Esports is a billion-dollar industry that has ignited into competitive tournaments both at the college and professional levels over the years. But did you know that this sport is largely dominated by men?
Esports are dominated by men primarily because of the way women who attempt to play are treated. This inappropriate and sometimes crude treatment has forced many women to play under pseudonyms or just not identify themselves so they can participate.
Women and girls are in the minority within this sport that does not require any physical acumen to participate. So why is it that men are in the majority? To learn more about esports and the disparity of men and women in the field, keep reading.
What Is Esports?
Esports, or Electronic Sports, are basically competitive video game tournaments that are organized for various players to come together and compete against each other. In most cases, it is much like traditional sports that try to reach top ranks in their field.
The tournaments involve teams coming together based on the skill levels of individual players so they can compete and possibly win. Games that are big in esports are Dota2, League of Legends, CS:GO, and Overwatch.
Since its beginning in the 1990s, Esports has exploded and is now considered a professional sport by many organizations. In fact, tournaments have been broadcast on major TV and internet networks and other sports leagues have become involved as well.
Colleges and universities across the country have added esports teams as well as opportunities for scholarships. The scholarships have become largely competitive amongst esport players who want to compete both collegiate and professional.
Why Are Esports Dominated By Men?
When it comes to esports, there is a huge gap between the number of men and women who compete in the sport. The reason for this is largely due to the way women are treated in the gameplay.
Video games have been known in the past to be a more male-dominated activity. From an early age, boys grow up playing video games instead of going outside to play. This was an often used complaint with either parents or even girlfriends as the boys got older that all they wanted to do was play video games.
This domination resulted in, when esports began to become more popular, the tournaments were mostly teams of men. While girls and women played video games, they weren’t known to play them as much, or as well, as the male population.
When you think about the competitions that exist today, males still seem to dominate the game. This is in part because of the way women are treated during the course of any game they may be participating in.
Women have been known to be subjected to harassment and crude comments from men during the games. So much sometimes that it gets completely out of control to the point that some women have received threats of both death and sexual assault.
All of this has resulted in women taking measures to make sure they are not identified as female when they play. This is done by either not using their own name or using a male-based avatar to play the games.
So, is the esports industry dominated by men? The answer at this point would be yes because the people at the top ranks of the game are mostly men. This is mostly because many women who play, are typically playing under a pseudonym to avoid harassment.
The Disparity of Esports at the College Level
At the college level, the National Association of Collegiate Esports doles out millions of dollars for scholarships to colleges and universities across the country each year. This is great for those who want to compete at the collegiate level.
It has been reported that these scholarships are primarily issued to male participants rather than females. This creates a huge disparity between male and female esport players that adds to the domination theory. But one of the problems is, male players just tend to perform better at esports and are able to play at a rate not matched by many women. Is this because of the harassment that begins at a young age? Or are men just physically better at esports? It’s hard to say because there are just so few women esports players out there.
Women in Esports
Does this mean that there are not many women in the esports world? The answer to that would be a resounding no. There are several women who have made it to some of the top ranks in the field for various games.
Several women have taken top positions in tournaments in recent years. This feat shows that women are not only good at the games but that they can compete with the male population and win in some cases.
Women such as Li “Liooon” Xiaomeng, Janet “xChocoBars” Rose, and Kim “Geguri” Se-Yeon have won such tournaments and proved that they can not only complete but do well in this male-dominated world of gaming.
The challenge for girls and women who have a desire to join the ranks of esports is the lack of enough female role models in the field. This causes them to think twice before attempting to join and therefore adds to the disparity of the genders within the sport.
Additionally, in the professional world of esports, there is even a large difference between the amount of money males and females can make. It was reported that while top-ranked men are earning in the millions of dollars, women with the same credentials are earning significantly less.
What is Being Done to Level the Playing Field?
With such a blatant disparity of men and women in the field of esports, you have to wonder what is actually being done to level the playing field. Why are women, in this day and age, being treated so poorly and ostracized from playing the games?
When you think about traditional sports, many of them are beginning to include women, albeit with specific rules and regulations in place. But, esports is, or should be, thought of as completely different.
Esports do not require the physicality that traditional sports, like football, do, but quick thinking and the ability to strategize. Because of this, there should, in theory, be no distinction between women and men playing the game.
At the college level, there have been challenges to the scholarship discrepancies when it comes to them mostly going to men. The Title IX policy specifically states that scholarships cannot discriminate based on gender for any collegiate sport.
In professional organizations, there are actions being taken to try to bring more diversity to the sport. From diversity task forces to steering committees designed to ensure that the female population is represented, there are great strides being made towards leveling the playing field in esports.
Overall, while esports is a field that is currently dominated by men, there are many initiatives coming about that are working towards changing this. For esports, either collegiately or professionally, to expand and grow, there are serious changes that need to be made. There are organizations that are making great efforts to bring diversity into the world of esports. But the real question is, are there women who are ready and talented enough to step up to the plate and play with the big boys? Only time will tell.