Women in Esports, Emma Rose - inequality, representation and gender

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Emma Rose at the Commonwealth Games

Emma Rose may be a name you recognise from the Commonwealth Games in esports. Representing Northern Ireland at the Birmingham event, she battled out in a tournament group with England, Wales, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Taking the gold medal for Northern Ireland was no simple trick, but Emma made it look flawlessly perfect.

However, Emma is not quite a one-trick e-football pony. With a history in content creation, public speaking and her very own business, Emzii LTD? This girl is ready to do what must be done to take the esports world into the spotlight and increase variety.

With the future of esports looking to go the same way that many entertainment industries have. Do Women in Esports have what it takes to be loud and proud about their passions and careers?

Let's look at the discussion with Emma Rose and how she felt about the current state of esports and how it can do so much better.

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RealSport101 Interview with Emma Rose, a Woman in Esports

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So, let's start with an easy one. What is gaming to you?

It was really sort of the crux of my escape when I was really battling my worst depression. It was like my escape from the real world and that mental reset of how to cope with the next day because I suffered from depression quite badly when I was younger.

And then from there, I just discovered how to play competitively. And that's all I ever wanted to do.

The current esports industry can be a tricky place to get into if you identify as a woman. What did your journey look like for you?

It started off with Call of Duty, and it moved into Counter-Strike. And then I got really good at Counter-Strike. And I would have watched all the CS tournaments online, you know, your ESL Cologne and things like that.

And then I was given the opportunity to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games playing a completely different game. But still competitively nonetheless. And I just could not resist the chance to actually finally get to scratch that competitive itch and take part in it.

Speaking of competitive play, how did it happen with you competing in the Commonwealth Games?

They were like, do you want to come to the Commonwealth and represent Northern Ireland? I was like, Yes. And then they asked can you play eFootball? I was like, what? Sure, I will. I mean I'm a football fan. I know what eFootball is. Obviously.

The Current landscape for women in esports is very limited compared to other identities. Do you relate to this?

So I think all women are suffering with the same sort of players within esports and in gaming. It's seen as a lesser form of entertainment. So there's a lot less investment into it, and there's a lot less financial backing from sponsors. And from tournament organisers, which is why it's amazing to have things like Game Changers from Riot and the lionesses cup from women in esports with the Valorant cup they have just done this year.

But being trans, I don't think it really hampered me too badly. In terms of actually competing and then playing and stuff, it's more outside of that, where every comment or every bit of content I release, or every live stream I do, or basically any sort of online presence I put out there is constantly met with sometimes hundreds, if not 1000s, of hateful comments about just attacking me for being me.

What are the effects on you when you deal with that toxicity?

It's really quite hard to take mental health-wise and quite hard to understand how to deal with people's insane levels of toxicity just for being yourself.

It's mental sometimes.

There's always been a discussion surrounding separating genders in esports. Do you think that this move will help to cement women in the industry or hinder it?

I really do sort of think that having the split leagues of males and females is really just a means to an end. Because ultimately, gaming is for everyone. It was never made with a barrier, it was you picked up your controller, your keyboard and mouse, whatever it was you wanted to use, and you played a game and you got to escape from the real world. You got to have a bit of fun with your friends and do things you couldn't do in normal life.

But somewhere along the way, those barriers were put up. And I think having a female-only league really gives you that sort of experience to go forward and learn your trades and gives us a chance to showcase a lot more female talent than it would if we only let if we just went straight away with mixed leagues. Because only the top per cent of female talent would be able to actually cope with the sort of pressure up there because they've never experienced anything like that before.

So I'm a big fan of the female leagues at the minute but I'm sure many people that I've spoken to think it's definitely a means to an end for us.

Just to showcase more female talent to the point that we're able to then openly whip the boy's asses.

Do you think that representation in gaming is up to standards yet? Or do we need to do more work to improve this?

So I got to play with the Unreal Engine at EDX. And I was literally able to make myself as a trans person, and look exactly as I do. It was so good, the amount of detail you can go into. And like with games like Valorant, like Overwatch, like Apex. Breaking away from that traditional man-versus-man sort of game style is definitely a huge step forward. And definitely, they have helped promote more women and under-marginalised genders to take part.

It's another step in us breaking that stigma that games are for boys and for guys who just sit in their parent's basements playing. Playing in the dark, it's another step in the right direction, and it's been gone in the wrong direction for such a long time. It is easy now for developers, they go, 'Well, yes, we should actually do this.' And it makes sense to do this. And 'we're doing it for the right reasons', which is the important thing. It's not like they're just going, let's just put a trans person in this game, so that we can tick that box and say, 'Okay, we've done it'. I think a lot of them now, especially the likes of Apex and the likes of Riot are doing it for all the right reasons.


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