Push to Talk: When Gaming Online as a Woman Basically Guarantees Harassment

League of Legends

When I first held a controller in my hands, I felt such a rush of excitement as I stared at the Nintendo GameCube accessory, its large triggers and buttons gleaming brightly. Mashing those buttons while playing Mario Kart or Mario Party 6 was mind-blowing for five-year-old Shel. Then, something absolutely magical happened: I got a second controller.

I’m pretty sure I invited my elementary friends at least three times a week. We’d sit on my tattered couch in front of a tiny TV screen as Mario and the rest of his friends dashed through race courses, throwing banana peels and shells. My aunt would occasionally join in on the fun. I spent many hours on that couch with friends. My mom would sometimes get out an old video camera and record me playing with friends or by myself. Looking back, I was a terrible driver. It was always the bombs and banana peels that got me.

Now, however, things have changed.

With each new generation of consoles, the relationship between the internet and gaming has grown exponentially. We can now record our gameplay right from our console and upload it to Twitter, YouTube, and other media sites. Online gaming has also grown, going from simple two-player to four-player to large parties of friends and strangers having a good time slaying dragons and hoarding gold. Here’s where the problems arise. “Mainstream” online gaming—or at least what the majority imagines when they hear “online gaming”—consists of a bunch of men with headphones playing World of Warcraft or League of Legends. Now, what happens when you add a woman or two into the picture?

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Out of Character: An Interview With Twitch Streamer Kaceytron

When I think of social media hearsay, I instantly recall the intro to the 2002 Missy Elliott banger “Gossip Folks.” Girl that is Missy Elliott she lost a lot of weight / Girl I heard she eats one cracker a day / Oh well I heard the bitch was married to Tim and started f***ng with Trina / I heard the bitch got hit with three zebras and a monkey / I can’t stand the bitch no way.

Kaceytron is a bespectacled, busty, and brash Twitch TV partner who has been a successful fixture of gaming live streams since early 2013. She’s known for playing League of Legends, acting out on stream, and interacting with her chat for several hours most days of the week, just like most well-known and well-established streamers. 

If you do a simple search for Kaceytron on Twitter, you may confuse the 24-year-old retail manager-turned-gaming entertainer with an evil harpy who is out to enslave poor innocent victims (men) with her indecent and impudent ways. Here is a small sampling of the Twitter direct mentions and indirect derisions I found during the past hour while writing this piece:

@kaceytron you say your carrying the team on cs…you can’t even open a door you fat slut never mind fit through one, #Cleavage4Views

“lol that camwhore kaceytron responded to me even though I didnt tag her. God damn what a disgusting slice of diseased pie. Fuck Outta Here”

“I can guarantee 95% of the people who watch her stream just come to hate and she deserves it all.”

What, exactly, is it about Kaceytron that so enflames and enrages some viewers? The people in her stream chat are outspoken in their endless love or seething hatred for her, and she responds to haters just as often as she responds to fans. Yes, she does display her ample cleavage on stream, however, Twitch only implemented a rule to keep streamers from appearing on camera fully nude or in lingerie. One reason they had to make this rule? Men and women were playing “strip poker” versions of games, flashing body parts for donations, or simply playing games casually — stark naked.

Continue reading “Out of Character: An Interview With Twitch Streamer Kaceytron”

Player vs Pretense: Being a Woman in ‘League of Legends’

There’s safety in playing against bots in League of Legends. They’re programmed to say a simple sentence related to their quotes at the beginning and ending of each match, but other than that, they’re silent. It’s comfortable and the games lack complexity, but sometimes I’m not looking for anything but.

League of Legends

I’ve been playing League for a couple of years now. I’ve played PvP on the rift, PvP on Howling Abyss, and—of course—player versus bots. I’ll admit there’s a type of safety when you play with a group of your friends against real people on the opposite of the map, who I most likely know nothing about.

What I do know is that I’d (for the most part) rather not reveal I’m a girl. Players on the other team will automatically assume I’m a “he.” Hell, people on my own team do this far more than the alternative. And at this point, I just let them. There was a time I would correct them—promptly—but that was seasons ago.

The truth is, when I make the grand reveal that I’m a woman (note: this unfortunately doesn’t occur during a magical girl transformation as I may hope for each time I do it) the result goes in either one of a few ways:

1. No one cares.

2. Too many people care.

Continue reading “Player vs Pretense: Being a Woman in ‘League of Legends’”

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