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Reader Comments (31)

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 6:13PM Controlled Chaos said

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Well, my personal answer to this is a relatively simple one.

If its for a role play style character, then its a fun challenge. Generally though, a LOT of reasoning I hear on playing females if you're a guy is pretty simple: if you're going to spend hundreds of hours on a character, you might as well make them a sex that you're going to enjoy looking at for that long.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 6:32PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with Controlled Chaos' reason.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 6:43PM (Unverified) said

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While I agree, I think we're talking about RP scenerios here, which is a rather different beast altogether. Roleplaying a female as a man is not simple, and should be undertaken with care.

If you're not RPing, then don't worry about it. If you are, put some effort into it.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2010 3:53AM mysecretid said

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Reason 2: Also known as "The Francis Ottoman Rule", courtesy of Scott R. Kurtz' webcomic PvP (June 1st, 2004)

http://www.pvponline.com/2004/06/01/tue-jun-01/
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Posted: Aug 21st 2010 4:45AM Graill440 said

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@mysecretid, Did a search, not a single hit. I went to a friends house and did try the link you posted (lol, wasnt hitting an external link at my house)

That saying is as old as the hills, but true.
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Posted: Aug 22nd 2010 4:19PM mysecretid said

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@Graill For whatever it may be worth, I never rickroll, and I never post a link I believe to be even remotely suspicious.

I won't even do it to posters I may loathe; it's a personal code thing. There are enough arseholes on the internets; I'm rebelling against the internet establishment, don't ya know? ;-)

As for the Francis Ottoman thing, I was trying to be funny (and failed, apparently :-) ) giving such a common phenomenon such a lofty title.

Still, I always think of that strip whenever someone talks about males playing female toons online. It does sum up the whole concept fairly well, I think.

Cheers,
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 6:49PM (Unverified) said

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There are a few reasons I tend to play girls in MMO's.

1) Body type: in most MMOs I play (looking at you WOW), the men are all musclebound and bulky. I have never had any interest in that body type, and I don't like it representing me in game.

2) Looks: More effort goes into making the women avatars look good, and the men avatars look tough. I like to look good.

3) Like controlled chaos says. Its a cliche but its true.

I am really looking forward to playing FFXIV. I think it will be more natural for me to play a guy char in that game, although the girls there are so cute its hard to say.

Posted: Aug 21st 2010 3:10AM MewmewGrrl said

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Despite the excuses you give to others that you wrote in the beginning of your comment, you gave away your real reason at the end. You want to play a "cute" girl.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 6:53PM Palebane said

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At first I thought this was going to be the same thread I've read a hundred times. And I'm sure the comments to follow will be much the same, but I wanted to commend the author for taking it to a level most people will likely never understand. The psycholgy and logic of it is inspiring.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 6:56PM Pingles said

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When I started my first MMO all of my friends rolled men so I rolled a girl but quickly found out that being a girl around a bunch ofguys is no fun. My friends were fine but tells from strangers were downright disturbing. I feel bad for all women. How do you put up with us?

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 7:11PM Joshua Przygocki said

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I play a female in a lot of games because it's fantasy or fiction, the same reason I almost never play human if I have the option, I play mmos to get out of one world and into another, I'd rather be something unique and different. I don't usually make the waist slider 0 and the chest slider max, but I rarely make male characters. It also kinda fits the role of my character which I'm usually a healer or support. Which stereotypically makes a bit more sense as a female.(Not trying to be sexist, but I do not see to many male nurses)

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 7:11PM Bueno said

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I'm a long time MMO gamer, but I'm not a roleplayer. Me rolling females has nothing to do with trying to roleplay one. Has nothing to do with how others will perceive me. Has nothing to do with the countless worthless dead horse discussions this has brought up again and again over the years.

It has everything to do with what I enjoy watching on screen when I'm playing. It's that simple.

In my experience the ones who make the biggest fuss about it are the ones actively seeking relationships through MMO gaming and get burned when they find out that hot little female elf turned out to be as you put it "a man with frightening girth."

If anyone still plays these games and automatically doesn't assume the female characters in game is indeed actually a male in real life a until proven otherwise needs to probably find a new hobby.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 7:20PM Transientmind said

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I subscribe to both Joss Whedon and Jerry Holkins' (Penny Arcade's Tycho) theory on women in storytelling; to paraphrase: "Ass gets kicked harder and stays kicked longer when the kicking is done by a woman."

This could bear all kinds of analysis, but in general I like to think that we are so de-sensitized to the concept of the male badass, destroying everything he sees, that it's the norm. Having a female fill that role automatically confers some kind of underdog status, somehow makes the achievements more impressive by virtue of overcoming the 'handicap' of being a woman defying traditional gender roles. (Despite the fact that the genders in MMOs etc are usually 100% equal.)

As a guy, I almost exclusively play female toons in all games, for that aspect - there may be some element of self-insertion going on, but primarily my character isn't me and I really want to cheer on my gal. That's one aspect. Another is the fact that if I'm going to be staring at a character's ass for months or even years, it better be an aesthetically-pleasing one.

As yet, I haven't seriously tried to RP a female. However, something I HAVE noticed is that when playing non-RP with various acquaintances who completely forgot whose toon this was (or who hadn't yet been clued in to the fact that I'm male), some have admitted to actually starting to crush on me because they assumed I was female behind the keyboard. The fact that it has happened several times is interesting. I'm not effeminate or gay, and certainly don't act any differently in-game to try and be more 'female'. I'm naturally a bit of a care-bear in games; compassionate to the n00bs, but also assertive and a leader in parties doing quests. I respect other players enough to type properly when communicating.

It leads me to believe that a surprisingly effective way to RP a female with my personality type might be to... well. Do absolutely nothing differently? There's a space in the collective subconscious for relating to women for their personality beyond overt femininity?

Posted: Aug 22nd 2010 2:35AM The Wok said

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You speak truth, and so does the author of the article. I rarely play men in MMOs. I just have never liked the way they looked (as said above, too muscle-bound, which sometimes doesn't make sense for the character). I never set out with the intention of "tricking" or "fooling" people, yet I have had people convinced that I was a woman, even after I told them that I was a man. And, yes, I've had people crush on me once or twice.

I do not roleplay women. I roleplay people. Those people just happen to be women.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 7:22PM (Unverified) said

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I'd be more willing to play male characters if they weren't all designed to look so much like prettyboys.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 7:36PM vicryixiv said

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I tend to roll female characters because i like rogue/caster types. Generally speaking most male avatars are buff and it looks weird for the Terminator to be casting a fireball. If i could make a convincing old man, i might go that route but usually "old" means a crappy wrinkled face and gray hair + buff body.

Also, holy cow the gear for women is much better looking. And i dont just mean showing a lot of skin, though that happens too. It just is more styled, more interesting to look at and more fun.

And finally, I like women. I like games. If im going to spend 30 hours playing a game, why not combine the two?

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 8:16PM (Unverified) said

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Interesting article. What's odd is most of the comments are about guys (like me) who have female toons, and the issues that sometimes arise. But roleplaying doesn't happen in MMOGs (not that I've seen, anyway).

I guess someone might want to roleplay with friends or something like that, but otherwise, it just feels like trying to fool someone into thinking you're something you are not, and I can't think of many good (non-selfish) reasons for doing that.

Posted: Aug 21st 2010 8:02PM (Unverified) said

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I'd say there's one good reason: People who play MMO's to escape from daily life. Someone's having a hard time, they don't have to show it, they can be someone else with a click of their fingers.

Not that it's right, but since it's impossible to tell; there's no real point dwelling on the rights or wrongs.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 8:24PM JanChel said

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When you are RPing as the opposite gender there really isn't much of a difference in the way you would normally think. The events or the situations that present themselves are usually the ones that affect how things play out.

Like say in a fantasy setting, there wouldn't be a difference in the way that a female knight would react to something differently than a male knight. Being as they are both knights, they would have had similar experiences getting to that point. The difference in their reactions would be based on their history and disposition and most of those are pretty much interchangeable in a generic type of setting. Even in a setting where one gender is dominant over the other, there would always be exceptional examples that break the mold and you can just play things out how you'd like.

Since you are RPing these characters, there must be something there that you must find appealing or why even bother playing that character at all.
If you made a badass female character, she would (hopefully) be reacting to things in a badass way. Shooting first and saying sorry for the mess later.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 9:25PM Purkit said

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When AO first launched I RPed a female Bureaucrat for a while. She was kind of uptight, slightly neurotic, liked to do paperwork and berated bad guys for not getting their tax returns in on time. She wasn't what you'd call girly. Most of the founding members of the guild knew I was a guy, but it seems this was never translated to the newer members of the guild. AWKWARD!

At first I thought I was imagining it, its not often I get hit on by a guy (well never to my knowledge, although I can be quite clueless about these thing I've been told). To start with I assumed he was RPing, however I started to suspect something was going on when he asked if I wanted to do a mission with him and didn't invite anyone else from the guild. During the mission/date things 'developed'... I got really creeped out and had to type the sentence no RPer EVER wants to type "You do know I'm a guy right?" Silence...

Luckily he didn't take it badly and after a little weirdness things got back to normal. I retired my Bureaucrat after a while and ended up playing an Atrox which don't really have a gender, probably better for everyone that way.

RPing a female character is really quite easy, just don't be overtly male and as Eliot says, don't keep referencing your gender or you'll come across like those characters from Little Britain "I'm a lady and I like lady things!"

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