The Internet, and game worlds even more so, have become a third place. A third place is somewhere that isn’t home and isn’t work, but a semi-public place where one goes often and sees other people. The bar in the TV show Cheers was a third place. Coffee houses, gyms, city parks, and now, add to it, multiplayer game worlds.
It follows that like other third places, game worlds have become a place to meet people and even to network professionally. In a 2006 article, PC World magazine asked: Is World of Warcraft the New Golf? Years later, at least in the tech sector, the answer looks to be yes, and not just World of Warcraft.
Yet, this new golf is extremely hostile to women. Where the Madmen-style old boy’s club left off excluding women from work and public life, young misogynist boldly pick up. The technology moves forward but the message remains the same: Women, get out of public life. You don’t belong.
It’s not just gaming. It’s also networking. Denying women access to the social space of gaming by with hostility and harassment and othering doesn’t just keep women out of a fun hobby. It hurts women’s chances to get involved in the tech industry.