Playing Online with Boys: Women's Strategies for Coping With Harassment While Gaming

Amanda Cote


Despite the rise of casual games and the changing image of video gaming as “for everyone”, there is strong evidence that players who do not fit the stereotypical image of a straight, white, male gamer often face harassment within the gaming community. However, this behavior, while likely off-putting to many potential gamers, does not stop all members of these groups from enjoying games; many still play, and have developed specific coping strategies they employ to avoid or to respond to harassment they encounter. Presenting a gender-based case study, this paper draws on a series of interviews conducted with female gamers to explore their coping strategies and how they are used in varying situations. With that knowledge, it will provide recommendations for developers who desire a game that can be inclusive to many players. With this knowledge, developers can potentially reach a wider market, while individuals who worry about the negative influence of gaming culture in society may be able to encourage reassuring change.