The Voices of Women in the Super Smash Brothers Community

Hey everyone. We have a guest writer, Lilo from AZ, who brings us some interesting insight and statistics on sexism in the smash community.

Things are changing in the Super Smash Brothers Community. The community is growing larger every day, with new players coming out in droves to join. People are trying to be more aware and conscious of how their words and actions affect others. Things are changing for the better, but problems still plague us. The issue I would like to address today is the very real and ugly reality of sexism in our community. This post aims to continue spreading awareness about the experiences women in smash have. The point of this post is not to demonize smash, but give women in smash a voice–one that is often overlooked or belittled or just simply not heard.

I’ve asked several women from all over the world to answer honestly about their personal experiences and hopes for the smash community, and compiled it into an infographic, interactive map, and collection of quotes.

1. Infographic

Click on infographic to expand



2. Map

***To interact with this map, click here ***

Clicking on the pins in the link above shows the tags, number of years spent involved in the competitive community, the and the games/characters used by the 53 women interviewed.  The colors represent the kinds of sexism each woman has faced inside the community. Four colors (red, orange, yellow, green) represent four different levels of sexism experienced by the woman.
Red: Sexually assaulted/threatened/stalked by a smasher
Orange: Negative but non-criminal sexism
Yellow: Bothersome/benevolent sexism
Green: Mild/hardly any sexism.



The following responses to the questions I asked women are generally represented in descending order from the most common experience to the least common experience. For example, the most common sexist experience are demeaning comments about gender. Therefore, the first quote represents that experience. The least common experience is not witnessing any sexism whatsoever, and the last quote represents that experience.

1. What is your history as a Smasher? When did you start, what got you into it, what character do you play?

“I started going just as a spectator and I found myself so intrigued by the game. After a few months, I asked my friend to train me and then I started participating instead of just standing by the sidelines wishing I could […] I stuck with Fox but later started maining Jigglypuff” —Candy, SoCal

“Super Smash Bros. has been a huge influence on my life. It’s such an intricate game. I love learning about the depth of the game with all of the technical aspects that have been discovered over the years by different players.  I’ve been playing video games of all sorts pretty much my entire life.” —Siren, GA

“I dated a guy who was in the scene up in AK and so I just kind of got into it with him. Part of it was just trying to do something with him, and part of it was just the fact that I enjoyed the game and the competitive scene. I main Peach, but dabble in Puff and Sheik. I don’t main Peach because that’s a “girl” character…I hate that!” —Anonymous, AK/WA

2. Do you think you have been treated differently because of your gender? In what ways?

“Definitely.  When I first started coming around to events and making a presence online, I got TONS of sexual comments […] I’d never experienced anything like it before.  After a while it started to be like “I’m here to try to learn and make friends, why do people only care about what I look like?”” —PPRN, NC

“People ask who I main and if it was Peach at the time, the response was “Oh all girls main Peach”. I started playing ICs and the new response was “Oh all girls main ICs”. I finally landed on Sheik and apparently, all women had spontaneously dropped Peach and ICs and Sheik was the new “main for girls”. People sandbag hardcore and compliment me no matter how much I suck […] Inversely, when I beat guys in close matches, they will get very, very angry. The anger is noticeably different from when they lose to other guys […] It does make getting in on friendlies easier though. People will let me cut lines or get in on games they normally wouldn’t let other guys in on.” —EmilyWaves, NY

“I haven’t even been in the community for more than a month, but I already feel unequal treatment. I’m repelled by the hostility to girls. I imagine that no matter what a girl does, she’s gonna get crap for it.” —JuicePouch, OH

“I’ve had guys waive venue fee in exchange for hanging out/dates. Explains why I don’t go to tournies.” —Sheri, NY

“Honestly I don’t feel like I get treated differently very often or at all, although this might be attribute to the fact that I don’t go to tournaments often.” —Leah, WA

3. What specific examples of sexism have you experienced? (***SCREENSHOTS OF SEXIST EXPERIENCES ARE LINKED HERE***)

“Mainly comments, either “jokingly” or in the context of trash talk. The usual kitchen jokes, make me a sandwich, etc. Typically I brush it off, but when you hear it all the time, it gets old […] My most constant pet peeve though is feeling like my opinion means less than male gamers […] if I had a dime for every time I’ve thought “I told you so” on something Smash related, I guess I’d have a shitton of dimes” —KayLo, PA

“I also get a lot of comments of a sexual nature especially comments concerning my body (“your boobs are huge”). One of my favorites is when I get mad about something and I get to be accused of being on my period!” —Battleaxe, NC

“The only acts of sexism I’ve experienced during my career of Smash have all been to my benefit. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve had to pay a venue fee.  I’m able to ask any pro player to help me learn a specific in-game technique and get detailed helpful advice right then and there. However, a male at my skill level would most likely get ignored or be given a very depthless response.” —Mimi, NV

“I ALWAYS– and I mean always get the “go easy on her”. It is probably my biggest pet peeve. I always have to make sure I win too– because if I don’t the only reason I would lose to them is because I’m a girl. If a guy loses– it’s just a lost nothing more.” —Daycia, OH

“I made a facebook status about how I disagreed with the term “rape” in the community.  I received messages telling me to “go get raped and kill myself,” TONS of comments about how I should just leave the community, and some people I even considered close friends quit talking to me […] One time I was at a party with some smashers and someone I didn’t even know touched me completely inappropriately and no one helped me or stood up for me […] I felt pretty alone and discouraged about the scene for a while.” —PPRN, NC

“The smasher I dated recently who raped me has been trying to get me kicked out of the community by turning the new region I am in against me. He has told everyone that I am lying about the rape, has told the venue employees where we normally play smash to not allow me entry, and kicked me out of the smash Facebook groups of the region.” —Anonymous

“I feel like everyone has treated me equally for the most part.” —Kassandra, OH

4. What’s your view on words such as “rape” being used casually?

“Rape isn’t something that should be taken so lightly that the word is used in casual conversation as something positive […] Casual usage of “rape” desensitizes those who use it and those around them. Rape isn’t something we can afford to be numb to.” —Jerrica, WA

“There was a tournament not too long ago. It was getting late and dark outside and some people started leaving the tournament venue to go home. There was this one guy who needed a lift to the train station. Another smasher offered to take him there and I went to keep him company so that he wouldn’t fall asleep or anything on the way back. Anyway after dropping the guy off to the train station we started heading back to the venue. Suddenly, out of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere, in complete darkness he says to me “I want to drive this car to a roadside and rape you”. I told him that’s sick and not funny at all. He didn’t answer or anything, just changed subject after it had been quiet for a while. He didn’t do anything and we got to the tournament venue safely, but it felt pretty awful. I wouldn’t have had any chance if he had decided to actually do something. No one should say something like that to another person without realizing that there is something wrong. I don’t think it’s a good idea to encourage people to throw out words like rape and making it sound like it’s something awesome and nothing serious. There are always some people who are affected on the language we use, and I don’t want people forgetting the actual meaning of the words used. Rape is not funny.” —Jekku, Finland

“There are so many other alternatives like “dumpstered”, “destroyed”, “trashed”, and my favorite “lookin’ a lot like Krillin” ahaha.” —Anonymous, AK/WA

“For many people, Smash has therapeutic qualities; a chance to escape the struggles of real life […] These people who use Smash as a retreat are constantly reminded of the very “thing” they are trying to forget about.” —Mimi, NV

“I’ve heard it used so much at this point that I’m probably desensitized to it, but why say something like that when you could just say “wreck” instead […] It’s really unnecessary and potentially offensive in a casual setting.” —Feather, MA

“Something that I think is significant about the way the word ‘rape’ is used in the Smash community is the fact that I rarely hear it translated […] My impression is that in the context where it is used […] this word lost almost all its sexual meaning.” —Seya, Italy

“To me, its just a word. It doesn’t mean anything special and I use it as loosely as I use “gay,” “lame,” “retarded,” “bitch” and other potentially offensive words.” —Doll, CA

5. What is the general reaction if/when you discuss unequal treatment in smash to your friends/significant other?

“When I was first in the scene, my smash “friends” would just tell me to stop complaining. They would say “you’re a girl in the smash community, what do you expect?” I was so outnumbered that I would just shut down and not bring it up again […] I feel like the community has matured so I would feel more comfortable bringing it up […] As for my current boyfriend, he is very understanding and respectful when it comes to the issue.” —Anonymous, WA/AK

“It’s kind of sad, because I actually try to not even bring it up. It’s a discussion where we’re at that point in which we think “Yeah, guys are guys.” […] That has to turn around, pronto.” —Yink, IA

“I have found three types of people when discussing this topic: 1. Perpetuators (50% of people I’ve encountered are this) These people agree that there is unequal treatment but argue that it is women’s fault for giving ourselves the “gamer girl” stereotype. They argue that we are genetically predisposed to be bad at Smash because we “over think everything”, are “not aggressive enough”, and “have bad reflexes.” 2. Rejectors (20%) These people deny seeing a segregation and mistreatment of women who try to play Smash games. In my experience they do not believe they treat females differently, but they often do, and are in denial of their behavior. 3.  Fighters (30%) These people (at very least) recognize the mistreatment and think it is wrong. Some even advocate for equal treatment, but these are few.” —Neku Namina, Canada

“I think all my friends, who are all males, are aware that there is an unequal treatment and because they are aware they can be more understanding. If I mentioned I’m not cool with them saying “rape”, they completely understand and apologize .” —Leah, WA

6. Have you ever thought about quitting smash? If yes, how seriously, and for what reasons?

“It’s very hard to completely quit Smash […] To entirely cut off all of the friends you’ve made through attending tournaments and to be able to honestly say you don’t still get that hyped feeling while watching your favorite Smasher or friend in a close set during Grand Finals is a feat accomplished by very few, if any. With Smash, you gain a feeling of belonging. The Smash community is almost like a fraternity or a sorority; once you are in, you are in for life.” —Mimi, NV

“I love it too much to quit. It’s too fun, the good times way out numbered the bad. Sadly I just haven’t had the time for it and I don’t live near anyone I know that plays anymore.”—Black Mamba, AZ

“I have seriously thought about not being involved with smash […] It was after the facebook showdown happened.  I actually deleted my entire facebook for a period of time because so many people were harassing me about it.  It was only a select few people, but I couldn’t take it.  I had never experienced harassment like that in my entire life.”—PPRN, NC

“I quit around 2009 and have just started getting back into it all a few months ago. The reason I quit was because […] I was sexually assaulted by another player […] I was then threatened and told to not tell anyone because he’d hurt me if I did, he knew where I lived, it was my fault, I was asking for it, “this is why girls shouldn’t be playing. You’re just a slut” and so on. After that happened, it changed the perceptive [sic] of the community for me. I was so scared of any other male who would throw similar insults because, in my mind, I linked those comments to the sexual assault. If someone who I didn’t see as a threat was able to hurt me in that way, who’s to say someone else couldn’t? So with all those thoughts and fears running through my head, I decided to stop playing all together and remove myself from the community. The worst outcome from this situation, however, was that I was silent about it all.” —Candy, CA

7. What are your positive experiences? What keeps you engaged in the community?

“I love gamers. Period. I love the culture, I love the energy, I love the attitude. You meet ALL KINDS of people. Certainly, gaming has its ugliness — every scene does, but ours is also a beautiful scene — full of diversity, love, acceptance and a genuine fervor for being yourself without apology.” —Serrarist, NY

“You just can’t deny the HYPE that comes along with Smash. It’s what keeps me going to tourneys. There’s no other feeling like being immersed in Grand Finals, seeing some great sets, and being surrounded by people who love the game so much…It’s one of the only games that I get these random cravings to play. I never get tired of playing smash.” —Siren, GA

“I can honestly say that joining the smash community has changed my life. I’m no longer a timid, little girl who fears the thought of opening up to others. I got to travel and meet people from literally across the world.” —Vans, NorCal

“What I love most about the smash community is that it’s so tight knit. When we raised over 90,000 for breast cancer research, I was astonished. It made me realize that the players love this game more than just about anything and will do anything for the game.” —Anonymous, AK/WA

“I cannot stress that with these negative experiences, I still love the community […] The community has so much power and it’s amazing that they use it for the betterment and improvement of society. I always make it a point to tell people that I refuse to let a few bad apples ruin a community that has been nothing but a great experience to me […] It saddens me to think of a younger Candy who was scared away from a community that was as loving, educational, and stimulating as this. It saddens me even more to think of the other girls who are in the same position and decide to leave as well.” —Candy, Southern CA

“The Smash community is so diverse culturally and has really opened up my eyes to what’s outside of my little box […] It is an experience I would never trade for the world.” —Mimi, NV

“The hundreds of friends I have made through Smash are the physical embodiments of the positive experiences I’ve had in this community. On a more personal level, the community also instilled a lot of confidence in me.” —Milktea, NY

8. What are some changes you’d like to see happen with regards to sexism in the community?

“Stop saying indecent things about the girls who are on stream! Honestly, I get that you’re safe behind a computer screen but have some respect. Jeeze!”  —Peachyhime, NY

“I really would just like gender to be a non-issue. Trash talk is whatever, but going for the easy back-to-the-kitchen joke is plain tired. Talk shit about someone’s gameplay, not the fact that they happen to have a vag.” —KayLo, PA

“I hope that more girls play! I want to see a top ranking girl gamer, go toe to toe with mango or the best or even just her state’s best. I think that’s what it really needs.” —BlackMamba, AZ

“I think it’s important for the girls to stick together.  I know of a few women who ‘are one of the guys’ and will partake in sexist or mean behavior towards other women, and it’s just silly to me.” —PPRN, NC

“Honestly I think it would be great to be at a tournament and not once be looked through when I’m talking to someone because they’re assuming that I’m someone’s girlfriend or don’t really know anything about the game that I’ve loved for what, 10+ years?” —Feather, MA

“Some changes I think are crucial to improve the problem with sexism in the community is, firstly, raising awareness. The next step is to take action towards the perpetuators. It happens much too often that their horrible actions are dismissed as “trolling” […] Women have more worth than their bodies, so treat them as such.” —Candy, SoCal

“From the males, it would be nice to see them show respect to the females as equal human beings, no handicaps, no sandbagging, no special rules or honor codes, etc. From the females, it would be nice to see us give the community a reason to respect us. No, I don’t think we need to earn anybody’s respect, but we need to have respect for ourselves if we expect anyone to take us seriously and not LOSE respect for us.” —Doll, CA

“About 40% of video game players are women, why isn’t it like that on a competitive level? […] If we were more open to women joining the community, having outreach events, etc, then I really feel like we could get those numbers up. I really want the smash community to set an example for other competitive gaming groups in how they treat not only women, but other oppressed groups as well.” —Anonymous, AK/WA

“I would like to make the events more known and make sure we are quality controlling the comments some male players make about females more efficiently and seriously.” —Captain Waffles, NM

9. Any other thoughts you’d like to add, that these questions haven’t addressed?

“The guys of the Smash community shouldn’t read this and feel like they suck or anything. This is an issue in many gaming communities.” —Yink, IA

“I don’t deserve special treatment for being female. No one does.” —Nicole, MO

“Can anybody please convince the community to make Ganondorf dittos in Project M or Melee be a side event at tournaments?” —Feather, MA

“My final issue is less about sexism, and more about the (mis)treatment of transgendered individuals within the community […] Comments ranging from “Oh, you’re not a REAL girl.” to being outright called a Tranny, or purposefully being called male as an antagonizer […] The implication that a transgender is any less the gender they identify as is sickening and does nothing to help move forward as a community, and as a society.” —Vixen, AZ

“I also know that a lot of female players that have dated members of the community have been labeled whores when they break up or if they date more than one person from the community. I find this unfair as I never hear any ridicule of the men in these situation […] there was a countdown to our best females smasher’s 18th birthday and it sounds absolutely ridiculous and makes me not want to be a part of the community at all. I hope that we can move past this sort of behavior in the future and enjoy the game we all love.”  —Frametrap, NY

“Women are people, simple as that, some of us really just want to be treated like everyone else. No one should be above anyone else for any reason. Women are not obligated to be any certain way, or conform to anything. If a girl wears make up or dresses nice, she isn’t always doing it to impress a male, maybe she just wants to look good?” —Kassandra, OH

4. Conclusion

What to take away from this post? Women in Super Smash Brothers are part of this community, and deserve to have their voices heard. The inequality faced by women in competitive gaming is slowly improving, and I hope with this publication more awareness is raised.

5. Write Up

Do you have questions about my methods? How I defined everything? How I categorized experiences as sexual assault?

To clear up confusion about the most controversial statistic, here is a quote from the write up about how I defined sexual assault:

This is an extremely serious statistic that I have included. Though some may find it controversial to include, I feel as if it is very important to bring light to this issue. 12 out of the 53 women have reported to me that they have been sexually assaulted (23%, almost ¼). 8 of the 12 reported that their assailants were members of the community. The actual numbers for these may very well be higher. I did not remotely ask any women interviewed to divulge this information, they all included it in their responses to the interview questions. I have ONLY counted the women who absolutely clearly expressed to me that they have been sexually assaulted. The information was freely given to me with the knowledge that I would publish the numbers and/or names reported. Sexual assault is not a trivial matter that encompasses all negative sexual experiences, and I only counted women whose experiences lined up with the U.S Department of Justice’s definition of sexual assault, which is:

“Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”

So, 12 victims of sexual assault. Of these, 11 have been full on raped (7 by another smasher). 3 have been groped and raped, 1 has been groped only (by another smasher), Many of the women have tried to report the assault to the police. None of them were successful. They were belittled by the police and were unable to handle the stress of a full criminal trial. The women who have divulged this experience have been incredibly brave to do so.

***In case you missed it, here is a link to screenshots of sexist experiences***

Source: LiloandStitchface Tumblr

Much thanks to D1, Tafokintz, and Milktea, for their help and guidance on this project. 



43 thoughts on “The Voices of Women in the Super Smash Brothers Community

  1. Does yink still play? Havent seen her at any iowa events

  2. Unless of course this data is used in a qualitative study, like it was. In which case 53 individuals is an ample amount. Quantitative =/= Qualitative

    • Quotes and interviews are specifically qualitative data. The graphs are representative of the whole group of women interviewed. So that is a full data set for the qualitative study. Secondly, the sample size needs to be reflective of the pool. How many women play Smash competitively? 53 woman over a wide area is a fairly decent sample size given the probable pool of women that would fit into the study as a whole.

      • Also, using percentage here is really misleading. Like how 20% have quit because of sexism. 20% of 53 is 10,6 people. The sample size here might be anecdotally relevant, and of course sexism is a huge problem, but such a low sample size doesn’t prove anything. And it makes it hard to take it seriously.

        I also feel that there’s a misunderstanding going around about what equality means. It’s about equality in status, rights and opportunities; not to be treated the same as everyone else. That makes no sense.

        What I’m talking about is how the focus seems to be that we should aim for a community or society where women and men are treated completely the same. Problem is, men and women are not the same. Both have unique physiological and psychological differences. Compared to women, men are prone to be more verbally abusive and physical when competitive. Also keep in mind that jokes such as “get back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich” are more often than not – especially at this point in time – a result of a man being uncertain, perhaps uncomfortable, while trying to be funny and play off a stereotype joke. Some men aren’t around women that much, or even if they are, they might feel a bit uncomfortable when women show up in their male dominated club and act like “one of the guys”.

        While it is about time sexism in terms of rights, status and opportunity be abolished, let’s not lose sight of reality; men and women are not the same. If you put us together in the same room, we will often react differently to the same stimuli, like games. This is natural. It doesn’t defend inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment, but it needs to be included if we are to have a rational discussion about this topic.

  3. i think the most telling part of this graph is the small sample size. this is not to undercut the broad strokes of the content: that female smashers are a significant part of the ever-expanding community; that many of them have experienced sexual harassment; that the scene needs work.

    i couldn’t stop thinking as i was reading, though, that either women are seriously underrepresented, or that female smashers don’t feel comfortable coming forward with their very real and occasionally very frightening experiences. either one is a problem.

  4. I see you don’t understand what qualitative data is.

  5. I loved the article but am saddened by the comments being left on here. I know most probably fit under the troll category but it’s only making the points presented more prevalent. I know it’s a small sample size, but they spoke with female smashers they were able to reach out to. That’s not a lot of people all in all so I’m honestly impressed with these numbers. And even hearing that one or two are being treated so poorly should be upsetting instead of just saying that we need a larger sample size.

    Tl;dr trolling or not, whoever said women should be raped please find me at the next national so I can hear you say that out loud and to my face, not hiding behind a computer.

    -Twin A

  6. Well these comments are further evidence of a trend or anything.. nope…

  7. I’d like to see the same thing but switch “sex” related questions or themes with “sexual orientation” or “race”. I’d be interested specifically to see if there have been any males who feel they have been sexually harassed by other males. This might seem like trolling, but it’s interesting.

    (A guy has tried to make out with me after a tournament, even after I said I wasn’t gay and to back the fuck off. I guess I looked good in that mega man shirt with the lemon shot on my nipple).

    Like, when you hear things like “IF people say rape casually people will think it’s okay to rape”, it makes me cringe and think about how stupid people are for believing that statistics are the rule and not the exception and how easy it is for people to actually be brainwashed by group think or whatever, again, that easily.

    Then you hear about someone who says they got raped, and no one believes her and this person is turning an entire community against her. And it sounds like every lifetime movie cliche ever, except it’s real life. And that makes me really angry.

    (Though I have had a former friend admit she pretended she was raped to get revenge on someone, I think it’s worth checking out every case of it, even if it’s unreasonable to you)

    I honestly think that is the only real issue here, are people who try and/or actually take advantage of people and people being okay with it. People getting mad because they are girls and no one thinks they are good so they don’t get “respect” and then on the other end guys are losing to a girl means they suck and they have to get mad or whatever to cover it up. This is a societal problem of male dominance in things and inferiority complexes. We aren’t going to solve ~hundreds of thousands of years of male dominance in our subculture quickly.

    (Go ask your elderly male role model about sexism, a lot of it is generational and I think that our generation as a whole is way more educated).

    But actual acts of violence should not be tolerated anywhere. Sexual or whatever.

    I mean, on that other end, being coddled or whatever, I see that and I hate it, but I mean, guys are naturally driven to find women attractive and yadadadada…idk, I don’t see that as an issue, we’re all super nice to people we have crushes on unless your game is to be an asshole to those people. I would classify coddled with sandbagging, imho.

    (I’m not trying to demean what happened with this next paragraph, I just think that for the sake of a complete argument it needs to be stated).

    On the exact same specturum, what defines an “Unwanted sexual advancement”? Someone like Nicole would take someone basically “accidentally” groaping her whatever (I’ve seen this and talked to her about it, fyi) with a grain of salt and maybe consider that “Unwanted sexual advances” where as I have girlfriends who think a guy telling them they are pretty and asking for their # as “Unwanted sexual advancement”, whether or not she had a boyfriend doesn’t matter if that person had no idea about it.

    Nice study, would like to see less confounding variables, but I know on a sociological study like this it’s hard to coordinate (Psych minor).

    Also I will say, that you can NOT be surprised at the comments being posted on here.

    I am an equal opportunity troll, and I am of the belief that, for the 99.9% part, either it’s all okay or none of it is okay, with language or whatever. basically I am 100% pro-free will, if you will.

    I went to school in Lincoln, NE which at that time was the #2 and #3 places percapita for homosexuals in the USA behind San Fransisco and somewhere else in CA. I took a lot of theory classes, feminist theory and gay literature specifically and I, was in the Lincoln alternative (Punk, metal, etc…) scene so I met a lot of free thinkers and all the like, learned a lot, discussed my opinions with them in both educational structures and incredibly informal shoutings.

    I am a feminist, and feminism means equality and choice. I’ve been made fun of by Nicole the smasher for it (if you want to archive the STL thread on smashboards it’s up there) but I mean, braging about feminism to girls is like saying “I play the accoustic guitar, wanna go screw?” imo, even though that wasn’t the case.

    That being said, I will call any girl I know a cunt (equality) and tell her she can go to the kitchen if she wants (choice).

    Get it? Humor for most of the fucked up morbid countercultrualites comes from really fucked up morbid POVs, and tbh, reading “Go get raped” the second after I read this article was hilarious, and I’m sorry for thinking so. But that’s the way of humor, you have to be so mean to be funny. I don’t even think it’s for shock value, because as I said, I knew that some troll was going to do it. I think the humor comes from the fact that it’s “safe” to be that base on your offense.

    • the women who lie about rape and consider some unattractive guy hitting on them “sexual assault” harm women more than men. Because of people like that unless a woman has ironclad evidence that she was raped she’s just a bitter ex or looking for attention until proven otherwise.

    • “We aren’t going to solve ~hundreds of thousands of years of male dominance in our subculture quickly.”

      humanity is ~40k years old…and there have been and still are societies with maternal hierarchies. I have more to say but will save for a planned response instead of make a WoT comment. Side note…MMM? I housed Nicole, Legan, and a few others for a tourney once and they were probably the most or among the most well behaved guests I’ve ever hosted haha.

  8. It’s clear that the person who put this together knows what they’re doing, and that’s a very scary thing to me.
    Here’s to hoping that the average smasher is smarter than this bullshit.

  9. Thank you fore sharing the voices and opinions of those that might otherwise not be shared.

    Disappointed with some of the comments. Also, 53 is a really good sample size. Very impressive. Just think about the studies that are done that represent an entire state’s population when only 500 or so are polled.


  10. Are you fucking dumb? 53 is a huge sample number. It’s not a random sample but definitely enough to draw conclusions about the demographic of interest. Learn basic statistics before you comment on a study.

    • basically, just don’t be ignorant to the realities of this world. If you’re a kind and tactful person, you’ll know what to do. If you’re not, then that’s just how it is.

  11. This is a societal problem.. not a smash problem..

  12. I don’t use tumblr :\ in case Lilo or any associate/friend is actually sifting through the garbage comments and sees this: I was wondering if there’s any alternative way to contact the author – I actually have a lot to say (some concurring and some dissenting remarks about various points and overall takeaway, as well as just addressing some concepts present and community etiquette being implored here+Lil’s blog+current awareness posts I’ve seen going around) and was going to make a long video, but want to ask for consent to use this article and inclusive quotes if possible in the video before doing so (and perhaps get some impressions of what Lilo thinks of my dissenting responses if she has time/interest to do so). If I don’t see anything here in a couple days I’ll just bite the bullet and make a tumblr I guess, haha. Thanks!

  13. “60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police”
    “97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail”

    Accusations of rape should ALWAYS be taken seriously. Whether the claims of sexual assault here are true or not is not something you or I can know because we do not have independent access to the events. To imply that these women are lying about these experiences is an assumption.

    The reason why there are few top female players is because there are FEW WOMEN IN THE COMMUNITY. Skill is not proportional between demographics. I’m sure that there are also very few Muslim top players, not because Muslims suck at video games but because there aren’t that many Muslim smashers.

    Lastly, the article never claimed that this was a scientific study. It was simply an article featuring words and opinions from female smashers.

  14. Oh boy, as if I haven’t seen enough of this stuff in other gaming communities for the last few years…

    First of all, I can’t stand how a lot of video gamers treat women in general, so many of them tend to either be way too hostile or exactly the opposite (“white knights”), instead of just treating them like a human being who likes video games. Obviously being a hostile misogynist is a lot more deterrent and terrible than being a white knighting mangina, but honestly, they’re both pretty stupid and offensive, and I cringe every time I see either situation. Just be respectful of people regardless of who they are, you’re both there to have fun and play video games.

    I have to say, though, something that I cannot stand is the feigning of victimhood over absolutely trivial crap like using “rape” as a verb for owning someone in a video game, and acting like that’s sexist. Rape is not something that can only happen to women, it’s not a sexist term in any way, and it is in no way “threatening” to a girl playing a video game, as it doesn’t encourage or desensitize people to real rape any more than saying “murder”/”kill” encourages or desensitizes people to real murder. It is primarily used between males, but somehow if it’s used in the context of a female player, suddenly it’s this big thing as if the guy is practically a rapist for using the word. It is absolutely ridiculous, and getting uppity over the word does women more harm than good.

    Now, the people who make “jokes”, if you can call them that, about kitchens and sandwiches and whatever, just need to be made aware of how absolutely fucking retarded they look when they do that. I don’t think it’s a huge issue, but it’s just stupid and disrespectful. I think I speak for 99% of Smashers of both sexes when I say these “jokes” are just straight up not funny at all and do nothing but make themselves look intimidated by the sight of 2 X chromosomes. And yes, this is entirely different than using “rape” when C.Falcon knees someone 3 times in a row, as these “jokes” are specifically meant to be sexist and offensive in some sort of stupid ironic-overused-faux-humor sort of way, while rape is just used as a general verb with no real sexist connotation.

    Assault is another issue entirely. Much more serious than words. Is sexual assault really a characteristic of the community, though? It seems like more of a humanity in general issue, but regardless of whether or not it’s more common in the Smash community (as opposed to, say, anywhere with men and women in proximity), that shit needs to stop, and I don’t think ANYONE in the Smash community, or any community really, would disagree with that.

    On a less serious note, only about 20% of respondents said their favorite thing was the game itself?! The community can’t be THAT bad with the sexism if half of these girls somehow like the community more than the greatest game ever made. I think Smash has a great community but I would never even consider choosing anything but “the game itself” for that question, lol.

    Final thing, as to the sample size: 53 is a fine sample size. Hopefully some of you remember your Statistics 1 class where 30 was the “magic number” for statistical significance.

  15. Currently in the readings of this article and I think something should be cleared up:

    “The only acts of sexism I’ve experienced during my career of Smash have all been to my benefit.“ –Mimi

    This doesn’t fit with Mimi’s red marker on the map.

  16. See, this here is called detracting from the original point. The original point is a study based on the experiences of women, but you are making it about men. Because goodness gracious, we can’t talk about women’s experiences without screaming about all the terrible things men have gone through too!

    (Which isn’t to say that men have not gone through awful experiences. All I’m saying here is, this is not the discussion we are having. Give us our space to talk about our problems and make your own space for yours. Fair is fair.)

    Shockingly enough, having to deal with constant pressure based on your gender does terrible things for nerves. The sheer amount of verbal and, at times, physical abuse puts women at a disadvantage from the very start. Men might trash talk each other as well, but statistically speaking, women get it far more, and to much nastier extents than their male counterparts. Often times, the insults are explicitly sexual and targeting the fact that they are women, and given that language already likes to imply that femininity and women are weak, there’s only that much more ammunition. There have been numerous studies on this.

    Also, most women are actually afraid to own up to being raped because some states actually have a history of assuming that the rape victim is lying. Many of the ones “proven” to be false are the result of the victim being berated until she or he finally “admitted” that it was a lie because the pressure was too much on top of the trauma of the rape itself.

    Lack of achievement cannot be fully blamed on the environment, but it certainly makes it a Herculean effort for some very specific groups, and the fact that people are unwilling to acknowledge this problem is concerning.

  17. Pingback: NintendoRAW » Blog Archive Smash Bros. infographic takes a look at female players and how they’re mistreated in the competitive scene | NintendoRAW

  18. I had an experience once where I lost in a tournament match to a girl. I’m pretty sure I shook her hand afterwards and said “Good game.”, but my friend who’d come there with me decided to rub it in my face and say “You lost to a girl?! HAHAHAHAHA?”. The girl’s boyfriend who’d witnessed this decided to whoop his ass in melee but the misogynistic asshole didn’t even get the point. It just sucks when a collective speak over an individual and I hate that this is still where we are. It’s so hard to have black rights respected but for this to still exist? Wtf are parents doing?

  19. Sup MIOM. I wanted to post this here, it’s also on the FB group but this way there can be a permalink.

    I just wanted to clear the air about what Neha, Lilian, and other women are and aren’t saying.

    You can follow one simple rule in almost all cases to see if you’re being bigoted (sexist). Just ask yourself if you’d act the same way, regardless of gender.

    Here’s an example. If I told Sophi (my soon-to-be wife) that she sucked at smash, that would not be sexist. This is because if she were a guy, I’d still tell the hypothetical “him” that he sucked.

    Here’s a more nuanced example. It’s not OK to say that a competent female smasher is good at smash “for a girl.” The way you know that that’s not OK is that you’d never say to a male smasher that he’s good at smash “for a guy” (and if you did, it would be weird).

    It is, however, OK to answer a woman if she asks if she’s good at smash relative to other women, because in that conversation at least, she is voluntarily categorizing herself as a female smasher. Again, you’d answer a guy if he asked if he was good relative to other guys, it would just be kind of weird.

    So, then, it’s weird for guys to start conversations about female smashers, since we never have similar conversations about guy smashers (measuring men’s skill only against other men), or white smashers or black smashers for that matter.

    Women are people, and don’t necessarily want to be categorized as separate beings in the community. I think it’s obvious how it would be bigoted and wrong to constantly talk about white smashers or black smashers only in the context of other white and black smashers, and there’s no reason for it to be different with women.

    I still need to read the rest of Nicole’s post, but it’s pretty clear to me that she (and many, many people in this group) are missing this very important point.

    Anyway, our community isn’t perfect yet. The truth is that so long as a majority of us turns a blind eye to sexism in our community, we can’t really embody “One Unit.”

    But, I’m proud to see how many of us are committed to working on it, and I truly think we’re on the right path. The way to help is becoming clear. It’s not about being a “gentleman” or a hero or anything like that. Being an ally to women isn’t about protecting them. It’s about cuing other people into the behavior that they might not even realize is sexist.

    I think that as we continue to raise awareness, more smashers will feel comfortable saying “don’t say rape,” and I think that more and more smashers will stand up when we notice that women are being marginalized.

  20. This was a wonderful post, thank you Lilo!

    To the people claiming this isn’t a problem with the community, it’s a problem with society… Those words mean the same thing. Yes, the smash community is smaller than Western society, but change needs to start happening SOMEWHERE. Shrugging this off as “not our problem” is lazy. It is our problem, it’s everyone’s problem, and we can’t change the world, but we can change us.

    To the people claiming 53 is a small sample size… How many women ARE a part of the known Smash scene (or have been)? 53 sounds like a pretty significant number to me. And on top of that, it’s diverse, spreading across a pretty wide range, from across North America, to various parts of Europe. Did 53 women even compete at either EVO2013 or APEX2014 for Smash games?

    But I’m getting sidetracked. The women that are a part of our community are sharing some of their experiences with us. The least we can do for them is listen and give them our support.

    As for women having to deal with being hit on at tournaments… If you’re making excuses like “that’s just what guys do,” you’re missing the point. From the perspective of a straight male (which I’m assuming, for simplicity, are the majority of people hitting on women at Smash tournaments), do you go to tournaments looking to hook up with all the guys, or are you there because you want to compete, improve yourself, and have a great time with others that share your love for one of the greatest games to ever grace us with its existence? Think about that for a second.

    But let’s put this another way. Have you ever had a younger sibling, or met someone who repeats what you say, or asks you the same question constantly? Have you ever had to work a tech support/customer service job and you see the same problem/question over and over again? That is sort of what it’s like for a woman to have to fend off being hit on constantly. Obviously, many of the guys hitting on women aren’t intending to be annoying, but with the gender ratio being so skewed in the community, the women face an overwhelming amount of that kind of attention and it will eventually become a nuisance instead of complimentary, regardless of what your original intent was.

    Hopefully this has given you some insight into why hitting on women at smash tournaments is not equal and why it can easily detract from their tournament experience.

    As for malicious, sexist behavior against women at tournament, this should be a no-brainer. I get that some people want to talk trash. I personally think light-hearted trash talking is funny and amusing and a way for some players to get amped up. But don’t insult someone because they are a woman (or gay, or trans*, or disabled, etc.), it’s not cool, it’s lazy, and it makes you look like an ass.

  21. I was one of those players who shouts things like rape or thrash talking like if it meant nothing, but one day a friend of mine told me to stop, because he was raped when he was a kid, I realized then the power of that word… for example, I wouldn’t ask a marine just coming back from Iraq how many people he killed, that would be stupid, insensitive, and disrespectful among many other adjetives. The same goes for the word Rape, we have to know how much damage can we do to someone else with just 4 letters.

    We also have to encourage the “white knight” attitude (if the motives for it are right, not to just win something in favour of that), because defending someone (women, or a man) is not wrong, I try to defend people when I see injustice of any kind, but we also have to defend people of ourselves if WE are the ones being unfair.

  22. I think something people online or in person who play games should keep in mind people sometimes trashtalk while playing a competitive game or playing a competitive sport. Building on that, usually people look for the best looking “target”. Like if someone has a funny lisp or a bad mic or if they’re gay,etc. That does not make it right necessarily, but i think more than a few people who have made such comments were doing so out of habit. Also it’s more than a little common for men to joke about rape, even to other men in the context of something competitive. I think more than a little of the perceived misogyny is simply guys forgetting women take such things more personally. Not saying it’s right. just that it’s understandable from a particular point of view.

  23. For those arguing about sample size, a lot is dependent on the population it is sampling from. If the overall population of women in the Smash Brothers community is N=100, then n=53 has an error of about +/-9.3% on any results (at a 95% confidence level). As the population grows (i.e. N increases) then the error heads to a maximum of about +/-13.5%.

    Sample representativeness is a separate argument, since it seems this was a convenience sample, but that doesn’t necessarily make the results invalid.

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  26. Great article. The community can only benefit when more women gamers are comfortable joining. Smash shouldn’t be a boys’ club. It should be a place where we can gather together for good times and fierce competition. Hopefully, sunlight truly disinfects and by raising these issues, we can all improve the community together.

  27. Thanks for sharing this with me. Right now, my girlfriend is trying to get into smash competitively, and I’m teaching her a bit, but there has been some sexism noticeable. It bugged me a little, but I never really thought about it too much until I read this article.

  28. Wow this shit’s funny. I don’t remember rape being Female Specific you ignorant fucks.

    It’s like saying we should stop saying nonchalant phrases like “I’ll kill you lol” because killing happens in real life.

    We should stop saying “destroyed” because things get destroyed in real life.
    We should stop saying “garbage, you’re garbage” etc. because it hurts peoples feelings.

    Like for fucks sakes I didn’t realize we were all children. Sure rape happens in real life, sure it’s awful. But saying the word in a casual manner doesn’t make it any more prevalent you fools.

  29. yo lilo i don’t know if you’re out there still reading comments on this random blog article but i’m not sure how to contact you more directly. i saw you in the finals of the e3 tournament and you had a really amazing dress and i was wondering where you bought it. anyways, good job on getting that far and seeming pretty awesome overall. but seriously also let me know about that dress because i am obsessed with it.

    • also just wanted to add that this is a really well put together study for something you did on your own time. usually when i see infographics i run and hide, but your methodology is just awesome.

  30. This article isn’t actually good at all. It’s ridiculous. This is also written by the girl who only hangs out with Smashers who are to players because they are top players lol.

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