Alex Pham addresses the deception of online gamers in gender-switching and the effects it has on the online community in the article “Boy, you fight like a girl”. Both men and women are a part of this online community consisting of thousands of gamers that face several challenges. Among them are men who play as women not being taken seriously while women who play as men might lose respect by fellow gamers if their identity is revealed. The online gaming community is increasing, therefore resulting in more gender switching. Such trends have strong impacts on the gaming community because of real-life like graphic representations of near perfect men and women. Despite being fictional, these virtual models result in real emotions being brought out from one gamer to another, whether through cybersex or harassment, to the recipient’s discretion. These emotions often lead to online relationships that can have the same ramifications as a real one leading to a dangerous psychological impact on the person. In fact, Pham states “there is the potential to wreak psychological havoc” (287). Players who believe that the internet can protect them from such emotional impact are proved wrong through the presence of sexist stereotypes. Stereotypes show the flaws online gaming has because as Alex Pham describes, the internet is a place “where physical appearances are not supposed to matter” (288). Ultimately, there is no safety net for either sex. Though the internet is a very discreet tool, Pham suggests that in the online gaming world, one’s gender is a mystery many other gamers feel the need to know.
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