2005-03-15 : Cross-gender Play
1) I want to talk about playing cross-gender, if/why we do and what our reasons are. 2) Also, I want to talk about the gender make-up of our gaming groups.
I've numbered your questions for easy answering.
1) I play cross-gender because my characters are (all?) gendered and sometimes women. Not a helpful answer, I know!
How about this: during the setup process of a game, we create (or buy into) a setting, and we situate our characters in it. Gender is automatically a meaningful feature of a character - so choosing a gender is part of the initial situating. I sometimes play cross-gender because sometimes a woman will be more effectively situated in the setting, with regard to the issues I hope to take on.
In real life it's not analytical like that, I mean I don't sit down and weigh out issues and try to construct a situation backward from the issues I decide are most worthy. In real life it's an immediate and instinctive process. I experience it as a kind of taste and distaste, like I'm like, "problematic fathers? yummy!" or "bleah, not incest today, yuck." Following my sense of taste leads me to a character + turning point, sometimes a man sometimes a woman, very occasionally neither until I concentrate.
2) Group one: female female male. Group two: female female male female male. (All players listed alphabetically by first name.)
It may not come up in the conversation but I'd like to make sure everybody's got the vocabulary anyhow: "gender" is social, cultural; it's what people do. "Sex" is biological; it's what people have in their chromosomes. Gender terms include "woman," "man," "masculine" and "feminine," all referring to how people dress and act. "Male" and "female" are sex terms, referring to people's biology.
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