Um... I fail to really see the connection here? Maybe I'm being thick (wouldn't be the first time), or maybe it was the TV...? Reading books with protagonists of the opposite gender? To what? To the author? To the reader? To each other? It's probably worth pointing out that you were, what, eight? Many of the most famous children's books ever written have a mixture of protagonists. Swallows and Amazons, The Lion The Witch And The wardrobe, Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, for example.
Reading as in opening a book and forming an image in your brain. Reading to yourself.
I guess I just see it as, is reading that much different from writing? Is RP that much different from ordinary writing? What causes the rift in people where it's alright to read another writer using the opposite gender, but not to RP it? If no discrete, logical reason can be found, perhaps it's a division which should be abandoned.
You make many other points where such gender blending is commonplace, although it's harder to point them directly to roleplaying as it is with simple writing.
Abandoning the fourth wall? Why? That is what the OOC thread and PMs are for. If I'm not enjoying a RP I always PM the other player/GM and say why. Players who do not do this are, IMHO, discourteous. If you are not enjoying writing with me, say so!
And let's face it, the whole purpose of this is it's supposed to be fun. If it's not, then you shouldn't be doing it! So, keeping the players happy should, really, be the GM's primary - if not only - concern. Sod whether the characters are happy. If they wanted to be happy they shouldn't have got involved in fighting those tentacle monsters in the first place!
A concept better known in system games is an idea called "metagaming," a frowned-upon practice where the player has the character take actions which suit the player and not the character. An obvious example would be if a player saw the enemy's post of setting up a booby trap behind the door, and that player's character suddenly decides not to open the door, for no other reason than that the player doesn't want the character to set off the booby trap. You can easily imagine the type of metagaming which could happen if players knew from the start who the killer was in Cluedo.
Obviously, there's a give and take in such situations. I have found the ideal method to be to make sure that the player has minimal understanding of anything beyond what his/her character knows, and therefore doesn't have to worry about such problems.
The term "metagaming" has a severe stigma attached to it, although there have been times where it's useful. For example, if a GM says, "Guys, please don't drive into the black hole. It's not an illusion," and the characters stop their ship even if they would have gone in otherwise, then fun is maintained despite the use of metagaming. However, it does have its impact upon the fourth wall all the same.
For such situations, I like to use an NPC specifically for such circumstances. Having the psychic suddenly stand up and scream, yelling, "It's not an illusion! Please stop!" is much more RP-friendly than having the GM tell you so, even if the players know that the psychic only speaks on behalf of the GM.
The point I was trying to make with that paragraph was that, you may enjoy sexual RP more if the person on the other end is your own preferred gender and you know that they are aroused by the RP. This may be why some people care about the gender of the player. However, in order to arrive at such a conclusion, you have to think about the player and not their character, forgetting about the fantasy and boiling everything down to having two people on two different computers typing text to each other.
Granted that that is exactly what OOC and PMs are for, and you want to use that when there are problems in the RP. Absolutely no argument that the GM has to make sure that the players are happy, whether that means making the characters happy, unhappy, or whatever. However, the GM is going to have to spend more time concentrating on the players and making sure that they're happy, not just losing him/herself in the RP.
It's most likely a moot point; I do tend to ramble.
I think I understand what you mean about nurses and elves, but it might help if you could clarify? I think what you're saying is that you can't force someone to play a race or a profession - or in fact, a gender. This is true. However, if I want a RP about nurses, I expect to have nurses as the characters. If I get ballerinas, I'm going to be rather upset. I think you have things a little backwards, in so far as you seem to be saying that people should be allowed to join a RP regardless of what character they wish to play, and the GM should build the RP around them. (If you aren't saying that, then I do appologise, but that's how I'm reading it).
This part was in response to one of the hypotheses I've seen regarding that people who have absolutely no qualms about playing elves, dragons, spider demons, and other such outlandish things get squeamish about playing an ordinary member of the opposite gender. The hypothesis was that because elves, dragons, spider demons, tentacle monsters and the like do not actually exist, the construct is purely made by the player, which allows a degree of freedom, whereas genders do exist and thus some people feel unqualified to properly play one.
I refute this argument by pointing to occupations, and that even though doctors, nurses, firemen, army sargents, etc. do exist, many people who play alternate occupations fall far closer to the comfort of playing a fantasy creature than playing an alternate gender. Granted that the GM does have final say, and if you're playing a specific type of game, people are expected to follow suit, but I was more attempting to dispel that argument.
If I create a roleplay and insist that players play the opposite gender (has that ever been done?)
Eliza had a Genderswap RP once, I think. No idea how it turned out or if it's still going.
Precisely, again. In adult RP one expects a certain amount of sex. To match up your character with a Compatible partner (or two) and have some smutty fun is why most of us are here. Now, if a player is (for example) a gay male and has an aversion to female players, and the only other gay male character is played by a woman, we have a problem, would you agree?
I actually see Elliquiy as having the potential for sexual RP. In many games throughout the world and Internet, sex is a no-no in RP. At best, you'll have a fade-to-black session or private session. I like Elliquiy's option of being able to throw sex into the RP at a moment's notice without people getting squeamish, especially when the temptation of a seductress is so much more real if it's not going to be, "Okay, you're in the bedroom for a few hours, it's really great, but mark off three points of Honor."
To better iterate my fourth wall comment, if it's a male GM playing the seductress NPC, does the temptation definitively change just because of that? I would imagine that the only real way it would matter is if the GM was unable to properly portray a female, which also breaks the fourth wall but is the fault of the GM, not the player. I personally find this equivalent to reading a novel and losing interest in the protagonist simply because I question the ability of the author to properly portray that gender.
Obviously, this is just how I see it, and others are welcome to their own opinions and beliefs.
I think it's worth mentioning the Non-Consent forums at this point, and the fact that I always stress to players that I have a rule. I think it should be universal to E, if it isn't already: Non-Consent applies to the Character not the Player. In other words if you want your character to rape another player's character you have to have the player's permission to do so!
Although I can understand the reasoning of this and try to follow it as much as possible as a GM (where I've talked with people in advance and know who will be kidnapped and why), and my tentacle monster game has various things to learn what girls were into what and didn't want certain things, it can get sticky with players. There's certainly an equivalency of "Why are you in a military game if you don't want to be a military character?" and "Why are you in a NC game if you don't want to be raped?"
I'm not saying that you're drawing an equivalency, but where I see one and get the luxury of long philosophical discussions, I enjoy the chance to point out where I see differences and learn from them. I've found a great deal of my own beliefs to be flawed in such manner, and have been reworking them as a result, although that's a discussion for elsewhere.
I would say that the difference between the two is that you can enjoy aspects of a game but want to be left out of other aspects, so long as your character reasonably ties into the theme. A character in a military game might not want to fight, only have sex with burly soldiers, so she makes a prostitute employed by the army officials to keep the soldiers happy. One girl in the group isn't being raped either because the rapers aren't attracted to her or because they want one girl to watch and hold the camera. The important part there is finding a reason why the character fits into the overarching theme.
Supporting characters should also be aware that they aren't going to have the spotlight. During the main scenes of war and violence in the military game, the prostitute will be spectating, if that. With the player's consent, she may even be forced into a situation of medic or spotter in order to draw them into the main theme, but if the player is only interested in sex, she'll just end up doing absolutely nothing during that time and hanging out on the side thread 100% of the time.
Bottomline, it's better to use things that don't fit for OOC reasons as fuel for the IC story, than to dwell on them until they destroy the story. Same goes for other OOC problems, actually. A player was missing for a few weeks and the character stood in the corner? Guess who had the vision I wanted to give one of them during the dream! And yes, I had an IC reason for the vision before the player disappeared, I just moved it to the day instead of the night.
A truly talented GM can take the OOC reasons which are given on something and come up with a plausible IC reason for them. One of the major jobs of the GM, though players should work on this as well, is to repair any holes in the fourth wall.
I was in a game about two years ago where one guy didn't show up one week and his skills were exactly what was needed. When we attempted to plow through anyway and he came back the next week to realize how badly things were going, his character talked about how the solution was blindly obvious, chastising us and a bunch of other crap. This ended up getting tempers flaring because we were doing the best we could and had been forced to play as though his character was just being silent the whole time.
It's not very difficult to equate this to a forum RP, imagining that person not having posted for weeks while the other players deliberated and eventually took the initiative to keep the game from dying.
It sounds like Thufir is quite adept at these types of situations, which is awesome. Thufir, may I PM you on occasion when I get stuck on an appropriate way to handle such a situation?
In this case, "she's one of the lads" is actually a good IC reason which explains it away and allows you to play a better game. Again, use obstacles as fodder for RP, and they become much less of a problem.
Or at least, that's my solution. I'm sure some people would disagree, and that's fine !
The "friend zone" is alive and well, so if you don't honestly have any inclination, that's as good a way as any to handle it.