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Survey Basics



Game Dynamics

Gender Dynamics

Character Gender



Guess Gender?

Dynamics Difference

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Gender Dynamics Results

This survey focused on gender dynamics within the game – how it feels to be male or female in EQ, and what the advantages and disadvantages of being either are. Of 352 total responses, 293 (83%) were male, while 56 (16%) were female. The respondents to this survey were more representative of players who gender-bend than players in general.


Character of Opposite Gender (Back to Top)

Do you have any characters of the opposite gender?


Of 293 male respones,

165 have female characters (56%)

Of 56 female responses,

19 have male characters (33%)


Of 56 female responses,

4 had more than one male character (7%)

Of a sample of 56 male responses,

7 had more than one female character (13%)


Reasons for Gender-Bending (Back to Top)

If you have characters of the opposite gender, why did you create these characters?


1)    Appearance


Honestly?  Because I thought male Wood Elves look better in plate. [f]


I like that she looks weak, but is actually strong and powerful. [m]


She looked coolier, or maybe cuter. There wasn't a real reason, I just felt like it. [m]


2)    Change


All my other characters are female as am I.  I wanted a change of pace. [f]


I wanted a male character....thats just it. I had 5 girls, time to try a boy. [f]


Its suppost to be a fantasy world, and your suppost to play somthing opposite of what you are in RL.. not saying you have to but play somthing differnt, be outgoing if you shy, play a mean char if you nice, visa-versa... Do somthing different.. [m]


3)    Gender Bias


I made her on Rallos Zek and since i have no ways of twinking on a diffrent server I figured that some ideots would be nicer if i was a girl and give me money and stuff. They did. [m]


I have found that higher level characters, bieng predominantly male give assistance and items to these scantily clad attractive characters. [m]


20 out of 165 (12%) males who role-play females cite this gender bias

1 out of 19 (5%) females who role-play males cite this gender bias.


4)    Role-Playing


to roleplay as the daughter of my main character [m]


Roleplaying purposes, many of these correspond to characters that I have in various books that I have written/am in the process of writing.  I play them, and in so doing get more of a feel as to how they may perceive the world, and alloe me to add more depth to my writings.    Also, occasionally other things apply:  Female Ogres are RARE.  made her for the shock value  My Fiancee got tired of getting hit on in EQ, but we still wanted to play as a couple, so we both gender-swapped, with her playing a male, and me playing the female... helps cut down on jealousy as well [m]


I wanted to try my hand at a magic-using class, after several weeks of playing a warrior. Initially, I chose to make him male simply for aesthetic reasons - I may be the only person ever to think that female wood elves look funny - but after I started actively playing as Wyfkin, I was impressed by what seemed to be his natural personality. He sort of took on a life of his own as a kind but mischievous fellow, the type to be very courteous to the face of a lady but coarse as a sewer rat the minute she is out of earshot. I really, really enjoy RP-ing him. [f]


Gender-Bending Experience (Back to Top)

If you have had characters of the opposite gender, can you tell us anything about how it was like role-playing them in EQ?


1)    Male Responses

a.     Gender Bias


I would act flirty when asking for money or items, then leave. [m]


Male players and male characters tend to be overly generous towards female characters, and sometimes even a little protective. It is important to try and ~think~ like the other gender, which is sometimes quite difficult, but the challenge is part of the reasons for the choice [m]


woman get hooked up.. everyone is much nicer to you.. i got more free gear and buffs, sows, etc than any of my male characters [m]


b.     Flirting / Harassment


Too many young boys try to hit on you.  They get all bent out of shape if they figure out that you're a guy playing a female character.  Probably good to stretch their minds but mostly its irritating.  many guys seem to find the concept threatening to their masculinity somehow. [m]


Mmm, well they seem to get more attention - sadly, lots of people would ask OOC stuff very quickly after meeting them. [m]


I'd imagine it would be fun laughing at the suckers trying to pick you up [m]


2)    Female Responses

a.     Hard to Role-play


It's hard to role play a guy...I try to be more aggressive with him, try to sound like a guy when he talks....but I still have a problem with the fact I cant go around hugging and kissing cheeks like I do with my others hehehe [f]


Hmmm.  I found that I had to remind myself that the character was male.    Didn't really make that much difference, though. [f]


It was very hard.  I only got him up to lvl 6.  Plus, my friends just found it wierd to play with me as a male.  I was actually pressured to go back and recreate the char as female. [f]


b.     No Big Deal


*shrug* Not much to really say, it's not a big deal for me.  In online roleplaying games, I have frequently played male characters.  Not for any strange thrill or anything, but just to play a part.  I guess I look at roleplaying like acting: remember, back in Shakespeare's day, ALL characters, male or female, were played by men. :) [f]


It's not that different from having a character that's the same gender...but then, I've been role-playing for such a long time, it comes easy to me. [f]


Guess Gender? (Back to Top)

Do you think you could tell the real life gender of the person whose characters you meet in EQ? Why?


Of 293 men, 62 (21%) don't think they could tell the real gender.

Of 56 women, 14 (25%) don't think they could tell the real gender.


Gender Dynamics Differences (Back to Top)

Are male and female characters treated differently in EQ?

Are there advantages in being female in EQ?

Are there disadvantages in being female in EQ?


1)    Advantages

a.     Treated Better


Yes because females get more attention and are treated better. [m]


Absolutely.  This is why my husband and I both favor the female characters.  They are treated much better.  Males will do anything to save your life, help you out with buffs etc., and you are much more likely to getr better prices at auctions. [f]


Yes!  Females are often treated better.  Especially lower level female characters. [m]


A female is more likely to get what she wants and male characters are  more generous when they deal with females. [m]


b.     Freebies


I have gotten more assistance as a female, both in the form of help when in trouble, and gifts of items/money. [m]


Yup. Free stuff from lonely male players. [m]


Yes, in my experience female characters  recieve many items from males. [f]


people are nicer to you and the males give you more items [f]


2)    Disadvantages

a.     Flirts / Harassment


Yeah - you get stalked by lonely male players. [m]


you can get harased by other players because all the females are so scantaly clad. [f]


Yes, i recently grouped with a character who in real life was a 13 year old boy.  He totally followed me around and wouldnt leave me alone for weeks.  He wanted me to be his partner and not group with others, got very jealous when i did gruop with others.  I even told him that in real life I was 33 and married with a child.  Evenutally i ignored him enough that he got bored with me.  I think this is an age thing more than a male/female thing though. [f]


b.     Less Respect


i think so.  I am a Paladin.  When the team leaders suggest i stay back and heal while a lower level paladin male with lesser equipment tanks.... it makes want to me a male character. [f]


Yes.  I think that EQ allows for the age-old protective instinct of men to be exemplified. Even my little female warrior is 'watched over' more then she needs to be, in my opinion. LOL. And sometimes, being a female warrior, she is not always viewed as being as effiecient as the males.  [f]


c.      Perceived as Weak

I think if your female your thought of as being weak. But that wasn't the case when I was playing my gnome, Psycana. I think the reason is farely obvious. Just look at the character models :) [m]


Yes, but they are a bit more subtle, people tend to always elevate you, but treat you as inferior, constantly asking if you need help, buffs ect ect. I only played to level 13 as a female character, but even at that low of a level, it was quite getting on my nerves. [m]


yes, getting treated like a pansy who can't plan an attack, pull, lead, scout and gather info or take risks. [f]


If anything, there may be a perception that female characters are not as strong or valuable in a party environment.  [f]


Male Advantages and Disadvantages (Back to Top)

Are there advantages or disadvantages in being male in EQ?


1)    Advantages

a.     Dominance

Of course. Males are often stereotyped as being dumb, brawny and rude.  They aren't given things freely. On the other hand, they can be useful  in groups. Many males have made terrific names for themselves by organizing  quests, wars, and the like, such as Eldrad the General on Tarew Marr. They  automatically start being percieved by others as dominant until they mess  that up by being stupid, but not all males do that so are blessed with   popularity and authority. [f]


Advantages to a male in EQ are you are automatically thought the leader if you are in a group of women, you will automatically be deferred to. Disadvantages is that you aggro other players easily because of the testosterone tests and challenges of will power. [f]


b.     Respect

Disadvantages and Advantages, yes. There are more male characters, and are not treated the same as their female counterparts. They are not given free items, or great discounts... But they also seem to be more valued in party environments. [f]


males are more respected in general I think [f]


c.      Camaraderie


The only advantage I have seen is being included in the 'male club'.  When I play my male char, I get the virtual 'slap on the back' by fellow male chars that female chars don't get.  This is conveyed through language ( [f]


2)    Disadvantages

a.     Get Less Freebies


Males aren't twinked as often. [m]


less freebies [f]


Gender Dynamics Discussion   (Back to Top)

In and of itself, it is only minimally interesting that gender stereotypes carry into the game from real life. What makes this finding almost amusingly disturbing is that almost half of the female characters in the game are being played by male players, and that many of these gender-biased interactions are occurring between male players. Female characters are treated better, given more assistance and free gifts, but are perceived as weaker, less respected and often are victims of unwanted flirtations and harassment. An important factor here is not only gender of character, but how attractive the female character is. Elven females tend to be treated much better than say Ogre or Troll females. But one male respondent’s experience with playing an Ogress is worth quoting:


getting hit upon constantly (not as much problem with the ogress, though it still happens occasionally, and not just by Role-playing Ogres, either.  I have been hit on as Koogla by everything from Ogres to High-elves, most with the assumption that since I am playing a female, and it's not much to look at, that I must be female in RL, since a guy wouldn't want to look at something unattractive constantly.)  I don't understand the logic behind this, but it seems to be true. Some players also treat the women as if they have no grasp of how to play, or of tactics and strategy


This respondent points out that it is not the female character that is getting the attention, but rather the assumption that a female player is behind the persona. Part of this assumption lies in falsely believing that “you're a girl in real life.”. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.


One thing we would like to know is whether playing a character of one gender or the other affects a player’s gaming style. Because in-game gender dynamics are so powerful, I am tempted to predict that men who play female characters tend to be less goal-driven and more communicative than if they played male characters. One quantifiable measure of goal-driveness would be the ratio of level of character versus time spent playing a character. I would hypothesize that for any given level, female characters played by men have on average more playtime spent on them than for male characters played by men.


There is also this persistent idea that EQ allows for experimenting with gender, especially for men because our culture frowns heavily on that kind of behavior. Of all the respondents to this survey, 56% of male players and only 33% of female players have a character of the opposite gender. As one 15 year-old male respondent reported:


It was a blast.  I could express myself in a way that I couldn't before, it was a very special experience.  Unfort., I got into several relationships with males, which was odd, cybersex and all as a female.  So I turned lesbian in the game, and that sort of fixed it.  I am completely heterosexual, I have proven that time and time again, but for some reason I could be with a male and have feelings I could never have normally in life...


In fact, these experiences were so powerful that the same respondent goes on to tell us in a later question that:


You begin to lose a sense of gender identity.  I stop for moments now, and have to think hard about what gender I am.  It can be hard, and I'm not sure if the benefits of being able to express myself like this outweigh the hardships.

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