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So, All These Male Gamers Who Choose to Play With Female Avatars...

It seems to be a common trend: Male gamers often like to assume the role of a female in video games. ...but why?

From a behavioral and psychological perspective, I've always found this to be a fascinating occurrence.

I first started to notice it many years ago, back when MMORPGs like EverQuest were just beginning to get a foothold in the world of gaming. Several of my friends always opted to play as females, especially female magic users. When I asked why, I never got a direct answer. Usually, they'd just shrug and say, "I dunno."

As MMOs and the freedom of character customization has become common in gaming today, the phenomenon has continued. In fact, I think it's becoming even more prevalent: Males playing as female avatars. Interestingly enough, I'm not quite sure the reverse is true; i.e., I don't know if as many female gamers are playing as male characters.

Either way, it's interesting, isn't it?

What, can't get a girl in real life?

That's a poor retort and these days, it's not anywhere near as realistic as it once was. However, as insulting as it is - and I would never say this to someone - I wonder if it doesn't have a kernel of truth...

In my experience, it is true that men who play as females in video games aren't exactly the biggest "ladies men" in the world. In fact, I daresay that the less luck they have with the fairer sex in reality, the more likely they are to choose a female character in a game. This goes double if they can select a scantily clad mage of some sort. It seems these guys don't want to play as brawny female warriors (perhaps for obvious reasons) and hence, it all makes sense.

And, perhaps on an even darker level, it gives these men a chance to control a woman. In real life, they feel as if they're at a woman's mercy, that they can't make a connection. Therefore, as part of their entertainment and relaxation, they turn the tables and give themselves a chance to fully control a sexy, powerful female.

See, I knew my psychology degree would come in handy someday.

Man, these people can be awfully touchy about it...

The more you ask a guy gamer why he plays as a female character, the more pissed he gets. Have you noticed this? It makes me think I'm onto something; that it has its roots in a deeper psychological quandary. Many don't even want to admit they're playing as a female and if they do, they come up with some bizarre reason: "Oh, my girlfriend wanted to see what a woman magic user looks like in the game." I've heard that one before, too. My response: "...mm-hm."

For the record, I really don't care that men do this. It's fantasy so do whatever you want. You're not hurting anyone. That being said, if there are deeper issues behind this, perhaps it's worth looking into from a scientific and research standpoint. I'd also like to know why it seems that women are more likely to simply play as a female character. Women selecting male avatars doesn't appear to be anywhere near as common, does it?

Again, this is entertainment. Do whatever you want. My questions are merely curious; they're not designed to be offensive. I often wonder about the reasons behind such phenomena, so I tend to ask questions.

Is that wrong?

Published May. 6th 2014
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