To anybody who’s played an online game with voice chat it should come to now surprise that a female voice gets negative attention. This is sad. A study that looked at gamers in their environment (opposed to sitting in a lab) playing online games. Titled, Communication in multiplayer gaming: Examining player responses to gender cues, the results are clear: when people’s gender is exposed it garners a reaction not necessarily to the content but to the speaker’s gender.
From the paper’s abstract (emphasis mine):
The researchers played against 1,660 unique gamers and broadcasted pre-recorded audio clips of either a man or a woman speaking. Gamers’ reactions were digitally recorded, capturing what was said and heard during the game. Independent coders were used to conduct a quantitative content analysis of game data. Findings indicate that, on average, the female voice received three times as many negative comments as the male voice or no voice. In addition, the female voice received more queries and more messages from other gamers than the male voice or no voice.
At the Mary Sue they snipped this part from the paper which I also thought was worth sharing:
On several occasions the female condition was exposed to derogatory gendered language. For example, in one particular game nearly every utterance made by the female condition was met with a negative response by a particular gamer. When the female condition said ‘hi everybody’, the other gamer responded with ‘shut up you whore’ followed a few seconds later with ‘she is a nigger lover’. When the female condition said, ‘alright team let’s do this’, the other gamer replied, ‘fuck you, you stupid slut.’
Sure this study was done for one game and the particular culture around it, but it is telling as to why some women are reluctant to participate via voice in games.
This Forbes piece on how to stop sexual harassment in online games is good to read in regards to the above.