Male Valorant pros face sexism in voice changing experiment
Women in Games Argentina conducted an experiment where male Valorant pros spoke with a female voice.
Women in Games Argentina, an organization dedicated to making a more inclusive space in gaming and esports for women and other minority groups, has released a short video of three male pro Valorant players using a voice modulator. The experiment is a straightforward idea: simply turn on a voice changer and let male pros speak with a female voice to their teammates. The results were sadly predictable.
Women in Games Argentina does Valorant experiment
The experiment showed just how drastically a woman’s voice can impact the score of a player. One male pro played with his normal voice and earned 15 kills with two deaths. When playing Valorant with a female voice, his score almost completely inversed with three kills and 16 deaths after the other players refused to cooperate in the game.
Comparison of Valorant scores. Image via Women In Games Argentina.
The pro players also endured being mocked and insulted with sexist slurs. Many will recognize this as the average experience of women in gaming. During their games, one male teammate told a pro to go back to the kitchen. Likewise, another teammate told the female-voiced pro that “all women should just die.”
Women in Games Argentina created the experiment to show what thousands of women experience while competing or having fun in online games. The organization noted that women can’t play with an open microphone because when the rest of the players, usually men, hear women speak, they make the game impossible for them. The organization then noted how this is something that greatly affects players who want to play for fun and those who want to become pros. When playing under these conditions, there's a significant impact on their performance and chances of rising up the ranks.
Female voices in Valorant and gaming
Two female voices in gaming brought this video to the attention of English-speaking audiences, with kristabyte on TikTok covering the video with translations.
Further bringing attention to the video, former NRG player Lindsey "LuluLuvely" tweeted, “Why don’t things like THIS get more coverage?”
The three pros featured in experiment, streamers Alfredito, Lucius and Tasher, had similar reactions after their matches. Tasher, who scored 17 kills with his normal voice and five with the voice changer, said in the video, “You want to give your best and… you can’t.”
Lucius scored 20 kills with his male voice and only six with his female voice, saying, “What I feel is frustration, indignation, it is very sad.” Alfredito added to the pro players' sentiments, stating after his matches, “I don’t even want to imagine having to live an experience like this every day.”
Another comparison of Valorant scores. Image via Women In Games Argentina.
With games like Valorant, teamwork is essential for victory. The old standby solution of “just mute them” does not work and does not help change toxic attitudes. Consequently, women in gaming must either play at a disadvantage or risk facing verbal abuse.
According to a report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 48% of gamers identify as female. This means that about one in two gamers are female. Hopefully, as opportunities for women in the gaming industry grow, these toxic attitudes get phased out. For now, this experiment highlights once again what women in gaming face daily. The end of the video by Women in Games Argentina summarizes the biggest issue for women playing in competitive games, which is the culture.