Ok so sports are mostly sex-divided – women and men mostly don’t play on the same teams, and when they do the word “mixed” is attached. There are moves to erode this at least in schools, and that’s a good thing. But humans are mildly sexually dimorphic, so one can see that there are reasons for sports to be dimorphic also.
Sports, but not games. Games don’t need to be dimorphic.
A user on Reddit’s Hearthstone community yesterday shared this image—from an announcement pagefor a Hearthstone qualifier taking place during Finland’s Assembly Summer 2014. What made “Karuta’s” post notable was a single, highlighted sentence: “The participation is open only to Finnish male players.”
That is, to state the obvious, a strange requirement for a Hearthstone tournament; and it makes the qualifier’s organisers, the Finnish eSports Federation, seem like childish boys in a treehouse, hanging a “no girls allowed” sign on their front door. Only, the qualifier is for for the IeSF World Championship, and it’s this global event that has stipulated the all-male line-up.
“Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only,” said Markus “Olodyn” Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, in a statement to PC Gamer. “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.”
Um…that’s a little too frank. You’re not supposed to just come right out and admit that you’re rigging it so that no man will lose to a woman.
The IeSF, or International e-Sports Federation, is a global organisation based in South Korea that is comprised of e-sports associations from across the world. Their stated aim is to promote e-sports as a “true sport”. The IeSF’s sixth World Championship will take place this November, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Here’s the tournament list, from the organisation’s Facebook event page:
- Male Competition: Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Ultra Street Fighter IV
- Female Competition: Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2
It’s an absurd division. Seemingly it tells us that Ultra Street Fighter IV is for boys, and Tekken Tag Tournament is for girls; that women aren’t meant to play Dota 2 or Hearthstone; and that while both men and women can play Starcraft 2, they damn well better not do it together.
Of course, that’s not what the IeSF are saying. Their reasoning is far more insidious than that. In a reply to a Facebook comment asking why men and women had been divided, the IeSF responded with the following:
“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.”
And “legitimate sports” is sexually divided, therefore e-Sports has to be sexually divided. It’s legit.