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How to Spot a Gender Faker

Today, new MMORPG.com Staff Writer AJ Glasser writes her first piece for us. In MMOs, women are often given special treatment by their male counterparts in-game. Problem is, that pretty elf maiden you're "just trying to help out" could really be an elf lord in disguise. AJ gives us some pointers on how to spot a faker.

How to Spot a Gender Faker
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Who says chivalry is dead?

A girl has got it made in MMOs. Gear, gold, XP; you name it, and a girl can get it either by asking (pretty please) or by doing raids with the right kind of suckers (er, guys). From helping a girl out in a hard dungeon or handing over some gold when she was short for that new Longsword, men do all kinds of favors for women either in the name of good gamer-ship or out of pity for a gamer girl who doesn't seem to know the ropes. Alas, the condescending generosity is often misplaced - that damsel in distress that men are always out to rescue is probably a guy in disguise.

According to a Reuters article published in July of 2006, nearly 60 percent of guys in MMOs will use female avatars to add an edge to their gameplay rather than out of some closet obsession with gender-bending. Going as a girl is a good PvP tactic; a nice pixilated rack will distract some people, and there's a bent appeal in letting people think they've been owned by a girl. And no one can deny that the inherent sexism of MMOs breeds pity for girl gamers - and pity breeds freebies all around. There are other reasons that a guy will take up a female avatar, of course. When you're locked into a serious gaming frenzy of say 40+ hours a week, it's more entertaining for men to focus on a feminine backside swaying from side to side - and most female character models are more aesthetically pleasing than their male counterparts.

Take, for example, the case of Donnie. Donnie usually plays a burly male avatar named Cap on a PvP server. When creating a new character for the PvE server, Donnie decided to make a cute female avatar named Persephone. Immediately, he noticed a change. "There were catcalls and stuff, and people would always come up and try to dance with [her]." Donnie was also offered many a freebie, though "nothing really awesome."

While Donnie didn't have a problem with any of this, fellow female gamer Christie took exception. "My guy was sitting over there getting absolutely no love," she says. "People were [grinding] Persephone and trying to chat with Donnie, thinking he was a girl. They just ignored [my male avatar]."

But whether guys go as girls in MMOs for fun or for profit, it's easy to be fooled. If you're the type of guy who likes to help a girl out, or is trying to court an online romance that ends in marriage (that can happen in EverQuest, Final Fantasy XI, or Ultima Online), read on to find a few ways to feel out fakers - and save yourself from getting scammed by a cross-dresser.

8. Too much pink

Pink can be a dead giveaway girly color. Someone who wears exclusively pink, however, is trying way too hard to be girly. If the armor is pink, the hair is pink, and even the Epic Mount is pink; you probably have a poseur on your hands.

"Or a 12-year-old girl in Mississippi," warns Christie, "who you probably shouldn't be hitting on, anyway."

Because women are more detail-oriented than men, they tend not to over-do a single color (unless she's a Red Mage and then all bets are off).

7. *Tee hee*

Uttering this amongst friends is acceptable. Typing it out and sending it over team-chat, however, is grounds for forfeiting the uterus. Aside from being frivolous, it's just plain dumb. Girl gamers, while sometimes bubbly, are not airheads. So if you catch a girl spouting such things as *tee hee* or "He's super-über-cute!" you've likely caught a faker or a gamer's seventh grade sister. Look for acceptable girl chat like *glomp* (to hug), *squee* (an expression of delight), or "OMG" (a unisex term). These will vouch a real girl or a very well-studied pretender, while "*Tee hee* This dungeon is hard! Oh poo! I'm out of potions!" is a red flag.

6. Stripper Names

HoneyStar or PuffyPant might be the names of My-Little-Ponies on occasion - but if you spot such screen names online, it's a dead giveaway of someone who is a) not a girl and/or b) someone who desperately aspires to pole dance. Like overdoing the color pink, someone with an incredibly girly name is probably someone trying way too hard to pass for a girl. Though, girls are creative and will come up with elaborate names. Thus, if you meet a character named Moodshadow or Ethelenreid (anything vaguely Tolkien), it probably is a girl. If her name is SweetHoneyB13, probably not.

5. She has to go and "wash her hair," "do her nails," etc.

A real girl does not need to tell you why she's getting offline. If she does tell you, it will almost never be something related to a girly activity; both because it's none of your business and because girls can paint their nails and do their make up while they play. After all, anyone who's good at an MMO is a natural multi-tasker.

4. Dancing

Call it feminism, call it whatever you want; a girl does not make her avatar dance repeatedly or upon request from a total stranger. It's not so much that most female avatar dances in MMOs are degrading; dancing is just tedious and distracting (there has yet to be an MMO where you gain XP for dancing). Ultimately, if you've seen one race's unique dance; you've seen it a hundred times. Particularly in World of Warcraft, with the Dark Elf female dance being a blatant pole dance set to match the Gnome's male version of it - who hasn't gotten sick of that?

3. She never complains

Ask any girl how her day was and you'll almost never hear "fine" or "okay" unless a) she's unhappy with you, b) she doesn't want your attention, or c) she's not a girl. Things happen during her days which aren't of monumental importance: an annoying classmate, a stoplight that took too long, or a cracked nail. Most of these things are boring at best, and she knows it. But as a rule, if you ask a girl to tell you something about her day, she's probably going to tell you everything about her day. And if you didn't want to know, then why ask?

2. She's violent because it's "that time of the month"

Girls are always violent, on every day of the month. Anyone citing this as a reason (or justification) for corpse-camping, kill-stealing, or just being a rude player all around has probably never had their Aunt Flo in town and never will.

1. Girls don't need to ask

There is a certain type of girl who always asks for favors and feels entitled to special treatment by the male populace. This girl is manipulative and very good at getting what she wants. This girl does not play MMOs, or if she does, she's in the minority.

Wrap-Up

A girl gamer - a real one, not a Booth Babe or someone's girlfriend trying to bond through an MMO - can get what she needs on her own. When approached by a guy offering up loot or advice, most girls will take it (and say thank you if she's a lady), but in the back of her mind, this thought is playing: "What? Like I need your help?"

Article by: AJ Glasser

* Names have been changed