Gaming is more than just a hobby or pastime; it's a journey into uncharted worlds, a platform for showcasing skills, and a bridge that connects millions worldwide. This vibrant community offers an incredible escape from reality, uniting like-minded individuals through shared adventures and challenges. However, while the vast majority of gamers treasure the bonds and camaraderie, gender-based toxicity still runs rampant in 2023, and gaming has become an easy spotlight.
Esports has witnessed a monumental rise in popularity amongst women gamers in recent years, and concurrently, the number of women gamers who experience toxicity in the male-dominated realm is following the same trend.
Toxicity directed towards women gamers, by the numbers:
- Women are nearly 2x more likely to experience sexual harassment when playing online than men
- Women are 3x more likely to receive unwanted sexual messages in game chats and post-game DMs
- Women are over 2x more likely to be excluded from participating in games because of their gender than men
- A woman’s performance was over 3x more likely to be patronized based on her gender
As shown above, a serious problem exists, and the effects are worrying. Women in Games found that 1 in 4 women gamers say rampant toxicity has made them never want to play again, and 1 in 3 women gamers prefer to only play games offline. Additionally, 53% of women are using gender-neutral or male identities to hide their gender.
So, what do the pros do when they encounter toxicity in a chatroom?
Note: These are temporary fixes. Issues surrounding gender-based toxicity in gaming are systemically-rooted gaming culture and design—a narrative that Paidia aims to reinvent.
Most streamers and creators opt to leave the game, before blocking and reporting toxic gamers, when things get noisy.
Twitch Streamer Daniellebuilds said: “I’ll start by muting the volume. But if things get too heavy, I’ll leave the chat room or lobby and find a new group to play with. There are some really chill gamers out there, and sometimes you have to sift through the negative ones to find those that match your vibe.”
Platforms like Paidia are built to expedite this process. Simply join our community on Discord or a tournament through the Paidia Portal to join a safe space filled with like-minded gamers.
Others, like content creator Glowpinkstah, recommend stepping away from the game and removing yourself from the situation entirely. “I'd rather disconnect and lose a match than have my gaming experience negatively affected by people who might want to get a reaction out of me,” she added.
“I just shut the game off and move on to something else.”
Encountering harassment and toxicity is taxing. It enacts mental effects like irritability, lack of confidence, and anxiety, as well as physical effects like fatigue, muscle ache, and headache. It’s unacceptable, and the last thing you should have to deal with when gaming—an activity where performance is linked to remaining present and being in the moment.
For this reason, we recommend recharging with a mindful activity, like doodling, deep breathing, or listening to ambient music before your next game.
“While it’s tough to remember this, and everyone processes things differently, other people's toxic actions aren't a YOU problem.” — Glowpinkstah
Check out Excedrin’s 6-step Mindful Gaming Routine to learn about other techniques that can help you clear your mind before entering a lobby.
The stats, numbers, and research presented in this article were provided by Bryter.