“Why Are You Playing Games? You Are a Girl!”: Exploring Gender Biases in Esports


Esports are rapidly growing within academia. In HCI, earlier work explored how problematic behaviors emerging from gender biases (e.g., toxicity) negatively impact female participation in esports. Here, we further explore gender biases in esports by interviewing 19 self-identified female and male professional gamers and event organizers. We inquire our interviewees about personal experiences with gender biases in esports and their perspective on how these biases impact participation, inclusivity, and career prospects. Our interviewees see gender biases in esports as a consequence of stereotypical gender roles in gaming tout-court (e.g., girls do not like violence, boys are competitive by nature). The rationale for separating male and female in esports, however, seems rooted in the need for female gamers to create role-models and grow in self-confidence. We scrutinize the considerations emerging from our interviews under a Feminist HCI lens and discuss how HCI research can help design equitable environments in esports.

Full Paper available at: https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3411764.3445248