For the advancing series, Code Word, we’re exploring if — and how — technology can assure individuals adjoin sexual advance and harassment, and how it can help and abutment survivors.

Although civic stereotypes have you assertive the gaming industry is an arena of adulthood for men-only, women absolutely make up almost half of video game players. But admitting their numbers, women are not advised appropriately and are often accountable to online abuse and sexual aggravation from male gamers. 

The subreddit /r/GirlGamers, which currently boasts over 80,000 members, however, aims to adjust this. It does so by accouterment an online association space for people of all genders and identities in the gaming industry to connect, game together, altercate the realities of being a woman or non-binary in the industry, and share the casual meme that I’m sure every non-binary and woman gamer can relate to.

For example, the comic analogy of a woman using voice chat online and anon audition article along the lines of: “Hey, eGirl! I wanna eat you out and suck on your toes.” 

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Or the archetypal acknowledgment of a man acumen he just might be arena a video game with a… girl. As he squints into the depths of abashing and despair, he questions: “Wait a sec, you’re a girl?” Followed by the inevitable: “You must be some fat ugly whore, are you Pmsing?”

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These memes, also known as actual real adventures women face online, harmlessly inject fun into the aggravation women in gaming face on a daily basis. But they also raise acquaintance of the realities of abuse while accumulation a association of women who may be advertent abrogation the industry once and for all. 

The associates of GirlGamers use the space to catechism how others cope with the connected battery of sexual harassment. One gamer asked under the “Venting” category: “Why can’t I just leave my mic on and play a game?!” after accepting creepy comments from men or not been taken actively by other gamers.  

Others in the group accompanying to this issue with some comparing the absence acknowledgment of “just turn your mic off” as the agnate of “just wear more bourgeois clothing” to not allure harassment. 

Having a mic switched on during gaming doesn’t just advance the game experience, it’s also an befalling for gamers to affix with one another. With so many women opting to mute their voice, this added perpetuates the average that gaming is just for men. 

Other queries accommodate questions from women that would’ve most likely been downvoted on any other male-dominated forum. For example, one member asked about the best gaming headphones to use with her newly healing earlobe double piercings.

Jamie Klouse, who helped to create the forum, told The Outline: “Had that been posted on /r/gaming or addition large male-dominated community, it would have been downvoted to abeyance for being extraneous to their interests, and because of the almost low allotment of women in the association compared to men, the thread likely would have never been seen by any other women who might find it to be an absorbing topic.” 

But just how bad is sexual aggravation in the gaming industry?

Many women gamers avoid online gaming altogether whilst others opt to remain bearding to avoid assured harassment. A study appear by Bryter last year found that one-third of women who play video games consistently acquaintance abuse or bigotry from other male gamers online. Of those, over half accomplished verbal abuse and 10 percent have even been threatened with rape. 

But women are blame back. Earlier this month, KaceyTron, a longtime gaming banderole with almost half a actor followers on Twitch, raised acquaintance about online sexual aggravation by organizing a “SlutStream” where women gamers reunited to accost the acceptation of “slut” — an insult often abominably hurled at female gamers. 

However, the botheration isn’t just amid gamers. Just last month, the gaming accouterments brand Razer appear it wouldn’t renew Gabriela Cattuzzo’s contract, a accepted Brazilian video game banderole with almost 90k followers on Twitch. The accommodation came after Cattuzzo posted a series of now-deleted tweets advertence that “men are trash” in acknowledgment to the online sexual aggravation she faced on the approved — which Razer Brazil considers to be “extremism.” 

In this specific case, Cattuzzo’s ‘extremist’ animadversion were in acknowledgment to a male Twitter user commenting on a photo of Cattuzzo riding a automated bull with, “You can ride me as much as you want” in Portuguese.

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