Introduction: What is Smash Sisters?
Smash Sisters is a side event held at some tournaments, where women and non-binary people play in crew battles with the only goal of having fun. There are no winners, no losers, no rankings.
Smash Sisters is also, and most importantly, a group of women and non-binary people who get to talk about important issues, about trivial topics, and about everything that comes to mind, in a safe environment.
Here’s a short video by Red Bull about Smash Sisters:
Now, there are local scenes where Smash Sisters is well-established, such as the United States (not even everywhere, though!) or a few places in France. Others not so much.
That sounds great! Why should I start Smash Sisters?
We’ve seen some pushback against Smash Sisters when we launched the initiative in France. Even women weren’t all on board, some of them thinking that Smash Sisters was an excuse to gain attention.
The thing is, that’s exactly what Smash Sisters events are for: getting enough attention that the women of the region who don’t play or who play casually will notice us.
This way, they get to see that:
- There are people who look like them in the Smash scene, meaning that they won’t be the only one around. It’s hard to be the “only one” of any kind, so showing that women are thriving in your local scene can make a real difference.
- There are people they can trust in the scene if they do encounter a problem. Smash Sisters isn’t just a side event, it’s a support network for all kinds of situations.
So why launch Smash Sisters in your region?
- To get women playing and talking together, sharing more. It’s just like any other group of friends in your local community, really.
- To show women who don’t play yet that they won’t be alone and that women can have a lot of fun playing Smash competitively.
- To show women who already play that it’s fun to play competitively and that they can make friends that you have a lot in common with, so that they stay in the community and that everyone has a good time.
I want to do this – but where and when?
You need 4 women to start your event. This means that in order to organize a Smash Sisters event, you can be at any tournament that has at least 4 female or non-binary participants. We’ve seen a Smash Sister crew battle held at a Paris weekly, as well as a Smash Sisters crew battle at GENESIS 6 – as long as you have women there, you can go ahead. It’s also the right time to tell your friends about this and get them into the game!
As for “when”, given the low level of effort to organize this, we’d advise to do it as soon as you’ve made sure 4 women or non-binary people will play at the event. Or hey, just talk to all the women in the room and tell them that in 10 minutes, if you gather 4+ players, you can have a mini Crew Battle on a free setup – that’s what we did at Heir 3 and it worked out just fine!
How do I organize this?
Logistically speaking, you will need:
- 4 players or more
- One setup
- 2 chairs
We’d advise announcing the event in advance so that women who aren’t used to Smash know about the event and can come specifically to play in crews. If you have enough female players onsite, then you can tell them last minute, as we established in the previous section.
And then what?
Now that you have your players and your setup, we’re finally at the “were you a man from the beginning?” step.
If you are a woman or non-binary, talk to the women, create a group (Discord server, Messenger/Whatsapp conversation, whatever you prefer) to foster conversations and to make sure you can all contact each other for future events (either Smash Sisters side events or smashfests, out-of-region tournaments and other casual gatherings).
If you are a male ally, you should not have access to these conversation spaces. Even if you’re the one who had the idea in the first place (thank you for your help!), now is the time to let go: remind the women that they could get in touch through a group, and let them do their thing. Many countries and regions have a Discord server or a Facebook group already, so the more experienced players can invite the new participants directly. You’ve made a huge contribution to your scene by creating a real-life conversation space, and we thank you for being such a great ally – we won’t forget you!
Do’s and don’ts
- Allow any woman or non-binary person to play, even if they’re a complete beginner
- Encourage everyone who’s playing
- Build hype around the event for the women who don’t know your local community yet
- Create conversation spaces (if you are a Smash Sister) or encourage the Sisters to create conversation spaces (if you are a male ally)
- Be an ally: if you are a man, you can still support the event by uploading a VOD, encouraging the players, commentating live (in a non-critical way, don’t forget this is casual and some players may be beginners), making sure that nobody makes inappropriate or demeaning comments
- Ask for advice or suggest improvements in this post’s comment section, by reaching out to notable Smash Sisters of your country on social media, or in person – we’re here to help!
- Share our guide on enjoying your first Smash tournament to women attending for the first time
- Stream the event if there isn’t solid moderation on the stream channel. We advise using slow mode & having at least 3 mods present to kick anyone who makes inappropriate comments
- Comment on the low level of some beginners – this is a casual event
- Gather all the male players around the event. Many players aren’t comfortable yet with too much attention or pressure, especially from a potentially hostile crowd, so let the Sisters do their thing! We usually have the crew battles during the main tournament so as not to gather too much unwanted attention.
- Force women to take part to the event if they don’t want to
Note: This article is Spanish player mARry’s idea and I’d like to thank her for sharing her good idea with us. You can also request blog topics in the comments section of this post, on Twitter, or by talking to us in person at tournaments!