Regularly victims of harassment and misogyny, many “gamers” struggle to flourish serenely in a universe that is nevertheless more so masculine: “only” 57% of men, according to an Ifop study. “Seeing a girl play still arouses a number of clichés. We say to ourselves: “she must be very bad, she has nothing to do there”, summarizes Servane Fischer, player for more than twenty years and e-sport manager of the Women in Games association, which encourages diversity in the world of video games.
Poachimpa, gamer and creator of content on the Internet, wants to protect her identity: “There is this prejudice consisting in thinking that women are necessarily less strong and that if they are there, it is because they are helped by men. “If a player is not at the level, it is that she is not investing enough. “I noticed that when you have a shot less well, you take it a little more in the face than a man who is having a bad day”, notes Servane Fischer.
Some cross the boundaries of the law, insulting, humiliating and threatening the players. Social networks have accentuated the phenomenon. On the one hand, they popularized this discipline, but the anonymity exacerbated the harassers’ feeling of impunity. “My messages and educational content are always much more criticized than if they came from a man,” says Poachimpa. “There is an extremely vocal minority who, by relaying misogynistic messages, gives them visibility to reach other people. These malicious people are looking for their hour of glory. »
This sexism pushes some players to take refuge in 100% female teams or discussion channels. Poachimpa, active in these leagues until the end of 2022, believes that she has never had access before to an environment that “pushed her to be really strong at video games”. “These women’s leagues allow it, because they offer a serene setting,” she underlines.
For her part, Servane Fischer finds it “very regrettable” to have had to come to these 100% female leagues. “We missed the mark. It was twenty years ago that it was necessary to include more women, ”she laments. “In the long term, everyone would like to return to gender diversity, but to include women, we have to go through it,” justifies Me Julie Guenand, lawyer specializing in business ethics.
Poachimpa does not always have the reflex to file a complaint. “Once someone stalked me and I found them on social media. I sent him articles of law, showing him what he was risking and it stopped, ”she says. Nevertheless, the player has already received death threats or threats against her family and is campaigning for anonymity, omnipresent on the web, to know certain limits.
“I don’t see why justice wouldn’t have the ability to break the anonymity of these extremely brutal people. “When we file a complaint, we still feel a lack of seriousness on these issues of harassment, points out Me Julie Guenand. This seems less serious than physical violence. »
The players point above all to a delay in the awareness of the phenomenon by political leaders. “Initially, the games rooms did not interest more than the book club on the corner, recalls Servane Fischer. When money came into play, politicians finally got interested. “It’s good to structure e-sport so that it works technologically speaking, but we forget the social side, warns the gamer. Building on unhealthy foundations is never very advisable. »