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Gender and Gaming in Iran

Women particularly have the most hurdles to access cultural spheres of gaming in Iran. Simply, women are not able to participate in competitive gaming tournaments nor can they play games in game cafes. Iranian women therefore face fines if they attempt to play in these video game centers (Motamedi 2019). In 2019, Iran Games Cup provided two popular categories of FIFA19 and PES19 for a women-only competition and claimed to cancel its women-only categories because of the lack of number of participants. On average, this is the norm. And while tournaments have attempted to open doors to women, they tend to be canceled, barring women from competition and prize moneys. Concomitantly, game centers and tournaments tend to be unwelcoming to women because of toxic masculine practices. Even in online games, Iranian women gamers experience griefing, deliberate harassment and trolling, from their male counterparts. Despite this affective environment that consequently impacts women’s enjoyment to game, women gamers find their own workarounds to play, and use popular platforms like Twitch.TV to stream live.