Men who suck at games more likely to harass women, study finds
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This isn’t new information to anyone who has been harassed online, but a study has now confirmed our suspicions by saying, categorically, that men who suck at gaming are more likely to harass women.
Dun dun dun. Okay, so it isn’t shocking news, or, sadly, surprising news, but it’s comforting to see validation appearing by way of scientific study. Two researchers took it upon themselves to study how men behaved towards women in over 163 playthroughs of Halo 3.
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What they discovered was that men who kept losing, aka dying a lot, were more likely to be rude and abusive to female players. On the flip side, the men who did well were generally friendly, both to male and female players.
Let me preface what’s been said by saying there’s a lot of stereotypical gender theory involved in this one, so buckle up.
“Low-status males that have the most to lose,” explained the researchers. They said that this is “due to a hierarchical reconfiguration”, with those low-status males “responding to the threat female competitors pose". When compared to those they labelled as "high-status males”, it was found that because they had the “least to fear” they were “more positive” towards other players.
The researchers, who herald from the University of New South Wales and the Miami University in Ohio, went on to detail how some of the men playing Halo appeared to be “thrown off” when they heard a woman speaking during their playthroughs. Before suggesting that young men need to be taught not to feel like losing to a woman is “socially debilitating”.
A lot to unpack there, and none of it is news to the countless gamers who experience this kind of online abuse every time they play. However, it’s important for us to make it clear that one study does not equal solid facts; more studies need to be conducted, on larger groups of gamers, different games, etc for the evidence to really solidify into something official.
So, all you PlayStation and Xbox fanboys who like to spit some harsh comments on your mics as you play – maybe don’t do that? You don’t want to reveal how much you suck at video games any more than your skills already show.