Ways to help fight sexism in the gaming industry
by Garvenski on November 3, 2017 - 4:19pm
An important issue in the gaming industry these days is the sexism that women constantly experience; be it in the professional or amateur realm. Emily Sun, an esports (electronic sport) event organizer and co-founder of Smash Sisters, an advocacy group that supports girls and women playing competitive Super Smash Brothers, asked to her audience if any of them ever heard” Hey, you’re pretty good for a girl”. Almost everyone raised their hand. Sun says that it is a hard phrase to hear and respond to.
Morgan Romine, a professional esports community organizer and co-founder of advocacy group AnyKey talks about allyship, in this case it is men denouncing the mistreatment of women. There are many opportunities for this to happen, but the problem is that, not every man want to help knows how to intervene and what to do in those situations. Sun, Romine and others on the panel discussed the topic. One of their themes was: male allies should step-in when they see inappropriate behavior.
Lil Chen, a former professional gamer and another co-founder of Smash Sisters said that many times, when women gamers get mistreated and their male allies say nothing. In her opinion silence means complicity and she encourages men to support their voice, empower those who speak and promote and defend them in times of need. She concludes saying that they should openly support the women and that you should be the role model you want to see.
A recent event in their life could be used as an example of allyship. “Super Smash Brothers: Melee” made a 25-person committee composed solely of males. Their goal was to standardize rules and a code of conduct for competitive events although they said they were declined by Chen and another female gamer. The organizers were criticized for not representing the many voices of the community. Chen says that they shouldn’t only look for accomplished women gamers but also for those who need to advance and polish their skills. She added on a post that she would have joined if she knew that there wouldn’t be any female if she declined. Adam Lindgren, the best Smash Melee player in the world offered to resign is spot on the committee to open it up for a female gamer. The organization reacted by admitting Sun. Lindgren received many critics for his action but didn’t regret it. This shows how powerful standing up for a cause can be.
I think that allyship is a great thing. The various ways to fight sexism that are presented in the article could also be applied in different context and are a great to those who didn’t know how to meddle in those situations. In today’s society, when women do an activity that is mostly done by men, whether it’s sports or others, they are often underestimated. Personally, I’ve been through those kinds of situations; times when my age was used against me, and I know how much it can help to have your voice supported. For that reason, think that supporting and promoting women voices is important and that fighting sexism with small actions like those is a step towards improvement on a small scale. However, will the impacts on the small scale also influence the bigger ones? I don’t think so. In my opinion, even though Sun was admitted on the committee, I think that the problem remains: the committee was formed of 25 men and 1 woman. Isn’t that the biggest problem?
McGrane, Clare. “‘You’re pretty good, for a guy:’ Three ways men can combat sexism in esports — and elsewhere”. GeekWire.October 8 2017. https://www.geekwire.com/2017/youre-pretty-good-guy-three-ways-men-can-combat-sexism-esports-elsewhere/.