My experience with Pokemon VGC
Hello everyone, I go by MysticVGC and I had a couple of incidents that happened to me when I started joining the VGC scene. It was rough and emotional writing this out.
My beginning experience with VGC was uncomfortable and disappointing of how I was treated. I thought being in a gaming community would feel welcoming. At the time, I didn't really pay attention that there were mostly guys playing. I just wanted to try my shot at competitive gaming.
----Pokemon Local 2015----
This was when I decided to try out a local Pokemon league tournament in northern Virginia. My mistake was I went by myself, but i was thinking at the time because it was Pokemon, nothing bad will happen to me. At the time, I was 23 going to be 24, slim build, and 5'2". I should tell everyone that even though I'm older, I don't look it. So i look like I'm 16 or 17 years old. Looking like I never age. So I wanted to play in this local for practice and prepare for the Boston Open 2015.
I played against a couple players, I won some and lost some matches, learning from the matches I had. Mind you, I'm the ONLY girl at this local. So after staying for about 2 hours, I decided to leave to go back home. As I got up, this one guy comes up to me (I don't remember his name) and immediately flirts with me. Saying that I am cute and goes straight to asking me to go out with him. The first thing I ask was how old are you? He responds saying he's 17 years old. (Remember, I'm 5'2" and he was probably around 5'9"). What's going through my mind is that this 17 year old is hitting on me and thinks I'm the same age as him or younger. I told him "no, I'm actually 23 years old. I'm not going out with you". He then gets upset saying "you're not 23 years old. You're just saying that to drive me off, aren't you?" I responded "No, I'm 23 and I don't want to go out with you". At that point, it was like I had to prove I was my age. The way I look, it's like nobody takes me seriously.
I didn't want to deal with it, so I immediately walked outside to get to my car. Outside of the game store, I was stopped by a hand gripping on my wrist. (For a 17 year old, he was a bit strong). He then says "even if you are 23, going out with an older woman is sexy." He was hurting my wrist and I put my hand on his wrist and said "let go of me." And then he says "not until you agree to go out with me." So at this point, I'm thinking I can release myself, but in order for me to do that I had to hurt him to get him off me. I didn't want to hurt him because even though he doesn't believe I'm 23, if I hurt him he was going to use it against me and tell someone that I assaulted him instead of the other way around. I did struggle and told him one more time to let go of me with an even louder voice. I was trying to get the attention of someone from inside the game store with a loud voice. Then one of the store owners heard what it was happening, comes out and asks "what's going on here?" He immediately let go of me saying nothing and just returned inside the store. I just went to my car and rubbed my wrist and it was red. I was angry and upset and I just want to get out of there. I just let that incident go. After that incident, I didn't want to go to an event by myself and I never went to that particular game store again because of him.
----Doswell Regional 2016----
This incident was how I was treated as a girl playing a competitive game.
This tournament was at Doswell, Virginia for the 2016 format. I did not go by myself, so me and a friend of mine decided to compete. I was really excited to play some competitive pokemon and hoping to win a lot of matches. Masters division were to play 8 rounds during this time. At this event I went 4-4, so it wasn't too bad that i broke even.
There was this one match i had against this one guy, and basically treated me like i didn't know how to play competitive pokemon. I lost to him and asking me these questions such as "why did you click this move? You should've done this instead." and "You should've used this pokemon in your team. Why do you have this pokemon in your team? Are you dumb?" (To be clear, he's asking why I was using Mega Ampharos in my team) This really hurt me and he made me feel like I shouldn't even be in this tournament. To him, it was like an easy win. I try not to be emotional about it, so I was trying to put a positive mindset that i will win some more matches.
I did win a few more matches and i won against this one guy and both said gg. The match after him, I went up against this one guy and the previous guy I won against was sitting 3 chairs down on my left and told my opponent "watch out for her. She's good." At that time, I was excited about that compliment but now looking back at it, I've noticed not alot of girls play competitive VGC. Like it was a rare sight to see. It felt disappointing and sad.
After that, over the next several years, I practiced more on how to teambuild better, how to use the damage calculator, practice with teams on Showdown with friends and other players, how to theorymon, and getting coaching when I need it. I want to be treated like a Pokemon player, not just a girl whose a beginner at competitive Pokemon. Ever since Zoe won the Oceania Internats, it motivated me to do even better as a player.
I really want the Pokemon community to feel welcoming for women and treat them with respect. If you read all of this, thank you for taking the time to do so. I hope for a change that will make women feel comfortable in the Pokemon community and other gaming communities as well.