A female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player has decided to speak out about the harassment they experience while playing CSGO.
In a post made on social media, the gamer begged players to stop arbitrarily harassing their female teammates. While it’s not everyone who does it, it has happened to her in every recent game played. As a highly-ranked Legendary Eagle Master, this means that she has experienced harassment in every game while likely playing the game for hundreds if not thousands of hours.
For many female players, it can be difficult to compete at a high level in matches where they are being continuously harassed, belittled, or purposefully ignored. The LEM player said it has taken the “focus and fun” of the game for her.
“Gender should be irrelevant in esports. I just want to click heads like everybody else,” she wrote.
Unfortunately, the response from some CSGO players was nothing new. Many players just told the female gamer to mute her teammates, or to only play with her friends. The LEM player addressed these comments, calling them “astonishing” and questioning why she has to change instead of the toxic players.
The high-level player explained that muting teammates would cut off communication with her squad in every match she plays, which makes it harder to strategize and coordinate. But it’s not only comments from teammates that impact the gameplay. It’s also their actions.
While she acknowledged that male gamers face “trash talk” as well, she pointed out that the experience of female gamers is often much more targeted and disruptive. For example, people will ask her for her OnlyFans account and then her own teammates will kill her when she refuses, sabotaging the ranked game just to harass their female teammate.
Harassment in CSGO and some other games is considered endemic by many community members, with some tolerating it and accepting it as part of the open matchmaking experience. This has made it more difficult for women and other targeted groups to speak up. Similar instances have happened in Valorant.
There are movements to try and reduce sexism in esports and competitive gaming at large, including the all-female CSGO circuit created by ESL. While applauded by some prominent members of the esports industry like CSGO veteran Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey, some others in the community responded by going on a toxic Twitter rampage.