Added: Cira Wilson - Date: 15.02.2022 13:07 - Views: 10197 - Clicks: 3191
It was produced by Sarah Crawley with presenter Emily Webb. To listen to more episodes. Adapted by Helene Schumacher. Imagine being paid to play video games with hordes of adoring fans watching online. But if you're a female professional gamer, the dream job comes with additional obstacles that your male counterparts might never experience. British gamer Leahviathan live streams around six hours of footage a day on Twitch.
She has nearlyfollowers.
As women in a largely male industry, they have undoubtedly faced challenges, but neither wants special treatment. They just want a level playing field with their male counterparts. Stephanie Harvey explains, "I've been doing this for almost 15 years now, and when I started it was extremely male-dominated, especially in pro gaming — it still is. On the circuit there aren't that many females. But the arrival of new games, new communities and just overall society changing and evolving throughout mainstream video games, is bringing a new wave of players.
Fortunately for everyone, there's a lot of females involved. In one sense, there is nothing stopping women entering this industry. While the prizes for the female-only competitions are smaller, the major international pro gamer competitions — offering enticing big bucks prizes — are open to both sexes.
As Leahviathan puts it: "there's nothing not encouraging you as a female. Female gamers often women-only teams, but some opt to play on mixed teams with men Credit: Getty Images. For Leahviathan, "it's the stereotype of a gamer who isn't there because she's good at games or enjoys games; she's just there because she's trying to impress guys or something.
It's not true. As a live streamer, Leahviathan receives direct audience feedback. While this is mainly positive, she admits, "you often get negative comments about being a female. I do a lot of promotional materials and I'm constantly told that I'm just there for representation really, just because I'm a female, not because I have any merit as a gamer.
Female gamers say the sexism would subside if more women entered the industry and if more video games introduced lead female characters Credit: Getty Images. She is pragmatic: "They bother me, but I know by and large, they're not real. I try to just separate them from the reality of what I do. Ignoring trolls and refusing them the attention they crave is a key strategy. Alternatively, calling their bluff and trolling them back in a positive way often helps defuse the situation.
Leahviathan also has a moderation crew who help manage abusive comments. Leahviathan doesn't reveal her surname or where she lives, which is quite common for live streamers. It's important to preserve a little bit of privacy. She explains: "there are a lot of creepy people on the internet. Especially as a female, a lot of people get overly attached to you because they see you as a friendly person.
The Gamergate controversy was an abusive campaign targeting mainly women. It led to women being hacked, their personal information put online and even rape and death threats. This kind of abuse is part of a wider issue online including the likes of cyberbullying — where solutions are only just starting to be found.
Leahviathan says, "male streamers get the same thing — just in a different flavour". While acknowledging that it can be tough not to let trolls get to you, both Harvey and Leahviathan choose not to dwell on the negative side.
They do not want it to be a defining aspect of who they are — and would rather focus on their positive online legacy of influencing people in a good way. One of the fundamental issues is around disrespect for women in this field — and beyond. It stems from that complete lack of respect that some people have for females in general. She chooses to play in all-female teams because gaining "respect takes so much time and so much effort, they don't give you that luxury, and they don't want to play with you because they assume you're not good enough".
There is a massive disparity between male and female professional gamers. Although, of course, gamers of either sex can get just as immersed whether playing a man or women, some female gamers feel more inspired and more of a connection when playing a female character role. Some women gamers have reported being threatened by online trolls, some even enduring death threats Credit: Getty Images.
Despite the harsh realities of being a female gamer, Harvey is upbeat: "Most of my career and my life For Harvey, "the conversation about Gamer girl seeks guy girls in gaming is kind of getting old, and I think that's a good thing She sees no place for the term "girl gamer" in the future - "you've never heard Gamer girl seeks guy gamer', you don't say 'female sports player'. Leahviathan sums up her position: "as a female gamer, I don't want to feel like a unicorn I just want there to be a level playing ground, a level amount of respect.
I don't want to be treated specially and I personally don't particularly want companies to be hiring me just because I'm female.
I want that to just be normal. I want females to be recognised based on merit, rather than gender. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the owner of Twitch.
To comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, please head over to our Facebook or message us on Twitter. Women and Work. Harsh realities of being a professional 'girl gamer'. Share using. They endure everything from subtle jabs to full-on death threats, but these women are not deterred from pursuing their passion for professional gaming.
I'm just there for representation really, just because I'm a female, not because I have any merit as a gamer. You may also like: - How video games turn teens into millionaires - How it feels to be a pro female e-sports player in China - Beyond fun, when being a gamer turns into a lucrative career Stephanie Harvey explains, "I've been doing this for almost 15 years now, and when I started it was extremely male-dominated, especially in pro gaming — it still is.
There are a lot of creepy people on the internet. As a female gamer, I don't want to feel like a unicorn.
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