As a pretty avid Xbox aficianado and also a person with two X chromosomes, this Betabeat reporter was unsurprised to read in the New York Times today about the seriousness of sexism in gaming culture. We gave up using a mic on Xbox Live long ago, the slew of vicious insults hurled at us just for having a girly voice not worth it when we could happily kick friends’ asses on local co-op mode, no slurs necessary.
But the Times‘s piece hammers home just how rampant the degradation is, and it’s pretty jarring. In one video clip embedded in the article, a female gamer’s coach threatens to “smell her” as punishment for losing a round in Cross Assault. It’s not the creepiest thing we’ve ever seen, but it comes damn close.
Writes the Times:
In other game communities, however, sexual threats, taunts and come-ons are common, as is criticism that women’s presence is “distracting” or that they are simply trying to seek attention. Some have been offered money or virtual “gold” for online sex. Some have been stalked online and in person.
In good news, however, some gamer bigshots are taking measures to weed out sexism in gaming. “The nasty undercurrent in the scene isn’t a joke or a meme,” one gaming tournament cofounder told the Times. “It’s something we need to fix.”
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some yelping skags to kill in Borderlands.