If you are a woman and you have ever played online games, probably you already know what this article is about. Especially if you are a good player. The documentary GTFO (short for Get The F%ck Out) exposes the harassment that some female gamers, game journalists or game producers, endure in their everyday lives just because they have chosen to be part of the online games community. “Get The F%ck Out” is the usual salute women receive when male players discover they are competing against females.
GTFO tells us some stories of women who had to face harassment and sexism just because of their gender, some of them even face death threats. Ex-Bioware creative writer Jennifer Hepler received threats to her entire family from some Dragon Age fans after Dragon Age II’s release. She was blamed for the failures of the game because she was the woman in the team. The documentary describes the game industry as a men’s market. Part of that industry fights against this sexism but still, we are far from a varied and democratic gaming world.
The testimonials, coming from both woman and men who have experienced or witnessed cases of online abuse, are focused on denouncing them and exposing the true feelings of their players. Like in every other form of cyber bullying, online sexual harassment not only affects the victim and the bully, but all the other people surrounding them. If the rest of the players stood against this GTFO habit instead of perceiving it like something normal or even funny, things would be very different for gamer women. Director Shannon Sun-Higginson considers that the gaming industry needs a change and a good way to move forward is to include more women in games development and production.
Every time that a feminist voice speaks aloud about sexism in games, sports or other areas, there are also reactive voices (that’s the idea behind any debate). Some of these reactions rate the feminist claims as overreacted, saying that they hadn’t experienced any of the situations described and referring to a suspected ‘manipulation’. Others claim that it is not that bad, others are bullied for being black, gay, overweight or just because they are terrible shooters. So, if all of us are bullied some way or the other… then it is ok?
This is the beginning of some never-ending debates about sexism full of hate from both sides that are often completely useless. There are sexist acts and other kinds of harassments in many aspects of life, also games. To deny them is a biased thought. Just by fighting any kind of abuse or bullying anytime, anywhere, virtual and real worlds would be better places to live and play in.
You can watch GTFO’s trailer down here, enjoy the full movie on Vimeo or read more about women that have decided to stand up against online sexual harassment in games like Anita Sarkeessian and websites that gather examples of this situation like fatuglyorslutty.com or notinthekitchenanymore.com