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Sexual Harassment In Gaming: The New York Times Takes Notice

sjohnson

Posted August 2, 2012 - By Stephen Johnson

Sexual Harassment In Gaming: The New York Times Takes NoticeThe issue of sexual harassment (and sexism in general) in games has been an issue for a long time, but over the last few months, the pot's been boiling over a bit. So much so that The New York Times, has taken notice and posted an article on the subject.

Here are some of the incidents that have led to the issue being "picked up" by the mainstream press:

  • A few months ago, gamer Miranda Pakozdi, in a game tournament, is so badly harassed by her own coach that she walks from the tournament. Check out the video for a look at how decent people never behave. (Seriously, watch it. It's incredibly creepy and embarrassing.) Bakhtanians goes on to defend his actions, describing sexual harassment as "part of the fighting game community."
  •  Tom Cannon, co-founder of EVO, pulled his company’s sponsorship of web series LevelUp, saying that “we cannot continue to let ignorant, hateful speech slide.” Here's a video of LevelUp's commentators, in case you're curious what caused the reaction.
  • Documentary maker Anita Sarkeesian started a kickstarter to raise $6,000 to document how women are portrayed in games, and her YouTube and Facebook pages were instantly flooded with hate-filled comments. She reportedly had her life threatened, and someone even created a game called "Beat up Anita Sarkeesian." On the other side of the coin, she's raised over $150,000 for her film, though she only asked for $6,000.

While these are the highest-profile, recent examples of outright hostility toward women in gaming, smaller examples are documented daily on blogs like Fat, Ugly or Slutty, which exists to document examples of sexism from gaming communities.

Thankfully, the industry itself is beginning to take the issue more seriously. Microsoft recently held a meeting about how to better police Xbox Live, and more and more industry professionals are speaking out on the issue. James Portnow, a game designer who has worked on Call of Duty and Farmville, put it this way:

“Right now, it’s like we gave the school bully access to the intercom system and told him that everyone would hear whatever he had to say. It’s time we take away that megaphone.”

So, what do you guys think? How sexist is gaming compared to other hobbies? Is it time to take away the mic and try to make gaming more civil?

SourceThe New York Times

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