I am also the player of not only one, but five, male WoW characters. This might seem odd to some readers because why oh why would a girl ever want to ever play as a guy? Well... why not?
Being I like to roleplay (or at the very least I create backstories for my characters), the story I come up with dictates what race, gender, and class I feel suits the character. Take my death knight, and current main, Kiryl, for example... He is kind of an "old country" guy at heart, despite his current role as a Forsaken interrogator, and I honestly have a hard time ever picturing him as a female. Kiryl is, no matter what, a male character. My muse has spoken and she isn't all that keen on changing her mind.
A Space Goat Was Born
My first seriously played male toon was Latu, a Draenei shaman that was created the moment I installed the Burning Crusade. First of all, when TBC was nearing its release date, everyone I knew was going to make a female Draenei. In a combination of daring to be different and my love for the male Draenei model (I love their /dance and /silly), I vowed to make my shaman a guy. Secondly, I never really had a main character that was a guy. Sure I had a level 20-something Forsaken rogue and a level 30 Troll shaman that were men... But I never stuck with them. Latu, on the other hand, I leveled to up to cap--twice.
The guild I was with, at the time, was a rather free-spirited one, so the idea of a girl playing a guy character wasn't a big deal to them at all. However, when they eventually jumped ship and went to WAR during a hiatus of mine, I found myself in need of a new guild... So I transferred Latu over to another realm and joined up with friend's RP guild.
I remember having to explain myself many times to people (namely guild mates who have obviously heard me over Ventrilo) on why Latu is not a female. Even though there is a pretty good amount of females that play WoW around, many of which I have known to have at least ONE male toon in their character list, it is still treated as such an anomaly by most I encounter. The reactions varied from a guildmate joking that I was "denying the world more breasts" by playing a guy to having my sexuality questioned. Why, I even had fellow female guildmates who were boggled by the idea and I got a lot of half-joking flak for playing a guy--And it only increased when my secondary character was a male Human warlock (again, the character concept I had in mind did not seem like it would be suitable to a female).
There also was a time when a guildmate invited me to an instance run and the initial convo went like this (writing styles preserved)...
Warrior: hey guys, this is my guildy, Latu. hes a girl irl. lol
Party Member #2: Cool
Party Member #3: sup
Me: Um... Haha. Hi?
It just sorta boggled my mind that this guy felt the need to instantly announce (I wish I was kidding. It really was the first thing said when I joined group.) the fact that I am indeed a female player. Though I will admit... when certain people did find out that I was indeed a girl in real life, it was pretty funny to see their reactions. Even so, I still find it odd that it's strange to begin with.
Why Is Playing the Opposite Gender Such a Big Deal?
There seems to be a double standard of playing a character that isn't your gender in real life. It's perfectly normal for guys to play as female avatars, but girls playing as male toons generally brings up a lot of confusion. There are many reasons as to why men play as females, the two most popular that I've seen are "I don't want to stare at a dude's ass all the time" and "I like the attention and special treatment I get". Plus, as the popular internet meme goes, "There are no girls on the internet".
The last statement above is, of course, not true at all. However, in the gaming world, it is still traditionally "a man's domain" in the eyes of many. Though with new generations, the girl gamer isn't at all the oddity it used to be when I was back in high school. I've been on various RP realms and the reception of being a female who plays a guy character ranges from it being commonplace to others finding it incredibly strange. I remember one former guildmate used to joke with me by suggesting that I make Latu into a girl shortly after character re-customization was unveiled. I didn't mind it at first...until he started mentioning it nearly every time I saw him in-game. The same person also told me that he couldn't take women who roleplayed male characters seriously... He found it "too weird" and he apparently had difficulty reconciling the fact that "this dude was really a chick".
Virtual Life Lessons
It's not always hard for women roleplaying a man, though... I've had many guys tell me their horror stories of playing a female toon. Sure, they liked being treated a little nicer, given stuff, and what not (That's another post for another day, I'd imagine). Then the stalkers start showing up... Those sorts of people that won't take a hint despite the other saying "Dude, I'm a guy, IRL" and simply found that they were "playing hard to get". Though I heard more of those recounts in the earlier days of WoW, not so much anymore (But on the flipside, I've heard plenty of girls harassing guys to have their RP characters get in each other's pants as of late...). However, I'm rather certain that these sorts of goings-on still take place.
Other girl gamers who played a male toon, namely for a "social experiment", were rather shocked at how differently they were treated. Cussed out for small mistakes, talking to them impersonally, general aloofness, etc... Not all that surprising since most people assume the character played is the person's gender IRL. Though I honestly just assume everyone's a guy until proven otherwise...
It's just a game and we are simply players out to have fun... People shouldn't be given grief for their character's gender, no matter if they are man or woman, if that is what they want to roleplay (or not).
Though roleplaying is just that--It's acting out a story. While some people do live vicariously through their characters, most simply want to tell a tale and see what unfolds for them. If a man wants to roleplay a demure and meek woman, then more power to him. If a woman wants to play as some muscular orcish guy? Go right ahead. Roleplay servers are our canvas and other people shouldn't tell you what paint to use.