For those in the community who haven’t heard of your clan before, what is League of Girls?
I like to refer to League of Girls as a home: a place where people can come in, greet each other, play some games, and generally talk about all things League of Legends. The girls in my clan are not required to always be in League of Girls. Rather, it’s more of a hub that gathers information from the larger community and expands it. It’s a gateway to the community as a whole.
League of Girls was founded in December of 2011. How would you describe the responses from the League of Legends community when you first started the recruitment process?
When I first started recruiting, I went on Reddit, some forums, and other platforms. It was a tough experience. When they first heard of League of Girls, they thought it was about segregation and separating female and male players. People did not respond to the idea very well.
Especially on Reddit, the negative response was overwhelming. That experience made me decide to not recruit there, even though I received many encouraging responses from people who told me to ignore the backlash and keep on doing what I was doing.
Even Riot employers had sent me encouragements. I refocused my efforts on forums and Twitter, and now League of Girls has 300 active members. These members are actually starting to speak for the clan itself. Many of our recent members are being referred to us by word-of-mouth.
Why League of Girls? A lot of criticism has been aimed at the clan’s existence for requiring all their members to identify as girls. Some players might say that we should refrain from bringing attention to any identifying information and just play the game. What makes someone’s experience different if they identify as a woman and a gamer?
Harassment in the League of Legends community is a big issue. Once people find out you’re female people tend to respond and act differently in game. For me, it has reached the point where I barely communicate when I play with strangers anymore. It’s tough because sometimes when you log on and play a game, you really don’t want to be treated differently just because of your gender identity. And you also don’t want to be treated as just one of the guys. So there’s a need for that feeling of just belonging and underlying sisterhood which League of Girls can really offer to a member.
I’m truly humbled by the way I see some of our members deal with the harassment. They just brush it off and continue to play. I can succumb to that negativity sometimes and push back, but then again, we’re all human. League of Girls offers a haven where our members can expect being treated with basic respect. This is what games should be about – just having fun playing with people you enjoy.
Almost five months have passed since you founded League of Girls. With the recent upswing in recruitment, what should we expect from the clan in the future?
It’s coming to the time where League of Girls has to reach out to the League of Legends community more. With the help of Dirt Nap Gaming, a general gaming community, we are going to re-launch on a newly designed website, Leagueofgirls.com. Dirt Nap Gaming has over a couple thousand members, several hundred of which are in the League of Legends community. By being under their umbrella, I’m hoping that we can bring our members closer together and generate more traffic to both our sites and events.
What sort of events does League of Girls hold?
Some of the events include Saturday girl’s nights with ARAMs and mini-tournaments where the winners are awarded with skins. We also hold a featuring on our site called “Pro-Stud of the month” – a good male player who exemplifies good manners and morals. A lot of our members are also coming up with ideas and providing resources like a counter-picking chart.
Anything else you would like to tell the League of Legends community in general?
I would like to thank everyone in the community who has stood up for and supported League of Girls, whether it’s through just offering kind words or providing resources, guidance, and skills. Without them it wouldn’t be what it is today. The response we’re getting today is a lot more positive than it was in the beginning.
As far as addressing the harassment and hostile environment for girl gamers, I think good change will happen over time as long as people are willing to step up. Basic respect goes a long way– if everyone can internalize this it will really improve the community.