Memo to Hearthstone Tournament Organizers…

Updated: It appears the organizers have reversed their earlier decision :

After causing a controversy, an international e-sports league is changing its rules to welcome women players.

The International E-sports Federation (IESF) is ending its policy that prohibited women from competing against men in pro-gaming competitions, according to a post on its website.

Original post continues below:

Are you fucking kidding me?

The IeSF, or International e-Sports Federation, is a global organisation based in South Korea that is comprised of e-sports associations from across the world. Their stated aim is to promote e-sports as a “true sport”. The IeSF’s sixth World Championship will take place this November, in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Here’s the tournament list, from the organisation’s Facebook event page:

  • Male Competition: Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Ultra Street Fighter IV
  • Female Competition: Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2

It’s an absurd division. Seemingly it tells us that Ultra Street Fighter IV is for boys, and Tekken Tag Tournament is for girls; that women aren’t meant to play Dota 2 or Hearthstone; and that while both men and women can play Starcraft 2, they damn well better not do it together.

Of course, that’s not what the IeSF are saying. Their reasoning is far more insidious than that. In a reply to a Facebook comment asking why men and women had been divided, the IeSF responded with the following:

“The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”

It’s a bizarre statement, attempting to defend a seemingly indefensible decision. E-sports can be recognised as a “legitimate sport” while still staying true to the differences that exist. Hearthstone is not a game that requires any division by gender—to do so is a completely arbitrary decision that smacks of a desperation to be taken seriously.

Women play video games. Get used to it.

(h/t @Gloriwulf)

91 thoughts on “Memo to Hearthstone Tournament Organizers…”

  1. While I don’t understand the difference in games, I can understand having two separate leagues. Currently in most of the games listed, female players are extremely underrepresented. You can’t expect teams to sign female players JUST to help further the equality in ESports if they aren’t performing at the same calibre, so what’s the best way you can gain more notoriety, practice, and representation of female gamers? Give them their own leagues. Restrict entrance to male gamers, but don’t restrict the “male” leagues to females. Eventually with enough practice and support, the females should start to break that gender barrier into the male dominated leagues. While I disagree with the reasons given, the eventual result may pay off.

    1. What’s interesting about that though is this related quote:

      “In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things.”

      (From here:

      Taken from a Finnish Hearthstone tournament. That sounds like there’s a significantly probably chance that a male player may be beaten by a female player.

      And if the female players are so weak that they need their own leagues to “get better to compete with the boys”, wouldn’t not competing with better players just eventually hinder them to never actually becoming as good as the boys? The only way to get better is to play against people that are better than you. That basically requires just one league with the ability to challenge anyone, regardless of gender.

      I think they’re trying to conform to a severely aged and outdated model of “sports”. The IeSF needs to be a little bit more forward thinking and lead, not follow.

      1. The possible conflict would be that the Finnish tournament was a qualifier for a male only tournament – they had to exclude women from the competition as if they won they couldn’t receive the prize, i.e. entry into the other tournament.

    2. “You can’t expect teams to sign female players JUST to help further the equality in ESports if they aren’t performing at the same calibre”

      Who says they aren’t performing at the same calibre?

      1. “Who says they aren’t performing at the same calibre?”
        like every statistic ever made.
        In starcraft II for example you have exactly one good performing female player (scarlet).
        To get better, you have to improve and the best way to improve your skill is to have contests. But if most female players can’t qualify for existing contests (by not meeting the restrictions, like being in grandmaster league), you have to do restricted contests.

        Sorry for bad english. I’m not a native speaker.

        1. Your English is fine.

          I don’t follow professional gaming, all my competitive experience comes from raiding in World of Warcraft and only with the teams I was on where I was often the only woman, or only one of two or three. I was asking in sincerity, not to pick a fight.

          Still, even if women aren’t performing at the same level as men at these games, I’m at a loss to explain why some of the games themselves ought to be segregated by gender.

      2. All of the esports teams. The only female professional SC2 player is Scarlet (who I don’t believe has ever even placed in a major tournament), there are no professional Dota 2 players (on mainstream teams, of course there are amateur players that come close to competing, but there is a pretty substantial skill gap between top amateurs and professionals, mostely due to level of practice), I haven’t seen a professional Street Fighter female player (although I dont’ follow that scene very closely), and also don’t follow hearthstone pretty much at all (although this is likely one sport which it seems likely there are given the Magic CCG scene). Additionally, the most highly funded/watched Esport LoL also has no females playing at the professional level. I’m not at all suggesting that women are incapable, I’m just saying without them being able to get their foot in the door through access to events they never will, and given the domination of males in these sports, having a female only category would likely be more helpful than opening the events to everyone and just hoping that a few women WILL break the gender gap.

        1. (I’m copy/pasting this reply to two different people, because I’m too lazy to type it out again :))

          I don’t follow professional gaming, all my competitive experience comes from raiding in World of Warcraft and only with the teams I was on where I was often the only woman, or only one of two or three. I was asking in sincerity, not to pick a fight.

          Still, even if women aren’t performing at the same level as men at these games, I’m at a loss to explain why some of the games themselves ought to be segregated by gender.

      1. Most professional ESports teams have Hearthstone teams at this point. While it’s not a team game, they do practice together, and receive their sponsorships from the same group as the other sports that the team funds. For example Cloud9 has a Hearthstone team consisting of 5 players (one of which is female btw). Believe it or not, flying around the world competing in tournaments can be quite expensive, so most people like to have someone else footing the bill (their team) :)

  2. Women do a lot of things just like men. Sometimes we do it better than the guys. I agree – deal with it!

  3. The best bowler in the world was a woman.the best billiards player in the world was a woman. They competed head to head, in championship tournaments with men. Hell, Indy car racing has women, 6 last year alone in the Indy 500. But a woman can’t play tekken against a boy? Way to ensure NOT being taken seriously.

    1. In Darts, women never really competed seriously until the World Darts Championship got its own female league. There used to be so few competent (at the world class) that of the 8 players that they would start with (guys got 32 starting places) only really two had any shot at reaching the final, never mind winning. Recently they had to expand to 16 starting places and upped combined prize money to “a couple of people could be pro off of this” levels.

      Women are allowed to compete in the main league, and by now some are even getting to the point where they are getting close to qualifying into that top 32.

      Sometimes you need a gender-limited competition to kickstart that gender’s participation in a sport, is what I’m saying.

      That said, the eSports league is going about this entirely the wrong way.

  4. Wil, women just don’t have the flexor strength in their wrists to properly “fling” the cards in hearthstone. Their cards consequently do less damage, making it unfair and unfun for all. That’s just how God made them.

    It’s the same reason you’re not allowed to play Hearthstone if you’re gay.

  5. Ever heard of the Frag Dolls? The tournament organizers are just lame and behind the times. And probably afraid that the women will KICK THEIR ASSES. Cause we do.

  6. I’m trying to figure out why this comment was making me angry. And it occurred to me that the thought that separating female gamers from the males would in any way help promote them being just as good. Gaming (or any community) isn’t something you can just inject a minority into and expect it to work out. That way of thinking it too short term. A shift like this needs to happen slowly and organically. My opinion is let a players skill be the only metric we use to judge them. If you want more female gamers in pro esports, support the ones who are there. And encourage others to practice and join as well.

  7. I’m sorry Wil, but you have to honestly review Starcraft tournament history in South Korea and you wouldn’t come to this conclusion.

    Girls never came close to the the boys in Broodwar. I can’t say why, but that was a fact for over a decade. There’s a reason why you don’t mix genders in competitions in traditional sports and the same reasons apply to video games as well. Studies have proven that male and female think differently (please not, different doesn’t means better/worse overall) which is not apparent in daily life but plays a big role if you make a game changing decision twice a second.

    For the other games, well, I guess it’s popularity. Even in a progressive esport country like SK girls are a minority when it comes to video games. And you should really try to organize an esport event once and you’ll see how hard it can be just to get enough players to make it an entertaining experience for the viewers. There’s no point making SF4 tournament when you can’t find players/sponsors to make it happen.

    Personally I would love to see more girls in the e-sport circus; but this process will be a slow one and it should grow naturally, because as an American you should know: Forcing someone in the right direction never works if the person wanted it in the first place.

    1. Stopped playing because if I trusted even one person, suddenly everyone knew I was a woman and it got horribly toxic to log on. I don’t need crap like being told I should play support because I’m a woman and have the entire team troll me and deliberately try to grief if I try to play a “man’s role” like ad or ap. How am I supposed to ever get better if every game is griefed just because I’m female? Or being told in a warzone that some guy won’t do what I say because I’m a woman, letting down a team of 10 people just because his ego is bigger than his dick. It’s not fun.

      More women don’t get “good” at games because we get shit on so much we just log off. It’s not fun to get treated like that every time you try to play a game to blow off steam.

      I’m not playing LOL, DOTA2, SWTOR, EVE or any game again where anyone knows I’m female. I get treated completely differently with a male-sounding character name and never talking on voice. I’m never playing DOTA2 again because people on there are fucking terrible human beings.

      I’d never enter a tournament because boobs would be obvious and would blow my cover.

      No idea how some women seem to deal with the constant horribleness of male gamers.

      You’re saying girls don’t come close to the guys in skill? I know quite a few who regularly beat male players. But I guess you have to pretend to be a guy long enough to learn the game in the first place.

    1. Nice charts, just one problem: It focuses mostly on mobile/casual games. Competitive games – especially on a high level – are a different topic.

      Then again: Heartstone is a game were RNG plays a way bigger role than gender, so my guess is there are different (financial) reasons.

  8. As a woman and a gamer, I don’t really have that big of a problem with it. Most physical sports have a women’s division and a men’s division. While I agree that’s probably not necessary in a lot of cases, and definitely not in e-sports, it is currently the way things are in the sports world. Since the stated goal of the organization is to have e-sports seen as “real” sports (and not to foster gender equality in sports in general and e-sports in particular) I do understand the reasoning behind having two divisions in the tournament. That being said, there should not be a difference in what games are being played between those divisions.

    1. Yeah because “that’s the way it always have been” is a great reason to keep it separate! It’s better if nothing changes right?

      1. See my reply to the thread following this one. The IeSF was not founded to fight for gender equality in e-sports, it was founded to fight to have e-sports recognized as real sports.

  9. I don’t see anyone saying anything about other professional sports not having women playing with men. I don’t see any women in the World Cup, I don’t see any women in the nfl, nhl, NBA, cfl, whatever the heck baseball calls itself. I have nothing against women gaming, or playing sports. But if you’re going to get up in arms about women being kept seperate from men then you damn well better do it across the board.

    Professional sports keep women seperate. Get used to it.

    1. There is absolutely no reason to keep women seperate (sic) in video games. The sports you mention are physical contests. Women can play video games just as well as men. Get used to it.

      1. Your point is valid; however it is a different point to the point the IeSF is trying to make, the point that e-sports are real sports and should be treated as such. In order to make that point, they are trying to play by the rules of physical sports by keeping men and women separate for arbitrary reasons. Yes it sucks, but it is the way most of the world currently works. I applaud Major League Baseball for not banning women from their teams (even though no woman has yet made the cut) and do not blame the IeSF for not fighting a cause that is unrelated to the cause for which they were formed to fight.

        1. Why is it that it’s okay to settle for the lowest level of this is how it is and not to fight change.

          Once upon a time women: Didn’t own property, didn’t vote, didn’t go to school, didn’t go to the same schools as men, were chattel, had few or no rights, didn’t learn to read or right. America just got their first 4 star female Admiral. Tennis players play mixed doubles, last I checked that was, indeed, a ‘real’ sport. Dancers dance in mixed gender and that’s considered a sport. An edge sport even somewhat akin to gaming.

          Don’t settle for this is how it’s always been, fight for how it could be better.

      2. Where are they, then? It’s a hundred times easier for female gamers to get noticed, just look at twitch. But on a competitive level.. Where are you all?

        1. Where are we? Trying NOT to get noticed, because to be noticed is to be harassed. That’s where we are.

      3. I agree with you completely. I clearly didn’t explain my view very well in my original comment. I see no reason to keep women in a seperate division in anything at all. If they’re willing to go toe to toe on a physical level there’s no reason they shouldn’t be allowed.

        What’s happening here is nothing more than an arbitrary division of genders in order for professional e sports to be viewed as “legitimate” when compared to other sports.

        The point of my original comment was supposed to be that it’s not right that they’re doing it for such a silly reason. Clearly I lost it somewhere in there.

    2. Competitive gaming doesn’t have the same physical barriers as the sports you listed. In fact, trying to get competitive gaming classified as a sport is ridiculous.

      Chess and Poker do not ban women from competing with men. Why should other forms of gaming? In fact, most sports don’t even bar women from competing. If you’re good enough, you can make a team.

      1. Exactly, there’s no reason women should be kept seperate. My point was that “professional” sports such as those keep women seperate and that is all they’re trying to do here. I don’t agree with it, but from their point of view it makes them a more legitimate sport if men and women are kept seperate.

        1. Except they don’t… There are many examples of how women are not kept out of men’s leagues. They may have men’s and women’s leagues but women are not banned from competing with men if they choose.

    3. If you don’t see it, you’re not looking hard enough. There are plenty of people who object to the gender division in other sports. But let’s just put that aside.

      Sports that require direct physical competition generally segregate by gender because men & women are biologically different. Generally speaking, our bodies are built differently (different center of gravity, different distribution of muscle, etc.). So a direct competition of physical prowess may not be a fair competition, depending on what is required. I’m not going to get into it is vs. it isn’t, just that I think both sides can make some cogent arguments.

      But activities that are based on skill and not primarily physicality, such as auto racing, are often open to anyone. While there is definitely a physical aspect to auto-racing the link to performance isn’t as direct. It is about the skill in operating the equipment. A brain in a vat could drive a car, if it could operate the controls.

      Videogaming is primarily a skills competition, people of all shapes and sizes compete – it is less about physicality than just about any other ‘sport’. So what is the justification for doing this, other than “tradition”?

      Let’s break this down:
      1. We want to be considered a real sport, like those guys.
      2. Those guys are gender segregated.
      3. Therefore, we need to be gender segregated.

      What kind of cargo cult reasoning is this? “If we imitate them, maybe they’ll think we’re one of them”?

      And beyond just the gender segregation, what is the justification for having each division play different games?

      1. This is brilliant. Thank you for saying what I couldn’t, because I was too busy gnashing my teeth at the sheer amount of dudebro-ing in this thread.

        1. Also, some of those physical sports leagues are actually allowing women to compete, i.e. ice-hockey (only one I’m kinda familiar with, so will argue from what I know) . It is just that they don’t make the cut, for reasons stated above. Also doesn’t keep them from trying to make it (see Manon Rheaume in NHL, Wickenheiser in Finnish league). I think the NHL would be very happy to have women come in and be able to compete in the league. Just the idea of a Szabados or a Knight in the NHL is terribly exciting.

          The IeSF bans women outright from certain games. No evaluation, no chance to prove yourself, zilch. Just because it is what the ‘real’ ‘big’ sports are supposedly doing (clearly not universally so) And if I recall correctly from another article, this discussion started around a qualification tournament for the main event, you know, a tournament to find out which players are up to the task …

        2. What bothers me the most is this kind of segregation flies in the face of why I started gaming. When I play a video game its the closest thing to an even playing field I’m going to get. The game I’m playing doesn’t care that I’ve just had heart surgery, it doesn’t care that I have a vagina, it doesn’t care how many cats I have. As long as I hit the buttons the right way its gonna react the same way the coding really doesn’t give a shit and that’s comforting. When I was a kid video games were the place I went to feel like an equal. I foolishly hoped I could rely on esports for that same nostalgia and comfort that I didn’t get from other past times.

          Esports, to me, is so special because its NOT like other traditional sports. Its still a culture that is open to change. Its patronizing and logically backwards to create any separation based on gender, even if its to facilitate a greater population of professional female players.
          1. How will you fund and find fan support for a separate league that’s “not as good”?
          2. When are female players going to be good enough?
          3. Who decides this?
          Even if you could negotiate all that, this separation policy would forever brand female professional as different and potentially unqualified.

      2. I agree. I didn’t make my original point very well at all. There’s really no reason for this seperate on other than they’re trying to look like a legitimate sport. I just find it odd that this seems to be a very hot topic in gaming right now but it seems to be generally accepted in many other mainstream professional sports. I understand the whole biological differences between men and women, but it seems to me if they truly want equality it should be equality in all things not just a selection of the whole.

    4. That’s also a problem… professional sports keeps women separate and they shouldn’t. It’s all down to sponsorship, and idiotic mentality…

    5. So you don’t consider professional bowling a sport? There are going to be a lot of pro bowlers taken by surprise that what they do is no longer a sport. Or what about professional tennis, or is it just the mixed doubles you consider not a sport?

      Unless they’re adding a full contact division to e-sports there is no reason to separate the competition..

  10. Seriously?
    I’ve just started Dota 2. I’m also a chick. I play video games!!!!
    Though this could also be considered a problem with sports federations in general.
    E-sports are real sports, but video games have always been of a different category. They take skill of a different kind, definitely.

    1. DOTA isn’t a video game. 😀 I know lots of women gamers in all forms of games. Not many are better than me, per say, but that’s not a statement of how women are, just means I need to get a life away from gaming 😀

          1. Actually, saying DOTA isn’t a video game is correct, since DOTA is a custom map in warcraft 3 – which is a videogame- rather than an actual videogame in and of itself.

  11. There is no gender restriction in professional sports. Women Golfers have competed in PGA events. There have been several women who have tried out for men’s professional teams.

    In the Olympics, women and men compete against each other in both sailing and equestrian events. As a matter of fact, I do not believe there is a restriction from women competing in ANY men’s event. Only restrictions from men competing in women’s events.

  12. There are more and more female game designers, level designers, artists of every kind, programmers, marketers, producers, developers, et al, than ever before. Myself included. Look out, world. Gaming, as we know it, is headed to new heights!

  13. well, crap. i guess i’ll have to stop playing hearthstone now. i wonder if i’ll have to give up my WoW account also.

    1. I don’t think this can be blamed on Blizzard. Unless I’ve missed it somewhere, they don’t have any involvement in this crap.

      1. I think that was: “Oh no I’m a girl! I can’t play hearthstone! What was I thinking?!” Not, OMG BOYCOTT!!!

  14. Hockey does not segregate by gender. I give you Hayley Wickenheiser, the first woman to score a goal in a men’s professional hockey league. It’s rare, absolutely, I don’t deny that in Hockey the women can rarely keep up with the men. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY’RE BANNED. It just means they’re rarely selected to play on mens’ teams. If one of the fastest, hardest-hitting sports on earth can do it, e-Sports can damn well do it too.

  15. Chess, Poker and Racing are great examples of competitive environments that men and women compete together in.

    There is no reason to separate genders for video gaming.

    There are many Grand Masters who happen to be female. Not sure why video games have to separate.

  16. I don’t have a problem of Female-Only Tournaments if you are offering an Open-Gender Tournament for the same game. If only men qualified to playing an open-gender tournament… then not having the Female-only tournament is just as bad.

  17. I thought we had left “separate but equal” at the side of the road. Nice to see we’re starting to establish “Jane Crow” situations now…

  18. Honestly, I would not have rooted for ToSsGirl so hard back in the day if she wasn’t scrapping with all the boys. Allowing men and women to compete together in eSports makes more sense and it makes it more exciting. And its how its always been done.

    Very weird and arbitrary decision by the IeSF to limit the most competitive divisions to men only. I agree that they should get more women involved, but this is not they way.

  19. Did some research,

    it looks like this is part of a push to get these games into the Olympics, which is perhaps why they are trying to conform to these traditional sporting customs.

    But, whatever. Starcraft’s heydey is over. Starcraft 2 is not much fun to watch. Hearthstone is about as exciting to watch as watching poker on the Travel channel. Dota 2, Street Fighter? These are not bringing eSports into legitimacy anytime soon.

    Competitive video gaming spectators are a niche audience that will continue to be best served by small, local enthusiast groups. South Korean popularity notwithstanding, there is no need for video games in the Olympics or an international governing body for e-sports.

    Just let the people play. Why’s it gotta get all crazy?

  20. It honestly feels like this we’re all arguing over the wrong things here. There is plenty of patriarchy within e-sports and the e-sport streaming community for us to get upset about.

    Examples include the intense hate filled comments Scarlet has faced upon her success in ANY tournament. The ridiculous animosity all girl teams get upon forming as well as the absurd fact that so many organizations tend to feature all girl teams in promotional material where the girls don’t wear much clothing. There’s also the constant harassment that girl streamers get and complaints of them just being “a pair of boobs” and then the constant pressure to be just that on stream.

    The rules set forth by this organization are arbitrary and incredibly condescending. Fortunately, this organization is also arbitrary and utterly meaningless. If this was Riot, the main organizer of League of Legends, or Valve the main organizer of Dota 2 or Blizzard the main organizer of Starcraft then I think there would be some serious issues at stake here.

    Instead, we have an organization saying they are legitimate when as far as I know (mostly just follow Dota) they have never done anything substantial in or for the esports community. If you look at their previous tournaments they feature virtually NO esports talent of any significance. This whole kerfuffle is probably the biggest amount of press/news they have EVER received.

    They are complete idiots. They’re also utterly insignificant idiots.

  21. News flash, e sports are not the same as real sports. Sorry but its true. I play numerous video games, many of them are sports games, but do I feel it’s the same as playing real football, hockey, or even pro wrestling? NO! It’s not the same. While I feel there is something to their noble, if misplaced, goal of being recognized as a real sport, I feel they have a bit more research to do. Perhaps they should model their regulations around these “real” sports, where women are in fact not banned in most cases. Their tournament should measure more on merit and skill. Now to address the e-sports claim that they are not trying to fight for equality. If that is their stand, that’s wonderful, it’s not their responsibility to try and mainstream any group. However do they have a rebuttal for the difference in games for each league? No, interesting, I guess knobody will have to cancel that Hearthstone account. Several lovely people have been kind enough to point out that there aren’t many female competitors at the professional division, that is true. Now let me tell you being told I’m not good enough to actually even try to compete against men while playing a video game sure makes me feel welcome, and I bet it does wonders for young emerging female gamers. If professional gaming tournaments measure only on merit and skill maybe there won’t be many female gamers, but not forever. Just in case all you welcoming folks in the gaming community might have missed it, purehorsefeathers said it beautifully, “Gaming, as we know it, is headed to new heights.”

    1. Oops forgot the quotes in reference to ‘knobody’, sorry. And fixed my email for reference purposes.

  22. lolz – women don’t game people, it’s a voice mod……

    Seriously though – are you surprised? The amount of people who STILL give me the ‘huh?’ look when they find out that I game – and the eyebrows go up further when it’s mentioned about the latest table top buy/victory (you & I have to have a little ‘chat’ about that as well Mr Wheaton, my wallet has started shrieking in fear whenever I go past Games World).

    We’re probably going to find out the douche canoe who came up with this little gem –
    “The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”
    – has a female in his past who handed him his arse, with ease, whenever they played.

    The stereotype that ‘girls don’t game’ is old & entrenched, but with a high profile response such as this, we can hope that it can be addressed and destroyed – hopefully with a BFG.

  23. I had to think hard on this one. At first, it’s really easy to say “duh, girls aren’t making it to the finals, just give them a team so they can compete” and chalk the lack of females in the finals as their inability to play games well. I think it’s something deeper. Who knows why so few women game. Maybe it’s because we have to hide ourselves from the the mentally 12 year old boys who harass us because we’re girls. Maybe it’s because the majority of us haven’t been encouraged to game; “it’s a boy thing”. I have this vision that female gaming is going to take off when this ONE girl gets in there and dominates. Little girls and lades are going to see this as inspirational, go for it, and realize that they can do this too. That can’t happen if we start to do stupid things like segregate gaming. It would just be a huge setback. I just want to scream: “YEAH! VAG POWER!” If we think we can, or if we think we can’t, either way we’re right!

  24. “But.. we are trying to help you by giving you your OWN league. Where we can offer you less prize money, less advertising, and less tournaments. It’s for the GREATER GOOD. SEE HOW WE’RE FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS?!”

    Just. NO.

  25. The problem isn’t simply that men and women are separated in e-sports, it’s there are few to no female players at the pro level in any game, partly because they fear they wouldn’t be taken seriously. As a consequence, they really aren’t. It’s a nasty self-fulfilling prophecy.

    As a result, women only tournaments are often small or nonexistent due to lack of sign ups, and those that do go off are often ignored by the e-sports fans because the skill level on display is typically lower. And it’s not because women are inherently inferior, simply because there are less of them with less of a support structure.

    There are huge exceptions, Scarlett is one of the best SC2 players in the entire world, for example, but it took her winning several major tournaments before anyone took her seriously, which is a problem.

    Basically, the field of e-sports is male dominated mostly because women are excluded from the team/team house structure that supports the pros, making it much harder for them to break in, leading to most who have the talent just giving up. The tournaments be damned, once the teams start accepting and actively recruiting women, we’ll have a stable scene.


    “Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only,” said Markus “Olodyn” Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, in a statement to PC Gamer.” “In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things.”
    So he’s concerned a Finnish gaming male’s ego can tolerate losing to a Finnish man, but not a Finnish woman. #smh

    1. So he’s concerned a Finnish gaming male’s ego can tolerate losing to a Finnish man, but not a Finnish woman. #smh

      Actually he’s concerned with a female winner not being able to attend the main tournament since the main tournament is male only.

  27. I cannot agree more on your thoughts Wil.

    Unless a game, any game, is reliant on physical capability that is genetically predisposed, there should not be gender specific competition. Men and women can compete at the same level on many many games, yet there are people who for one reason or another feel that there should be this separation.

    Organizations that dictate or sanction gender specific competition in activities where gender is NOT a scientifically proven factor for success will never get my support.

  28. Yes, this decision shows IeSF actually values female gamers – in much the same way Hobby Lobby values it’s female employees.

  29. That is crazy. Even if they believe that men/boys will be placed at an unfair advantage when playing video games against girls, that’s no reason to use this tactic to protect them. The sooner these young boys learn that women are dominant, the better it will be for all. :)

  30. At the end of the day I feel like the real problem here is that every time they make a women’s league, it gets treated like the second class league. I’m from Canada, where everyone is obsessed with hockey, but most people never watch women’s Olympic hockey and women’s hockey in general hardly ever gets televised. The men’s league is always seen as the big leagues that the frail and second class humans who were unfortunate enough to be born female can only watch from afar. You can already tell that that’s what’s going to happen given that the tournament organizers have said it is because of sporting rules, while all the comments are saying it’s because women are not as good.

  31. Someone should tell them that in Show Jumping – a legitimate sport – men and women compete with each other. That is just one example.

  32. I live in South Korea. I’m sorry, but this is probably the least offensive thing that South Korean society does to women. Treat the disease, not the symptoms.

  33. I’ve done martial arts for many years. In martial arts, we have divisions based on weight and sex for competitors over about the age of twelve (though this varies by venue – I’ve seen as young as ten and most commonly up to fourteen, so we’ll stick with twelve as a general rule).

    I was also involved in Odyssey of the Mind tournaments. Those don’t have sex or weight classes.

    And that’s all I have to say on this topic. sigh

  34. How stupid can those people be? The differentiation in regular sports is usually done because of different strength threshholds.

    In gaming it’s all even. Girls and boys can fight side by side. Stupid is, stupid does.

  35. What’s hilarious (for a bizarro world value of hilarious) is that the reasons some sports have segregated leagues is because of real physical structure differences that directly affects performance.

    Making a segregated league of electronic gaming says, to me: Hey girls we think your mental abilities are a bit lightweight so we’re giving you a league of your own so you don’t get so trounced by the mentally superior men.


  36. Why is the players gender known? Isn’t this online gaming? I’m being sincere, I play video games but not online. I know lots of guys who’s avatar is female just because its bad ass, but other than that why is the gender of the actual player even known by other players? Who cares?

  37. In a ‘sport’ where size and physical strength differences aren’t a major issue it’s pretty retarded to do what they did. The person that mentioned fencing, that’s a good example of something where natural strength doesn’t matter. it’s skill, timing, and coordination making anyone good enough able to beat anyone else. the same thing with video games, I don’t see how being 6 feet and able to bench press 300 pounds means someone would be better at Street Fighter. I laughed when I read about this. I think it may be a joke.

  38. I am coming to this conversation a bit late, so I think most of the arguments have been made. I would like to say that I am a man. Can’t help it. I was born this way. That being said, I think the hate speech and sexism from both genders in this thread are ridiculous. I think the notion of gender separation in gaming is dumb, but they can do what they want with their organization. If you don’t like them, stay out of their ball pit. Find or start an organization you do agree with and petition the appropriate game developers to support them instead.

    I also saw somebody voicing the idea of having the “mens” league be coed, and still have a women only league. This is an example of trying to have your cake and eat it too. You don’t get equality through imbalance.

    Lastly, one of the things that hurts women are some of the advocates for women. My example of this is the E3 Killer instinct demo last year. Guy trash talked a woman and it blew up all over the net as a “rape” joke. I don’t think most female gamers would have been offended by the comments made if they were the ones playing the game. But things like this scare the crap out of sponsors when it comes to lending their brands to televised events. Once again, this is not a reason to segregate, but it’s not always evil men being evil. Sometimes fear, real or imagined, can make people do stupid things.

    Now let’s all have a coed platonic hug, and play more games

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