Gamer LK

Media => News => Topic started by: darcrow on March 08, 2018, 05:27:54 pm

Title: Sri Lankan Women in eSports Breaking Stereotypes
Post by: darcrow on March 08, 2018, 05:27:54 pm


Diversity in any workplace often plays a crucial role in the growth of an industry. It’s no secret that eSports is rapidly growing, but it is still a majorly male-dominated industry and one cannot help but sit and wonder what the potential growth would be like if it was diverse like many other industries.

Gamer.LK believes that eSports levels the playing field, with the only limitations for women being the mental stigma about playing games professionally. Once that is overcome, there's nothing stopping women being amongst the top Cyber athletes. To promote female participation in eSports, Gamer.LK have started initiatives at the school, university and mercantile levels to encourage female gamers to take part. Furthermore, Gamer.LK will be forming Sri lanka’s first ever all female eSports clan in addition to this years Inter-School eSports Championship and Inter-University eSports Championship having tournaments for female cyber athletes as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNIe4zSqZgc

We were able to catch up with a few female cyber athletes who have made a name for themselves in the Sri Lankan eSports arena, with skill levels being on par or above their male counterparts. We have seen a growth in female cyber athletes taking part in more tournaments and doing better than most gents that have taken part, making it to the semi finals and some even making it to the finals or even winning the tournament.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with 8 of these talented ladies and get their take on how much the eSports sector has changed and how they managed with the stereotype as well as still managing to perform at their best.

(https://imgur.com/vj27Q6L.jpg)

1. What personality traits made you get into something that has the perception of being  male dominated?
(himasha)
Just for a bit of background, I've been gaming or playing PC & mobile games (since I was a teenager, although I’m planning on plunging into console gaming in the near future) who enjoys a wide variety of FPS’s , RPGs, action-adventure titles, fighting games, retro-gaming and racing games. I started gaming because I am open to and like to explore new experiences. I love the quests, the lore, and the storytelling. I even like the silly armour and the dragons. I’ve never gone so far as to attempt professional gaming, but I’d definitely say that I’m more than just a casual gamer.

(nadeeshani)
Well, my boyfriend introduced League of Legends to me and I really loved playing the game in fact it was really addictive for me, and when time passed on I was confident that I could catch up and be a decent player. And I'm more of a friendly person, so I really get along with male players.

(Chachi)
My Personality traits are being adventurous, competitive and enjoy spending time with people.

(Hasna)
I feel like you need a lot of confidence and thick skin to be a girl gamer in a male dominated arena. A lot of the time you don't get the respect you deserve mainly because you are female. I think because I'm able to take negative criticism that's given solely because I'm a girl and ignore it, I was able to continue playing and not give up. Because I was raised in the UK, I didn't really see gaming as being a “guy thing to do” because so many of my girl friends played video games and had consoles. I think the culture in Sri Lanka is a lot different and the divide between what's male and what's female is large. I have a very addictive personality so I can sit and play league without a break for 6 hours at a time, daily. At the end of the day, League of Legends is a game I love and whether it be male oriented or alien oriented, I'd still play because it's not about “oh only boys play this game” for me, it's about having fun and doing what you love.

(Tia)

I don’t think I ever saw this as being male dominated. I grew up in a household where gaming was encouraged since we were toddlers, and the friends I keep are promoters of just doing what you love; not specifically divided by gender. My brother got me into DOS games, SAGA, and yes, I was alive when the first Mortal Kombat came out. I still play Player 2 because that’s what I was every time.  I don’t see it as being male dominated. People who like to play games… well they play. I think it was just a case of I like games; whether it’s PC or mobile, I like to play, and that’s all I went with. Nothing to do with gender.
 
(Cindy)

I used to watch my friends play COD4 in their free times at uni. One day I tried playing and it was great fun. As I was so excited, I asked the setup from a friend and installed the game on my laptop. Since then here I am playing COD 4 till now.

(Sulafa)

Different gamer girls have different personality traits. I believe I am outgoing and social which made me get used or rather adjust myself to the fact that gaming was a male dominant industry
 
(Nardhya)

I had a lot of close friends who played DOTA for many years and one day I was bored and downloaded steam and DOTA, just to see if I’d be interested and I just got hooked. It was like I was stepping into a totally new world. Even though I had heard of DOTA before I had no idea what it was actually like and once I did there was no going back. I didn't think I would be into a game like this before because I did think back then that it just appeals to guys and there’s no way I would like it but well, sometimes you just have to give something new a try and it could surprise you.


2. Has the perception of girls not being gamers affected your decisions on whether to game or not?

(https://imgur.com/95s1LZi.jpg)

(Himasha)

Yes, Obviously! There’s the long-held stereotype that men are simply better gamers than women. Women gamers are often perceived as incompetent players who aren’t genuinely interested in the games but rather sign up to get attention. My thought was “if boys can, why not us?”. I know there are lots of girls in Sri Lanka who love gaming but are afraid of take part in them in front of an audience or don’t have a chance to join in online events or even clans. My personal opinion is and I do gaming because girls need to have a space in Sri Lankan gaming industry. Nowadays there is a competition among girl gamers, but I initially started gaming because the perception of girls not being gamers –and I hope to continue along this field as my personal amusement activity.

(Nadeeshani)

No, I think girls can perform just as much as boys, if they put earnest effort to the game. I had the privilege to prove to a certain extent that girl gamers also have the necessary skills to compete in the past few tournaments.


(Chachi)
No

(Hasna)

I've always been someone who didn't care what other people thought. When I was younger my parents actually got me a Play Station 1 which I think got me started, I never knew when I was younger that girls couldn't be gamers, or at least that's what people's perceptions were. When I first started playing League of Legends, it never even crossed my mind that it may be male dominated, I was just having fun.

(Tia)

I am a girl who’s a gamer. My perception has never been girls are not gamers.
(Cindy)

 This didn’t affect me at all because I usually don’t bother about what other people think about me.

(Sulafa)

At first I was a bit skeptical about games cause I thought they were meant for a male audience but I soon found out that this was a misconception as I fell in love with games starting from my first match. The sense of teamwork and achievement made gaming an addiction far beyond they reached any one gender.

(Nardhya)

Outside of the community, it made it harder to relate with non gamers who couldn't understand why I was so into “just a game.” Since there aren’t much female gamers around and even less female DOTA players, people around me would kind of look down on the amount of time I’d spend trying to improve. But I had to accept that people who don't know about gaming can't possibly understand the feeling and I’m going to keep playing despite their perceptions.
Within the community, when I first started playing, the fact that I’m a girl did make me feel way more nervous than it should to play with better players. But I slowly got over that as I became more comfortable with the game.


3. How can sri lanka change the perception that girls shouldn't/do not game?

(https://imgur.com/Esgn6LQ.jpg)

(Himasha)

I think, that’s a difficult thing to change within Sri Lankan community. Girls often decline to do gaming because some have problems with necessary gaming components or time/ economic issues and even on parental influences. Because of that girls aren’t pro at gaming as boys do, hence the most pervasive stereotypes continue to exist in the gaming community.
But, to my opinion, they can be encouraged if there will be social groups and tournaments that represent games in all genres only for females whether she’s a pro gamer or non-gamer. That way, they’d have a chance to sharpen their skills and watch their favorite teams compete live, instead of playing or watching eSports at home—alone or in small groups. That will be a great opportunity for them to show their hidden talents without being humiliated by others.

(Nadeeshani)

According to my point of view, we can’t change the attitudes of the Sri lankan people about girls vs gaming. Maybe it because of the culture of our country. But I think the “game” needs only skills of the gamer not the gender.

(Chachi)
Well many of them are not aware about cyber gaming.so proper advertising campaign via social Medias will be helpful to change the perception of the girls that don’t game

(Hasna)
I'm not sure it'll be easy but baby steps are already being made. When I first joined the scene it was just me and another girl at and around tournaments in Sri Lanka, but slowly more and more girls are already getting into it. I think a lot of girls fear that gaming is masculine and that they won't be good enough, but girls should really just push past that fear and go and try it if it even remotely interests them. One major problem though is parents in Sri Lanka don't really support gaming as a whole because in this culture it's only seen as a hobby which should be done after you finish school and after you get a job and can pay for it yourself.


(Tia)

Maybe all of this is because we were given Barbies as children and the boys had a SAGA. Who knows. I think Sri Lanka is ready to accept girl gamers, I just think we are not celebrating it enough. When they boys win a match, they get known. Posts get shared. When the girls win, it’s just a side note. I think that has to change. I think we should give credit to Sri Lankan parents… at least most of them. More and more parents are willing to let their kids do something that they want to do, and if you are excelling at it, your parents would be proud too. However, if you are going to use gaming as an excuse, miss classed, stop showering, and start being anti-social, then you can’t blame anyone else but yourself.
In the local arena, I have seen girls turning up for gaming and actually kicking ass. I think that’s brilliant. Not because they’re girls, but because they couldn’t care less that this is now seen as a ‘male dominated’ industry. I think we should remove the whole ‘male dominated’ perspective, and really grasp the meaning of ‘For Gamers. By Gamers’ policy of Razer. It’s high time people see other for what they do, and not if they’re wearing a bra or not.

(Cindy)

All of this is because of our culture. I really don’t want to offend any culture or criticize anyone, but I think we need to just stop and evaluate our culture. Girls in general must have the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want and  however they want. Why can’t girls play games? I don’t see any harm in girls playing games as long as you manage your time properly.

(Sulafa)

In my opinion if more female gamers participate in gaming it will motivate others to join as well.

(Nardhya)

I think it’ll be hard to change their perception on girl gamers since gaming as a whole (for both genders) is not readily accepted as a productive past time in our country. I think these views to change with our generation and its up to us to generate a better perception of gaming by having more high profile tournaments and trying to create real jobs in professional gaming as there are in other countries. So that the older generations can see that gaming is not just a children’s hobby but is just as intensive as any other sports league.


4. Any advice for the first all-girl clan?

(https://imgur.com/P1Rap54.jpg)

(himasha)
To have a male representative in the committee.

(Nadeeshani)

Be enthusiastic, determined and united to achieve what society thinks impossible.

(Chachi)
Try to maintain and update it daily with the posts that related to games.


(Hasna)
Don't label yourself an all girl clan. You are a more than just girls. How people see you shouldn't define who you are. You are all players and should be treated equally to others. You don't see male teams being labeled “all-boy” clan so why should your gender define your talent. Show people what you're made of and respect yourself for people to respect you.

(Tia)

Don’t make this about girl power, or what girls can do. Don’t forget that feminism means equality. Celebrate both sides. If you have friends in other clans, cheer for them. Drop any attitudes you are planning on having. Help each other. Celebrate each other… including the boys. If you are going to be in something that has meaning to you and others, don’t act in a way that you disrespect it. Remember you are in this clan because you are a gamer. Don’t expect special treatment. This also doesn’t mean that you have to dress ‘serious’. Wear your dresses or skirts if you want to. Basically, do whatever the hell you want to do. All that matters is that you play your game.


(Cindy)

Do the best and kill the rest :D

(Sulafa)

I think that an all girls clan will reduce the gap between genders and a gamer will be known for a gamer regardless of their gender, religion and what they believe in

(Nardhya)

Be motivated and be dedicated. Finding enough girls to make a clan is hard enough on its own so the players need to put in double effort to practice and get better and make their game a priority, to be taken seriously and improve. It needs to be done in a way that new female players can easily join and learn without becoming demotivated or sitting in the shadows of their male friends.

5.What was it about eSports that interested you to take on tournaments or invest time into gaming?

(https://imgur.com/s9QtEct.jpg)

(Himasha)

I always loved eSports/gaming ever since I was a child. I generally play about 1-3 hours per day as my leisure activity. It’s a thrilling spectacle: Unlike most traditional sports, the live experience of watching a game and attending them is more enjoyable. Most of my friends even love gaming, so I used to play games online whenever I have some time.

(Nadeeshani)

When I started visiting LAN tournaments with my boyfriend to support him, I was thrilled to see the competition between teams and I noticed gradual improvements in tournaments and in team players., Especially when I took part in SLT Championship on how the setup and the prizes were delivered was just amazing, So I desired to put more effort to practice in order to become at least a decent player to take part in the exciting competition.

(Chachi)

The most important element of a tournament is making sure it’s well organized with a large, open community of friendly competitors.so its always fun to meet new people and have that experience.

(Hasna)

The atmosphere of people who love the game and understand the game make it worth playing for. Doing tournaments is fun and exciting, but as a female it's hard to find a team which will respect me for a player and not just a girl who should just be pushed to the support role. I think doing tournaments is really fun and a nice way to meet your friends in person which you spend hours with online. The rewards for winning tournaments in Sri Lanka are also becoming more substantial which makes winning and competing for the prize feel even more competitive.

(Tia)

I like the vibe. Honestly, hanging at SLCG for three days straight is something I really look forward to. This is our Coachella, this is our Burning Man. This is the home we’ve created with the people we love. Just turning up in the morning, cheering random people, sleeping in corners, finding food, and going home with aching feet is all worth it. We might have issues, get into disagreements, and things might not go the way you plan them to, but at the day of the day this is our community, and this is our playing field.

(Cindy)

At first it was only to spend time and have fun with my friends, but with time eSports really helped me to relieve my stress.

(Sulafa)
 
The excitement of watching the stage, the rush, the adrenalin, the shiver down your spine as the crowd cheers for the game. To me there was no better feeling than to witness these tournaments first hand. Getting up on that stage and having the crowd cheer my own team swiftly became a dream of mine.

(Nardhya)

For me it was pretty simple - I loved the game, I wanted to improve and I liked to compete. I liked the idea that maybe someday I can be on a winning team and it is fun in general to play DOTA on its own or in a tournament so as long as I was on a team of people I liked to play with I was up to play any tournament that came up.

6. Who are your gaming role models?

(https://imgur.com/OozY8Su.jpg)

(Himasha)

Lara Croft
Tyra
Cpt. Price

(Nadeeshani)

I don't have a specific role model in my mind, but I imitate any good player who performs really well in tournament matches.

(Chachi)
Faker

(Hasna)

One of my gaming role models in xPeke. He's my favourite League of Legends player and probably the reason I got into watching the LCS. Although as currently not active or participating in any League related events, he created his own team which went to worlds which I think is really amazing to do in a short space of time.

Another role model is Razer’s CEO, Min-Liang Tan. He's made playing games and what you play games on something beautiful. The fact that he's acknowledged female gamers by consistently releasing new products targeted for the female market show that we aren't excluded. A lot of companies don't acknowledge female gamers as a big enough market to sell to, but Tan does and realizes that females are a big number of his company's fanbase and customer base.


(Tia)

My brother. He taught me everything I know. Any skill I have or any love for the game is because of him.  Also Sonicfox… cos you know… who wouldn’t love him!

(Cindy)

No such role model. But I respect  Kavinda (TM|President) Karunanayaka, as he was the one to introduce me to eSports and recruit me to his clan.

(Sulafa)

Pasindu 'Pepper' Dilshan Isindu 'Midas' Dileka They've not only mentored me but I see them as my role models because of their skills and attitude towards gaming

(Nardhya)

Arteezy, but I might just be having a crush :>

7. How was the community when you joined initially and how has it changed since then?

(https://imgur.com/hcGCTSD.jpg)

(Himasha)

I joined the community in 2015 and it has changed extensively since then. So many individuals are taking part in variety of games and there is a huge competition among the players and clans. As of the interest in being more social, young population have focused on virtual technologies and gather to do outdoor activities. I believe cyber games and eSports events are such a great opportunity for youngsters to be influencers in modern technology world and being sociable.

(Nadeeshani)

When I was first introduced to the game, I was not aware of the competitions that took place, but when time passed by I noticed there were not much gamer girls. But over the past few years comparing when I was first introduced to the game, there is an increase in number of teams, players as well as gamer girls. And now you see more tournaments than ever before and a large number of players taking part in tournaments and players encouraging each other to perform to their potential.

(Chachi)

Well community was pretty salty. The Fact is Toxic players will harass players for any reason. But eventually everyone became very friendly.

(Hasna)
Initially I was not really taken seriously, and I still don't know whether I am to be honest, but at least I'm known as that girl that plays Rakan better than average. There will always be negative people in the community who just can't accept other people being good, and I think it's especially harder for female gamers because a lot of the male gamers in Sri Lanka feel threatened when a girl comes to play “their” game, so it's been difficult being taken seriously or being treated with respect. Although I have made a few good friends in the community both male and female, which is nice because in my everyday life none of my friends are into gaming.



(Tia)

When I started coming for SLCG it was 2012, and it’s been great since then. I’ve seen the crowd growing, I’ve seen that more and more families have started to come, and now we even have cosplay. However, the sad thing I’ve noticed is that people have started becoming a bit exclusive. It’s like they don’t like new gamers or cosplayers joining in. Don’t be threatened. Welcome everyone. We are a minority. Let’s try to take over: D

(Cindy)

There were only a few clans, same faces @ LANs and very few active girl gamers. Now the community is huge with lot of clans, so many male and female gamers.
 
(Sulafa)

I can see that the number of gamer girls has increased from the time I joined gaming and now. The more girls join, the more accepted girls are into this industry.

(Nardhya)

I haven’t been gaming very long so I cant really say if the community has changed much during my time (2 years). During the first few months that I started playing, I was just learning the game and playing with close friends. i was learning something new everyday (still am in fact) so I didn't play with a lot of different people and didn't know much about the community - and definitely didn't know a single girl who played. Once I started playing some tournaments I became friends with a lot more people in the community and it helped me improve through more exposure.
                                                                                                                   
8. What are your thoughts on the growth of female cyber athletes in the past few years?

(https://imgur.com/6VUFqIC.jpg)

(Himasha)

I think there are many female athletes have come forward in eSports activities than the past few years. When the time I joined the community in 2016, there were only few female individuals and also there was 1 or 2 games to take part as females. But now, it has changed a lot and comparatively many girls or women are so excited in these events to show their skills in variety of games—both single and multiplayer.

(Nadeeshani)
So the Sri Lankan pro gaming thing has been active for like 10 years now, guys have always played video games for fun girls also play games i think as much as guys do it's just they do not go for competitive and pro play as much as guys, for the last 5 years there has been a small growth of the female eSports players or cyber athletics if you say like that, for the most i have known girls playing games like COD4 from the past and now they have moved to other games like cs go and league of legends, most of the times the cause of girls going pro is either their boyfriends playing or their friends playing the game and they say it's good. the numbers are still low comparing to other countries where girls play as much as guys in the cyber gaming but there certainly is a growth of even of small scale i think it's good girls get more socialized and they also get to enjoy games like guys do, if pro gaming clans are a healthy place for girls i believe there will be more growth in the future.
 


(Chachi)

Good improvement. But need more growth to compete with the international level.

(Hasna)

It's steadily growing and I think that's a really great thing. One thing about me is when I play, I can play for maybe 6 hours at a time, every night, which I don't find other female players doing. Most female players in Sri Lanka only play casually,and I think part of the reason is because a lot of the time when learning champions they aren't taken seriously or flamed. More and more people are opening up to the fact that they may get a girl in their lobby and that they're just like everyone else, which is nice. A lot of female gamers in Sri Lanka though have stuck to the game, which is great. I feared that some of them may leave or not continue playing long term, but it's really nice to have other females in the community.




(Tia)

It’s still a bit on the low side. I think everyone should remember that you are supposed to have. Whether you win or play the worst game in your life, it doesn’t matter. Laugh it off. Cheer for your teammates, cheer for those who aren’t. Just come, sit down, and play. After all, that’s what I did. I never took part until a friend of mine said ‘Just play and see, Tia’. Changed my whole world (Thanks Hansy!)


(Cindy)

Even if it was slow it has grown largely. There were only a very few active female gamers by the time I joined. But now we can see more girl gamers involved in different kind of games.

(Sulafa)

I think it's amazing that more and more girls are entering the gaming industry. This will reduce and maybe even change the perception that gaming as a whole is to be per sued by male


9. What was your experience winning Need for speed most wanted as well as mario Kart along with placing 2nd runner up for special forces 2?

(Himasha)

Mario Kart 8 and SF2 were introduced in Sri Lankan gaming event for the first time in SLCG 2017. I had consistently participated for events like this in past years, and had achievements for NFS. This year I was lucky to be the Champion from Women’s League in SLCG 2017. It was the first time I tried Mario Kart 8 in console and yeah!, I could win the game. Special force 2 is the first LAN game I played at cyber games event, which is 5vs5, it was quite a nice experience to have compete with other teams—a big audience, huge competition among clans and had nice time with my friends.
 
10. What advice do you have for other female cyber athletes who are afraid to take part because of the assumption that only males can participate for these tournaments as well as games?

(https://imgur.com/c8aOUGO.jpg)

(Himasha)

To female gamers out there: your story is yours alone. Nobody can tell you that your personal experience was wrong, and absolutely nobody can discredit your feelings. It was this realization that allowed me to start participating in gaming. I think, and I hope, that for the games industry and for people who play games, the best is yet to come. Because the facts are in: games are for everyone. Show your hidden skills to the world, become a known gamer within the community—at least have some fun. And there’s one last thing I want you to know: if you can find the necessary strength to speak your mind, you will empower not only yourself, but others.

(Nadeeshani)

As i said previous the “game” needs only skills of the gamer, not the gender. don't think about im a girl, how others look at me, am i looking good or bad likewise. If you are interested in games don't afraid you just get an advice and practice well, then you can achieve your goal.  Take me as an example...if i can do it all the other girls can do it

(Chachi)

Well all i can say is believe yourself and your skills .Because There is no reason why a girl would potentially play any better or worse than a guy.
Girls get matched completely the same way as men, so generally is every player in one game equal to each other. Gender plays no role there

(Hasna)

The gaming community in Sri Lanka isn't only for men. Many teams are now getting female players for tournaments, so you don't need to feel shy or worried that you'll be the odd one out. If anyone ever harasses you in the Sri Lankan community be sure to speak up about it. There are definitely people who will support you and take care of you so you shouldn't be afraid.

(Tia)

Screw them.
If you want something in life, go do it. If you think you can’t play cos all the boys are playing, just ask ‘hey can girls play’ or better yet ‘hey can anyone play?’. If they say no, you need to be in a team and practice every day for 6 months, well then go do that. If not, go play.

(Cindy)

Hi girls, it might be intimidating entering a male-dominated scene, but see it as an opportunity. I would rather encourage girls to ignore the stereotypes and do what they want than staying in front of their PCs. If you love gaming, just go for it!

(Sulafa)

In my opinion gaming isn't a gender specific thing, it seems so because more men have games over the decades than women but it was never meant for men alone. Gaming is a cyber world, a community. A community does not exist without both men and women.
Remind yourself: those who say women shouldn't game are the ones that are intimidated by it. So rock on sister and take names!

(Nardhya)

Don’t be afraid. Every tournament is open to female players. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only girl playing in the entire tournament, what matters is  if that you’re a gamer and you’re Doing what you love. It’s all about getting an experience because trust me you will only get better the more you try.


There you have it. Thoughts from a few of our talented female cyber athletes and their experience on their journey and how far they have come breaking the stereotype. Let’s wish these female athletes the best of luck in their future endeavours and hope that this will set a precedent in encouraging other female cyber athletes to come forward and participate in tournaments.

Let us know your thoughts in the thread below.