Response: Gender and WoW

All these discussions of gender and games made me consider how Schleiner’s assertion of Lara Croft as vehicle for cross-dressing fits into the more popular World of Warcraft series. I read a few different articles about who plays what gender and the consensus seemed to be that about 25% of guys play female characters, while only around 5% of girls play male characters. Given that more guys play WoW than girls, that is a huge disparity. If you estimate that there are only 1 or 2 girls for every ten guys on WoW, then about half of the female characters on WoW are actually men. Feel free to call me out on my math here (I am an English major…). This seems like a reversal of typical gender roles and seems to keep to Schleiner’s suggestion of gamers wanting to try on another gender without any real world consequences.

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1 Response to Response: Gender and WoW

  1. Jason Ko says:

    From anecdotal knowledge I can say that this is normally because of the “male gaze” and not so much because the player wants to play as a girl. MMOs are very time intensive games. Some male players do not want to stare at a male character for extended periods of time, favoring the female figure. Thus, they play as a female to have something nice to look at.

    The other side of this is the aspect of social engineering. Due to the stereotype that “girls don’t play videogames” many guys who play MMOs are ecstatic to see a female in-game. Many of these males will thus shower these “girls” with gifts of various in-game items. This would also explain why many females don’t play as male characters. I would assume that a large percentage of the 5% who do play males want to do so because they do not want to be judged by their gender. Some players might consider female players less inadequate, again because of the stereotype that females don’t play videogames.

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