The Overwatch League might just be the thing to really put eSports on the map of notable sporting events. However, the league is lacking something obvious. Not a single member of any of the Overwatch League teams is female. If you don’t believe me, you can check out the official list of players on the Overwatch League site. Every player has a listing including their game handle, their real name, home town, team affiliation, and even what role they play. It does not include gender. Because if it did, the whole list would just read “male.”
I’m not even going to hope for anything more than male/female, because gaming is somewhat slow to accept trans and non-conforming identities. But not one member of the Overwatch League is female. And it isn’t like women don’t play Overwatch. It’s not even like we aren’t good at Overwatch. One of the game’s top pros, and best Zarya player, is a woman. Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon became a big name in Overwatch when she was just 17, and after overcoming a series of cheating allegations back in 2016 she is more popular than ever.
But not one team signed her.
And that’s not even to account for every other female pro Overwatch player.
Geguri is currently the most accomplished and well-known female Overwatch player in the world of elite esports, however. Therefore, it wasn’t long before members of the press started asking about her and the complete absence of women players in general during media day Q&As before the Overwatch League finals started.
And all we got were some petty excuses. We were given the excuse that Geguri was too young to compete, that she didn’t fit with the current team dynamic, that she didn’t have experience playing with the other members of the team. Kotaku’s Compete has a great rundown of all the excuses given for the lack of Geguri in the Overwatch League so I won’t bore you by reconstructing them all.
Because the main point here isn’t what we were told about the lack of women in the league. It’s the fact that there aren’t any at all, and it really seems like no one even bothered to think about including a female pro.
And that’s even more pathetic when you consider the fact that Blizzard has tried to market Overwatch as an inclusive game from the beginning. Their roster of characters include multiple women of color, characters with decided sexual orientations, a robot, and a moon ape. But their own curated eSports league can’t be bothered to include a single female pro.
Seems like it’s time for us to start in on a Women’s Overwatch League. Just maybe without Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell.