Imagine having a hobby you love so much and yet, the vast majority of your peers consider you insufficient, at best. This happens every single day for women in esports.
You might consider that an exaggeration and while a horde of various outlets and surveys claim that the number of female gamers is rising, the number of women participating competitively is stagnant. The best option to succeed as a woman in esports is to find a female-only team to compete with. Why is that?
As a girl in a boys world, I just wanted to seriously play video games. Maybe not as hardcore as others, but I wanted to be competitive. The easiest thing to do was find a girls only group. They feel my struggle right? In came Sweet Synergy, an amazing organisation aimed at simply getting women to come together and play in a safe space. I was on a team for some time and as I departed I realised, isn’t segregating ourselves as a female-only organisation a little hypocritical? We want to be included, and yet we’re completely excluding ourselves from the general populous of esports.
From then on I was totally against female only tournaments and leagues. I never watched them, rolled my eyes at any event or mention, never had a care in the world. As time went by, and after some research, an epiphany took place. As I was watching the female-only Intel Challenge tournament I realised I’m equally as hypocritical if I don’t support women in esports in any capacity. Support is all we ask for in any realm. These women are busting their asses just as much as the boys to take advantage of every single opportunity given to them. Why scoff at them when they’ve gotten farther than most women can say?
Organisations like Team Dignitas, CLG, and Team Secret are already vetting CS:GO female rosters. StarCraft II player, Scarlett, has won the most prize money as a female player for Team Expert. There are lists and lists of women currently competing that have found their own success. But most of that comes from female-only tournaments. Take CLG’s female only roster, for example. According to esportsearnings.com they’ve won roughly $30,000 (£23,990) in prize money since their creation in 2015, while their male counterparts have won roughly $300,000 (£239,904).
Team Secret’s female roster taking the top prize at the Intel Challenge Katowice 2017
If we want to support women to play just as well and as much as men, why segregate them?
The overarching point of this is the fact that you can support women in esports without being a complete and total hypocrite, even if you think female only teams are contradictory. Women in esports need support, in any form and fashion. The list of women that have gained so much success where they are is slowly, but surely, growing. Most of them have no choice but to play in female only tournaments, but that’s what is best available to them right now. So why fault them for succeeding? You should build women up, not tear them down for their efforts.
Is CS:GO your game of choice? Why not check out the next female-only tournament? Know a woman that’s considering the competitive scene? Encourage them to participate. Big fan of a particular host, commentator, player, or even journalist? (*wink* *wink*). Tell them. Tweet them. It’s the little things that keep them going. Knowing that there are encouraging people in this silly community we’re so in love with helps more than you can imagine.
You don’t have to pick a side. Show the world that not everyone is like what you see in Twitch chat.