Here’s A Gaming Dress For Gamer Girls, Courtesy Of Men
Over the weekend, a clothing company decided to release its first garment specifically targeted at women. Unfortunately, it forgot to involve any of them in the clothes’ design, creation or marketing.
In an emoji-filled tweet on Sunday, Indian esports clothing company Cranium Apparel shared that it wanted to “do something for the female gamers”. Something that said “Stay Strong… We Respect You”. Something that would give these hardworking women “a new identity”, and show the company’s support for them.
So, apparently in pursuit of that goal, it announced a new product. Behold: The esports dress.
GET READY FEMALE GAMING COMMUNITY! 💁🏼♀️
ESPORTS DRESS NOW AVAILABLE 👗
Its high time that we do something for the female gamers who recieve so much backlash in the community!
Stay Strong…We Respect You ❤️
Proudly supporting #WOMENINESPORTS
Tag Every Female Gamer You Know💅🏻 pic.twitter.com/qSr3huP4MO
— Cranium Apparel ® (@CraniumApparel) March 2, 2019
Loose esports jerseys have been the industry standard uniform for competitive video gaming teams for years. The few women in the scene, such as Overwatch player Geguri, tend to wear the same jerseys as their male peers. Though some have expressed desire for a more fitted jersey so it can accommodate their breasts without being oversized, a gaming dress was not something most people contemplated.
But it’s here now, so I guess we have to deal with it.
The gaming community’s response to Cranium Apparel’s esports dress has been swift and incredulous, most finding the offering condescending. Even those who thought the dress looked cute were put off by the company’s patronising messaging, which they felt demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the concerns held by women in gaming.
Other opinions weren’t softened by a favourable view of the dress. To many, it looked less like a flattering outfit you’d want to wear to an esports tournament and more like the stripped upholstery of a garish gaming chair. Also, it has a boob zip.
Overall, the overwhelming consensus has been “yikes”.
Honestly though when I scrolled by I thought it was an ad for shaming chair 👀
— EmmaSkies (@EmmaSkies) March 4, 2019
If they’d just been like “we make dresses now” cool. Pass, but whatever.
The virtue signall-y “FEMALES WE RELATE TO YOUR STRUGGGLESSS” is too much.
— Emma 💖 (@EmLednor) March 4, 2019
Women in esports:
"We want to be respected."
"We want to be allowed to compete."
"We want to not be harassed on or offline."
"Our gender shouldn't change how we're viewed in our industry."
Cranium: "WE MADE YOU A MINI-DRESS!"
— Stevie Ward @caffeine (@Stevie_SG) March 4, 2019
I just noticed that the godawful esports dress has a zipper in the front to adjust how much titty you’re showing
— Diana Soreil @ ECCC & ????? (@silencedrowns) March 4, 2019
Women face significant barriers when trying to enter the world of competitive gaming. Both overt and covert sexism permeate the male-dominated industry, creating a hostile environment for women who dream of becoming the next big esports star. Undue emphasis is placed upon their appearance, and their abilities are constantly called into question.
It’s a difficult and often demoralising battle, and responding to these struggles with a dress is remarkably tone-deaf.
Questions quickly arose online regarding the creation of the esports dress. In a widely screenshotted exchange, Twitch streamer msShadowfax asked Cranium Apparel whether any women were actually involved in the process. The answer was disappointing, but unsurprising.
Unfortunately No. But we are now turning to the community for ideas! This will help us make more Informed Decisions in the future!
— Cranium Apparel ® (@CraniumApparel) March 4, 2019
Since the announcement, Cranium Apparel has been busy tweeting responses to the widespread criticism. It has stated that the company did conduct research with women during development of the dress, and has “a bunch of women” working on future products. It also stated that it’s working on jerseys fitted for female bodies.
“In the midst of all the chaos caused by our most recent addition to the esports apparel scene, we appreciate each and every one of you giving us feedback on how we can get better!” said Cranium Apparel on Twitter. “We are striving to be different and unique! This was our first try hence there were some roadblocks.”
It’s a good thing Cranium Apparel is open to learning, because it has a lot to do.