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Games & gender

It’s been there for some times, but you should still go and read it if you’re even just a little bit interested in videogames (and if you’re not, it’s a good opportunity to see that it’s an arena where intelligent and articulated thinking is possible): this text on the Game Girl Advance website focus on gender in videogames. Here’s a short extract to give you an idea (I’m in the middle of the great Xenogenesis series by Octavia Butler, and, yes, there is a relation). The whole text is there.

“I would like to see more experimentation with genderless or gender-ambivalent characters in this area. In MUDs and MOOs, one can often create a third sex and invent a pronoun and refer to oneself always with that pronoun (and insist others do that same). In these science-fiction and fantasy-themed online worlds, it’s perfectly plausible that ungendered, ambiguously gendered, or bi-gendered races could exist. That would add a new dimension to gender play, one which I’d really like to explore. Some women have said that they feel uncomfortable playing as female in certain virtual worlds – I haven’t personally been insulted or offended as a female avatar, but I have certainly had some unwanted attention directed my way. And yet I feel not quite right playing as a male character, either. A third gender – or a third choice, whether gendered or not – might be an alternative, a way to explore sexual anonymity. I wonder if players would feel too uncomfortable? But the domain of games is unbounded by physical realities, including biology; why not take advantage of this?”

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