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Esports still has a troubling relationship with women

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Ask Los Angeles Gladiators player Lane “Surefour” Roberts what his favorite pastime is, and he’ll tell you it’s looking at girls.

At least, that’s what Surefour said during a Blizzard Entertainment media event, after which theOverwatch League athlete decided to tweet about it.

“Blizzard media day and they asked me what my favorite thing to do was,” Surefour posted yesterday afternoon, “I said look at girls on Instagram. They said they couldn’t use that.”

There’s thirsty on main, and then there’s Surefour, who is out, proud, and loud about his love for women. A quick search through his Twitter history for the word “girl” brings up over half a dozen tweets that can best be described as “horny on main.” Another search for the phrase “women” brings up similar tweets, this time asking followers to link him to “beautiful women.”

“It’s a good thing anime girls don’t have twitter accounts,” Surefour posted last May while talking about his thirst follows. Another tweet reads, “beautiful girls will be my demise.”

For men, or at least certain kinds of men, these tweets are funny. But for women, it makes us feel like objects, as if Surefour sees women around him as nothing but for sex. That’s not to say Surefour can’t ever express his love for women publicly, but there’s a difference between, saying he wants to cosplay so he can “pretend to be a cute anime girl” and randomly thirst tweeting about goth girls and cat girls. The former is wholesome and fun. The latter just feels like he just tweeted you his current porn search.

After Thursday’s tweet, women in the esports journalism world began criticizing Surefour, myself included. One tweet, in particular, stuck out to me:Rock Paper Shotgun weekend editor Jay Castello argued there’s a double standard between straight men and queer folks openly talking about their sexuality in esports.

“Please compare the reaction to straight esports pros tweeting about how much they like staring at hot women vs, say, SonicFox tweeting ‘i’m gay,’” Castello, who’s queer, wrote. “I like hot women too; guess what happens when I talk about it?”

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