As part of our Gaming For Pixels interview series, The Pixel Project spoke to the amazing Michelle Tan who is the Founder and CEO of Fundeavour – a social platform looking to improve the lives of gamers worldwide, including Youtubers, streamers and content creators. Through a combination of Facebook, LinkedIn and Coursera-style elements, the platform empowers its gamers to build relationships with other gamers, work with brands, gain more exposure, and learn how to transform their passions into a potential career.
Fundeavour is a Gaming For Pixels partner and will be taking part in the 1st Gaming For Pixels Spring Slam from April 7th – 9th 2017.
As one of a growing number of female leaders in the gaming world, what inspired you to create Fundeavour?
At the heart of it all was just a passion for gaming – I started a semi-competitive League of Legends team just to see where we’d end up, and that led to participating in a shoutcasting audition – which I passed. That marked the beginning of being involved on the non-player side of the gaming industry, which was a whole new world altogether. Learning about what it truly takes to be “successful” in the gaming world, and the amount of effort actually needed to make that happen, made me realise that there needed to be a place for people to go to in order to get a headstart – be it in livestreaming, Youtube, or eSports. We at Fundeavour now aspire to be that place – providing the resources, a supportive community, and opportunities for any gamer who wants to pursue their passion.
Fundeavour has just reached the 10,000 member milestone – congratulations! Your community has also recently started discussing women and girls in gaming. How did this conversation arise and what do you hope would develop from your community’s interest in the issue?
The Huffington Post feature kicked it off by highlighting me as a female in a male-dominated industry, and in many ways that is very true. What’s truly exciting, however, is that the gaming industry itself has been discussing female participation in gaming for quite some time – a discourse that is commendable – and I think many gamers out there are themselves passionate about helping increase female participation, members of Fundeavour included. I believe that one of the ways to help the matter is to create a supportive community – a “safe space” if you will for females to actively involve themselves in gaming. I’d like Fundeavour to be one such safe space, especially with me at the helm. I want them to realize that regardless of gender, anyone can take charge and decide to put their all into trying to be the best at something.
Successful gamer-run charity events like Extra Life, Child’s Play, and Gamers For Giving have shown that gamers have a huge heart for helping causes. What do you think gamers can do to support efforts to end violence against women and girls?
We did an initial announcement for The Pixel Project a few weeks ago and the response has been very positive – so yes, I have amazing faith in gamers and their willingness to participate in helping others for a good cause. As for ending violence against women and girls, I honestly think the strongest form of support an individual gamer can lend at the moment is by actively “living” it themselves – by treating their female friends with respect the way they’d want to be treated, especially in-game, and advocating it to others who aren’t being kind. Breaking the cycle of stigma has got to be a concerted effort, but it has to first begin at the individual level with friends and family.
There are a number of actions that the gaming industry is taking to address the issue of sexism and misogyny and support women in gaming ranging from female-only eSports tournaments to working on tech-driven solutions to curb online harassment against women and minorities. What additional solutions and steps would you suggest to effectively tackle the sexism and the online harassment faced by women in gaming?
I think top-down methods like the one you suggested are good first steps, but one should be careful about defaulting to solutions that appear to be helpful on the surface, but might only serve to reinforce the stigma. I’m not 100% against female-only eSports tournaments as I think that, done correctly, they can provide a safe space for females to participate. As mentioned earlier, however, I believe the strongest and most effective movement to tackle online harassment has to begin from the individual – or from a grassroots community movement that believes in promoting a supportive environment (as opposed to a hostile one), and actively advocates for it. This will be slow-going, and change won’t happen overnight, but as this community grows, eventually we will be able to make it the “new normal”.
And finally – why does Fundeavour support The Pixel Project and our Gaming For Pixels campaign?
It’s simple, really. We believe in supporting causes that contribute positively towards creating a healthy gaming community. The objectives that The Pixel Project and Gaming for Pixels stand for aligns very much with the supportive culture that we actively try and create within Fundeavour, and our members support it too.