The community of sexist gamers are my real opponents

Freshman Eva Tanguay describes her frustration with the online gamers that utilize toxic commentary and derogatory remarks to prevent a rise in female gamers.

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CREDIT: TIMA MIROSHNICHENKO | PEXELS

The masks of anonymity are used as an excuse by sexist players.

   As more and more days go by, the hesitation for being back online has grown extensively, I had missed the feeling of sitting down and staring at the screen for hours, staying focused on the thing I truly enjoy. As the car pulls up into the driveway I do not hesitate and leap out of the car, sprinting to the door. I feel the anticipation building as I climb my flight of stairs and approach my door. Opening it, I feel a sense of relief, I feel like I am back home again from a long vacation even though I may have only been away for a few hours.

Valorant was officially released in June 2020 and has quickly become one of the most popular games on PC. (CREDIT: ALENA DARMEL | PEXELS )

I turn my PC on and sit down with thrill, I then type in my password and open VALORANT. Awaiting the opening screen I dance in my chair with excitement and watch as my screen turns to black. Then seeing the opening screen I immediately hit the queue button for a competitive game preparing for a hopefully fun, nice lobby of people and a quick easy game. The second the screen displays “Match Found’’ is when the anticipation and excitement boils inside of me. The screen reads “Icebox,” my favorite map and that’s when I realize this is going to be a great game.

           The Agent Select is then displayed which is quickly followed by an instalock Reyna, this means the only agent I feel confident playing has been stolen from me with no remorse. The person on the other end of the screen took no time to think about other players and instead chose selfishness over cooperation. The envy takes over me, which is followed by a foolish action. I turn on my microphone and say, “Hey, why’d you take Reyna dude, I wanted her!”

            It then hits me that I have made a great mistake, which is showing that lobby that I am a female by simply talking in voice chat. Although VALORANT may be a great game, it’s filled with many people who aren’t so great. I then hear another microphone turning on and a young boy speaks saying,

            “Is that a gamer girl I hear?” shouts an annoying preteen boy.

As one person says that the rest of the lobby follows.

            “Wait, yeah that was a girl!” another exclaims.

I begin to feel pressure and regret my current action, why did I even speak at all. I then hear another comment, one I’ve heard many times before playing this game.

            “Damn, we have a girl? We definitely lost this one guys.” Another man says in anger.

            I then realize how the rest of this game may go, since this has been a recurring issue ever since I started playing this game.

            The match finally loads, showing us the opposing team, A Gold 3 Reyna, a Bronze 3 Jett, A unranked Cypher, a Gold 1 Killjoy, and a Silver 3 Sage. The first buy round begins, allowing me to walk around and purchase weapons since this is a shooter game. Since girls are not common occurrences in games, especially FPS (First Person Shooters), men seem to act in two different ways.

Usually you’ll get the toxic player who regularly uses “Go back to the kitchen,” as an insult. Or the “Simp,” which is a guy who is starved of female attention he’ll be most likely hitting on any girl he hears speak. In this case, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot, which means I have both of those types of men in one game. Then right as the first round begins and the barricades between each team is dropped I hear a different man’s mic turn on.

“Hey gamergirl, why are you on this game? Shouldn’t you go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich or something?” the guy says jokingly.

I decide it’s best for me not to respond to rude remarks since normally it makes the misogyny worse and gives those guys another opportunity to say something insolent. I then hear the other guys share a laugh after the very funny “joke” that was just told.

“Aw gamergirl, we miss you! Why don’t you speak again so we can hear you?”

I follow with silence to hope that eventually the harassment will come to an end. Although I am quite used to this, it still doesn’t fix the overall problem. Most people tell you to just mute the guy’s mics and don’t listen to what they have to say, but it’s not as easy as just muting someone’s mic and moving on.

Even as the number of female gamers continue to rise every day, they still face attacks from a loud minority of sexist gamers. (CREDIT: MATILDA WORMWODD | PEXELS )

Since VALORANT is a team game voice chat is there for a reason, which is to communicate with your team and give “comms’’ which is info that you’ve gathered about the other teams positions or useful information that could help you later in that round or even in the game in general. Yes, team communication isn’t necessary for every game but even muting a sexist boys mic doesn’t solve the issue that he’ll do the same thing to the next girl that speaks and more girls that follow.

The silence is once again broken with another comment.

“Gamergirl why won’t you talk, you’re probably ugly or fat anyways.” shouts the preteen boy from before.

“Yeah girl, just speak we want to hear you again, man gamergirls are so stupid!” another one says with a disgusted tone.

I realize that the men expressing their hate towards me are slowly “tilting” me, which means that they’re harsh words and remarks are making my mentality worse which is causing me to play badly.

After many rounds had gone by I found myself on the kill leaderboard going 21-9-4 which means I’m outplaying every boy in that lobby. I find it funny how men are still toxic and sexist even and especially when a girl does better than them at “their own game.”

“Ew why is the gamergirl at the top of the leaderboard, she shouldn’t even be playing this game, she’s just a dumb girl and she sucks!” Another boy expresses in envy.

After around 40 minutes of playing, the game finally comes to an end and the screen reads “VICTORY,” meaning we won the game. Right before the match is over and I’ll be able to queue again with a new team the guys use their last seconds of being able to talk to me shouting graphic and disgusting comments at me.

The screen once again turns black and I’m back to the opening screen, right where I started before. I decide whether I want to queue again and possibly have to experience the same harassment as last game. The frustration and uncomfortableness builds up inside me resulting in me closing the game and shutting off my computer.

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Although I may have won the game and played really well, it doesn’t fix my broken mindset from the 40 minutes of straight sexism. I decide that I have had enough torture for the night while I lay my head on my pillow of my bed.

Hopefully someday men will come to their senses and realize that there are no such things as “boys only” games and that girls can play and even be better than them too.