A curious little study was brought to my attention today by the good folks at Gameranx that shows a strong link between online verbal harassment in video games and being a woman.
The study, done by Ohio University and published in New Media & Society, looked at Halo 3 matches last fall using prerecorded male and female voices or no voice chat. Recordings of simple phrases such as “I like this map” and “Hi everyone” were played before, during, and after each game. Other player’s responses were recorded and separated into negative and positive groups.
The result? The female profile received three times as many negative comments and many more messages than the male voice and no voice conditions. The study also made note that many of the insults themselves were gendered, using words like “bitch” and “slut,” and that in some instances the harassment was continual. To top it off, the female condition even received more positive remarks and further questions when a high level of skill was shown.
Of course, if you are at all familiar with online culture and interested enough with video games to read this article on a video game centric website, then none of that should come as a surprise to you. We already know this, yet a lot of people refuse to recognize it as an epidemic. Despite constant protests that harassment of women is only in isolated areas or that the copious amounts of examples present at places like Fat, Ugly, or Slutty, it’s hard to argue with numbers like these.
So what do we do? No one is really sure, honestly, but more research into how these anonymous interactions occur and spreading the word that this kind of behavior isn’t okay certainly won’t hurt.
[img via 360-edu.com]