How Maybelline’s “Under the Avatar” Has Empowered Gamers To Speak Up Against Harassment In-Game

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Maybelline New York continued its commitment to fostering safer gaming spaces following the success of its 2023 “Through Their Eyes” initiative. This year, it brings us the “Under the Avatar” campaign — which addresses the issue of harassment and abuse in online gaming head-on.

The 2024 campaign delved deep into the dynamic world of online gaming, where virtual adventures collide with real emotions. While efforts have been made to implement safeguards and draw more attention to it, the issue of harassment towards female gamers is a glitch that disrupts and disturbs the gaming community time and time again.

In partnership with Youthline (NZ) and ReachOut (AU), the campaign was designed to equip gamers with the tools, guidance and support they need to confront harassment when they come across it themselves.

Shedding Light on Ignorance

“Under the Avatar”, the film created by Maybelline for the campaign, revealed the disturbing fact that many gamers choose to ignore instances of harassment, leaving victims vulnerable and isolated. It serves as a reality check — urging all gamers to break their silence and take a stand against harassment, while emphasising that only they can effectively disrupt the cycle of gender-based abuse.

Through research conducted with Bastion, Maybelline unveiled alarming statistics — including that a staggering 76% of female gamers have either experienced or observed harassment, or offensive behaviour while gaming.

93% of female gamers who encountered harassment or offensive behaviour online admitted to modifying their behaviour when playing — signifying the detrimental impact of toxic gaming environments on their experiences. 59% of female gamers also said they opt to leave games when they’re faced with offensive or discriminatory behaviour, which is especially devastating when you remember that these spaces are supposed to be an escape.

Empowering Action on International Day of Happiness

Equipped with insights on the experience of female and LGBTQIA+ identifying members of the gaming community, Maybelline teamed up with Youthline NZ and ReachOut to truly unpack what goes on “Under the Avatar”. On March 20, “International Day of Happiness”, they had star gamers pair up with counsellors in-game for a powerful and educational livestream on the topic.

The prevalent gamers dove into their own experiences and practises when navigating situations involving harassment and abuse — ultimately empowering gamers with the confidence and support they need to combat similar offensive behaviour online.

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Your Four-Step Guide To Taking Action

To further equip gamers with the tools they need to back each other up and foster a positive and safe gaming environment online, Maybelline, alongside Youthline (NZ) and ReachOut developed a comprehensive four-step framework. These steps were designed to guide gamers on how to address toxic behaviour in a safe and sustainable way.

  1. Be Aware: Stay vigilant and attentive to your surroundings — refusing to turn a blind eye to abusive behaviour in gaming spaces.
  2. Voice Your Support: Let victims know they’re not alone and offer assistance if needed — reassuring them that you stand with them against abuse.
  3. Speak Up: Calmly confront abusers, emphasising the impact of their actions and advocating for a more respectful gaming environment. Avoid engaging in negativity and instead, aim to educate and promote positive interactions.
  4. Report It: Utilise the reporting functions and safety features on gaming platforms to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Don’t assume someone else will take action — take proactive steps to address abuse and ensure the safety of your community.

By encouraging gamers to recognise anti-social behaviour and introducing them to a range of actionable steps to challenge it, Maybelline New York is helping to drive a cultural shift within gaming communities. This campaign and the one prior are incredible helpful when it comes to fostering environments of respect, inclusivity and safety for all players. Together with Youthline NZ, ReachOut and the gaming community as a whole, they’re working to change the game for good.

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