Smash’s Beloved Feminist Icon Is Not Trolling, Mostly

January 8, 2018 - Super Smash Bros

Kayla “Mew2Queen” Mackay was one of 5 players who won a fan opinion to play Super Smash Bros. Melee in Genesis 5, a major tournament in Oakland, and a initial to accept full funding. For Mackay, who plays as Marth, it should have been a outrageous moment. But in response to her nomination, Melee players immediately lifted questions about her legitimacy as a competitor.

Mackay has some theories on why, including her trollish tag, her normal opening during tournaments, and her unashamed feminist branding. She doesn’t wish to be a envoy from all women to Smash, yet as she says, “I wish it wasn’t me yet we did kinda travel into it.”

The 24-year-old truly didn’t make a name for herself—she took her tab from Melee champion Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. But in her few years competing during a game, she’s positively forged out a bequest of her possess yet a normal accoutrements of Melee stardom: theorist technical ability and a cult of starry-eyed acolytes. She’s usually fiercely clinging to a diversion whose village has a polarized greeting to her code as a player.

On Christmas in 2001, Mackay viewed a Nintendo Gamecube, her initial console, alongside a duplicate of Melee. Gathered around a TV with her friends, Mackay tested out a few characters. Marth, Fire Emblem’s high-minded swordsman, appealed to her, yet also to a buddy. “I didn’t wish to ‘steal his character,’” Mackay explained. She instead went with a nimble bird-man Falco. Around 2009, she late her GameCube controller in preference of PC games like Starcraft.

In 2014, Mackay returned from a prolonged Melee break and satisfied that she and Falco were never meant to be. After a quite heartless beating, she carried on with Marth, her initial love, there and during internal tournaments in Victoria, British Columbia. Soon, she’d settle on her tab for those tournaments, what many players understand as a tongue-in-cheek fun of Zimmerman’s. “The suspicion routine never developed over ‘Mew2King plays Marth and is a guy. we play Marth and I’m a girl,’” she said.


Early on during internal tournaments, Mackay would humour by comments like “She contingency be lost.” Her name was noticeably absent from some internal energy rankings, even yet she competed. “Me being an ‘honorable mention’ is a meme, basically,” Mackay said. Over time, Mackay attended incomparable and incomparable tournaments, solemnly receiving courtesy from her considerable showings during British Columbian events and, in a U.S., during a Smash Sisters side eventuality in 2016— a organisation conflict hosted by a women’s Smash collective.

In her hands, Marths’ heroic sword attacks were tiny precursors to risky, off-stage final blows. It’s an untraditional playstyle. Mackay simply captivated friends and fans in a game’s womanlike following, who dignified her loyalty to a diversion and her augmenting outspokenness about what it was like to be a lady during Melee tournaments. Several confided in her that they felt they had to work harder for reduction success. “Nearly everybody has a story about someone behaving inappropriately towards them and customarily removing divided with it,” Mackay said.


Early in 2017, Mackay purchased a video constraint card, that would capacitate her to record her gameplay and, in turn, extend her initial ambience of Smash notoriety: Being a famous feminist. “Super Smash a Patriarchy” and “This is what a Feminist Looks like” were a twin combo videos Mackay uploaded to her tiny YouTube channel in 2017. In them, Mackay strings together gameplay highlights—spiking one player, churning another by an unconstrained array of aerial attacks. Opponents are flung opposite a map after quick punishes. Woman-fronted swat blares in a background. They’re unashamed testaments to Mackay’s adore for Melee and, yes, her politics.

In private messages on her YouTube channel, Mackay viewed support and regard from women Melee players who indispensable to see some womanlike brawn. On Reddit, she was pounded for tagging a normal uncover of talent with a gimmicky, domestic tenure like “feminism” to pull views. Before a comments thread underneath her video on a 244,000-strong Smash subreddit was disabled to forestall serve hate, Mackay shielded her preference to embody a word “feminist” in a title.


“In my heart of hearts we truly trust feminism shouldn’t be controversial, so it’s not unequivocally my error that people get dissapoint by it,” she wrote. “I also believe my beliefs shouldn’t be controversial,” responded a commenter.

“Shit man, we suspicion a pretension was memeing. Kinda killed a fun to see we indeed meant to be domestic :/,” responded another.

The Melee community is overwhelmingly male. In September, a game’s tip actor quiescent from his position as a consultant for Melee’s destiny contest ruleset after he schooled that a 25 panelists comparison were all men. In a 2015 survey conducted by a lady in a Smash community, 20 percent of womanlike players interviewed pronounced they have quit or have deliberate quitting due to sexism. Female players have been outspoken about a rival community’s gender imbalance for years, and several have created extensively explaining since it exists. Above an aged design she’d common in Discord discuss of a tip Melee player spelling out “AHH RAPE” with contest earnings, Mackay explained:

“There were outrageous durations of time when people used a word rape to report violence someone, being happy as being sore or bad yet unequivocally deliberation how a visitor would feel about that. These are issues that a Melee village eventually famous and changed divided from, yet . . . we hear about communities everywhere that still have unequivocally poisonous attitudes towards a appearance of women and/or LGBT people. This leads people to stop participating or stay divided from a village in a initial place since they don’t feel protected or welcome. . .

I don’t privately wish to trust that anyone acts deliberately exclusionary towards women only on a personal level. we consider a problem is some-more systemic. People don’t comprehend what their actions or a actions of their friends says about their communities.”

Mackay wants to mangle a cycle: women don’t wish to join a Melee community since these issues aren’t addressed, and these issues aren’t addressed since a Melee community’s loudest voices are men’s.


It came as no warn to Mackay that her videos drew ire and talks plainly about these Redditors removing “baited.” It’s not that she wanted disastrous attention, she says; she unequivocally does not consider that “feminist” should be a argumentative term. To her, it means that women and group should have equal opportunities to succeed. That said, she told me, “I find it humorous that people see these videos, their prophesy goes red, and—” here, she creates mad clicking sounds with her keyboard, before finishing, “raging everywhere.” In comments, allies in a Melee village gleefully impute to her combo vids as “incel-baiting” or goblin with quips like, “feminism?? i am upset!!” Several tonelessly complimented her “unique and unpredictable” playstyle. One father wrote that, Mackay’s “love of games notwithstanding a vicious recoil and harassment” is enlivening him to share his passion for Melee with his three-year-old daughter.

Among most of a Melee community, “feminism” is a lightning rod. It gets people talking. Mackay’s intentions as a village member were questioned. What’s she after? Why make a splash? One Reddit criticism in sold pronounced it all:

“The usually reason this combo video has as many upvotes and comments as it does is since a title. The combos are unequivocally zero special, yet you’ve successfully used your gender as a approach of removing some-more courtesy than if a masculine had posted this same thing.”

Two months after her second combo video dropped, Mackay asked for a slim $400 in appropriation to attend Genesis 5, compared to peers’ $1,000 and $1,300. Support was overwhelming. On Dec 3rd, Mackay was sensitive that she’d be roving to Oakland to contest during Genesis 5 on Jan 19th. It was an honor, and one she hasn’t taken lightly. “To contend we was repelled by a support would be an understatement,” Mackay told me. She felt irreproachable and was fervent to contest opposite and learn from a best. But after a initial rush of excitement, stress cut by her enthusiasm. Haters hating on her combo videos’ titles was one thing. Now that she’s viewed funding, some-more eyes will be on her.


“I am disturbed about underperforming during Genesis and carrying people indicate to me as an instance of since women are bad or something,” she said.

One actor indicted Mackay of employing her friends to set adult her combo videos. An whole feign Twitter account, Mew2Queen Unplugged, cropped adult in response to her funding. Every day or two, it tweets out some metacommentary on her feminism and picks detached her some-more inflammatory tweets. “Women have to constantly clear their place in a village by absurd standards and this is usually another instance of it,” Mackay said. “If a famous masculine in a village expelled a video like this there wouldn’t be a singular chairman looking to deconstruct it for viewed fakeness.”


Mackay plainly admits she’s a slightest learned actor to get into a compendium. “Every other actor is possibly ranked top-100 worldwide, or during slightest ranked in their region, while we am neither. I’d contend we competence be a bit improved than a normal player,” she said, “but I’m zero special.”

With a twin pursuit of vocalization out on interest of women in Melee and being saved to compete, apparently on their behalf, vigour is pier adult on Mackay. At Genesis 5, Mackay worries that if she’s knocked out of a contest early on, she’ll be deliberate undeserving of funding. But afterwards she reminds herself that’s not a point: “A lot of people consider I’m upheld only on a basement of being a woman, yet looking during since people would demeanour to support women in a village even if they aren’t tip players.”

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