Overwatch

Thoughts from a woman playing Overwatch

I've spent roughly 2800 hours in Overwatch, recently a bit more in competetive thus also in voice chat. I have put together some thoughts.

Voice Chat: Saying Hi

I'm always in voice chat and there's 2 options. I'll start the match not saying anything at all, or I'll say "hey team, how's it going" or just "Hey / hey team".
In some of the games I meet normal people who'll either say nothing at all, or will simply say hi back. To everyone who belongs in that group: thank you from the bottom of my heart. But that is not always the case, and the responses I describe as follows are not as rare as you might think.

The "virgins" – "ARE YOU GRILL??"
The most common weirdo-response is simply freaking out over my gender in voice. This ranges from "Hey Kati … are you girl?", which is the most common and not necessarily toxic. Then there's a lot of guys who'll use a fake-high-voice to go "ooooOOOoooh a GIRL". There's more examples, I guess you get my point. And there's my question:
What's the point of that? It's clear from hearing my voice, together with my name being "Kati", that I'm probably female. And I acknowledge the possibility that they might simply inquire about my gender identity, but more likely is: they're trying to mock me.
I always imagine those guys in supermarkets, peeking from behind a shelf going "uuuuuh! woman!" (?)
I simply don't get it.

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The pure weirdos
Then there's those: 3 guys say hi to each other in voice, normally. I say "hey". 2 of the former 3 dudes start making – noises (?). I can't even describe this. It's monkey noises maybe. Not sure, but it's usually followed by an awkward silence for the rest of the match, which not seldomly followed by a lost match due to no comms. Other option is that normal comms start like 2 mins later, everyone acting as if that had never happened.

The alpha-males
The enemy team has a Winston who dominates us. I say in voice chat: "Can we please get a reaper to counter the winston?" , reply: "shut up woman, go back to kitchen." . We lose the match. End of story.

"It that fled from horny jail"

I wish I could say that it wasn't so, but some won't stop at being sexist by simply telling me to return to the kitchen, some explicitly ask for sexual favours. I am not going into detail about this, I'm sure you all have a vivid picture / sound file in your head. That's where my "I'll report them for sexual harrassment" – line is overstepped, normally. I should mention that this happens rarely nowadays, but it happens.

The blamers

I met a guy who reported me for being a woman – no joke, no other issue mentioned. End of match (it was a close match, not even a steamroll) he says in voice chat "report the woman". That was… something. I've met other cases like this. Not as extreme, but I've certainly met more guys saying "was a lose, can't win with woman on our team".

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The white knights

This is a honorable mention as I'm not really upset about those – I just find it cute and I need to say something to them. It was a game where our team performed really well, we were all active in vc and making calls, some dude got a bit carried away and said "damn I f'ked this b'tch", then apologized to me in VC. All I got to say was "no worries mate", but what I actually meant to say was: "Mate, I 100% prefer when you treat me like anybody else in the game over single-ing me out because I'm a woman, so don't apologize." 🙂

TL/DR / Conclusion:

Those things to me are no more than a mild annoyance nowadays. I've given birth to a 4 kilo kid without peridural, so I doubt that anything a random stranger throws in my face in a video game has the power to truly cause me pain nowadays. But I've witnessed the same stuff happen to other women, and especially to girls, and it makes me sad to think that they might lose their fun and enjoyment, and eventually their love for the game, over things like this happening.

I've been playing video games across all platforms since the age of 5. I grew up with a bunch of dude friends and that is how I got introduced to WWF on NES and it progressed from there. And ever since I can remember, a lot of dudes I was friends with said to me: "Damn I wish more girls would play videos games" , or "it's so hard to find a girl who's interested in the same stuff as me! – there's just WAY more dudes playing games than girls".
Seriously, guys – if you want more women to play video games and develop a shared interest with you: Maybe stop making them feel uncomfortable while they set foot on "your" terrain for the first time.

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