Difficulty for Girl Gamers
Girls have always been criticized for playing video games, which is why it is a subculture that is definitely dominated by men.  If girls do play video games, they tend to keep it a secret it for various reasons. They may be picked on, or they could receive unwanted attention (positively or negatively) from fellow male players. It is for these reasons why I believe there are not many professional female gamers. There are many females who are actually quite good, and right below the level of “the best”, but often receive backlash from the community. This prevents the females from ever reaching the top skill level. A large majority of the e-sports community is extremely sexist, and I would like examine some examples of this and how it could be fixed.

Sexuality in Gaming

The main problem I see in gaming is prevalent in almost every other traditional sport, and it is how women are used purely for their sexual attractiveness in order to gain a bigger audience and sell more products. At the Major League Gaming events, there are women hired as “booth babes”, who basically just walk around to persuade nerdy guys to buy a certain type of phone or soft drink. I’ve been to these events and talked with some of the “booth babes”, and while they are all extremely nice and respectable people, I don’t think that sort of advertisement helps progress things forward in terms of getting more people to accept that women can do the same things guys do. It only reinforces the stereotype some guys have of women that they can’t actually have skills in a certain sport, only advertise it.

Sometimes teams will recruit females to their teams, even if their skill level is really bad. While I do not think all females on professional teams fall under this category, a large number of them don’t ever participate in tournaments or put in the same amount of effort as the other players. They are often referred to as “mascots” by the community, just there to attract more fans for the team.

Meet Scarlett

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Sasha Hostyn, or more commonly known in Starcraft 2 as her alias “Scarlett”, is a transgender professional gamer. Her entrance into the world of professional Starcraft 2 is a perfect case study to reveal many of the problems still plaguing our society. In more traditional sports, some people use the argument that a person biologically born as a male shouldn’t be able to compete in a female competition just because they identify as female. To a certain extent, they actually have a point. Males are traditionally more physically strong, so a person with male characteristics might have an unfair advantage in a physical sport. However, in the world of e-sports, these advantages that stem from superior physical strength don’t apply. Regardless, people in the community are extremely hesitant to accept her into the community, and refuse to acknowledge that a “girl” can beat male professionals. I would really like to know why this is, as Starcraft II is a game based off mental strength and finesse, something that can be achieved by any sex. It seems as if many males simply hate the idea of a female being equal to them on any playing field. The idea scares them, so they resort to personal attacks towards women in an attempt to discourage any new female stars from rising up.

Solutions

The main thing that scares me when reading comments online about Scarlett and other transgender people is how some people believe it is just some simple choice the transgender people are making. The most common comments go something like this: “Why do they care so much about identifying as a certain gender? They were born biologically with either a penis or vagina, and that’s all that matters.” Comments like this bring up the issue of sex versus gender, but if you step back and think about it in a practical way, why should any of it matter? The people making these types of comments are suggesting that the burden should be put on the transgender people to change, just because they’re the minority. This is a really sad way of thinking that I see often in fans of all sports. Regarding the Divas in the WWE, some people put the blame on the Divas, and simply say “well, you shouldn’t dress like that if you want to be respected”. My opinion is that not all the blame can be put on the minority. They dress like that because people buy tickets to see it, and the Divas need money.

Society as a whole should all step up and refuse to accept this way of thinking. If you don’t like the large majority of what the WWE is representing through their portrayal of women, then don’t support it in any way. If a particular rap artist is getting rich off making videos sexually exploiting women, then don’t buy their albums. If you see someone making fun of a gay or transgender person, stick up for them and don’t let the hatred keep spreading. Otherwise, you’re just part of the problem.

14 responses »

  1. As a mtf woman, I find that people cannot accept that women are as competent as males, there maybe certain professions that require strength, and if there is a way to engineer this factor out, and the skill is the one in question, say for example video camera operations, the male is the dominant factor, as if they have some sort of interest in the sport in question…

    As a transwoman, I am excluded as I am percieved as being unable to unpack and carry the heavy flight cases, and set up the camera, it is heavy, and once it is on the tripod, there is no weight issue, I can frame, focus,follow and zoom…..This is a non-strength skill and yet I am seen as not being skilled.

    Men cannot accept being beaten by a woman, and as a transwoman, she is seen as a traitor..

    I support Sasha Hostyn, as she is blazing a trail for future transwomen…

  2. Sam says:

    The “booth babes” only exist in the Korean and Chinese events. Women are used in advertising to males in all events. Especially at conventions where most of these events take place. They are fully clothed and are the admins of the tournament in the booths its not like they are walking around in their underwear. Just because there are a few very vocal morons on the internet it doesnt mean that “the vast majority” are sexist and racist and the same goes for Gaming

    One thing you might want to note is that eSports now has two out transgender players. They have female casters, hosts and event organisers. Compare that to some mainstream sports and then decide who is the more sexist.

  3. Disagree says:

    I disagree, the argument is so swayed here it’s stupid…. The fact of the matter is the “Scarlett” is a “male” competing as female and shutting down any other female SC2 player. This is just insulting to me and i’m amazed that other females envy “him,” this is just a massive insult. Let “him” play but don’t “him” compete with the other female gamer’s and if this continues

    • Disagree says:

      cont…. If this continues you will not see a development of other female gamer’s if it is populated with “male/female” players…

      Just my opinion

  4. Matt says:

    This is a pretty old post but I’ll comment on it anyway.

    Strictly speaking about esports, I think both males and females should compete in the same league. I see no reason why that shouldn’t happen. That being said, Scarlett should be able and compete in any league.

    As for transgenders, this is a delicate matter for many, even for transgender people themselves. I might get flamed but I’ll just share my personal point of view anyway.

    First of all, I have nothing against TG, homosexuals etc. What I do hate is the fact that some homosexuals for example, feel the need to come out as homosexuals, constantly. The gay parades are ridiculous and as a human being regardless of your sexual preferences and gender, if you want to be taken serious, you need to show some integrity. Period. No discrimination. That’s just how it goes. You can’t expect to be “in-your-face” with your sexual preferences (gay or straight) and then expect to be taken seriously, whether you want to get a job, or make the government hear you. That’s ridiculous. If I see a straight couple dressed like half-naked clowns, projecting the fact that they like to have sex in a public place, then I’d be just as mad. That’s not normal, it’s inconsiderate to kids and you’re not showing integrity.

    Also, things like “Gaymers Con” makes me wonder whether or not homosexuals really want to be “accepted”. They create their own Con and then they wonder why they’re seen as being different. Games are games, and if you’re a gamer it doesn’t matter what frikin sexual preferences you have. There’s no such thing as a “Straight Con” and if it would exist, then it would be so “insensitive” that it would get attacked and flamed by a lot of communities. And for good reason! Reason why Gaymers Con is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.

    As for transgenders. I personally don’t care about how you want to look like. I have my own personal issues to take care of and I care not about other people sexual preferences, as long as they don’t turn it into a stupid parade for no good reason. However, socially speaking if a transgender person would tell me to refer to him/her as “her”, then I would. No harm done. If the ID tells that the transgender person is a female then so be it. Socially she’s a female.

    But biologically speaking (and I might get flamed for this) transgenders and non-transgenders need to understand that a transgender person is still the gender that has been born. Again, biologically speaking. When a female has a breast implant we all use the term “fake breasts” because they are fake! A transgender person has fake genitals and other “fake” physical characteristics. You can’t expect people to think any other way from a biological standpoint.

    Walking into a sci-fi territory, If a human being is getting all sorts of augmentations it becomes a cyborg, but at his/her root it’s still a human. A human cyborg. If you scrap the entire body and transfer the personality into a robot, then that’s a robot with a human personality/mind.

    Same as transgender people. I don’t care if you’ve replaced your penis with a vagina or the other way around. That’s your decision and I have nothing to do with it, pro, or against it. But biologically speaking that doesn’t mean you’re a woman/man after the operation. Biologically speaking you have a heavily altered male/female body. Period!

    As for social matters, whatever your ID says, then that’s what you are. I’d address to you as a male or female depending on your real social status. I care not.

  5. dong says:

    Change gender, win against ez competition – it’s unfair.

  6. Rice says:

    I’m sorry, but creating an issue at hand by using an originally born male professional gamer is anything but insulting females even more. You’ve basically typed up an article saying how FEMALES are shunned from the gaming community because of marketing, advertising, etc whatever and instead of using the many female gaming prodigies amongst us now, you choose to use a transgender professional gamer.

    She was not a female to begin with. We call her “her” and “she” and “female” because that’s what she, socially, claims – as a transgender. She was born as a male with, surprise, a penis. Someone with a penis is not truly a female gamer yet you impose onto people who come across this article that “she” in factual data is “female”.

    As biased as this article is, I would lose to Scarlett in Starcraft 2 if I ever played against her. Not because she’s a female gamer but because she’s a male gamer who associates herself as female through choice. If she were truly a female gamer and beat me, sure, I got beat by a female…however this is not the case. I just got beat by a dude who says he’s a female.

    End.

    • esports101 says:

      The whole point of this article was to explore why males are so hesitant to let a girl into the sc2 community. People say terrible things about Scarlett all the time, which just shows that we have a long way to go before people are treated fairly in many facets of society. I do believe Scarlett should be able to compete in female only tournaments, although she probably never would. She is so far ahead of every female that she knows it would just be not fair. That’s really irrelevant to this article though.

      Sadly, some of these comments show exactly the kind of problems that need to be fixed. We don’t see as many female pro gamers because it’s just not normal for a girl to beat a guy in any competition. Scarlett entered the scene as a female, and yet people still come up with excuses when she beats guys. “Oh, she’s actually a guy so that’s why she won”. That type of thinking is really bad in my opinion.. Yes she is biologically male, but that has nothing to do with starcraft ability.

      • ugh123 says:

        “Yes she is biologically male, but that has nothing to do with starcraft ability.”
        Males and females are not the same. On average, being male has advantages in physical areas. What evidence do you have that shows that abilities required to play Starcraft are not also associated with biological gender? I personally think that females probably can be just as good at Starcraft as males, but I admit that it is entirely possible that female genetics may affect such abilities negatively compared to male genetics.
        What if (please, show me evidence against this) the reason that she is so far ahead of every female player that she knows, is the fact that she is biologically male? If this isn’t the case, then why are there no genetic females performing comparably? Surely this deficit is not solely due to the negative attitudes towards females in gaming, as that wouldn’t explain why the only female who overcame these negative attitudes is the one who has male genetics?
        Again, I personally think that it is possible for genetic females to perform on par with males, but so far there is no evidence for this position, which causes problems for many of your statements.

      • esports101 says:

        In regards to your first remark, there are no scientific studies regarding gender and skill in Starcraft, so all I have to go on is opinion.

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2008/12/23/why-are-there-so-few-female-chess-grandmasters/#.Up4mPMRDt1E

        Read that article. I feel as if the same logic can be applied to SC2, or any male dominated sport. Scarlett is good for simply one reason: she practices more than any other woman I’ve seen. I feel like most women do not have any incentive to get good because their viewership rises based on looks and not skill. I could go on forever on why I think there aren’t many women at the top, but I just have to say that your suggestion that men are inherently better at sc2 due to gender is really insulting towards women. Sc2 requires very little physical strength, so you are basically saying males are smarter, which is simply not true. I agree with the article above, it’s a simple issue of women not playing sc2 as much due to social stigma.

  7. If she presents as female, lives her life as female, she is female. If she has struggled with a gender conflict from early childhood, then she is trans, and is not male. Many trans male to females, live lives of pretend male, as this is what is expected of a person born with female brain and male body, “Oh it has a penis..Must be a boy…” is so 1990’s… way of thinking…Outdated…

  8. Anonymous says:

    There are many misconceptions here, including in the article itself.

    First of all, transwomen are usually physically weaker than the average female athlete. This is due to the fact that the hormone drugs prescribed result in more estrogen, and less testosterone than what you would expect in any natal female. Yes, you read correctly, Transwomen have *less* testosterone than women and *more* estrogen. Hence why they are usually allowed to compete against women in athletic events.

    Second of all, this isn’t some random cosmetic procedure/process that people just decide to do out of the blue, this is a *real* legitimate medical condition that is recognized by every reputable psychiatric and medical organization in the world. There is *real* science, that counters every single claim that the anti-trans people in this comment thread are making. As in, people with degrees, not random jackasses on the internet that can’t even perform a simple Google/Wikipedia search to get informed on a subject. That is a good way of identifying a bigot, if they can’t even take the time to *Google* a subject, before spewing misinformation about it while attempting to appear moderate.

    Brain scans (MRI) have been performed that show a statistically significant number of transgender individuals have a brain physiology that very closely matches that of the gender they purport to be deep inside.

    As for chromosomes, there have been cases of actual natal females, 100% born as women, that have XY chromosomes. This is because the difference between a male and female isn’t really the presence of the Y chromosome itself, but rather, a specific gene within the Y chromosome, which if defective, will simply not trigger male hormones in the womb, so you get a 100% baby girl instead.

    So above, we have ruled out the possibility of descrimination based on brain physiology, based on chromosomes, and “assigned sex at birth” has a long history of mistakes by doctors to begin with, to say nothing of what you’re supposed to do with hermaphrodites.

    Trans people have existed for thousands of years, long before technology made it possible for them to become their true selves. The commenters in this thread, have only *proven* the author’s point, that people, and males especially, are threatened when the traditional notions of gender are at risk of evaporating.

    As technology improves, the distinction will become even less. Until you simply will not know the difference, and it won’t matter to anyone except those who constantly need reasons to discriminate people for stupid reasons.

    As for the “gay pride” movement… What do you expect, when society has for generations discriminated these people based on what they do in the bedroom, it is the fault of heteronormative culture, that this has happened. Every historical “pride” march has had similar extremism for it’s era. The difference with gays, is that since people oppressed their *sexuality*, the result is that indeed, you’re gonna see displays of sexuality.

    If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s that the world isn’t pink and blue, you’ve been lied to. Please get educated, and stop spreading the psychological disease of binary gender.

  9. matt says:

    Screw all of you; Scarlett is a badass. Face it: Stephano is all washed up and it’s time to make way for THE foreigner currently on the scene. Fear her, you damn nerds…

  10. Andrey says:

    I suppose because this is a gaming blog a lot of people commenting here are are uneducated in the topic of sexuality. It also seems from the comments that a lot of you are either ignorant or young (under 20). Now before you start claiming ‘political correctedness’ as if systemic discrimination was a non existent factor let me assure you that Scarlett is more female than you can understand. It is because of ignorant gamers like you that girls and trans people feel the need to make ‘gaymers con.’

    It is utterly repulsing at this point to hear people saying stupid, ignorant stuff like “I’m not against homosexuality or transgender issues or people of colour or women…. BUT

    It is a conversation that would take a while for you to understand how confused you are about the subject but anyone willing to have it I don’t mind offering you scientific (gasp! no way!!) evidence for my point of view. Guess what Sociologists and other Social Scientists with doctorate degrees on this subject research these things all the time and the consensus in academic literature is that being born with a penis does not make you a male. A man is a gender and gender is socially constructed. If you roll your eyes at this thought then just admit that being wrong about this issue doesn’t matter to you and you’d rather be more comfortable with your preconceived notions of the binary gender roles that have been imposed on society in order to keep men up and women down.

    Sasha Hostyn identifies as a female because that is what she mentally is. Having a fucking penis or testosterone does not result in better starcraft play. What it did provide however was an evironment that was catered to certain male needs by males and as long as people thought she was a male (because of her penis) they let her explore her skills to their full potential. Thankfully the world has become slightly more accustomed to the ‘deviance’ that is trans people and she was able to embrace the identity of a girl that she felt she was.

    Hers is a case study that shows if men treated women with the same kind of respect in gaming as they give each other, then women’s skills would develop at a similar pace. The last two paragraphs does have some of my personal opinion to it, however everything before I’m prepared to back up for anyone who is just ‘searching for truth’ and is not a stuck up conservative moron who thinks gay parades somehow bother our children. (They bother you not the child, you’re using the child to channel your homophobia).

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