Gamers argue Overwatch League has a representation problem

    
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No matter what you’re seeing up on the screen in this inaugural season of the Overwatch League, chances are really good that the people controlling (and almost all of the casters, it seems) are guys. This is because the League’s teams are completely male, a situation that none of them can really seem to address when asked point-blank about it.

Case in point: Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon is widely seen as one of the best players in the competitive scene… and she has yet to be signed on to any of the competing teams, as Kotaku points out in its long piece this week (though apparently Geguri herself believes it’s not sexism keeping her off teams – thanks Loopy). You probably remember her from back in 2016 when gamers and pro players were harassing her and claiming she wasn’t real/was a cheater until she shut them down with a video of herself kicking ass.

When asked about why she (and other women) hasn’t been snapped up, in spite of her participation in other leagues, several teams hemmed and hawed over the fact. It would be funny to read all of these responses if it wasn’t so disheartening. Our favorite? Having to fuss with co-ed player housing.

“There is absolutely no reason that she couldn’t do it,” said Overwatch League Outlaws general manager Matt Rodriguez. “I think she knows that. I know she’s had a lot of trouble. I’ve read a lot of articles about her having hard times, and that sucks. But that’s the hurdle.”

For all of the noise that Blizzard has made this past year about diversity and inclusiveness and anti-toxicity, the lack of female representation within its premiere e-sports league seems a glaring issue.

Check out the entire article on Kotaku for all the mini-interviews with different organizations.

Source: Kotaku

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Hikari Kenzaki
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Hikari Kenzaki

Well, lot of comments here and while I don’t think we’re going to resolve all the world’s gender equality issues in the MOP comments section, please allow me to take a moment on this one.

So, these are the principle reasons I see in the comments for potentially excluding women:

1) Protecting the Women from being harassed.
2) Protecting the Men from false claims of harassment.
3) There just isn’t anyone good enough.
4) Slippery slope, I identify as a toaster.

4 is just an old troll meme and you know it.

3 is objectively untrue. Even if the example given by Kotaku is not interested in being on a team, there is likely someone who is just as good as some of the men riding an off-slot on a team. I’m sorry, guys, the argument that 99.9%, 90% or 70% of gamers are men, just isn’t true.

So, we are left with 1 and 2. Are this justified reasons for not having women in an esports league?

This brings up a lot of parallels to real sports and various other analogies. So, let’s discuss the validity of those.

Now then, keep in mind, this isn’t people playing in an amateur setting for a modest prize. These are professionals. It’s a job.
Also, keep in mind that there is no verified difference between the potential skill of a male or female player. This is not physical sport where men and women are usually (but not always) separated based on overall physical advantage. (Though there are plenty of successful women in traditional male only leagues).

So it comes down to this is a job. Something a person is hired to do.
Is it acceptable to not hire a woman in ANY industry for reasons 1 and 2? Or any of the other reasons brought up below.

TL:DR:In every job I’ve ever worked at (across multiple industries), none of the reasons in the comments below would be a reason for not hiring a woman.

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Melissa McDonald

If she was pinup/centerfold material I have no doubt she’d already be signed to a team with a big contract and highly touted as the “face” of Overwatch esports.

But she has more resemblance to Velma than Daphne – and there is nothing wrong with that – just stating a marketing truth.

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Arktouros

I see this as our standard case of people inventing problems that don’t really exist.

Is there a lack of gender diversity on these teams? Absolutely. However that, in itself, isn’t really a problem. Instead what we see, and was mostly indicated by the responses, was that you have focused teams of players who have been playing together and coordinating with one another for a while now. From what I understand people throwing around millions of dollars here, no one wants to go to messing with team coordination or planning at that point regardless of gender.

An actual problem would be is if you had teams or people discriminating or disparaging on women as eSports players. While the living arrangements thing gets pretty close to the usual tropes on the different biological make ups of the genders but seems kinda like reaching given the rest of their response. There’s really nothing here to indicate that a mixed gender team or even an all female team would be an issue for anyone.

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Jacobin GW

Its likely that 99.9% of the top tier competitive players are male so it follows that they fill the limited number of roster spots.

The living situation argument is dumb but I kind of get how a woman may not want to live 24/7 with 4-8+ guys and why a team would be hesitant to go there moreso for morale reasons.

The team house concept in esports is outdated as being around the same people constantly can lead to a toxic environment. They need to do what real sports and any other job does which is live separately and have a central practice area.

Of course this can’t happen because the salaries for all but the 5-10 top tier players can’t afford it.

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Hope

Of course she says it’s not about sexism. You know what happens to the careers of women who say it is?

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mysecretid

And this woman clearly doesn’t want to be caught in the middle of the hatred and harrassment yet again.

the_gaardian
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the_gaardian

Just identify as a woman….Problem solved.

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Bruno Brito

Funny.

Yangers
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Yangers

So, their isn’t a single female overwatch player in the whole world that’s good enough?

I find that hard to believe.

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Arktouros

There most likely are, but that isn’t the issue at hand.

The issue is none of those women that are were on a team or working with a team at that level of competition.

Estranged
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Estranged

Why would it be OK for gay and straight men to live together? Same concept. Conflict? Just asking dude bros.

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Lights and Music

Why would it be OK for gay and straight men to live together?

?

Not sure that’s how being homosexual works… Gay dudes don’t fuck straight guys generally… You drunk already?

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Lights – the girls could be lesbian. The guys could be gay. Others might be asexual. Lots of assumptions.

People aren’t just straight, that is my point.

Should we assume any of these people would want to have sex?

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Lights and Music

Not sure I follow you – if you’re asking if it would pose the same problems for multiple homosexual individuals living and working together I would say, yes.

Seems to me you’re suggesting there would be an issue with gay and straight people living and working together, and I also think that would be a terrible work situation, but not one unlike those that currently already exist in gamer houses i.e. where the risk of being sexually harassed or romantically involved is minimal

My point is, from a management and/or investor perspective, workplace relationships are generally a bad idea – they are even worse idea when the people involved in those relationships now also live in the same place where they work – and it becomes even more problematic when you consider that the people involved in said workplace relationships are not fully mentally or emotionally developed, and when you consider the extremely high cost of initial investment.

With that in mind, why would an esports team elect to place itself in a position which would encourage workplace relationships?

Estranged
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Estranged

Lights – nah, I just think people are more complicated than their sexual urges. Any type of person can live, work and have fun together.

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Nathan Aldana

This.

Just because someone is a woman living in the same house as a man doesnt inevitably lead to them wanting to have sex. And if it does, as long as theyre emotionally mature enough to handle a relationship, i don’t really care.

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John Kiser

I think it is viewed more as a potential distraction to the male players in the minds of the people forming the teams.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Likely. And even if that weren’t horribly sexist (on their part), it also shows just how team owners think of their players, how they intend to do their best to own your whole life and make sure you’re all gaming, all the time.

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Lights and Music

Any type of person can live, work and have fun together.

Can you give me an example of a company that operates its business this way? Or did you just mean theoretically?

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Nathan Aldana

Mcdonalds.

Unless you want to tell me we must segregate the male and female mcdonalds employees lest they have sex on the counter.

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Lights and Music

Mcdonalds.

Mcdonalds employees work AND live together? Could you cite that claim please? Because I think you are lying.

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Nathan Aldana

Oh. live and work together. gotcha.

Astronauts.

Deep sea scientific dive teams.

The Navy, the army, and all other armed forces, unless you want to tell me every single base is inescapably controlled by their penis.

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Lights and Music

LOL you got me there, esports athletes and astronauts, two peas in a pod.

The Navy, the army, and all other armed forces, unless you want to tell me every single base is inescapably controlled by their penis.

Not sure if you know anything about the armed forces, but they are not renowed for their fair and equitable treatment of genders. I find it silly of you to choose this as an example of a place where opposite genders successfully work and live together productively.

You might as well have said: “Hollywood Directors and Actresses work together just fine and they are opposite sexes.”

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Nathan Aldana

Thats my point.

if you’re not willing to hold esports athletes to the same standards of professionalism as elite astroscientists, then you’re the problem.

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Lights and Music

if you’re not willing to hold esports athletes to the same standards of professionalism as elite astroscientists, then you’re the problem.

You are literally insane if you think these two professions should be held to the same standards. Should esports athletes be able to not sexually harass coworkers? Absolutely. Should kids who stream video games and meme on twitch be held to the same professional standards as fucking astronauts, literally the best and brightest we produce, no.

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Nathan Aldana

Then what standard should they be held to? Does esports give you one free pass to embarass yourself and your coworkers or two?

I’m not asking for pristine gleaming PR, I’m asking for conducting yourself in a mature manner and not pretending 25 year olds are children who arent responsible for their own actions.

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Lights and Music

Then what standard should they be held to?

That of your average employee? Seems pretty obvious to me – they are employees just like everyone else and should be held to standards as such – are you honestly trying to say that you think astronauts are held to the same standards as janitors?

I think we’re done here

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Let’s just end it right there. It’s long since stopped being civil.

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Nathan Aldana

I’m aware of the reality.

I’m also aware thats because of people who refuse to hold their heads to the proverbial guillotine and just excuse it as “well, you cant control men around sexy women hyuk hyuk”

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starbuck1771

In the military males and females don’t share bunks. They have their own barracks. As for the navy it took almost a century to let women serve on submarines and there are very strict restrictions on interaction with the opposite sex while deployed.

If you do your research you will see the military has it’s fair share of sex scandals.

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Nathan Aldana

aware of this. Also pointing out, that , once again, the idea that women and men will inevitably devolve into sex-crazed orgies because they live together is the sort of insane delusion that only someone who has never lived in a co-ed situation believes.

Estranged
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Estranged

Lights – it is the law. Restaurants are a classic example.

Ah, wait, we are misunderstanding each other.

I’m just saying people can live/work together and not have a sexual relationship.

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Lights and Music

Dude what? What restaurant you know has employees living together?

Just to be clear, I wrote a big long post about workplace relationships being a bad idea, you replied that “Any type of person can live, work and have fun together.”

I asked you to name an example of a business that operates with employees living and working together, you reply

“Restaurants” (???)

Estranged
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Estranged

Misunderstanding.

People can live together and not be animals. The end.

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Lights and Music

People can live together and not be animals. The end.

I agree. Would you care to risk your $20M investment on a gamble that these particular college-aged employees will be able to maintain a professional working relationship?

You’re a riskier investor than I am.

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

Ask the US Military how well that is working out for them.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_assault_in_the_United_States_military

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

Cruise ships

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Nathan Aldana

Also assuming people living together automatically leads to sex is basically romance movie logic that doesnt really pan out to the real world at all.

Estranged
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Estranged

Nathan, yeah, I have plenty of platonic female friends. Generally, I get along with women better. They also often look at life differently, which I find interesting.

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Nathan Aldana

Same. My best friends at work, and a few of my friends from my D&D group are girls and we’ve never once brought up the idea of even attempting to date. Almost like one can have relationships with the opposite sex, or gay people of the same gender without it inevitably leading to asking them to bone.

Shit, for one thing I know I’m not the type for the couple gay buddies I have.

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Yaner

This is why I never wasted money on a microphone. Rather keep my identity confidential.

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Knox Harrington

Yeah guys get this infection called GOTIS. (Girls On The Internet Syndrome). As soon as they find out you’re female, they immediately change their behavior. They either get all pervy flirty or they start white knighting for you. Both are forms of unwanted advancements. If I was female, I certainly would not let it be known because I wouldn’t want all that extra attention. I’d rather be judged by my skill as a player and treated as such.

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John Kiser

Some guys do, yes. Not all of us are like that though. I never give females special treatment online. I’ll help anyone online try to reach their end goals in a game or whatever, but they are only getting the equal treatment I give to any other person, though that may be because I can control myself and the like.

Some of it is down to life circumstances. Are they a virgin, have they had much interaction with females in general, how they are taught to treat women by their parents, media, and the like. These factors all sort of come into play when guys tend to deal with women period (not just online).

If you get treated a diff way online it is a good chance that factors are at play. Maybe steer the guy in the right directions then too. A lot of guys are taught when they are kids to protect women, treat them like princesses and all this other crap and often if they haven’t had enough interaction they do just that. They figure that is what they are supposed to do.

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Yaner

I know quite a few guys who are very cool about it and treat you like another person. Not trying to male bash or anything, just generally have a bad experience most of the time. Tend to stick with a group of friends and avoid the public.

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Bryan Correll