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Old 04-22-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
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Gender Roles, Roleplay, and Possible Glass Ceilings?

I’ve been mudding for about five years now; four of those in either the roleplay-enforced or RPI environment. Consistently, from the outset, whether I choose characters aligned with good, evil, or somewhere in the murky mid-line of grey (and I simplify here for both brevity and clarity), I have made a conscious choice to try to bring strong, intelligent, non-sexually-driven female characters to life.

Consistently, I feel I’ve fallen short of the mark I’d set for the character at creation. But neither do I feel I’ve been outshone by other female characters, per se. Putting aside my own creative limitations, I have found myself wondering of late…

And so the question I thought I’d bring to the table is this:

“Does a glass-ceiling exist for (most) female characters in the MU* community?”

Part of me believes that for female characters of a certain cast/mould/archetype, a glass ceiling -does- very much exist. I have a theory or two rattling around as to why, but before I delve too deeply into my own observations and notions, I’d really appreciate hearing input from others.

As for the part of me that doesn’t believe there is a glass-ceiling for female characters, it’s also the part that is screaming a “You’re just setting yourself up to be flamed, baby!” warning in my ear.

Experiences? Thoughts? Theories of your own?
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: Gender Roles, Roleplay, and Possible Glass Ceilings?

This is the kind of thing that's easy to speculate on, but without any facts to back it up I think it's kind of a waste of time. Does anyone track the sex of characters in positions of power in muds?

On the other hand, if it mirrors social patterns in the real world (not unlikely) then there probably are more male characters entrenched in positions of power. So I guess you could say a glass ceiling exists.
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:27 AM   #3
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Re: Gender Roles, Roleplay, and Possible Glass Ceilings?

Lets also not forget the possibility that more males could be playing a game as opposed to females, that could explain differences in numbers. As you said though, no data to go on.

My personal experience (as a male, playing male characters) is that there seems to be no glass ceiling. I have played a mud where the admin was female, most of the administration was female and my character was in a guild led by a female.

On the same token I have played muds with little to no females in the administration, but I have never played an RP intensive game that did not have females in the player base (or at least men playing women) and had at least some of those females in positions of power.

The largest thing I have noticed though (as I said in the beginning) is that there is generally a large population of men to a relatively lower population of women playing most of the muds I have played.

Moreover most of the women I have RPed with that had the strong character type you are talking about were almost always guild leaders or guild officers or high ranking player government officals.
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: Gender Roles, Roleplay, and Possible Glass Ceilings?

I play in a non-RP environment (hack-n-slash for life, baybee!), and I do not find there to be a glass ceiling. Of course, for a while, I was the top player. I am not the first woman to hold that title on our MUD, either. Far from it, in fact.

We have long had females on the Elder Council, and there are many areas and abilities that have been developed by females. In fact, female players are rather sought-after in our world, because they tend to help grease the wheels of social interactivity.

While many of the top level Admin have been and are males, that is more a choice of "who lost the coin toss" rather than some concerted back-room conspiracy. In our world, a person's a) willingness to put time into the game, whether in play or in development and b) intelligence and desire tend to get them where they want to be.

But then, these are actually reasons I like the game I play. The politics are minimal in these latter days.
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:25 PM   #5
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Re: Gender Roles, Roleplay, and Possible Glass Ceilings?

Originally Posted by Trisagion View Post
“Does a glass-ceiling exist for (most) female characters in the MU* community?”
I would say it depends strongly on the genre of the game you play. Storyline and background as well as game style will indicate who leads.

On New Worlds Ateraan your character's gendre, race, description, style, and history can play a very strong role in how far you progress socially and politically, but let us just focus on gender glass ceilings since that is your question.

Speaking of females, our game is a continually made up of 50% or more female players. Their characters range from the strong/aggressive fighter type, to the eloquent politic, to the street whore. Each has a place in the game and for factual anology there are 11 female characters and 9 male characters in power positions (Guild Masters, Judges, Marshals, High Priestesses, and similar leadership positions). The game is very diversified but set up in a way that gender doesn't inhibit power, only character choices will.

In strict gaming terms I go back to the type of game. Some are more geared to female style and others male. I won't go into the socio-physiology of sex and game play, but men tend to be hacker slashing borgers and women tend to be emotional deep thinkers. You make the call.
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