Though the 2018 Winter Olympics officially began with the lighting of the Olympic flame, they unofficially began with the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in South Korea two days earlier. Canadian Starcraft 2 player Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn battled her way to first place against the world’s best gamers, marking a first for women in the popular Starcraft scene. Her win marks the first time a woman has won a major international Starcraft 2 tournament.
Wouldn't be the winter olympics without a Canadian victory o /
— Sasha (@onfireScarlett) February 7, 2018
“I almost don’t really believe it right now,” said Hostyn. “I’ve never won an event like this before and recently I wasn’t doing very well in tournaments so it’s all of a sudden.”
The world of eSports has been dominated by men for most of its existence, and the emergence of a prominent professional female gamer could be a sign of change in eSports leagues.
As Hostyn won the Intel Extreme Masters, another female gamer found her way into the eSports scene as well. South Korean player Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon was announced as the first female player for the Overwatch League’s Shanghai Dragons. Geguri gained recognition in the Overwatch community after being accused of cheating by several professional players, only to prove her accusers wrong.
“I think stuff like this is pretty amazing,” said eSports fan Molly Brewster. “I think that as years pass, more women will be a part of the eSports scene. Boys aren’t the only ones growing up playing video games now. It’s becoming part of the media, and I’m looking forward to the next decade of young women entering the sport.”
The gaming community has long been under fire for misogynistic attitudes and toxicity towards women, but if the changing eSports scene is any sign of what is yet to come, then it may be able to change its negative image and replace it with a more welcoming one.