It’s nice to imagine that we humans live in an enlightened age where technology flourishes, reasonable discourse can be had, and everyone has more or less equal rights. Sadly, as enlightened as our age is, it is still also home to moronic and sexist trolls who enjoy using the anonymity of the internet to inflict their vile diatribes onto anyone they can.
YouTuber Fractions of a Penny learned this lesson when, during a recent game of Overwatch, she was targeted by a group of players who just couldn’t keep their sexist attitudes to themselves. Fractions of a Penny happened to be recording the match as she endured a full 16 minutes of sexist vitriol from cowards who likely wouldn’t have the courage to look her in the eye if they met her in real life, let alone say all the horrible things they said.
You can watch the full event below, but be warned that you’ll likely become very angry with each new comment that’s hurled Fractions of a Penny’s way:
In the video’s description, Fractions of a Penny made it clear that she didn’t publish the video just to get page views or for pure entertainment purposes. She wanted to show the gaming community at large exactly what female gamers often have to put up with simply because of their gender.
Unsurprisingly, many commenters in the video chose to attack Fractions of a Penny and/or accuse her of being nothing more than an attention seeker (there were plenty of people who stood up for her and/or agreed with her as well). Fractions of a Penny responded in a rather appropriate manner:
“To everyone who says ‘mute them,’ I do when people are hurting me enough, but I prefer to post examples of how I am treated so people who have not experienced this can see what it can be like.
To everyone who says I am weak for not being able to deal with this, maybe I am but that does not make it okay. To everyone who says ‘just deal with it’ and ‘this is normal,’ to me it shouldn't be normal.
It shouldn't be something anyone has to deal with and I want to work towards a world where it isn't something people have to deal with, with no consequences for harassers.
To everyone who says there will always be people like this, I hope there won't and I am trying to help prevent it. To everyone who says ‘it's the same for men,’ as far as I have seen men don't get yelled at for being men, or told that they aren't allowed to play because they are men.
I don't believe people should be harassed, but I particularly don't think they should be harassed for things they cannot change, like the sex they were born with. To everyone telling me they aren't sexist because they are just trying to get a rise out of me, just because you don't mean something doesn't make it any worse of a statement.
To everyone who says I am doing this for attention, I am not. Believe me or don’t, but I am trying to raise awareness for this. I was never anticipating this level of viewership when I posted this and being this in the spotlight has me more worried than anything else. I'm not saying I don't want views, that would be a lie, but I would rather be known for something I created.
To everyone who disagrees with me, that is fine and I respect your opinion. I hope you will extend me the same courtesy and there can be meaningful discussion about this. (I don't expect it, but I do hope).”
What happened to Fractions of a Penny also brings up another interesting point of discussion: should the people in the video be publicly shamed for what they did? To clarify, having their gamertags on display in the video isn’t really an issue. They chose to say those awful things in the middle of a public match and that’s on them.
It’s a tough question to answer, mainly because a compelling case could be made for either side of the argument. For now, we should at least take a moment and remember that sexism is still a reality for many women, even those who aren’t gamers. Maybe public shaming isn’t the answer, but neither is remaining silent when we have the opportunity to speak up.