Sexism on the internet, especially in the gaming community, is a serious issue. It’s so high-profile that Law & Order: SVU has gone after it. And, of course, now you’ve got actual scientists delving into this.
Researchers at the Kasumovic Lab analyzed how male gamers interacted with female and male teammates the research team put on the sticks. And the data speaks for itself: The more a player sucked, the more likely they were to be crappy to a player with a female voice, especially one they were losing to. They even got rid of that one compulsive trash-talker who seems to turn up every match, just to keep their results from being skewed. So, yes, the more a player sucked, the more likely they were to be hostile to the woman they were losing to.
Now, far be it from us to extrapolate this behavior to the wider internet! Surely, those fine young men complaining about social-justice warriors are secure in their masculinity and their place in the world! They’re just asking questions. This isn’t about their fear of women and how competence in a woman might threaten their self-image at all!
As hilarious as I find the results, I do need to give the study the usual working-over I give video-game studies. The study was based on 163 matches of just one game, Halo 3, played during 2014, which is hardly a representative sample of gamers. They also had no way to track crucial factors like age and background.
And to be honest, I don’t buy their hypothesis — that sexism is a behavior we’ve evolved to have — one bit. That said, though, the data is compelling, and, all sarcasm aside, should be a source of introspection for the gaming community. Or at the very least, yet another reason to eradicate voice chat for good.
(Via PLOS One)