Friday, October 11, 2013


I saw this article on Massively today that totally intrigued me. It was about a study that was conducted that suggests that gamers take on aspects of the personalities of their game characters. Sheesh. That was a mouthful. Anyway, I saw another similar mention of this...somewhere. I don't remember where. It was more along the lines of certain people gravitating towards Horde while other gravitate towards Alliance (it being WoW specific). I would dismiss this all out of hand as being craycray, but Stanford conducted the aforementioned study and you can't ignore Stanford, right?

The study found that basically, women who represent themselves in a gaming world in provocative clothing see themselves more as objects versus women who don't. I suppose that this study would have to apply to role playing because I, for one, have both Alliance and Horde toons, one of which is male, and they all wear a variety of gear and I don't role play at all. I've never thought of myself as a sexy gnome rogue. Right?

The study goes on to talk about how only 45% of gamers are female and that "many" feel the gaming world is not welcoming to female gamers. I don't feel that I can speak to this from experience. I've never felt unwelcome in any game environment based solely on being a girl gamer. I've dealt with male/female stereotypes plenty. I even got a little bent out of shape on Goolge+ the other day when someone intimated that all women like the Lifetime network, which I hate, by the way. I've also been annoyed PLENTY in game by idiots that follow me around and constantly drop duel flags on me or by 12 year olds who talk politics in trade chat like they actually know what they're talking about. But my many annoyances have never been gender-based. 

A direct quote from the article says, "It used to be passive and you watched the characters. You now enter the media and become the protagonist. You become the characters." I just don't know if fully I agree with this. I also would like to know, of these people, how many of them also have gaming compulsions? It just seems to me that someone who has a hard time separating their real life selves from their game avatar would also have a gaming compulsion. Just a thought.

What's your opinion on this article? If you're a girl, have you experienced sexual stereotyping while playing an online game?


  1. In my early blogging career I remember getting into an argument in my blog comments with the author of an academic article that I had used for the basis of a blog post - it was a popular topic at the time something to do with avatar representation and peoples self esteem online (as in stating they had better esteem and body image for their online avatars then for themselves.) I'd quoted the article and the author had obviously been googling their citation counts, they really hadn't like my take on their research or my interpretation. Which was that it was all a bunch of hooey - because really world of warcraft has the worst (worst!) character model engine in the industry at the time... i mean you could only pick about 4-5 options for any one thing hair/face etc and really it was more like getting pre-packaged toons then crafting an avatar. Not being gamers the article authors hadn't known the sorts of question I felt you needed to ask a warcraft player to find out where/if their esteem was invested in the game online - achievements, virtual money, virtual possessions and gear, raid progression, guild responsibility, online social friends... and I felt they had focused completely on look of the avatar and role-played character in comparison to the real life situation - no look at gaming compulsion issues or the persons mental state RL either.... thus the research felt really shallow to a peep from on the inside ... and I guess I didn't think an academic would take one bloggers opinion so seriously they would evangelize on the gamers blog O_o I was too new to blogging and it scared the pants off me. At the time all I could think is - "no no I don't agree" and I responded off the cuff after a 5min read - perhaps I would have a different opinion these days :P []

    1. I've always been of the opinion that someone with an addiction and/or compulsion is susceptible to having an addiction and/or compulsion because their personality is built that way. Meaning, that if someone didn't have the gaming addiction/compulsion, then it would be something else. Especially if games are compensating for some lack in their life. If they weren't gaming, maybe they'd be gambling, or drinking, or cutting. Whatever. I am, by no means, qualified to make this determination, I just speak from life experiences and aqcuantances I've had over the years. Also, I tried following that URL you left in your comment and keep getting a "not found" message. I would really love to read your post if you have the time to point me in the right direction. This is a subject that I'm always interested in reading more about. And if an "academic" got so bent out of shape over your opinions, they must not be very secure in their research, lol. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  2. That's the addiction cycle Drugs > can be switched for alcohol > can be switched for AAA > can be switched for religion > can be switched back to drugs and alcohol when religion fails. There's always something with an addict... because addictions just a symptom not the problem. Lol linked you in the comments, pffft but a disclaimer the academic coming to have academic debate on my happy express yourself gamer blog resulted in me being defensive, showing teeth with bad spelling and snark and not handling it well :) (even though I discovered it weeks after it had been posted if I recall.) I should have hum fostered some friendly (if mutually patronizing) intellectual debate or something.


You've come this far...