GTFO: Get the F&#% Out

— by Jeff Schultz
A documentary about the epic levels of misogyny in gaming culture that shines because of the articulateness of its commentators, both women and men, even though it has one, possibly two significant gaps. (More on that in a moment.) The film does an excellent job making us aware of just how many girls and women play video games (almost half of all players) and the by now well covered, but still astonishing level of ugliness they face both online and at conferences and conventions — especially when the topic turns to greater inclusion of female characters in games and the way those characters are portrayed (that is, the effort to make them other than big-boobed succubuses). Some of the women who speak, especially Anita Sarkeesian, gained national fame for the harassment and threats they have garnered by speaking out — and their recountings are amply amplified by screen grabs of the “suck my dick, bitch” (and much, much worse) variety. But because it preaches to the choir, I was left wanting to hear from the antagonists. None of the cretins whose flaming posts we see (and hear — online group gamers interact with real time audio) are interviewed, and given their androgen-fueled aggression, it can’t have been impossible to find some. In fact, one man, Aris Bakhtanian, shown in action as the key villain in what became known as the “Cross Assault” incident, addresses the situation only in a blog post. Nor, except in a separate blog post, do we hear from video game company executives. My other beef is that virtually all of the games themselves discussed here are ultra-violent killing sprees, which, given the level of actual violence in American society, might lead one to make a connection and question its implications, for both boys and girls. But perhaps that should be the subject of a separate documentary. 

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