On not playing a woman…

Ahhh, another one of those posts I’ve been thinking about writing for ages but never getting around to only then to decide to start at the exact same time as everyone else on the interwebz 🙂 This time it was the excellent rambling joyful mess of Too Long Didn’t Listen* who discussed the issue of playing across genders that fired me up and finally made me put finger to keyboard.

I’ve said before how I never play women in games, unless that is the default option such as in Portal or Mirror’s Edge and how this isn’t because I dislike playing women, more that I feel more comfortable playing a man. Well the upcoming release of Guild Wars 2 and my desire to play a Sylvari is making me have second thoughts and this has caused me to look at why I don’t normally play lasses and why a leafy elf should make me consider doing so.

So why don’t I play a lass? Is it a loss of my natural studliness? An inability to connect to being a lass? A fear of being hit on by horny basement dwellers intent of some one hand typing fun? Well all of those and none if my honest answer. Especially the latter which never happens & a quick “I’m a fella, fella…” would deal with.

Well, for starters I don’t feel ‘right’ in a woman character. Maybe I didn’t mind in Portal & ME because they were both shown from the first person perspective and so I never actually saw myself as a woman, but in an MMO where I see myself from behind I just don’t like seeing myself as a sexy lady warrior with a lovely bum. I find it very hard to separate the sexy from the sex, so to speak. Women in most games, as in most media, are depicted deliberately as gorgeous and I am a red blooded male which means I like to see at gorgeous lasses. But when I’m battling orcs, I don’t want a lovely wee bottom putting me off, yet I seem incapable of stopping my inner voice saying “phwoar, what a lovely arse you have there, eh?” to itself. Frankly I find it less distracting if I stick to a fella and let my subconscious go back to sleep where is can daydream in peace about Miranda Kerr in nowt but Jimmy Choos.

But what about your roleplay? your stories? long time readers might ask. Well, I can only say that here I fall down as a roleplayer, it is as simple as that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say *all* the characters I’ve created are Mary Sues, but some of them obviously are to a greater or lesser extent. Where I feel I broke away from this was with Dr Beck and his girlfriend, but the rest of the time I’m been Mary Sueing it**, and this includes my time in LOTRO. Maybe one day I would like to write a story from a female POV, but as I’ve hardly written a thing for a year let’s assume it’s not top of my list, eh?

So the bottom line (no pun intended) is that I play a male character I can not only identify with, but can also project some desired aspect of my internal fantasy life on to. Conversely I don’t play a woman because I’m not interested in roleplaying from a female point of view and I find myself daydreaming about what she’d look like in a bikini instead of concentrating on hitting orcs.

Well done me, I’m a vain caveman. Wonderful.

* They also link to an article on the brilliant Mary Sue blog.

** Which I don’t mind as I wrote them for my amusement.


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