A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
Gender and Toxic Meritocracy in Competitive Overwatch : Case “Ellie” (2022)

Friman, U., & Ruotsalainen, M. (2022). Gender and Toxic Meritocracy in Competitive Overwatch : Case “Ellie”. In M. Ruotsalainen, M. Törhönen, & V.-M. Karhulahti (Eds.), Modes of Esports Engagement in Overwatch (pp. 135-154). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82767-0_8

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Friman, Usva; Ruotsalainen, Maria

Parent publication: Modes of Esports Engagement in Overwatch

Parent publication editors: Ruotsalainen, Maria; Törhönen, Maria; Karhulahti, Veli-Matti

ISBN: 978-3-030-82766-3

eISBN: 978-3-030-82767-0

Publication year: 2022

Pages range: 135-154

Number of pages in the book: 229

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Place of Publication: Cham

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82767-0_8

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/80198


This chapter examines toxic meritocracy in relation to gender in competitive Overwatch, asking how gender affects a player’s opportunities for engagement in that scene. It analyzes online news stories and community discussions concerning “Ellie” – a fabricated competitive woman gamer created as a “social experiment” by a man player. The confluences between gender and toxic meritocracy become visible in the assumption there must be an experienced man gamer behind the battletag, the gender-based harassment targeted at Ellie, and the reflections on the importance of setting an example as the first team taking a woman player for Contenders. The analysis shows that despite a strong belief in meritocracy upheld within the community, there are many barriers limiting the participation of those entering competitive Overwatch as women.

Keywords: game culture; online games; multiplayer games; electronic sports; online communities; meritocracy; gender; gender roles; women; harassment

Free keywords: community; gender; competitive play; toxic meritocracy; women

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2023-30-08 at 09:17