[MUD-Dev] The Price of Being Male

Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes kamikaze at kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu
Sun Jun 29 20:52:26 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

Sun, Jun 29, 2003 at 02:13:47PM -0700 in
<C12079793797A84CA92DF1A6805676F202800994 at e2k1.fullerton.edu>,
Castronova, Edward <ecastronova at Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU> spake:

> I've gotten a lot of mail from people saying, "Hey, men just like
> to be treated as men! That's not sexual discrimination." I agree
> with the premise 100 percent: the data show that men, in general
> and on average, would rather be treated as a man. True. Me
> too. When I played as a woman, I had slightly less fun than when I
> played as a man. But what I had to ask myself was: How can that
> not be evidence of systematically different treatment of women by
> men? And, if that is not sexual discrimination, what is?  I keep
> wondering, if the two avatars do the exact same things, why should
> anyone care what gender they are? Seems strange, unless being a
> man in a female role is not as fun (for the average male). The
> data confirm that: by their purchasing behavior, the men of EQ
> reveal that on average they would rather be a man in a man-suit
> than a man in a woman-suit.

> I suppose everyone thinks its normal and OK that being a man in a
> woman-suit is something that the average man is uncomfortable
> with. I kind of think that's a problem.

I don't see how that's a problem.  I'm honestly a little disturbed
that you can characterize it as a problem.

MUDs/MMORPGs are social.  How you present yourself is an important
part of your social interactions; your appearance and first
impressions are just as important online as in the "real world".  If
you give people the ability to choose their own avatars, they will
take great care to pick one they like and that shows the impression
they want; if you let them customize them, they will, even when
there's no game effect.  It's exactly the same as people grooming
and dressing for effect in "real life".

Most men don't want to appear female, simply because that's not what
they are or care to be viewed as.  And that really is normal and OK;
not everyone is an androgynous bisexual transvestite.  A few people
like experimenting with other genders or sexualities online, but
most do not.  Over 99% of Homo sapiens are happy with the gender
they were born with (this can easily be shown by the relative ease
of getting sex-change surgery or just dressing up as the opposite
gender, and the very small number of people who do so), and if they
experiment at all, will only do so briefly.  Buying a
different-gender avatar to experiment briefly is a waste of money.

So if the playerbase is mostly male, male avatars will obviously be
more popular.  If the playerbase was mostly female (want to try that
research on There?), female avatars would be more popular, and you'd
be wondering why males were being discriminated against.

> Anyway, when I conceived of the paper, I thought it was going to
> show how body-switching made the sexes equal in treatment.

Humans are a sexually active species, and sexuality is the primary
element of our psychology.  Nothing will ever make gender irrelevant
as long as that's true.

 <a href="http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/">Mark Hughes</a>
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