Dwarf acts like a lady: The importance of gender roles in understanding gender switching and player behavior
AbstractAs players craft and enact embodiment in digital games, the relationship between social interaction and gender (male/female) versus gender-role identity (masculinity/femininity) remains unclear. This paper examines differences in chat, avatar movement, and avatar appearance among male players who played male and female avatars. Initial analysis reveals that gender-based playstyles are distinct from gender role-based playstyles. Most importantly, men playing female avatars retain patterns typical of male players; however they depart from patterns typical of high-masculinity players. Specifically, gender-switching males tended to reject masculine behaviors in favor of flirting, using more punctuation, and deferring physical leadership. We interpret this to mean that male gender-switchers do not shed male behaviors and, instead of performing normatively feminine behaviors, work to counteract masculine behaviors – they try to act “not-masculine.” These findings have implications for gameplay scholarship where offline gender is unknown and for integrating gender roles as key to studying gender in games.
How to Cite
Martey, R. M., Stromer-Galley, J., Banks, J., Wu, J., Consalvo, M., & Castillo, D. (2013). Dwarf acts like a lady: The importance of gender roles in understanding gender switching and player behavior. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 3. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v3i0.8565