By: Jeffrey Carey
GTFO: Get the F**k Out is a movie that was directed by Shannon Sun-Higginson and was released in 2015 that focuses on the issue of treatment of female gamers in the gaming community. By acquiring interviews from multiple people in the community from many different backgrounds, Sun-Higginson paints a picture of a pervasive problem that requires immediate attention and action from the community itself in order to be fixed. The stories provided by the gamers, developers, writers, and others interviewed for this documentary are of abuses they’ve suffered at the hands of other gamers for being female.
One of this films biggest assets is how grounded in reality it is. The interviews are all taking in everyday settings where the viewer can see the interviewee playing on the same consoles and playing the same games as millions of others around the world. While games can often portray a utopian world that the player is supposed to be able to explore, these women’s lives are far from the lives of the characters they play as, as they experience sexual harassment, death threats, and more just for playing the games they enjoy. Sun-Higginson made an excellent choice in presenting these women in real life settings, such as their living rooms, because it allows the viewer to think “I play my games the same way she does” and helps establish a connection between the people on screen and those watching it. Since GTFO is targeted at people who strongly believe in promoting equality in gaming work forces, in games, and in player bases, establishing a connection between the movie viewer and the people on screen allows the viewer to empathize and hopefully become more motivated to take action against the problems facing female gamers. GTFO expects that its viewers will have at least some interest in changing gaming culture before watching the movie, because if they don’t, no matter stories GTFO shares, it is unlikely the viewer will care enough to act on the mistreatment that is highlighted in the film.
Interviewing many different people from different fields of the gaming community also adds strength to the argument that the culture in the gaming community needs to change. It is easy for skeptical viewers to brush off stories of harassment if all those stories come from one place, such as at gaming tournaments or in online play lobbies by saying “those places are unique” or “not everywhere is like that, you got unlucky”. Once stories start coming in from all aspects of a community, however, they become much harder to ignore or brush aside. Using stories from gamers, developers, writers, bloggers, and others with years of experience of dealing with the community who all have similar stories of harassment clearly shows that this problem is present across the entire gaming landscape.
GTFO understands that the problems facing female gamers developed over decades and won’t be settled overnight and it doesn’t try to argue that an overnight change must be made, because trying to force through that change would simply cause a divide between people in the community. What GTFO wants is a discussion, a plan, on how the problem will be addressed. Some of the interviews in GTFO acknowledge that many people in the gaming community feel resentment towards change in the community not out of antagonism towards women, but out of fear that the pastime they love will be changed for the worse to accommodate that change. This understanding for opposing viewpoints shows that careful thought was put into making this film, because changing the opinions of the fearful will be essential to improving the community. There will always be people in every community who are impossible to communicate with and who will always be antagonistic towards people of certain groups, but a community can lessen their influence by being supportive and helping each other, like in the movie where the Geezer Clan supports Jennifer. Improving the gaming community will be a journey and the goal of GTFO is to get everyone working together to complete this journey.