Friday, 6 July 2007

Gender and you

On my RSS feed I have a recent post to Kill Ten Rats that gets truncated to 'Did We Mention You Can Play As A Chick...', which, not only means something completely different from what the article's about, but is on my list of things to talk about as well; as material for this first paragraph is the second hardest thing I come to write, having it on a plate makes my decision of topic a lot easier!

On the internets, everyone is anonymous, beyond a handle and in some cases an avatar. I'm male (free information!), but as you might be able to tell from my banner, in WoW I play a female avatar. What you can't tell from the banner is that I still play under a male name.

In my (now ex-) guild, we had a couple of actual real life girls. Shocking, I know! Even still, there were roughly even proportions of male and female avatars, and mostly non-gender-specific handles. Nobody found this odd, and sometimes didn't even know that the female players were female, despite the avatar.

Now my original character in WoW was a shaman. A troll male in fact. My first mage was a male undead. When I rerolled to alliance (to join my friends on a different server), I rolled a female mage. Why? Well, I wanted to be human for the racials, but seriously, the male avatars are ridiculous. I admit they look pretty good in nice hefty plate armour, swinging a big sword/axe/polearm/10lb catfish around, but put one in a dress casting spells and he looks silly. In my opinion, the same is true of a lot of races in WoW; my alts are all the gender that seems the best for the class (eg: male warriors and shamans, female casters and rogues)

In CoH I started out with a female, but after starting to play, decided I didn't actually like the costume I'd made once she was running around, so started again. I also tried the huge body, but ended up with a sensibly-built male (magic corrupter, gravity/kinetic). In EVE I play a female because there're more interesting customisations to be made.

In my experience, people assume everyone in MMOs, and in fact on the internet in general, is male, regardless of avatar. Although I try to use the correct gender for people I talk to (and use Spivak pronouns if I don't know), it really doesn't fuss me which gender someone's avatar is. I chose a male handle mostly because it didn't occur to me not to, but partly because people refer to me as male because of it: my avatar actually gets ignored gender-wise. I don't really see why its such a big deal.

In other news, two posts in one day, wtf?

1 comment:

Zubon said...

Oddly, I heard someone say that you could only play as a rooster, not a hen. I don't know if that's true, but it's the perfect counterpoint to this post.