Gaming isn't the most welcoming place for women and esports can be even less friendly – it's a notoriously hard scene for women to get into, let alone climb. But last week ESL announced a new tournament exclusively for women with a prize pool of $50,000, outraging grown men everywhere. Duncan "Thorin" Shields, the self-described "esports historian," jumped to Twitter to voice his still-ongoing outrage which finally bubbled over when he declared that he is esports, and he's been arguing online in quote retweets and replies for hours since.
"Seems disingenuous to make it about toxicity when that's not the context of why you're hosting this competitive circuit," Thorin said in a Twitter thread. "Women in esports: boohoo. Poor white man feels oppressed. You that mad that women get to play in a tournament? You get no pussy. Thorin: Don't dismiss an opinion from an industry veteran with connections and relationships with women for countless years."
He then went on to post an all-caps frenzy about feminism, adding, "You do that cute thing where you tell me to get out of the industry I built and still rests on my fucking shoulders. I AM ESPORTS! Begone, peon." He's since been haemorrhaging followers, blocking countless people calling him out, and underplaying the toxicity that women experience, comparing the backlash he's received to the years of abuse women have and are still subjected to in online games and esports.
The reason for an all-women tournament is, unfortunately, because women report toxicity, harassment, and abuse from other players in the esports scene all too regularly. It's also because of how many struggle to get into and climb the ranks of esports. An all-women environment is more welcoming and can provide those opportunities that are often not afforded to women, but Thorin believes it to be counterintuitive to an inclusivity push because it excludes men. But that argument ignores the abuse that women often face in the industry.
Alixxa, a Team Liquid player, said, "The number of times I've seen women getting harassed by teammates, simply because they're a girl, is horrifying. Action taken against them for expressing hate and sexism is slim to none." (Thanks, Forbes).
Another Team Liquid player – Slyssa – added, "I've been accused of cheating numerous times; pro players on the scene have even claimed I've co-opped with male gamers." Alixxa continued, "One of the most frustrating things is having someone undermine all the hard work, endless hours, and constant sacrifices that I made to succeed and be in a position where gaming is my career."
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