It’s no surprise that women have a harder time blending into online multiplayer games and a new study has shown that low-skilled male gamers will rage against women after the latter prove themselves simply better at the game.
Researchers Michael Kasumovic from the University of South Wales and Jeffrey Kuznekoff from the University of Miami, have drawn a big target on their back amongst the Gamergate controversy by actually bringing awareness of how female gamers are usually treated by men who generally suck at videogames and are apparently deeply wounded about it.
The study observed how various male gamers treated the fairer sex during 163 different games of Halo 3, an online competitive multiplayer shooter. It’s been concluded that men who performed badly at the game were highly likely to rage and choose women to lash out against as a form of coping.
The advancement of gaming, now with multiple online communities, has created its own hierarchy where status matters and is more often determined by skill. Low-skilled male gamers are more likely to show signs of submissiveness or even admiration toward the same sex when the other proves to be much better, but the situation couldn’t be more different toward their female counterparts.
The study suggests that, when losing, low-skilled gamers attempt to protect their status within the usually male dominated hierarchy of gaming by focusing on the female gamer who “has invaded” what they deem as their personal space. Sexist comments, along with insults and even death threats are a common way of lashing out.
However, experienced and high-skilled male gamers are much more likely to show support to women and treat them politely, while being all around more pleasant with all other players around, regardless of gender. It has also been suggested that those who are more likely to win at games might display better behavior in order to attract a female gamer’s attention, though not exclusively for that purpose.
Researchers suggest that male gamers who act aggressive against the fairer sex in the online community are either trying to push them out of the “male dominated arena” or responding to the threat to their status a woman poses by defeating them at videogames.
It’s not an easy task to undertake for female gamers just yet, who typically weigh the risk before talking through headsets and revealing themselves as women. It should be noted that there the risk is minimal for their threats and insults to have a real-life follow up, but the fact that it does happen is quite disturbing and ruins the possibility of women interacting in online communities.
Image source: newrepublic.com