She got game

Should sexual harassment of women in online games have real world consequences?


  1. Video games are big business, rivaling both the film and music industries in terms of annual revenue. With the worldwide video game market expected to reach $100 billion by 2017, and a global online gamer population of 700 million people, the industry has come a long way since the days of Pong and Super Mario Bros.

    Female players account for about 46 per cent of the gamer population, yet the perception that video games are developed for, and played exclusively by, men persists. For some female gamers, this perception makes them "outsiders" subject to harassment during online play
  2. In one notorious incident, a female player was taunted with questions about her bra size and physically smelled by her coach as punishment for losing a round in the game Cross Assault:
  3. Day 1: Sexual Harassment on Cross Assault
  4. Many women report instances of being insulted by other gamers online, with words like "fat", "ugly", and "slut" :
  5. I'm the ugly fat chick you play Xbox with #xbox #xboxlive #gamerchick #xnox360
    I'm the ugly fat chick you play Xbox with #xbox #xboxlive #gamerchick #xnox360
  6. In discussing the prevalence of sexism in online gaming, some place blame on the industry itself, citing the abundance of hypersexualised female game characters and the disproportionately  low number of female game developers.
  7. Others, however, attribute the harassment to the competitive nature of certain video games and the anonymity of the Internet. Media critic and blogger Anita Sarkeesian points to a gamer culture that gives credibility to players for "increasingly brazen and abusive attacks" against others:
  8. Anita Sarkeesian at TEDxWomen 2012
  9. In response, some video game developers have begun implementing systems that take more proactive stances against harassment. Riot Games - makers of the popular "League of Legends" game - recently introduced a "Tribunal" system that lets players vote on reported incidents of harassment. Microsoft's Xbox One reputation system was also developed to segregate low-rated players from the rest of its online community.
  10. IGN News - Xbox One Reputation System Explained
  11. The Stream asked its community if players should be held accountable for sexual harassment in online gaming. Here are some of the responses: