We continue our celebration of Women’s History Month by spotlighting our very own Super League players! We are so proud of the women in our community who are unafraid to show off their skills and confidence to compete in esports tournaments. Super League reached out to players Jaci, Laura, Mika, Miranda, and Nicole to hear what they had to say about their experiences as part of the esports and gaming communities:
What does it mean to you to be a woman in gaming/esports?
Being a woman in esports should not be a new concept, considering how women “play for fun just as much as guys do,” Laura points out, but adds that “there is just more male representation in gaming.” Laura appreciates seeing women represented, but understands why she does not see more of it.
Miranda explains the challenges women in games may face, sharing that while “everyone makes mistakes, misses the skillshot, [or] misplays, but being a woman and playing competitive video games means every mistake you make feels magnified and is used to reinforce a stereotype that ‘girls can’t play.'”
There will often be individuals who criticize women when they play games, but Nicole assures other women of the gaming and esports communities that “there’s plenty of people that will support you and help you get better; those are the people you should listen to.”
Where does your passion for gaming/esports come from?
Jaci’s passion for gaming began with her mother, who taught her how to play games like Tetris and Micromachines. “She had a Nintendo and a Super Nintendo, but for Christmas one year, she bought me a Nintendo 64 and that started my gaming career.”
Miranda discovered her passion when she realized she could keep up with the competition despite being told otherwise. “All those moments where you’re kicking butt and proving people wrong? That’s part of where my passion for playing video games comes from,” Miranda says. “There’s a rush in fighting for a place in this space where a lot of people believe we can’t belong if we happen to have been born with a second X chromosome.”
Nicole relays a similar experience, reminiscing about becoming a Champion and MVP in her home town’s League of Legends tournament. “I was able to prove that I can go against the top teams and that felt so good because I earned their respect, and in ways I valued myself more and wanted to be even better.”
As for Mika, her passion resulted from moving around and, consequently, feeling unable to cultivate many strong or long-lasting friendships. “I came from the Philippines, and being the new foreign kid, I wasn’t welcomed kindly,” she states, “So, I didn’t try to fight the kids or ask God why I became like this. I just turned on my Gamecube and played the only game I had, Capcom vs SNK.”
Who are some women you look up to?
Because she originally found a love for gaming through her mother, Jaci never knew gaming was geared towards men until she was excluded from playing games in high school due to the assumption that she would be unskilled. “But that was also when I found out who the Frag Dolls were, and it was a total inspiration for someone like me,” she shares. “These women were competitively playing games – something I was being told I could not do. I see people like Hafu, LoserFruit, and Becca and I know girls have a place in this community.”
Nicole also wants to be someone other girls – like her daughter – can look up to. Nicole’s 10 year old daughter is also a gamer who plays Fortnite, League of Legends, Apex Legends, and also watches esports. “She sees me playing in tournaments and she turns into my personal cheerleader. It’s the best feeling and I want her to see that if I can make it, she can too.”
What has been your experience as a woman gamer, specifically with regard to Super League?
Our players emphasize the connections they’ve made as a result of being a part of the gaming and esports communities. “Gaming gave me friends, family, and a future that I can look up to,” Mika says. “Gaming made me stronger and a better person. I had nothing in the beginning, and now I’m my own character with my own story line.”
On a similar note, Laura says, “Today, I am happy because of all of the friends I’ve made. It’s a hobby that I can avidly talk about to strangers who turn into your teammate.”
And to those for whom entering the competitive gaming space may seem an immense obstacle Nicole advises, “Grab friends that are supportive and play with them, gain confidence, and you’ll see you can do it.”
Our players expressed gratitude for having found a community in gaming that encourages them to feel empowered in a male-dominated space. Here at Super League, we hope to create such a space for all players. “Super League is a special organization for helping bring gaming women together and creating a place where we can be a part of the gaming community and not feel as alone,” says Miranda. “We play video games, we are here to stay.”