Feminine gamification viewpoint: Insights into sexism
A research study by Michael Kasumic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff aimed to gain a clearer understanding of sexist behaviour and how this evolved whilst engaging in intra-sexual competition. The researchers used Halo 3, a first person shooter game, to examine their hypothesis. Their original hypothesis was that female-initiated disruption of a male hierarchy incites hostile behaviour from poor performing males who stand to lose the most status. They used Halo 3 because it removes signals of dominance but provides information on gender, individual performance, and skill.
The study showed that lower-skilled players were more hostile towards a female-voiced teammate, especially when performing poorly. In contrast, lower-skilled players behaved submissively towards a male-voiced player in the identical scenario. This difference in gender-directed behaviour became more extreme with poorer focal-player performance. The researchers suggest that low-status males increase female-directed hostility to minimize the loss of status as a consequence of hierarchical reconfiguration resulting from the entrance of a woman into the competitive arena. Higher-skilled players, in contrast, were more positive towards a female relative to a male teammate. As higher-skilled players have less to fear from hierarchical reorganisation, the researchers argued that these males behave more positively in an attempt to support and garner a female player’s attention.
I found the study an interesting read, yet also congruent what we see playing out currently in the media with some of the Trump rhetoric, although one could argue other issues may be at play there. The only females he is supportive of are his partners or children, other very well educated and well able ladies have all been knocked either for looks or other un-tasteful reasons. I wonder in these cases does he feel like the lower performer and perceive the lady as higher skilled?
If I look at the behaviour on social media and in forums, when I use my own name and pictures from which gender becomes very clear, I often experience similar style behaviour. If however I go by initials without a image no bias enters the discussion and I often receive more constructive answers. As a result I participate and share less in forums where my gender is an issue and will withdraw comments I made that result in rather degrading replies.
If we use a game as a subset of society then how can we potentially turn this trend around, where we actually become enablers for higher performance all around, rather than being afraid to lose to a girl or just tolerating them as potential mates?
Personally I am not sure how we can achieve this, I would start by tackling the fact that higher performance for all is the key objective and make it gender neutral. After that I become a bit unstuck as to how we can take away the perceptions of losing out to one gender is bad or how I guess very primal instincts of wanting to be perceived as attractive to the other gender plays out. If performance became the true attraction factor, then gender is secondary would this really work or is that idea too simplistic?
What would you do or suggest to eliminate some of the sexist behaviour in society?