January 27, 2006

Virtual Drag

Filed under:Gender, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 1:53 pm

Bonnie Ruberg has written an interesting post for Terra Nova on Virtual Transvestitism. She even discusses the less seen, and considered, women playing male characters.

Ruberg also considers when players are forced to assume another gender role in games:

But what happens when the altering isn’t done by the player? Virtual worlds, chat rooms, and forums all allow users to decide how they appear. In most console games though, character gender is predetermined. In order to play, gamers must fill the gendered skin presented to them. Men become the Samus Aran, blond bombshell. Women become Duke Nukem, a towering muffin of muscle. Is this tranvestitism? Or more to the point, how could it not be? Players have the ability to choose what they play, and they’re choosing to cross gender lines.

I look forward to her future posts on this topic. This is a topic that particularly interests me. It is sometimes assumed that I’m in drag–a man playing a female avatar–in online games. It is something I generally don’t try to correct because I don’t need to prove myself to people I meet in video games.


1 Comment »

  1. I have to disagree with her point on “players [are] choosing to cross gender lines,” at least when it comes to her cited examples of games with a predetermined gender. When my choice is play as a guy or don’t play at all, I’m not going to turn down what could be a good game. That doesn’t mean that I’m “cross[ing] gender lines” in any way, shape, or form. It just means that, like with books or TV or other media, sometimes you follow a protagonist that isn’t your gender (or race, or sexual orientation, etc) because it’s a good story (or good gameplay, or whatever).

    That being said, I also feel like I’m robbed of a choice to play good characters of my gender in a lot of games. It’s be a guy (who may or may not be well rounded) or be tits and a vagina with a body attached. It’s almost worth compromising my “gamer” status over and refusing to buy that crap and instead just sticking to well-written characters. But then a game with a great battle system, or an innovative world system comes along… and all my high and mighty pickiness goes out the window. Sigh. Sometimes I hate being a female gamer because I feel like the industry hates me.

    Comment by tekanji (62 comments) — January 28, 2006 @ 9:26 pm

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