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About being a female in a male dominated game – Dota 2

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I always loved playing games as a young girl. It started out with me watching my older brothers play. It looked like so much fun, and I also wanted to be a part of it. They showed me the basics, and I gradually became better at playing different games - even beating high scores and KO’ing them in Mortal Kombat. Arcade games grew into Nintendo 64 games, which grew into Game Boy Color games, until eventually, I hit the jackpot of gaming in my teenybopper stage – PC gaming.

I met my fiancé in High School, and as he had known about my love for gaming, and after watching him play a few Dota 1 games, I asked him to teach me how to play. Fast forward to now, and even though I haven’t been playing Dota/Dota 2 nonstop, I have played off and on for nine years, with months of addicted playing in between.

At first, when I started out I told people I was a girl. I was proud of it and didn’t care if people knew. However, it taught me a valuable lesson – you get three main types of males that react to female Dota players (and probably to female gamers in other games as well).

  1. The Jerk: He’s a rude, obnoxious player and likes making sexist comments, such as the famous “Go back to the kitchen” and all types of offensive jokes about women. He has a false sense of power because he sits behind the anonymity of being someone online and therefore thinks he can say whatever he wants. It’s an entirely different psychology to if he was in a normal social situation because then he’d never be so brazen.
  2. The Indifferent: My favourite type. He doesn’t care if you’re male or female, as long as you can play up to a standard. He won’t comment on you being female and usually, will call you by your nickname even if he knows your name. Players like this are your saving grace.
  3. The white knight: Once he finds out you’re a female he completely changes. He defends your honour for no apparent reason, not that you needed help or that someone’s comment bothered you anyway. He buys you wards, TP scrolls, Tome of Knowledge and any other unnecessary item, even though he’s playing mid/carry/offlane and you’re the support. He acts more than friendly to you, and you don’t even have him as a friend on Steam, but he sends you a friend request anyway.

Now, when playing Dota 2, I prefer not to let anyone know my gender. Sure if I’m playing with a five-stack group of friends, I’ll use my open mic because they all know I’m a girl already. Even when I play with three players that I know and one player I don’t know, I prefer not to use open mic because I just don’t feel like the “Skydancer is a girl?” comment. Especially when I solo que – not a chance am I using open mic, I’d rather take the time to type then hear how these four players will react to me, and which category they fall into.

Sure, these are my opinions, and how I feel, this isn’t the views of all female Dota 2 players. Some won’t have the strong feelings about the South African Dota 2 community that I do, but as a girl, I feel that you have to prove yourself as a player before you can mention your gender. I’d rather be known for my good support plays than being a girl, or even better my good support plays and the fact that I’m a girl!

However, not all girls are like me. Here is what I mean in a great example of the two main types of Twitch girls you’ll come across:

  1. Look at me: Where they are in full makeup, short skirts/shorts, push up bra and a low cut shirt. The size of the webcam is taking up most of the screen, and they’re playing a simple game, if not, not even playing their own game! Lol. This is what brings in the cash. This is more of a show than anything else, and this is by far the most frustrating thing to see as a female gamer. They are the main reason why girls get so much flack in the community. It sets a bad example for all girls who are female gamers that just want to game.
  2. I’m a gamer: A real gamer, who just happens to be a girl. She has a bit of makeup on (no bright eye shadow, nothing over the top) and has a t-shirt and pants on. She might have her hair up or down, whatever is comfier with her headphones on. She has skill and just keeps queuing game after game. She ignores the sexist comments and gets subscribers because people want to watch her game and not just watch her.

What most females don’t fully understand is that gaming is a male dominated world. Until times change - and they are because a lot more females are growing up playing games and becoming more involved in the community, but until then things are going to stay the way they are.

We just have to ignore it and not let it bother us. Play for the game, not the community. Have thick skin until all male gamers become “The indifferent”. Try your best and improve your skill and in the end, it won’t matter what gender you are, you’re just a gamer.

Skydancer: Twitter / MWEB GameZone Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

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