Opinion: Professional esports needs to be more supportive of women


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Professional Esports fail to be supportive towards female competitors.

Khushila Dulal, Staff Writer

Esports as a career field has been growing rapidly in recent years, which has also increased the amount of women participating in competitive gaming. However, women are still separated in the community, even though esports leagues advocate for inclusion. 

This is because they are going about inclusion the wrong way. Women typically have their own leagues in esports. An example would be VCT Game Changers, which was a championship created by Riot Games to provide opportunities for women and other marginalized genders within Valorant esports. It gives them a better chance to compete and create their brand. 

At first glance, this may seem like a good idea. Afterall, women are not banned from the regular leagues – they just have a separate one in addition to it. But by creating a separate league in the first place, women are still effectively segregated from the rest of the community. 

Women’s leagues are typically seen as less important since it is such a male-dominated field. Gaming is considered a masculine hobby, so women feel as though they do not belong in the community. Regardless of the game, the lobbies – the starting screen where players can talk to each other before the game – are heavily toxic towards women.

Women competing in the separate leagues are also typically looked down upon.

Women competing in the separate leagues are also typically looked down upon. It makes it seem as though they are not good enough to compete alongside men, which is why they need to have a separate league in the first place. 

This, however, is not the case. The reasoning behind a lack of participation of women in the regular leagues is due to a lack of representation in the field as a whole. They do not really have role models to look up to, which discourages their participation. The only team with a current mixed-gender roster in Valorant is Evil Geniuses. 

It also perpetuates the idea that men and women are different and reinforces gender stereotypes. There are definitely physical differences between men and women, so having separate leagues may seem fair on the surface. However, physical strength has never been a deciding factor in esports like it is in other sports. 

For women to actually become a part of competitive esports, the change needs to start with the players. The casual sexism thrown around during games may seem harmless, but all of it contributes to a larger system.