Feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian said, “Many contemporary online multiplayer games now include voice and text chat integration which is meant to provide a richer shared social gaming experience. Unfortunately, in some of these spaces when a player is identified as female (or LGBT) they are viciously attacked and verbally abused.”
I’ve covered this harassment in the first part of my article, here (and more about Sarkeesian, here). Although men receive abusive comments from fellow gamers, it’s much worse for women.
Grace, an editor of the website Fat, Ugly, or Slutty, said, “When it’s discovered that [a player is] a woman, the abuse changes. It’ll become more concentrated from a lot of players at once or the content changes: It becomes a lot more sexualized or becomes violent.”
These threats don’t just come from obnoxious teens: they come from grown men, as attested to voice recordings of players found on NotintheKitchenAnymore.
Among many others, James Bosier is motivated to see harassment end. A father of a young girl, he said, “I’m afraid of what her first interaction with somebody online will be. It’s a shame this is an even an issue. I can’t imagine than women couldn’t play golf because they’re sexually harassed by everybody playing.”
Although many believe this harassment comes from a vocal minority, it’s time for both players and games companies to actively stamp it out. Here’s how:
Suggestions for players
Tell the harassers to stop.
Jennifer Bosier, the managing editor for VideoGameWriters, said, “If you have a problem with me because you disagree with me, great. If you have a problem with me because I’m female, find a new hobby.”
She suggests, “Just push back. A lot of the guys who will call you ‘Tits’ are a lot bark and no bite, and if you tell them, ‘Dude’ [spoken warningly], they’ll back down.
“I lashed out at a guy and he said, ‘I’m really sorry.’ I said, ‘No, this doesn’t cut it. Dude, this is not an okay behavior.’ And he totally backed down. After that, he was kinda resentful to me, but after a couple of weeks, he learned that…I’m actually pretty nice. After that, we became friends.