With over 60,000 followers on Twitch, illustrator and artist Samantha Gee, better known as Asia Amore, is making waves in the eSports world. This Canadian-based gamer opens up about her experiences in the gaming world, one often dominated by men.
- How did you get into eSports?
I played video games since I was very young but it had a somewhat alienating, isolating effect. However, when I found the eSports and Twitch community, gaming for the first time became a social and an interactive thing I could do to meet likeminded people that I would otherwise probably never had contact with.
- What exactly do you do in the eSports arena?
I have streamed on Twitch full time, playing Dota 2, but some other games as well such as CSGO, Hearthstone and many new releases. I also create fan art, and I cosplay characters from my favorite games. I have been a part of an established gaming organization as a streamer before, and traveled to many eSports events around North and South America for Dota 2.
3.What do you think of women in eSports, specifically in your region?
I think there are a lot of really great women in eSports. I have met many talented businesswomen, artists and entertainers in the industry, many of whom are incredibly supportive towards other women looking to follow in their footsteps.
- What have been some of your experiences being in a field that has been dominated by males?
I find I get more polarized responses as a female in eSports. Some people love the idea of gamer girls and try to befriend or hit on you, with different approaches from friendly, to tactless, to aggressive. Another common reaction is hate and harassment, which only grows as you communicate more or become more visible in the community. Something as simple as using a microphone in a game or having a “girly” profile page sometimes makes you a target for harassment and stereotypes from other gamers.
- What is your favourite thing about being part of the eSports community?
The passion of eSports fans, and how now more exciting events are being organized to bring us together.
- What is the most difficult part of being in eSports?
Toxicity and keeping a balanced lifestyle
- Why do you think it’s so important that women be represented in eSports?
As any emerging field, I think it’s important to make sure the atmosphere is never one of exclusion or discrimination. I believe this should be a responsibility and requirement of all people trying to grow eSports. That being said women are underrepresented most notably in the professional scene as players, often completely absent from this scene on the elite level. There are still many factors that play a role in this absence but I think as a community we need to not only discuss the obstacles women face, such as harassment and stereotypes but also be proactive in finding ways to make the environment more welcoming and inclusive to both genders. The Counter-Strike community is an example where I have seen a lot of new successful female teams, most likely due to the prevalence of all-female tournaments.
- What are your hopes for women in eSports?
My hope is to see eSports grow into an inclusive industry and also see more women competing in eSports. Less sexism would definitely be nice, but this is very hard to achieve, as it is rampant in the regular gaming community and it is not uncommon to see this spill over in behavior demonstrated by eSports professionals.