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Cross-Gender Play, or Walk a Mile in My Stiletoes

Started by M. J. Young, October 16, 2003, 04:30:39 AM

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Mark Johnson

Quote from: M. J. YoungPerhaps this is a telling thought: for those of you who have observed cross-gender play, do you find more convincing portrayals by those playing your gender or by those playing opposite your gender?

I have tended to find that female portrayals of males have tended to be more convincing, however most of the females that I have gamed with came to gaming as an extension of acting and improv.  They tended to be performers (dancers, singers) with an artistic background.  They prefered games with an emphasis on immerseive actor stance.  Most of the males came to gaming via, er, games.

I found an interesting article on cross-gender online play here.


Quote from: Mike HolmesI think that a lot of fear of homosexuality and other factors are part of what makes "getting into" portraying the opposite sex. I know I feel vaguely icky when I play a girl coming onto a guy. "Not that there's anything wrong with that," as Sinefeld would say.

I am going to both agree and disagree with that statement.  I think that Exploration is hampered by the mis-understanding of homosexuality and sexuality in general.  However, I think it is more the assumption of sexuality with regard to gender roles that causes a great deal of issues.

When six males sit down to play an RPG and all make male characters, except in juvenile jest, there is no sexual interaction between them.  Sex is usually a tertiary aspect of the game and is akin to buying a new horse.

Adding a female player or character changes the dynamic somehow even though it should not.  Now that there are two different Genders, we assume that something sexual hangs in the air.  Thats the Icky feeling when your Elven hottie comes onto the dwarven beffcake.  Well why DOES there have to be sexuality involved at all?

Believe me I am no puritan when it comes to sex, just ask my gaming group.  I suppose what I am saying is that exploring Gender roles often times carries with it the assumption of sexuality.  This is where people are getting hung up.

Also I think that the idea of Androgeny or Cross-Gender / Transgender still disturbs people of all walks of life, even today.  The concept in my experience throws people off.  I had a friend who is Transgendered (MtF) and said to me one day "Hey try playing a guy in a dress in one of your games."

The oppurtunity came at a con when I was playing Delta Files, a local gaming organizations Delta Green/Call of Cthulua crossover.  I played a vagabond indivual who was a desperate transgendered person, pre-ops but wanted desperately to be a woman.  Well it was one of the best role playing experiences of my life, when I would scream "My name is Vivian!" when they would say Mr or Victor.  I think the other players had a good time and I know the GM did.

Certianly YMMV when it comes to gender and role playing.  Some feel more comfortable going further into gender exploration then others.  

As an aside I just wanted to say Emily's post was quite intense to read and very well thought out.