Why do we need representation for women on the 25? An FAQ
Women represent a small, but growing demographic in the Smash scene. Roughly we’ve seen 40-60 women at majors with 1K people (4-6% of the attendee population) and a growing number as volunteers and TOs. While the community as a whole has been welcoming, there remain pockets of sexist groups and unintended/subconscious sexism (hey you’re pretty good for a girl) littered among us. Imagine my horror reading through the comments about this (I’ve never seen a girl play Melee or at a tournament, name a single qualified woman who can do this, keep gender politics out of smash) – like holy shit how fucking disheartening it has been. We’re not asking you pick a random smash girl and put her on because she’s a girl, we’re asking to go through the many qualified candidates who have contributed to the scene so that we have visibility to show that women are welcome and represented.
Shoutouts to the strong leaders out there:
Milktea – continues to consult on issues for women and remains and HUGE inspiration for many of us with her understanding of nuances in the community. You have no idea how strong she is for us
Lexi – French TO who basically got the Smash Doc subtitled in French and regularly comments on community issues
Val – TO and a volunteer I see at like every major helping run tournaments
Kelly – FL TO
Sweet Dee – MW TO
Stef – TO and outspoken presence on social media, though I think she’s retired but honorable mention
Sailor Mercury – one of the best NYC commentators with her analytic approach and knowledge of game mechanics
That’s just off the top of my head and not to mention some of the sick players out there (Admiral, Picofarad, spinda, ht, red rover, syphi....omg could go on and on), there are so many more out there
“The panel is about gameplay rules and has nothing to do with gender”
The panel also includes code of conduct guidelines – how we operate as a community and our interpersonal relationships have all proven to be super important. We don’t just play Melee, we’re friends too.
“The panel will consult women for specific issues as needed”
This presupposes what women’s issues are. For example, a conversation about Twitch chat might go very differently if a woman were involved in the first place and might never reach this consultation phase. The same could happen with a community growth topic. In addition, a lot of these kinds of issues also tend to get swept to the side and are often not revisited despite well-meaning intentions. I mean, like we’re all busy ya know, none of us are perfect.
“Two women were asked but they opted out”
Technically, I didn’t know I was being asked. I had a casual conversation about it where I mentioned I was busy and taking a break from TOing Nebs as well, but I thought that female representation was important enough that if they were unable to find someone else available, I would do it. That was pretty much it and I never heard back again until the list was released. Part of the frustration is assuming that just because two ‘opted out’, no one thought it’d be a good idea to continue looking through qualified candidates. If Hax didn’t want to be on the panel, pretty sure they’d go looking for others who could represent box interests.
“But Armada is more qualified than any member, male or female”
Yeah dude, Armada is incredible! I certainly don’t envy the woman who replaces him if this turns out to be what the inner 5 decide. Can you imagine being that chick that replaces him? She’s gonna get harassed af. I think what Armada has said and then continued to support after getting flamed for it, is extremely admirable. I hope the 5 can create a solution that doesn’t create a zero sum game of top player vs women.
“Are you calling everyone on the panel sexist”
Naw dawg, literally no one has ever said that. I’ve talked to a lot of guys about Smash Sisters and there’s a lot of misunderstanding on what, why and how to reach out to women. The panel is full of good dudes, but they just don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in the scene and are unable to provide that perspective.
“Does this mean we need all kinds of diversity – racial, sexual preference, age, etc?”
Honestly, I don’t know since it doesn’t really apply to me. If they face a unique set of obstacles or stigma in our community, then yeah, go for it! We’re advocating for women here because we ARE women and we’ve seen the difference this makes in being a community member. I haven’t seen this same kind of difference for being Chinese or being old af or being a Sheik main. This isn’t diversity for the sake of diversity, it’s representation for a growing demographic that has been historically underrepresented
Finally, it’s okay if you don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman in the scene, but we just ask that you trust us in that it’s different. That it’s important for us to have a voice. That representation matters to us. We can only be an inclusive and welcoming community if we show it in the leadership.