My avatar in RuneScape is male. Why? Originally it was due to the midriff issue, which I'm not sure they've 'fixed' yet or not. I was not comfortable playing an idealized character, even when it was just a collection of blocky pixels in the 2005-06 era. I found it unrealistic that even armor didn't cover females' stomachs (in a fantasy game *rolls eyes*). Anyway, I made my choice and that was it. As a result, I've experienced a lot less sexism towards my character, at least.
It still doesn’t explain why Jagex went for that female model to begin with. Oh wait, their target audience is teenage boys. Still, please attempt to cater to the other side of your audience as well. At risk of going on a tangent, the Guitar Hero series of games offers a balanced selection of unlock able characters as well as a great character designer that doesn’t go overboard with the unrealism or the sexism of either gender. Why you would want a practically naked drummer is none of my business anyway, but I want a fully clothed one and ought to have that option.
In preparation for this article, I hit the Makeover Mage and changed my character to a female. I played for a few hours that way, and didn't get hit on or talked to at all; I attest this to my playing style, which is just do whatever in as uncrowded area as possible. However, I think that my combat level (a measly 67) also gave some credit to my character, regardless of sex. 67 meant that I had spent a good deal of time (I have no idea how quickly you could get to this level, probably fairly fast, but that’s neither here nor there) in Gilenor and knew my way around. I wasn't asking for anything, so people ignored me for the most part.
I got bored with 'being female' and changed back to good old Hawk, then went back to playing. As a male character I've been asked to be a 'bf' probably three times over almost eight years of playing. Ironically, most of these invitations occurred during the Miniclip era, and I link the stupidity of the overall population to that particular fact.
The biggest thing I've dealt with is being thought of as male; I've actually never had a problem with it because I bring it on myself; my character's a guy, my name is ambiguous, and my signature/avatar aren't girly or anything... So why would I be offended if you refer to me once or twice as 'he' or 'him'? I’ll let you know I'm a 'she' and we get back to life. No big deal.
What is a big deal is how girls sometimes get treated when it's revealed they don't have a Y chromosome. I've personally never dealt with it, probably because of my limited online 'female presence.' My voice isn't able to give away my gender, and besides being intelligent (yes, that is a hit on you guys :)) there's no way to tell unless I tell you.
I don't play first person shooters; I don't have a 'hardcore' gaming system. I've played Star Wars Battlefront, but just am not that into it. So my online gaming experiences are restricted mostly to PC games, notably RuneScape. I've played a few other MMOs, but none that let you talk to other players beyond a few pre-selected phrases. I know that a large amount of the issues that arise from being beaten by a girl happen in FPS games, but that girl is going to beat you in so much more than just that game; get over it. She’s already above you because she’s not engaging in petty discourse insulting your DNA and thus your ability to play a video game, of all things.
I don't know why this is; girls have just as much a right as guys to play what we want how we want. I know there's a lot of garbage out there that has fueled this poor view of women gamers, but in reality, almost none of it is true. Women are bigger gamers than guys in a lot of cases, and we're one of the biggest markets of RPGs and RTS games.
So when we say we play video games, we're not fat if you're not ugly. What I'm saying here is that while it does go both ways, it's just as likely that the girl gamer is going to be average and 'normal' as the guy gamer. You wouldn't consider yourself a loser or a sucker, so don't consider us one just because of our gender.
Of course, if we really do suck at the game, that's a different matter.