I’m so Proud of You, Dudes Who Play Female Avatars: A Think Piece

Seriously, give yourselves a whole bunch of pats on the back from me.

I never tire of reading paragraphs-long essays about your decision to always play female avatars, so thank you so much for continuing to write them. My dream is for there to be an essay about a guy playing a woman posted at every major gaming outlet. And hey, I can’t write them, can I? Not just because women don’t make good games journos, either. I literally will never be a man playing a female avatar. That’s my cross to bear.

I loved the passage where you explained how you spent hours making your female avatar hot so you’d have something nice to look at while you spend all that time in-game. I mean, to take time out of your essay about what a great feminist ally you are to reveal you’re still really into sexually objectifying women? How honest. How brave.

The part where you talk about if you have to stare at a butt the whole time, it might as well be a lady-butt was so funny and charming, too. You seem really real.

I’ve been playing male avatars since I started gaming as a wee little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but that’s because I literally didn’t have any choice. You? You don’t even have to play as a woman, and you do it anyway!

Is it dusty in here, or am I just incredibly moved?

I also really like when I’m talking to you IRL and I mention that sometimes it seems silly for certain games to not even give players the option of playing a female character, especially when the protagonist is silent, and you make sure to mention that you always play a female character when given the choice before explaining to me that the developers can tell whatever story they want, and I need to vote with my dollars, and why don’t I make my own game if I’m so bent out of shape about it. It lets me know you’re one of the good ones, you know?

And since I know you’re one of the good ones, I don’t actually mind when you stop listening as I talk about how I’ve actively boycotted several games that don’t include playable women, I’m about halfway through designing my own game, and anyway I’m pretty sure it’s okay to engage critically with any art, games being no exception.

I know you’re really busy saving the games industry from sexism with your avatar choices, and plus you’ve got to copyedit that piece you’ve been working on explaining how you always play female characters!

I can’t wait to read it.

10 thoughts on “I’m so Proud of You, Dudes Who Play Female Avatars: A Think Piece

  1. “I literally will never be a man playing a female avatar.”

    There are operations, Sara. Where’s the dedication?

    I’m not going to pretend lady butts hold no allure for me, but I really like playing female characters because A) there aren’t enough of them, B) swapped gender roles is awesomeness, C) I’m a dude all the time irl and it gets boring, D) having a woman be the most badass thing in the universe is freakin’ cool, and E) it pisses people off.

    Oh, and the staring at butts thing is a bro-speak ritual. One bro tells another bro he’s weird for playing as a girl, and the other bro ever so subtly questions the first bro’s sexuality by implying he likes looking at dude butts. It’s not high-level philosophical discourse nor new heights of comedy, but it serves its purpose in the bizarre and nonsensical world of interpersonal communication. It’s meant to make people laugh, but I don’t know that there’s a single documented case of laughter stemming from that exchange.I’m going to try to laugh at it right now…

      1. I disagree. “Phobia” suggests fear or at least dislike and neither was implied there, but I apologize for the misunderstanding. Would you prefer every mere suggestion of the existence of gender reassignment to have a “not that there’s anything wrong with that” attached? I’d think light-hearted acknowledgment would be preferable to pretending transgenderism doesn’t exist out of fear of offending someone, especially if representation and visibility is an issue for the community.

        1. “‘I literally will never be a man playing a female avatar.’

          There are operations, Sara. Where’s the dedication?”

          1. Being trans isn’t a whim.

          2. Surgery does not change someone’s gender. I am a woman regardless of my “male” body, before and after I get surgery.

          3. Being the butt of jokes is the most common form of representation and visibility we get. We don’t have to be grateful for that.

          4. An ignorant joke can be and is as harmful as a deliberately malicious joke, especially on a subject that most people are entirely ignorant about.

          1. Again, sorry for the misunderstanding. The joke was based on the assertion that Ms. Clemens could not become a man. In spirit, this may be true, but medically it’s referred to as “gender reassignment surgery” which suggests that we’re using biology for gender definition, so let’s go with that if for no other reason than speaking the same language facilitates communication and the other way of thinking means I have to ask every single person I meet if they are male or female since using physical appearance as a gender identifier is a hate crime, and that’s just awkward.

            I didn’t imply transgenderism was a whim, hence the use of the word “dedication” suggesting that if Sara REALLY wanted to experience the wild, wild, wonderful world of gaming with a different set of reproductive organs, it’s possible. I wasn’t planning on winning Last Comic Standing or anything, but if you’ve got evidence or data that suggests a clumsy attempt at humor has led to negativity comparable to oh, say the prevalence of “Boyz R Dumb, lol” flavored blog posts, I’d be interested in seeing it.

          2. No, it’s more commonly referred to as sexual reassignment surgery or gender affirmation surgery more recently. Neither of which support your assertion. Also, painting “the other way of thinking” as concluding in you being charged with a hate crime is obnoxious and disgusting. Transpeople have had quite enough of people claiming PC POLICE OPPRESSION in order to justify maintaining a culture of ignorance and subsequently a culture of transphobic oppression.

            Dedication means nothing given she isn’t a man. All the surgery in the world wouldn’t change that. And I don’t care if it was clumsy humor or straight up maliciousness, it all ends up the same. People defend the culture of ignorance around transgender people as if it doesn’t perpetuate a violently harmful status quo.

          3. “Dedication means nothing given she isn’t a man. ”


            ‘Kay, I’ll try and do better in the future. No joke. I’d just like to point out that you are misreading a loooot of things here and doing things like saying my use of a blatant hyperbole like “hate crime” is “obnoxious and disgusting” followed up by similar hyperbole like “violently harmful status quo” (which one would assume is characterized by said hate crimes) sends mixed messages on just what you expect.

            Putting transgender individuals aside from the rest of humanity as if they are aliens made of extra-breakable glass or endangered species and not just other people worthy of the same level of respect, love, and acceptance (not that there’s a ton of that going around anyway) as everyone else kind of defeats the purpose of defeating this status quo, but hey, it’s your world. If you’d rather I pretend such people and the surgeries that were created for them don’t exist in normal conversation, I can try. But for the record, I’m a normalization advocate, meaning when people can talk about transgenderism normally like it’s as much a fact of life as cisgenderism and heterosexuality then we’ve won. Thanks for your point of view, Savannah. I genuinely appreciate it.