In response to PGL's "Girls of Kiev" video
(I commented this on one of the Reddit threads made by PGL)
Hi PGL, I'm leafypeachy and I'm a manager for Desoladies, an organization built on creating a welcoming and uplifting environment for women in the Dota 2 community. Our goal is to help encourage more women to join the community and encourage more inclusivity overall. More importantly, I am a woman who is an avid fan of Dota 2 and have been for years now. I actually attended the Boston Major, some of you might recognize me as the lady with the Ad Finem logo that was "tattooed" on her face. I love sharing my passion for Dota and I have always been comfortable on camera. That being said, I have a lot of concerns and disappointment with the "Girls of Kiev" video clip that you played at the end of the major & posted on YouTube shortly after. I'll just go right into it.
While I truly hope that this video was put out with good intentions, I am having a lot of trouble discerning the actual motive behind this compilation. I'm assuming that it was a last-minute idea, leading to it being rushed and not totally thought through. Here are my ideas on possible motives:
1. Trying to show appreciation for the women in the Dota 2 community.
2. Highlighting women to show everyone that women do in fact exist in the Dota 2 community.
3. Attempting to normalize that women exist in the community, by showing how many different ladies there were both in the audience and working behind the scenes.
4. Pandering to a male-dominated community by putting on some eye candy so chat will spam Kreygasm. As Slacks tweeted "PEOPLE LIKE WOMEN" (https://twitter.com/SirActionSlacks/status/858788537474461703)
5. A combination of the above.
Motives aside, here are my main concerns with this video:
* No context was provided, leaving the viewers to interpret the video themselves. So far, nearly all of the reactions I've seen from both men and women have been overwhelmingly negative, although there are plenty of people who thought it was worthy of a Kreygasm or a laugh.
* The video included a lot of women who looked like they weren't aware they were being filmed. Yes, at public events with media coverage you will be on camera or seen by others, that is a given. But the fact that PGL specifically went around getting footage of women watching the games, eating, or just chilling in their seat without any indication that they were okay with being the main subject of filming or being aware of this was extremely creepy and objectifying of these ladies. We don't know if the PGL staff asked if these women wanted to be featured and they said yes, but it seemed like more of a stalker cam than anything else. (Again, context would have helped with this). There is a huge difference between showing fans that are holding signs or waving or in costume indicating they want to be on camera and getting footage of random women doing very normal things not looking like they are asking for attention. If you wanted to display women who were okay with being filmed and wanted to share their excitement with the event, clips of them actually acknowledging the camera's existence would have removed the "stalker" vibe completely.
* Having a video focusing specifically on women in the crowd without that context (or even with it, depending on the context) reinforces toxic stereotypes about women, making it more difficult for us to be a part of this community. Women are attention-seeking, women are special rare unicorns to be put on a pedestal/focused on as unique fans, women expect/deserve special treatment, etc. Yes, representation is important, but being put on as an after-show for the major is not the way to do it. All this does is draw a line between us and the rest of the Dota community, and encouraging these toxic attitudes of treating/viewing women differently than the rest of the Dota community. If you wanted to normalize the existence of women then just include them in with the rest of the fans, don't make a women-exclusive video. All that does is make a lot of women uncomfortable and solidify a lot of people's negative attitudes about women being in "their" community. (Why do they get special treatment, classic women being attention whores, Kreygasm a GRILL, wife material, etc)
The bottom line is that literally every single woman I've talked to in the Dota community deals with some kind of discrimination and just wants to be treated like a normal fan. We don't expect trolls or simple-minded dota players to change, but at the very least we do expect and hope that major organizations (hello, PGL handles some of the biggest Valve events) to not encourage or condone this kind of treatment. It's in your best interests for this community to grow and not chase off potential new fans, so next time please think this through more. I do not speak for women as a whole, but I can certainly tell you that this video made me feel very, very frustrated as I am working very hard to try to get more women into this game and be treated fairly. My heart is heavy to see women like myself put on display as a side-show or special feature, it really makes you feel like a second class citizen.
I'd also like to add that I'm very appreciative of the notable members of the Dota community I see piping up about this on Twitter, thank you so much. That's about it, I'm sure there were other points I could bring up but those are the main ones. I'm happy to talk more with anyone at PGL who wants to try to make more friendly and inclusive content for future events or just to answer any questions you have. Thank you for taking the time to read this.