In a virtual sense of course. Terra Nova has an interesting article concerning how avatars reflect the user’s view of themselves and how the avater influences others actions towards the user.
An interesting read, especially when talking about the Looking Glass Self (link in post)concept. Basically, the theory states that it doesn’t matter how you percieve yourself, others will see what they want to see in you. In other words, the ‘real’ you in the world is controlled by other’s perceptions of you and your actions. This is an interesting concept, which was re-inforced, albeit unknowingly, last night as I was watching the 12th episode of Serial Experiments Lain. First let me say this is the whackest anime I’ve seen, it beats the final two episodes of Neon Genesis because Lain has been whack from the beginning. But I digress. In the episode, the Looking Glass Self theory was espoused as to why the main character is the way she is. And it was couched in the same terms: we are who others see us as, regardless of how we see our selves or how we act. Personally, I see some validity here, but I haven’t really done a lot of thinking about it. Having played a female character in Earth and Beyond, I did notice that people would treat me differently because of the avatar. That changed when they knew I was male. Quite interesting.
Also note that Terra Nove has a list of MMOGs on the side. Cool.