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We always figured as much, but a new study has given us factual evidence: those douchebag gamers who harass women in online forums are actually losers.

A PLOS ONE study investigating triggers of sexist behavior, found that the men who are the most likely to troll women during online gaming generally have a lower skill level, more deaths and overall poorer game performance. Ultimately, they tend to lose more. There’s a word for that… isn’t there? Maybe starting with “L” and ending with “oser”?

Study: Gamers Who Harass Women Online Are Literally Losers
via Giphy/0142.TINYPIC.COM

The study was initiated by researchers Michael Kasumovic of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Jeffrey Kuznekoff of Miami University in Ohio, who wanted to find some scientific reasoning as to why only a subset of males treat female competitors, co-workers or peers in a sexist, disrespectful way.

The authors say their research was based off of a “social constructionist theory,” which argues that sexism is a response towards women entering a male-dominated arena. They didn’t disagree with this theory, but simply wanted to know why only a particular subset of male individuals seem to be affected by it.

Study: Gamers Who Harass Women Online Are Literally Losers
via Bustle

Their suspicion was basically that the males who are lashing out at female gamers are doing so because they are insecure with their own crappy gaming ability. In other words, researchers believed that insecure male gamers loathe the possibility of being beaten by a woman more than a Halo 3 Jackal because this would further erode their mediocre-at-best gaming status. And they probably want to eliminate them from their screen just as badly. In the words of the study authors:

“We hypothesised that female-initiated disruption of a male hierarchy incites hostile behaviour from poor performing males who stand to lose the most status.”

And, surprise, surprise, they found out they were right.

Study: Gamers Who Harass Women Online Are Literally Losers
via Giphy/Jezebel

The study determined that men who performed poorly in Halo 3 were not only more likely to offer negative, even hostile comments to women with gaming superiority, they were more likely to be submissive to men who demonstrated similarly superior skill.

On the other hand, male gamers who didn’t suck at the game were found more likely to be positive and complimentary toward female players. Why? Well technically, because, unlike their aggressive, sexist counterparts, they’re not losers.

“Our results support an evolutionary argument for why low-status, low-performing males are hostile towards female competitors,” explain the researchers. They continue to say:

“Low-status and low-performing males have the most to lose as a consequence of the hierarchical reconfiguration due to the entry of a competitive woman. As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank. This idea is reinforced by the fact that higher-skilled males that should not feel threatened by a female increased their number of positive comments.”

Study: Gamers Who Harass Women Online Are Literally Losers
via Meme Generator

Interestingly enough, authors say this hostile-loser phenomenon is not unique to the gaming world, which simply offers a “unique opportunity to examine variation in sexist behaviors.” The study results offer an explanation for these behaviors in a variety of male-dominated scenarios, including places of work.

As a remedy to the sexism displayed by low-status, low-performing men in all walks of life, study authors suggest teaching young males that losing to the opposite sex is not socially debilitating. Who’da thought?

Study: Gamers Who Harass Women Online Are Literally Losers
via Comic Vine

If you want to check out study particulars proving female-trolling males are really just insecure losers needing a social reality check, you can access it here – complete with methods, analysis numbers and graphs. You’re welcome.

Study: Gamers Who Harass Women Online Are Literally Losers

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