Dhayana Sena is Fighting for Representation in Gaming, But There’s Still a Long Way to Go
Diversity is an issue the gaming industry has been trying to tackle for a long time now. Men are usually at the forefront of games, and while representation for women has been a struggle, it’s abysmal for women of colour.
You would think, in 2021, we would be making progress, and, while there are those who are raising their voices and fighting for equality, the journey has proven to be difficult. Dhayana Sena, otherwise known as MissDeusGeek is an Australian content creator and gaming influencer who is working hard to create a safe gaming space for women and women of colour.
One of the first Xbox MVP’s for the ANZ region, Dhayana has started the conversation around representation, and is passionate about the gaming world reflecting everyone involved and not just a small group of people.
“As a woman of colour from a South East Asian and South Asian background, I grew up never seeing anyone that looked like me in the media, let alone in games, especially here in the Australasian region. Being able to see people who look like you or come from similar backgrounds plays such an important part in showing the younger generation that it is possible to pursue their passions and dreams,” she told POPSUGAR Australia.
Dhayana has been playing games from the age of three, and grew up watching the men around her engage in the activity. The hobby quickly became a part of her everyday life, but it was in 2015 when she decided to pursue her passion after meeting her partner, who worked in the industry and was a live-streamer.
“After meeting my partner and being exposed to online gaming and live-streaming, I decided to add gaming reviews to my pop culture blog, where I had been writing reviews for movies, TV series, comics and anime. From there, I began to live-stream video games and was approached by Xbox to stream for their channel as part of the Expertzone GameMasters programme.”
But despite her success, Dhayana has faced challenges simply for being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Unwanted advice, harassment and sexism are just some of what she has experienced, along with missing out on opportunities due to her gender and ethnicity.
Although, she’s managed to turn a negative into a positive, as all the obstacles she’s hit with only fuels her passion for equality even more.
“It was at that stage in my life when I worked with young girls and other female gamers that I realised that there were a lot of challenges to being a female gamer, which set me on the path to speaking at panels and highlighting the need for diversity, inclusivity and representation in games.”
Always ready to support fellow women, Dhayana has a few valuable words of advice to give to those who want to start gaming but aren’t sure where to start.
“Don’t be afraid to get involved in any community activities that pique your interest, even if you don’t see other girls or women around. The majority of communities are really welcoming of gamers, regardless of their gender or experience as a gamer,” she said. “Another thing I’d recommend is to reach out to other women in games. Quite often these women are on social media and are always open to having conversations and helping other women who want to get involved in games. Most importantly, remember to have fun and do what you love, the rest tends to fall into place organically, from what I’ve experienced.”