WRONGSPEAK: eSports League Host Gets Death Threats For Thanking Men on International Women’s Day

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“Oh I am sorry … did I offend you by treating ALL genders equal?”

The great strides made in the name of women’s rights over the past several decades would not have been possible without men who believed it was the right thing to do. That is a position that no person with a historical understanding of Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement would disagree with.

But be careful about expressing this position publicly. As Overwatch League Host Soe Gschwind-Penski found out last week, third-wave feminists do not like anyone disrupting their fragile narrative and will threaten violence if you refuse to recognise all men as villainous oppressors.

Soe is the only female host of Blizzard’s Overwatch League. The game itself has always strived for a diversity and representation in developing its character roster. Speaking to Polygon, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan said;

“we created a universe where, at any moment, people can believe that anyone from anywhere might be the next character, I don’t think anybody would be shocked by a South Pacific islander or an Italian. So in Overwatch it was less about that obligation that we had to represent everybody and more about creating an approachable, welcoming world, where people feel safe and comfortable.”

Such is the social justice illness. It’s always tempting for companies to find some way of contributing positively to the culture, particularly in the video game industry that dominates the minds of young people. But if you cultivate and encourage a fan-base to think in terms of racial and gender oppression hierarchies, feed them broad-brush group victim narratives, they attack like rabid dogs when someone expresses dissent.

In the same article, Polygon wrote; “Inevitably, Overwatch’s characters become avatars for the hopes and the prejudices of the game’s many fans. They are drafted as warriors for online culture wars.”

The two-year-old Overwatch professional league last month signed its first female player, Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon from South Korea. While video games have been traditionally seen as male-dominated, that statistic is rapidly shifting, largely driven by the prevalence of mobile devices and popularity of mobile gaming. The professional eSports scene, however, remains male-dominated in both participants and viewership.

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