So while chatting online with a bunch of online friends, the conversation suddenly changed when one person in the chat room started talking about how he/she (don’t know) doesn’t like how guys in real life will play as female characters in online games where you can create your own character. Some of the reasons why this dislike came to be has to do with things like lying to people in-game, being perverted and the weirdest comment that was made was “If you’re playing as a girl in a video game, there must be some desire to be one in real life.”. So there’s a lot to go through and while I got my piece out in that chat room last night, I thought it’d be a great article to write here as well.
The key thing to understand in this situation is really the most basic common sense you can employ: This is a fantasy game, in a fantasy world with fantasy characters. You are under ZERO obligation to play characters that not only are your real-life gender, but follow everything else in your daily real-world life. Your online game character does not have to look exactly like you, it doesn’t even have to look remotely like you. Let’s take me for example, I’m a skinny 5’11”, 155 lbs guy with a bit of belly fat, but not much. Now I’m currently working on correcting that and developing some muscle, so for me it makes a lot of sense that if I was to create a male character, I would make him slim but well-toned, abs and all. Why? Cause it’s a visual representation of my own personal goals and at this current point of time it is indeed a fantasy of mine to reach that point. Generally speaking there’s three ways you can go with a character that’s your own gender. You either go realistic, which is boring. You go ridiculous, which games like Saints Row do very well. Or you go with what you wish you looked like, whether it’s your body type, hairstyle, tattoos you’re afraid to get, all that jazz. A lot of the time it depends on the game too. If it’s a game like Saints Row, I’m going ridiculous, but if it’s a game like The Sims, I’ll do a hybrid version, where it looks as much like me as possible, but when I hit my personal fitness goals. So face-wise it looks a lot like me, he wears the same kind of clothes as me, but he’s got some muscle, especially some washboard abs.
But when we’re talking pure fantasy games like Mass Effect and really any MMORPG, should it be surprising at all that a lot of people will choose to play a different gender (and sometimes a completely different race if the option’s there) than what they are?
Merriam Webster has the following for one of their definitions of the word “fantasy”:
the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need <an object of fantasy>; also : a mental image or a series of mental images (as a daydream) so created <sexual fantasies>
Taking that in mind, if a fantasy is considered something unrealistic and improbable, what’s more fantasy in terms of creating a character than creating someone completely opposite to your real-life self in every way. I’m male, so I’d rather create a female character. I’m not that brave and have never gotten into a fight, my character kicks all kind of ass. And while I don’t have a serious problem with dealing with how I look, I love making characters that you’d consider to be on the top of the sexy totem pole.
There shouldn’t be anything wrong with creating a character based on your own fantasies, regardless of the nature of it. Want to look badass? Awesome. Want to look super intelligent? Cool. Want to look sexier than all the Time magazine’s sexiest celebrities put together? Fuckin’ sweet! All to you, there shouldn’t be any reason for you to not go in whatever direction you want, it’s your character and you’re going to be playing this character for an extended period of time, it should be someone you’re willing to play as and stare at for a long time. For someone to tell you that whatever you chose to play as is wrong, they’re being just plain stupid.
So let’s go through the three arguments I listed that this person made.
Again, you’re under no obligation to tell people who you are in real life, so to say playing the opposite gender and playing as such is lying to other players about who you really are, who cares?! Why does that matter? It’s a fictional character and a lot of players roleplay when they play these games, if that’s too much for you, you probably shouldn’t be playing these sort of games. Go play single-player games where you don’t create a character then.
As for those playing opposite gender characters being perverted, grow the fuck up. I also noted in chat how it’s only ever specified that when men play female characters it’s perverted, but if a woman plays as a male character, there’s zero problems with that apparently. If you’re going to use the perverted excuse, play both sides, you can’t have it one way. But honestly, should it be surprising at all that a lot of gamers prefer playing opposite sex characters? For me it’s simple. I’m heterosexual, I am attracted to women. So if I’m going to play a game, especially if it’s a third-person game and over 20 hours in length and I’ll be staring at someone’s ass the entire time, would it not make sense to have an ass to look at of the gender I’m attracted to? I say it over and over again, but they’re not real! Who gives a shit?! Now if someone’s making their character to look like Miley Cyrus, that’s weird, but if it’s a non-existent person, who gives a flying fuck?!
And lastly, that really dumb line of “If you’re playing as a girl in a video game, there must be some desire to be one in real life.”. That really blew my mind that someone had not only the thought cross their mind, but the filter didn’t immediately throw it in the trash. What does that have to do with anything?! I know we live in a world now where sex changes are becoming more common place and accepted, but I don’t see the correlation between playing an opposite gender created character and wanting to be that opposite gender. At no point in my life have I been playing as a sexy blonde elf girl and thought “You know what? I want tits and a vagina.”. THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN WITH PROBABLY 99.9% OF ALL THESE CASES!!! Did it ever cross one’s mind that maybe, just maybe guys play as female characters and vice versa because that’s what they like? It has nothing to do with wanting to BE that opposite gender, it has everything to do with wanting to be WITH that opposite gender.
At the end of the day, what you choose to play as is purely up to you. Whether you want to play as yourself, or something completely opposite of you, that’s completely and 100% your decision. While it is a manifestation of your own fantasies, it’s not necessarily an accurate depiction of what you are. If you’re the type of person who has a problem with people playing something they’re not, there’s something serious wrong with you, there’s some clear insecurities going on there.
If I want to play as a sexy female catgirl if the option exists, you bet your ass I’m gonna do that. Without regret.