Liu, S. (2020). Not a children’s game: Misogyny in the North American online gaming community. The Young Researcher, 4 (1), 234-255.
This ethnographic study examines gamers’ in-game text-based conversations in League of Legends to study the gender relations in the North American online gaming community in the post- #MeToo era. While it finds the overall environment to be supportive regardless of players’ gender, the League community deems heterosexual men as prototypical players, and female players actively fulfill this stereotype. Players with female usernames receive more negative comments, especially when their teams are winning. The highest-ranking players use the most positive language to communicate, while medium-ranking players use the least positive language. Recommendations to improve gender relations include imposing stricter policies to target toxicity, implementing computer programs to identify offensive language and warn the perpetrators, and initiating and publicizing toxicity ratings for players to promote self-regulation. By installing these suggestions into Riot Game’s existing anti-toxicity measures, the online gaming environment could become more inclusive.
Keywords: misogyny, League of Legends, video games, #MeToo