- U.K. police will have to disclose documents about WikiLeaks journalists Tuesday 6:37 PM
- Backpack Kid sues Fortnite developer over flossing emote Tuesday 5:38 PM
- Conservatives rage at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘week of self-care’ Tuesday 4:02 PM
- 2 inflatable snowmen fought in front of a combo KFC/Taco Bell Tuesday 2:47 PM
- How to watch the Boca Raton Bowl online for free Tuesday 2:43 PM
- DAZN KOs YouTube, Snapchat as (temporarily) the most downloaded app Tuesday 1:57 PM
- AT&T says it’s rolling out 5G service this week Tuesday 1:03 PM
- NY state senator tells woman staffer ‘Kill yourself!’ in a tweet Tuesday 12:54 PM
- This Lil Jon-Kool-Aid Man Christmas jam is as extra as you’d expect Tuesday 12:13 PM
- YouTube stars say unfair copyright claims are making their lives hell Tuesday 12:12 PM
- UPS deletes tweet about shredding letters to North Pole after huge backlash Tuesday 11:21 AM
- Viral petition leads to revised Holland Tunnel Christmas decor Tuesday 11:10 AM
- Paul Ryan’s self-serving farewell tour is the bane of the internet right now Tuesday 10:59 AM
- ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ renewed for seasons 3 and 4 Tuesday 10:59 AM
- Former NASA engineer dupes package thieves into opening this epic glitter bomb Tuesday 10:54 AM
Gender shouldn’t matter in esports. So why is Overwatch League made up entirely of men?
Overwatch League is the biggest thing in esports right now. Its first season kicked off this week in Los Angeles to much fanfare and solid ratings. But one thing is missing from the league: women.
While women aren’t banned from participating in Overwatch League, all 113 players in the league are men. The players are from all around the world, and they’re divided into 12 teams based in major cities in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
It’s not that there aren’t any women who are top-tier Overwatch players. The most notable is Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, who plays as the pink-haired tank character Zarya. She’s so good that she received accusations of cheating until she did a live-stream with a camera aimed at her hands to prove she really was controlling her character’s every movement. Se-yeon played for a South Korean Overwatch league until it was shut down recently.
So why isn’t she—or any woman, for that matter—on an Overwatch League team? Kotaku reports that question arose during a recent media day Q&A session with the teams. The responses were less than convincing.
The Houston Outlaws team cited the language barrier and issues around co-ed housing as main reasons preventing them from signing Se-yeon specifically. Outlaws general manager Matt Rodriguez said, “You have to go through all these hurdles, like if you pick up a player, is the press gonna call it a PR stunt, or is it because she was the best?”
Continuing along that train of thought, Outlaws player Jacob “JAKE” Lyon said, “For that even to be the perception, it’d be so terrible to be her. People would always be doubting, always be judging. So it has to be the right person, the right player, and those things have to come together at the right moment—which makes it especially hard for women in the scene right now.”
In a follow-up interview discussing Se-yeong’s absence from the league, Rodriguez said, “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.”
The men of Overwatch League haven’t had to overcome such a hurdle. These gender issues go beyond Overwatch League. They’re prevalent in all of esports, and in gaming in general. If you’re not a dude, you’re going to face extra scrutiny.
Overwatch itself has been widely praised for the diversity of its roster. It has male and female characters (and robots and one animal), who run the gamut of race, age, and body type. Esports overall, and Overwatch League specifically, would do well to follow suit.