knights

pittsburgh knights

mobile menu .

a knight deal .

Are you the ultimate Knight Fan? Fly our colors and create your own legacy…

knights

Women in Esports: The Modern-Day Plight of the “Gamer Girl”

To understand how to solve the challenges facing women in esports as well as the gaming community as a whole, you must identify the underlying issues and contributing factors that create these challenges.

In episode two of this ongoing Women in Esports podcast series, host Kat De Shields-Moon chats with Dr. Jenna Drenten, Associate Professor of Marketing at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business. They discuss what it means to be a woman in gaming, including the history and academic research surrounding this topic. And how toxic, unaccepting environments in casual gaming lead to a lack of female representation in esports. Listen up to level up!

Special thanks to PNC Bank for their valued support in making the Women in Esports series possible. Together, with teamwork, we will overcome the challenges facing women in gaming.

Join the conversation. Be a part of the solution.

Watch the complete episode below and read on for the full episode transcript of this Women in Esports episode: What is a Gamer Girl?


 

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Kat De Shields-Moon: Women make up nearly 50% of all gamers, yet only a small percentage of women play esports. Professionally, it's time we figure out how to change that. The Knights want to empower women to build their esports empire along with our partner PNC Bank. We are adamant about creating a more equitable future for gamers. There is no one size fits all solution, so we'll be tackling the issue from all angles, featuring insights from a variety of subject matter experts and professionals. I'm Kat De Shields-Moon with the Knights. Welcome to the Women in eSports podcast. Hello, everybody and welcome back to the second episode of season two of the Women in Esports podcast with Pittsburgh Knights presented by PNC Bank. We are so thrilled to have you here with us digitally, of course, and I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming Dr. Jenna Denton to the show today. She has conducted numerous studies about the gamer girl. I'm sure you all know gamer girl that term is prevalent throughout the gaming and esports industry. But she's conducted market research talking about some of the challenges women face when it comes to being engaged with or wanting to be a part of the gaming industry. And what solves there are—solutions, challenges, opportunities—to overcome, understand, relate with, and make esports and gaming a more equitable place for everyone. So thank you so much, Jenna, for joining the show. I would love to learn a little bit more about you and what you do at Loyola.

Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, thank you for having me. I am an associate professor of marketing at Loyola University, Chicago, and the Quinlan School of Business. I study gender, identity, and digital consumer culture. So gaming fits right in the middle of all of that, particularly as more and more games are bound by Internet experiences, particularly women in those spaces. And yeah, that's my research. And I've had a long interest in understanding how the marketplace functions from a more anthropology and sociology perspective.


Kat De Shields-Moon: That's fascinating. I love that. So you said that gaming is a perfect industry to research. So what led you to start to study, you know, gaming, and how women fit into the space?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: It was a couple of things. A part of it was I grew up gaming and then, at some point, stopped. And part of my interest in studying gaming from an academic perspective was figuring out why I stopped doing something that I loved as a young kid and teen? And why did I fall out of it? And then I saw my younger sibling and other young people who were playing in wonder if they were potentially going to stop playing. So that was one piece of it. And then another is, there was a statistic that came out, that talked about, essentially, when we compare men and women, which is a limiting view of gender, but for the statistics that, you know, men and women have reached parity or representation in the gaming industry. So as far as gamers, that women are about 49% of the gaming industry of players. And I thought, where are they? Because I don't, I'm not seeing 49%. And so w hat's what's happening here, that this is not visible to other people looking into this industry. And then I have a sort of happenstance that a colleague of mine at Western Michigan called me up one day and said, What do you know about gaming and the Gamer Girls, you know, would you want to study this? I said, as a matter of fact, it's funny, you should mention that because I've been thinking a lot about this. So it worked out that we were able to collaborate on these projects.


Kat De Shields-Moon: That's awesome. And there's been a couple of papers that you've put out. Can you run us through the titles and a summary of what each one dives into?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, of course. So one of them is on gamer girls in particular and navigating this subculture of inequality. And that one rove into trying to understand what the term gamer girl means is something that's often taken for granted that people are just like, oh, yeah, we know. But in research, we know you don't know until you study it and understand where it's coming from. So that one looked into how different levels of the marketplace play a role in creating these inequities in the gaming community. So whether it's one-on-one consumer experiences or in the shopping experience, a lot of women in our study said, you know, I go into GameStop, and I try to buy a game. And immediately the employee is like, Oh, are you buying for your boyfriend? Are you here for your dad? Are you buying for your little brother? And so there are these microaggressions that happen within the marketplace that came out of what's representative of a gamer girl not belonging in this community. So that's one research paper. And then another one was a more conceptual piece, looking at the history of gaming and Gen gaming as gender and subculture. So a lot of the research today looks at how representation takes place within the game itself. So like, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, what gamers call one of my favorite terms that I learned in these projects is boob physics. So it's essentially like, there's no way a woman could look this way, naturally. But because of digital technology, we can make them look at whatever fantastic way we want to. And so we said, That's great to understand how women's bodies are represented in the games and those sorts of things. But we're more interested in the experience of gaming and how that's a gender experience. And where we started in gaming from arcades, and in this sort of like leisure activity to now esports in a very monetized business model of being able to build a career out of this, and that it every step of the way, in every iteration from, you know, arcade gaming to, obviously, in recent years GamerGate to now with huge arenas being built around eSports, that gender plays a huge role in that and how we define masculine leisure and where women as traditionally more feminine individuals fit into that.


Kat De Shields-Moon: No, that’s fantastic. Gosh, you hit on so many points, I wish we had time to unpack them all. But we're going to try and get through as much as possible y'all. So but I did want to spend a little bit of time talking about how people assume what gamer girl means. Because I know, I had my assumptions on what gamer girl meant, until I found out it had a wildly negative connotation to it. And I'm like, maybe I don't want to call myself that. So can you if, according to your research and what you found, what is the definition of a gamer girl?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: That's a great question. And it does vary who you're who, on who you're talking to. So largely, in our research, what we found is Gamer Girl, it's affiliated with a very negative connotation. And the best way to describe it is a very sexualized connotation, where it's women who are just trying to play games, to meet men and to try to you know, get boyfriends and that they're, you know, posing and sexy ways with a controller in their mouth. And you know, that they don't actually know how to play. So that's a lot more descriptive than it is a definition. But that's sort of the visual imagery that comes to mind when we think of this negative connotation around the gamer girl, that it's someone who is not a quote-unquote, real gamer. And what in our research we find is real gamer equals man, that that tends to be the litmus test. And what you know, is not true. But that seems to be the default. And so one of the things that, you know, to your point that a lot of women do claim to be gamer girls because it's a way of empowering and taking that term back and saying no, this is actually we are going to own this word, and you can't weaponize it against us. One of the things, you know, that is a very obvious way that this field is gendered is there's no such thing as a gamer guy right there. It’s just Gamer Girl. So by default, that is the second sex that this is like you You don't belong here. So it's a way for this, you know, masculine dominance to manifest as weaponizing the term gamer girl, so it falls in line with how we see this in other ways. Like, oh, you throw like a girl. So it's very much this like, as a girl mentality. Captured in one phrase. Hmmm.


Kat De Shields-Moon: No, that's, that's awesome insight. Thank you so much for that definition. So you've level set the rest of the conversation with that, and I'm super excited, y’all. This is gonna be amazing. I can't even begin to express how excited I was when I was reading your work and the writing of your co-authors, just because you really take a deep look into the origins of some of the problems that women are facing in continue to face in the gaming industry. And it is so important, you know, to understand where this stems from to properly create solutions or address the problem, you know, so to continue with the gamer girl definition for just a moment, where did the term originate from in your research? Did you tie it with GamerGate? Can you expand on that just a little bit for us?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, I mean, a lot of people in the gaming community will be familiar with Gamergate, for sure. But if not, essentially, there's a lot of moving parts to it, but in some key actors. But I'll break it down to the big picture of there was some controversy around how one individual became prevalent in the gaming community who was a woman and there was there were accusations made around her essentially sleeping our way to the top. And, and then, and that ties into this game or girl sort of mentality that a way that women are kept out of the gaming community is to sexualize them. And we see that in the games themselves. But we also see that in gameplay, that it's fine if you are a woman and you want to be here. So this is essentially what GamerGate said, you can be here, but you need to be here for the service of men, that you need to be hot, you need to like play by our rules, you need to look the way we want you to look. And that's fine, but don't try to like upset what we've built here, which is a highly misogynistic, highly patriarchal community. And, and so GamerGate really evolved out of pushback against women gaining power in this community and in the challenges with what happens all the time of sharing power, when a marginalized group, you know, suddenly becomes more powerful than the group that is dominant is going to say, No, thank you, we are go ing to find new ways to keep you down and, and GamerGate was a part of that. That was very public invisible. So it became a hashtag on Twitter. And it was essentially a movement saying women don't belong in this community, the much more visible way of manifesting this gamer girl identity. And so that's where it became sort of mainstream this Gamer Girl term, because we saw it so much on Twitter, on Reddit, on 4chan on the social media channels emerging as a weaponized term to say these Gamer Girls don't belong here. And so it was a way to collectively say you are the other and you know we don't want you in our group. Even though as I mentioned at the start of the podcast, that our group isn't really true, because many, many women are gamers like there's a ton of women that are actively gaming, but they're doing in uncloaked ways because they're trying to protect themselves from the harassment that they might get, as you know, evident through GamerGate.


Kat De Shields-Moon: Know that that's, that's, it's, it's, it's a sobering thought to be sure. And we'll definitely dive into how women have to hide their identities in order to feel like they can even participate as either a player or sometimes professionally to, you know, so we'll get into that absolutely want to come back and talk about that. But to, to go into, in your to go into your process just a little bit. Can you share how you with your co-authors? How you collected your data, how did you identify, you know, the women that you talk to? And then what, what kind of process did you take around writing these papers?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, so I'm a qualitative researcher. And a lot of my research is all about immersing yourself in the field and really understanding not just individual experience, not people have numbers so its understanding lived experiences, rather than maybe a survey or an experiment. My so we the depth interviews with over 20 Women who identify as gamers at various levels, and they all play various different games. We started by essentially just posting posters around different gaming stores in Arcade communities and asking if people would be interested in talking to us and people were because they're passionate about having their voices heard. And so we sat down and would have interviews with individuals, and ask them a series of questions about their experiences. And one of the things that was really interesting is sort of as the interview would unfold, you saw our participants sort of processing experiences that they've had. So we might ask, you know, have you ever had any negative experiences? And a person might say, Oh, no, it's all been great. I love gaming. It's an amazing community, everyone's Wonderful. Well, this one time, this guy, you know, said something to me, you know, it was like, people say, go back to the kitchen all the time. And, and sometimes my team will make us lose because they don't want a woman to win on the team. But no, everything's been great. And so it's interesting what, as gamers, people learn to code as harassment or negative experiences, and not to code in that way, and what becomes just, oh, that's just part of gaming, versus that's actually gender harassment taking place. So we would ask these questions. We've also recently started collecting some data via Twitch and observational research on Twitch live streaming. And that's a newer iteration. And then we've done a lot of historical research. So we collect a ton of media sources throughout the last two decades, to better understand how the evolution of the industry has been, as far as how real gaming is covered in the media, because that has a huge impact on individual consumers perceptions, and players perceptions of gaming, as a community of seeing what's reflected back to them. And then our last thing is kind of mapping that on to sort of a timeline of the industry itself. And when one thing that I have found really interesting is, a lot of our participants talk about an uptick in sort of misogynistic activities in the gaming community, when big games that are sports-oriented, like Madden, started coming out. And they said, you know before then it was this, like, respite for nerd culture. And it was a place that we could go and be safe. And then it was like all these, like, highly misogynistic jock guy started playing video games. And then like, all of a sudden, it wasn't the safe space for us, which may be, you know, isn't entirely the full story. But it's interesting to see how certain game releases happen, how industry changes occur, and the timeline of that, how that maps on to increasing sort of harassment or gendered experiences over time.


Kat De Shields-Moon: You know, that? That's a very interesting point. I didn't even think about that, you know, because it used to be, you know, if you were a gamer, then you know, that that has a whole bunch of stereotypes attached to it in and of itself, but it's you probably got teased in school this right, you identified as a gamer. So that was the, which is the different games that are coming out, and the different populations that are coming in, that are attached to those that that's, that's fascinating. Wow, I can't, that that's gonna be in our understanding.


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, our understanding of science in general. So early research on gaming, actually said women or young girls are not good at gaming, because they are not, their dexterity isn't as good. And their cognitive ability to, like, have good hand-eye coordination, that you would need to be able to look at the TV and then the controller and the, you know, video arcade video game, that there were multiple studies that said that young boys are just naturally biologically better at gaming. And so that then influences even though it's false science, influences perceptions of the gaming community over time of who is a good gamer who is a real gamer who should be playing games. And we see that in traditional sports as well. But it's sort of like, you know, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and having to sort of break-in under the guise of being a man because she wasn't supposed to be there. And so, we see this in multiple different subcultures and fields. Gaming is one that we were super interested in studying because there is no physical ability involved. So that claim can't be made. You know, whatever claim that is that there should be no differences as far as How good you were able to be as far as a sex-based conversation?


Kat De Shields-Moon: Know exactly, you know, because esports you know, a lot of people, organizations, they're, they're touting it and it's true, you know exactly what you said it, you don't have to have any real, you know, physical ability, like the same way a football player or a soccer player has to have. So in a way, it's a great equalizer, because everybody has a chance, right? As long as you are right, you know how to play the solid internet connection, which not everybody has, but it's a lot more accessible than a lot of other traditional sports ever will be, you know, so the fact that there's false science around girls can't move their thumbs as fast is just crazy. Wild. Um, but thank you for that I did, as an extension of your research process. In your papers, I did see a paragraph where you say your study is rooted in social dominance theory? Can we spend a little bit of time discussing what that is and how it pertains to your research?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, social dominance theory is a lot about power dynamics, it's a lot about trying to take power from other individuals, and that there would be considered a particular social, socially dominant group that sort of makes the rules, they have the resources, and any sort of challenge to that would be seen as an attempt to take power from the dominant group. And so within gaming, we use social dominance theory as looking at sort of the masculine nature of the gaming community in the field of gaming, and how social dominance aka men become the dominant group in that community, and how that manifests in various ways from, as I mentioned, before, the consumer level from you know, gameplay to how games are designed. So what gets presented on the screen whereas you're playing, because social dominance manifests in the industry itself, as we have game designers and programmers, and the artwork designers for the boxes themselves, and how games are marketed. And then also, as I mentioned before it the sort of retail and shopping level. So all these different, as we say, you know, marketplace actors and all these marketplace levels that we see social dominance manifesting as it's being catered to this masculine ideal because that's the perceivably dominant social group in the gaming culture.


Kat De Shields-Moon: No, that's...and thank you for that. And I did want to read one of the quotes you're talking about, was it marketing actors that you just referenced? Yeah, something that's very interesting. Was that advertisement, so when it comes to gaming, so, quote, using stereotypical assumptions from previous sex-based gaming studies, the male-oriented advertisement used words like intense combat and battle, while the female-oriented advertisement use words like build relationships and create a community to the author surprise, such dichotomous did I say that right? Is that how you say that? Yeah, I think dichotomous gender-stereotyped advertising was not as effective as expected. Instead, gamers prefer high-quality multi-dimensional games transcendent of gender-based stereotypes. So it's prevalent everywhere, like, like you just said, you know, from the design aspect of it right down to in-store experiences down to the way that games are marketed or positioned for certain people. So I do want to spend just a little bit of time on that quote, about gamers preferring high-quality multi-dimensional games, and it doesn't have anything to do with gender. When where, how did you come across that information? That's fascinating because one would think, and, oh, this game is made for women, you know, or this type of game would appeal or to men, you know, so it's like, I don't know. Sometimes people were like, oh, yeah, you're a gamer. So what do you play like Animal Crossing and Candy Crush? And I'm like, No, I play blasphemous and Call of Duty What do you play? You know? It's, it's a very real thing that a lot of women go through especially if they like, men’s games. Your game right?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: And that's absolutely, and that's it goes back to this like idea of what a real gamer is that the perception is a real gamer are the ones that they are the ones that are playing Call of Duty. Battlefield and Grand Theft Auto and these like highly, you know, often bloody try to you know, extend from offline what we have coded as masculine activities. So if you take things like Call of Duty and Battlefield, that those experiences of going to war are coded as masculine activities offline, and then they get coded like that in these, you know, online multiplayer games as well. And so, a couple of things that as you were talking came up, so I love that you mentioned that, you know, people come up to you and say, Oh, you play Candy Crush, because even in my research, I've had other scholars say, Well, what do you know, why is this important research, like girls are gamers, they all play Candy Crush. And again, I'm like, but that's, that's not the point. That's, that's saying, like, Well, yeah, you can play, but only if you play these games that are like cooking oriented, or you're taking care of like, some animal and keeping them alive or building, you know, a home or doing something, you know, dressing your character, that if it's something that's bloody, gory, you know, intense in those ways that that's not a space for you. But that also is what real gaming is. So you can't be both. And so there is t his like, then pressure just like you said, Well, no, I play these games, this pressure on women to grandstand and to say, I'm going to prove that I belong here. Whereas men don't have that they don't have that same default pressure, where one of my favorite quotes from our interviews, and it's actually in multiple iterations came up. But one person said, you know, when you're hen you're a woman, people always ask you, do you play video games? Whereas if you’re a man, they say, What games do you play? And out of the gate, it's just assumed that as a, as a man that you could play games like that, that's default understood. And, I mean, we do it in a lot of fields, but it is, you know, it's the sports example of like, Oh, you like baseball, name the winner of the World Series in 19, you know, 48. And, and so there's this added burden on female gamers to prove their expertise, their belonging, their knowledge of these highly gendered video games. And so and marketing has contributed to that because it is marketed toward a very masculine ideal. And so, you know, you do have, as I mentioned earlier, these like, boob physics and these fantastical things, and these, you know, gory imagery, and really intense, you know, photos and things like that, and illustrations. The rhetoric that's used in a lot of the women in our research said, but we want that too, like, like, we, we just want to play video games, we, you know, we're not trying to be like, girls in gaming, like, we're not trying to be Gamer Girls, we're just trying to be gamers, and we just want to play these same games that everyone else is playing, and we want to boost our, you know, kill ratio and our, you know, scores and we want to do the same thing. So we're not trying, we're not asking for the games to be different. We're asking for our experience to be different.


Kat De Shields-Moon: That is powerful. That's a tweetable quote if I ever heard one, and it's definitely something I can get behind, you know, because even like working in the industry, you know, it's like, I'm here. I'm working in video games, like, Oh, so you work here, but do you play games? Yeah, I do. So I absolutely understand and you know, everything that you're saying, I know that it's validating to a lot of women who are in the space you know, and it's me just listening to you reading your work I'm like, I feel seen Yes, this is exactly it. I didn't have the vocabulary or you know, the terms or even the wider context to understand all of the different factors that are adding to or contributing to the way that I feel, you know, as a woman who plays games, you know, but y'all like the links will be included below. So spend some time after listening to this podcast, reading Dr. Johnson's research, I promise it is validating and so so insightful in many different ways. So you got a fan in me got a hold.


Dr. Jenna Drenten: And that's the point of academic research is to make voices heard. I mean, it is to like give life to these voices. And to really understand dynamics, not at a surface level, but like deeply rooted in the socio-historic perspective of how we got to be in this place and how we can do better.


Kat De Shields-Moon: No, that's powerful. I love that. That's an interesting take on academic research. I didn't, I guess I never really thought about why academic research was a thing. But Well, other than, like, Hey, here's some things that we explored. And here's what we found. But from like a, like a validation standpoint, like, Hey, these are underrepresented or marginalized voices, we're tapping into spaces that nobody's looked at before just to duel things around and see what makes things go, you know so that's awesome.


Dr. Jenna Drenten: And from a commercial perspective, so it's not you know, like, a lot of research that's done market research is driven by organizations that have a vested financial interest in the outcome. So if a gaming company was like, we did studies on women's experiences, oh, everyone, you know, they love what we're doing. And we're gonna keep Marketing Video Games exactly as we are. That there, there is some bias in that because there's a vested financial interest in the outcomes of these studies. Whereas academic research is truly for the insights that are for understanding these voices of individuals, not beholden to any sort of conglomerate or media company or marketer.


Kat De Shields-Moon: Know that I love that thank you for expounding. So in your studies, what were some of your most surprising findings? Was there anything that you were just like, huh, wow, I never would have expected that?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Yeah, I think, overall, overall, one of my most surprising findings is how, I guess, I'm not surprised by how powerful women are. I'm a bit like, I knew that. But I am surprised by the strategies that they use to cope with harassment, how those things get turned against them. So I think I was not expecting, you know, the. So for instance, in some of our research, we talked about things like grandstanding where it's like, you kind of have to prove yourself or self-policing. So like, so women will say, like, if I'm playing with guys in person, like, I won't wear lipstick, I won't wear makeup, like, I try to kind of like, hide myself a bit to not be this like sexualized gamer girl so that they can't say that that's what I am. If I'm playing online, I turned my mic off. So that people can't tell that I'm a girl, because the moment they find out that then I get harassed, I changed my avatar, you know, that there are ways that sort of women have learned to navigate this space in a way that is safe and comfortable. But by doing that, that actually contributes to the masculine dominance of the field. So it makes us think women aren't playing because we don't see them, and we don't hear them. Because their mics are off, and their avatars are different. Or they can't be who they really, truly are, or they feel like they have to prove themselves all the time. And men, you know, put that pressure on women. So I think one of my most surprising findings is just how it's sort of like, two steps forward one step back all the time, whereas women are pushing up against the sort of misogyny and masculine dominance in gaming. And, and then men, you know, are able to sort of turn that back and say, oh, okay, well, yeah, then prove that you're good at gaming, we'll let you be here. But you if you're good enough, and that's just tokenistic and not true because there's always going to be another hoop to jump through. So I think overall, that was one of my biggest surprising things was, how hard it is to change a deeply rooted field. In this, I deeply rooted misogyny in the field.


Kat De Shields-Moon: Yeah, no. And that that leads me to another quote from your study that I would like to share it's like, by not being allowed to ascend the social hierarchy, who need my glasses when I'm squinting hard within by not being allowed to ascend the social hierarchy within their respective gaming communities. These women experienced feelings of powerlessness and are relegated to subordinate social roles. While many of these negative experiences are limited to online interactions, women are also exposed to the potential for offline harassment. I think that that's an interesting point. And one that's very important to speak to because a lot of people You know, myself included, honestly. And this goes back to your point that you mentioned earlier about how when you were talking to the different women that were in your study, I was like, oh, yeah, gaming is great. I love it. Yeah, no, it's fine. But oh, yeah, that was one time. But that doesn't matter. This obviously, you know, and it's just how you, I guess, compartmentalize some of the toxicity that happens because it's just so frequent. It's so normal, you know, you just kind of that's just part of it. But offline harassment, that I think that that's something that isn't discussed frequently. And a lot of people don't think that the toxicity that women face in gaming spills over to real life. Can you share some stories from the women who you spoke to about some of the offline? What that looks like?


Dr. Jenna Drenten: Absolutely, yeah, some, I mean, some of it is potentially seemingly more mundane, where, as I mentioned, previously, women talk about going to try to shop for video games in person and being questioned about why they're there, who they’re shopping for, it couldn't possibly be them. And so we see these offline microaggressions that serve to keep women out of this field. Because if you're constantly questioned, about why you're at a gaming store, or a gaming convention, a lot of women talked about their experiences of going to cons and other offline events. And immediately, being sexualized, harassed, you know whooped at being questioned of why they're there, where their boyfriend is, you know, who they're therewith, they couldn't possibly have just come on their own or with other women. And so we see those offline experiences there. And I'll share. This is in one of the articles, one of the worst experiences that I had a participant revealed to us is that she had started gaming online with a team and met a guy that she really connected with and became good friends with. And then they met up to game in person. And she was sexually assaulted in person by this person that she met online, who she thought was like a safe, you know, friend in the gaming community. And, you know, that is an anecdotal example. But one that I think probably is not out of the ordinary for women, in their experiences of this harassment that takes place online, is a microcosm of the harassment that takes place offline. And even though today, a lot of games are mediated by the internet. And so you're on a mic and a headset and having bad experiences, or experience that a lot of the gaming especially at younger ages takes place, face to face. And suppose you're not welcomed into these face-to-face communities, and not given the opportunity to gain that social status and gain the knowledge and the sort of inroads. In that case, it's very, that's where we see a lot of these younger women dropping out of gaming because they're pushed out of these face to face spaces and sort of throw up their hands and say, well, we call acquiescence, or it's like, the boys will be boys sort of mentality, and like it is what it is, and I can't change it. And I’m one person and not powerful enough to combat this constant harassment.


Kat De Shields-Moon: That that, that is, that's very real. And I know that there's a lot of women that have probably held experiences like that, in them sorry, I'm getting a little emotional. Because there isn't really a place to go to to talk about that without losing serious credibility, you know, possibly public ridicule. And I mean, even in some organizations, if there isn't, you know, an internal structure that can handle like, hey, my colleague or this, this influence or whoever, you know, at a convention at a tournament, whatever. Then if there isn't a place for women to go to, it's not going to be said so. For those who are listening, I would like to take a moment and if you are facing harassment, if you feel unsafe, don't please don't not say anything, you know, find a way to tell somebody what it is that you're experiencing. And if you're not a woman don't sit by idly if you see somebody being harassed if they're uncomfortable, we're all humans at the end of the day, you know, It doesn't matter what games you play, it doesn't matter how good you are at them, you know, be kind and be a decent human being. And if you see or witness toxic behavior, period, but especially if it is in the form of harassment, sexual harassment, whatever, do not sit idly by because doing so contributes to the problem. So, just wanted to get that out there, we'll include some resources below, just in case you don't feel like you have a safe venue to talk to anybody that's in your immediate circle, we'll pull some links, some organizations that you can go to, you know, that provides a safe space to help you one, address the problem and to get the help and healing that you need. You know, if if you have gone through this, and this is something that you're carrying, it's not anything that I wish on anybody. And it's certainly not acceptable. So you’re seeing you're heard you're loved. If you're listening to this podcast, and we'll include some resources for you below. But thank you, Jenna, I wanted to talk about what is lost you, you went into this a little bit, and including you, you know, your story where you took a step back, and you stop gaming, because you're like, Oh, this is not fun, like people are, they're being jerks, you know, so what is lost when women have to have a tough skin or hide their identities or develop these coping mechanisms to exist in a space that's not welcoming? What is lost to the women who have to do it, and then what's lost for the industry at large?
Back to Blog

Related Articles

PNC Bank & Pittsburgh Knights launch Women in Esports initiative

PITTSBURGH – PNC Bank is joining forces with the Pittsburgh Knights to launch a Women in Esports...

Women in Esports: Diversity is the Key to Achieving Sustainability and Success

Welcome to the Women in Esports podcast series that champions women in the esports industry who...

Women in Esports: Stacking the Industry Odds in Our Favor

In this week’s third episode of Women in Esports, we’re speaking with two influential women...