Women leagues in pro gaming?

There’s a discussion going on at PC Gamer (and I guess among the larger gaming community?) about the possibility of splitting off women gamers into their own leagues. The writer of the piece seems conflicted about the proposal, but I think she does a pretty good job laying out the sitch and the arguments being made on both sides.


Pro gaming leagues are private organizations and they can do as they like. They may be able to make good money off of all-women leagues, and unlike the author of the article, I don’t see that as a bad thing. Actually I think that would be the most compelling argument. After all, pro gaming is a business. I’m sure the all-women teams out there love gaming, but they also want to earn a living, as do the leagues themselves. Money is a legitimate concern.

The harassment issue gives me pause. I’m obviously not a woman gamer, nor have I played with a ton of them online, so I can’t speak to how they’re treated by and large. Anecdotally when I have played with teammates who either identify themselves as female or have female-sounding aliases, I haven’t observed anyone being particularly rude or sexist towards them. To the contrary, it seems like a lot of guy gamers try to impress and “white knight” for girls they encounter in-game.

hey gurl, check out my dps.

Back when I played a lot of the original Starcraft, I had a couple of online friends that I’d play with regularly, one of whom was a women. Perhaps those were different days, but I don’t recall seeing her experiencing any kind of harassment. Sometimes people would try to hit on her in-channel (as we called the between-game lobbies back then), but it wasn’t nasty and she would usually just give them a [wink] and jump into a game with us.

Additionally, there’s this one female gamer who runs in some of the same circles as I in Heroes of the Storm. I played a couple of games with her and actually found her more toxic than the other people I usually play with. One of our rando teammates had said something critical of her gameplay within the first couple of minutes, and she flamed him for the entire rest of the game. I mean, this girl would not stop typing for the next 15-20 minutes. We lost. These days our circles are more concentric than overlapping, by my design.

Different games attract different types of communities, but there are assholes and rageaholics of both genders.

That’s not to say female gamers don’t have it rough and that they’re never harassed; it’s just to say I can’t really corroborate that argument. And even if I could, does this leave us to assume that girls are never mean to one another? Have fun believing that one.

As to the diversity argument, this:


And as to the “hey other sports do it” argument, this:


This is a legit conversation to have, and again, I think it could fill a market. I’ve never been big on spectating pro gaming, but I bet a lot of the people who do would totally watch all-girl teams. I just don’t really buy some of the other arguments being made in favor of such segregation.





5 thoughts on “Women leagues in pro gaming?

  1. I personally think that it’s not such a great idea because it would essentially get rid of the most even pro-level sport playing field that’s ever been. Unlike most if not all physical competitive activities, men don’t have a massive biological advantage over women; I mean, you could get into the whole abstract spatial thinking/hand eye coordination bit, but it’s not like in other sports like Soccer, where international pro women’s teams are athletically on par with local highschool boys teams. I’d hate to see women lose a chance to compete evenly against men at something because people wanted to protect their feels or something.

    On the other hand, women gaming leagues might make MORE money for the same reason that women game streamers generate more revenue than men; men like the idea of women who play video games and enjoy watching them. Of course, if they go a route that capitalizes on that, it becomes (at the organizational levels) less about competing to be the best and more about putting on a show. I also think that if one league remains co-ed, it will be taken more seriously and forever make any girls-only league look second tier for a host of reasons; the best women competitors will probably gravitate toward the co-ed league as well to prove that they’re not only the best girl gamers but the best all around gamers.

    Several years back, I remember there was an all-girl esports team, and they got a lot of backlash. Of course, it wasn’t because they were an all-girl team, but because their promoters heavily marketed the fact that they were an all girl team, despite there already being several all girl teams, and because they were not particularly competitive (doing far worse than male, mixed gender, and other all girl teams). But they were high profile because of their marketing campaign, so there was a bit of a ‘backlash against girl gamers’ narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, I agree with all of your points. The “purest” way to do things, as in best for these games as esports, would be to keep things co-ed. Money has a strong pull, though, so we’ll see. Could vary based on the game, too, as there are a lot more viable esports games than there are, er…non-e sports.

      The PC Gamer article mentioned that team that I think you’re referring to, and I looked up their promotional stuff on YouTube. Pretty silly.


      1. Also, I noticed that most of those winners circle teams are asian. Koreans take eSports very seriously. Might as well also talk about starting up a non-Koreans only eSports league, as clearly non-Koreans face a challenge of not having grown up steeped in eSports culture.

        As for the shit talk, I remember that there was an old Genesis NFL game, where one of the buttons would make the forward tackle you controlled point to the quarterback and say “I’m gonna make you eat that ball!”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, but do not forget that diversity is only a valid pursuit when directed against cis/straight/white/transnormative males!

    Haha, that’s awesome. Reminds me of NBA Jam for the SNES, where you could foul other players over and over and reduce their stats. I haven’t played a ton of sports games, so maybe that’s not such a novelty, but I always found it funny.

    I guess shit-talking and “BM” as they call it is just a part of gaming culture, for better or worse.


  3. I agree with the overall sentiment in the comments, splitting the genders is not the correct way to go about this. It is the responsibility of the teams, coaches, event organizers, shoutcasters, and everyone else involved in eSports to make all players feel welcome to participate. This must be true of not only the on-screen presentations, but backstage as well. Fair treatment must be encouraged and enforced when necessary.


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