Gaming has always been taken as a hobby. Teenagers come from school, throw away their bags and concentrate on their video games. However, nowadays this concept has changed. There is no age limit to playing video games. Also, with the immersion of different social media platforms, gaming has become a career for a lot of people. Live streaming from morning till night, playing in tournaments, and entertaining a whole community of followers; this is what their job represents to us, as viewers. However, It consists of much more effort and creativity.
Women in the gaming industry
Gaming can be either solitary or in groups, with people from all over the globe. In both ways, gamer women receive an interesting amount of hate and insults, either in the comment box or by fellow gamers. This highlights how the industry is a male-dominated one which puts women in numerous uncomfortable situations.
I’m a feminist media scholar, and as such, I don’t believe in gender essentialism. While sex is biological, gender is a social construct. We are trained from childhood to behave in certain gendered ways.Kate Miltner
In this industry, there is often a general belief that gaming and tech are naturally and biologically the territories of men. Therefore, if a woman wins or commits the slightest mistake while playing male gamers will attack her with sexist slurs. In fact, around 40% of female gamers have experienced some form of abuse from male gamers while playing online.
Put down the controller and make me a sandwich.Said by a male gamer.
The story starts with marketing. In fact, it has always portrayed gaming as a male occupation. Different video game advertisements target only men and exile women. In some cases, they represent females as a source of annoyance. This has led to men feeling empowered and they consequently appropriate the industry as their own. Additionally, female characters in video games are often sexualized with exaggerated figures and tend to be visions of ‘male fantasies’ and objects to violence and rape. This paved the way for female gamers to be ostracized in the industry and accepted only as objects of sexualization.
In the gaming industry, 20% of female gamers have experienced sexual harassment from male or other gamers in the form of objectifying comments or death and rape threats. In fact, a survey conducted in the US, Germany, and China, found that 59% of women hide their gender to avoid abuse and sexism.
Molly fender Ayala, a Twitch streamer and community development lead for the video game Overwatch, posted a tweet in which she exposed Omeed Dariani, the C.E.O. of online performer groups, a talent management agency that works with many streamers, of inappropriate advancement and sexual harassment. Later on, he stepped down as the firm’s C.E.O.
Molly was not the only woman who tried to expose the abuse that she went through in the industry. Many other women are speaking out and voicing their opinions about this matter, as it is something that concerns all of them. However, the harasser sometimes does not pay the price of his actions and gets a free pass.
When it’s one call-out, it’s a problem with a person, When there’s a ton of call-outs, it’s a problem with the industry.Brooke Thorne, a streamer and a gamer.
Most women have chosen the safest road, hiding their identity and gender online. This can create a safe space for them, to play as much as they want without being called out and afraid. However, many women have chosen to step back from gaming online with other people, to avoid any sexist encounters. In all these cases, women are being exiled one more time and shamed for their gender. The problem should be cured of its roots. Platforms, such as Twitch should take steps to mitigate sexism.
However, female gamers have not given up on their rights yet and are looking for ways to expose abusers or find alternatives to play in a safe environment.
Female gamers are standing up for each other in solidarity to call out abusers. Female gamers are canceling men who are called out for sexist behavior or harassment toward other fellow female gamers. In addition, a group of women, “The Bully Hunters”, are going after harassers. While playing, female gamers that receive any misplaced comment are advised to report it to “The Bully Hunters”. Women who are part of that group are called to action to take down the reported harasser in CS:GO games.
Women will always find ways to overcome obstacles and defeat the sexism that they encounter in their day-to-day activities or jobs. Therefore here are some amazing female streamers, that are excelling in their careers:
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