The gaming community is sexist! eSports organizations are sexist! The world is sexist! These are the cries of feminists and those who hold similar views. The reason we have few women competing in eSports is because of sexism. There have even been a few articles done on the subject. You wish to know my thoughts? I call bullshit. The reason women don’t play in eSports as much as men are simply because not as many women compete in eSports. It’s that simple.
“But that doesn’t answer the question at all!” I hear you call out. Well spotted, good sir (or ma’am if we’re to remain neutral and inclusive here). It is the reason, though. There’s no secret group within the world of eSports that continually plan to keep half of the human race out, nor do the vast majority of men prefer competitive gaming to be all about bros. But the question of why there aren’t many women in eSports is a valid one.
First of all; are women good enough? Now, this isn’t to suggest that should you be a woman you’re simply not good at gaming, but we must ask why the organizations are not picking up female players. One has to look at eSports teams as a whole. What are their main goals? To win tournaments. It’s that simple. It’s the same concept as a company (actually, many are managed as such) whereby both men and women are hired by their skill and talent to further bolster the balance sheets. It’s the same with eSports.
Gaming organizations have wages to pay. They have fans to please. To do this they enter into tournaments with the best rosters they can come up with. It’s not feasible to imagine said coaches and managers considering potential professional signings based on gender. It’s about skill, potential and how the team feels said players would integrate and mold with fellow teammates. Professional players can be picked up similar to how those in sports are scouted. Take League of Legends as a perfect example.
The Challenger series is the highest level of competitive play non-professional players can achieve and compete in. You have to wonder how many women have reached this level of skill. To participate in the Challenger series one has to pour hours upon hours of practice on the rift, essentially giving up on life with the goal of one day becoming either rank #1 or being picked up by a professional team. Should a female player be within this league, have showcased immense skill and sportsmanship then it would make logical sense for a team to look into adding her to the roster.
There isn’t some kind of magical energy that prevents women from entering onto the professional level of eSports, as some would have you believe. It’s simply a case of the pool of available talent lacking a supply of women. Instead of moaning about sexism and such in the world of eSports, those who are verbal about getting more women involved should perhaps encourage those who show high levels of skill in a particular game to take it further and pursue a professional gaming career.
One thing we should not do as an industry is separate men and women in eSports. Women in eSports should compete in the same tournaments, on the same teams and even on the same stage as men. Shocking, we know, but it makes perfect sense. There’s no reason why this couldn’t and shouldn’t already be the case if there are talented individuals out in the gaming community who possess required skills and have the desire to becoming a professional female gamer.
Separating the two sexes of the human race would simply amplify the issue should women finally break into the scene. Women should mix with men. They should be up against men. They should compete alongside men. And they should bask in the rewards of winning a tournament, like their fellow man. Encouraging those who have this dream to follow their goal and pour in the required amount of time and levels of effort to be picked up by teams is a must.
But it’s entirely down to women and that’s our main point here. There’s nothing we can do to fix this issue. Should there not be a steady supply of competitive female gamers who are at an appropriate level of skill as male players then there’s really no issue. Again, it’s not about sexism. It’s about there being a supply of talented players from both genders. Spending money on or making it somehow easier for women to get into eSports is not the way to go.
But this is good. Female teams and professional players are already making their way into tournaments. Intel has even sponsored all-female teams for CounterStrike: GO. Meet the all-female CS:GO squad from Team Property, if you haven’t already. Note that these are actual female teams made up of dedicated women who share a passion for eSports, as opposed to those who simply wish to take advantage of young men on streaming sites such as Twitch or form poor performing teams like Siren.
If you haven’t read (or heard) anything on Siren, consider yourself blessed. It was a team that was put together which subsequently disbanded after just a single month. The message was a strong one, to empower women in eSports, but the execution was awful. The five players were also incredibly unprofessional and simply did not represent the same level of competitiveness as male (and female) counterparts. It was harmful to the image of all-female teams, actually. A neat article was published over on GameSkinny that gives a full run through of everything that occurred surrounding Siren and how lessons have surely been learned from the team.
Here’s also a neat quote from Aria R., a female YouTuber and gamer:
“I honestly hate that Team Siren was ever a thing. They set such a bad example for females in gaming. Like they are literally the epitome of why females get made fun of while the female gamers who take things seriously and don’t get noticed for parading their sex get labelled into this. Such a shame.”
So what should we take away from this? It’s not about gender. Sorry, feminists. You need the skill to compete in eSports (or any sport, really). That alone should be fairly obvious. Women just need to step up to the call for more professional players. Time, effort and determination must be present if they are to reach the required level to be picked up by organizations. It’s certainly possible. To all women who are attempting to battle hard and unlock access to the gaming stage, keep it up!
I’ll never compete in eSports, not because of my gender, but because I’m simply not good enough and that’s okay.