Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Nov 2015 21:29 UTC

Great article at Polygon, looking into the position of women in esports and the abuse they're receiving.

Every coaching position she's held has come with abuse. There's the European rival who thinks it's funny to goad her with extravagant compliments about her appearance. There's the South American player who promises to kiss her when they meet at a live event. There's the Israeli player who said he didn't want her advice because she's a woman. And there's the countless spectators who spew insults at her through social media and streaming feeds.

But there are also those who recognize her abilities, including her players, other top coaches, senior people at Smite publisher Hi-Rez Studios and commentators who recognize the stamp of her tactics and her influence on improving teams.

Aside from the Baghdad Bobs in gaming, we all know the gaming world - and by extension, esports - isn't exactly the most welcoming environment for women. Luckily, it's starting to dawn on the companies in esports, such as Hi-Rez discussed in the linked article, that things need to change, and that steps need to be made to significantly curb the misogyny and abuse.

The League of Legends world championships, the most popular esports event in the world, just concluded this weekend. One weekend earlier, the semifinals were held in Brussels. One quite prominent figure in the League of Legends esports community, presenter and interviewer Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere, is from Belgium, and parent company Riot took the opportunity to play a fantastic spotlight of her at the start of the event, in front of 17000 people and the millions of viewers around the world. The video details the work that she does, and the prominent way in which the spotlight was played - just before the semifinals started - really drove the point home just how important she's become.

In an article posted today, Depoortere recalled the moment the video was played.

Sjokz had her own fair share of cherished moments throughout the weekend, particularly when a video feature about her life in Belgium and her work at Riot aired in the 17,000-seat arena. "It was very emotional!" she says. "I hadn't thought through that I would be on stage listening to myself! I felt kind of embarrassed, because I thought, 'Oh, these people have to sit through it,' but all the people were quiet. They were actually listening and watching and it was an extremely heartwarming moment for me."

The feature touched on some less savoury aspects of being a successful, high-profile woman in a male-dominated industry, particularly sexism and a lack of respect for Sjokz's work, but since it aired she has received a huge influx of support. Even from people who have been less than pleasant in the past. "Some of them wrote to me and they said, 'Hey, I'm actually very sorry. I didn't realise what I was doing. I really respect your work.'"

We're a long way off from women being treated matter-of-factly universally throughout esports in particular and gaming in general, but it's at least encouraging to see that steps are being taken. Maybe, just maybe, we'll eventually see women players feel secure and safe enough to compete at the highest levels.

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RE: Really?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 3rd Nov 2015 21:51 UTC in reply to "Really?"
Member since:

"Every coaching position she's held has come with abuse. There's the European rival who thinks it's funny to goad her with extravagant compliments about her appearance.

Okay, I could see how that would get annoying, but abuse... really? I wonder how some of these women would feel if they were an ugly, socially awkward male, where the only intimacy they could manage was with their right hand, and the only advice they ever got was 'just be yourself'. If they lived that way for about a decade, would they then come back and tell us how terrible it is to be an attractive female and to have all of these awful men telling them how beautiful they are?

Imagine you work really hard for a company and for your boss. You make extra hours, work your ass off, and deliver top-notch work, and you make a lot of sacrifices to do so.

And every time you go to your boss, all he/she says, is "wow you look hot today!" Every single day, week, month. Not a single comment about your work, not a single appreciation for the hours and effort you put into your work. All you get is compliments on your appearance. Not a single comment on how your work is valued by the company.

Meanwhile, your colleague, who does the same amount of work you do and delivers the same quality, never gets a single comment on her appearance. She only gets endless comments about her work, how her work is valued, how important her work is, and how good of a job she's doing.

Do you have the empathetic skills to understand how degrading, demeaning, and thus abusive that is?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Really?
by Athlander on Tue 3rd Nov 2015 22:10 in reply to "RE: Really?"
Athlander Member since:

Do you have the empathetic skills to understand how degrading, demeaning, and thus abusive that is?

You're asking him this?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Really?
by WorknMan on Tue 3rd Nov 2015 22:54 in reply to "RE: Really?"
WorknMan Member since:

Do you have the empathetic skills to understand how degrading, demeaning, and thus abusive that is?

Well sure, if your strawman was accurate and ugly people always got heaps of praise and the beautiful ones were told nothing but how beautiful they are. Maybe my company is an outlier, but this definitely is not the case where I work; the attractive women are constantly receiving accolades, and I'd say they're well deserved too, because these women kick ass at their jobs.

I will concede that it's probably a pain in the ass at times to be extremely hot and having people whistle and call to you as you walk by, but my point is that I'd happily trade places with any of them for awhile and see how horrible it is to have members of the opposite sex always going out of their way to be nice and do favors for me, and to never have to sleep alone if I don't want to. (Of course, any idiot would tell you 'they're just trying to get in your pants', but I wonder if it's better than the alternative ...)

Edited 2015-11-03 22:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Really?
by dylansmrjones on Tue 3rd Nov 2015 23:51 in reply to "RE: Really?"
dylansmrjones Member since:

It is not abusive. Annoying yes, but no more abusive than the average radical feminist.

Reply Parent Score: 7