Jess McCabe of Britain's F-Word has a piece in The Guardian today about women and online gaming. It seems that due to online harassment (which includes demands to have women post photographs of their breasts or "get the fuck off"), women who play online games like Second Life or World of Warcraft choose to portray themselves as male characters 70 percent of the time.
When Second Life millionaire Ailin Graef appeared on a chat show in the virtual world to discuss her success on the platform - which is more 3D chatroom than game - her character was swarmed by flying pink penises (the attack was arranged by "griefers" - users who spend all their time harassing others).
It seems that the anonymity of (male) users gives them the power to say and do things in a virtual world they might not otherwise do. As McCabe said in her post linking to the article, you could write a whole book on the psychology of harassment. But as far as I can tell, such books and studies don't exist. This is partially due to the "newness" of online communities, but as any female blogger knows, trolls (anonymous harassers) are common. It's strange that in a new world of communication, such old misogynist paradigms still exist.