Sexual harassment is rife in online gaming. No wonder women swap gender

Female gamers are used to putting up with sexist claptrap – both from the companies that design games and other players. So a study by psychologists at Nottingham Trent University showing that 70% of them chose to construct male characters when given the option by online games, should come as no surprise.Anyone who has played video games with any regularity will know that character design is one of those areas where gender stereotypes run riot. Most pre-packaged characters are white, male and buff. Female characters are few and far between, and when they do appear they are usually highly sexualised or passive, or both. Game architects just don’t seem to be able to look beyond those pneumatic breasts.But the study focused on role-playing games where you get to choose everything about your avatar, including age, shape, ethnicity and gender. Given limitless possibilities, why would women choose to change their sex in far greater numbers than men opting to play women?As the psychologists suggest, one reason could be the sexism and sexual harassment to which women are subjected online.,,2262449,00.html

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