baavgai: (Default)
( Feb. 13th, 2006 12:26 pm)
So, I'm playing with another MMO thingy. In such places, you generally choose an avatar, character, toon, action figure, or however object that represents "you" is defined. I've always like "avatar", perhaps because of the classical references, or maybe that in implies the operator is god.

Anyway, many moons ago, in the early days of EverCrack, I violated the very minor taboo of gender bending. Since then, I've often played female characters. The thing is, I'm not 100% sure why.

I'm straight guy with no real desire to be anything else. As such, the pat answer is that it's more fun to look at a female toon, and it is, a la Tomb Raider. But it's more than that, because the online stuff is all about social interaction. What the hell would I know about social interaction as a girl? Well, I suppose a hell of a lot more than I used too.

Part of it is that being perceived of as a different gender is extremely novel. It sells well too, as this book's break out from sub culture to mass media attention can attest. Just being a female avatar doesn't do it, you have to actively think about what you should do in a given situation. Young boys out themselves as Laura Croft wannabe's with almost every action.

I'm constantly surprise by how individuals of both genders react to a female toon as opposed to a male one. I play both and subtleties are striking.

There are so many observations I could make that I could write a book. However, personally, I've seen it boil down to two qualities; respect and compassion. Online, and perhaps in RL, women seem to get little respect but much more compassion, men the exact opposite. Also, women themselves seem to have more compassion to give. So, online, people are often more willing to ask a female toon for help; and I enjoy helping folks out.

I suppose I'm a fairly passive online person. I've not real gungho and don't have any emotional investment in people looking to me for leadership. While being dissed strictly on gender rankles, it's also educational. Anyone who'd do that I wouldn't like anyway.

When I started this new MMO, I started with an obviously male name. After a few hours, I realized I'd like to play longer and, um, well, I just seem to have more fun in the environment as a chick. My standard name is gender neutral; it's old Celtic and pretty uncommon. So I switched, as it were.

I don't know why, but I had to share. After spending about three hours clothes shopping with a bunch of girls online last night, I was guess I was feeling a little defensive.

Of course, they could have all been guys...
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