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  1. #1

    Gender-Bending - playing as the opposite gender

    Hello folks!

    I am conducting a research on gender-bending in GW2 for my Game Culture class. I have prepared a few questions on the topic and I hope you will be willing to answer them. I made an online survey to make it more convenient for people who would rather avoid participating in an open forum discussion. However, since I'm a new user, I can't post links or send PMs so if any mod reads this - I would like to ask for permission.
    I will also post the questions here and we will hopefully get some discussion going.

    The overall idea is to not only gather reasons for why players gender-bend (and how many do it) but also to get a wider picture of the whole phenomenon. I, myself, am a female who always prefer to play as males and it is interesting to give the reasons a bigger thought.

    ALSO! If you are someone who doesn't gender-bend, please share on why you do not do that.

    I will not use the data, or your posts, outside of my term paper. It will not be published anywhere. No user information, such as user names, will be mentioned in the paper.

    Ok, this introduction got a big long, onto the questions!

    Here are the questions (without the what is your gender/age ones) from the survey:

    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?

  2. #2
    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    - Usually for specific animations (Fem Forsaken in WoW does a front flip for all special attacks), if the male voice is just too annoying (LotRO), or if I suddenly got a really cool concept (CoH).
    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    - Not at all.
    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    - It depends on if in part 1 I made an interesting concept, but 8 times out of 10 its just a character. 1 of those times is, by default, a female character from CoH that I try and bring over to other games, just because. It was a fun character, and I liked the name, though not every game has a chara concept that will fit. In LotRO, for example, I named my Loremaster's Raven after the character.
    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    - Ever since CoH, pretty much every MMO I have played will have at least one female character. It keeps your character list a little more diversified.
    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    - Couldn't say, graphics usually aren't one of the reasons I play a female character. However, my Warrior in GW1 was female, because the male model was just too massive (seriously, the dude is like a tree trunk). Also, the Primeval armor looked awesome on the female.
    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    - It depends on the game. If it is squad based, like XCOM or Silent Storm, I try and have a mixed group. If it is purely single player, like Skyrim, I may do it for the heck of it. For Mass Effect, my main character was female, because the male voice actor was incapable of showing emotion other than "make my voice a little louder". Jennifer Hale added so much more to the character of Shepard that I felt I missed an entire aspect of the game when I did my first play through as male Shep.
    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    - Sure, I don't see why I shouldn't.
    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    - Highly unlikely, but never out of the question. LOL If someone made a decent enough costume and if I was feeling goofy enough, I'd probably do it just for the laughs.

  3. #3
    Titan smrund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Pilon View Post
    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    Better animations, better character art. I've had more practice as an artist in creating female characters.

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How?
    Maybe I enjoy the asthetics more?

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    I'm not sure what you mean? Our pixel-parts may be different, but I regard my characters as full-developed people, in general they're extensions of myself that I've developed into full-blown personalities. So, I guess we can identify in the fact that we have things in common, I don't generally feel that in a pixel-world where we can ignore the harsh realities of life there needs to be some sort of artificial difference between males and female.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    Most of my games really. In voiced games, it's often because of the voice actors, like in Mass Effect Jennifer Hale is freaking awesome, and the male VA sounds like a prick, I seriously can't pay him for more than a few minutes. If it's not voiced, it's usually because I prefer the female design and animations to the male ones. Sometimes in RPGs there can be a serious case of sexism with men being depicted as "aggressive" and "macho", and personally, I'm not very macho or aggressive, and the sexism kinda pisses me off.

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    I don't really think it's better or worse. I noted that the male models lack a "package", which makes them look awkward.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    I suppose so.

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    Sure, I like the female art or voices or personality, but I don't pretend I'm actually a girl.....unless I'm playing D&D, in which case yes I am pretending to be a girl, not that anyone doesn't know I'm really a guy tho.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    Like in the mall or on the street? No. I do think it'd be somewhat interesting to be the other sex for a day or so, but pretending and being are different things, and I have no interest in pretending.
    Quote Originally Posted by Masark View Post
    People in cars cause accidents. Accidents in cars cause people.
    Sometimes life gives you lemons, other times life gives you boobies. Life is always better with more boobies.
    The most accurate history of the USSR ever.
    And thus I give you: MALE contraception!

  4. #4
    A general remark. I do not see how this qualifies as 'gender bending'. Gender bending, as I know it, is a disparity between personal identification (in respect to the conventions regarding the gender) and the actual biological gender. Playing another gender in a game makes you as much a gender bending as killing a mob makes you a murderer. The term can be still used as a technical lane, but I'd take it into quotation marks to make clear that you don't use it in its conventional sense.


    Now to the answers:

    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?

    - It depends on the character concept (I always like to think about character personality and theme, even though I do not roleplay). For instance, my Norn Guardian is a female because I was going for that nordic Valkyrie theme. Also, aesthetics play an important role.

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)

    - Of course it influences my gaming experience because I see the character all the time on the screen and care for its looks. It has zero impact on the gameplay or the social aspects of the game

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?

    - No. My character is my character.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?

    - Sometimes I would play as a female in FPS for the luls of it, RPG games because they offer a different experience when played as a female (e.g. dialogue options original Fallout series), obviously in games like diablo (because classes in Diablo II/Torchlight had locked gender).

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?

    - Its as gender bender friendly as any other game. Although, female characters are often more aesthetically pleasing than their male counterparts (this is especially true for Norn).

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?

    - It depends on whether the gameplay is affected by this choice (e.g. see the above remark about Fallout). Usually, in a single-player game I go with a male character, unless I have some specific backstory for the character in mind.

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?

    - I don't hide my real gender, if its what you mean. Of course, I don't start a conversation with 'btw, I'm a dude even though my character has boobs'

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?

    - If we are talking about theatre or such, sure.

  5. #5
    Just a notice: This thread is both acceptable and being allowed.

  6. #6
    Stood in the Fire Cyphran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Pilon View Post

    Here are the questions (without the what is your gender/age ones) from the survey:
    ^^ Male and 28 for that....

    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    -- I have never rolled a femle character on any game (barring games such as Diablo 1 and 2 where you had no choice)

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    -- While I personally don't play characters of a different gender to myself... the fact that people do sometimes gets me in trouble. Logic dictates that the person behind the avatar is very likely male... but I can't stop myself from using avatar gender specific pronouns (which occasionally upsets people).

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    -- My character is me... in all games. I prefer to play human characters. I designed a character that I liked the look and feel of for GW2 and the next time I went drinking with a mate he asked "how long did it take to design a character that looks EXACTLY like you?" I was a bit surprised because it wasn't actually intentional.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    -- Never

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    -- I find the female models look pretty impressive. The female armor and costumes tend to be more elaborate than the male versions as well. I sometimes screenshot my character with cool looking female models(potentially scary considering #3). That said, I feel the same way about heavy armor when compared to light armor.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    -- N/A

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    -- I don't hide it... and I don't think I could sound female if I tried.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    -- I once wrote a story from the POV of a female character for a university assignment. It was much harder for me than writing as a male.
    Last edited by Cyphran; 2012-11-05 at 01:16 AM.

  7. #7
    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    - Uhm, not sure. I never like how male characters look in MMO. The only one I really like are in Tera. Also watching a girl is more enjoyable.
    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    -No
    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    -No, i'm only playing her, I don't really identify. Not enough roleplay elements in GW2 probably!
    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    -Yes, WoW and SWTor.
    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    -Yes, girls look fantastic, while guys still have the "hulk"-sydrome, even the very very thin ones. Also the armor look absolutely stunning on females, while on males they are rather "meh". We need bikini-armor for males!
    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    -Yes!
    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    -Yes, why shouldn't I?
    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    -No, i'm very happy to have a penis!
    EDIT: Though I had no problems go as a girl-character on halloween or theatre. You know, for the laugh!
    Last edited by Teabaker; 2012-11-05 at 01:15 AM.

  8. #8
    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    Only on alts, if I feel a certain class is more suited to a certain gender or for variation if I'm not fussed either way. My main however, I don't gender-bend which is why in GW2 my Elementalist is male, but would be female if it were an alt.
    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    Not really, probably because I don't RP. However, I do sometimes have alts named after my wife so I try to look after them
    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    With my main yes. Anything RP related ingame I try to act as I would do IRL. Hence my mains in all RPG's are human males.
    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    Most RPG's I have a female alt. Some FPS games which don't lock you into a skin I'll play as female now and again (just because I can).
    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    The graphics are fantastic, and you can certainly create a character you're 'attracted too' (once again, modeled one after my wife) unlike WOW for example.
    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    Doesn't effect my game play at all, just sometimes do it because the options there. For example, I frequently change skins in FPS games for variation.
    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    If the question gets asked.
    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    Pose? No. I've been to a "drag" themed costume party before (guys as girls, girls as guys) but that was the whole point.

  9. #9
    Pandaren Monk barackopala's Avatar
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    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    Male characters tend to be quite bigger, take more space of my screen and some animations feel clunky.


    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    As I stated above, visuals visuals visuals, when you play a game that envolves 3rd person PoV and it's somewhat competitive (up to a certain point, mostly pvp in this case) you want more free space.


    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    No, I just don't feel like a Roleplayer with a specific sexual identity, I'm an asuran engineer that works with zojja, never cared about my character sex.


    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    On WoW, hated playing male n-elf, ugly model, couldn't stand it, plus, my fav heroes from the WoW elfic lore are females.


    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    It feels quite cleaner for me, the design works just great, grab a male char, make it big, it will cover way more space than a female on your screen, that for me is a bit uncomfortable.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    I don't really care that much, in skyrim I picked a male due to the badass look of the armors on a male. Most other single players game I play do not rely on sex options, my new "fav game" X-com isn't balanced around sex at all, just care about classes.


    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    Yeah, why wouldn't I? It feels somewhat weird not admitting who I am.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    Nope, only once as a school tradition, on the last year of school guys swap clothes with girls for a school picture just for fun, girls look rude and guys looks rude on skirts playing soccer. (just for the laughs, some people might go with the "oh you pedo's travestis" and that kind of stuff, it's done at 18 with your consensus and just for laughs)




    ---------------------------


    A bit offtopic:
    Quote Originally Posted by Fencers View Post
    Just a notice: This thread is both acceptable and being allowed.
    I don't meant to sound rude or anything else, but I'm intrigued on how could this post be unacceptable/not allowed?
    (sorry if it sounds a bit too grumpy or ironic, english is not my native language)
    Last edited by barackopala; 2012-11-05 at 04:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Bloodsail Admiral MKing's Avatar
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    I always play as my own Gender when I play games unless there's no other choice. I would feel very weird if I played the wrong gender. Something must be messed up in peoples head who enjoy playing as the opposite gender.

  11. #11
    Pandaren Monk barackopala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKing View Post
    I always play as my own Gender when I play games unless there's no other choice. I would feel very weird if I played the wrong gender. Something must be messed up in peoples head who enjoy playing as the opposite gender.
    Lemme get my male sona skin and we talk back to you, same goes for most support champs in LoL.

    Some people just don't even care about gender but about how much space does the character itself takes from the screen, there's a reason, and it's not something "messed up".

  12. #12
    Mechagnome Vulryth's Avatar
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    i thought the sylvari females were fantastically designed so i made one. nobody should really have a problem with that.
    weeee!

  13. #13
    Pandaren Monk barackopala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vulryth View Post
    i thought the sylvari females were fantastically designed so i made one. nobody should really have a problem with that.
    Actually in the lore, sex is not relevant for sylvaris, hurray asexuated lore! (?)

  14. #14
    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    I barely do just once really. Why? because i found the race cool!

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    Not at all

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    Don't thinkso

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    Never

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    Guesso?

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    I don't often have the choice in single player games.

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    Not really

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    Wouldnt work out

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MKing View Post
    I always play as my own Gender when I play games unless there's no other choice. I would feel very weird if I played the wrong gender. Something must be messed up in peoples head who enjoy playing as the opposite gender.
    There's nothing messed up about it. The same could be presumed about people who only play as their own gender. You confuse yourself for your in-game character so you only feel comfortable having your character represent you, or you feel incredibly insecure about playing as the opposite for your own personal reasons.

    I don't confuse myself for my in-game characters, they don't represent me and are not a reflection of me personally. I play as both and I am male. I have seen females who also play as both. It's not that complicated. I am just generally attracted to females, I find the way female characters charge into battle and weave intricate attack animations to be more pleasing aesthetically than a male doing it. I LOVE women, foam at the mouth when my wife attacks me. Nothing messed up or gay about me.

    Don't make broad generalizations stemming from a lack of understanding.

  16. #16
    The Lightbringer Rukh's Avatar
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    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?

    When I do, its generally for aesthetics or for a different experience. For instance people point out the mass effect series which I have gone through completely as both male and female just to do it.

    In WoW the male humans look silly for most roles, especially things like mage. Way too gorilla looking. My WoW characters were a mix. I had a male rogue, paladin, shaman, and hunter, and a female death knight, mage, and warrior.

    In GW2 all my characters are male so far, but if I got a concept I'd make a female character. Males aren't too bad off in GW2. My SWTOR characters were male too, because they had decent models.

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)

    Aesthetics some sure. Not really the social aspect. I don't pretend I'm the character. I did have people in WoW call me female when I was on my DK. I'd sometimes correct them and sometimes wouldn't care.

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?

    Not especially. I make them to make a concept. I don't see them as myself. I might make a character that's a concieted jerk mage, or a sullen rogue or whatever, though usually I don't communicate to people like the character, I communicate to others as myself.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?

    If you mean playing a female character, sure. Mass Effect I played through as both, WoW I probably played my female DK more than other characters.

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?

    The GW2 graphics are very nice. I wouldn't say it's more or less friendly, but I don't feel like I'm forced to make a female character in order to have a decent model like WoW.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?

    No more or less than male I guess.

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?

    Yes. If it matters.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?

    Not generally unless it was as a joke.

  17. #17
    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    I started playing both because the models in WoW are such that the males of the same race all look the same. I enjoy the variety.

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    I always tell people I'm a guy so not really no.

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    No more or less than I identify with a male big blue alien goat man.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    WoW was first, now anything.

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    Guild Wars had always had beautiful female models. But the male models are all great too, the problem I found annoying with GW in the past was that there were no ugly people.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    I usually do a play through with both to check out the different dialog etc...

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    Always, I enjoy watching my female character not actually pretending to be a female.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    For like halloween, sure. In normal life, no.

  18. #18
    I am Murloc! Thelxi's Avatar
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    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    -Started out playing with males, but quickly realized that female elves tend to look better than male elves in general. I also started liking the idea of frail fair girls kicking just as much ass as the muscly bearded dudes.

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    -Socially no, other than initial random conclusions strangers might draw? Aesthetically gender obviously has an impact. I don't see gender affecting dps, so obviously no it does not make the game easier.

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    -Not at all. Internet games are a fantasy escape for me. You would be surprised who plays them.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    -Gender-bending is a wrong and provocative term, but my first female toon was in Lineage 2. Had a mix of genders ever since.

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    -All asian MMOs tend to have more female toons, they look better and are sexier than the western counterparts which appeals to guys. On the other hand males look more masculine in western MMOs like WoW, which also appeals to guys in a different way.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    -Yes and no, depends on what I'm going for.

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    -Always. Gender is always assumed to be male anyway.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    -Nope.
    Last edited by Thelxi; 2012-11-05 at 04:32 AM.

  19. #19
    Bloodsail Admiral Maythael's Avatar
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    1. Why do you play as a character of the opposite gender?
    Mainly because of the aestethics. I've always liked the contrast between a small "nice" girl who can take care of herself. Big bulky males are not as interesting, because it's so common. Also the voice acting is often better on female characters. Speaking of contrast, if the option is available I'll make a male character who's "small and nice" too. In fact, Guild Wars 2 is the first game where I made a male character first.

    2. Does it influence/change your gaming experience? How? (i.e. social aspects, aesthetics, makes the game easier, etc.)
    Yeah, it's a bit more fun. Sure it's nice to look at a male characters behind (I'm gay after all), but female characters move and cast more "fluently" and I can focus on 'being' my character than watching his behind. This mainly applies to the "human (or human-like) race(s)" in games. I like the male Asura model/voice acting more than his female counterpart, but I don't see them as sexual "objects" the same way I see (male) humans. :P

    3. Do you identify with your character? How?
    In a way. Like my second answer, movement and casting animations are often more immersive when playing a female character for me.

    4. Have you done gender-bending before? In what games?
    Yes, in all games where I can choose gender and where the male models are bad... like in WoW. Only female characters.

    5. Is Guild Wars 2 more gender-bending friendly? For example, are the graphics and designs more attractive than in other games?
    Well, I feel that ArenaNet is socially more "open" towards people with different gender-bending properties. The game is as gender-bending friendly as any other.

    6. Do you enjoy playing as the opposite gender in single-player games?
    Yes. Skyrim for example.

    7. Do you admit to your real gender while interacting with other players?
    If someone asks, but people generally just assume a guy is behind the screen.

    8. Would you pose as someone of the opposite gender outside games?
    Nope, never. For me, it has nothing to do with transvestism/transsexualism, nor do I see it as a political subject. In my eyes, you can be super-conservative and still choose to play as the opposite gender without it being hypocritical.
    Last edited by Maythael; 2012-11-17 at 08:05 AM.

  20. #20
    Never have and never will play a non male character in any video game unless I am forced to (Orcs Must Die, magic class is female, nothing you can do about it etc). Also, I do not think it is wrong to play the opposite race, people can play whatever makes them happy, I just happen to be happy playing male and only male as a male.

    One downside is, just to be safe, I always assume a female character is a guy. Its a lot less awkward calling a girl a guy then a guy a girl...I guess...I dunno. I play males.

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