Lilian Chen, aka Milktea, joined the competitive gaming scene in high school, when her younger brother introduced her to Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube. As she toured the country participating in e-sports events, she discovered that she was one of the few women in a male-dominated scene. She set out to raise awareness of this gender imbalance by empathizing with, not shaming, the men in the community. After penning a series of Tumblr posts that attracted mainstream attention, Chen hosted "The New Meta" panel at the NYU Game Center and more recently delivered a TED-Ed talk, "How I responded to sexism in gaming with empathy".
In this interview, Chen shares her enthusiasm for competitive gaming and how it’s helped build a community; why some gamers may respond to the threat of increased diversity with gatekeeping; how benevolent sexism works, and how women can internalize and propagate misogyny; why we need women-only but not men-only gaming leagues, as the Hearthstone community discovered last summer; and why, despite being semi-retired, she’ll always be a part of the Smash Bros. international scene.
Download the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode.
- Lilian Chen on Twitter
- Lilian Chen’s TED-Ed talk
- TED-Ed on YouTube: How I responded to sexism in gaming with empathy
- John Oliver on online harassment
- Benevolent sexism
- Jason Blake: "When you are behind a controller, the game does not care what race, gender, sexuality you are. So why should gamers?"
- Aris Bakhtanians’ comments on sexual harassment in the Street Fighter community
- John Scalzi on gatekeeping
- Penny Arcade — The Sucking: Origins
- Previously male-only Hearthstone competition now open to all genders
- The Smash Brothers: Episode 7 — The Robot
- Apple II convention KansasFest
- The New Meta at the NYU Game Center
- The Smash Brothers documentary
- Sex, Sexy & Sexism: Fixing Gender Inequality in Gaming (PAX East 2014)
- Documentary GTFO
- Smash Bros. documentary livestream on Twitch
- Evolution 2015 World Championship Series