After Hours

Gender-bending or good game play?

If you play video games, do you choose men or women avatars? Well, two-thirds of the 920 players who responded to an About.com poll last summer said that they play characters of the opposite sex in online role-playing games. Check out this news story, "Female impersonation tarts up online games."

According to the article, "When men appear as buxom, scantily clad females in video games like 'World of Warcraft,' it is more about winning than finding an outlet for a real-world affinity for gender bending."

In fact, "Kathryn Wright, WomenGamers.com's consulting psychologist, earlier this decade found that 60 percent of male players who don female avatars, or on-screen personas, do it to gain an advantage in game play... Being a pretty girl has its perks. Female avatars are often the center of attention and showered with gifts such as swords or armor by other characters... They also, however, get unsolicited and sometimes condescending game play advice from the thousands of mostly male players."

Personally, when I play video games, if there's a BAD female character (meaning really good, of course), I'll pick her over a male character. Some female characters, however, lack the brawn and brains (thanks a lot, game developers) to complete certain missions and/or tasks. In those cases, just give me the strongest and smartest character available. I'm in touch with both my feminine and masculine side, and I'm not afraid to show it. And as far as looking good, the beauty of avatars is only pixels deep.    

About Sonja Thompson

Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.

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