I’ve been a part of the gaming community for over ten years. While most of my memories and friendships built in this community have been amazing, there is one major obstacle I faced every time I logged into a game. The normalized toxicity, that has gotten worse, in the community.
I don’t mean flexing a mastery score or GG EZ. There’s a big difference between competitive gameplay communications and normalized toxicity. I realized this normalized behavior is being passed down after a 14 year old told me ‘get back in the kitchen’. By that I mean being called a ‘broken dishwasher’, an ‘egirl’, a ‘typical gamer girl’ because I prefer playing support characters. Just because I am a female, I have faced gatekeeping in the community. I watch my LGBTQ+ friends be harassed, I watched my friends of color be harassed, and I’ve watched my fellow female gamers be harassed. I watch people never speak in an in-game lobby due to fear of being harrassed. I watch people never touch a game they're interested in due to the known normalized toxicity surrounding that game.
Being 26 now, I am seeing this toxicity become normalized and passed down to the younger community. It’s learned behavior, it’s been referred to as ‘just a joke’, it’s being told if you want to play a game online you have to have thick skin because of your gender color or sexuality. While I agree, you do need thick skin being a part of a competitive community. I do not agree it should be due to your gender, sexuality, or race.
I am a full time content creator and streamer. I built a discord that welcomed people who feel the same as I do in the community. After I made the decision to post content online and become a creator, I realize just a discord server isn’t enough. I realized trying to influence the community just by being one person, isn’t enough. I asked myself, what can I do to make a difference? How can I shed the long overdue light to this ongoing and growing issue? I see so many streamers and content creators who push for the same community that I do.
Which is why I created the Respawn Association. So there’s one place for all of us, fighting the same mission unknowingly, to stand together.