This weekend, GUTS (Game Underground Tournament Spectacular) 4 showcased some of the most amazing talent for games such as Street Fighter 5, Skullgirls, Killer Instinct, King of Fighters 14, and Guilty Gear Xrd Relevator. They even had throwback games like Street Fighter Third Strike, Soul Caliber II, and Windjammers!

Of all the amazing players GUTS had to offer, Kuniochi Stryfe had one of the most impressive comebacks. Stryfe is a Chip main in Guilty Gear. She made her way into winners quarter-final, was sent to losers by Ky main Ashley Wolfe, pushed through losers to get the runback against Ashley Wolfe and win, only to be stopped by TS NerdJosh earning herself 3rd place. These results, while rare, have happened before.

PAG PinkDiamond, a Killer Instinct player who mains Maya, has had several amazing placements. She placed 3rd at Combo Breaker, 2nd at Final Round 19, and 2nd at Summer jam this year.

Finally, another impressive feat comes from the Aussie bombshell Mim and her amazing Bonita at SEAM (South East Asia Majors). Mim won the hearts of many in the SEAM Amateur tournament as she showcased why she is the best Laura in Perth, Australia.

These players show amazing promise in their prospective games and that alone is impressive. However, there are some who believe that women signing up for tournaments, fighting games or other esports, which are mainly male aren’t as effective in getting women into attending fighting game tournaments. Their solution, create female only events.

In the Mashable article, “Smash Sisters: Why all-female gaming tournaments are good for everyone”, Smash player Emily Forman is quoted saying, “Having other girls see what you can do inspires other girls to come out and play their best. You Think, ‘I can be good at this game, and i’m gonna get there. I wanna be like the other girls I’ve played against. I want to have that movement and that combo game.'”

It is this thought which inspired Smash sisters, an all-female tournament held at major Melee events to promote women in Smash by giving them a safe space to play and show that there is a supportive community. The goal with Smash sisters is to inspire women to come to more tournaments and challenge themselves.

The irony in such words is one of the top Smash players Circa|Super Girl Kels who has 15 top 8 1v1 placements and 13 2v2 placements in tournaments which are dominated by male players. As a woman, this Athenian effort is impressive to me. The ambition and dedication alone that SuperGirl Kels puts in shows that woman can enter tournaments and do well. However perhaps it isn’t ambition that Woman Tournaments promote but comfort.

Creating a safe space takes precedence in the Smash Sisters tournaments. While they do say they want to challenge girls to attend more tournaments and push themselves, the idea of a safe space kinda takes away from the hype of competition.

As much as playing fighting games is integral to the FGC, hype is equally important. Hype moments can get aggressive such as the grudge match between Viscant and Low Tier God, or they can get humiliating like the time Mike Ross was embarrassed on stream for a promo video he did for an exhibition of a video game out in China. Hype moments aren’t born from cheers of appreciation for someone winning. They’re born from the unexpected.

Taking women away from that because someone on the internet may say something mean or leaving them in a bubble of no one “going there” really does isolate women more from the realm of competition. Especially in the realm of competition which combines elements of big and awkward family gatherings.

Women should merely be added into the fold. We don’t need to be treated differently because of internet trolls. I mean geez, one of the greatest things I owe my local and my discord friends is how they have helped me to grow a thicker skin. It doesn’t mean to accept those comments but it ensures I’m either ready to fire back or laugh it off.

The best way to accept women into the FGC is ask them what game they’re trying to play, challenge them to that game, beat them at the game, give them pointers, and say you look forward to seeing them again. If they come back, they come back. If they want to enter tournaments, encourage them. If they perform well in tournaments, congratulate them. If they do ass in tournaments, offer to help them improve. That is how we get amazing women like the ones mentioned in this article. By treating them as equals.