(Crossposted at http://myworld.creativegamingevents.com/blogs_view.php?id=583 )
I'm sure this is a constant question that goes through people's minds when they talk to me, especially right after finding out my gender. Why on Earth would a woman go out of her way to play a male character, and even moreso, partially obscure the fact she is in fact female?
Well, beyond the fact that I find it highly entertaining (Oh, come on, like you wouldn't enjoy the shock and reactions from people if you did the same thing), I do have some rather valid reasons. Let's plow through these one by one, shall we?
-If men can use the excuse, so can I.
By this, I mean that when men are asked the same question ("Why aren't you playing your gender?"), they tend to retort "Well, I don't want to stare at a guy's ass for 70 levels of grinding." Okay, I give them that. I can agree. While I am, in fact, bisexual and can't use the exact line of thinking, I do overall prefer men to women. So yes, I would rather stare at a nice looking male than I would a nice looking female. But that's my personal preference.
-To avoid being treated unfairly.
I don't think anyone will disagree with me when I say women are treated differently than men are in an MMO. Either telling people you're female gets you a flood of tells akin to "A/S/L plz!" or gets you the ridicule of "gurlz dun play gamez, lulz." Neither of which I particularly care to read or deal with. I'm not going to argue the FACT that I am female; you're not going to believe me anyway, so what's the use?
Say they DO believe me though? What does that get me? It gets me put up on some pedestal I didn't asked to be placed on. The entire reason I even play an MMO is for the sense of accomplishment I get from earning my place in the virtual world. Suddenly, by being female, I'm instantly privileged and treated better than everyone who doesn't have a vagina. I don't want that. Sure, I receive a little of it regardlessly from time to time, and sometimes it's nice (mostly the people being more courteous to you than anything else), but on a whole, I don't want to be treated different because of a trait I have that's irrelevant to the game. It's stupid; let me earn my keep, damnit!
-It's something different
Yeah, this reason is simple in itself. It is something different. All my previous characters on all my other servers were female. It gets tiring doing the same thing over and over. It was a very refreshing change, and it continues to keep me more amused than my female characters ever did.
-Wanted to be a Paladin, but didn't like my other option
Female blood elves are a terrible example of women to begin with. They're even MORE sexified than the other female races, and they perpetuate the "perfect woman" ideal. Why would I support an ideal I don't agree with or enjoy a walking pop culture reference that I absolutely loathe? I understand the male blood elves aren't much better, but the males rip on one of my own personal favorite fandoms (the anime fandom), tearing up the idea of the bishounen (or "pretty boy," for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term) which will always amuse me to no end.
I will continue to advocate my hate for the Napoleon Dynamite dance though. That's just dumb.
Oh, in addition, I didn't roll Alliance because all my friends roll Horde on a PvP server. So... yeah.
I had to bring this up again. It's just damn entertaining to masquerade as a male, even if it's inadvertent. Most people assume I am male until I slip up in conversation, or they hear me in Vent. Sometimes, this can lead to hilarious conversations.
Such as the one where I mentioned my roommate was cooking dinner, and therefore she was awesome.
"What, you live with a girl? Is she your girlfriend?"
"No, no, she's just my friend; All three of us get along really well though,"
"Three of you? Does her boyfriend live with her?"
"Nah. Both my roommates are single. They're both really cool girls though,"
"YOU LIVE WITH TWO GIRLS?!"
"Yeah. They're pretty hot, too,"
Okay, so yeah, by the end I was totally intentionally jerking their chain, but it's funny how easily people jump to conclusions. I started going out of my way, eventually, to hide the fact I was female from guilds I was applying to until I appeared in Vent. I have a very soft, feminine voice, so at that point it becomes near-impossible to fake it.
Though I will always be eternally entertained that even while my guild application to Merciless stated my quite feminine name at the top, people still didn't figure out I was a girl until the first general guild meeting when I spoke up about paladin tanking. =3 It will forever be a fond memory.
-So why the name?
Ahh, yes, I didn't cover that one specifically, did I? I picked the name "Prettyboi" for two reasons. One, the name "Prettyboy" was taken already (lol), and two, I knew going into rolling a blood elf was entitling myself to be a walking stereotype. I knew hundreds upon thousands of people were going to be rolling blood elf paladins in particular. I could have tried to be different and come up with a creative name like I do with my other characters (Melna the Orc Warrior, for instance, who's named after a Dominic Deegan character; or Nishta, my Troll Priestess whose name simply screamed "troll" for me). Instead, I chose to run with the hole I was digging myself, and dig it a little deeper.
And you know, with how much fun I've had with it in the end, I have never, and doubt I will ever, regret it.
Incidentally, yes, I do know the connotation for having "boi" spelled with the i. For those of you that don't, it generally announces a level of ambiguity or even outright homosexuality. I'm fine with this; especially when I flirt with my male guildmates anyway, and even more so when it's in general chat in the middle of Shattrath or Orgrimmar.
I consistently wonder what people think about that. Either way, it leaves a goofy mischievous smile on my face, and isn't that all I need to make it worth it?
I hope this has shed some informative light on myself, as well as on possibly other females who roll male characters too. Next time you do find out there's a ZOMG GIRL on your server, treat them with the same level of respect (or hell, the same level of disrespect XD) you give your male players. I guarantee you that they'll appreciate it.