Maybelline & HERO Shine A Light On Toxic Harassment Of Female & LGBTQIA+ Gamers

Maybelline & HERO Shine A Light On Toxic Harassment Of Female & LGBTQIA+ Gamers

Makeup brand Maybelline New York has launched a new campaign to showcase the toxic harassment facing women, non-binary people and other LGBTQIA+ communities in the Australian gaming universe, in line with their mission to give everyone the self-confidence to express their beauty, to play and to make change.

The global beauty icon, part of the L’Oréal Groupe, is lifting the lid on the devastating impacts discrimination is having on gamer mental health, as part of their Brave Together platform — a global initiative to destigmatise anxiety and depression, and support all those impacted.

The new Through Their Eyes campaign comes off the back of recent national survey results on the level of discrimination across all genders in the Australian gaming space, which revealed 83 per cent of female identifying and 50 per cent of LGBTQIA+ identifying gamers have directly experienced and/or observed offensive behaviour or language while online gaming, with 55 per cent of female identifying and 67 per cent of LGBTQIA+ identifying players admitting to turning off their microphone when playing to hide their gender and avoid harassment.

To shine a light on this, Maybelline has partnered with independent creative agency, HERO to release an eye-opening film that follows male gamers into the female lived experience through voice-modification software.

The film shows prominent Aussie male gamers and content creators, Joel “JoelBergs” Bergs and Drew “DrewD0g” Warne confronted by gamer discrimination, seeing it literally through female eyes by playing a first-person shooter game with female-altered voices and fake female profiles.

Within less than two hours of game play with altered voices, the male players are bombarded with abusive comments whilst well-known female-identifying gamers, Amber “PaladinAmber” Wadham and Luna “Luminumn” are watching on, finding alarming similarities to the discrimination they face in their own experiences.

At the conclusion, player Amber is asked by Joel why she keeps gaming if she always encountered such abuse and responds with, “Because I love [playing].” Amber continues, “It doesn’t have to be a boys’ club or a girls’ club. Gaming is made for everyone, and should be experienced by everyone.”

Maybelline marketing director, Alexandra Shadbolt said, “Maybelline New York has always advocated for feeling confident, powerful and represented. Since the launch of our Brave Together initiative in 2022, it has been our passion to learn more about the lived experiences of women, non-binary people and other LGBTQIA+ communities to understand where more work needs to be done, whilst providing more immediate support to those impacted by anxiety and depression.”

“In understanding the sheer amount of discrimination these communities face in the gaming sphere, we really wanted to showcase this lived experience for more Australians to see what it’s really like in pockets of our online world. We hope that seeing it all play out through the eyes of our players, more gamers can think differently about their own actions and we can all be more conscious of creating a safer, inclusive space in gaming.”

HERO executive creative director, Shane Geffen said, “The more we delved into the gaming world, the more evidence we found that it was a toxic environment for female, trans and non-binary players. Something that was going unchecked.”

HERO copywriter, Anneliese Sullivan added, “It was truly shocking. What we could witness in just a few short hours made us only imagine how it feels to face this hate everyday.”

“It’s really our vision for this film to play a part in turning ambivalent gamers into allies for a safer, more inclusive gaming community for everyone.”

Tracey Campbell, director of marketing and fundraising at ReachOut said, “Online spaces can be positive places for young people to learn, relax and connect with their communities. And, we know that gaming has many positive impacts on the lives of so many young people across Australia that love it. However, young people also tell us at ReachOut that they also experience things like discrimination, bullying and harassment online.

“ReachOut continues to call on online platforms to do more to make their products safer spaces for young people. We also encourage young people and their parents to take a proactive approach to staying safe while gaming, and to seek support if they need it from places such as Kids Helpline, ReachOut and the eSafety Commission.”

The three-minute film launches today (February 16) across owned social media channels and will be screened at Maybelline’s live gaming tournament, the Eyes Up Cup, next month. The tournament will be contested between 32 of Australia’s most impactful women in gaming on a custom Maybelline New York Fortnite mod map designed for the campaign in a collaboration between Maybelline New York, Click Media, Google, and HERO.




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