Shannon Sun-Higginson isn’t a gamer, but when a friend told her about the Cross Assault incident, where competitive gamer Miranda “Super_Yan” Pakozdi was harassed on camera by her own coach, she was shocked. Then her friend told her, “This is the tip of the iceberg.” Soon, she was intrigued enough to put her skills to work. Sun-Higginson is a production coordinator for a television company, Zero Point Production. And she plans to turn this topic into her first feature documentary GTFO (which refers to the catch-all dismissal, “Get the f— out”) with the help of Kickstarter.
Sun-Higginson took her camera on the road to Pax East and a Major League Gaming event to interview female gamers, where she learned that “a lot of women I’ve spoken to felt excluded.” She was surprised. “Videogames [are] the future of creativity and art…. I was surprised that a lot of women feel excluded from this industry you think would have progressive views.”
Exclusion is only one of the problems that some women have experienced. Others include foul language, threats of rape and murder, stalking, and a videogame where players beat up feminist Anita Sarkeesian. (This seems like the work of a minority, but a vocal, impassioned one.)
Sun-Higginson also learned, “When women speak out, they will get so much backlash, and I don’t see that as much in their male counterparts. It’s such a tragedy because I think that probably discourages young women from entering this very exciting field.”
At the time of this writing, Sun-Higginson’s project, is almost fully funded. The Kickstarter has until May 10 to reach its goal of $20,000.
The filmmaker hopes that her documentary will bring awareness to this topic. “If this can help even one woman overcome any harassment that she’s experienced or encourage anybody take a step back to realize what they’re doing, that they’re hurting people then the goal wlll be accomplished.
This isn’t the first Kickstarter project on the topic. Sarkeesian has released the first of several chapters in her fully funded series, “Tropes vs. Women in Videogames.” The documentary Gaming in Color, which focuses on gay gamers, has until May 11 to receive its funding.
But I’m particularly looking forward to Sun-Higginson’s project, because it comes from an outsider’s perspective. Perhaps when harassers see what they look like to the outside world, they will realize how ridiculous they look.
Visit GTFO‘s Kickstarter page here.
You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and here at Forbes.
(Thanks to Greg Voakes.)