It’s been a long time since anything happened in Hearthstone that was truly worthy of my aesthetic critique, but apparently this past weekend there was an International Women’s Invitational in China, with the kind of mind-blowing Asian aesthetics that’s even been missing from most OGN Hearthstone broadcasts since their invitational like 18 months ago.
In my professional opinion, everything about this broadcast was perfect except for the fact that the English re-cast was just Dtwo all by himself, admittedly “not the best at filling time” and also he doesn’t know Chinese.
The set is pure perfection. The swirly flowers made of light, the rainbow card backs, the gorgeous overlay color-coordinated with the amazing princess decor, the slightly-bush-league tablecloth choices . . . not to mention the hair, makeup and wardrobe. Something about girls in white dresses puts me in mind of my grandma’s high school graduation picture. Yeah ok, maybe it’s a little bit of a long time to sit in stools like that, but they look so good! One thing that Western men never seem to understand is that sometimes beauty requires sacrifice, and tf is the point of being on TV if you’re not going to look fucking gorgeous? My biggest dream in life is to appear on Asian television so I can dolled up by a wardrobe department like this one.
Some people know (but many people don’t) that the reason I disappeared from the Hearthstone scene was due to the rampant misogyny that goes largely unchallenged. From abuse directed at myself personally by fellow fans and players, to the ongoing sexual assault of Hafu through imgur link sharing, to the magicamy witch hunt, at a certain point I simply became too tired to engage in the conversation and not strong enough to even watch tournaments, because the cesspool was always there, ready to drag me back down into anger and despair.
So of course, a women’s invitational is precisely the kind of show to bring me back. In this year of our lord 2015, getting discriminated groups in front of the camera, and giving people chances they deserve but have been denied, is the only thing Hearthstone invitationals are really good for. If ImbaTV is going to both do that and put Aubrie in an amazing fluffy dress, I am here for it.
Apparently, there is some outrage going around about the beauty and joy of this production, from killjoys like Callum Leslie at the Daily Dot. There is a certain type of feminism that Mr. Leslie appears to ascribe to which keeps many base assumptions of the patriarchy intact: that the aesthetics of femininity connote weakness, and that the way to bring equality to women is to make them act like men. Although I’m sure that Callum believes himself to be “one of the good ones” since he isn’t crying reverse sexism over this tournament’s very existence, I find his assertion that “these women are not presented seriously” just because they’re wearing pretty dresses to be frankly sexist, as well as culturally chauvinist; the production team is employing the aesthetics of the Asian variety show rather than whatever Western esports faux-medieval thing that I guess Callum prefers. Frankly I don’t find it all that “serious” when Frodan dresses up like a vampire or a Mexican, but nobody is afraid those dumb outfits will mean the end of all-male esports events.
If you want to know my dream for female esports, look at the promo found at the very beginning of this VOD.
Just look at these two gorgeous women, like some fucking witches gathering at a coffee shop coven:
But nope . . . they’re getting their iPads. Time to play Hearthstone! Mage v. mage, grill v. grill, this is serious business:
This game is mine! Watch me clear your board with this sick arcane missile:
Hearthstone has two choices: To make itself more friendly to women, or to force women to change in order to survive. My experience has been the latter for quite some time now, but whoever came up with this promo seems to still believe in the former, and I love them for it.