Recently, an interesting article from Buzzfeed was shared with me, citing a study from the University of New South Wales that ultimately concluded that men who harassed women online (specifically in the gaming arena) were, in a very literal sense, losers.
I gave this some thought and I have to agree that there’s a lot of truth to this. It all boils down to what I already figured: people (men or women) who have the time to harass anyone else are obviously doing so to drag someone down to their level or lower. These people are trying to compensate for their own personal failings. In this article, they say that often (in their experience), the men who would lash out and make rude or disparaging comments to women were mainly doing so because they were losing. The idea of “losing to a girl” was repugnant to them. On the other hand, guys who were winning or on the same tier as the woman player would be respectful and nice, possibly nicer than they were towards the guys in the match with them.
On some level, this might also just be a reflection of immature people who never grew up. These are the types of people who, as an 8-year-old, could not stand being beaten by a girl. They also might just be the types who couldn’t stand losing to anyone else, period. My friend Jeremy Stratton pointed out that this might be a reflection of what they view as “weak:” if there were all guys in a match, they might pick on the guy they perceived as weak for whatever reason. In a mixed-gender match, they could choose to pick on the woman. What would that tell us about that particular person’s mindset?
But, I think the study is flawed. They admit that they focused on Halo 3, which is a first person shooter – a genre dominated by male players. I personally wonder how their findings would be if they instead chose to focus on a competitive aspect of an MMORPG that had a more balanced player field. What then?
Anyway, what do you guys (and girls) think?