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Over six days of competition, though, her team’s coach, Aris Bakhtanians, interrogated her on camera about her bra size, said “take off your shirt” and focused the team’s webcam on her chest, feet and legs. But as the only woman on the team, this was too much, especially from her coach, she said. Bakhtanians defending sexual harassment as part of “the fighting game community” that she forfeited the game.Sexism, racism, homophobia and general name-calling are longstanding facts of life in certain corners of online video games.In February, shortly after the Cross Assault tournament, Level Up, an Internet broadcaster of gaming events, barred two commentators who made light of sexual harassment on camera and issued a formal apology, including statements from the commentators.
For instance, many of the site’s recordings feature deep voices captured from the chat features of online games, debunking the widely held belief that bad behavior begins and ends with 13-year-old boys.
Jessica Hammer, a longtime player of video games and a researcher at Columbia University, said the percentage of women playing such games online ranges from 12 percent to close to half, depending on the game type.
But the Cross Assault episode was the first of a series this year that have exposed the severity of the harassment that many women experience in virtual gaming communities.
And a backlash — on Twitter, in videos, on blogs and even in an online comic strip — has moved the issue beyond endless debate among gaming insiders to more public calls for change.
Portnow, who will be speaking on a gaming convention panel later this month called “Ending Harassment in Gaming.” “But that’s not true any longer,” he added.
“We are a real mass medium, and we have a real effect on the culture.
Some abandon anonymous play for safer communities or “clans” where good behavior is the norm.
In other game communities, however, sexual threats, taunts and come-ons are common, as is criticism that women’s presence is “distracting” or that they are simply trying to seek attention.
“The gaming industry is actually in the process of changing,” Ms. “That’s a really positive thing, but I think there is a small group of male gamers who feel like gaming belongs to them, and are really terrified of that change happening.” When Sam Killermann, a gamer in Austin, Tex., saw the reaction to Ms.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating