Griefing: Policing Masculinity in Online Games
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Despite the rise in participation and economic importance of online games as a media phenomenon, ever-growing virtual worlds that seemingly exist as "third places" for social interaction and relationship formation, there is little research on the experiences of gamers with harassment, discrimination, and hate speech. Though changes in the industry serve as evidence of shifting attitudes about female, GLBTQ, and non-white gamers, harassment and use of hate speech based on sex and sexual orientation continue to flourish unchecked in online games. This study explores the prevalence of homophobia and sexism in online games as expressed through "griefing" behavior used to police competitive spaces traditionally dominated by white, heterosexual men. This thesis employs qualitative research methods to illuminate the persisting homophobia, sexism, and racism as experienced by gamers in online console and PC games.