The topic that I am going to do for my project will be, “why do people swap genders online in role-playing games?”
Thesis: People in online role playing games tend to play as the opposite sex that they are in real life because they want to have the experience of how it would feel like to be the other sex, how differently they’d be treated, and because playing the opposite gender in real life is not as easy as it is online.
From the library I found an interesting article “Gender Swapping and Socializing in Cyberspace: An Exploratory Study” by Zaheer Hussain and Mark D. Griffiths. In the article, a survey was conducted including 119 people (83 men, 32 women, and 4 specifying as ‘other’) with questions regarding their online persona. The shocking statistic I found was, “Overall, 57% of the sample said they
had gender swapped their character… significantly more females than males had gender swapped their character” (Hussain, Griffiths). Also that those who participated in gender swapping did so, as quoted in an extract from a testimonial of a participant of the study “It enables me to play around with aspects of my character that are not normally easy to experiment with in real life” (Hussain, Griffiths). This suggests that those who swap genders online are curious to see what benefits or experiences the opposite sex has to offer over their actual sex.
Other questions include: Is online gender swapping just out of curiosity, or a deeper, more psychological issue such as questioning sexual orientation?
This will be done on a website, leaning towards blog forum.