Female gamers, no strangers to online harassment, learn ways to combat discrimination during summer camp at UCI – Los Angeles Times

When UC Irvine student Jenny Song first started gaming around age 10, her older brother advised her on an important rule to follow — don’t tell anyone online you’re a girl.

She said she didn’t understand at the time, but later encounters with male players telling her she shouldn’t compete in the games when her gender was known led her to realize why.

The comments she faced have involved male gamers reprimanding her to do something else instead of playing with them. Other female gaming-enthusiasts have heard harsher jabs like, “Go back to the kitchen” and “We’re going to lose. We have a girl on our team.”

“I felt I had something to prove,” Song said when reacting to crude remarks. “But they can trash talk as much as they want. As long as I reach my goals in terms of gaming, that’s all that matters to me.”

This past month at the UCI eSports Arena’s first girls’ summer camp, young women interested in gaming heard from professional competitors, streamers and gaming companies about inclusion in the gaming community while also speaking out on the harassment and discrimination female gamers face.

The eSports arena, which opened in the fall, is equipped with dozens of computers for visitors to play games such as “League of Legends” and “Overwatch.”

E-sports, or electronic sports, are multiplayer videogame experiences and competitions where players play against each other through a digital platform.

“The competitive world of professional eSports is almost all male and when you see something like that, it stands out,” UCI eSports’ acting director Mark Deppe said. “We then came up with the idea of hosting a girls’ camp, which really evolved out of a need and campus desire.”

According to New York-based market research firm SuperData, male viewership more than doubles female viewership on channels that stream eSports,

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