The fact that Professional Gaming aka e-Sports, is in the process of attempting to become a recognized, respected professional sports entity is not news. This is something that we video gamers have been pushing for a while now. One of the greatest things about video games and their competitions is that they are inherently gender neutral. Because e-Sports takes nothing more than finger dexterity and a sharp mind, there are no physical limitations that can justify professional tournaments being segregated by sex. This is an apparent fact. But apparently, someone must have missed this because an upcoming Hearthstone tournament, yes the Warcraft card game, has been listed as Male only.
At first it was believed that the proclamation was simply a translation error. General common sense would dictate that there is no viable reasoning for a gaming tournament, let alone a virtual card game tournament, be sexually segregated. When pressed for clarification, Organizer Markus “Olodyn” Koskivirta did not refute the announcement, but attempted to justify it, stating:
“Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only. In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things.”
So he’s claiming that the tournament is implementing these rules in accordance with IeSF regulations, which is a South Korean based organization with the goal of getting eSports recognized as a “true sport”. Should a Finnish female advance to the finals, she would not be able to compete against a male finalist in South Korea. So then Koskivirta has effectively shifted the fault from a single tournament to the entire e-Sports Federation who intends on sexually segregating e-Sports in an attempt at leading e-Sports toward “legitimacy”. I’m not making this up. IeSF outright stated this deliberate segregation on Facebook:
“The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”
Now obviously pretty much all physical sports are sexually segregated, but that is to eliminate any absolute advantage. It’s less of a political decision (here taking the meaning: “relating to, affecting, or acting according to the interests of status or authority within an organization rather than matters of principle”) in physical sports because in a sport like basketball where the average male player is about 6’10” and the average female player is about 5’10”, no matter how skilled a female player is, a male player could dominate simply because of size alone. In a medium such as e-Sports where physicality has zero pertinence, sexual segregation is just segregation for the sake of segregation. It serves no purpose. This type of segregation is unwarranted, unnecessary, and unacceptable.
Unethical practices such as these need to be brought to everyone’s attention and quelled before they even start. Organizations with misguided views like the IeSF, regardless of their noble intentions, need to be called out on their poor decisions and removed from the forefront of the gaming community, or otherwise restructured. Nothing good will come if things like segregation are allowed to thrive in this community.
My name is ChristianCoal, thank you everyone for reading. I’ll see you all next time.