The concept of video gaming as a “sport” is vaguely ridiculous in of itself. This is not to deny the talent or skill of professional gamers, so much as that it should be classified in an area other than athletics. But apparently the reason, according to the International eSports Federation, is so a girl won’t whip their butts.
All this got started when a Finnish tournament posted its rules for a Hearthstone tournament that explicitly said “No ladies.” As you might have guessed, that did not go over well on the Internet, and apparently there has been the usual amount of buck-passing and whining, according to VG24/7.
When gamers took IeSF to task for its gender division, it replied by saying, “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.”
Koskivirta stressed to PC Gamer that the Finnish organisers are trying to appeal to the IeSF for gender divisions to be done away with and added that all other tourneys organised by The Finnish eSports Federation are open to both genders. Essentially, the order has come from South Korea, not Finland’s local organisers.
Granted, South Korea is not exactly a feminist paradise, but then again, it’s not like the IeSF is the NFL, either. The Finnish organizers easily could have told the South Korean home office to get stuffed, that’s not how we do things here, but they didn’t. So they’re still on the hook.
The IeSF, for its part, offered… well, two excuses:
1- Promoting female players. We know that e-Sports is largely dominated by male players and females players are actually a portion of the overall player base. By hosting a female-only competition, we strive to promote female gaming on a global scale.
2 – International standards. IeSF is very close to get e-Sports recognized as a true sports like it should be. Part of that efforts is to comply with the international sports regulations. For example, chess is also divided into male / female leagues.
See, not being allowed to compete with men is because you’re special little snowflakes that must be protected, ladies! Also, chess does it, so we can totally do it, the problem being that, uh, there’s nothing about gender in the PDF of the rules for the World Chess Championships that we checked.
IeSF is supposedly reconsidering its rules, but it seems unlikely it’ll budge. Still, one hopes that those organizing Hearthstone tournaments might consider just ignoring the rules. It’s not like boobs get in the way of picking what cards to use.