A brand new study conducted by Johnathan Burnay (University of Belgium), Brad J. Bushman (Ohio State University) and Frank Laroi (University of Bergen) aims to shed light on the link of sexualized female characters in video games, and the harassment of female players online.
Before we begin, you can read the whole study here.
So let me break this study down as I understand it. A group of two hundred men and women (it isn’t mentioned how many were men and how many were women) were asked to play a modded version of Ultra Street Fighter 4, were two female characters were wearing very skimpy swimsuits, and then asked to play a version were the women were fully clothed.
Then the men and women were asked to check out some inoffensive and some, well…more spicy jokes to send to each other randomly. After the results were tallied it turns out that men sent a bunch of spicy jokes, while women sent a bunch of possibly offensive jokes to other women.
The ultimate goal of this study was to find a link between sexualized female characters in video games, and online harassment towards women. This is admirable, but it was also something of a smear campaign aimed to show that men will harass other women just because they saw some digital titties for a few minutes.
I read through the entire study and while I think the goal of this study is great, all it proves is that being a shitty person knows no gender. Men and women, for all our differences, are still human. Some people are very nice, some people are not so nice. Seeing a woman in a bikini isn’t going to make you more or less of blockhead.
Look, if you sexually or verbally harass someone, you’re an asshole, plain and simple. Finding out someone’s gender online shouldn’t be considered carte blanche to smother them with unwanted attention, and it shouldn’t be a benchmark for how good/bad they are at a video game.
Based on my experiences playing games online, both men and women have the ability to have a fun, hilarious and enjoyable time while play. Both parties are also capable of being entitled, whiny little shits, and it has nothing to do with who is wearing a swimsuit or not. Look, I’m not offering any answers here, but if you’re being harassing someone online, regardless of gender, you need to stop playing your game of choice and look at yourself in the mirror and make a damn change.