I’m hoping that maybe some of you can help me think through some of my major ideas for my final project for this class. I’m still in the intensive-research phase and have found all sorts of helpful, specific-article type resources, but I figured I should branch out and ask about 1) resources and recommendations for them and 2) any ideas on assisting me in narrowing or focusing some of my research questions.
My topic centers around gender, identity, and World of Warcraft (or other MMORPGS)– how or why do players choose the avatars that they do? Is there room for subversion of gender norms in a space where figures are so sexualized and idealized? Do players make a conscious decision regarding attraction when selecting the sex of their character?
Many of these questions are based on research done by Nick Yee, whose findings suggest that while approximately 1 in 10 male avatars are played by a female player, approximately 6 in 10 female avatars are played by male players. Men and women have radically different theories as to why this is, and my interest is in examining data, academic responses, and also conducting interviews in-game with players about their motivations to work towards a response that I find more believable than the typical ones: “I play a woman to explore my sassy feminine side, because playing hyper-masculine characters threatens my masculinity” or “He plays a female because he thinks she’s ‘hawt’.”