>Google Results – misogynist language used on major gaming sites

>Rather than diving back into things here with something easy, I decided to try something I haven’t done before. While browsing my Google Alerts for Jim Sterling, I had an idea inspired by the awesome troll data analysis done by blogger kirbybits in the wake of the whole dickwolves fiasco. I decided to see how many search results for common misogynist language I could get for major gaming sites. I was curious – is my growing hate for Destructoid simply because of Jim Sterling? Or is it really more misogynist than other major gaming sites?

The first thing I did was draw up a list of sites to search from: Destructoid, Kotaku, Joystiq, Team Liquid, 4chan/v/, Reddit/r/gaming, the official WoW forums, and the official StarCraft II forums. (Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Kotaku doesn’t allow Google searches. I don’t know if there’s a way around it, but I was feeling too lazy to find out.)

The next thing I did was draw up a list of search terms. I did this mainly using the word maps in kirbybits’ troll data analysis. The searches I ran were: slut, whore, fat slut/whore, feminazi, feminist/feminazi bitch, cunt, and rape. For the two word phrases, I searched for both with “or” (eg: “fat slut” OR fat whore”). I had initially planned on including “bitch” as its own search term, but I discovered that bitch by itself was a problematic term because of it’s varying uses – it wasn’t possible to easily separate the verb from the noun, and so I dropped it from my list.

The results were… well…. not too surprising, but I went to the effort of making them pretty anyway using IBM’s ManyEyes. Unfortunately, while ManyEyes makes things pretty, it doesn’t make them terribly readable at smaller sizes – so I wound up making ugly charts in Excel. (If you’d like, you can click this link to see the visualization itself.)

Just to amuse myself, I’ve decided on a tournament style ranking to determine which gaming site “wins” the prize of using the most misogynist language. The “winner” will get three points for each top result, second gets two, third gets one. The site with the highest total “wins”.

The search terms:

The results: 

Although Destructoid didn’t win every search term, they still managed to completely dominate the competition with a whopping 19 points, winning in five of the seven categories. Team Liquid, though, put in a solid showing as well with a solid 14 points – proving once again that their reputation for sexual harassment has at least some basis in reality. Joystiq managed to come in third with 5 points, just barely edging out Reddit/r/gaming/’s 4 points. And 4chan, a supposed hotbed of anonymous internet fuckwittery, barely even managed to make the list with 1 point. Better luck next time, guys.Now to be fair, I do imagine the terms feminazi and cunt were edged in Destructoid’s favor, given the recent Jim Sterling twitter fiasco in which he called twitter user Daphny a “feminazi cunt” – something for which he received a lot of backlash. But given the huge gulf between Destructoid and its nearest competitors, I feel confident in saying that Destructoid uses the most misogynist language of the group. (Which makes me regret being unable to get search data for Kotaku. Now I really want to know how they compare.)

None of this, of course, considers the context of the usages, so I’ll look at that next time.

About wundergeek
In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, I am an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.

51 Responses to >Google Results – misogynist language used on major gaming sites

  1. Andrew says:

    >Oh, I'm glad you're doing a follow-up post on the context. Part of what made kirbybits's post so powerful for me was the way she broke posts down into their surrounding elements. It wasn't that people were talking about rape a lot in a conversation that was all about rape, it was that so many of her trolls used the exact same words: "I hope you get raped." Without that sort of context, I don't know that a term search in Google is going to prove much of anything, except that people at these sites are using those words. Not that I'm disagreeing with your point, really, but I'm looking forward to the following article!

  2. >Hi Anna,Just an observation that might affect the interpretation of the data. If these are raw word counts, which it looks like they are, larger sites will tend to automatically have more results simply because there's a lot more words in total. If a smaller website is getting much higher hits relative to a larger site (in terms of total number of words indexed by google), then their bars should be much much higher. I imagine this partly explains why a place like 4chan would have smaller counts than expected — the site deletes most of its content in a rapidly moving window, so there just isn't going to be much total data to draw from. For the comparisons to have much validity, the counts would need to somehow be normalized, for example, X hits per 1,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 words in each dataset. This would provide a better (though still rough) estimate of how the sites compare. You probably don't have access to the total number of words indexed by google for any given site, though, so it's probably not possible. (And even then, it would actually need to go through a further processing step to get really comparable counts because word frequencies are sensitive to database size.) Anyway, this wouldn't affect the qualitative analysis you're planning as a follow up, but, unfortunately, the raw word counts here aren't actually meaningful without being normalized somehow.

  3. Renee says:

    >I'll be interested if the context analysis turns up anything surprising. That is, I'm not counting on it, but I'm hoping to be surprised.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >Another note about validity: Google often "fudges" the numbers for search results once it's more than a couple pages worth of results, so if you're just going on the line that says something along the lines of "viewing 1-30 of about 500 hits" then that might be skewing things as well.

  5. coddan says:

    >Can you do the same search with terms like "fag" and "dick" so there is actually any weight behind the 'gamers-hate-women' angle on this article?

  6. wundergeek says:

    >coddan: Hmm – that's a good idea. I'll probably tack that on to the beginning of my next post.

  7. The T says:

    >I definitely agree with the point of the survey, but ranking it in plain hits is kind of silly, since, for example, 4chan's /v/'s content disappears very quickly, and does not have much time to be Google cached. A more sensible way would be to look at the percentage of content, but of course that would be a logistics nightmare to even perform…So ultimately I have no idea what the point of my comment was. Cheers!

  8. wundergeek says:

    >Superhero Necromancer: Yeah, unfortunately I just don't have a way to normalize the numbers for 4chan. And I realize that raw search result numbers aren't reliable. However, I think this is useful for making a general sort of point about trends of sexist and misogynist language across major gaming sites. If a major gaming site like Destructoid has an actual number of uses of the word "rape" anywhere NEAR 163,000, there's definitely a problem.

  9. wundergeek says:

    >The T: There's a limit to how much time I want to sink into this. I am not a professional researcher!

  10. lighthill says:

    >wundergeek: Maybe normalize the results versus neutral words that you'd expect to appear with more or less even probability across gaming sites? Like, "woman" or "gamer." For example, instead of looking at the raw numbers of each offensive word, take the ratio of occurrences of the offensive word to occurrences of the neutral term.

  11. Orcus says:

    >Moderation level could also very easily be a factor for normalisation. The numbers official Starcraft II and WoW forums are so negligible suggest this to me, anyway, whereas the moderation on TL(for example) could be more lax/uncaring/underesourced to tackle it.

    • Eric says:

      The reason is actually very simple. The official Blizzard forums use automatic filters on “dirty” words of all kind, precisely so they DON’T have to moderate.

      Moderation on TL is extremely strict compared to the rest of the gaming world, on treatment of women especially. However moderated posts on TL are moved to the “Closed” section, which Google is of course not able to distinguish from the regular forum.

  12. Orcus says:

    >*The fact that the numbers for the official…I can't form sentences today apparently….

  13. >Hi Anna, Yeah, there is only so much you can do without access to the hidden numbers. The comparisons just can't be made without them. But the general point — that the gaming internet hosts a lot of misogynist language use — does stand. I expect a look at the words in context will be predictably disheartening. That's also a good point, Orcus — for sites with some sort of top-down moderation, the mods might explain the reason for fewer hits than you find on the unmoderated and anonymous ones.

  14. Anonymous says:

    >archive of /v/ postshttp://archive.no-ip.org/v/

  15. OUT51D3R says:

    >I'm uncertain what your methodology was specifically, so I wasn't able to duplicate your numbers. So, I did a simple Google Search for:cunt site:destructoid.comAnd came up with 13,500 results, which is more than you found.However, I also did a search for:prick site:destructoid.comAnd came up with a significantly larger number(41,500).And the gender neutral body part used to describe somebody you don't like:asshole site:destructoid.comReturns 45,400 results.Do the misandrists on Destructoid outnumber the misandrists 3 to 1? I doubt it. Our society using the names of "dirty" body parts to refer to people we don't like, it's not a gender specific thing really.Rape and whore are WAY overused in gaming in general, and it is reflected on gaming sites. Slut is WAY overrused in society in general, including on this very blog. All three of those terms need to be removed from common use in gaming culture.

  16. OUT51D3R says:

    >Blarg, I hate not being able to edit my posts after making them….Should have been misandrists outnumbering misogynists, and "our society likes".

  17. OUT51D3R says:

    >Huh, nevermind, my post vanished into the ether anyways. Here's a slightly abbreviated version of what I posted:A search for cunt site:destructoid.com returns 13,500 results.A search for prick site:destructoid.com returns 41,500 results.A search for asshole site:destructoid.com returns 45,400 results.Our society likes using "dirty" body parts to refer to people we don't like, it's not limited to women.Whore, rape, and slut are used way too often in gaming, and their use needs to be curbed. Slut is used way too often in general, including by this blog.

  18. OUT51D3R says:

    >My posts are being eaten, most likely due to some offensive terms used in them(most of which actually occur in the original post here, I wonder which is setting off the filter specifically…)Anyways, if you do a search on Destructoid for masculine/gender neutral body parts frequently used as insults, you'll find one based on the male anatomy that occurs about 3 times as often as the female body part mentioned in this blog.I also agreed that several of the terms you mentioned shouldn't be used the way they are in gaming, and pointed out that you wrote a blog defending your own use of one of the terms you called out as problematic in this post.

  19. wundergeek says:

    >OU51D3R: Out of curiosity, what is the male anatomy slur? I'd love to use that for comparison…Also, re: "slut". The argument I was making here was that it had a place in discussions of sexist character design. Ultimately, though, I decided that even if I don't have a problem with it enough other people do that it's better to avoid using it altogether. However, even if I were going to stick with my original defense – the difference is usage. There's a huge difference between using the word as feminist deconstructions of sexist character design and using the word as a gendered slur. Even worse, slut often appears in conjuction with other insults like "fat slut" or "feminist slut". So while my usage was offensive but sort of quasi-defensible (though I've since abandoned that position), the usage that "slut" is getting on these gaming sites is most definitely NOT a feminist deconstruction of… anything.

  20. wundergeek says:

    >Aha, never mind. Missed your earlier comments. Those are the search terms I used, so… I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with me being in Canada? Like, maybe the squirrel powering the Canadian servers got tired or something…Also, yeah. Again, I'm willing to admit that I was wrong about using "slut".

  21. OUT51D3R says:

    >Sorry about the multi-posting people. I'd post, and it would dissappear, so I figured it was gone, thus I reposted. Pick any 1 of my 4 or 5 posts to read, it's the same basic thing over and over again. :P

  22. OUT51D3R says:

    >I'm also in Canada, and clearly in addition to Google's squirrel being tired, the beavers that carry the packets to blogspot are being rather lazy.

  23. Anonymous says:

    >Border House supports PAX despite its founders being very vocal rape apologists. Just because you own vaginas doesn't mean you can magically get away with such a blatant double standard.Slut, whore and cunt are not inherently misogynist words, and feminazi is not a misogynist word by any stretch of the imagination. You are not just a hypocrite, but intellectually dishonest as well.

  24. OUT51D3R says:

    >I agree that whore and cunt aren't inherently misogynistic words. They have true definitions that aren't misogynistic. They are just frequently used in misogynistic ways.The word slut, however, IS inherently misogynistic. It has -NEVER- had any meaning other than "This woman is sexual in a way that patriarchal society has decided is inappropriate for women, thus she is morally inferior".

  25. Anonymous says:

    >Even if we accept that rather silly definition, what makes it misogynist?

  26. Sabrina says:

    >In addition to OUT51D3R's post:The term "feminazi" is absolutely a misogynist word. Of course it could be used against feminist men, too. I rarely see that happen though (usually you rather see "mangina"). Furthermore, the term was coined by a sexist asshole and suggests that the struggle for equality between the sexes is somehow the same as invading Poland and genocide. Seriously, WTF? How is that NOT misogynist? Especially since it is used as a slur against women at any shitty little incident where they defend their right to be treated like a human being. In the end, what makes a slur misogynist is simply when it displays a negative attitude towards women as a group. For someone to link feminism to Nazis you have to have some really bad issues with women. Likewise, the use of slut and whore indicates certain sexist ideas about female sexuality as being bad and shameful.

  27. Anonymous says:

    >If feminazi is misogynist then nazi is racist (since nazis are white). You are basically saying "Oh, you can't criticize my political beliefs because that's misogynist."Also feminism has nothing whatsoever to do with a struggle for equality and the term "feminazi" does not literally have any relation to nazism.The reason why slut-shaming exists is because unrestricted female sexuality results in massive societal dysfunction.

  28. Anonymous says:

    >If "feminazi" is misogynist, then "nazi" is racist. Feminazi does not literally have any relation to nazism (any more than "grammar nazi" does), which you of course know fully well. Feminism, in turn, has no relation to gender equality.Slut-shaming exists because unrestricted female sexuality results in massive societal dysfunction.

  29. Anonymous says:

    >My fellow anonymous said "Unrestricted female sexuality results in massive societal dysfunction"WHAT?! I can't say anything else. Just, what? How on earth did you come to that conclusion?

  30. Mirasiel says:

    >@Sabrina:People shouldn't use Feminazi, they should use Misandrist because thats probably what they are really running into.Unless as you say they are just being assholes.not @sabrina, how are the PA fellows Rape Apologists? I never got that from them, stupid, ignorant, wilfully stuborn and possessed of a sick sense of humour yes, rape apologists..no.

  31. Lawrence says:

    >Well I certainly agree that presented numbers are definitely very indicative of usage of misogynistic language on gaming sites, on the other hand comparison between them feel a little awkward. I mean, I have no problem accepting that Destructoid hold infamous first place in this category but StarcraftII forums being almost completely void of it, or even difference being so big it’s too good to be true. It rather seems that some sites hold some kind of moderation against downright offensive language, swears and slurs ( not only towards women) in inside communication and some like Destructoid are actually encouraging that kind of trash talking inside their community.

  32. wundergeek says:

    >Anon 1: You said: feminazi is not a misogynist word by any stretch of the imaginationAnd I have to disagree. Here's the thing, comparing people to nazis is NEVER okay. Even the most "extreme" feminists out there have never systematically murdered six million people, or advocated for the systematic murder of six million people. Just as its not okay to compare politicians to nazis, it's also not okay to imply that feminists are also nazis. Also, considering that the word was invented by Rush Limbaugh and was intended to be used in misogynist ways, yes it absolutely is a misogynist word. But then, given that you also said: Unrestricted female sexuality results in massive societal dysfunction, I think it's pretty clear you're arguing from an anti-feminist stance.

  33. wundergeek says:

    >Lawrence: What I understand from talking to my brother, who is a big player of StarCraft, sites like TeamLiquid get a lot more forum traffic than the official forums. At least that's what he tells me.Now I know there's a lot of verbal harassment of female players on the SCII chat servers, but unfortunately I have no way to measure that without playing StarCraft, and I loathe RTSes.

  34. Sabrina says:

    >@Mirasiel: Yes, absolutely. Though even then they'd label every moderate feminist a misandrist. MRAs have this kind of logic, for example.@Anonymous: Plz troll somewhere else… kthxbye

  35. Anonymous says:

    >Anonymous, unrestricted female sexuality results in hordes of single mothers dependent on welfare (whose children will likely become delinquents and criminals), women who burn out and can't function in a marriage, women choosing the wrong kind of men (criminals and such), lots of drunken he-said-she-said "date rapes," and generally irresponsible and self-destructive behavior. And I'm not talking about theory, I'm talking about what has actually already occured.wundergeek, nobody is making nazi comparisons. You're trying to force a connection between the word and actual nazism because that's the only argument you have against the word. You have nothing else.

  36. Mirasiel says:

    >@Sabrina, my point was that there are people who are called feminazis who really are just misandrists who use feminism as a cover.At least if someone misuses misandry you can point out they are wrong and sometimes see 'hey maybe they are right' . Cant do that with feminazi , since as you said its never right.trolls will always be trolls and their mastery of the english language is usually shakey at best anyways./on topic that is actually quite a frightening analysis, though as someone pointed out 4chan would probably rank higher. was destructoid/reddit a check of their forums/comments or just their articles?

  37. Anonymous says:

    >Seems like I have to make a second post before the system will release my first one. So here it is.

  38. wundergeek says:

    >Anon: The system isn't releasing your posts. I have to go in and manually flag them as not spam, so if there's a delay it's because I'm not at my computer 24/7

  39. Doug Wall says:

    >Another factor that may be keeping the WoW and Starcraft forums so low is the profanity filters. While their mods may not be able to keep harassment and trolling down, the automated filters seem to work okay.

  40. OUT51D3R says:

    Anonymous, you do realise that of the 4 reasons you give for restricting female sexuality, 3 of them are actually the fault of men: abandoning a mother and child, men being criminals, and men raping women.

    You are suggesting that we need to restrict female sexuality because if we don’t restrict women, men will do bad things. That’s asinine. If you want to solve these problems by restricting the sexuality of an entire gender(and I in no way support this), logic would dictate it’s the -male- gender you should restrict.

  41. An Nymous says:

    To continue from Blogspot…:

    “Saying ‘nuh uh’ doesn’t prove anything.”

    You are merely trying to change the subject.

    “And they do that how?”

    I’ve already explained.

    “I’m pretty sure it’s only you that doesn’t want to put any responsibility on men for their actions.”

    Except I already said, in no uncertain terms, that this is not the case.

    “You’re a misogynist.”

    You either don’t know what this word means or you’re misusing it on purpose.

    “It’s pretty damn anti-semitic to compare anyone to Nazi’s in the first place.”

    I see you’re also unfamiliar with the meaning of anti-semitism. And again, is anyone implying there’s a connection between grammar nazis and nazism?

    “Right, they should ‘select’ men like you. A Nice Guy.”

    Do you find reading that difficult? I already told you:

    Since I am not involved with women in any romantic or sexual capacity, and don’t ever intend to be, why would I care about whether they like me? It makes zero difference to me on a personal level what kind of men women choose.

    Or are you somehow not familiar with the concept of voluntary celibacy? Maybe they didn’t teach you that in Women’s Studies.

    The so-called nice guy is mostly a convinient figment of feminist imagination. They can explain their poor choice in men by claiming that everyone else was simply a “nice guy,” so they simply had to choose the drug-dealing biker. It’s not like there’s any middle ground!

    “Obviously you know women’s minds better than they do, including apparently that they can sense out ‘bad boys’ and immediately go to them on purpose because they’re so just so ‘out of control’.”

    I am not making any assumptions, I am basing this on what women have actually said and done all by themselves.

    “And again, no responsibility for men, they just get a ‘oh well, criminals just will always exist, no need to talk about that’.”

    Much like rape, the root causes of crime are not relevant to this discussion.

    “Glossing over things, blaming men’s actions all on women because they’re ‘forced’ to ‘thug up’.”

    Who said anything about forced? The fact of the matter is that if women choose thugs it simply sends the message that this is what women want and men should act accordingly if they want to be successful with women.

    This discussion reveals once again how feminists are glad to take all the freedoms and privileges they can get their hands on, but completely reject any and all responsibilites that may come with them. This naturally raises the question of whether women’s rights should actually be scaled back. There’s a reason why children aren’t treated equal to adults.

    • LilithXIV says:

      “Who said anything about forced? The fact of the matter is that if women choose thugs it simply sends the message that this is what women want and men should act accordingly if they want to be successful with women.”

      In other words, it’s women’s fault men act this way. Good job saying the same exact damn thing, BTW look up the word implication sometime. Hey, look, we’re back to no responsibility for men from you /again/. Wow, that was quick. The fact the matter is you have no facts, just archaic stereotypes you cling to as an attempt to justify your woman-hating.

      “This naturally raises the question of whether women’s rights should actually be scaled back. There’s a reason why children aren’t treated equal to adults.”

      Says the child who claims that things ‘are not relevant’ when they prove him wrong, then continues to gloss over any responsibilities men have in these situations so he can dump it all on women to feel good about himself. I hope you’re not thinking of yourself as in the ‘adult category’, junior, or else you’re the one living in a fantasy world. Anyway, if it talks like a Nice Guy and thinks he is entitled to controlling women like a Nice Guy then it just might be a Nice Guy. Deny it all you want, I’m just going off what you’re saying. I think the real question is whether you should be put in jail now before you hurt a woman because they won’t be submissive enough for you. You clearly do not belong in civilized society.

      • An Onymous says:

        “In other words, it’s women’s fault men act this way.”

        Women influence men. Shocking, I know.

        “Hey, look, we’re back to no responsibility for men from you /again/.”

        No, we are simply not talking about that because it’s not the subject.

        “Says the child who claims that things ‘are not relevant’ when they prove him wrong…”

        Or when they aren’t relevant.

        “Anyway, if it talks like a Nice Guy and thinks he is entitled to controlling women like a Nice Guy then it just might be a Nice Guy.”

        “Nice guy” is a thought-terminating cliche that means nothing. Try harder.

        “I think the real question is whether you should be put in jail now before you hurt a woman because they won’t be submissive enough for you.”

        Did you forget to take your meds or is this actually normal behavior for you?

        • LilithXIV says:

          “Women influence men. Shocking, I know.”

          The shocking thing is actually that you have so little faith in men as to equate them as having no free will and people who are obsessed with ‘bad boys and the women they date’ as much as you are. I will say it again. The way you frame men, you sound like a man-hater too. There are plenty of men who are better you, and certainly not as pathetic. XD

          “No, we are simply not talking about that because it’s not the subject.”

          It’s never the subject or ‘relevant’ in your world. Because you don’t like that big old responsibility either, due to your inadequacies it’s easier to blame women. You probably can’t even fathom the idea of being wrong, so wrapped up in yourself you are. I pity you, Nice Guy Anon, if it helps.

          And finally, a suggestion of mental instability eh? Back to the ‘hysteria’ ploy. Careful, that one is an antique. Yes, how.. adult of you. Truly you’ve proven how mature you really are in comparison to me. I’m sticking with the jail thought (it’s really not even close to as bad as your ‘women need their rights scaled back because they aren’t bowing to my words’ tripe). Thought-terminating fits you really well though. I’m done entertaining myself with you though, you’ve become tiresome. I’ll spend my time on something more worthwhile, thanks for the convo.

          • An Onymous says:

            “The shocking thing is actually that you have so little faith in men as to equate them as having no free will.”

            Never said anything like that. Maybe you are just imagining things.

            “The way you frame men, you sound like a man-hater too. There are plenty of men who are better you, and certainly not as pathetic.”

            Herp derp.

            “It’s never the subject or ‘relevant’ in your world.”

            Hey, guess what: not every discussion is about every subject.

            “Because you don’t like that big old responsibility either, due to your inadequacies it’s easier to blame women.”

            As I’ve said many times now, I have nothing to do with women. Apparently this angers you to no end.

            “I pity you, Nice Guy Anon, if it helps.”

            “Nice guy” does not mean anything.

            “And finally, a suggestion of mental instability eh? Back to the ‘hysteria’ ploy.”

            Yes, it’s not like women can be mentally unstable. Women are perfect, don’t you know.

            “Yes, how.. adult of you. Truly you’ve proven how mature you really are in comparison to me.”

            And this is coming from someone whose comments consist 95 % of random insults.

            “It’s really not even close to as bad as your ‘women need their rights scaled back because they aren’t bowing to my words’ tripe.”

            That’s obviously not what I said. I said that if women gobble up freedoms and privileges but completely refuse to accept any responsibility for anything they do, their rights should be scaled back.

  42. OUT51D3R says:

    “The so-called nice guy is mostly a convinient figment of feminist imagination. They can explain their poor choice in men by claiming that everyone else was simply a “nice guy,” so they simply had to choose the drug-dealing biker. It’s not like there’s any middle ground!”

    Still really tempted to go off on this tangent.

  43. Pingback: Big Surprise: Destructoid Most Misogynistic Game Site! | gamers are embarrassing

  44. Pingback: Could being called a “slut” be a good thing? « Gagging on Sexism

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