Thesis

Sexual harassment in online video games and female gamer identity

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2018.

With the advent of the GamerGate movement, the sexual harassment of women in the video game industry and the community as a whole has gained increased mainstream attention. Despite the fact that women make up around half of the gaming community they have long been harassed for their interest in video games. In order to deal with this harassment women have developed many different coping mechanisms, which often mirror offline coping behaviors of targets of sexual harassment. Using Identity Control Theory, this article seeks to explore how the interactions of the harassment they receive and the coping mechanisms used to combat the harassment affect their female gamer identity. Interviews were conducted online using voice and text chat with 17 female gamers in which they were asked about their gaming habits, their definition of gamer, types of harassment received, coping mechanisms used, etc. This study found that the coping mechanisms used by the participants helped to minimize the effects of sexual harassment and helped to preserve their identity. However, these same coping mechanisms often limited the resources available to the participants to perform and
 reinforce their identity online and in the greater gaming community, suggesting a potential impact on their identity.

With the advent of the GamerGate movement, the sexual harassment of women in the video game industry and the community as a whole has gained increased mainstream attention. Despite the fact that women make up around half of the gaming community they have long been harassed for their interest in video games. In order to deal with this harassment women have developed many different coping mechanisms, which often mirror offline coping behaviors of targets of sexual harassment. Using Identity Control Theory, this article seeks to explore how the interactions of the harassment they receive and the coping mechanisms used to combat the harassment affect their female gamer identity. Interviews were conducted online using voice and text chat with 17 female gamers in which they were asked about their gaming habits, their definition of gamer, types of harassment received, coping mechanisms used, etc. This study found that the coping mechanisms used by the participants helped to minimize the effects of sexual harassment and helped to preserve their identity. However, these same coping mechanisms often limited the resources available to the participants to perform and reinforce their identity online and in the greater gaming community, suggesting a potential impact on their identity.

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