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.
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.