I think a hint lies in the fact that 100% of the threads pushing for female Space Marines are started by male GMs, and absolutely none by female players. I suspect that these GMs are actively pushing their female players to play 'hot babes', and are trying to drum up support for female Marines to assuage their guilt...
Wow, that sounds harsh. I didn't even consider this - and though I have to admit that this could perhaps apply to some, I'd suspect that, for the most part, it's more a case of projecting one's own mindset onto another person, not even considering that they could think differently on such topics. And then there might be the edge cases where, indeed, the player herself wasn't comfortable.
We live in times that are more liberal than they used to be, but as far as video games go, men still grow up playing men, whereas female gamers are almost forced to play male characters or, well, skip on the majority of games out there. Unfortunately that industry is still very sexist, and such media obviously have an effect on people in terms of conveying a sense of normality, and thus values.
tl;dr: I think that such experiences may influence our thoughts about "gender identity" later down the road.
In my experience (limited personal and considerable observation) it's the absolute opposite. While the vast majority of players seem to prefer genders and phenotypes identical or similar to their own, a lot of men have no trouble roleplaying as women at all, whereas it would seem to me that women roleplaying as men would be near-unthinkable.
It may depend on the group, perhaps? The social environment, and how much "machismo" is present at your table? I'm aware that males playing females is a common phenomena in online games - but it seems to be shunned at pen&paper, where people actually sit across one another, as if many male players are too shy about it, or fear (perhaps even justifiably) that they might get ridiculed, or that their portrayal could annoy others. In a way, perhaps that it is less the player's own mindset, but rather social stigma and the effects of the group. The same enforcement of gender-roles that lets people do crazy dares just to "prove" their "manliness".
If your group doesn't suffer from this, then kudos - I guess your players are amongst those who stand above such primitive thinking.
and I use quotes around "pure" for the obvious reason that there is no such thing as a "pure male mindset" in a society of individuals who often do not conform to societal gender stereotypes, and also because gender essentialism is bull
Amen to that. We are who we are because of how we grew up - because of how society and our surroundings have shaped us. Biology plays a ridiculously small part in this, as proven by tons of "exceptions" to the stereotypes you mentioned.
Edited by Lynata, 21 October 2013 - 01:44 PM.