[HY Talk] Sexism in Online Games, What Do You Think?
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HY (Hanyang) Talk is a newly opened series in News H, which deals with different societal issues happening inside Korea. With different topics every time, around three to four students of HYU who wish to take part, will be joining. For their freedom of speech, their anonymity will be guaranteed.
This week, HY Talk selected a subject which is some of the most serious problem inside a gaming environment, sexism in online games. Discrimination of woman users inside a game is becoming more serious with the advent of a game called ‘Overwatch’ (which is a team-based shooting game from the Blizzards Entertainment) with increasing number of woman users. We have gathered 3 female users and 1 male users who think it is the reflection of gender inequality inside our society and that it should to be solved to create more clean and equal gaming environment.
Discrimination against woman users, how and why?
Chairperson: Hello everyone, thank you all for participating. Before we start our talk, please briefly introduce yourself.
A: Hello, I played computer games since last year. To me, it is a good hobby, I play it about three to four times a week, about 2 hours a day.
B: Hi, I also started playing it since last fall and I really enjoy playing games because I can fully concentrate during the short amount of time while feeling extremely excited, just as if I'm working out.
C: Nice to meet you all, I started playing games since last summer and Overwatch was my first computer game. It is now one of my good hobbies and I play it about twice a week during the weekends.
D: Hello, I also started playing it since the last summer and as I am the only male user in this conversation, I hope I can hear more perspectives of woman users and share mine as a male game user.
Chairperson: Now that all of you are active game users, we want to hear your opinions on discrimination towards female users in online games. What do you think?
A: People think picking a certain character inside a game has a relation with a user being a woman or a man. Inside ‘Overwatch’, I often play a character named ‘Mercy’ which is in a healer or support position. When I enter into a voice talk while I pick Mercy, users say ‘Oh you picked Mercy because you are a woman’. This, already is quite frustrating. What’s worse is that when the team is losing male users frequently blame women users. ‘We totally lost because of Mercy. Women are no good for the team.”
C: I had a very similar experience once. When I joined voice chat once by myself, I heard a member of the team saying “Did you borrowed your boyfriend’s account? Then you better try hard not to lose for him.” It was really annoying but scary at the same time. From that incident, I always join voice talk only when I am playing with my friend. Funny thing is that people don’t say that when I am with other male friends inside a voice chat.
B: I didn’t had personal experience like A and C but come to think of it, I think that is the reason why I have never joined voice talk on my own. When I started to play computer games, I saw in other SNSs (Social Networking Services) how woman users are frequently blamed without a legitimate reason. That is absurd and stupid and I thought I do not need to do voice talk if I am prone to be discriminated just because I am a woman.
Chairperson: Then, why do you guys think such unreasonable discrimination occurs in a gaming society? Would there be any specific reasons?
D: Even as a male user, I cannot possibly understand why they do that. I mean the woman users they encounter in a game is in a similar level or scores. On what standards can they blame women? To be honest, although it might sound a little funny, I think they do that simply because of bad experiences they had with women in real lives. Like, they must have had rejected brutally in a relationship.
A: When these users lose the game, they want to blame other people although it could be because of their lack of performance in the game. The target become a woman because they think women just can’t play game as good as male. It’s stupid.
B: I agree with what D and A have said. To add, I think it is because some men view women as a subject and image of ‘sex’. While a ‘user’ in a game is supposed to mean both male and female users, it becomes ' a woman user' when a player is a female.
Chairperson: What would be stereotypes woman users have to face because of their gender?
C: I think the most representative one is that men can play computer games better than women. It is because men think that games has been the hobby of men for a longer period, and increase of women in a gaming environment somewhat threatens them I guess.
B: While there are increasing number of women playing computer games, we are still minorities. I think that is why male users think women just can’t play games as well as themselves.
A: I agree, and I think I have to reflect on that too. Even as a woman myself, when I hear that another woman user is in a higher tier, I think ‘wow she is good although she is a woman’. I don’t think I would think the same if a male user is in a higher tier.
Chairperson: What could be the demerits woman users have to suffer because of such discrimination?
A: Participating in a voice talk is very important to win the game as it is a team-based shooting game. While better communication with other members is crucial, it is sad that a lot of woman users cannot do it as often because they are intimidated by male users.
D: I agree, the fact that woman users just cannot enjoy the game like other male users is unfair.
B: Just like any other users, I think I can be good in some games and not in other matches. Even if I played well in a one match, I have to hear ‘Oh you are good for a woman, which just makes me feel upset.
Chairperson: Thank you all for your frank and honest opinions. For the last question, what do you guys think is the possible solution for the issue?
A: I think there should be a policy inside a game where users can report on others who talks hate speech inside a game.
C: I agree, there are already other categories like ‘Trolling, bullying, and harassing’. Specific categories for reporting ‘This user disrespected another user because she is a woman’ should be installed inside a game.
B: Yes I think that is totally necessary and I hope more female progamers would appear to reduce misconception that a man somewhat has better genetic for games than a woman.
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of Yun Ji-hyun and Choo Hwa-jeong
Designed by Kim Hye-im
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