Alex Pham author of "Boy You Fight Like a Girl" investigates the every growing world of online gaming and how gender affects both worlds. The "fastest-growing segment of the computer game market"(155) adventure gaming has hundreds of thousands of players that average twenty hours of play a week and thousands of them are playing as characters of the opposite sex.
Pham first introduces a character known as Cardinal, a woman avatar played by a man, Kenn Gold. Gold, a former army sergeant, chose a female avatar for tactical purposes, but was completely surprised by the way he was treated as a woman. He noted the pick up lines and unfortunate attempts at being "sophisticated and cool."(155) Pham elaborates on how men playing as women feel as though they can be more talkative and less crude and women playing as men have the ability to be more aggressive and avoid the annoying pick up lines they endure in everyday life.
Playing the game as the opposite sex can open you up to the difficulties of being that sex. When a female avatar needs something the men avatars will often be right there to help, but most often with out expecting something in return. Relph Koster, a player who uses an avatar of the opposite sex says, "if you're a female character, just something as innocent as smiling might get read wrong."(156) In the adventure gaming realm, how you are perceived is everything, men would throw anything at a woman to get what they want.
The Internet has such an affect on how people act because of it's since of safety. When no one knows what you look like or what you do for a living, how can they say you aren't a certain way. The since of freedom with anonymity makes people more brave and wiling to take chances. Which is why many players have multiple avatars, so they can use the one that most feels like them that day. Rick Hall explained this when he said, "If you're the type of guy who wouldn't approach a girl in real life, you can do it online. And if you get shot down who cares."
In these games they can also expand to find groups of people that enjoy the same things as them, things that are not always acceptable in face-to-face society. In a culture where we base how we act and what we say on whom we perceive we're talking to, some people use this setting to get away from that to become who they want. But as a result of this gamers find themselves spending great deals of time figuring out whom they are truly playing with or talking to.
Pham finishes with a quote by Koster stating, "There's this notion that the Internet will give us this utopia where gender, age and race don't matter. The idea that we'll all just be disembodied floating lights just ain't gonna happen." Which puts perspective to the entire article, that the internet is used for some people to get away from the social norms and spend some time fantasizing who they wish they were.