Sharing my experience
These past couple of days a lot of girls in the HS community have been super brave and sharing their stories and advocating for better representation. As most of you know, I have had a lot of unpleasant experiences as well. I've tried speaking up on multiple occasions but always got a lot of comments such as “just ignore it” or “everyone goes through that”. Here we go again.
Ever since I started playing Hearthstone I wanted to be competitive. I started played in local tournaments and tried to improve by finding people to practice with. Sadly those first two years I really struggled finding friends in Hearthstone and played mostly on my own. Whenever I showed up at a local tournament I heard people talking about me behind my back, saying how bad I was and mocking eachother if they lost to me. Even though they trash talked me, they would still try hitting on me and sending inappropriate texts.I never really felt welcome.
I didn't give up and worked really hard to get better and started having some good results at online and offline tournaments. When I got recruited by Sector One, the biggest Benelux team, I got DM's from other players telling me I didn't deserve the spot. People were saying I only got the spot because I was a girl, diminishing all the hard work I put into the game. It got so bad that I actually started believing I didn't deserve to be on the team and I almost left. My anxiety went through the roof and I didn't enjoy being on the team and going to local tournaments anymore.
Luckily by that time I did make some really good friends in Hearthstone that helped me through this difficult period. I started being more active on social media and tried streaming on Twitch. The more active I became online, the more vulgar and sexist messages I received. Some days I even received multiple dick pics in one day in my Twitter inbox. Semi pro and pro players would say mean/vulgar stuff about me and other girls in private discords, thinking no one would tell us about it. During/after every stream I received messages from viewers or subs asking me out because they invested their time or money in my stream. I started to really dislike streaming even though I enjoyed it at first. I'm still struggling today to make a comeback on Twitch because of this. I would love to create more content but what happened before stops me from doing so.
Another disturbing thing that happened to me was someone with a fake Twitter account started harrassing me and other girls by tweeting at us or sending DM's. This person was (or pretended) to be at Masters Tour Bucharest, sending me DM's with pics of the venue and threatening messages. This was picked up by HS Esports and they invited me to have a chat about it, but I'm not sure what happened after. I never did receive DM's again from this person though.
I still really love the game and competing, so I hope things will finally change for the better. <3