Online Voice Chat Is Often A Sexist Nightmare (But It Doesn’t Have To Be)

Online voice chatting is often a sexist nightmare (but it doesn’t have to be)

Your voice is revealing – he can let go of a host of personal details, including your age, where you are from, and how you feel. This is not always a problem and can be helpful. Your voice can let you relate to a stranger from your hometown, and your friend’s voice can comfort you when you hear them on the phone after a tiring day. But on the Discord instant messaging platform, voice can quickly be turned into a weapon.

The blurring of Discord’s voice chat option, available to any of the 6.7 million active servers on the gamer-centric platform, routinely cuts off women and non-male users who enter it. In online spaces for non-male gamers like r/GirlGamers, you’re seeing the fallout, as people routinely share the abuse they receive on Discord’s voice chat, or VC. why? Their voice stands out from the chorus of gender-compliant men. The server’s reaction to hearing the difference can be disgusting. “I was playing CS: GO, And I turned on the microphone to talk to my teammates,” one Reddit user wrote on r/GirlGamers. “Next round, these two guys blocked my way and wouldn’t let me play. ‘How much for your nude?’ Come on, I know you have, “I’m going to fuck you,” what’s your chest size, your waist size, your hip size? I want to know everything “.

If you’ve ever used the internet, you know that this kind of gross targeted harassment goes well beyond Discord.

“Marginalized users, especially women, nonbinary and transgender people, are more likely to be harassed in audio and video conversations,” gaming researcher and doctoral student at the University of Central Florida B.S. Berg told me. “The reason for this comes from what social media scientist Alice Marwick has called ‘attack vectors.’ The idea is that when someone becomes the target of harassment, regardless of what caused the original confrontation to erupt, the target’s diverse marginalized identities become ‘vectors’ to launch additional attacks against them.” .

But as the most popular messaging service for gamers, Discord and its voice chat function, which are used during multiplayer games without their own voice chats, are the main pain points for marginal gamers. They want to join the camaraderie of the game in a more physical way, by talking to those they are playing with. But in addition to facing blatant sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances, non-male gamers are exposed to it Afraid of being immediately twisted Or play it lightly just because of her voice. To avoid this, some people resort to using voice changing software to sound more stereotypically “feminine”, pretend to be male, or sit away from voice chats altogether and avoid “feminine” usernames (Kirby, a Reddit user quoted in this article, was harassed for The username is “peachjelly” apparently).

“I’d like to go an entire day without being threatened with violent rape and a host of other weird things,” said one Reddit user searching for voice changer recommendations. “I would pay anything legitimate to be able to speak and be treated like a human being.”

Verbal abuse of Discord’s voice chat keeps games isolated and gamers frightened. You can find the root of the problem in the abuser, his misogyny, and his need to act heartless for no reason other than anonymity making him feel easy. But until everyone can look inside (what a day that would be!), non-male players shouldn’t miss the voice chat opportunity just because people want to make them feel weird and small. There’s absolutely room for everyone in games – read on for expert-backed tips on how to claim you in Discord voice chat.

Be very picky with the many Discord communities

“Because online gaming is male-dominated, when non-men are harassed, they are more likely to feel isolated,” Stephanie Frederick, a professor and associate director of the Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying at the University of Buffalo, told me. Bystanders (mostly men) are more likely to remain silent or even participate in harassment.

When choosing a Discord server to join and participate in the voice chat, you need to find a server that you know will protect you in case you are being harassed. This may seem like a cosmic task, but when looking at the sheer range of server options in Discord, it’s totally doable.

Discord’s Discovery tab lists over 34,000 verified and shared game servers, and the third-party site Disboard lists over 340,000 servers. If you like to play games with people online but the communities you live in are toxic and you get stuck dealing with players who make you uncomfortable – you don’t have to take that shit! This is not Xbox Live. It’s not 2010, Berg said.

They suggest looking for some green flags when choosing a Discord community in which you might feel safe. Like “Is there a machine pronoun? Does the server have a setting to display pronouns in the user profile (or instructions on how to add them to your username on this server?”) Berg said. “This is certainly not a real test, but at least the clear guidelines for pronouns show that moderators and users are – at least superficially – invested in seeing and respecting gender diversity in society. This can also be a useful checking tool to see if you are about to be a woman The only one or Enppi in VC.”

Berg also recommends researching community rules and guidelines that specifically condemn harassment, misogyny, transphobia and homophobia. The rules of society “can tell you a lot about what mediators value,” Berg says. “It also means that if something happens, you can turn within this community’s guidelines to deal with issues with modifications.”

Berg notes that a large community doesn’t necessarily mean more room for toxicity – some large servers run by game developers employ full-time brokers, which is a quality you might want to look out for as well. But if the community is small and missing out, Berg also says you can “check the vibe” by scanning through existing text chats before you decide to join. Are insults an acceptable part of the server? Can you really detect hostile language towards your identity group?

“Although voice chats will be a little different, text chats are proving to be a useful indicator,” Berg said.

Many Discord servers can mean a lot of content to traverse, but if you want to make new friends or simply find a group of people to play the game of your choice, know there is a niche.

“there [are] AngeIEevee, a Reddit user who tends to worry about big video game servers, tells me that a lot of nice people out there aren’t bullies, and you’ll make a lot of friends. “Men are usually very kind to flirting with them…even if you have a partner. [So] It’s kind of a difficult balance, but you’ll find some great people there.”

Photo: Christopher Pike/Stringer, Getty Images

If you need to, drop the block hammer

There will be servers with voice chat channels that make you feel welcome, but since the harassment stems from the actions of others, not us, we can’t always prevent it.

If you are put in a distressing situation, “It is important to have a specific plan on what [you] Frederick said. “For example, users can ignore or report harassment, leave the game, or seek support” through friends and family, online gaming emotional support hotline and online harassment hotline, or online communities that make you feel comfortable.

Another option, Frederick said, is to turn to resources created with the goal of “helping and supporting individuals who identify as women and/or LGBTQ in male-dominated places on the Internet.” Reclaim Tech, Feminist Indecisiveness, Women in Games, and Take This all offer mental health readings and resources that will help keep you safe and happy online.

“In the event something dangerous happens that endangers your actual safety (defamation, battery, revenge porn),” Berg said, “this should be taken up immediately with Discord and the appropriate authorities immediately.” Discord’s Community Guidelines include a way to report users, messages, and servers directly to the platform. If you require immediate action, you can mute entire channels and servers or block direct messages and users.

In cases of milder harassment, muting may suffice, and the people I spoke to in this article wholeheartedly endorse it. Reddit user Kirby told me: “If someone seems rude, mute them ASAP.” “Don’t respond. These people don’t know how to get women’s attention so they act rudely and hope that you will respond. Just muting them is the only way to go!”

“The best thing is to get into it [voice chat] accept it [harassment is] It’s not your fault and it has nothing to do with him, it’s the harasser.” “Just ignore, block and report it afterward.”

And if you are the problem…

“The question of how we can promote safety for women and non-binary people on Discord and gaming culture more broadly should first be brought to the cultural level – how can we reimagine gaming culture to be explicitly inclusive?” Berg said. “How can we separate gaming culture from its roots in toxic masculinity? How can the societies themselves welcome marginal players while anticipating and alleviating harassment?”

They said Discord has done more public efforts to promote inclusion, diversity, and well-being than other messaging services, such as imposing “more comprehensive bans and preventing offenders from easily creating new accounts.” Discord abusers need to know that they are effectively being phased out, and more than that, their behavior is dividing a diverse community that wants to be integrated.

Parental behavior also doesn’t need to be explicitly harmful – some non-male players choose or ostracize other non-male players in the voice chat, which is a much quieter way to keep the community in shambles. For Discord bullies of all stripes, their “tough baby” work (in the words of researcher Amanda Phillips) isn’t just a cliched way to be an internet dick,” Berg said. “It’s appalling for their gaming communities.”

They said, “The victim will not be the only one who is isolated.”

I hope everyone can use some of the tips in this article and learn to speak freely but compassionately – to improve games and discord, but most importantly, free yourself on the Internet.

2022-06-06 14:00:00

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