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Old 07-29-2004, 06:08 AM   #21
Kastagaar
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I played a female character in Star Wars Galaxies for a few months (I do in most graphical games, to be honest. I had this policy long before Francis did). I really quite enjoyed the experience -- I didn't lie, anyone who asked about my RL gender would get the correct answer, and I really don't think it mattered to most people's gameplay at all. Ok, so I might have got a little extra newbie equipment out of shaking her butt around, but oh well. If you have it, flaunt it, I guess

There was only one case where it ever became an issue, but that was from a guy who was self-admittedly, and I quote, "STOND", and we never met again. *shrug*.

The oddest thing is, she usually wore trousers and jacket in the game. I felt really weird about putting her in a dress.
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Old 07-29-2004, 09:11 AM   #22
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...and then we have another twist in the tunnel:

a heterosexual male player, playing a swishy bisexual male.

or a heterosexual female player, playing a masculine-appearing, lesbian character. We're talking the big brawny burly warrior type woman, decked out in full plate armor, swinging a leg-sized blunt object in one hand and an axe in the other hand - who just so happens to like wearing silk scarves and has - no joke - dainty feet.

I played the second - it was a hoot. A friend of mine has played the first and pulled it off flawlessly.

I actually prefer playing the oddball - the one who doesn't fit the norm. The only male character I've played was an 18-year-old virgin in a game I no longer play. He loved his mom, got along with his family even though they were upset that he decided to do his armorcrafting business in the "wrong" alignment.. was "all boy" - loved to flirt with the women, enjoyed a good ale with a dwarven buddy of his, was respectful to his elders in public but would snicker about their silly politics in private...

He had a lot of depth, my guy. I didn't focus on masculinity OR femininity. I focused on his upbringing, the back-story that got him to where he ended up when he showed up for the first time in town. And flattery of all flatteries, I was told by a few people that they never had a clue that it was a female who played him. They thought he was 100% believable as a male and couldn't imagine any female being that good at getting into a "boy psyche." So I'll toot my own horn and give myself a w00t! on a job well done.
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Old 07-29-2004, 04:46 PM   #23
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Exclamation

I have always played female characters, as I figure, there usually aren't enough of them anyway, especially not ones played correctly.  I really think if I tried to play a male, I would be able to without a problem, but I'm just more inclined to play females... and I find it easier to write their descriptions.  I'll probably give it a shot someday, if only so my opinion on the whole subject is more valid.

I have to say, honestly I was a little appalled at Greenstorm's post, though maybe I took it the wrong way, I can't say.  I certainly do not sit around and wait for people to approach me, because I'm a girl and it wouldn't be seemly or something to start up a conversation.  I don't understand why anyone would think that because they're female, they should act that way, unless they were playing a MUD set in a certain time period.  Personally, I usually play Fantasy RPGs and MUDs, and I don't usually see a reason to act as the quiet flower in those worlds.

As to males who play females, I have seen it done well many times.  But I would say the majority are certainly the discussed stereotype of a fantasy woman.  It's true, you can usually tell a female played by a male because of the description of their breasts.  Any sort of serious roleplayer doesn't tend to fall into that trap, but I've seen more than my share of "full, bouncy breasts" in descriptions.  And for some reason a lot of guys playing girls giggle.  A lot.

I 100% agree with Mikkel, the idea should start at your characters personality, and gender is really secondary.  You can have just about any sort of character as either gender.  I've had strong arrogant fighter types, and never felt the urge to make them male.  I think I just like playing females because I am one, but it seems to me really that that's simply a minor detail, like eye colour.

- Theomanic
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:39 PM   #24
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Theomanic writes: "And for some reason a lot of guys playing girls giggle. A lot."

That's because a lot of the guys playing girls are high school or so age guys, and thus the age of girls they're around *do* giggle. A lot. On the other hand, most of the same guys have no particular idea what in a girl's mind *causes* her to giggle at something, so their timing may be on and off from one situation to the next. :> It's also worth noting that anime girls, at least those I've seen (channel-surfing usually; I'm not much an anime fan) giggle a lot. A very lot. And a lot of male RPers are anime fans. :>

On a different note, while it may be true that a lot of males play the big-chested females, I also have met plenty of females who desced their characters with big breasts. If only because they didn't feel they could compete for male attention otherwise.
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:52 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Fionnlagh @ Aug. 03 2004,14:39)
On a different note, while it may be true that a lot of males play the big-chested females, I also have met plenty of females who desced their characters with big breasts. If only because they didn't feel they could compete for male attention otherwise.
I think the saddest thing about this comment is that it is true. And it makes me wonder why women would rather compete with their breasts than their accomplishments, or their minds, or by virtue of being a good person, or an evil person, or by being a person who makes things happen. Something to think about when you have children and contemplate how to raise your daughters.
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Old 08-03-2004, 08:06 PM   #26
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Personally I've never played a character of the opposite sex, for the simple reason that I wouldn't know how. I mean whenever I create a character I draw from my personal experiences and knowledge with that character's main characteristic. And having that in mind, I don't think a male would know how to play a female character accurately, because he doesn't know what it feels like to be a woman. A woman reacts differently to a situation than a man, and in one of his reactions to an IC situation he might be using his personal experiences, and that would be bad because his previous experiences are that of a man.

See what I'm trying to get at?
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Old 08-03-2004, 10:28 PM   #27
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I think the standard answer for this one is: that's why it's called roleplaying. We can't use our experiences directly if a dragon attacks us, or someone throws a fireball at us either, and yet we extrapolate: this makes me frightened like this thing in my life, that makes me angry like those other things.

I think it requires a bit more extrapolation that's a little less clear-cut to cross-gender, especially in very segregated IC societies, and often that's harder or a step people are unwilling to take. I don't think that it's valid to say that it's possible to roleplay a starving peasant with the plague, however, and not someone of the other gender.
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Old 08-05-2004, 07:26 AM   #28
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I’ve been itching for a while to reply to this topic (finally registered).

I look at a character from a writer and roleplayer’s point of view (as I’m sure we all do – or the majority of us). Will they serve a purpose? Will they be capable of a full personality complete with faults, quirks and habits, and not just be a cookie-cutter or cardboard cutout? Do they possess the ability to evolve, branch out, and explore the breadth of all which they are – or have the potential to be? Most importantly: Will I enjoy playing this unique individual?

So, yes, I play both female (cross-gender) and male characters (same-gender). I don’t necessarily ‘think’ about gender when a sketch of what character I’m about to fashion pops into my mind. Quite frankly it has nothing to do with ‘what I’m comfortable with,’ as I’m comfortable at the thought of doing everything and anything. I have played (and still do play) lesbian/gays, bisexuals, straights, murderers, fascists, mages, zealots, heroes, average joes, homemakers, innocents, youths and the elderly. Whoever best fits the part and feels right in this artificial role is what matters for me. Gender is just a thing on the side.

I admit that I do have a strong admiration and enthrallment with strong female characters/roles, and I suppose my drive to create these three-dimensional individuals is fueled from that admiration. Perhaps that’s one reason for why my female characters gain as much popularity and recognition as they do. Players can tell that they’re people I love writing for. I enjoying the character I myself have created, infusing her with my driven creative force coupled with that respect I have for strong females in their own right.

They’re very different from me. Highly different. And that’s what I find incredibly rewarding – to be able to realistically play something so different, so “not me.” When talking to players/writers/friends about roleplaying, I always say “You get to play yourself every day, twelve months out of the year; why, then, roleplay someone that is a shadow or avatar of yourself? One of the major pleasures in roleplay and writing is to be someone other than you.” It’s like giving birth and watching your child grow, adapt, make mistakes, and go through the emotional gamut.    

This applies to my male characters as well. My male characters are far removed from myself, different on many fronts and their traits twisted to certain degrees. They’re quite different from me, and I value the rewards I benefit from playing them just as much. Of course. That goes without saying.

However, when I first started RPing in the MUSH vein and made my splash into OtherSpace I felt inexorably uptight and uncertain. I came from a freeform writing background, of mutual story creation, shared characters, short stories, PbEM games etc. So there was always this sense of knowing the writer (and his/her gender) as the writer as you went along. But it’s not quite the same in a MUSH setting. At least not to me, not in the beginning. I’ll try to explain.

Seventeen at the time, the first character I created for OtherSpace years (eons) ago was a female Mystic named Jemini. A spiritualist/counselor/psychologist. Once I got the hang of MUSHing I had great fun playing and expanding this young woman I pieced together. I met some great and intriguing people along the way, too. Now, I never lied or purposely set traps to deceive people about who I am. I am who I put out there. But it slowly became apparent as time went along that people were assuming that my gender – as a player – was the same as my character. Serve that up with a dose of negativity from hearing a few players (ones that I RPed with) making extremely condemning comments about cross-gender roleplaying, and I became cautious and nervous. It felt like I had committed an RP crime, or that I had broken some unspoken policy I knew nothing of. It was “wrong?” It was “bad?” Scandalous? Needless to say, I kept my player-to-player contact as scant as possible on a serious/personal level and my alts - both male and female - secret.

I didn’t want to ruin other peoples’ storylines and RP fun. I didn’t want to in some way “screw up” their characters. And /of course/ I didn’t want to ruin my own enjoyment, or “screw up” my own character, by suddenly having these gaping voids if certain players close to my character found that I was male. Because what I had heard, concluded, and feared was that other male players would react in aversely negative ways. I thought much how Crye posted about male players feeling threatened by this, that they’ll somehow be seen as ‘homosexual’ and ‘weak’ for roleplaying a /character/ with another male player’s /character/ – silly and ridiculous as it is. I stress the word character, as that’s who it is, not the player. Another thing that’s always tacked onto my main alts’ +fingers (info) are: “This character and its player are not the same entity.” We’re not. Obviously.

This also brings up the case of pronoun usage when inhibiting your character. I know it unlikely for everyone to use gender-neutral pronouns instead of gender-specific ones (like zir and sie). We just use the gender of the character we inhibit, even when OOC, to use in emotes/actions. And we base – by assumption – that the character’s gender is what the player’s gender is, or the “correct” pronoun to use when referring to him/her. I always wondered if that truly is the way to go about it, using the character object’s gender when doing emotes/actions/expressions OOCly. Sometimes IC and OOC details are blurred, too. (People using “me” and “I” when referring to their character’s what have you).  As such, I’ve always tried my best to shy away from using my character’s proper pronoun when it relates to /me/, the player. For example, “Laeria rolls her eyes,” becomes “Laeria eyerolls.” It makes me a wee bit uncomfortable and causes me to feel that I’m in some way perpetuating that false gender association.

So, yes, in my first year and a half of MUSHing cross-gendered characters I cherished the relaxation and entertainment and achievement I received from having made these unique (and popular) individuals, my “children.” However, at the same time my fears began to snowball and I felt suffocated, wary, guarded. Not too fun. It began to burn me out and made RP less than stellar. No surprise, then, that when a relationship went south and my health came a-calling, I dropped out with a LOA (leave of absence) for roughly ten-eleven months.

My return, around the twist of this new year, came with it a broader perspective and newfound personal growth. I am me. I am not my character. If you like me the player, then you like me for me. It’s not as if I logged on to forge relationships with the hormonal aim for TinySex (I don’t do TS; I have a SO) or to get ‘l337’ gear/items/gifts. Please. It’s nothing that shallow born out of insecurity/want of attention. It’s about finding an outlet to exercise my creativity, to enjoy in other peoples’ writing talents and letting them enjoy mine, to simply have fun and meet some great kindred spirits to forge friendships with along the way. There’s nothing “wrong” or “bad” in that. I realize that now, which is likely why I’m much more open about myself, my personal life and ongoing happenings via OOC channels.

Now, if people cannot accept that and still have trouble wrapping their brain around cross-gender RP, then that is their prerogative. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You don’t have to RP with me; no one’s forcing you to. I don’t actively /hide/ my gender or who I am as an individual, a writer, a friend, but I’m surely not going to hop into a scene and right off the bat OOC “The player is male! RP with this cross-gendered character at your own peril! ~Insert Nefarious Laughter Here while tossing Evil Hair~” That’s... just not fathomable to me.

Anyway, if people were to have problems with it and became hung up about it, then they certainly are welcome to come bend my ear for a while. I just want people playing characters they want to play, and having fun while at it – myself included.
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Old 08-05-2004, 11:24 AM   #29
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I have always played female characters with the exception of two. In the mud that I play, we have a few genderbenders. I saw a few scenarios above, and maybe I skimmed a bit too much, but I didn't quite see my scenario presented. I am a homosexual male playing a heterosexual female; my most frequent choice of character.

I don't think I understand women any better than a heterosexual male, and I don't necessarily think in any of the same regards as a woman. What I do think, however, is that what is important is that you treat your character as a person first and foremost. Constantly remembering the role you are playing and responding in ways in keeping with your character's personality, desires and distastes will find you great success. Really, it is no different from playing a person of the same gender as yourself.

Believability = staying true to your character.

Does your character grunt?
Does your character like nice things?
What does your character think of smelly people?
Does your character like men or women?
What is your character's stance on <insert topic>?
Does your character feel embarassed by the five inch freaky birthmark on his/her ass?

The point is, a person types "look maria" and sees that Maria is a female. From that point on, if you don't act completely out of character you'll be fine.

P.S.
My female characters are NEVER hot-gorgeous-yummy. They're regular people, and my main character has a rather flat chest.
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Old 08-05-2004, 12:50 PM   #30
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So that's why you dropped out for awhile there, Devi. Glad you came back

I wanted to respond to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
My female characters are NEVER hot-gorgeous-yummy. They're regular people, and my main character has a rather flat chest.
I know it was meant somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it does raise a valid issue. I often think that people who play conventionally pretty women, or highly sexual women, are often belittled as roleplayers. Has anyone ever found themselves reacting to that situation by making less-pretty characters?
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Old 08-05-2004, 02:11 PM   #31
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Wel,l I wouldn't necessarily say that I choose those qualities for my character as a reaction to the way some people narrowly view the opposite. Instead, I find it much more fun to play characters who are unconvinced of their own failings. I find that to be the case in RL, as well. We are not always aware of how we rate, and not eveybody is exceedingly self-aware. And even if my character is self-aware to the point of being self-judgemental, it is often fun to play against it.

You say, "I am hot and sexy."
You say, "Stop staring at my voluptuous bosom."
You say, "You may be prettier than me, but I'm an elf. If I wait long enough, you'll go away."
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Old 08-05-2004, 08:39 PM   #32
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Thanks, Greenie. It's nice to be back in the mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I often think that people who play conventionally pretty women, or highly sexual women, are often belittled as roleplayers.  Has anyone ever found themselves reacting to that situation by making less-pretty characters?
I agree. I often think the same thing. And I may even be one of those people that looks down on such portrayed women characters. But it depends, too, on whether those traits envelop their entire personality, and if there is no other depth than this one-dimension. Female characters that just flounce around to get male attention (in whatever form) and do nothing else. Just that plateau. That tends to make me think that all they're online MUSHing for is to gain attention they themselves crave to have/can't get IRL. And, yes, that does make me think "less" of someone as a roleplayer.

Though to answer the question (in tangent fashion), I can honestly say that the vast majority of my female and male characters were never created as sexy/beautiful/enthralling. They may vary in my mind on what our society commonly standardizes as beauty, but never is that something high on my importance list when creating a character. What I do is I let others view them as they will from what I portray.  

Laeria, for example, is of fair complexion with a smattering of freckles and has ringlets of blonde hair. Despite my on-chan joking, /my/ view is that Laeria is "fair." Not supermodel, not unattractive. Like Jemini, she's average for her society and era. However, people perceive them to be much, much more beautiful and comely than I feel they are. I chalk it up to their inner qualities and personalities shining through as something attractive to another, and not merely a physical "thing."

Another instance is with my Demarian (Humanoid Feline) on OtherSpace who is far from attractive in my mind, and far from attractive in what I believe Demarian culture would view. Her personality is too abrasive, crude and offensive. She's racist and sexist and hates anything of her society that isn't of Underclass. And yet... as Silver pointed out a few weeks ago when we were reminiscing... that there wasn't a male Demarian around that didn't have a crush on Razor at some point. Why? Because I think people have their own conceptions of who a character is, what they look like, and whether or not these qualities are eye-catching to their character.

And on the opposite side of the fence (although not female), Volindrim, my bisexual male Vollistan, was quite the romantic charmer and opportunist toward anyone willing to listen to him. An actor and secretary. I thought him to be quite handsome. Many thought so too. Yet, there were still others who found him not to be at all.

So, my neutral/average characters ended up meeting with more positive beauty feedback than I myself see. My non-pretty characters met with more positive beauty feedback that I thought possible. And my characters I assume to be above average aren't seen as such by everyone. It's interesting. All in the way you play, I suppose.

But truly, in the end, it all boils down to what people/players think and what their characters think. I leave that decision in their minds to make.

I hope that kind of touched on what you were curious about, Greenie.
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Old 08-06-2004, 01:09 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Greenstorm @ Aug. 05 2004,11:50)
I know it was meant somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it does raise a valid issue.  I often think that people who play conventionally pretty women, or highly sexual women, are often belittled as roleplayers.  Has anyone ever found themselves reacting to that situation by making less-pretty characters?
That is a very good question.  Myself, I have made characters both good and bad looking.  I find it very interesting the changes and lackthereof in the perceptions of my character.

First of all, when I am a less attractive character, I find a lot of people are still responding basically to my personality and the fact that I am female.  I've had characters described outright as homely, and still I get flowery compliments and presents, as long as I'm nice.  Call me cynical, but I think if they were really envisioning my character, that many people would not be so inclined to kindness towards strangers.

Secondly, when I make descriptions that are very sexy or good looking, I get a little more attention, yes, but I have noticed the "good" roleplayers tend to be cautious around me.  Basically most people assume that anyone who has a description like that is probably interested in c-sex (and probably a guy, I bet).  People who have been roleplaying a long time tend to look down upon characters who are too sexy in their descriptions.  I feel I have to prove myself as capable of RP to anyone who has a lot of credibility, because they are wont to assume otherwise.

- Theomanic
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Old 08-06-2004, 12:19 PM   #34
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From what I've noticed, it's definately the quality of the RP that matters more than the description.

The description, as said several times before by several people in several places (do I get a bonus for using the word several that many times?), is only a first impression. However, in text based envirorments, it can't be absolute as their are many people drawing different pictures of what the character looks like in their mind.

Anyway, I think this is why the actual RP has more weight than description in the attractiveness. The picture painted through RP says more about the author's intent than the description does. - Especially how it's discouraged to suggest attractiveness or whatever.

On another note, I don't think it's wrong to make characters that are attractive or whatnot, but I'll admit if I see an overly attractive character who I've never RPed with before, I'll be slightly suspicious. Especially having seen people (that were largely male, in my experience) that must mention their female character's breasts every other pose... but I have seen people whose description suggested attractiveness and been incredibly good. It's just like any other group, you have the good and the bad, I think there is an unwritten set of rules that require 'higher standards' for those who wish to play overly attractive characters though.
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Old 08-06-2004, 11:33 PM   #35
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Offtopic:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
You say, "You may be prettier than me, but I'm an elf. If I wait long enough, you'll go away."
That is the best quote.

On topic:

I think there's a ton of dramatic potential in, as the quote went, portraying someone who thinks they're beautiful and maybe isn't so much. I think it's also fantastic playing a very physically lovely character who's always depended on that attribute -- they tend to go through this slow, terrible realisation that it's not enough over the course of play.

I know I have an instinctive reaction to beautiful chars where I just pass over them, as people said -- I play with them, yes, but I don't expect anything special. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not missing something by doing so, some sort of humorous or ironic tint to the char, or something.
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Old 08-08-2004, 03:57 AM   #36
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I've finally been cleared to participate here!

My apologies for my response being kind of retrograde with the topic.

The majority of my alts have been female, in some ways I've patterned each to try out the Mother, Maiden, Crone aspects/characteristics. I've had one male alt, but he didn't work out well.

I think perhaps it wasn't so much that I couldn't play a male, but that his character was built solely to fill a craft need. Another player and I traded - he would create an alt who made things my main character needed and I'd do the same for him. My new alt worked fine on that level, but when in actual RP, he tended to be a bit stilted. I think if I had put more effort into his story, he would have been more fleshed out.

As far as the discussion so far about male/female stereotypes, I agree that actual in scene posing makes much more impact on me than a person's description. Whether a character is believable depends on the sincerity of the portrayal - a woman can play a ditzy female character, and I'd feel the same way about the player's skill as I would a man playing a ditzy female character. Miind you, ditzy is fun, but an insincere ditz isn't - they're just one dimensional.

Anyway, my two imps. Thanks to Greenie for keeping the thread going.
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