Pham begins his article with an example of how a man named Kenn Gold has created an online game character of the opposite gender. Gold reasons that women characters are usually treated better in a world ruled by men. Pham explains that this sexual freedom in an electronic world has its disadvantages. Both men and women have to deal with unwanted players hitting on them. Pham points out that men are not as concerned with competition among other men, and women fear that other players will not accept them if they find out their real gender.
Pham continues his article with the indication that online experiences affect worldly scenarios. He provides examples of how authoritative men who play women characters online notice how men treat women in the real world and how men expect something in return for helping a woman, such as cybersex. He also provides examples of how women participate in gender switching. Pham then introduces how “guilds,” a group of people who play together, would be crushed if they learned the true gender of these gender-switching players. To Pham, the web allows people to remain anonymous. The virtual world makes them less responsible for their words and actions, and it allows them to show moods online that they may not show in real life. Pham wraps up by emphasizing how gender identity, age, and race are as crucial in the real world as they are in the virtual world despite the illusion that these things do not matter on the Internet.
Pham’s first flaw consists of him appealing to authority by quoting many authoritative people to support his stand on gender switching. He provides a wide variety of people, ranging from game producers to teachers and professors. Are these authoritative figures being used in their correct fields of expertise? Are they even experts to begin with? For example, Pham quotes Ramin Shokrizade toward the end of his article to support how to escape from the competition that is found in the male culture: “’Among power gamers, it gets to be very competitive,’ said Shokrizade, 35, an exercise trainer and math and science tutor in Palm Desert who says he plays online role-playing games an average of 80 hours a week,” (287). Pham does a good job here of showing that this man is very familiar with role-playing games and looks to be an important person, but this is not Shokrizade’s field