Hey, gamers. Gaming communities have been extremely toxic towards women. They have been and they probably will continue to be, unfortunately. I’ve dealt with my fair amount of weird shit in League of Legends, as I’m sure many women have.
As a player of the game, it’s our job to stand up against injustice, bust stereotypes and help people getting fire for just playing the dang game.
How should you do this? Let’s dive into some common stereotypes.
“Egirls” are ruining the game and scene!
Can anyone actually tell me what an “egirl” is? I’ve asked this question on Twitter and Discord servers and the answers I get are different. Some people tell me that it’s a girl who isn’t very good at whatever game they’re playing and who relies on being boosted by another (probably male) player. Another person will tell me it’s a girl who uses games as a medium to meet and flirt with male players.
Here’s the common traits of women that I see being called “egirls”:
- They’re conventionally attractive.
- They play League of Legends (or perhaps another competitive online game).
- They have friends who are male.
- They may or may not date a person who plays the same game.
So, ultimately ... an egirl is just a cute girl who plays games? Interesting that there’s a need for a polarizing term to describe nearly all women, but alright.
No matter your gender, if you are calling women “egirls,” you are part of the problem.
Tina Fey said it best in the movie Mean Girls. Calling each other “sluts and whores” (or in this case, egirls) only makes it okay for guys to do it. The repeated girl-on-girl hate that happens in the League community certainly isn’t helping any girl escape stereotype hell. But, nah, I’m not primarily blaming other women for this problem.
If your problem is that every girl you duo with is a “disgusting egirl,” maybe you’re the problem? It’s the Taylor Swift theory. The common problem in all her failed relationships was her.
Let’s stop slinging around this stupid term that doesn’t even have a set definition.
Girls only play pretty or cute champions!
As of writing this, League of Legends has 138 champions, with a huge bulk of them being female and ... every female champion is fairly cute or attractive in one way or another. (The exceptions may be Annie, the literal only child in the game, the handful of furry creatures and Rek’Sai, the land shark Void monster, but I won’t judge you if you think they’re all cute, too.)
A large bulk of my peers main male champions. Pete Volk, a founding editor, is a Sion main. Ryan Gilliam loves Zac and Gnar! Phil Kollar likes Galio. My buddy Vihar loves Yasuo, Karthus and Veigar. Seems like people tend to just like champions that match their play-style and have cool themes.
Saying that girls only like female champions is a reach, seeing how half the game’s cast is female. There are tons of guys who main male champs, but they don’t get shit for it. (Insert thinking emoji here.)
Okay, well, girls belong in the bot lane — as support!
This was brought up in a Reddit thread and it has been a thing in every gaming scene. Why do girls only play support? Take a look to some of the female responses in that thread yourself. There’s a wide variety of answers.
Some girls, like me, started playing with experienced friends and support was the only open role among their friends who mained other positions. Some main assassins, but don’t mention it in game because if they did, the entire tone of the game chat changes to something disgusting and toxic.
So you have girls playing every role, but they don’t want to bring it up in fear of harassment. We’ve had female players get harassed for their gender when they’re good at the game in the past and it’ll just keep happening!
Another comment talks about confirmation bias, which is when your brain notices things that fit stereotypes more than other things. So you might notice that the girl at your local League of Legends club mains support, but you won’t notice the AD Carry main girl as much. This isn’t limited to just guys, either. Women do this, too! Internalized sexism is some scary stuff!
Though, honestly? Nothing I said in the past couple of grafs matters. Girls can play whatever position they want. There doesn’t need to be scientific reason for it. Why do you care? Let people have fun and do what they want.
Okay, this is bad. How do I help?
Speak out. Stand up for girls who you see getting harassed. Stop following nasty streamers or personalities who bank on making fun of women. Use your privilege to make things right and to help people who need help. Believe the horrific sexist stories you hear and prevent them from ever happening again.
Stop caring so much about what women do in the game! Why does it matter if the only play pretty champions or if they only play support? It’s a game to be played for funsies. The second you bring weird stereotypes into it, it stops being fun for a large group of people.
If you’re female-identifying, keep doing what makes you happy. Don’t force yourself to play other roles to make other people happy. Play happily, utilize that block button and don’t back down.
At the end of the day, this is a video game and you’re playing with real life people, which is something people tend to forget. If you wouldn’t repeat it back to your mom, you probably shouldn’t be saying it to another player.