Have you heard this acronym before? It’s kind of a joke, but some people assume that it’s true—when you see a female player-controlled character in a multiplayer online game, a lot of people seem to think that these players are always male.
I first heard people interpret “girl” as “guy in real life” in World of Warcraft (Which I have not played in over a year, and not for years before that; I don’t have exes, but I feel about World of Warcraft how people with unhealthy past relationships sometimes feel about their lost loves—pangs of nostalgia and desire to reconnect), but it has been used elsewhere. While there are many female gamers out there (including a lot of mothers, actually, and about half of the World of Warcraft players whom I know personally), there certainly are males who make female characters in video games.
Honestly, I’m one of them. I sometimes make female characters in role-playing games. Some guys do it because they want to watch an attractive female character move as they play. I totally understand that. Personally, I tend to do it because, in my mind, that character or role is more appropriate for a female. I like video games with stories and character development, so that might be a result of the sorts of games that I choose to play.
Multiplayer role-playing games are a great way to remake yourself. Sometimes I see ridiculous, 1980s-era hypermasculine player characters running around and I tend to assume that the players in question are seriously self-conscious about their height or strength or masculinity that motivates them to play as such ridiculous-looking characters. As an unreasonably gigantic man, I do not feel that tension. I tend to play as characters who reflect my concepts of beauty. In some cases, that means playing as an attractive female.
Do I go around selling myself as a female player behind the character? No. But I have noticed that some players will be nicer to you depending upon your sex. I would say that it’s a fairly common assumption that players will be nicer to players whom they believe to actually be women (especially attractive women), but I honestly don’t think that that’s the case. You guys know the Full Moon myth—that “all of the crazies” come out during full moons and that police have more work to do around that time of each month?
It’s a myth. Statistically, there is no greater incidence of crime or “crazy behavior” during a Full Moon than there is on any other night. It’s just people perceiving what they already expect. I think that the same thing happens for female players (and supposedly female players) in video games. For every instance of someone not stealing a treasure that a female character is after or giving in-game currency to a female character “because she looks cute,” there are people who might tell you to “go home, little girl,” during a fight. In the world of video games, I think that either sex (or perceived sex) is equally advantageous and equally disadvantageous—it just depends upon the people with whom you interact.
So, if you are making a character in a multiplayer online role-playing game, you don’t need to make a male character to intimidate other players or make a female character to charm them—my advice is to just make or select the sort of character as whom you want to play.