Men Who Harass Women in Online Games are Sore Losers
Researchers have found men who throw sexist comments at women are reacting to an upset in their hierarchy, trying to retain their dominance.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
I prefer my gameplay without sexual harassment, but on any given evening that may not be in the cards when I hop online to play Call of Duty. I've learned to take these rare vocal assaults with a heavy sigh and the understanding that trolls are much like bullies: They harass others as a way to cope with their own insecurities. But I've always wondered why women always seemed to be singled out. Were their sexists remarks really of the same mentality as a bully; researchers say, in a way, yes.
Michael M. Kasumovic and Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff, researchers at the University of New South Wales and Miami University, respectively, have published a new study that delves into the reasoning behind the sexist behavior that has become expected in certain corners of the online world, as well as in gaming.
They write that even though “there is much research dedicated to understanding sexist behavior, we have almost no insight into what triggers this behavior and the individuals that initiate it.” What's more interesting is that “social constructionist theory argues that sexism is a response towards women entering a male-dominated arena; this perspective doesn’t explain why only a subset of males behave in this way.”
In an effort to understand, the researchers observed 163 sessions of play in the online video game Halo 3. The researchers tracked comments thrown at one another, taking note of skill and smack-talk between a majority of the male players. They observed that no matter the skill level, the men tended to be cordial with one another. Even the best players, not threatened by their peers, paid compliments to male and female players throughout the matches.
The researchers found that the men most likely to insult their fellow female players tended to be, well, losers or players of less skill. Even though games do not belong to men — they are played almost equally by men and women — there is a clear divide in the types of games men like to play versus the ones women like to play. In first-person shooters, like Halo and Call of Duty, women are among the minority and a better female player, the researchers say, disrupts that hierarchy of a male-dominated community.
They write that it's all part of an old Neanderthal coping mechanism to prevent the shake-up of an existing hierarchy:
“As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank.”
The researchers indicate in their paper “that a way to counter it may be through teaching young males that losing to the opposite sex is not socially debilitating.” So, parents, don't tell your boys that they “throw like girls.” It sends a bad message.
If you want to hear a first-hand account of online trolling, you should listen to the episode of This American Life where Lindy West of Jezebel confronted one of her own internet trolls and received an apology.
Read more at Plos One.
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Staff
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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