one I mean!). It isn't a very interesting role, in all honesty. It's a living, so to speak. When gaming, I'd rather make a change, be it to gender, species, or even materials one is made of (you better believe that I was a robot, often a fembot, in Phantasy Star Online!).
Women Crossplay as men all of the time and noone makes a big deal about it. It's all fair.

I'm disappointingly utilitarian about this. I have a tendency to roll a lot of characters in an MMO so I usually roll female characters as a way to make them more immediately distinguishable from other characters of the same race on the menu.

Interesting article. Can't say I've ever even thought about playing as a woman in any game with some form of character creation.

Besides, don't you get nerds trying to hit on girls in MMO's ? Haha, that's what I hear at least.

Scary.

Woodsey:
Interesting article. Can't say I've ever even thought about playing as a woman in any game with some form of character creation.

Besides, don't you get nerds trying to hit on girls in MMO's ? Haha, that's what I hear at least.

Scary.

It's scarier when you're a guy and a guy's trying to hit on your female avatar.
:)

I certainly know many people whose personalities match their online persona. I know many tanks who are strong, silent men and speak in not much more than a monotone, if at all - much like a warrior focused on taking damage for his entire party would be. I've also known rogues who are pretty much assholes. Of course, I know many tanks and rogues who aren't that way, but I know few non-tanks and non-rogues who are.

I played guild wars for about 2 years and I had a male warrior, a male monk, and everyone else was female including my elementalist, ranger, nercomancer, Dervish.

Now that I think about each of my relationships with my characters were different. My make warriro felt like a fantasized extension of myself. He even shared by first name. To me I felt like I was my warrior.

My female character were different... instead of feeling like I was that character, it felt like I was playing with that character not playing as that character, almost like they were a friend, teammates, or perhaps.... girlfriend :P. They were certainly attractive and anyone who plays guild wars knows about what the majority of female armor looked like. This different relationshop is probably brought on by the third person perspective the game offer. If it were first person, I'd probably pick a male character for everything.

I'm an Asian male and in every game that has allowed me to customize my character's look and gender I played as a Latina female.

What does that say about me?

I always play female because most games force me to play male. So it's always "hey cool, I can play someone with the same bits as me." Then I make a mediocre looking brunette, with brown eyes.

I find it interesting that lots of people play as female because the avatars look better. I agree. I have to wonder though if it's not an expression of the socio-cultural believes of our society. As many have suggested here the belief is men are unattractive period, so why spend any time on their models? So the guys look bad, not as a reflection of real life, but simply as a reflection of effort on the part of the programmers.

For the record I've now had this discussion in the context of three different hobbies. So, for all you gentlemen out there, You are beautiful. I mean it's a word people use to describe vases for heaven's sake.

[tongue-in-cheek] Fight the societal complex that is brainwashing you into having a poor body image, and that says to be beautiful is to be feminine. Channel your inner ancient greek, and understand that beauty is more than just sexual attraction. Fight for equality of the sexes![/tongue-in-cheek]

Susan Arendt:
This is very interesting to me. I never play a male character if I have the option to play as a female. Perhaps that's because the option to play as a female is far more infrequent than being forced to play as a male.

In fact, maybe that's where this gender-swapping comes from -- in so many games, you have no choice but to be male. Maybe you're just playing as a girl because you can.

Funnily enough, a female friend of mine tried to play as a male character, and after a bit of time, she worked out the stock responses to stop people think she was playing a girl.

What she noticed was that there was much more hostility towards male characters (especially the Healer/Medic syndrome : "WHY WEREN'T YOU HEALING ME DUMBASS?!!!" "Well, you'd just yelled Leroy Jenkins..."), and that the male banter was almost primarily insulting towards everyone, including each other. After having being fawned over as a female avatar, it was quite a shock.

Funnily enough, when I'm playing it depends on what side of the world I'm on. My Evil characters tend towards male while my Good characters tend towards female. That may say more about me though.

(On a related subject: I've also had ugly females and handsome men, as well as vice versa.)

I always thought if your going to look at something for a few hours a day/week why not it be attractive?

Edit: Double Post, sorry.

I play exclusively male characters even though I'm female. The biggest reason is to avoid being hit on by idiots, for sure, but I personally find it more fun to try and make an idealized "pretty" male than an idealized pretty female.

If you ran into a pink haired Gackt look-a-like during the Aion beta, that was me.

John Funk also thinks male Night Elves look really, really stupid.

Amen.

I also play female characters, on Mass Effect I play a black woman solider, which is the definition of exact opposite concerning my pastey, cracker, pacifist, man-ass...

In WoW I have exactly ONE male character and he's a ginger-haired Dwarf Priest, So even he finds it hard to escape having to wear a dress.
Although my main reason for playing mostly females on WoW is because until recently I was only allowed to play Aliiance on my server, but since the faction barrier's been taken down I can now play Horde too, But I very quickly noticed that nearly all the male characters on Alliance side, besides Dwarves look ridiculous compared to their female counterparts.
The exact opposite however can be said for Horde, whose male side of the faction mostly look awesome.

All but one of my Fable 2 characters either start off as women or towards the end just end up BECOMING women.
The one exception is my attempt to make a character as close to what I would be in a fantasy setting, which ends up being a masked wizard weilding a giant hammer (And I don't mean battle-hammer, I men a giant sized workman's hammer.)

I have no idea what drives me to create female characters, but if a game provides me witht he option to create one I'll always opt for that first.

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