Women And Underepresented Parties In The Competitive Gaming Scene
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Women And Underepresented Parties In The Competitive Gaming Scene

Tips and tricks for improving your game.

Women And Underepresented Parties In The Competitive Gaming Scene

The competitive gaming community can be a really thrilling, engaging and fun place. People who participate are passionate about what they do and are fierce in refining their skills and knowledge of their respective games. Unfortunately, this environment often fosters some unsavory behaviors that often go unchecked and unchallenged.

The reason I am not just saying "gamer girls" or something of the like is because that doesn't fully cover the demographic that is frequently harassed online. Younger players, trans and other members of the LGBTQ community are also subject to frequent harassment; so I want to offer these tips to them as well.

OK! Now that we are done setting some guidelines, let's wipe those tears and get proactive!

1. Know Your Shit

If you are aiming to be a casual player, you might not look up every detail about every character in a game you are playing; however, for the competitive player there is no excuse. Know your game basics and advanced techniques for your characters, know your maps, ask questions in-game, memorize character stats and their roles on a team. The best defense against a lot of harassment is a well-laid groundwork. It's harder to harass someone who knows what they are doing.

2. Challenge Bullying

I have been fortunate to be supported in the few times I had a really nasty person harass me online. The main thing I did to combat it was to address the person directly by telling them to focus on the game and calling them out about how irrelevant the sound of my voice is to capturing this objective (I was playing Overwatch at the time). While they kept antagonizing me about if I was a boy or girl, I spent my time ignoring them, calling targets and getting my damn job done. Because I showed this composure, others on the team started calling out the troll and he didn't gain much ground. Not everyone is going to get along and people will get frustrated and be assholes, but make sure that they don't get to take away the space you call home.

3. Don't be Afraid to Share and Contribute

Many of my friends have said they don't use headsets because they are harassed, hit on, or a slew of other annoying interactions. As soon as their voice is heard BAM! There goes the anonymity and here comes the onslaught of judgment. It can be hard to want to share info that could contribute to the game (calls on targets, ideas on team comp, ideas on strategy). This can be even harder if you aren't playing your best at the time as women are often seen as less talented players (or the universal and annoying: "If women are as good as men, why aren't their pro players?" argument).

But it's ok! We remembered to know our shit so we don't have to worry about sharing. Make sure to use game info to back your opinion (because other players will challenge ideas and strategies supported by data) and let loose the stream of knowledge! One of the reasons this is so important is that each player brings a perspective of what just happened in a game, your suggestion or leadership can turn the tide of a match so remember to speak up!

4. Remember: You do have allies

It's hard to remember sometimes, as you might feel adrift in an ocean of bullshit but there are players who will side with you once you start to be harassed. You don't need to remain silent because chances are if you speak up there will be other teammates there to help. The other benefit of speaking up is that you can encourage others who may be silent.

5. Report Them

I know everyone hates to be that person, but if a situation is really harmful and you've given it your best, don't be above reporting people (it's what it's there for). I usually suggest holding off on doing this at a drop of a pin as it does affect someone else's ability to enjoy the game and they may be having an off day. Things like shit talking (hopefully free of racial and sexist slurs) are going to happen since it's a competitive environment. But if someone is harassing you so much that you can't focus on the thing you came to do, or they are threatening your life etc, let 'em RIP!

Encourage each other, practice often, study hard, challenge yourself and game on!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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