It wasn’t all that long ago that a study surfaced that claimed playing video games turned people into sexist jackwagons. All the usual suspects jumped on it because it was proof that video games were awful, awful things that led men down the rabbit hole to become alt-right sexist rapist murder hobos or something.
Unfortunately for them, according to a story at Heat Street, it looks like the study was absolute bovine excrement.
Two researchers, Christopher Ferguson and M. Brent Donnellan, reanalyzed the data and published their results in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. They found there was “little evidence” for video games affecting empathy towards women.“Our reanalysis raised concerns about the strength of the evidence,’ wrote Ferguson and Donnellan. ‘Thus, our reanalysis joins an increasing body of literature that suggests there may be little link between sexism in games and sexism in real life.’
They also mentioned that prior studies did not conclusively find a link between video games and sexism.
Ferguson and Donnellan took issue with the varying, inconsistent age groups present in the study. In the original study, participants played either a sexist/violent game, a violent, nonsexist game or a nonviolent, nonsexist game. For some reason the players playing the sexist/violent category games were “significantly younger” than the other two groups.
In other words, it’s a poorly constructed study that could only “prove” a link by stacking the deck.
It’s almost hilarious.
Video games have been maligned for years now, often for no real reason. First, video games made people violent and should be tightly regulated because of that. This was despite the violent crime rate decreasing as video game play increased.
Today, they’re the bugaboo of the social justice warrior, allegedly problematic on their own but also responsible for making men into raging sexist, racist homophobes or something.
The original study simply provided validation for that, proof that gaming could drive men to look down on women as second-class citizens. It was likely to be used as leverage to try and force video game developers to create different games regardless of what their customers actually wanted. The social justice jihadis wanted to force their ideology into another creative industry because, well, that’s what they do.
Luckily for gamers everywhere, this study has now been discredited. Game designers can look at this “leverage” as something worthy of mockery, rather than something to take seriously and react to.
Now, they can make games people actually want to play.