Compound this with the complexity around identity, the labels we use to differentiate ourselves, and entrenched issues around representation within our community—you have a perfect trash-fire.
The most recent example of this was highlighted when Grow Up Esports had the audacity to announce they were bringing their highly successful “GIRLGAMER” Esports Festival to Australia and, oooooh buddy, did the internet have feelings about this.
So, here on the eve of a very important and ground-breaking international event specifically designed to highlight women in gaming, it’s important we unpack this a little.
What on earth is happening?
We have hit a very awkward time in our world-wide feminist journey. While we are recognising the importance of intersectionality and representation across all echelons of society, we are still vehemently disagreeing about how this representation should be executed.
Our corporations, some political parties and even local suburban clubs are setting representation goals for their boards and committees. Some are even going so far as to set quotas. However, despite the proven success of these strategies, some sectors (professional gaming included) are still caught up on this idea merit and merit alone will get women to the top of their field.
This is Australia. We know this does not work. We know what does work is creating events, spaces and work structures that allow women in, allow women to work without fear and give them strong role models to follow and celebrate, along with strong consequences against workplace harassment.
On the face of it, evoking the term “Gamer Girl” seems like a great way to cut through the murk by clearly labelling your event. So why are women in Australia so resistant to it?