A recent Poke Tea Time Podcast episode touched upon a serious topic within the Pokemon TCG community. No, not scalping — sexism.
While Pokemon is meant to be an escape for the people who collect the cards and play the game, it can be harder for women to experience that sense of escapism when they are getting harassed in their DMs. This is something that men don't experience to the same extent, said host NotShivam.
Special guest Cyn.Pai joined NotShivam and Yizzy to talk about being a woman in Pokemon. The majority of her stories revolved around receiving endless "weird messages" that she can't even keep up with, some of them including unsolicited "dick pics."
Cyn.Pai also noted that many women are afraid to post their Pokemon content or participate in conversations on Pokemon forums because they want to avoid that kind of experience. Many women feel the need to "protect" themselves from harassment. NotShivam said it must feel like there's a "barrier of entry" for women in the Pokemon TCG community.
While Cyn.Pai and others stated that they are "used to" the harassment, NotShivam said that it shouldn't be accepted just because women have learned to tolerate it. Instead, men should hold other men accountable for their behavior towards women, especially now that in-person events are returning.
This statement is what set a lot of people off in Pokemon communities throughout the internet.
Pokemon TCG community responds to accusations of sexism at regionals
While men and women alike were grateful for this topic to get some attention, many men immediately took offense to the topic. In Pokemon groups across the internet, men explained how this was not a problem unique to Pokemon and that the Pokemon community was not any worse than anywhere else. In the same breath, many said that sexism wasn't happening at all.
How did they know?
Because they didn't see it or experience it themselves.
In response, women in the Pokemon TCG community shared their own stories of misogyny. The issues ranged from receiving negative comments on posts in online forums to getting flirted with at locals. Many women also discussed opponents "mansplaining" the card game to them in a condescending way or believing a match was a "free win" just because they were facing a female player. One woman even admitted that she has her male friend sell her cards for her since her own posts "aren't taken seriously" when they see it's a female seller.
To add to the sexist experiences women had at Pokemon TCG events and within online groups, men in the comments blatantly held onto their misogyny without even realizing it. One woman was called a "cunt" for asking why one guy "laugh reacted" the topic. Another said that sexism women face isn't a problem because scalping is a more important topic. There was also the commonly used "this happens to everyone" and "just report it" comments, essentially blaming women for being upset with the harassment.
One man even explained why "females" are not as commonly found in Pokemon TCG events, stating that women are only there for "cute cards" and allegedly don't have a competitive mindset like the guys. (Reminder: This was posted unironically to a post about how sexism in the Pokemon TCG exists).
While the comments and replies to the podcast's topic shined a heavy light on the issues within the Pokemon TCG community, there were many men who acknowledged the frustrations women face in a male-dominated space. One man said that people would often "baby talk" his girlfriend during matches. Another said that the men who were angry probably felt "called out" by the video.
Many men called on other men to read women's experiences and acknowledge the issues in the Pokemon TCG community.
Sexism in the Pokemon TCG community is nothing new. Female players getting harassed online or treated as lesser competitors at regionals is something that's been going on for years. But with the podcast bringing this issue to the spotlight again, the community has been forced to reflect on the misogyny of their fellow players and take action.
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