Reading Frank Schaap’s Disaggregation, Technology, and Masculinity, I was a little dismayed but not entirely surprised when the author, “found that role-players largely rely on conventional and socially legible expressions of masculinity and femininity to enact their characters, while developing finely tuned mechanisms for reading one another’s performances for cues about the player’s real-life gender” (239). It has always been my belief that the way any particular society perceives and reinforces gender types (although not gender itself) is an entirely performative act as it seems to be the case in Schaap’s findings.
I think mmorpg’s like WoW are missing a great opportunity to rewrite the digital body. It has been awhile since I have looked into the characterization but I am going to assume that every class/race has a gendered choice and I wonder why no other option exists. If it is indeed set in a fantasy role-playing universe then why not create a class/race that is non-gendered? Of course, Nakamura and other readings from this seminar as well as the demographics and economy of the game itself provide the answer to this question. I can only hope that with the continuing evolution and success of the mmorpg that the use of monolithic masculinity as an othering force will begin to grey around the edges (241).