I have been playing online games for more than 10 years now. The majority of these years I played World of Warcraft (for the Horde! btw). Not once in all these years have I encountered someone calling me names because of my gender. The majority of people I played with were supportive and encouraging. Not once was I left out of a raid because I am a woman.
During the thousands of hours which I played DOTA 2, I encountered the first males to call me names because of my gender. I got to hear how bad I was, and I should rather make some sandwiches than ruining their games. I guess I don’t have to mention that I played better than some of these individuals. Gender shaming in DOTA 2 occurred once in every 20 games I played, since it did not happen that often it was pretty easy to shrug it off and keep playing.
But it all changed when I started playing Counter Strike Global Offensive in the summer of 2014. It was the first FPS I ever played and I have to admit, I was really bad at it. I got ranked Silver 2. This is when the first males told me to uninstall. It’s not a big deal realizing other bad players get to hear the same words frequently. In the last year I managed to rank up to Legendary Eagle, and I have to admit, I’m really proud of my rank now. As I ranked up higher, the gender shaming became worse.
One outstanding example was a male individual, whom, upon realizing he had a girl in his team, called GG in the first round. „GG WP ez win for you, we have a girl“- it hit me hard, but it even hit me harder when he started to team damage me. The game ended and I was in front of him in the scoreboard. He also showed off his maturity by saying his goodbyes – „ go die you filthy boosted whore!!!“. Of course this is one alarming example, yet I get to hear names nearly daily. But why?
Is it because Counter Strike has an environment of checking out the Steam profiles of your teammates and your opponents? Is it because I have my face as my profile pic? Is it because I state my female name on my profile? Is it misogyny or simple psychological games? I mean, I get it to shit talk your opponent to make him emotionally instable , but to your own team mates?
Do these individuals feel proud, do they try to feel better themselves? Is it because women are not accepted or taken seriously in video games?
I guess I cannot give an answer to these questions because it probably involves asking all those toxic players, and they are not worth my time. Every second I spend getting mad at these people is a wasted second of precious game time. But I can tell you that it does not bring me down anymore! It motivates me more than anything in this game could, because I want those people to realize that I am better than them, on so many levels!