The online gaming community grows each year with better games and functionalities. But with each pro, evidently it’ll be followed by a con. With functions like chat boxes and headsets, gamers are allowed to interact with other people that are playing alongside them. 13-year-old boys making Yo Mama jokes is expected out of games, but it goes even further than that.
Deep beyond jokes and actual gameplay, female gamers have to deal with serious issues involving online harassment, bullying, misogyny, sexual slurs, and much more. With various outlets of social media, females would be harassed outside of the gaming realm like Twitter and Facebook (Basically everything you can think of). Disgusting and hateful comments posted would try to drive ladies out of what men think is their “dominating world”.
I had not thought about how serious it gets with these comments and actions until I’ve encountered it. I’ve been playing Call of Duty all throughout high school. There weren’t any problems for me other than kids forcing me to “rage quit”. Recently I started picking the game back up since my female friend wanted to play. I invited her over and it surprised me at how well she did. Our mics were on and when she spoke everyone was surprised. I will never forget their startled voices and nasty comments, “Is that a girl? Why is she here? Is she really going to play or is she just cheerleading for her boyfriend?” Everything was going all right until the hateful comments started flooding our message box. I looked over and my friend on the other hand was unphased, unlike me. She said, “It’s the usual for me. These people here are actually nice compared to others.”
Women are taking a stand for their own rights. They would report any harassment when they can and post evidence of their abuse. They try their best to be heard but of course, males attempt to silence these protestors by any means possible. Serious acts like online hacking, personal threats, and vandalizing pages seem to be a reoccurring act. Kickstarting campaigns are denounced even before it became anything. So that means women are rejected before any concrete action (that’s crazy!). Because of this, women are afraid to personalize their photos or desired usernames. Basically they have to hide the fact that they’re female. They would go as far as buying mics that can change their voice more masculine in order to play games. This shows the power of the gaming community and also the hate they have for female gamers.
Anita Sarkeesian, a female gamer, tried to raise $6,000 on Kickstarter in order to document how women are treated in games. Her YouTube page and Facebook were instantly flooded with hate comments. She has gotten death threats, her Wiki page vandalized, and even had her accounts hacked. Some men can’t take the fact that women can play better than other men and some just won’t accept females at all. Although 47 percent of all gamers are women and many equal in skills, they are not welcomed. As my friend would say, “They just hate to be beaten by a girl!”
There is no doubt that men degrade females as sexual objects. Messages are sent asking for sexual favors or humiliating them with sexual slurs. Julia Hardy, gaming TV presenter, experienced such criticism. “I started noticing that on Twitterand Facebook, people would send me really disgusting comments. They’d be quite aggressively sexual, although ‘it’s supposed to be a compliment’.” They honestly think that saying, ‘Hey, I’d really like to fuck you in your mouth,’ is an acceptable way of saying hello.
Most of the immaturity comes from adult male rather than the monotony teenage boy. Voice recordings reveal deep voiced males and photos sent showing adult male genitals. So it goes beyond the work of kids. It’s baffling to find out that women can’t even play games in peace. It’s even worse that adults cause these acts. You think that they would know better than mere 13 year-olds but it’s the total opposite. They go right into degrading women whether the game is going their way or not. This brings back serious matters like online bullying and misogyny. Miranda Pakozdi entered the Cross Assault video game competition but ended up forfeiting the game after six days in of competition. Her team coach, Aris Bakhtanians, apparently interrogates her on camera about her bra size. He told the team to focus the webcam on her chest, feet, and legs. He also said, “Take off your shirt.” There is no doubt that these actions can drive anyone away.
A call to action is hard to come by since males dominate the gaming world. They prevent women from making a difference. But change is bound to happen sooner or later. Hearing from gamers, Microsoft’s vice president and team executives invited James Portnow, a game designer, for a meeting. He wrote a web series depicting this issue and compared it to school bullying having access to the intercom system. For four hours they discussed how Microsoft could better their algorithms for things like automatic muting for repeating offenders. A lot of games nowadays have muting options and can kick offenders out of the game if caught harassing. This betters the gaming community step by step.