Playing Characters of the Opposite Sex

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    • This is an interesting post, and one that I feel is near and dear to my heart. The reason being that for a while I ( a male ) role played almost exclusively female characters in games by Scott. It was such a habit that everyone in our gaming group automatically knew I would be playing a strong female lead character of some sort. I can only speculate this was an easy task for me due to the fact that within the African American households there are no small number of such examples available to draw from for inspiration. The whole idea of role play for me is to stretch the limits of my acting ability regarding spontaneous improvisation, and playing a different sex requires stepping deeper into a personae than playing the same sex of which you may have much more in common with. Specifically concerning playing female characters as a male, I find the subtle nature of being a woman demand a somewhat different perceptive and approach. The most notable are in circumstances related to how others may perceive you and the interaction other personalities within the game may choose to direct your way. For example a female character is able to play the damsel in distress, the sexy seductress, the weak and fragile helpmate or the air headed simpleton without raising much suspicion regardless of how competent, smart, strong and powerful she may actually be. Men, on the other hand, have a more difficult time playing the weak, or the sexy flirt with out it being seen as odd, threatening, circumspect, or out of place. Although, it is important to note, the men have an equal chance of playing the simpleton, even though they are rarely admired for it as a female character may be but rather tend to be the object of pity or sympathetic condescension. Which brings me to one of the most obvious reasons to play a female character, which is that when you imagine your character you can feel free to embellish and adorn them with all sorts of fantastic over the top mannerisms and costumes which might be difficult for a male character to match. In much the same way that in our own world the female wardrobe is so much more diverse and exciting than the male choices for clothing. The opposite reasoning may be used by females who wish to escape from the complexity of life with so many choices, opinions and societal requirements by playing a male character which may be able to simply allow the mental impressions many communities associate with being a male to erase many of these burdens for them without effort.
    • That is a million dollar question, each character had its own highlights and challenges. I am a player who believes in investing as much time as possible into back stories and details which add depth to my character creation process, and in so doing I tend to create characters with lots of detail and room to explore ethical dilemmas.
    • Yeah, there's certainly a lot of favoritism based on species stuff that I notice in the fandom... But that's OK, I suppose...

      RP-ing characters of the opposite sex, though, is an interesting exercise in "putting yourself in another person's shoes" when it comes to the typical kinds of issues/circumstances that people different from us deal with on a daily basis...whether that difference is age-based, "race"-based, gender-based, or otherwise... If you have a good GM who is really capable of seeing things from a variety of different perspectives (or at least has studied the ramifications of being one "type" of person versus another), then they can present the players with excellent opportunities to explore these differences in educational and "eye-opening" ways...

      This is especially valuable if it presents all those involved with opportunities to explore their own empathy, ethics, and biases (all of which we have to one degree or another as human beings)...