In the fall of 2010, I created an installation in my college’s student art gallery.My installation featured a welded sculpture that held two Xbox controllers (one pink, one blue). The controllers had MP3 players installed inside them, and headsets attached to the MP3 players, allowing the viewer to interact with the sculpture by listening to audio while reading the banners placed around the room.
The banners contained phrases from the transcripts of audio I had recorded while playing Call of Duty on Xbox live. The pink controller played audio that is somewhat typical of a woman’s experience gaming online, and the blue controller played more male-based audio.
Since it is a war game, it is considered genuinely unusual to find a female playing Call of Duty, and some of the males playing the game react with hostility when confronted by a female gamer… especially if the girl gets a better score than them. However, the insults thrown at female players are generally predictable, and dated. It’s a stereotype that all female gamers are: fat, ugly, lonely, bad at video games, and should be in the kitchen, making a sandwich.
And that’s essentially the focus of my blog- the dated, hostile, and sometimes downright weird reactions men, and occasionally even other women, have to interacting with females in an anonymous setting that is considered to be male dominated (online video games, specifically first person shooters). Obviously sexism isn’t the only problem prevalent in online gaming, it’s just the one I’ve chosen to focus on.
This behavior is something that most female gamers will have to face at some point if they choose to game online. The aim of my project is education; some people genuinely have no idea this is going on. By exposing this type of behavior, I’m hoping to raise awareness- and possibly push people to remember that it’s a real live person on the other side of that microphone.