GTFO: Shedding light on female abuse in the video game community and industry

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Shannon Sun-Higginson isn’t a hardcore gamer, but she is a filmmaker working on a documentary called GTFO. She’s filmed a lot of interviews, but she still needs aid in finishing the project that aims to explore the abuse females receive when playing video games and when working in the video game industry. Sun-Higginson has also received some abuse for tackling the project.

She did a recent interview with Games Industry.

“I’ve gotten a few messages so far that are like, I’m an ‘attention whore’ which is a hilarious assessment to gather from trying to make a movie about women in gaming,” Sun-Higginson said.

“I have been lucky that I haven’t gotten too many trolls yet, but I think actually being an outsider probably helps in that respect.”

Sometimes being an outsider is beneficial in working on a project like this. It means that she can be objective. She’ll have to prepare for the worse, especially when trolls are involved.

“It has been a lot more challenging in that I didn’t start out with any contacts at all in the industry, but this is a really important movie to get made and I can’t just hope that someone else will make it.”

Sun-Higginson at least wants to shine light on the subject, so it can’t be all that bad, can it?

“I wanted to tell people like myself, outsiders who aren’t aware of this about this problem… I heard about it and I have always cared about women’s and feminist issues, and I didn’t realize this was happening under everybody’s nose.”

“I didn’t think there was still an industry that in 2013 everyone was just fine with being really really sexist,” she says.

The video game industry does have its problems dealing with sexism, but her comment about everyone being okay with being sexist rubs me off the wrong way.

“I don’t think, obviously, it’s the entire industry – that would be incredibly presumptuous and not true, it’s just a very vocal minority.”

Okay, at least she cleared that up.

“I don’t think the goal of this is, and I don’t think it would be even possible to open a dialogue necessarily with the people who are doing this.”

That is true. I wouldn’t want to open up a dialogue with a foul-mouthed 12-year-old kid. A lot of the people that talks a lot of crap are kids that I encounter when playing online.

“A lot of these anonymous people who are saying that they’re going to do horrible things to these women, it would be hard to get them on camera, I would think, and I would hope… I wouldn’t mind giving them airtime because then their face would be on the project and it would be a detriment to them, not to myself.”

I’m okay with awareness, as long as she doesn’t make it sound like all men are pigs.

“There are a few goals, one of them is to make more awareness and more of a stigma for those people so that they see it and they’re like ‘oh, wait, maybe this is not an acceptable thing to do, maybe bad things will happen if I do this.'”

“And the other thing from the developers’ end and the monitoring end for people get muted and reported so that this happens less and less, and to make it easier for women and men and anybody who gets harassed to report these people so they won’t be allowed to do it to anyone else.”

Props for her to include men being abused too. I don’t think the trash talking is simply a female issue. Guys are also on the receiving end. That’s the thing when playing online, especially a competitive game. The other person will try to find anything against you to make fun of you and humiliate you. When that happens, I just tune them out, since I doubt they would want to hear me lecture about how they’ve been naughty.

“If I can stop people abusing women that would be a success but I think it’s more about not speaking directly to those people, but making it more of a taboo, more shameful to do that. And the second aspect is making everyone aware of this as a huge problem that needs to be fixed.”

“It’s awful to think that half of the community, meaning women, are being abused and their talents aren’t really being used in the video game industry as much as they could be.”

Whoa, that’s a lot of women being abused. I’m not sure whether she’s referring to female gamers or females working in the industry, but if it’s the industry, that’s not a good sign.

As for the discussion of female abuse when playing video games online, I’ll have to add that it’s NOT just a female issue, but an online gamer issue overall. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear an annoying voice trash talking to me about how he/she slept with my mother.

What are your thoughts?

If you want to support GTFO and help it become a reality, you can pledge at the Kickstarter page.

Source: GI

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