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.
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.
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.