A new study provides evidence that yes Virginia in online gaming women are harassed much more than men. (This is in sharp contrast to philosophy, math, computer science, engineering, the military…wait…)
Using Halo 3 and choosing its most popular playlist as a sample group, they established three gamer tags, each assigned to either a pre-recorded male or female voice, or no voice at all, and recorded the reactions of their opponents after playing back innocous phrases designed to engage, but not anger, them (ex: “Hi everybody” or “I like this map”).
Taking into account negative and positive comments as well as neutral queries, this simple experiment (the full methodology of which you can read here) revealed that of the three gamertags, the one established as female received “roughly three times as many” directly negative comments than the male or control (no voice) gamertag did.
While the conclusions are unsurprising to anyone who plays games online, nonetheless the study provides verifiable evidence that women are in fact on the receiving end of a disproportionate amount of verbal abuse, and the many entries at Fat, Ugly, or Slutty are not isolated incidents so much as they are a grim illustration of status quo.
And the verbal abuse is just for being female, not for saying anything irritating like “I have an opinion on this.”
H/t Sarah Moglia.