Gamers Who Harass Women Are Literally Losers, Says New Study

A new study shows that male gamers who harass female gamers are literally losers. The study, conducted by researchers Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, looked at interactions between Halo 3 players. It turned out that men generally interacted cordially with each other regardless of their skill level, and that highly-skilled male players interacted well with female players, but that low-skilled male players harassed female players.

Kasumovic thinks that Halo 3 is actually a really good stand-in for the real world: The players are anonymous, you can’t really control who you’re going to meet, and interactions are brief, so it’s easy to hurl a slur or a threat at someone and then fuck off into the distance, basically. Which is a lot like existing as a human in public, I’ll admit – not to mention existing on Twitter or Reddit, two spaces that, similar to Halo 3, have been historically male-dominated.

Kasumovic explained his theory on why low-skilled men were inclined to harass female players:

“As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank.”

Or, in other words, these guys were OK with their ranking in the game before there was an influx of female players who might displace them, and their reaction to this isn’t to, say, accept their low level of skill, or get better at the game, or maybe find something they’re more talented at doing, but rather to assume that harassing women in the hopes that we’d stop playing Halo would be the pro-social and self-aware way to go. But, like the study says, they are losers, so none of that should surprise anyone.

[Washington Post]

[Image via Shutterstock]

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