The Case of the Disastrous “Gamer Girl” Dress

The Case of the Disastrous “Gamer Girl” Dress

It should be no secret to anyone that women gamers are dramatically underrepresented in Esports industries. It should also be no secret to anyone that women who do manage to make it in Esports and video gaming careers face barriers and obstacles that no male gamer has ever had to face. On every level of Esports industry—from the managers signing players to the Esports writers providing coverage—there are actionable ways to make the industry a less miserable place for the women who contribute their creativity, skills, time, and labor to making it great.

Making a dress for female Esports athletes is just not one of those ways.

Cranium Apparel, in a bid to “give back” to women gamers, created a tight-fitted jersey-esque dress in the classic red-and-black that is a popular motif in gaming aesthetics. In their Tweet announcing the product, Cranium claimed that their product would “give a new identity to female gamers.”

Predictably, this product announcement and the product itself have earned heaps and heaps of criticism. Cranium Apparel’s biggest failing, as many have pointed out, is that they didn’t include a single woman in the design and creation of this product.

Therein lies the single biggest fallacy that continues to be prevalent in discussions about the Esports industry’s gender politic. This issue with Cranium Apparel is merely symptomatic of a much larger and pervasive issue. The world of Esports does not need to be made “more inclusive” of women gamers. The Esports industry needs to acknowledge that, just as much as male contributors, women have made the Esports industry what it is.

Women writers, artists, designers, casters, analysts, gamers, managers, marketers, and fans are already a part of the industry—a massive part. The world of Esports and gaming was not made by and for only men, and is not an intrinsically masculine space. Shining the spotlight on the women who have helped create this world does not infringe upon anyone else’s space.

Women in Esports don’t need to be pandered to by male-dominated businesses who demonstrably don’t value their input. They need to be respected, they need to be seen, and they need to be heard. There’s really nothing more to it than that.

Written by:Kaidan McNamee

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