WARNING. Some comments may offend the sensibility of younger and unwarned people.
The straw that broke the camel’s back
Last month, at the eLS after an Overatch game, we found our player Khirya in tears. “I can’t stand being insulted anymore, I’m victim of my passion, it’s so hard.” In this community we all know this phenomenon of sexism, of harassment, and girls who suffers about this are all incredibly strong. This key moment shocked us and we decided, with the help of Khyria but also with many others thanks to a collection of testimonies, to relate you what can happen in this esports world. In addition, we want to engage us even more strongly in the fight to try to contribute to change things.
Harassment and oppression of women are widespread in our contemporary society, especially with the advent of Internet and video games. The gaming community tends to slow women’s emancipation in this field. Analysis of this unacceptable trend through various anonymous testimonies.
« You’re a frustrated bitch. Your place is in the kitchen and not behind a computer », all sort of insults we can read through various testimonies. Lynched, a part of the women in the esport community deplores a real frustration, to such an extent that, from now on, the whole community joins forces to denounce these atrocities. “You such dicks. Show me a little more of your body.” This list is long and the comments are often insane. The booming of the esportif world cannot afford to trivialize this kind of commentary, but must, on the contrary, fight against it. No, this facet which seems to reflect our society, is not the image that should be created by our community.
AN OBSTACLE TO DEVELOPMENT
As a direct consequence, the barriers placed on women in this environment are numerous and difficult to overcome. The example of the Korean Overwatch player, Geguri, is striking. Accused of cheating – she was evolving at a very high level – she had to answer the various accusations against her by demonstrating her talents live and on camera.
Switzerland is also affected by these hindrances. Many women players are denied a position in a men team simply because they are women. “Some time ago, I was in a top-level Esport team with two different line-up: one of boys and a mixed one. When the boys’ team needed a replacement, a friend asked me to join the team. Very quickly, the captain made me understand that I would never have my place in this formation”, explains one of the victim. “The problem was not the level; he knew it, since we were playing together. If he took a girl, he was simply afraid that booty calls would settle in and create a bad atmosphere in the team. The idea, according to them, is that since I’m a girl, I’m necessarily a bitch and I’m necessarily going to fuck all the guys…”.
Far from being insensitive to these persistent attitudes, Esport players are also confined to certain role in their various encounters. “There are two girls in our team? We lost!” Or: “It’s biologically proven that girls are only useful in support role, and even for that, they are more useless than boys.” In short, women players are not listened to when they give calls, even though the instructions are totally correct and objective. Offensive roles tend to be reserved to men, while women players remain in supportive position. Incomprehensible.
Faced with this, the women players do not - logically - all have the same ability to get over these insults, which can have a significant impact on morale, motivation but also other psychological aspects. "Video games are a real passion. But I’m made to understand that I have no right to be a woman. Yes, I live it very badly, and it can even make me cry for whole evenings," admits one of them. A former member of the Overwatch team at Lausanne Esports, Khirya, remains a little more pragmatic, but just as wounded: "Sometimes I burst into tears because the words were so violent: they are words, but they hurt," she regrets. I try to get over it, telling them in my own way that we are here to play and that my primary goal is to win the game. When we win, it's a kind of personal victory. ».
BEWARE OF STEREOTYPING
The girl’s frustration is not only with their male counterparts, but also with other women players. By wearing light clothing in order to attract boys to their live or videos, some of them perpetuate stereotypes and damage the image of an already very minority group in Esport. “It saddens me to see the attitude of women. We try, in vain, to make our place by eradicating theses stereotypes, but when we meet people who reinforce them…” notes Khyria with despair. “And when we know that viewers are implicitly invited to make donations in order to get more intimate view of the streamers…”
In this vein, some take advantage of their assets to obtain favours and move up in the hierarchy. Limited by restrictions, these women players are ready to obtain important places in renowned structures by promoting their body. So many behaviours, which are detrimental to those who try to perform in the Esport environment to show their level or entertain without using their body. Yes, the effort must be common and come from both senses in order to avoid tarnishing the Esport’s image through these childish activities which unfortunately take on considerable dimensions.