Why Do G.I.R.Ls Exist?

This seems like a silly question if I said it out loud, but the above acronym extends to the meaning “Guy in Real Life”, which gets – from what I’ve seen – a lot of negative attention as they are seen as weirdos, scammers or trolls. However, this can be rather unfair as girls who play as guys get little negative light in comparison. So today, I’ll be giving you examples that prove that there exists some positive reasons as to why guys decide to play as girls in an online game.

Story Purposes

This is more prevalent on roleplaying servers or even in Dungeons and Dragons, but some people like to have a back story, a personality and find it easier to make a more interesting female character than male. It could also be argued that, when given the option of a male or female protagonist, players will choose the female to give any antagonists another reason to hate them, and add a new degree of satisfaction when beating them. Mass Effect has FemShep, who has been received better than the normal Shepard due to not only Jennifer Hale’s magnificent voice acting, but also the way the character reacts be it in Paragon or Renegade fashion. MaleShep seems much less emotionally involved in the story – surprising as the dialogue for both Commanders are exactly the same, which can lead male players to choose whether to have themselves be Shepard, or a better story experience.

An example is that whenever the big bad is trash-talking a female protagonist, they will inevitably make a sexist comment, seeing the woman as inferior. The dialogue in a couple of games just about borders on unacceptable in a social setting, one game that springs to mind is the female protagonist from Pokemon games. The team that is causing problems tend to make little snide comments that dismiss the girl due to her gender. There’s also the numerous games where there’s so much cheesecake you can get diabetes and the girls have a lower IQ than their shoe size and have the combat usefulness of a slice of cheese. Princess Peach, I’m looking at you – stop being useless when the plot demands it, you can fight! You keep beating me up in Brawl!

Visual Appeal

Is this hypocritical considering my cheesecake comment last paragraph? No – as this is more for the MMO crowd. If you are going to be grinding for seventy, eighty levels, you need some sort of visual hook to stop your eyes revolting from doing the same thing over and over again. So if you are a typical guy, then what would you prefer to stare at for over eighty hours? The back of a big, muscular Orc? Or the back of the female elf?

The defense rests – Oh, and the reverse can hold true for the typical girl, ogling is unisex after all. If you need to grind a level out, you are gonna get bored and frustrated without that carrot at the end of a stick – it works for animals, to strive for the goal, it works for MMO players who want that sweet, sweet loot.

Personal Reasons

This isn’t a funny reason, nor an entertaining one, but it’s true and possibly one of the bigger ones. Members of the Quiltbag community will sometimes play a character that allows them the freedom to play as something that can let them feed the part of them that have to hide in real life. While they will primarily hang out in roleplaying servers, they will venture into the PvP and supposed “hardcore” servers to test the waters and feel less like they are playing a character, and playing themselves.

If outed, then they may return to the two above reasons as cover for their true intentions, or answer “Just for funsies” – while this can lead to some awkward moments where people they befriended with that character begin to fall in love with the entity behind the keyboard, it can still give the person confidence and a bit of happiness in dealing with the situation they are in.

There are a couple more reasons, but these are the top three in what I’ve encountered in my years as a gamer. While as ever, the minority will ruin the reputation for the majority. Simply be vigilant in suspicious people – male or female – and treat everyone as how they wish to be seen. A little respect given by everyone makes the online world a bit less rage-inducing.

10 thoughts on “Why Do G.I.R.Ls Exist?”

  1. I almost always play as the girl character, not for eyecandy, but because i actually enjoy being the girl characters because they are usually more relatalbe to me then the guy characters. Also, alot of the guy characters i know just have pure brute strength while the girls actually use their wit and their strength together, which makes it more enjoyable for me. I also LOVE any character that uses magic and more often then not, there is no guy mage/warlock/etc. to play as, so i chose the girl mage/sorceress/etc.

  2. In the Pokémon games I typically play as the girl and my friends always wondered why and I said because she looks better then the guy character, but in White I actually chose the guy. Also with what narutomoon said, the girls are more likely than not the characters with the buffs I prefer as I rather have a mage than a warrior in most instances.

  3. I usually choose a guy in Online games, but a good example is that I just like Female Shepard better as a character. I liker her voice actress and I think playing as her makes Mass Effect as a whole more interesting.

  4. I wonder why there has to be this kind of justification in the first place.

    There’s a parallel, albeit much more extreme situation in clothes. Why do people give guys who wear skinny jeans and tight shirts so much flak? Why is it considered abnormal for men to dress in drag, but so much socially acceptable for women to wear, let’s say, a tux, or cholo khakis.

    My male cousin and I took both ballet and kendo together for over seven years. Due to lack of time, I decided to drop ballet, and he dropped kendo. Guess who gets more weird looks in the family meetings.

    On a subconscious level, even the most liberal and equal-minded people still think men are better than women. It’s okay for girls to be playing as or dressing like guys because this is viewed as a kind of step up. It’s okay to want to improve, and it is an improvement to be more masculine. On the other hand, it’s just abnormal for a guy to want to “step down”, so to say. Video games are only pretend, and yet we still have to write articles justifying why males choose to play as females. That’s just how it is.

  5. I’m weird where I have a hard time justifying making a girl character unless I have a male character as well. Because I can place it under the name of having a ‘variety” of characters I guess. The only exception was S4 league because the guys were really ugly, so I went with a girl character.

    that and they were shorter, so you could hide behind stuff without your head sticking out, but I didn’t find that out till later.

  6. Normally, I choose the boy whenever I play Pokemon, but I do tend to choose the girl just because I cringe every time Dawn talks in that forced British accent (“Pardon?!” “I’m terribly sorry). Lucas’s dialogue just feels more natural to me. And now I have to play Black/White again just so I can catch a glimpse of the sexism (I know, I’m terrible).

  7. I choose whatever is more fitting to what I’m playing, in both a logical and athestic sense. Every rogue I have ever played in WoW has been female. All the male models are big linebacker-like brutes and I play a rogue as a sneak. Slip in, kill only what I must, take what I need, and vanish. For that kind of play I feel a light, thin frame would be best. The only way to get that was to play females. All my warriors have been male because of the afformentioned linebacker-like brute appearance. Otherwise I just mix and match. “I have a male human mage, so this pali wil be female” and the like.

    Because I don’t RP there’s no gender bender quality. I just treat the gender of the character like another design choice. Hair style, color, piercings, tatoos, gender.

    In games like Diablo 1/2 and Torchlight where gender is not an option I just pick the stat and skill set I want.

  8. I make no excuses, if I play a male character, it’s because I want to seem like a BAMF, if I play a female character it’s for the eye candy. This is very sexist of me, I’m sure, but I’m okay with that about myself. Though, on PlayStation Home, I was originally using a male avatar, but in a situation like that, it’s highly boring when nobody talks to you, so I switched to a female avatar and had a lot more fun on there as people actually had conversations with me! Though most of the time they ended up being creepers but that’s always good for a laugh hahaha.

    On a side note, I will probably play Mass Effect with the female Shepherd after reading this.

  9. I admit it, my LotRO characters are all female. And for me, it’s primarily the “I’m going to be seeing a lot of you, so I’d rather be seeing the she version.”

    Plus, it sometimes opens up some humormous moments. (“blah blah blah Ashi blah.” “That’s LADY Ashi to you!”)

    I think part of it may also be from having played enough games where my favorite characters were female (e.g. Rydia in FF4, Aeris in FF7, Lulu in FFX) that it became a personal preference issue.

    Of course, if there’s a functional difference (I seem to recall that Phantasy Star Zero draws some differences between males and females of the same class), then it’s a matter of Form Follows Function.

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