Videogames don’t make you violent – or sexist

The world of videogames is no stranger to moral panics. Recently, researchers at the University of Oxford published the latest in a long line of studies debunking the persistent myth that violent videogames cause aggression in children. The study – published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture – found that, regardless of a particular videogame’s content, children who played videogames moderately were actually less aggressive than those who do not game at all.

But this was no great triumph over media-effects theory. Indeed, the children who weren’t playing videogames were presumably on Twitter, whining about how videogames cause and promote misogyny. In recent months, this new hysteria has been at the forefront of the gaming discussion. Proponents of the idea insist that gaming culture is ‘toxic’, not inclusive enough and that women are represented exclusively as sexual objects in games. They have put forward censorious arguments, which have been countered by a new pro-gaming movement called #Gamergate.

In the past, you were a gamer because you liked playing videogames, regardless of non-issues like gender, race or sexuality. However, the people behind the recent fuss see everything through the warped lens of identity politics…