A journal article I wrote with some colleagues, “Do Men Advance Faster Than Women? Debunking the Gender Performance Gap in Two Massively Multiplayer Online Games”, was published in the Journal of Mediated-Computer Communication and has received more press than anything I’ve written previously (which was not hard to beat). This is likely because we put out a piece about the journal article on TheConversation, a site where researchers try to make their work more publicly accessible. That article was picked up a few other sites, including ifuckinglovescience, and this led to a few other articles (MSU, LSJ).
Now, if only people cared about the psychology of avatar use as much as they apparently care about video games and gender…
ARE GIRL GAMERS REALLY WORSE THAN GUYS?By Nick Fouriezos
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because false stereotypes in gaming can lead to fewer girls in STEM, too.
Belinda Van Sickle was scared. What had started as an online debate over media ethics in video game journalism had erupted into a visceral campaign of harassment toward women in the industry. Threats to dox, rape or even murder were consolidated by certain gamers under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate. It got so bad that Van Sickle, executive director of Women in Games International, bought motion-detector lights for her home and added multilevel password security to all her financial sites. Even today, two years later, Van Sickle says she sees how the controversy hurt the recruitment of female gaming pros, and the episode fueled perceptions of rampant sexism throughout the gaming world. “It was a scary time for the industry, and it really hasn’t ended,” Van Sickle told OZY. “If you were on the fence about staying, this pushed you over the edge.”
The misogyny that boiled over then, and simmers today, has many roots, but much of it stems from the idea that women are impostors. Never mind that there are more adult women playing games than teenage-and-younger boys, according to the Entertainment Software Association’s 2016 report. Demographics aside, the assumption that women are less suited for gaming is on shaky scientific ground. Sorry to tell you, boys, but …
I wrote part of a “pro/con” piece for CQ Researcher about whether video gaming has a gender gap. Although we were on opposite columns, Dr. Kishonna Gray and I made similar arguments: the gap seems to have closed in casual gaming, but not in more competitive, online gaming spaces. This is likely because of the hostility toward and stereotypes about women and girls that are prevalent in these spaces.
Here’s my half of the piece.
Me and my antics …did some rapping at the International Communication Association conference in Japan.