Ever wonder what kind of men harass women online? Researchers found out.

Just in case you needed another reason to not be a sore loser.

We all enjoy winning, but nobody likes a sore loser.

Been there. GIF from "Modern Family."


Unfortunately, two scientists found a group of men who did not get the memo.

Researchers from University of New South Wales and Miami University logged into the uber-popular video game Halo 3 and observed 163 games to see how the players treated each other.

The gender breakdown in how players treated each other probably won't surprise you. All the men treated each other fairly wellwhile a small subset of men treated the few women players like crap. Turns out everyone is pretty nice to each other — except the male losers. They felt some kind of way about it and took it out on the female players.

Sticks and bones may break my bones but so could being punched like this. GIF from Halo 3.

The men that were the worst players were the ones that treated women badly — so they can feel "manly" again.

To put this in perspective: The men who were good at the game were nice to everyone, regardless of the gender of their co-players. So, the better the player, the nicer the man. The harassers were only nice to other men.

It turns out that the harassers wanted to make up for their poor performance — and feel like a "man" again.

They didn't get the memo that women are gamers, too, and felt angry that women were in "their" space. And then to add insult to injury, the men — gasp — were losing to these ladies. Unfortunately, they turned to a harmful quick fix for their fragile male egos and lashed out in an attempt to assert some sort of dominance.

They couldn't handle that they were losing to a girl. Talk about sore losers.

This is how I envision the harassers they realized that they're losing. Photo by rhinman/Flickr.

The behavior of these sore losers gives us insight into the world of harassment on the Internet where there's a lot — a whole lot — of it. And women experience the worst of it.

The Pew Research Center released a report last year stating that 40% of people on the Internet have experienced harassment. Kids, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people of color. The list is endless. The report also found young women (ages 18-24) are disproportionately targeted for severe forms of online harassment, including stalking and consistent harassment.

Just a typical day of being a woman on the Internet. Original photo by thefasterdanish/Flickr.

The study shows the dangers of toxic masculinity for both women and men.

"Toxic masculinity" is a term often used to refer to a group of beliefs that are anchored to the idea that men must be violent, unemotional, aggressive, etc. to prove their worth in society. Pretty crappy, right? It doesn't just hurt the people who are subjected to the behavior, the pressure to perform these negative behaviors hurt men, too.

The researchers noted that "men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status," and they think that the harassment is an attempt to distance themselves from being seen as equal to women.

We need to stop equating aggressive behavior with manhood and superior status so we can teach young men that losing to women isn't a big deal.

I get it. Losing sucks. There's a reason why I never play Monopoly. I get my butt whooped every time. But the gender of the person who beat you shouldn't have an effect on your reaction to it.

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Facebook / Mikhail Galin

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