Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gender Bending on Online Games

If you are unfamiliar with the term "gender bending" it is an informal or slang term for an individual of one gender adopting common mannerisms, dress, or behaviors of another gender. On an online game the term is used for players who decide to play characters of an opposite gender.

There are many reasons for someone to play a character of an opposite gender to themselves including roleplay challenges and experimentation, while some male gamers claim that playing a female character gives them a game advantage. Personally I don't have a major problem with players who attempt to play another gender, but there are some behaviors of gender benders that myself and other players find annoying.

The worst issue in my opinion, involves male players playing female characters on games where romantic or sexual roleplay is common or allowed that hide their "real life" gender. As long as a gender bender isn't engaging in romantic or sexual roleplay this is fine, but far too often we see these individuals actively seeking romantic relationships with individuals without divulging information about themselves that could be very important to their fellow players. From experience as a game admin, I've found this behavior far more common for males and when they are actively seeking out relationships with males and females. If you happen to be playing a character of another gender is simply a matter of common courtesy and respect that you divulge to other players your gender if you get any where close to romantic or sexual role playing.

The other aspect of gender bending that I find disappointing is when players create characters that are more like parodies of the other gender. As a female gamer it is particularly annoying to see a male playing a female with an over the top "sex pot" description or behaving in stereotypical ways. But because these descriptions and behaviors can be so over the top, it is sometimes a good way to identify a hidden gender bender. The female running around in a chainmail bikini with the over explained attributes is most likely being played by a male player.

Some games have rules against gender bending, in fact I read one article about a Chinese MMO called "King of the World" that confirms the gender players of female characters through webcam. These games are in the minority though. The bottom line for most games is that if players don't want to get in romantic relationships with characters that are being played by the opposite sex they need to go out of their way to ask. Even then that individual could be lying. (I've personally known of cases where a player has done so.) You would think that players would have the common courtesy to tell at that point, but the sad reality is that the majority won't.

Romantic RP - Engage in it at your own risk!

Courtesy of Penny Arcade - Click to Read!

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