A group of South Korean women gamers have started a feminist movement inspired by a character from the video game Overwatch.
Last Saturday, women in the country joined people around the world in women's marches. At the one in Seoul, people noticed a flag sporting the emblem of Overwatch character D.Va.
In the game, Hana Song, also known as D.Va, is a 19-year-old Korean former pro gamer. Prior to Overwatch's story, she had been the number one StarCraft player — another popular game in the country, both in real life and in the world of Overwatch.
The group carrying the flag have called themselves For D.Va, and the symbol they've adopted is the rabbit that appears on the character's clothing.
For D.Va chose the character as their mascot as she is a woman who has thrived in the gaming world — something they feel would be impossible for real-life Korean women interested in gaming.
The case is said to be endemic of a wider problem in the South Korean gaming community.
Last year, a video game voice actress lost her job for posing in a t-shirt with the message "Girls Do Not Need A Prince" on it. Fans of the game Closers campaigned for the actress, Kim Jayeon, to be disciplined for wearing the shirt, which was sold by a feminist group. The incident was described as South Korea's Gamergate.
Nine, a spokesperson for For D.Va, told BuzzFeed News that the group first gathered together on Nov. 26, 2016 to join the protests against South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, who is currently suspended while she faces impeachment proceedings.
Nine said that they were one of the people who answered a call put out by the founder of the group on Twitter.
The group have even created badges, stickers, and postcards to distribute at events and to members.
All of these methods are geared towards achieving their aim of creating a "non-sexist world" where a character like D.Va could exist.
The message has proved popular – pictures of For DV.a's flags from last week's protest, as well as their merchandise, have been shared across social media. They now receive fan art and are being hailed as a positive representation of online fandom.
The group have also started a book club through which they hope to produce a guide book for feminist literature. While they have no plans to expand outside South Korea right now, they have high hopes for the effect they could have for women gamers in the county.
"Because we are in the initial stages, we are just a group of feminist gamets, but we wish to grow into a group that can actually voice opinions related to in-game misogyny and gender discrimination," Nine said.
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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