rachelmanija: (Little but fierce)
([personal profile] rachelmanija Apr. 24th, 2008 01:16 pm)
As a result of [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's smarmy, sexist, creepy description and advocacy of what was apparently, to at least some of the female participants, a fun experiment in sexuality and touch, I have read multiple comments and heard in person from a LOT of female fans that they will never or never again attend a convention, lest they be sexually harassed or subject to an atmosphere of misogynist hostility.

I like conventions: certain conventions, in moderation. It makes me sad to see that a venue that is already male-dominated will now become even more male-dominated, when I would like to see more women get involved and so make it more friendly to women.

But I also can't dismiss their concerns, or promise them that nothing will happen. For one thing, people are already posting to the Dragon Con comm under the assumption that now that public button-enabled sexual harrassment has been described and advocated, it will happen as a matter of course. For another, sexual harassment has occurred at cons way before this particular incident.

Conventions are not more sexist than the outside world, but neither are they less so. The world is incredibly sexist. All women are subject to misogynist taunts and harassment, and frequently have no recourse. This goes double if they are a member of any other oppressed or disrespected group: old women, young girls, women of color, lesbians, transsexuals, disabled women, immigrants, sex workers, the poor.

On a side note, it baffles me how fandom and cons seem quite happy to discriminate on every basis except that of personality. If you are a member of any generally-oppressed group, that's your problem. But if you are a fucking asshole, people will come out of the woodwork to say stuff like, "Oh, that's just Harlan/the ferrett being Harlan/the ferrett, don't mind him."

That is not OK.

I have probably experienced less random harassment than many women, and yet I have had my breasts groped twice (once before I hit puberty), been threatened with rape, murder, and sexual mutilation (in high school; the teacher I reported it to wouldn't even let me change my seat to get away the boy who was threatening me), a hostile atmosphere at work, public cat-calls, and men exposing themselves to me.

This is why many women feel that for groping strangers to be truly consensual, it must be kept in a labeled room and not in a public place. There's enough of that going on outside and non-consensually already.

However, I am not going to stop going to cons, nor am I going to stop wearing corsets and other attire which scumbags like [livejournal.com profile] theferrett think mean I won't mind being asked for a grope. I assure you, I will mind. Also, I will call security and the police. However, for the benefit of the socially impaired, that does not mean that you may not look. Looking is fine. Compliments are fine. Polite requests for photographs are fine. Touching and requests for sexual access are not fine.

But I hope that what will come out of this is a movement to make cons more safe and fun for everyone except those who want to grope freely in public spaces, sorry guys; room parties only. One is that we press conventions and the venues that host them to create and enforce sexual harassment policies. The other is the brilliant plan invented by [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur, Back Up: Women Defending Women. Yes, there is a gentleman's auxiliary.

Project Back Up

I intend to wear my Back Up badge to A-Kon and every other con I go to in the future. If you need assistance of any kind, I pledge to help you out as you wish and to the best of my ability.

From: [identity profile] annafdd.livejournal.com

I don't understand why so many people aren't getting this. Apparently Embracing The Stupid has become a key component of the Rite of Denial of The Existing of [Select as required: Racism/Sexism/Classism/Privlige] in fandom.

I feel like I have bumped into teh Stupid all over the place yesterday. This is very aptly put.

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