Sexual harassment in the gaming world: a real life problem for female gamers. – Slate Magazine

Online harassment is a phenomenon as old as online gaming itself, and it is not necessarily limited to victimizing women—although they are arguably its most visible and numerous targets. A recent New York Times article has given a mainstream voice to the problem and detailed the attack on feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who, after conducting a successful Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising money to examine misogynist tropes in gaming, was in for it. The Kickstarter campaign garnered Sarkeesian plenty of attention, both from the gaming media and those who turned to online harassment in order to silence and denounce her. Her Wikipedia page was vandalized, her website hacked, and a Flash game was created where a player could beat a likeness of her black and blue. Mind you, Sarkeesian’s proposed project hasn’t even gotten off the ground—this is just the response to her planning and getting a decent sum of money to do so.


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4 thoughts on “Sexual harassment in the gaming world: a real life problem for female gamers. – Slate Magazine

  1. It is shocking how harassment like this gets swept under the rug and is not brought to light in the media s often as it should be. Yes there is a clear difference between physically assaulting someone and harassing someone online. But if there are laws against online bullying and laws against personal attacks or emotional harassment, why wouldn’t there be some type of precedent set for reprimanding sexual harassment online? I don’t know much about the progression of this issue, which is also a problem since no clear resolution has been highlighted.

    On the other hand, there is a whole other problem of the virtual world being compared to the real world. If sexual assaults are punishable, then does theft in virtual realities become punishable as well? What are the limitations of activity in terms of crime become and who becomes responsible for making these limitations?

  2. I agree with you Kaitlin that this type of harassment is rarely exposed and taken into full consideration. I know from experience that this problem goes on everyday in the gaming world, yet is not debated with devotion. It’s not even just females that are getting harassed but many young gamers under the age of 18 as well. The things that are said over the microphone while playing may be intended as a joke but can affect individuals emotionally far more than what was intended. I think cyber bullying can lead to extremes such as suicide as it was with the Amanda Todd case. These types of harassment that go on in the virtual world should not be taken lightly and addressed with full consideration.

  3. I’m not really into games so I do not know of the many troubles that come along with it. I know of the typical trash talking that goes on while playing, but not so much of the disrespect that goes on against women gamers. Of course my vision was of young teens and adults doing this, so it was more surprising to know that these male gamers are on average 30 years old. It is even more shocking that this is not taken seriously. It should be taken just as serious as bullying at school is. It can have the same effects causing someone to do negative things as an outcome.

  4. As a gamer, I have experienced this firsthand, I have been playing online with females before who were definitely mistreated or harassed because of their sex. This is not only applied to video games, but also real life. We had a female wrestler at a school next to my hometown who also wrote an article about sexual harassment for females in non female-oriented activities. I feel like the nature of video gamers(34 year old men cooped up in their parents basement, already lends itself to bullying. female gamers and other females in male dominated activities, immediately have an obvious disadvantage of being a minority and with any minority fall victim to groupthink or harassment. The anonymity of videogames also makes it easier for someone to harass others.

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