Study Shows Men Who Harass Women Online Are Losers; No One Surprised

A recent study has all but confirmed the bleeding obvious: men who abuse women online are literally losers. The study, conducted by Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, from the University of New South Wales and Miami University, looked at how male and female gamers interacted during 163 online Halo 3 games. During the games, the researchers tracked the comments made by players and made an unsurprising observation: the guys who were performing poorly verbally harassed the women players, while guys who performed well were less likely to harass the women or didn’t harass them at all.

Halo 3 was used because of the gender-neutral appearance of Avatars, meaning players would only be identified by voice. Also because Space rulez

These findings offer a new perspective on the long-standing belief that sexism is a response to women entering a male-dominated arena, pointing out that #NotAllMen behave this way towards women. Instead, the researchers offer a new explanation: “female-initiated disruption of a male hierarchy incites hostile behaviour from poor performing males who stand to lose the most status”. Higher skilled males, on the other hand, have less to lose or fear from the scary lady gamers entering the fold, and as such, are more positive towards their female counterparts.

Kasumovic and Kuznekoff believe that the study highlights the importance of “considering an evolutionary perspective” when exploring the factors that influence men’s hostility towards women, both online and in real life. Kasumovic explains that this almost Neanderthal-esque, female-directed aggression by lower-status males is merely an attempt to disregard a woman’s performance and undermine her disturbance of what I’ve dubbed the Hierarchy of Manly Men.

Of course, this study is rather specific to online gaming, and it is unknown whether this hypothesis is easily transferable to other online communities and interactions, or even to real life. However, the main idea is simple enough: Men who are insecure about their masculinity threaten to violate women in order to feel manly again and maintain their position on the Hierarchy of Manly Men. Two birds, one stone! Sounds rather counterproductive but hey, who am I to argue with evolution? You do you, losers.

But what does this actually mean for women gamers? Not much, really. This study doesn’t really do much other than give us some science to back up what we already know. It does give us an insight into the Male Loser’s mind, but what are we meant to do with this information? Roll over and accept that it’s just natural for men to abuse women when they feel emasculated? Not freaking likely. What we do need to do is look at the wider culture of masculinity and ask: why the fuck is it still so toxic and violent?