There are trash talkers on the internet, and some take special offense to women. It’s not surprising news, but the advent of a blog that aims to chronicle said trash-talking has kicked up a mild furore on the likes of Twitter and Reddit lately.
I was cautious to click on the link at first, with uneducated tweets and vaguely-worded commentary having me imagine a Hot or Not-style cesspit of misogyny for men to sort female gamers into one of the titular categories, but it’s not really so sinister. The site is run by a trio of girls. During online gaming sessions, screencaps of various sexist insults they receive are collected, and these are posted on the internet for others to peruse. The reason for this? “We think this is funny.”
So funny, perhaps, that I wonder if they realise that encouraging such behaviour is not constructive in creating a better environment for the thousands of female gamers who might not find such things so amusing.
Most of the insults pictured on the site are in the form of private Xbox Live messages, and are a clear response to somebody that wasn’t too friendly. Some of these messages are shocking and hurtful, yes, but certainly not unprovoked.
I’m not saying that unprovoked attacks never happen in the online world, because they do – and Fat, Ugly or Slutty would be a far more interesting site if it did cover such attacks, rather than obviously orchestrated responses for shock value.
Perhaps most questionable of all is the fact that the site’s staff does not report perpetuators of sexist drivel to Xbox Live (possibly because they would implicate themselves in the process). There’s no discussion about why people feel the need to be jackasses on the internet, no big push to end this oppressive sort of gaming atmosphere – the site feels pointless, little more than a gallery of boys manipulated into crude behaviour and then named publicly for taking the bait.
The site is not so much ‘funny’ as it is a serious indication of how much still needs to change in the gaming community; adopting a veneer of amusement doesn’t really contribute to mending the problem, and turning the tables and trolling the offenders back only encourages it. Play nice, kids – all of you.