It's a man's world
The recent debate about women being inferior to men at chess sparked a considerable amount of controversy...
05/22/2015 by Denise van Wijk
The recent debate about women being inferior to men at chess sparked a considerable amount of controversy. This led me to a discussion on a MTG forum which analysed the position of women in MTG. Now I wonder how the Pokémon community treats women.
Table of contents
The moment I set foot in the room where my first regional would be played, I immediately noticed the sheer lack of women playing the game. I never gave much attention to it, I thought that is just the way it is. It never crossed my mind, that potentially the behaviour of some players may scare women away. I have played poker for some years prior to commencing Pokémon and often noticed I was the only girl at a table. Considering I only played online, I purposely avoided picking a female sounding name and avatar, just to blend it. I always liked to consider myself a strong woman, who didn’t mind delving herself in male dominated aspects of life. I always simply thought women were just less interested in these scenes than men. I just considered it normal, like you rarely see guys following ballet classes. However, it wasn’t until Chess Grandmaster Nigel Short’s statement, that for me the pieces started to fall together. After listening to a MTG podcast about women in Magic I was able to see the full picture, the lack of women is to a certain extent caused by the behaviour of some male players. I am not implying this is the only reason, a large factor is of course that a lot of women do not know about Trading Card Games or are simply not interested. I must admit, it wasn’t until I met Sami that I realised that these cards, with a foreign text and weird numbers, I collected as a kid could actually be used to play a game. So unfamiliarity is a big factor.
Nigel Short argued that women have different brains, implying that the female brain is not as strategically developed as the one of their male counterpart. I never considered myself a feminist, in all honesty I am often ashamed to consider myself one due to the (frequent) behaviour of this group of women, which demands excessive rights for women. The only time I really was able to identify myself with feminism was after Emma Watson’s speech. I rather consider myself an equalist (if that even exists), this statement by Short nevertheless angered me greatly. I do not consider myself to have a lesser developed strategic brain, on the contrary strategy always interested me greatly. In my anger I turned to Sami and told him how ridiculous this statement was, he proceeded by showing me a podcast about MTG and how girls are perceived. Shockingly, of all the MTG PoP ID’s that are issued 40% go to female players (source: Channel Fireball). It comes as no surprise that not 40% of the member of the Pro Tour are female. I started to think whether we, women, are actually just worse at strategic games, or if there would be another factor playing an important role. The podcast identified some behaviour that female players frequently encounter. Sami has often tried to convince me to try MTG, however I never really had to time to start learning it. After listening to the podcast, all my intentions to learn this new game disappeared and I was filled with a great degree of anger. One of the examples they used was that men frequently pick up their female opponent’s deck to correct it. If someone ever dared to do this to me during an event, I don’t even know how I would react, simply because I would be flustered.
I tried to turn my negative energy into something positive and vowed to myself to figure out what the situation was like in Pokémon. I rarely faced sexist behaviour in tournaments, in hindsight yes there were a few things you can consider sexist but it never put me off playing the game. So I thought I could quickly eliminate this option from reasons why there are less women playing Pokémon. Nevertheless, I decided to launch a questionnaire and gage the perception of women in Pokémon. I have been warned by a few other female players who I spoke to about this issue. They informed me that this is a very sensitive issue in the Pokémon Community, some even warned me I should expect a considerable amount of hate following this article. I genuinely hope that no one will slater me for touching upon this issue. This article will not be a feminist campaign (as I already said, I am not a feminist; potentially an equalist at best), I hope to address this issue from the most objective point of view as possible and will mainly rely on the many responses the Pokémon community has provided me with over the last few days. I hope you accept that I simply interpreted the responses provided by all of you, which in my opinion is as objective as it can get. Anyone questioning the results, please feel free to send me a message and I will provide you with the info you need to verify my findings (sadly these Pokémon articles don’t have appendixes). I will start this article off by my own experience, which obviously is rather subjective, however will try to describe these events as objectively as possible. The following sections will all be based on the results of the poll and I will keep my personal opinion on these outcomes to a minimum.
When I discussed my next article with the owner of 60Cards, I mentioned I wanted to write an article on women in Pokémon. He was surprisingly enthusiastic and said I could potentially write something about how women prepare for nationals. I was a bit confused, so he clarified: ‘yea, what dress you wear and what sleeves to pick’. I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry, but this immediately proved my point about misconceptions about women in Pokémon. I am certain he did not have any bad intentions or tried to be demeaning, however we, women, prepare in exactly the same way as you, men, do. We wear what is comfortable and I sleeve my deck in the first pack of Ultra Pro’s I find. Let’s now turn to my experiences in-game.
As I already mentioned, I never really experienced obvious sexist or inappropriate behaviour. This may be due to my Pokémon encounters being experienced in a bubble. Sami brought me into the game (yes I am one of the girlfriends, however this never stopped me from becoming competitive and fighting for my own Worlds invite), which shielded me from a lot of inappropriate behaviour. The UK community is not very large and everyone knows each other. No man ever attempted to flirt with me, nor went easy on me because of this reason (I think at least).
My experience was extremely positive. The only occasion I could potentially point to was my first ever game in my first ever tournament, where my opponent didn’t allow me to switch my paralysed active which was clearly wrong. Luckily I called a judge and the game proceeded after I played switch. I don’t know if he tried this because I was a woman, but I tend to think this was just an issue with the player and not with my gender.
As I said everything was great, until Nationals. Just before top cut, I overheard that another female opponent accused me of using my cleavage to win games. Apparently the problem was that I tied my hair in a bun for every game. (I do this frequently to ensure my hair won’t annoy me, and in this particular instance to relief myself of the heat for some extent, considering this tournament was played in the summer. I always take the bun out after games, because quite frankly I look ridiculous with my hair this way.) Anyways, going into the last round of swiss I sit down and we were discussing to ID, I was uncertain whether I could make cut with an ID and decided to play. However, having already wasted some time, I forgot to tie up my hair. Now, after the game I heard that because I didn't tie my hair up in this game, my cleavage were less visible because I wouldn’t need it against a girl, apparently. I felt rather upset and angry, but didn't have time to think too much about it as I had to play top cut. I end up winning the event and my thoughts never reverted to this ridiculous accusation. However, when looking at the results of my poll, I see a male respondent commenting that ‘a girl at Belgium Nationals uses her boobs to distract guys’. I know this accusation is not true, and attributing my win to my sexuality or luck (which was apparently also a dominant reason for my win) is really demeaning. Everyone faces situations in which they were lucky. If luck was not an important factor, the same people would win each and every tournament. However, when a man wins a tournament it is never attributed to luck, however a majority of the women who filled in the poll hear these comments often after a victory. Besides it obviously being very upsetting, it distracts from the hard work that these players committed to doing well. Just for your info, I wore a simple tank top that day, something I wear frequently and never intended to distract any of my opponents.
The issue about sexuality and woman was raised a few times in the poll. Guys claim women use their sexuality to distract them, while women complain of men staring at their cleavage. In all honesty, I never witnessed a girl wearing very revealing clothing, or anything she wouldn't wear to go grocery shopping. I do understand that some women may use this strategy to distract guys, which I think is pathetic. Any woman who takes herself seriously in this game, will not use this strategy to win games, rather they play test at home like any of the guys would. I think it is important that women can feel comfortable wearing their usual attire without being accusing of such silly strategies.
This year, during the Spring regionals, I took Sami to some of my local Regionals. A male player wasn’t aware Sami was my boyfriend, he comes up to me and says to me: ‘Now I understand why you are good at Pokémon’. As if any person dating a Pokémon player immediately get transferred the required skills. Yes, my boyfriend and I discuss deck ideas, yes he brings a lot to the table, but I will never play a deck before I have tweaked it myself. I discuss Pokémon with my boyfriend, like any other player would with their friends. Assuming I am decent because of my boyfriend, is not very encouraging for women to play. I, personally, do not really care what people think, but this can be extremely frustrating to see your hard work and dedication being assumed away for this reason.
As you can understand, the ‘sexist’ behaviour I had to deal with has only been very minor and this never made me doubt my commitment to the game. Nevertheless, I can definitely understand this is not pleasant behaviour. This is as far as my experiences go, and as you can see these events do not really justify me starting an investigation in women being treated any differently than men. I am certain if I would ask any male player if they were subject to similar behaviour at one or two occasions, they would respond positively. However, being shocked by the results from the aforementioned podcast I launched my questionnaire.
To avoid any biased results I wanted to ensure I was not related to this poll in any way. Luckily, the poll was posted on a few forums and pages thanks to a very helpful friend. Thank you all so much for all your replies, it was of crucial importance to this article. I based all my statistics on the 230 responses I received by the time I started analysing the data. I received some additional responses after, sadly I could no longer include them in the quantitative results, however, the qualitative data was taken into account. In addition to the poll, I spoke to various female players both high profile and low profile to get a good understanding of how women perceive the game and the community. I know some of you want me to spend some time on how guys can be the victim of similar uncomfortable or inappropriate situations. I fully acknowledge unpleasant behaviour by the opposite gender does happen to guys as well, however for now I would like to focus on women. Potentially I could discuss the other topic in a later article.
Let’s first start with some general information of the respondents. In total, the data is based on 230 respondents of which 24% was female, this is a large share. I often saw women answer in groups in a relatively short time span. This may indicate this is a very important topic for women who shared it with their fellow female players. With regards to the age of the respondents we came to the following numbers.
With regards to geography, we observe the following.
I must admit I did not see any anomalies in the geographical location of most of the sexist behaviour, however some respondents identified that their area had a large number of female players in comparison to some communities where the number of women was rather low.
It was clear that 96% of women indicated that they often or almost every round played a male, while this was opposite when answered by men. Fortunately, only 1/3 of women have ever felt intimidated by their opponent or by a player of the opposite sex. I was glad to see that this only happens to a third of women, however even this is too much. Pokémon is supposed to be a friendly children’s game which should not be associated with any intimidating behaviour. Nevertheless, the number of men feeling intimidated was considerably lower, 18% admitted being intimidated by their opponent, while only one in ten men ever felt intimidated by a woman in a tournament. 52% of the women said she has felt uncomfortable at an event, when asked if this was due to the behaviour of a player of the opposite gender only once this was not due to the behaviour of a man. I definitely did not expected a result like this.
When looking at the explanations women gave for feeling intimidated this was often caused by men making them feel uncomfortable by comments or actions. Funnily, when men were asked the same question, they mostly felt intimidated because they had to face a good female opponent, had an unfavourable matchup or because the girl won.
This obviously shows that both genders had a rather different interpretation of the word intimidated. Only one of the men reported having been approached in an inappropriate manner by a woman, while this is dominant in female responses. So even though the number is low, the reasons for feeling intimidated are unacceptable. We can distinguish three main situations which makes women feel intimidated. I tried to group the answers together to give you a better overview of the results. The categories I identified were verbal abuse, intimidating behaviour and comments about the physique of a female player.
Blatantly claiming girls are bad is not a great way to start your experience with women. Not only is this very intimidating, but also very sexist. From both genders I got a few responses describing situations where men looked at the pairings, established there was a fair amount of women and yelled that it would be an easy tournament for that reason. Additionally, when you are paired to a woman, don’t yell you’ll have an easy win and especially don’t say that ‘you can look at some boobs when winning’. I would certainly not feel comfortable if I heard that being said by my opponent, nor do you want to hear that about your girlfriend, sister, mother etc so please refrain from doing so yourself. Sami told me he approaches women in tournaments like he would have wanted his little sister to be approached (if he had one). One man claimed he would kill himself if he would lose to his female opponent. Come on, what is the purpose of this? It doesn’t add anything to the conversation, and you just assumes the female player you are facing is bad at Pokémon for the sole reason of being a woman. Other testimonies said that some men purposely try to make women feel uncomfortable by making sexual comments.
A situation was described by one of the respondents where a woman was dominating a game, but due to a sudden change in behaviour of the male opponent the woman ended up conceding the game to avoid the confrontation. Besides uncomfortable behaviour, some testimonies made me worry about the safety of some girls at events. There are occasions of men stalking girls and not leaving them alone despite repeatedly being asked to do so. We will go into that deeper in the following section.
Comments about the physique of a female player
A testimony by an underage girl has disgusted me, since she was 12 years old she frequently had to deal with men making inappropriate comments about her physical appearance. For a young girl, it is perfectly understandable that this is not very comforting and very intimidating (for older women too btw). Especially if this happens frequently, the parents of these young aspiring players may eventually prevent these girls from attending events as they do not want their underage daughter to be preyed on by a bunch of 20+ years old men. Another guy said if he couldn't rape his female opponent at cards, he would do so in another way. That is just really creepy! Luckily the comments were only about verbal abuse, however one very classy gentleman offered his opponent a scoop, if he could touch her ass. Yes you read that correctly, I have no words for this.
As you can understand these testimonies are rather intimidating and may scare players (not just women) away from the game. I know you may just be joking, however this may not always be clear to the other players in the room. So please think twice before you make a comment which can be interpreted the wrong way. Let’s be honest, you don’t want to be the person who intimidates a player in such a way that he/she does not want to return.
When asked whether there was a fair amount between men and women at tournaments 16% of women thought this was the case for 24% of the men. Obviously it is clear that people realise the balance is not fair and when asked whether more women should join Pokémon 90% of men would encourage this. I must admit, a majority of the results were very positive about women joining Pokémon. I read a lot of nice comments how women enrich the game, make it more fun and have an overall positive influence on the game. Only 10% of the guys thought that women were inferior to men, which was a pleasant surprise to me, as I thought this number would be a lot higher. A majority of guys asked me why I am even posing this question: they are just players right? Which was awesome to hear. Quite a few of male players also touched upon the fact that women are just like men, however they have to deal with abuse, sexism and bullying. Clearly, it is not just women playing the victim role as obviously a fair amount of men gave me a similar response. It is unclear to me why you would insult a woman for simply playing a card game.
However, some opinions about female players were a bit disappointing to me. The examples of intimidating behaviour as mentioned above did reoccur when considering sexist behaviour as some of them definitely overlap. The verbal abuse, intimidating behaviour and comment about physique are definitely sexist. However, considering their influence on the victim, I thought it was more appropriate to discuss this in the previous section. In addition to the above examples, I would like the address the following examples of sexist behaviour that I was made aware of. You can classify them as: attributing successes to miscellaneous factors; inappropriate behaviour; wrong assumptions and the ‘to a girl/for a girl’ category. One thing I wanted to mention which is not relevant to tournaments I suppose, nevertheless some of the answers to the poll were rather surprising. I read quite a few responses simply talking about the appearance of women in general. I didn’t expect such responses. A few wanted less ugly girls and more attractive ones to play. I really hope these guys are joking, but that is disappointing to hear.
Attributing successes to miscellaneous factors
The quote of one woman describes this scenario perfectly: ‘My opponent didn't respect me unless I won the game. I did. Then he actually announced that NOW he had respect for me. So much emotionally unintelligent young men out there. They are nice, just really socially clueless.’ Personally, I think one of the worse things that can happen to any player, is having to prove he/she is a worthy player. However, this theme is considerably more recurrent in the female responses. Even men admit that women often do not take Pokémon seriously and they are by definition worse than their male counterparts. Women often felt that their skills were questioned by men and their accomplishments were due to pure luck. Nearly all women who I spoke to told me they often hear they were lucky to win that tournament or they won because of their sexuality and using this to their advantage. Apparently, during the stream of Australian Nationals, people questioned the manliness of the other male players to have allowed a girl making it to the finals. Give women some respect and don’t attribute their success to luck.
I am fully aware this is a rather broad category, but this is because the behaviour encountered is very diverse. Some guys consider it normal to buy women Pokémon goodies. I think as a good rule to follow is that you shouldn’t treat a woman in a way that you wouldn’t treat a man in. Would you hug your male opponent after the match? I don’t think so, why do girls get hugs? Would you flirt with your male opponent in game? No, so please don’t do it to girls either. Women play competitively to win, like any man plays to win. Nothing is more annoying than in game flirtatious behaviour. If you really like a girl, please approach her after the match. However, do take into account you are probably not the first guy who approached her that day, so understand she may not feel too comfortable with all this extra attention. Additionally, do not hit on every girl you play, a few comments indicated that this has happened in the past and you just come across as very desperate.
A lot of people seem to forget that Pokémon is a community that extends beyond tournaments. A few people mentioned the sheer abuse of women on Virbank. After Australian Nationals was won by a girl, apparently there were some very sexist comments about this lady, this is not fair and very demotivating. Don’t become a keyboard warrior and behave properly to both men and women on online fora.
To make matters worse, some men have said that Pokémon is not a game for girls, it is a men’s game. While another added to this that women do not have the brain for strategy and refused to play a girl since they are under his level. I do not quite understand these comments. I can’t even give my opinion on this. I am just flustered.
Of course sexual abuse, stalking and inappropriate comments also belong to this category but more importantly that behaviour is also intimidating on top of being sexist.
Several guys assume that girls don’t take Pokémon very seriously because they were brought into the game because of friends, family or boyfriends. Let’s be honest, most guys entered this way too. I think assuming all girls are more relaxed and take it less seriously is wrong. Of course everyone wants to have a good time, however I felt there was an underlying assumption that girls are just easier to beat.
Very frequently men assume women do not know anything about Pokémon. Even if the intentions are right, being overly friendly and explaining the difference between heads and tails is very annoying and assuming that every girl doesn’t know how to play is sexist. A friend of mine told me that when his girlfriend played a game, her opponent let her go first. Don’t understand this wrongly, the opponent is a competitive player, however he must just have assumed he could beat her regardless.
A few girls told me that guys asked: ‘Which one of the players is your boyfriend?’ Assuming a girl can only come to a Pokémon tournament if she has a boyfriend is not the best first move. I understand some of you are really interested to know whether a woman has a boyfriend, however first have a conversation and then ask if she has a boyfriend (in general, who may not necessarily play Pokémon).
If assuming a girl has a boyfriend is already bad enough, women often have to answer the question whether their boyfriend build their deck, I think assuming all women at tournaments have a boyfriend and that he built her deck is rather demeaning, we don’t ask you whether your girlfriend build your deck, right? Girls are also asked whether their World’s merchandise is their boyfriend’s. I think you get the gist of it by now, not all women in Pokémon have a boyfriend and those that do, do not always rely on their boyfriends for their deck lists and Worlds merchandise.
Lastly, one misconception I often heard was that women often have fun and cute Pokémon on their team. In all honesty I don’t know what is cute about Seismitoad EX or Yveltal EX. This once again shows that women are not taken seriously most of the time. A lot of women also complained about this, men seem unable to make the connection that women are just like men when playing Pokémon. A great deal of them take it very seriously and are not interested in the fan aspect of the game. Some people have asked me what my favourite Pokémon is, in all honesty I do not know. I care about the card game, and have no real interest in Pokémon outside of this aspect. Assuming girls only play fairy decks, pink cards and cute Pokémon is not very nice to say in their face either. I, once played Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff in bright pink sleeves, quite a few guys made comments on the level of pink of my deck. I don’t think my boyfriend heard any similar comments when playing the same deck in the same sleeves.
‘To a girl/for a girl’
A lot of men get annoyed when losing to a girl. I don’t quite get why one would be more annoyed to lose to a girl than to lose to a guy. You may not think that this has a great impact on girls playing the game, however imagine they face a guy almost every round. If after every win women are faced with an annoyed opponent who tells them they cannot believe they just lost to a girl, how would you react? That is not so much fun right? If you lose just take it as a man, and don’t whine about having lost to a girl. You won’t complain to your friends that you just lost to a man either, so why would this change if you played a girl?!
Additionally, telling a girl she is pretty good at Pokémon for a girl, is demeaning. Instead of complimenting her, you just insulted her. Women are just as good as men. The fact we don’t see that many of them making cut is simply because there is less of them. In the last tournament I played there were 3 women out of 50 players, that is 6% of the entire field. That means that less than every other tournament a woman makes cut based on those statistics.
As some final advice, if you want to compliment a girl, tell her she is good at the game, drop the for a girl tag. In the women’s section I asked a question how often certain behaviour happened to a them 25 women were told they were pretty good for a girl. This just shows that it is a recurrent issue. This leads me to the last section about the results.
Has a male player ever …
I asked women the above question and gave them a few several options to tick if any of them were applicable to them. These are the results.
Considering 56 women filled in the questionnaire this result is not very pleasant to see. 11 women were contacted repeatedly by a man and he continued despite being asked to stop. In law this would be considered harassment and is illegal, obviously depending on how often this happened and the severity. Even if it would not constitute harassment it is simply rude and makes you look desperate too. Please do not contact people if they told you to stop contacting them.
31 women said that men flirted with them during tournaments, considering most women want to do well at tournaments, they are generally not using Pokémon events and their lovely pairing system as an equivalent to speed dating. If you are really interested in a woman, after you got to know her a bit better ask her out, but don’t flirt with each and every female opponent.
17 girls were asked for their phone number. One lady got tricked into giving her phone number to a new player who she just helped explaining the game. He asked if he could add her on Facebook and would only contact her for advice, sadly the man gave a different name and was obviously unable to be found on facebook. She was persuaded to give her phone number, something she ended up regretting a lot as he kept contacting her this way.
19 Women were insulted about the way they played, I think this is just rude. I think insults are ridiculous no matter if it is to a woman or a man. Some people only just started the game or don’t take it very seriously, to insult them about the way they play is just pathetic, regardless of gender. If you would have approach a situation differently, there is a nicer way of saying it, however this may still come across as patronising.
More than half of the women who filled out the questionnaire felt that their male opponent treated them differently than they would have treated an opponent of the same gender, as already mentioned above please behave in a consistent manner. Your opponent is first and foremost a Pokémon player, don’t treat women differently, even if it would be beneficial for them. We don’t want special rights, we don’t want to go first because we are women, we want to be treated like any other player.
The last option I ‘stole’ from the MTG podcast I mentioned earlier and thought it must have been a Magic thing. However 14 women said their opponent picked up their deck to correct it. I cannot believe this, I think it is incredibly rude to pick up someone’s deck, to go through it and correct it. I am just flustered. Please do not do this, not to a male opponent either. If he asks you for help, feel free to do so, you can even ask him/her if she wants some feedback, however do not just pick up the deck and correct it because it is incredibly rude.
So far the results of the questionnaire, once again thank you so much for filling it in! In the following section I will briefly give a few recommendations to create a better environment in the game overall, this is not only aimed at men, but counts for women as well. Ultimately, the friendlier the environment the more players, the greater the experience.
Just in general I wanted to point out some recommendations that could make the community better at large. These are a mix of my personal stance, results from the poll and influences from other TCG communities. These recommendations are applicable for both male and female players. Some women have shown some very demeaning behaviour towards other players as well, which is just as unacceptable.
Improve your Personal Hygiene
I think it is necessary to make the game a bit more friendly for everyone, for many people who enter the room of a tournament for the first time, the smell is overwhelming. I must admit Pokémon is not the biggest offender on this aspect, however it still very unpleasant to face an opponent who doesn’t shower. This is not only applicable to tournaments, but every aspect of life. Also if your friend could improve his/her hygiene please mention it to them. I rather have one person telling me I need to take a shower than 10 people thinking it.
Avoid Personal Contact
This one is probably a bit more applicable to male players. Hugging your female opponent after a match is odd. You just met, you played a game and you want intimidate contact? There is a few players that do this rather often and it is highly annoying, especially in combination with offenders of category 1 (see above).
Don’t use Social Awkwardness as an excuse
A few comments blamed the inappropriate behaviour of some players to them being socially awkward. Let me just use the example of staring at a woman’s cleavage. Some guys see a cleavage, they don’t know how to react any longer and just stare. Attributing this to being socially awkward seems like a silly excuse to me. You don’t stare at your (female) boss’ cleavage, nor at your colleague’s cleavage. I can understand some of you work in a male dominated environment and don’t get that much exposure to women, however you still don’t stare at your neighbour’s cleavage nor at the lady who works at Starbucks. Why do you think being at a Pokémon event suddenly makes it appropriate for you to use being socially awkward to excuse your behaviour.
Women’s only tournaments
A few respondents suggested creating women’s only tournaments to encourage women to play Pokémon. However, I think this is an awful idea, as I already mentioned I want women to be treated in the same way as men. Introducing tournaments for women only makes the problem worse. This may also imply women are inherently worse, which is not the case.
Reporting inappropriate behaviour
Personally, I think the best solution to the above mentioned problems is to make it easier for players to report inappropriate behaviour. If you have been (sexually) harassed or treated inappropriately by another player this person does not belong in the community. There must be a better support system to take care of this.
Drop the ‘for a girl’ tag
As already mentioned above, drop the ‘for a girl’ tag. You don’t achieve anything with this, nor do you make anyone feel special, which I assume was your intention. Tell a girl she is pretty good, full stop. Girls, please call out any player who does this, I am certain the people using this tag don’t intend to discriminate and simply want to give you a compliment, however they didn’t think their actions through properly. A simple comment may change their perspective.
Don’t distinguish between men and women
In addition to number 6, do not distinguish between men and women. If you sit down and face a girl, first and foremost she is another Pokémon player just like you. Don’t tell her it is cool to see a female player, or ask her anything you wouldn’t ask you male opponent.
Don’t assume anything
Do not assume anything when you sit down, especially do not assume that this girl fulfils the above mentioned stereotypes. You do not know your opponent, don’t assume because she is a girl, she is new to the game. Don’t let her go first, because you assume you can win regardless. Don’t assume she is a fan girl, as there are some hardcore competitive girls out there, and we wouldn’t want you to be devastated when she 2-0s you. Most importantly, don’t assume that a woman won a tournament because of pure luck or using her female assets. You will have to be incredibly lucky to only rely on this to win a tournament. A woman using her female assets does not distract a guy, at least not to the level where he would be unable to concentrate on the game and subsequently lose it.
I would urge any respected (especially male, but also female) Pokémon player who read this article to learn from this and ensure his/her behaviour is neutral to both men and women. I have seen many young and new players copy the behaviour of respected players. If you know people look up to you, or it would be assumed they do so, please use this position to make the game a better place. This does not only apply to sexist behaviour, but to any aspect of the game. Don’t cheat, don’t be aggressive, don’t insult your opponent… People will copy your behaviour making the whole community an inferior place. Be grateful, people look up to you and use this to make the community a better place.
The role model function does not stop after you leave the tournament. This role continues when you have dinner after a tournament, but also more importantly when you come home and post on Virbank. Any player (whether you are a role model or not) should think properly before they post something online. I know posting something online is much easier than saying it in person, however if you would not dare to say it in person, don’t say it online. We should not stimulate the creation of keyboard warriors. A lot of people said Virbank is a sexist place, and not a nice forum in general. A lot of respondents thought Virbank could use a clean up considering many people make extremely insulting comments. It is great to see that the admins are committed to providing you this platform, considering they do this in free time and do not get paid, make their life a bit easier and think twice before you post anything that can be interpreted in an offensive manner.
Enjoy the game
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