The case of sexism in the gaming community

by Aarav Kochar, Staff Writer

For so long, the gaming community has been portrayed as a toxic environment, as to where cases like the House Representative Marcus Evans Jr introduced a bill that banned the sale of violent games, but how toxic or friendly is the gaming community in real life? Is the common assumption that the video game industry as well as its community is nothing but unaccepting and sexist, or are those rumors false?

Video games have a broad history, dating back to the 50s. As the community evolved over time, more exposure has been in effect to these games. Video game developers have inherently made their video games disregarding the concept of diversity, which may be a possible reason as to why the community itself is sexist, which is an unfriendly message to newer gamers of different ethnic, religious, racial, and sexual backgrounds. In fact, many women have spoken out about this issue, one of them being the co-founder of Spring, has strong thoughts on the role of men and women in video games, stating how undeniable roles have been made in games, the men being strong and the women being attractive, and how it has an impact on the youth (Polianskya). There has been a recent wave of representation in games, however we still continue to ask what part of video games are sexist?

Several studies have shown that the problems and roots of sexism do not lay in the game itself, rather the community. For example, a recent multi-year study of German gamers might cast doubt on the idea that sexist content in video games can affect sexist attitudes in gamers. But the researchers behind the study caution that their findings shouldn’t be oversimplified. An 824 person survey which asked women’s role in society found that the majority were not sexist (Totilo). Another study conducted by Bègue et al (2017) found that sexism was prevalent in the community. French youth aged 11–19 years completed a survey measuring weekly video game and television exposure, religiosity, and sexist attitudes toward women. Controlling for gender and socioeconomic level, results showed that video game exposure and religiosity were both related to sexism. Results found that low socioeconomic status led to higher rates of sexism Television exposure and video game exposure were also both related to sexism at a bivariate level. 

One lingering question to take in account-how can this be reduced? We must work as a community as a whole to reduce sexism in the community, and make steps towards a better place for everyone to benefit from. Every person here has something to take away from this. To reduce sexism as a whole in society, we must work upon it, so the community can benefit. With a coming era of representation and change, it is time to overcome what has been a barrier for years. Change will be instilled at some point in time, and that time is now.