If you’ve been on the internet in the past week, you may have heard talk about “Ellie.” Ellie started out being the first female player on Second Wind, an Overwatch Contenders team. Contenders is essentially the Minor League of Overwatch esports, and to add a woman to Second Wind was a pretty big deal. The Overwatch community is not necessarily known for its equitable treatment of women. Then, shit hit the fan.
Rumblings of Discontent
First, there was not a lot of information about Ellie. She came out of nowhere. She was more skilled than her level suggested. Many people suggested she was talking on a mic while another player actually played.
That’s when the threats started. Slurs, threats of violence, attempts at doxxing, you name it. Ellie got the full attacks of the worst parts of the community.
The Overwatch community is not completely made up of jerks. They just all came out for this. Ellie chose to step down from the team rather than deal with the pressure and harassment. While unfortunate, who can really blame her?
It would be nice if a woman could just be a player on an esport team. Representation is an important thing, and the sole person representing their whole gender (or race, or other community) has a lot of pressure if they’re put on a pedestal.
The Second Wind Twitter released the following statement:
Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen reactions, Ellie has opted to step down from the team. We hope you continue to support her in her ventures in Overwatch as we will” – @SecondWindGG
Not the End of the Ellie Story
While that’s certainly putting a nice sheen on “a player was harassed and abused until they no longer wanted to complete professionally in something they love,” it’s at least a little supportive.
However, this story is not over. Instead, it just gets weird. People come forward explaining that they did talk on mic for “Ellie.” The character of “Ellie” ended up, it seems, in fact being an alternate account for Punisher, an Overwatch top player. It was claimed to be a social experiment.
A social experiment that no one asked for, that is. Women don’t need men to prove that they are treated unfairly. In fact, women say as much every single day. This “social experiment” is just another man thinking he knows better than women and people listening.
There are people even saying that all’s well that ends well, because no women were actually harassed! It’s a true win for feminism!
A Pointless Endeavor
This is all just unneeded drama. No man needed to impersonate a woman to prove that people like to abuse women. No one should have harassed a person, man or woman, for existing in esports. None of this debacle should have happened in the first place.
This just goes to show that, while progress is being made, there’s a long way to go to achieve any semblance of equality in esports. Until the hostility towards women in esports becomes nothing more than a joke that the population rejects wholeheartedly, there’s just so much further to go.
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