Mom Used Kickstarter And Her Son’s Bullying To Pay For Her Daughter’s Gaming Camp

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Kickstarter for girl gamer Something super cool happened on the internet this week ya’ll! A 9-year-old girl, with help from her mother, started a kickstarter campaign to send her to developer camp where she would learn how to create her very own RPG. On the surface, this is amazingly cool. We need more girls interested in tech and gaming. We need more games created by girls. We need more girls in development. Yay for women and girls in gaming!

I’m totally behind this 100%.

But the issue is, the mom who created this campaign for her daughter to raise $829 to send her to gamer camp in no way needed the money to send her daughter to gamer camp because the mom is one of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Female Entrepreneurs and allegedly a millionaire.

The other issue is, the Kickstarter page for the project is pretty exploitive towards the boys in the family, with this posted on the fundraising page:

Mean older brothers say she can’t so my daughter’s proving she can do what they can’t – BUILD HER OWN RPG game AND pay for it!

Most people call me Kenzie. I’m 9, in 3rd grade, and I’m getting straight A’s. I’ve always been the tallest person in my class and this year I’m actually taller than my teacher. I love computers, video games, apps, and role playing games – especially Magic the Gathering and Borderlands 2 that I get to play with my Dad (because my 15 & 16 year old brothers are too mean to play with me)

And the whole campaign is based around proving her “mean” brothers wrong, and if you  pledge $10,000 or more (to send Mackenzie to the $829 gamer camp) you get a handwritten apology from the brothers.

According to Kotaku, who interviewed the mom, Susan Wilson, the project began because the older boys in the family were making fun of their sister:

“That’s how it unfolded. The ‘Support Girls in Tech’ message was between her brothers and her. It was never intended to be this gender thing. It was literally two boys picking on their little sister, she stood up to them and it was game on – in a joking way. Even the boys were fine with it.”

I have an 8-year-old daughter who has older brothers. My daughter likes gaming. Her older brothers encourage her and play with her, and my first issue with this whole thing is that if you have a young daughter who is being bullied in her own house and told by her big brothers that she is incapable of doing something because of her gender, as your mom it is YOUR job to shut that shit down, not take it to Kickstarter to raise money to send your daughter to gamer camp when you clearly don’t need the money. My kid would love to go to gaming camp. If a camp costs around $900, we can’t afford to send her right now. We do OK financially. We always have milk in the ‘fridge and our electricity is on. If we wanted to send our daughter to a camp like this, we would have to save up a bit. Even though we are “comfortable” in our finances $900 is a lot of money right now. But never once has it crossed my mind to use crowd funding from a place like Kickstarter to get money for my kid’s hobbies.

As of this morning, the Kickstarter campaign has reached $22,058.

The Kickstarter still has 24 days to go, and Susan’s under the impression that it has to stay up for the remainder of that time. “If I leave it up the bad stuff will keep happening, but if I stick with it over the next 30 days, maybe I can turn it around.”

The trick is figuring out what to do with the money. Susan no longer wants to use it to pay for tuition for the RPG camp. She’ll do that herself. Now she’s looking for ideas on how to turn the raised funds into something positive, without violating Kickstarter’s terms of service — no charity, no “fund-my-life”. She’s not sure how to do it, but she’s open to suggestions. She’s reached out to Reddit. She’s reached out to 4chan.

It’s all just such a mess. Part of me feels like we shouldn’t care that Wilson has money, because we all know that there are plenty of men who have money who have used unconventional methods to make more money.  I can totally support a mom wanting to encourage her daughter to do something her child loves. But the sad fact is , there are thousands of kids in the world who would love to attend gamer camp, girls included, who can’t even afford a used computer to explore gaming on, much less have like, you know, simple necessities in life. I probably would have been supportive of this whole thing had Wilson just targeted it as “My daughter wants to raise her own money to attend gamer camp even though we can afford to send her” and left her sons and their sexist attitudes out of the whole thing, because the idea of a mom using that as the crux of this entire campaign just feels disingenuous and odd to me. Now the mom is receiving nasty comments and her daughter can no longer be part of the whole campaign if her mom doesn’t want her exposed to that.

I’m totally a million percent behind supporting McKenzie and her desire to be a video game developer. Everyone knows that girls have an unfair advantage when it comes to the tech field. I just wish that instead of raising financial support for the child her mom would have used a method for getting her emotional support, because now it just feels like a big ‘ol scam when women have enough shit to deal with in the gaming community. Can we have a do-over on this? I want to support McKenzie , I just wish they had gone about this a whole different way.

(Image: Kickstarter)