In the toxic environment of online gaming, women play incognito, pretend to be male or say nothing to avoid harassment
In an extract from her book, Game Changers: From Minecraft to Misogyny, the Fight for the Future of Videogames (co-authored by Dan Golding), Leena van Deventer writes candidly about a time she was sexually harassed online.
She was playing Team Fortress 2, an online multiplayer shooter, and one of her favourite games. Van Deventer had just “splurged” on a new headset with headphones and microphone with an exciting feature: voice modifiers “that made me sound like a cool robot or a huge giant”. Once she began speaking in-game, however, there was what she calls “the reaction”:
Women talked about Gamergate, not wanting it to happen to them. They were genuinely frightened by the idea
Things like, ‘Get back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich,’ don’t get picked up, because sandwich isn’t a slur