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Unit 2

Unit 2: Reflective Annotated Bibliography – Rough Draft

Introduction:

Playing video games is a past-time I’ve grown up with. Ever since I was little, I’ve enjoyed playing video games – whether it be playing Battlefront on the original Xbox with my brother or playing League of Legends with my friends on the computer. It’s something that allows me to just relax and relieve stress while having fun. Recently, I’ve been playing a new game called Valorant, which is a first-person shooter game. In this game, an important aspect of gameplay is not only shooting, but also communication and players communicate to each other by talking to each other through voice comms. This is where the problem comes in. There have been games in which as soon as I speak one word, sexist remarks come flying in. The game could be going along normally, but as soon as I make a mistake, it’s all my fault because girls suck at playing games and that I’m bringing the team down. And the alternative is that if I’m playing well, that I have someone else playing for me or that I’m hacking, because girls can’t be good at video games. Sadly, these types of interactions are not isolated interactions and occur very frequently to the female player base while playing video games. These interactions make me question why this behavior is normalized in the community and why it occurs in the first place. Especially in the world today, where gaming is now a very large community, with phone games and computer games being more normalized and genders and people of all ages are playing video games shouldn’t people be more open-minded while playing? I also want to see if there are any ways to help cut down the frequency of these negative interactions.

 

Source 1:

“The Sexist Problem of Overwatch & Gaming.” Youtube, Uploaded by SVB, 1 Jan, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0ZSBfLziE8.

This youtube video is a great video that gives a rundown of what female gamers go through while playing video games. It starts off by talking about general toxicity in the gaming community, then going specifically into the kinds of toxicity that is specialized to females. It shows clips of people saying remarks such as asking the girl for their snapchat, myspace, and such and when no response is made by the girl, saying that it’s typical woman behavior. He also talks about the topic I mentioned earlier (in my introduction) about saying how everyone games in the current times and how the community still can’t adjust to the new demographics of the  newly-much-more-diverse playerbase. He then goes into detail about the types of sexist remarks, talking about the most common ones, such as telling them to go back to the kitchen, to other more deep-rooted comments such as saying that they’re not even going to try because they have a girl on an important position of the team. He then shows a study that illustrates that men scientifically don’t even have an inherent advantage in playing video games. If this is true, why do these attitudes exist? He also mentions that it’s not only females that run into these interactions, and that it also happens to males as well. Males that have a higher pitched voice or talk more effeminately, are more likely to encounter harassment compared to other male gamers. This brings up the idea that the lack of masculinity in these players that’s what makes them a target of this abuse. These players associate gaming as a competitive, masculine type of activity and that anything that goes against these values of gaming culture is something to target. At the end of a video, the creator proposes an idea to try and help reduce the amount of sexism within this community.

I think that this video does a great job on running through the issues of the problem at hand. The fact that this genre is a video, allows people to actually hear and see actual footage of the remarks being made, which allows the viewers to better understand the situation at hand. By hearing the tone of voice these remarks were being made in and seeing how uncomfortable the recipient of these remarks were, shows how negative these interactions are for the victims. Also throughout the video, the author includes statistics and facts from published journals as well, to bulk up his credibility instead of just filling the video with anecdotal evidence. Pathos and ethos were used in order to develop his argument and at the end of the video he comes up with a plan to reduce the frequency of harassment to women gamers, which is to speak out when one sees this kind of stuff occurring and calls it the #SpeakUp movement.. By building up his argument and showing that his viewers that this is a big problem gamers are facing, could imbue a sense of responsibility in these viewers to want to create some sort of change and to join his #SpeakUp movement as well. 

Quotable: “Very frequently just the sound of a female voice or the thought that a girl might be on the team seems to ignite some primal sense of stupidity in almost a large section of the male player base.“

Source 2: 

Kowert, Rachel, Johannes Breuer, and Thorsten Quandt. 2017. “Women Are From FarmVille, Men Are From ViceCity.” New Perspectives on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming 136–50. 

Why does misogynistic sentiment occur in the gaming community in the first place? This article gives us an insight on why this might happen. It talks about how these ideas might be deep rooted from childhood. Growing up, video games are associated with an activity more fitted for males. Males are more frequently found with gaming consoles than females and these consoles were associated with being “boy toys”. Female participation in activities related to video games while growing up caused them to be rejected by their peers which further pushed the narrative that gaming is a male-dominated activity. With these ideas deeply ingrained into these children while growing up, it might have influenced these sexist mindsets as these children grew up. Another factor might be the female representation in video games themselves. Female representation in video games is very sparse, and in the rare chance that there is, the women are suggestively dressed, or are just bystanders in the game. Issues such as this along with several other issues highlighted in the article might contribute to this issue of sexism in the gaming culture.  

This journal entry was pretty interesting to me as it highlighted some of the reasons on how this sexist culture could have came to be. The reasonings that the journal presented actually made sense too. One of the main points that the author said that I found relatable was the point about the gender roles while growing up as a child. I can say that for me, my parents tried enforcing these ideas on me as well. They hated the idea of me playing games but wasn’t against the idea of my brother playing the same video games. I feel like if it applied to my household, the same would apply to other households as well. There was one line in the journal that stated, “Taken together, these results suggest that some male players may view female players as a threat to their social identity and, therefore, attempt to demonstrate their superiority and defend what they to be consider “their” domain by insulting and harassing female players,” which is a point that I also think is true. To give a personal anecdote, while playing Valorant, there were multiple times when I would perform better than the players on the team, and that would cause more rude remarks than usual to be tossed at my way. In order to defend themselves of their poor performance in the game, they tried to boost their egos by trying to put me “back in my place” to feel better about themselves. 

I feel like this is an appropriate genre to educate readers about this topic. Since this is a research journal, it allows the readers to take in the facts without any questioning about the validity of the information presented. This allows for readers to establish an idea on why sexism in the gaming world exists, and although correlation does not necessarily equal causation, it can give way to provide an explanation on why something occurs. 

Quotable: “Taken together, these results suggest that some male players may view female players as a threat to their social identity and, therefore, attempt to demonstrate their superiority and defend what they to be consider “their” domain by insulting and harassing female players,”

Source 3:

D’Anastasio, Cecilia. 2018. “Inside The Culture Of Sexism At Riot Games.” Kotaku. Retrieved April 11, 2021 (https://kotaku.com/inside-the-culture-of-sexism-at-riot-games-1828165483).

Some might argue that these interactions only occur in the virtual space because interactions are anonymous and there are no repercussions to these actions, however this article states that this isn’t the case either. This article talks about sexism within one of the worlds biggest gaming companies, Riot Games. Although the company states that they have a zero tolerance policy on discrimination, harassment, and general toxicity, the claims given in the article show actions that were much different from what the company’s motto is. The article goes through first hand experiences of these women experiencing sexism and vulgar actions by their coworkers, and even the higher-ups of the company. Criticisms, given to female employees that were never given to male employees, included things such as calling the hire annoying, too ambitious, or too loud. Multiple accounts of experiences that employees have faced while working for Riot paint the image of blatant sexism that runs rampant within this company. 

I honestly find it upsetting that even though in our society today, which I believe is the most open-minded our society has been since a long time, that problems like this are still prevalent within our workforce. Feeling safe and accepted in a workplace is one of the most important factors for me when working somewhere. The fact that factors such as your gender, rather than factors such as your accomplishments, can be the basis of how you’re treated in a workplace upsets me a lot. Within the article, the author also brings up the idea of meritocracy, which is the idea that people who work hard will eventually get rewarded for their hard work and rise through the ranks and is usually a big notion in tech companies. However, based on the stories these women have told, this idea doesn’t hold true and the author further supports this by providing statistic proving that only a very small population of women hold a leadership position in these companies which further highlights the discrimination faced by women in not only the Riot Games company, but in other big tech companies as well. The article also mentions that there is a branch in the company that deals with diversity and inclusion initiatives at Riot Games led by a woman named Soha El-Sabaawi. But seeing as the company still remains and keeps its sexist attitudes, which makes me wonder if the company even enforces El-Sabaawi’s initiatives in trying to create a more inclusive environment, which further shows the state of the misogyny within this company. 

These first person accounts of these women experiencing sexism within their workplaces adds to the persuasiveness of the writing, just like the Youtube video in the first source. By adding their own personal experiences shows that not everyone goes through the same kind of discrimination, which highlights each woman’s story even more.

Quotable: “When I described El-Sabaawi’s and Kubushyna’s efforts to Rioters familiar with the company’s recruiting practices, one said, “In the end, you can disguise a pig with lipstick, but it’s still a pig, man.” 

 

Conclusion:

As you hopefully see by now, women in the gaming community face sexism and misogyny, both in the online and offline space. Even though gaming is an activity that’s become a lot more mainstream than it once had been, the idea of women in the gaming space is still not accepted by many. While playing video games, it’s not a bizarre sight to see a female gamer get called out by teammates just solely due to their gender. These behaviors can be attributed to the fact that gender roles in childhood can play a factor in building this mindset. By engraning the idea that boys are more suited to play video games, it normalizes the idea that gaming is a male only past-time. As this idea becomes internalized, these behaviors will not only begin to show in video games, but also in real life as well. 

I honestly was surprised when I found out that about 50% of gamers are female, because I also still believed gaming was predominantly a male-dominated culture. The fact that I also grew up assuming and believing that women were the minority group in gaming shows the mindset that I developed due to all the negative interactions that I’ve also experienced while growing up and while playing video games. Another fact that I found very alarming is the fact that these sentiments are not only expressed online, but offline as well, in spaces such as a work environment. It’s hard to take in that such behavior is normalized when so much of the world nowadays is focused on inclusivity of genders and races of all kinds. It’s important to educate ourselves on topics such as these to help prevent the spread of these ideas. 

The people that need to hear this the most obviously are the people that act this way and act on these misogynistic beliefs. In an ideal world, if they knew the impact that their words had on these women, they would feel just a little bit of remorse and stop acting in these ways. However, I feel like this is very unlikely, as they already know the impact of their words on these women but just have zero care. Which is why I believe that it’s more important for every gamer in general to be educated about this kind of behavior to help prevent the spread of this mentality and to help stop it when they see it occurring. Although female acceptance in the gaming community won’t happen overnight, baby steps can be made in the right direction by educating you and your peers around you to help build and create a more open-minded and accepting community. 

 

References: 

“The Sexist Problem of Overwatch & Gaming.” Youtube, Uploaded by SVB, 1 Jan, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0ZSBfLziE8.

Kowert, Rachel, Johannes Breuer, and Thorsten Quandt. 2017. “Women Are From FarmVille, Men Are From ViceCity.” New Perspectives on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming 136–50. 

D’Anastasio, Cecilia. 2018. “Inside The Culture Of Sexism At Riot Games.” Kotaku. Retrieved April 11, 2021 (https://kotaku.com/inside-the-culture-of-sexism-at-riot-games-1828165483).

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