Cranium Apparel’s esports dress causes backlash
With gender inequality in esports still being a real issue, it’s normally a great thing when efforts are being made to give women proper space in the esports world. The keyword here is normally – this latest addition to the world of esports apparel didn’t go over quite as well. The issue wasn’t really the dress itself, but rather the marketing around it.
The dress itself is a relatively short, sleeveless orange/black number with a skull design and the ability to have a customised gamertag on the back. For a relatively hefty $53 price-tag, gamers can buy one. Announced originally on Twitter by the British company came with a lovely caption; “Its high time that we do something for the female gamers who recieve so much backlash in the community! Stay Strong…We Respect You ❤️ Proudly supporting #WOMENINESPORTS Tag Every Female Gamer You Know💅🏻”Spelling mistake aside, it’s a great sentiment, and definitely something that should be praised… except that the community’s reaction wasn’t quite what Cranium Apparel hoped for. The marketing of the dress mentions that its intent was to ‘give female gamers a new identity’.
Esports host Eri Neeman reacted quickly to it and responded with a tweet: “You guys shot yourselves in the foot with how you posted. Some might have gone for the apparel if you simply announced it but you saying that this dress gives female gamers identity is wrong and plain ignorant.”
Reactions from gamers (especially females) weren’t great either – the dress’s design itself wasn’t too well received either. It is somewhat reminiscent of cheer uniforms, and comments like “we’re playing games, not going to cheer practice.” from Twitter-user @Perfexiaa were quite common.
Naturally, people were quick to ask whether or not women had been involved in the design of the dress – given that the supposed idea of this whole thing is to encourage women, it seems like a reasonable expectation to have. Alas, the response from Cranium Apparel proved the assumption wrong: “Unfortunately No. But we are now turning to the community for ideas! This will help us make more Informed Decisions in the future!”
Despite their relatively reasonable response, fans weren’t entirely happy with that either – the company received further criticism in regard to other replies they gave, including the following: “We had conducted a preliminary research by a bunch of female gamers, and we got a pretty positive response! At least we are trying to do something different! and creating such tweets wouldn’t stop us from improving! We don’t give in to haters!”
Due to a lot of criticism on our most recent addition to our store for female gamers, we want to ask all of you what would you like to see in the future for our women’s store! Please drop your ideas below!
— Cranium Apparel ® (@CraniumApparel) March 3, 2019
That’s a pretty good response (again, ignoring the mistakes made by the official Twitter account of Cranium Apparel), and it caused some positive replies as well – some gamers decided to encourage and suggest what they could have done to better represent women with their clothing. These suggestions included pockets on dresses, plus sizing and women’s cuts for jerseys and shirts.
Cranium Apparel confirmed their intention to take these suggestions on board, and despite the pretty unpleasant backlash for the dress and especially its marketing, the company very successfully ran damage control for the whole incident.