Speaking Up to Get Put Down

Suellentrop’s article: Teenage Girls Are Playing Video Games. You Just Might Not Hear Them

People play games for many reasons, but more often than not as a sort of escape. When girls are met with harassment upon talking over the mic in an online multiplayer game, it makes sense for the majority to decide not to talk, so they can still enjoy the game somewhat similarly to how it was meant to be enjoyed. (Romano, 2015) Female gamers often bemoan that they become the target of sexual harassment, predatory behaviour and verbal abuse from male players if they decide to turn their mics on. (Zepeda, 2016) Suellentrop’s article found that only 28% of teenage girls who play online games have their mic on, compared to 70% of teenage boys. This could be chalked up to women on average being less talkative than men, however there is no correlation found in this data. (Duberman, 2014)

The conclusion to be drawn, based on many first-hand accounts, is that harassment in the gaming community is to blame for girls’ shyness online.(Jusino, 2015) When girls are afraid to talk in a co-operative online setting, it impedes the cohesiveness of the team, and hinders their performance, which doesn’t help anyone. (Myers, 2016) It is partly the responsibility of the game developer to make sure that their games are a secure space for its players to enjoy, regardless of their differences, as harsh game communities have been shown to ruin a game’s popularity. (Maher, 2016) When we allow harassment to impede how players experience a game, we are discarding the idea that games are for fun. They become an experience where certain players have to toe the line in order to enjoy themselves, rather than immersing themselves in the gameplay. Games are not supposed to be fun only for harassers. (St. John, 2016) Harassment of women tarnishes the reputation of the gaming community, and sends the wrong idea that games aren’t for everyone. (Sherr, 2014) Allowing sexism to thrive in gaming communities alienates the female consumer, leading to a decrease in potential profits by the developer. (Gittleson, 2014) If teenage girls were encouraged to speak when they play games on a team online, rather than frightened away, and positivity was encouraged, it would improve the enjoyment of the online gaming experience for everyone.

 

References

Duberman, A. (2016). Women Don’t Actually Talk More Than Men. [online] The Huffington Post Australia. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/women-men-talk-more_n_5591454.html?section=australia [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

Gittleson, K. (2014). Why does sexism persist in the video games industry? – BBC News. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27824701 [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

Jusino, T. (2015). Teenage Girls Play Video Games, but They Do It Off the Mic. [online] Themarysue.com. Available at: http://www.themarysue.com/teen-girls-game-off-the-mic/ [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

Maher, B. (2016). Can a video game company tame toxic behaviour?. Nature, 531(7596), medium.com/@milistjohn/i-am-alex-st-john-s-daughter-and-he-is-wrong-about-women-in-tech-4728545e7c0e

Myers, M. (2016). Sexual Harassment Drives Women Away from Online Games — Not “Trash Talk”. [online] Themarysue.com. Available at: http://www.themarysue.com/sexual-harassment-isnt-trash-talk/ [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

Romano, A. (2015). New study shows 60 percent of teen girls play games—they just do so with their mics off. [online] The Daily Dot. Available at: http://www.dailydot.com/geek/pew-survey-teen-gamers-girls-play-silently/ [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

Sherr, I. (2014). Blizzard on online harassment: It’s tarnishing our reputation as gamers. [online] CNET. Available at: http://www.cnet.com/au/news/blizzard-on-online-harassment-its-tarnishing-our-reputation-as-gamers/ [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

St. John, A. (2016). I am Alex St. John’s Daughter, and He is Wrong About Women in Tech. [online] Medium. Available at: http://medium.com/@milistjohn/i-am-alex-st-john-s-daughter-and-he-is-wrong-about-women-in-tech-4728545e7c0e [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

Suellentrop, C. (2015). [online] Kotaku.com. Available at: http://kotaku.com/teenage-girls-are-playing-video-games-you-just-might-n-1724547085 [Accessed 28 Jun. 2016].

 

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