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Smash Sisters Seeks to Normalize Female Competitors

Discussion in 'News' started by EmaLeigh, Nov 22, 2017.

EmaLeigh "EmeLee" O'Neal, Nov 22, 2017 at 1:12 PM
  1. EmaLeigh

    Expand Collapse
    Smash Cadet

    Mar 7, 2016
    Sewanee. TN

    Smash Sisters, a series of all-female crew battles for Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, is approaching its second year and has been at nearly every major Smash tournament since Genesis 3. Founded by Lil “Milktea” Chen and Emily “emilywaves” Sun, Smash Sisters’ mission is to nurture the growth of and inclusivity within the Smash community at large by encouraging women, a small but slowly increasing demographic in the scene, to compete and share their love of the games. The series reflects Smash’s overarching grassroots essence and welcomes both new and veteran players. Most of the participants don’t care about making some sort of statement and just want to play Smash, to normalize women’s presence within the community and debunk the myth that girls don’t play video games.

    SS Genesis 3.jpg
    The first Smash Sisters Melee crew battle at Genesis 3, photo courtesy of Robert Paul

    As is the case for pretty much all esports, the Smash scene is predominantly male, which can sometimes be intimidating for women who are interested in getting involved in competitive play. The Smash Sisters series has been heavily criticized by some members of the community for coddling women and has been accused of actually being sexist. The thought is that it’s demeaning for events to be gender exclusive, as if women just aren’t good enough to compete with “the boys.” However, Smash Sisters events are not meant to be women-only tournaments per se, as there are no brackets or even prizes. They are just side events at larger tournies and make sure not to interfere with the main events. Their mission is to make female newcomers feel more welcome and at ease within a competitive setting and spread love for the games rather than segregate them because of their gender.

    The crew battles encourage teamwork and camaraderie while also stoking the competitive fire within the players, avoiding the all too common toxic rivalry that can manifest amongst women to be the “cool girl.” A good summary of the Smash Sisters’ mission is as Chen says in one of her blog posts, “Every participant hopefully understands that the end goal of being a competitive Smasher isn’t just to be the best woman, it’s to be the best. Period.” No one wants to be good “for a girl.” They just want to be good, period.

    SS Melee Shine 17.jpg
    A Smash Sisters Melee crew battle at Shine 2017, photo courtesy of Smash Sisters’ Facebook page

    The latest event was held at Super FamiCon 2017 in Greensboro, NC on November 19th. There was a 3v3 crew battle for both Melee and Wii U, with skill levels ranging from “never played” to “competitive” and a variety of mains, including Pikachu, Falco, Marth and Fox. It was most players’ first Smash Sisters event, myself included. While the crowd at this particular event was small, Smash Sisters events at majors often see up to 40 participants. Despite the crowd’s size, you could still feel the energy and hype as the players cheered for their teams and shared useful tech and feedback for match-ups. Several participants also entered bracket for Super Smash Bros., Melee, Smash Wii U, and Project M.

    tischphotos genesis 4.jpg
    Participants fist bump and cheer after a close game at Genesis 4, photo courtesy of Thomas Tischio

    While there are women who are already involved with competitive Smash, the demographic’s organic growth is slow. Smash Sisters wants to attract more women, both cis and trans and especially those who would be hesitant to attend tournaments otherwise, and encourage them to compete beyond just the crew battles. Chen muses over the possibilities in an earlier blog post regarding all-women tournaments: “Would the prospect of readily available female role models entice more women to engage in competitive gaming? As the gender ratio evens out and more women play, will we begin to finally pinpoint more top female competitors? I may not have all the answers right now, but I recognize that an increased amount of women, and thus people in esports, would inevitably bolster the industry as a whole.”

    To learn more about Smash Sisters and see if there will be any events in your area, follow it on Twitter and Facebook. What do you think of Smash Sisters? Will it lead to seeing women join the top 100, or do you think it’s actually harmful towards women who want to be taken seriously? Let us know in the comments, and please keep it civil!
    ~EnDo, notsuchabadguy, Iguana and 4 others like this.
Based in the Southeastern United States, EmaLeigh has been playing Smash since its inception but joined the competitive scene about two years ago. She dual mains Pikachu/Fox in both 64 and Melee and Pikachu/Charizard in PM. Identifies as "scrub." Her goal is to nurture Smash’s growing scene, git gud, and have fun. Check her out on Twitter @emaleigh_o (but only if you want to).
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Discussion in 'News' started by EmaLeigh, Nov 22, 2017.

    1. pikadrewuniverse
      I'd love to see more female representation; it's a shame to see that among an outlet that has been criticized and pushed away in the past has also pushed away some of its own members just because "girls can't play video games." I'm not saying that it happens as much anymore but I've seen some of it first hand. Even among my own grassroots community there's usually only 1, maybe 2 girls that attend tournaments. As an addition maybe some tournaments would be better maintained and with more deodorant, because seriously it's a problem at least where i live.
    2. Kaze Arashi
      Kaze Arashi
      I like the idea of an actually event to represent female player sin the meta, and it helps smash open up to all kinds of people. Hopefully some of them will become top level like just like SuperGirlKels and Xaltis.
    3. Kaze Arashi
      Kaze Arashi
      I can see this for smash 4 and melee but what about project m?
      R3D3MON likes this.
    4. CrusherMania1592
      Gotta love this! It's nice to see the series expand than just men only with the whole "girls can't play video games" bull**** being thrown around

      Gonna lulz if one of the Melee gods gets destroyed by a woman
    5. Dabble Dot
      Dabble Dot
      What characters do girls usually play the most? Is it every character
      Kaze Arashi likes this.
    6. Kaze Arashi
      Kaze Arashi
      I do remember there was a girl player that plays I think played lucario or ryu. The most popular female player tho is SuperGirlKels who plays Sonic
    7. Uffe
      “Every participant hopefully understands that the end goal of being a competitive Smasher isn’t just to be the best woman, it’s to be the best. Period.” No one wants to be good “for a girl.” They just want to be good, period.

      That's all that really needs to be said. No need for the battle of the sexes. And if you're a girl or woman, stop calling yourself a gamer girl and just called yourself a gamer. And play as anybody you want in Smash. My brother mains Samus and is trying to learn how to use Zero Suit Samus. I myself have used Samus and Peach. All I'm saying is that don't feel like you need to restrict yourself to a female character just because you're one yourself.
      Shizuka Kawai and EmaLeigh like this.
    8. EmaLeigh
      Great question! I've wondered this as well. Perhaps they'll add it to the roster, but I've not heard any news of it myself. I know several other ladies who play PM, so I think it'd be good to at least test the waters.
    9. EmaLeigh
      IMO, I feel like this is asking what characters guys play the most. It's really just up to personal preference. For Melee, I play Pikachu and Fox, and I've seen others play Sheik, Marth, Falco, Peach, and Falcon. I don't follow or play Smash 4, but for PM I play Pikachu and Charizard mostly (I'm in the process of picking up Falcon too) and have seen others play Ganon, Falcon, Sheik, and Sonic.
    10. Kaze Arashi
      Kaze Arashi
      CHARIZARD. TRIGGERED :charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard::charizard:
    11. EmaLeigh
    12. Octorockandroll
      I like this sort of initiative. Part of the reason I like esports more than traditional ones is that with normal sports you need to be born with natural talent to be a pro. You can train just as hard as Ussain Bolt, but without the right genes, you'll never even come close to running as fast as him. I like that in esports it's all based around raw skill. No natural advantages, no weightclasses, not even gender separation. Anyone can compete against anyone else. That's why I think it's such a shame that this sort of oppurtunity isnt taken advantage of more. In my local community were almost all white dudes in our 20s so this incredibly inclusive activity ends up being very homogenous and I'm worried that might make people outside of that group feel alienated and thus less likely to join our community.
      notsuchabadguy and EmaLeigh like this.
    13. {CPT}OrangeLucasHedgehog
      Who says they couldn't body pools and dominate the bracket at something like CEO? Take the chance and fire away.

      EDIT: Chances are that half of the dudes are lonely too, opening up the possibility for a relationship.
      Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
    14. notsuchabadguy
      Definitely happy with what SS is doing for the community so far. I think a lot of us understand what it's like to enter a room and see that there's nobody "like you" around: It makes you feel different, like you don't fit in. SS gives women an easy way to find a group they can feel welcome in, and I don't think that's ever a bad thing.
      EmaLeigh likes this.
    15. EmaLeigh
      lol I'm sorry, but what? Going to a tournament is for playing the game, not trying to get a date. That's part of why it can be off-putting for some women, as they get hit on and such. Nobody is saying they couldn't body pools, and the participants are actively encouraged to enter bracket. Smash Sisters is a series of side events rather than a separate tournament.
      notsuchabadguy likes this.
    16. DonOwens
      Seems super beneficial to all involved and the smash scene in general. Hopefully SS side events grow so large that they could easily and smoothly be transitioned into pool play and feel comfortable and welcomed.
      Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
      EmaLeigh likes this.

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