OnlineMMO Game: Avatar
Virtualenvironments that use Avatar, for instance virtual games and onlinevideo games are among the most popular forms of entertainment aroundthe world. In these virtual spaces, characters are more oftenhuman-like, that is, some have highly realistic features. The usersalso infer sex and personality traits that come from human-likerepresentations. In addition to this, the developers, critics, andgamers have lavished so much attention on Avatar gender, which raisesthe question, why?
Tobegin with, gender plays a crucial role in relation to the manner inwhich people choose to interact with each other, and in this case,gender is lavished with attention since it is used to reinforcespecific position of power in within social relations (Crawford,2012). Secondly, there has been a debate in the past about gender inrelation to the idea of whether it should be a learned behavior sets,or an element born with it. Crawford et al. (2011) argues that theattention is given to the gender since it does not pre-exist, but arecreated and normalized through daily routinized practices. Thedevelopers created avatars to vary in appearance across a wide rangeof templates, but they paid close attention to avatar bodies byhypersexualizing it, which they tend to create them to appear moremasculine or more feminine that in real life
Secondly,online gaming especially with avatar raises the question: What is therelation between genders to sexuality? When put in consideration onhow gender is presented in digital worlds, more often than not,questions often arise about intersections among the concepts ofgender, social performances, and representations (Crawford et al.,2011). The deep embedment of notions about sex and its relationshipwith gender in online gaming especially Avatar, may hold differentlywith the digital worlds. The distinction, in digital world, betweenwhat could be perceived to be a “natural” gender of a specificperformance and body of gender conventions remains possible to bemade as literal. For instance, every player is keen to select aparticular gender in their own avatar thereby they make theartificiality visible by tying felt or internalized membership in aparticular gender to all the bodily representations and on the otherhand weakening other ties between self and the organic body.
Inother words, the difference between genders to sexuality presents theuser that is unchained away from the physical body that ensuresvarious identities are signified in a number of spaces (Crawford etal., 2011), while this significations are often tied on an embodied,positioned self. For this reason, the difference here is more oftenfocused on gender rather than on sex. It could be that female or maleavatar bodies in an online MMO game, serves in a contextual stimulion the gamer, which activate associated behavior instead.Alternatively, the players may opt to perform their gender identitywhile they are offline in the same way regardless of theiravatar-sexed body.
Beforeand even today, there have been instances of “moral panic” aboutincarnation of cross-gender of Avatar MMO online gaming. This isbecause postmodern adjustment on the way media environments and risein video games, which is seen as interactive media has since extendedthe capacity of global media. Crawford et al. (2011) cautioned thatwith increase in global marketing, video games especially the Avatarhas since cautioned moral panic among the parents across the world.This is heightened by the young males who prefer to interact withAvatar in the cyberspace in front of television set or when hangingaround with their friends. As a result of this, the young femaleshave also joint it, and that it has caused “moral panic” amongthem due to collision of gender.
Crawford,G., Gosling, V. K., & Light, B. (2011). Gamers: The Social andCultural Significance of Online Games. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.