How do we solve the problem of cosplayer harassment? Is it even a problem at all, or are we simply dealing with a few isolated incidents?
Let’s take a look.
Sexual harassment has become a high-profile issue from university campuses to Silicon Valley boardrooms, and now the comics community is dealing with this distressingly persistent concern. But even as we identify what the cosplayer harassment has in common with the harassment of women in other industries, we also face the same questions as to whether there is really a problem to solve.
In this post, I want to build on my previous installment in this series by addressing these questions directly — and in so doing, take more substantive steps toward assessing the agenda for reform. First up: what is a sexual harassment policy, anyway?
Design for LARPing
As we noted last time, sexual harassment law applies in rather limited contexts. For our purposes, since we’re dealing primarily with people who are not employees of Comic-Con International, the harassment policy for attendees does not serve the common purpose of avoiding liability under federal and state sexual discrimination law by showing that a policy is in place.
Still, the fact that SDCC has a harassment policy covering non-employees points to a role that such policies often play. Harassment policies serve several functions, and their effectiveness as a means of protecting people from unwanted behavior can actually be enhanced by understanding how their prohibitions, training and reporting fit with an organization’s more general goals.
One important aspect of harassment policies stood out at the latest San Diego Comic-Con, which featured two distinct approaches to promoting protection from harassment. Comic-Con International itself – a nonprofit exempt from federal taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code – included its anti-harassment policy in the official Comic-Con program and also posted in select public areas. More ubiquitous were signs associated with Geeks for Consent, including Cosplay [does not equal] Consent signs posted throughout the Convention Center as well as an alternative harassment policy posted in women’s rest rooms. Especially interesting from a legal perspective: the alternative policy used the official San Diego Comic-Con logo and header, giving the impression that the policy was that of Comic-Con International: San Diego.
Reconciling the two approaches is an issue that we’ll address as this series proceeds – for now, I want to highlight the key element that links them. Whatever one’s chosen strategy, developing a harassment policy is properly understood as a design project, except instead of a well-composed picture or convincing costume we’re creating a social environment. Where both SDCC and Geeks for Consent harmonize is in using harassment policy to provide constructive social cues – and as we have already seen in a few conventions that are substantially smaller than San Diego Comic-Con, it’s possible for a policy to be a widely accepted means of reinforcing the convention’s identity as a safe space for the entire geek community.
The mutual goal of designing a safe space for our community brings with it a number of shared strategies, not least of which is a subtle shift in language from the off-site debate. Critique tends to give way to more positive rhetoric, with shared recognition of a problem and a shared commitment to preventing it. SDCC policies in the program and postings don’t dismiss reports of harassment as a minor aberration, while talk of rape culture or sexist indifference morphs into a policy so closely identified with Comic-Con that it appears to have come from Comic-Con International Itself.
Since my articles are primarily concerned with this common goal, we’re going to try to set aside judgmental language. Such rhetoric can be useful for making an important point, but it can also get in the way of building a consensus toward putting values into practice. If at times the result sounds a tad domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, well, that’s kind of the point. Instead of questioning others’ motives or integrity, we’ll focus instead on the ideas and influences that shape the convention environment, especially but not exclusively from the perspectives of law and identity design.
Before we do, though, a quick caveat. Please note that my language choices reflect the fact that debate has largely been framed in male/female terms – I’m not making any judgments here about gender identity or sexual preference.
What the Lawyer Saw
Now that we’ve established a few ground rules, let’s move on to one of the most substantial obstacles to strengthening a convention’s harassment policy: the belief that harassment is not actually a major problem. Such a response to complaints about harassment can reflect a range of influences, but for our purposes there are two in particular that I want to address: the perception of reported incidents as mere isolated anomalies and the concern that harassment complaints inappropriately conflate benign flirting with inappropriate sexual aggressiveness.
To a certain degree, such reactions to the anti-harassment campaign reflect legitimate issues. For example, at the present time complaints against harassment in comic conventions are largely anecdotal – disturbing, yes, as anyone can testify who has read the Geeks for Consent site or watched the essential Scenes from the Small Press DVD featuring Colleen Doran, but to my (correctable, please!) knowledge not quantified and analyzed in multiple peer-reviewed studies. What’s more, complaints against harassment have indeed gone beyond aggressive touching to being hit on in a variety of ways, including verbal approaches that from a guy’s perspective may seem benign. To acknowledge these issues is not to concede that harassment is an illusory matter; to the contrary, it’s essential to developing an accurate response.
The evidence vs. anecdote problem is admittedly challenging. Even in the context of educational or workplace settings accurate and comprehensive data can be difficult to obtain; reporting harassment is risky behavior, bringing with it the risk of social stigma and retaliation. That said, requiring an irrefutable academic study before admitting that there’s a problem may be a counterproductive way to frame the issue. In addition to facing the reality of multiple reports within our midst, there is also the potential for reports of harassment to harm an organization precisely because of their rhetorical power. As the Catholic Church learned while quibbling about ages of consent and relative percentages of abuse, when you allow persuasive stories to multiply without a clear response an organization can be defined by offensive acts.
What’s more, certain acts bring with them a risk of substantial loss even if the behavior is not strictly speaking prohibited by statutes governing sexual harassment. Consider the events that got the most attention at the close of the latest SDCC: the pedestrian hit by a car during the Zombie Walk; the underage girl found injured in the Marriott fountain; the sexual assault on the model friend of Adrianne Lima. These events share several relevant characteristics: they all involve evident violations of the law; they don’t appear to show signs of substantial oversight by Comic-Con staff or contractors; and they all took place outside the Convention Center in areas associated with the event.
With regard to security within the Convention Center, complaints have already been made about the sufficiency of training, which, from the standpoint of someone looking to file a lawsuit is a routine point of attack. Still, the security exists, and SDCC has been taking demonstrable measures to buttress security staffing within the Convention Center as the event continues to grow. The space outside – well, that’s where things get a bit squirrely. If you look carefully at the SDCC program and trace other connections, a picture soon emerges of an event that is scaling up and out of control, escaping its traditional confines to encompass a substantial area that appears to have far less convention oversight.
At which point a lightbulb appears above the head of every entrepreneurial plaintiff’s attorney: negligence.
Once Upon a Contract
If the human toll and potential damage to corporate identity aren’t convincing, the risk of a viable lawsuit claiming a failure to exercise due care has spurred any number of organizations to strengthen their anti-harassment policies. The circumstances at the center of a lawsuit need not be an accident – an organization could be sued for a perceived failure to take appropriate action to protect attendees from sexual assault or battery, two concepts to which we will be returning later in our series.
This points to another core trait of harassment policies: they’re not just rules, they’re legal arguments, and central to making even the most technical legal provisions work is to understand how these rules work together to tell a convincing story. Effective policies and patterns of enforcement function like a splash page, a comic book or series of storyboards – they grab the viewer’s attention and convey a memorable narrative. Judges, jurors, journalists, attendees, sponsors, policy makers – an organization is telling this story to multiple audiences, and the best policies and enforcement practices can persuade them all.
As is typical in law, the story-telling aspect of a harassment policy can both help and harm. There’s a traditional belief in legal circles that silence is the most effective response – if you don’t say anything substantive, no one can use your words against you. In the world of sexual harassment, that’s one reason you often hear organizations assert that harassment is a minor issue even as they’re trying to deal with widely publicized incidents: in addition to a group’s natural tendency not to view itself in terms of sexual wrongdoing, the standard advice from many lawyers is that you should not increase the risk of liability by admitting that a problem exists.
To be clear, I’m not saying that a lawsuit would necessarily win against SDCC or any other comic convention. What’s certain is that as news spreads of comic conventions’ growth into a more than half-billion dollar enterprise, there are attorneys now looking for ways to tap the till.
Hey Baby Hey Baby Hey
The issues of an event’s scale and the extent of harassment are also pertinent to understanding why verbal flirting can be perceived as harassment.
To take this out of the realm of the abstract definition, let’s take a quick look at the experience of a female cosplayer whose mode of dress is interpreted as a sign of sexual availability or romantic interest. Guy 1 approaches and asks her out for a drink. She says no and the guy walks away. Although in the workplace this could still be the predicate for an actionable harassment claim, at a convention this sort of behavior is entirely legal as well as within the scope of even the most restrictive existing anti-harassment policy.
However, stay with our cosplayer throughout the day and over time a telling pattern emerges. Guy 2 approaches and asks her out for a drink. She says no and the guy walks away. Guy 3, same thing. Guy 4, Guy 5, Guy 6, Guy 7 — what to each guy seems to be an innocuous flirtation is to the woman a series of pings sending the signal that she is seen primarily in terms of her sexual or romantic availability. Her job may not be at stake, but there is a clear social quid pro quo – if she does not opt into interactions that at least from the outset define her in sexual or romantic terms, people with shared interests walk away.
What’s more, it’s important to note that for a growing number of cosplayers their professional futures may indeed be at stake. Cosplay is for many people a serious business – for example, it can be a gateway to valuable connections as a commercial make-up artist or costume designer, as evidenced by the prominent role played by the Costume Designers Guild at thematically-related panels and the annual competitive Masquerade. In addition, cosplayers such as Adrianne Curry use their garb as an means of furthering their careers as fashion models and media hosts, and as noted in my last post, I personally saw how a cosplaying woman’s attempt to market her own comic met with a guy’s insistence that her real agenda must be to get in his pants.
How Not to Pick Up Geeks
So what does this mean for sexual harassment policies? Should photos be banned if there hasn’t been a sexually-neutral request for a full-body pose? Should conventions simply prohibit all forms of expressing interest in an attendee without an express, unambiguous statement of being open to an advance?
A convention is a veritable multiverse of expectations, and for some people the possibility of finding a likeminded partner is a significant plus – in this respect conferences can play a role similar to that of a college or university, which has to find a way to accommodate students’ interest in both professional training and social connections. Accommodating this social function while respecting the desire not to be objectified or viewed primarily in terms of one’s relationship potential is not impossible – in fact, these goals can go hand in hand.
The key is to remember that the ultimate aim of a harassment policy is not so much to punish or ban undesirable behavior as it is to cultivate an ethic of respect. The sense of empathy is key to establishing a valued corporate identity, and it’s also a vital part of a persuasive legal narrative. Conversely, prohibitions that convey a lack of empathy by impinging on behavior that is consistent with a community’s identity, goals or standards tend not to be respected themselves. The same is true of a laundry list of sanctimonious thou-shalt-nots — the sad truth is that far more people take anti-harassment training than take it seriously.
A more effective strategy is to integrate an anti-harassment policy within a group’s defining ethos, and the how-to spirit of the geek community offers a rather useful hook: artlessly macking on a cosplayer tends not to work. Now, I’m coming at this as a (happily married!) legal professional who is, as they say, only in it for science, but based on conversations I’ve had with a number of people struggling with this sort of attention it appears that the most effective way of making an impression is not to open with an overt advance. Instead, it’s far more helpful to express genuine interest in the person as a person, whether that means asking how they constructed a particular design or how they’re doing in a hectic day. Not only does initiating a substantive conversation show regard for the individual as something more than an object of sexual or romantic interest, but it seems to buffer the signal strength in a world of “hey baby” noise.
From a design perspective, a policy that fosters an environment conducive to such interactions would likely enhance as opposed to constrain an event’s social value. It’s equally important to remember that we’re developing a new set of social norms to buttress those that may have been more effective in a smaller social environment, where group cohesion and the prospect of repeat interactions could discourage abusive behavior that now seems to grown out of hand. In this wider context taking steps to steer people away from behavior that can be seen as objectifying does not identify the event as a gathering of potential harassers — instead, the convention openly pursues the positive goal of fostering a community of common interests and mutual respect.
Next we’ll take a deeper look at existing and proposed harassment policies to get a better idea of how they could improve. For now, here’s a little more about this post’s main Easter egg. If you happen to have studied ethics or philosophy and the advice above seems somewhat familiar, your spider sense was justifiably tingling. I just gave flirting advice based on the core ethical principle of German idealist Immanuel Kant: the categorical imperative, which calls us not to treat people merely as a means to an end, but to respect them as human beings.
Who says a humanities Ph.D. isn’t practical?
Another aspect is harassment BY cosplayers, as reported by Mark Evanier:
About 5% are spectacularly inconsiderate of others. Swinging around a plastic sword in a crowd is bad enough but to do it around kids in strollers? I think some of that body makeup has closed off the pores that feed oxygen to the brain.
Can someone please tell these people that a guy with a Smartphone who says, “Hey, can I get a picture of you?” does not give you the right to suddenly stop in the middle of an aisle and block traffic for your photo-op? I’ve been seeing a lot of near pile-ups at the con because these folks don’t even look around to see what hazards or congestion they’re creating. Twice yesterday, I had to play Unappointed Traffic Cop and suggest someone take two steps to the side to pose so that wheelchairs and scooters for the disabled could get through.
But of course, the guy with the plastic sword bothered me more. When I pointed out to him what he’d almost done, he just shrugged and said, “Hey, it’s plastic, man,” with an unspoken subtext of “Hey, don’t bother me! I’m Conan!
“What’s more, complaints against harassment have indeed gone beyond aggressive touching to being hit on in a variety of ways, including verbal approaches that from a guy’s perspective may seem benign. To acknowledge these issues is not to concede that harassment is an illusory matter; to the contrary, it’s essential to developing an accurate response.”
This. So often in these discussions, I’ve wanted to explain that a better understanding of why the offender felt like he/she could get away with the behavior would go a long way towards preventing it. But that inevitably gets turned into “excusing” the behavior, and my points shouted down by those who just want to consider the offenders to be evil nazi monsters.
@solmaker I would differentiate between obstruction and objectification.
@Glenn It’s essential to good hacking, legal and otherwise. There are still more factors that I hope to explore here or elsewhere .
I love Cosplayers. I do. But here’s a real life story:
When I was a guest of honor 3 years ago at Anime Central, I was walking with my then10-year-old daughter through the dealer area, showing her the vendors. I noticed that behind us, a furry dressed as a wolf was on all fours, quite literally stalking her. When I stopped and confronted this person, it put a finger up to its mouth to say “shhhhhhhh.” I yelled at the Cosplayer and told it to leave us alone. In retrospect, I should have called security. My point is, people need to behave better at these events. Such incidents are rare, but they can be disturbing.
I have been reading comments here and elsewhere about this issue, and then I watch mediocrefilms, screen junkies and other youtube videos posting about sexy cosplayers. If you read the comments section there it is the exact opposite of what I read in comic blogs. And I ask myself, a lot of those cosplayers are not bothered by those “sexist” interviewers.
I think there’s a lot of behavior that needs to be moderated at large gatherings. Are there policies in place at sporting events? Have people had their memberships / access revoked prior to entry? Is there sufficient advertising & publicity announcing that SDCC is a “family-friendly” event?
The key to lessening problems for large crowds is before they happen.
And yes, any incident of harassment at a convention indicates there is a problem, because for every incident reported there are likely three that are not.
I was recently invited to go to a college football game. I was informed that I would not be able to bring in an umbrella, my date would not be able to bring in a purse. I would have to get a flask to put booze in such that my date could put in her bra, because people would be patted down on their way in. So yeah, there’s some “freedoms being given away in order to get security” going on in that arena.
At NYCC 2012 there was quite a number of young people in the Fez-&-bowtie version of ‘Doctor Who’ and an older Hispanic construction worker outside the Javitts, was wondering aloud why so many of these kids were dressed that way. I had great fulfillment in telling him they were all militant Farrakhan-esque Muslims. “But… they so white! And LITTLE!!” he said in sincere shock.
Honestly, yes. Cosplayers (especially female) do deal with a degree of subconscious sexism. I say this because some of the creeps do not even REALIZE they are sexist. There’s a subtle understanding to them that if a girl is dressed in a cleavage-revealing outfit and she dares act chilly or put-off, she is somehow breaking a code since, as she is dressed like that she is somehow “asking for it”. I don’t know how you can solve that issue as it’s part of what is indoctrinated in male culture for some time now, and runs deeper than reacting to sexy CosPlay.
I personally wish cosplayers had their own specific areas- which I realize, sounds like segregation, and will embolden those cosplayers who already have a martyr/individualism/its-hard-being-a-celebrity complex- but honestly, though I agree and support that no cosplayer deserves to be harassed or abused, I’m one of those who just wishes they were less of an issue at conventions. I used to admire the initiative I assume it takes in crafting a costume- but really, I feel it’s just a largely passive exercise, emulating characters and concepts you have nothing to do with creating. Combine that with the legit tangible feeling of rock star-ness from various cosplayers and it’s just something where we are hearing more negative reports about than positive ones. I don’t mean to offend, but I feel cosplayers are best served at organized costume contests or standing in an authorized area where people can come to them for photos. It’s no different than people trying to stand out so that they may have some distinction and purpose; I think half the cosplayers going about are more searching for validation than really want to show off their sewing skill. But I’m sure (and hopeful) that a happy medium will someday take place.
How convenient that on your soapbox (compliments on a nice one) you have no stats, no accurate measurements of incidents, and are creating your own world of harrasement based on.. well, seems like you based it on Adrianna Lima’s model friend somewhere not in the convention hall. Well, of course you disagree. Based on what? Where are the numbers of police reports, security interviews of complaintants, emails to the CCI org, etc? Not here. I am agreeing with some of your agenda, in that I would have no attendees of the con feel uncomfortable at the verbal or physical actions of any others at the con. But, back to reality, we are human, some are over sensitive, and some are apes. Some are harassing, and most aren’t. Some have as little cloth covering their sex organs as the smallest of bikinis, and appear in lingerie, bras, panties, teddys, etc. Evidence abounds online in photo and video form of the bustier, girdles, bras, spandex tights, and other sexually provocative articles of covering. So, in the real world, not a conversation about an event, but in the living event itself, the likely hood of an ape meeting a sexually provocatively opposite gender is very high. Stand anywhere and wait a few minutes, one of either ape or appearant sexpot will be right along. In which case you have the possibility of harassment of a sexually nature occurring. Which brings us to the legal issue. Nothing that happens isn’t already covered by local, state and federal laws. The diatribe about a sexual harassment policy is nice in the “wouldn’t it be nice if unicorns and fairy princesses could be safe” theoretical realm, how about some relevance to the con? Policy is a bunch of words on a piece of paper. Not a manifestation of bodyguards for each or all con attendees. A manifesto of good ideas to make a con safe from sexist behavior, innuendo, and harassing behavior isn’t worth the website and pamphlet it’s written on in perspective of the 140 thousand people in the convention center, or the 50 some thousand around the gaslamp and embarcadero being able to behave in any manner without a cop, judge, and jury waiting nearby to bust any unwanted behavior. Any policy, as you mentioned, is only good for getting past the legal liability. It doesn’t stop those who have understood the policy, nor those that are looking to misbehave. For that factor of feeling safe and unapproachable, invisible to those with bad intents, it’s my conjecture that the basic fundamental cause and effect need your attention. The female body, with only the pink parts covered minimalistically, is the elephant in the room that in my view, you are avoiding discussing. Metaphorically speaking, a fire needs 3 items, combustible material, oxygen, and a spark. The amount of attractive females is the material that the harassment occurs on, the oxygen atmosphere that livens the fire is the Comic Cons, and the spark is the male attraction to the female . Take anyone away, and you have no fire. Making policy doesn’t address the problem, it makes text for court cases. Since the purported purpose of such policy is to prevent the harassment, deal with the harassment head on, and either remove the men, or the attractive women. It’s the reason sexual segregation exists in the gyms, changing rooms, bathrooms, yoga studios, etc. But really? Never can I foresee a time when any of the 3 key elements are kept apart. The con will continue, or move to some other larger venue as the SD Convention Center can’t expand, the mass of possible attendees grows as the entertainment world feeds it with better tv and movies, etc… the women will wear what they desire, the men will have the human psychology necessary to propagate, and getting the apes to keep their hands to themselves will forever be the problem. Path of least resistance to stop all future harassment is to get women to appear less sexual, have less flesh visible, and stop wearing Princess Leia bra and panties. Good luck with that, wearing skimpy sexed up costumes is why the young big breasted women are at the con. Factually, they aren’t wearing those FMPs and girdles to church, to the laundromat, or to the gas station. Women want to be noticed for their body, as factually, none of them are appearing in a resume, diploma, or college class syllabus. The sexpots are there to get attention and feel sexy and desired, and hope (I’ve no idea why) that only boy scouts and Marines with college age daughters are there to interact with. Bad news, that ain’t happening. So, best wishes on changing human behavior with policy, the war on drugs made Mexican drug cartels, the 13 years of prohibition created the mobs and gangs, the bathtub gin, and the moonshiner and the largest public debacle in the constitution. The war on terror? Created terrorists. Rething your approach, oh PHD of humanities, as you’re on the wrong track imho. Hall H out, rant over, drops mic
Also, in response to your Guy 4, Guy 5, Guy 6, and Guy 7 scenario, reverse it if you can to illustrate the evidence of the lack of harassment from these guys, they were polite lets assume, and merely asked, and disappeared after being turned down. This proves that long line of men weren’t harassing your example woman, they were a series of courteous but interested/aroused men responding to the attractiveness of the example woman. Proving that many aren’t harrassing, but a minute number may be. Again, you pointed out the problem of evidence vs anecdote. Additionally, inert costumes (Spirited Away black ghost with white face mask Miyazaki character with no human visage) cause no harassment, only fan interest and compliments for innovative and wonderfully unusual costume choice. Ergo, come as Mystique in body paint and bare breasts and groin, create your own sexual harassment issue, come as a non breasted non humanoid, and you won’t cause a harassment issue. Cause and effect, Dr Watson, prevent the cause, and prevent the crime. Since the cause is most centered on breasts and female attraction which, huh! How amazing! Are subjected to the effect of the arousal they spark among a few less restrained men, I give you a policy that will eliminate sexual harassment, your stated goal… no sexually attractive cosplayers / female costumes. Of course, by preventing the cause, you sacrifice the freedom of women to cause attention getting scenarios based on the sexually explicit lingerie style costumes of the majority of women attending in costume prefer. An open flame around black powder isn’t always going to cause an explosion, not every time… likewise, sexually attractive women in inherently sexual costumes won’t cause the harassment, but they’ll trigger it in the most frazzled men, going back to your Guy 4, Guy 5, Guy 6, and Guy 7 scenario, who have been subjected to a full day of push up bras, girdles, bikini bottoms, and skintight onesies on athletic women with large breasts. They aren’t beasts out to kill when they come to the con, but they are only human with base sexual desires, and the long line of sexpot female characters (and now Marvel ups the ante with female Thor) has eroded their restraint, is quite possible a reverse of your scenario where the woman felt harassed after a long day of being hit on, as the men, felt aroused past their tolerance level, after a full day of T and A. Your thoughts?
…what to each guy seems to be an innocuous flirtation is to the woman a series of pings sending the signal that she is seen primarily in terms of her sexual or romantic availability…
Men hitting on women and then walking away when rejected is not harassment.
@Jesse, you said..
“likewise, sexually attractive women in inherently sexual costumes won’t cause the harassment, but they’ll trigger it in the most frazzled men, going back to your Guy 4, Guy 5, Guy 6, and Guy 7 scenario, who have been subjected to a full day of push up bras, girdles, bikini bottoms, and skintight onesies on athletic women with large breasts. They aren’t beasts out to kill when they come to the con, but they are only human with base sexual desires, and the long line of sexpot female characters (and now Marvel ups the ante with female Thor) has eroded their restraint, is quite possible a reverse of your scenario where the woman felt harassed after a long day of being hit on, as the men, felt aroused past their tolerance level, after a full day of T and A. Your thoughts?”
Since I just had a friend in cosplay get groped – had her butt pinched so hard it bruised! – by a stranger, at Boston Comic*Con (by a Freeman representative no less, Freeman is a large corporation that manages the logistics of a bunch of different convention centers across the country), your words made an impression on me.
People get a “full day of T & A” at the beach. Yet they manage, usually, to not grope a stranger, or grab their ass so hard it bruises.
Men aren’t animals. You should be able to read a comic book, go to a convention & not confuse the woman cosplaying the Dark Phoenix for a fantasy. Fantasy Dark Phoenix in your imagination is one thing. An actual human being wearing the costume, another. There’s not some “T & A” limit threshold in men’s brains that goes off, after which they can’t control themselves. C’mon.
Again, do we go to the beach & grope strangers in bikinis? No? Why not? ’cause it’s creepy. Oh yes, & violating & illegal. What weird energy is it about the convention floor that makes people think that’s OK? A couple of celebrity cosplayers also got manhandled at CCI this year & talked about it. I’m sorry it happened to them but I’m glad they are using their platform of bigger social media to talk about it.
Also, there’s a lot of good points in the original article, but I agree with Red Comet. Assuming a pass is politely made.. “Would you like to get a drink?” or similar..& rejected, I don’t think being hit on is harassment. When I dressed sloppier at conventions, flirting happened less, but when I got dolled up I expected it more, & most guys dealt just fine with “no thanks” or “I’m meeting someone, sorry”, etc.
Solmaker, though – I think you are confused about what harassment is, versus inconsideration. Mark Evanier’s piece describes mostly basic rudeness – folks not being aware of their costume props & blocking the aisle for photo ops. Although I share his frustration with the traffic snafus a god cosplayer can cause, the only thing in that piece that sounds kind of harass-y is the wolf cosplayer following the child. Since the parents didn’t know that cosplayer, I agree with that. Sometimes you can tell when a kid &/or their parents are mature enough to be playing along, but in general, interacting much with other people’s kids beyond “Hi, how are you?” at a con is not the best idea.
@Eva – not trying to majorly argue with your point, but I think technically there is a difference between the beach and the con. At the beach, you pretty much HAVE to wear a bathing suit. It’s hot and wet and that’s pretty much what has to happen at the beach. Seeing a girl in a bikini at the beach doesn’t imply (even in the most befuddled of men’s minds) that they are trying to be sexy, because it’s the beach. Also, at the beach, nobody is posing for pictures to show off how awesome their bikini is – everybody is basically minding their own little business and if anything are wanting other people to stay out of their space. The con, on the other hand, is not necessarily a place where people are expected to wear revealing clothing. People are putting their sexy costumes on display asking for attention and the people there ARE interacting. It’s rather like a situation I heard once where ladies were unofficially advised not to sunbathe in the front yard of their apartment complex, because there had been guys driving by who assumed that if these ladies were putting their bodies on display in the middle of the neighborhood, they must be loose. Again, this is not to say that men shouldn’t be able to control themselves, but there are some differences in the atmosphere between the beach/pool and a con.
>>>Seeing a girl in a bikini at the beach doesn’t imply (even in the most befuddled of men’s minds) that they are trying to be sexy, because it’s the beach.
AHve yuo ever been to the beach?
The biggest difference with th ebeach is that everyone is vulnerable by being scantily clad.
Otherwise, it seems like the rules of common decency should apply EVERYWHERE.
Also men if you don’t like women in scanty costumes at cons, stop designing scanty costumes for female characters.
It would be nice if someone gets too “touchy-feely” with a cosplayer against her will, that offender could be banned from not only the show he committed the offense at, but a blanket ban at all shows be put into effect. Of course, since most shows are independent of each other, it’d be hard to pull this off.
But, hey, isn’t “unwanted touching” a criminal offense anyway? Maybe instead of security simply escorting the offender to the door, they should hold him for the police. A law has been broken. The offender should be arrested and charged, simple as that.
You mentioned a possible solution would be to have the cosplaying events in a separate area. I’d say that wouldn’t fly for various reasons, but I personally like the idea. When I attend a show, it’s for one reason only—buying comic books. I don’t give a darn about any other part of the show, and your idea gets everyone else away from me. Considering the last several shows I’ve been to, however (very few comic book dealers, WAY too many cosplayers, Z-list celebs, and panels), maybe the comic book dealers should be the ones in their own separate area. I could live with that.
@Heidi – yes, you are correct, everyone at the beach is scantily clad. This would indeed support my point that there are a lot of differences between a beach and a con so therefore using that comparison is very flawed.
And I agree that rules of common decency should apply everywhere. Did I say something that implied otherwise? Because exploring the causes of bad behavior isn’t the same as excusing it.
And you do realize that the men you are talking to weren’t the ones who designed the costumes, right? Nor does liking it in the comics automatically mean we have to support it when represented in real life, any more than someone who likes Superman in the comics automatically has to like “Man of Steel”.
Some of these comments still sound like they’re blaming the “victim” rather than having people take responsibility for their own actions or assuming that people can’t change or there is no growth. If this were the case, women would still be in neck-high/ankle-length dresses (or, for a more extreme example, burkas). The fact that we’ve seen more acceptance in women being able to wear what they want without it being seen as an invitation to be hit on (or worse) shows that people can change and evolve. It’s a continuing process.
It’s not just a matter of policy, it’s also education. As history has shown, just having a policy in place may no longer be adequately sufficient to avoid liability. That is what is driving the need for more proactive policies; all it will take is one lawsuit and the floodgates will open. Better to stay out in front of it.
Glenn, pop culture cons are a place where men and women are allowed to be scantily clad.
Heidi – not according to the organizers who state they want to have a family-friendly environment. Which is perfectly possible since there are a great many ways to express one’s fandom without dressing in the manner we are discussing. And for the times when it’s not expressly prohibited, it’s still a simple fact that these people are going out in public dressed in that manner and will unfortunately have to deal with the elements of society that the rest of us have no control over. It’s not their fault that they can’t do so without being harassed, but it’s not my fault either. That’s just life.
@ Eva Hopkins said: “Solmaker, though – I think you are confused about what harassment is, versus inconsideration. Mark Evanier’s piece describes mostly basic rudeness…”
My apologies for the wrong impression left from my truncated excerpt. Mark Evanier mostly wrote and was concerned about a rogue Conan cosplayed who nearly poked a child’s eye out with a plastic sword and didn’t care. This was reckless endangerment as well as harassment of all those nearby who might not care to have a sword swung in their direction. I agree this isn’t the narrow sexual harassment that Trexler is writing about, but is arguably worse.
I was with you until this…
“Also men if you don’t like women in scanty costumes at cons, stop designing scanty costumes for female characters.”
That’s a multi-layered cop-out. Are women who want to cosplay doing so out of impulse and have no control over their wardrobe selections? Are we still saying there are no non-objectified female characters in comics circulation these days? Are men as a group responsible for what gets published by Marvel, DC, Dynamite, Zenoscope, etc.? Are women as a group responsible for the actions and wardrobe choices of people like Miley Cyrus or Niki Minaj and so on? You and I can agree that there are a lot of systemic forces at play in how our society treats gender and sexuality but to say that I’m responsible for the original Ms. Marvel costume design and some girl’s desire to wear it for photo ops is ridiculous. Your larger points do better when you’re intellectually consistent and honest.
Does this mean I think Ms. Marvel cosplayers should expect to be harassed or otherwise constantly approached by men at cons? Of course not. Do I think there’s an overall problem surrounding cosplayers and harassment? Yes, and it’s in everybody’s power to work to change the dynamics at play there.
I personally like the idea of the “cosplayer” section with contests and photo op time. It would be much easier to manage and everyone would get all the attention and photos they want!
@Solmaker: No, a dumb guy with a plastic sword being reckless isn’t worse than women repeatedly being accosted and then told it’s their own fault for dressing up a certain way.
No one blames the kid for not wearing eye protection to an event that will inevitably have a plastic sword present.
Oh, Jesse. The classic “blame the victim” approach. You realize that same logic is how some religious fundamentalists can cook up ideas like forcing women to wear burqas and veils anytime they’re in public, right? Cause men just can’t control themselves when an attractive woman is around, so you better wear your burqa or you’ll be fondled and raped!
Some good discussion here, though. While the atmosphere of a con and a beach definitely differ, I don’t get how the “but cosplayers WANT attention” argument works. Couldn’t women just wear one-piece swimsuits all the time? If you don’t, are you just looking for attention?
It’s almost as if all women aren’t constantly thinking “HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO LOOK AT ME?!?” regardless of if they’re at a con, the beach or any place else. Like they put a bunch of hard work into making a costume, and then want you to appreciate the costume instead of the bodies that they all want to show off. Dames, am I right?
” I don’t get how the “but cosplayers WANT attention” argument works.”
Because they generally do. However, as the old adage goes, look with your eyes; not your hands. So cosplayers should appreciate that people want to interact with them and not freak out about it, but cosplay groupies/haters should never touch unless given permission. It’s a simple concept. If you’re a cosplayer and don’t want attention, get dressed up and stay in your house and don’t share any pictures you take of yourself anywhere ever.
1. Harassment vs. Sexual Assault = we should keep separate verbal approaches from physical contact. No amount of sexy clothing “invites” a pinch or grope. But it definitely invites looks and verbal advances. Please do not use one event to argue against another.
2. Con vs. Beach = Is anyone really suggesting girls don’t get hit on at the beach? Or that people don’t go to the beach to find sexual partners? I would find that absurd. No, not everyone goes to the beach for a hook-up. Many go for family fun. But at the beach, those looking for a hook-up can fairly guess which ones are there for which purpose and make their advances accordingly. (Sometimes they get it wrong and move on to the next person.)
3. Sexy designs = We are in a delusional conversation when anyone suggests that women do NOT wear revealing or enticing clothing for the purpose of being looked at. There’s no other reason to wear it! The REAL problem here is that women somehow, very inexplicably, think they can choose WHO looks at them and who advances upon them. Again, absurd and delusional. If I put a 10′ air balloon gorilla in front of my store, I’d be an idiot to claim it’s just for my fun and no one should be gawking at it. Culturally speaking, clothing functions the same as an advertisement in some way. I wear Dr. Doom t-shirts at cons specifically to make a visual statement that yes, I am interested in superheroes! (Same with jerseys at a football game.) And I never get offended when people assume I want comics based on my clothes.
I go to conventions for comics. I’m there to meet creators and buy comic stuff. I’m still a bit shocked at just how sexed-up the cosplay costumes are. It jars me out of my art-buying mindset. Suddenly I feel like I’m at some kind of singles-bar-for-superheroes.
Call me old fashioned, but I think of comicons as a family event. I want to bring my kids when they get older. I want them celebrating the concept of heroism and creativity, not asking me why some cosplayer has 8 inches of jiggling butt-cleavage on her chest or what that other guy meant when he said “camel toe.”
Some of this cosplay stuff looks a lot more like porn than Halloween. And it’s almost impossible to ignore. Which leads me to…
IF YOU DON’T WANT IT SEEN, DON’T SHOW IT. Don’t bring it out for view, don’t put it on display, don’t strut it around the con rooms. Anything you put on display WILL be looked at, talked about, and considered by somebody as just cause for a proposal. This whole thing is getting out of control in our society. It plagues our schools as teenage girls dress like hookers and then her mom cries “pervert!” and “sexual harassment” when the adults point it out. Since no grown man wants to be accused of such a thing (because in our culture being accused of perversion automatically is treated as guilty, and can lead to unemployment), they get cowed, start pretending it doesn’t exist, and so the problem continues.
Yes, women have a right to wear what they want to wear. But that doesn’t absolve themselves of responsibility. I have a right to not be robbed, but would anyone defend me if I taped $100 bills to my clothing and I walked through all those crowded convention halls? Would they be outraged that strangers violated my physical person and took my money? No, I’d be blamed immediately–and I’m the victim. (And I’d say that none of those thieves came to the con with the intent to steal–but my actions put a thought in their heads that wouldn’t have been there otherwise). Just seems to me that we’re very selective about when a victim bears some of the blame.
We are deep into serious cultural confusion these days. People think they can do anything they want without any repercussions whatsoever. It’s just darn unnatural to insist on this. Every woman knows that certain visuals cue the male to enter “propagation” mode. It’s just hard-wired into the brain. Happily, most men can control themselves and not act on that impulse. But it only takes one… one guy out of thousands at the con… to make something bad happen. Why even roll the dice on this? Who teaches these girls that they are somehow immune from danger?
Isn’t it foolish to EVER think you can enter mixed company and NOT be approached? And won’t the odds increase with every suggestive article of clothing used in her cosplay outfit?
The topic of harassment at cons keeps growing every year. And what else keeps growing every year? Cosplay, and in particular very suggestive cosplay outfits. There is a connection here.
You can’t keep adding sheep to the field and still expect the wolves to not show up. The more prey, the more predators. It’s just simple math, simple nature. Maybe it’s not the sheep’s fault. But neither the wolf, nor reality, care.
We need to also start talking about what cosplay people can do to protect themselves. And we probably need to think about what we want going on at our conventions. If it’s just about money (and not atmosphere), well, wolves bring money too.
Heidi, this statement: “it seems like the rules of common decency should apply EVERYWHERE.”
…and this statement… “pop culture cons are a place where men and women are allowed to be scantily clad. ”
…make no sense.
And this statement…
“Also men if you don’t like women in scanty costumes at cons, stop designing scanty costumes for female characters.”
…is blaming those who have nothing to do with the problem. This isn’t blaming the guilty or the victim, but random strangers. It’s not Brian Pulido’s fault you dressed like Lady Death.
And it’s not that men don’t like women in scanty costumes at the cons–it’s that men don’t like you dressing that way and expecting us to pretend you didn’t.
And how about this… if you don’t want men objectifying women, then why do you support it by (1) buying the books and (2) choosing to dress up as objectified women? Why perpetuate the problem? Why not dress up as non-objectified characters? What’s wrong with Agatha Harkness? Or Granny Goodness? Why does it have to be Zatanna and Red Sonja? None of the strong, heroic females in the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings wear objectifying attire–why not pick one of those?
But you get to some underlying truth here… women perpetuate the problem too. They choose the sexiest, most objectified characters. Why? Could it be that the women want the men to look at THEM the same way they look at the sexy characters? I think that’s a very real part of this equation.
Women want to play a dangerous game. These women are screaming for attention but cannot control the attention they get. They throw out visual bait and then say “don’t bite.” If you keep appealing to the reptilian brain, you greatly increase the chances that you will get a reptilian response.
Imagine how much of this would be avoided if women stayed consistent in their argument against objectification and cosplayed in a manner that didn’t objectify themselves.
Dan, you are the most well spoken of us all and got right to the heart of it. Women appear in the most attention/sexual way, instigating a response of unpredictable level of either appreciation – arousal (of course, t and a for gods sake on display is porn) – or illegal and immoral contact/verbal abuse. Any woman who can’t come to terms with the reality that they aren’t capable of controlling the outcome – and who wants to be the object of visual desire/attention etc… needs a polite and thorough wake up. Yes, women ought to be responsible for causing a car wreck if they are stunning. Stunning – definition, to stun. Seriously people. Are men the problem? At least half of it for crossing the line and touching anyone else. It’s no ones first day on the planet, and no one got this far without learning to keep their hands off without permission of things that do not belong to them. I don’t put women or men at total fault, just yell at you all to take responsibility for your part, and not blame storm the opposite sex.
Beast, you also, are dead on. Cosplayers want attention, and the rest of us mixed up in caring that women are off limits, and men aren’t totally to blame, are fed up with the imbeciles that are taking the groping to mean that predators are showing up, and a military operation is in order to enact a safety lockdown. Yes, I over exaggerate, some idiots aren’t getting the message (Heidi). Rules of decency, law, behavior among civilized people exists everywhere, public or private. Stupidity though, never takes a vacation. Bullies, gropers, pinchers, etc exist at the beach, the con, the gym, and everywhere you want to be… so don’t (Heidi) pull this BS about the beach seems safe. You’re ignorant. Willfully so? Probably. If you took the beach people, brought them all to the con, took al the people at the con, and put them on the beach, would the identical problems arise? Of course. It’s not the event, it’s the bastards that won’t leave others alone, and grope/molest. Can they be stopped with a policy? Of course not. They have to be caught, arrested, penalized, and then see if they rearrange their priorities and stay home looking at porn instead of ending up in jail, or go to a strip club where a bouncer will break their fingers. And I’m ok with any of those solutions. Who isn’t?!
Bill on the 10th said that it indicates a problem, but didn’t identify what that is in his opinion. The problem is people. Not all people will behave properly. Isn’t that the bedrock issue? Women in bikini’s aren’t properly dressed for the public unless they’re at the beach. Men touching women without permission aren’t behaving properly, and it’s happening everywhere in the world, regardless of country, attire, or location. What to do? Solve the problems by preventing them. Simple police record verification would prevent criminals from getting tickets, simple dress code before entering the conventions would prevent provocative sexual arousal. It’s more than any event organizer will take on, instead they will hire more temp security in hopes that less harassment occurs. Not likely.
@Eva, I apologize for some apes behavior/attack. I’d break his fingers if I could. I hope she got revenge, had help to beat the shit out of him, and then sues Freeman for hiring that sonofabitch. But it wasn’t the SDCC that caused his behavior, or lack of a policy. His company, city, county, state, and country… plus SDCC already have policies against this outrageous action. What do you imagine is a action that can be done to prevent a re-occurrence? You did not seem to realize you agreed with me, when you said “People get a “full day of T & A” at the beach. Yet they manage, usually, to not grope a stranger, or grab their ass so hard it bruises.” YES! SO TOO AT THE CON! Many thousands of people were in arms reach of your friend. All of them kept their hands off. All but one. The thousands, in your words, “managed not to grope” Allright., We both agree then that no matter where you are, almost everyone manages not to grope other people! As for your statement that there isn’t some T&A limit… where do you get that fact from? There is a limit to any stimulation of mental or physical that will result in a reaction. NOBODY can deny that post orgasm they can NOT be touched on the pink parts that caused the orgasm. There is a limit to the pleasure center of the brain from those nerves. People have been tortured by sound, sensory deprivation, and also, they’ve had mental therapy by sound, and sensory deprivation. No simple answers exist when describing what the incredibly diverse human species and brains will do.
@Eva. in your words “Again, do we go to the beach & grope strangers in bikinis? No? Why not? ’cause it’s creepy. Oh yes, & violating & illegal. What weird energy is it about the convention floor that makes people think that’s OK? ”
Well, you’re wrong there. Ask around at the beach, or just google the police arrest records. As much happens at the beach as at the con. The only weird energy about the convention floor, in my opinion, is that you haven’t experienced the world as much as you have this con, and your recall of every other grope/attack is not as recently impacted your emotional memory as this con did. On college campus news? Oh wow, the recent news coverage of murder and rapes are increasing. Schools of girls being abducted in Africa. I don’t need to go on, you ought to see the point. Think about it, get the facts if possible. How many assaults happened at the con. Now, find any college campus, or Burning Man, or music fest, of equal number of people of a similar age and demographic. Compare the stats on assault, rape, sexual harassment, etc. You’ve nothing to compare the con to in your recent history. Try an open mind, and facts. Not anecdotes.
@ Heidi on the 11th, “Also men if you don’t like women in scanty costumes at cons, stop designing scanty costumes for female characters.”
Heidi. Step up, and allow the wearers of the costumes responsibility of the freedom to point out to you that they chose what to wear, or reveal. No one forced, or insisted, or even won a bet in which any one attending the con had to wear the princess leia bikini with bare torso all the way from finger tips to toes. Any revealing outfit, was freely chosen, and the women who do so ought to have your support to dress as anything you do or don’t agree with, and not see you give the opinion that men designed, made, and dressed them with it. It’s a costume, normally hand made by the people wearing it. It’s hers. Not made by Calvin Klein. Not made by Stan Lee.
Rob E. You’re damn right. Arrest and prosecute.
As for the costumes and other unrelated things about SDCC? That’s why the Long Beach comic con has comic books, no panels, no celebs, and sucks. I’ve been to both, and Long Beach? Has one reason to attend, comics. It has no other reason, and yes, people did dress in costumes, but nothing like San Diego. For gods sake, Chevy and Ford brought cars to display in the LB convention center. Lame!
@Solmaker .. the Conan sword issue? Would you please learn the definition of harassment, and then never use it to describe a moron swinging a fake sword. Don’t be a part of the idiocy Solmaker, be smart. Say it was stupid, ignorant, deplorable, and you’ll find no contest… but harassment? OMFG, you’re way off.
@HufnagelO… serious, when they show 90% skin, 10% bikini that is supposed to be a “costume” ie Leia bikini… that is not showing off the “costume”, it’s showing off legs, pubic bone to bottom of nipple, top of nipple to hairline. With sideboobs, top of glutes to hairline, all the side of the glute from ass crack to front of the bikini, down to the toes. That, and a thousand other sexed out “costumes” aren’t showing off a “costume” they are showing off the body that has less cloth than a hat covering the pink parts. Don’t be simple. Want to see what I mean? Youtube hottest cosplayers of SDCC and look at the webbing over the pinks of the woman in silver at 2:02. Dude, no one is stupid enough to say she is in costume, defend it as a costume, or that it’s appropriate at the con for her to put on her pasties and have avoided the strip club. Her right arm has 5 times more coverage than her ass, groin, and nipples… combined.
Dan, at 3:10 am on the 13 of august post, you nailed it, I take my hat off, and applaud your eloquence. I wish you’d run for office, as you’re well spoken and think clearly. Call it like you see it, and tell it straight. Bravo sir!
Nice little circle jerk we got goin’ on here.
You guys, your viewpoint is still steeped in the idea that a woman’s body is a commodity, and that it is is owned by others. THIS is the pernicious idea we need to resocialize.
Here’s a great version of it.
To put it another way, when its pointed out that, say , it’s dangerous for women to go out after dark, why is is considered socially UNACCEPTABLE for women to go out after dark, while the male PERPETRATORS are allowed to go out? Why is it the victims of the crimes that have their rights abridged? It is not a “safety” issue, it is a rights issue.
Heidi, in a perfect world, etc etc. But Utopian societies are for the illuminati to ponder. How about you pull your head of of the hole you’re hiding in to keep the ugly world from being seen, and face the harsh reality. Women? Aren’t mentally equipped to be a bad ass MFer and take out the attacker. Or you’d be applauding the women that were groped and broke the jerks hands. You shove off the responsibility of public ethics and courtesy to the jerks that need their hands broken. Stupid is as stupid suggests, to paraphrase good ol Forrest Gump. Don’t be stupid, women have all the “socially acceptable” freedom to be idiots, dress like eye magnets, and wander college campus drunk, high, and stupid. You go ahead and do that… meanwhile, I’ll be over here waiting to see the news that stupid women were attacked because they weren’t using their heads for more than a pretty scarf holder. It’s stupid, and women are victims, because they have overwhelmingly not been more vicious when attacked than the attacker. They haven’t forced public awareness to the view that vigilante bad ass women are lucking in the dark to beat the hell out of rapists. You get that notion on the evening news, and suddenly, you’ve got the trouble free environment that will let you roam around naked and soaked in pheromones, with beer in one hand and a medium well filet mignon in the other, whistling the NFL theme song. However, until you get to that glorious moment, you’ll still be the one in the costume of a female character based on a males wet dream of a big breasted zero body fat heroine that has a sex life. If you meant to change the world for womens rights, equal treatment, etc, you’d get it together and join the police force, get a job with the FBI, or some other meaningful job. You wouldn’t put on a bikini (stereotyping you in your anonymity as every woman in an oversexed stripper superhero costume) and walk the con POSING for pictures. You’d be undercover in the police force in that same skimpy outfit waiting to bust the fingers of any groper. You telling me what my viewpoint is, is intrinsically wrong, and if you could dampen your superiority complex long enough to ponder that every guy commenting here has been voting for women to be untouchable, but heaven to view. None of the guys at the con want women in burquas, that’s moronic. Nor do those of us commenting want women to be made victims, or attacked, or uncomfortable topless. But we don’t have mind control on the idiots in the world. Idiot women who aren’t too stupid to understand that some are going to attack the women, and idiot men that think a “policy (reference to the article we are commenting about)” is going to stop the apes with hard ons. It’s the responsibility of the camper that doesn’t want a bear to hit their camp, to not display food on the picnic table, and it’s the women’s responsibility to not flash the flesh causing an attack and then complain that their stripper costume was torn and their ass is bruised by some ape. The women in the nun habit wasn’t touched, the women in the Miyazaki ghost outfit wasn’t touched…. only the women in stripper costumes. Do you not get it? Sexed up stripper costumes are the issue that provokes the apes to attack… and you can prevent the apes only one way, not provoking them. Don’t feed the bears, don’t poke the tiger, and don’t arouse the ape. Simple. Easy. If you object, you’re part of the problem, not a part of the solution. If you think I’m some ape that objectifies women, you’re merely uniformed, and I can set you straight very politely with more online proof than you’ll take time to look at. I have abundant video and photo evidence of women in stripper costumes at the con… youtube hottest cosplayers at SDCC 2014, skip to 2:02. And there you have it, strippers at the con. Not my problem, I’m not groping, photographing, or encouraging the stripper costumes. I’m also not denying they exist (as women on this page are) nor telling anyone to wear a burqua, but I’m pretty loudly pointing out that were there is honey, there are bees, where there is trash, there are rats. You want a fix? You can’t fix stupid.
Jesse: Typed like a truly rational person.
Looks like the hot trend for the upcoming convention season will be for guys to cosplay as the Gashte Ershad.
Heidi, you say “You guys, your viewpoint is still steeped in the idea that a woman’s body is a commodity, and that it is is owned by others.”
I didn’t read that. I read that the cosplayers do own their bodies and their choices. And that they should understand their audience and prepare accordingly. No guy SHOULD take advantage of the cosplay situation to harrass or assault, but a sexy costume will inspire such thoughts in many men. A person planning to put on a sexy display should expect that they might provoke some animal instincts and they should decide for themselves if they want to risk that and make plans to deal with it. It is simple adult stuff we are talking about here: when planning to take risks prepare yourself for danger.
However, I think that Cons need to repond to harrassment/assault incidents with serious security/video-recording prescences. What happens one year should not happen the next. Designate a Cosplay Safe Zone and MAKE IT SAFE. Cosplayers who leave the zone are on their own, and hopefully they won’t run into people who can’t control their animal urges. People who can’t control their animal urges should be arrested, so hopefully the cosplayers will leave a spot for a cellphone in their costumes!
Seth: Okay so the COSPLAYERS need to be confined to a “Safe space” but the people who “can’t control their animal urges” should be allowed to roam free?
Do you see how Effed up that is?
Until someone loses control of their animal urges they are free to be you and me and everyone. This means no action can be taken against someone before they behave in a criminal manner. So the problem guys aren’t problem guys before they engage in this behavior. They can’t be stopped before they cause the problem.
This means that the likely targets of such behavior become the focus of prevention. Greater Security Staff presence is the best prevention. But nobody trying to turn a profit can hire vast numbers of Security Staff. The financially practical way to address this is a concentration of Security Staff to create a “safe area”.
I didn’t say that the Cosplayers are confined to that area. They can choose to leave that area. Choices should be made with knowledge of risks and preparedness to face those risks. And the big risk is Male Sexuality.
I guess the bone of contention in this exchange is that you seem to think that all men can be controlled and thus the resolution to Cosplayer harrassment should be focussed on controlling men while myself and others see no non-Orwellian way to control all men and thus feel the reolution to this issue needs to focus on the Cosplayers.
It sucks that Male Sexuality is effectively predatory. I guess it would be great if men weren’t turned on by sexy women. It would enhance the freedom of all people and promote gender equality. But most men will remain natural men (the laws of natural selection imply that many women are comfortable with this and select natural men as mates; i.e. women could end sexual harrassment in a few generations by simply refusing to give birth to the children of guys who engage in or condone sexual harrassment) and gender politics will probably always revolve around this impass.
So yes, my suggestion does create an “effed up” situation, but all the choices really possible (IMO) are “effed up” situations.
>>>I guess the bone of contention in this exchange is that you seem to think that all men can be controlled and thus the resolution to Cosplayer harrassment should be focussed on controlling men while myself and others see no non-Orwellian way to control all men and thus feel the reolution to this issue needs to focus on the Cosplayers.
If by “Controlled” you mean asking that men behave like moral, ethical, heroic compassionate human beings then guilty as charged.
The sad thing about this is that despite all the claim of “man hating” against those who want a more equal society, it seems I actually have a higher view of men than you do. Instead of building a society around the transgressions of people so enslaved to their hormones that they should never be allowed to run for office let alone run the world, I’d prefer a society that rewards humane behavior. I thought men were the strong ones…in your world they are the weak.
@Heidi – I think it comes down to nobody thinks the goal is a bad one, we just think it cannot be achieved, as presented.
This effort has a LOT of barriers. Not the least of which is the fact that we are talking about such a small percentage of the male population that the rest of us get tired of being talked to about it. Like the professor who complains to the class about poor attendance – hello, we’re not the problem.
Then there’s a certain feeling that our biological imperative is being disrespected. Which is not to say that most of us don’t have the requisite control, but on some level we certainly relate to the offender – much like you would relate to someone who stole food when they were starving. You might not go there yourself, but you’ve been hungry yourself. We’re supposed to humor and respect women when their hormones go out of whack and it causes them to be rude or irritable, but we’re supposed to be buttoned up 100% of the time, 100% of the population. I don’t know how you can expect me to look at “Abby Dark Star” and not have prurient thoughts, and if I’m going to have prurient thoughts, how can we possibly stop there from being some dumbass having the same thoughts but lacking the control?
And I think another barrier is simply a low level of concern for someone’s right to cosplay and do it wherever they want. I can’t really relate to it, so it’s difficult for me to get too worked up about it. I don’t have any interest in dressing up and can’t directly understand why someone else would. That level of abstraction creates the barrier I mean.
Then there’s that sense of “I want to have the right to do whatever I want and you guys need to just deal with it”, which is not factually inaccurate, but it comes across as a bit obnoxious at the macro level. I doubt very much most men get to do whatever they want wherever they want (and in fact, that’s specifically what we’re saying – that there is a time and a place for grabbing a woman’s butt and a stranger at a con isn’t it).
This is a difficult difficult situation, and at the end of the day, I find that a lot of people just have this “well it’s wrong so it should just stop” attitude that doesn’t actually accomplish anything.
“This effort has a LOT of barriers. Not the least of which is the fact that we are talking about such a small percentage of the male population that the rest of us get tired of being talked to about it. Like the professor who complains to the class about poor attendance – hello, we’re not the problem.
Then there’s a certain feeling that our biological imperative is being disrespected. Which is not to say that most of us don’t have the requisite control, but on some level we certainly relate to the offender – much like you would relate to someone who stole food when they were starving. You might not go there yourself, but you’ve been hungry yourself. We’re supposed to humor and respect women when their hormones go out of whack and it causes them to be rude or irritable, but we’re supposed to be buttoned up 100% of the time, 100% of the population. I don’t know how you can expect me to look at “Abby Dark Star” and not have prurient thoughts, and if I’m going to have prurient thoughts, how can we possibly stop there from being some dumbass having the same thoughts but lacking the control?”
People have negative thoughts all the time. They can be just as primitive & hardwired as the male need to reproduce. When someone cuts you off in traffic, you might have a flash of anger – “grr, what if I smacked my car *right into* that asshole?” – but you don’t *do it*. Both because you could hurt yourself, & you realize, almost instantly, that’s it’s not the right thing to do.
How can we possibly stop some asshole from harassing or molesting a cosplayer? IDK. There didn’t used to be so many cosplayers. But a good place to start would be, to be able to talk about it in a way that didn’t blame the people *being harassed*, instead shifting our focus to the people doin’ the harassin’. Guys may be tired of hearing about the few bad apples in their midst..so instead of complaining about that, why not try addressing some of those bad apples directly? Lots of decent dudes – & I agree with you, I think most men are descent people & harassment makes them mad too – freeze up when something bad happens, right in front of them. They don’t say or do anything. I’m sure part of it is mob mentality, it’s hard to be the first one to break out of the pack.
Model Adrian Curry describes how both she, & one of her friends, got groped at Comic*Con International. Almost more aggravating then the incident itself was the ring of men standing around *watching it go down*. Nobody intervened.
Putting the onus of responsibility on the cosplayer to *not get harassed* is akin to blaming rape victims, based on what they were wearing / who they were with / their past history, etc. We’ve tried that societal view for decades – & you know what? It hasn’t worked.
You know whose “biological imperative” is being disrespected? Mine – to be able to walk down a street without getting catcalled or work a comic convention without hearing some BS comment about my looks / body. I’m overweight FWIW, a fairly frumpy woman who usually wears big tee shirts & jeans. But *even if* I was magically mega buff & dressed like Vampirella, it’s still my body. Yeah, may choose to be brave & have people see more of it, but that would not mean I deserve to be harassed or groped or worse.
The main reason that we need to change the way we discuss & handle harassment (& abuse, & rape) is because our current approach isn’t working. It still happens. What’s that old saying..”The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Blaming women (& men who get harassed) for being harassed, hasn’t changed anything about the dynamic that allows it to keep happening.
You guys who are good guys, who might have “animal urges” but wouldn’t do anything to upset or harm someone…if you see something, say something. Don’t stand around & do nothing; don’t blame someone wearing a skimpy outfit. Instead, help put the finger squarely on the people doing this, so we can all go back to enjoying the convention scene we love so much.
Of *course* there’s gonna be flirting, *of course* people are gonna hit on each other. Jeez. Nobody’s suggesting people aren’t gonna hook up at a con or enjoy meeting people w/ like interests. But just like in everyday life, there’s flirting – “Hey, you look great! How long did it take you to make your outfit?” & then there’s creeping – following someone around, saying lewd things as they go by, asking for a picture & then hugging or grabbing the person w/out asking.
Not saying, don’t flirt. I’m saying, don’t be That Guy.
Maybe that’s part of what’s missing, here. People are doing more interacting online, where their keyboard courage flows freely. & there’s not exactly lots of courtesy we extend each other, online. Perhaps our manners as a society are worn down from all the yelling at each other we do when we can’t see each other’s faces.
Regardless, these stories women (& some dudes) are reporting from conventions aren’t BS.
The writer Steve Niles got home from this year’s Comic*Con International. On his FB, he said this: “I had a very good time this year at ComicCon but the one annoyance was men constantly “complimenting” Monica. It happened at least three times. Each time was awkward. I had to resist confrontation because I didn’t want to ruin the con for us. Men at cons really need to learn about personal space and respect it.
Monica wasn’t wearing a costume. She had on jeans and a t-shirt. Not that what she was wearing should make any difference. She deserves to walk around without any commentary at all.”
A reply was:
“Jason S. Voss Women in comic books are way more sexy today than they were drawn in the 70’s when i was a kid reading comics, so when women dress-up like the comic characters, there is this immediate transference of all that intimate fan-boy knowledge and sexual admiration, and being the socially awkward men-boys they are, they find it difficult to distinguish fake girl from reality.
July 28 at 3:05pm · Like · 3”
So Mr. Niles answered –
“Steve Niles: Victor Drax – All of those things are factors and we better do something fast or soon pervs will come to shows for the expressed purpose of harassment. It’s how violence came to punk shows. The media portrayed punk a certain way and soon it attracted those people. If we all stand up for women in comics and let the harassers know they aren’t welcome we might stop them but it might be too late already.”
Maybe now that a man has noticed it, a man whose work some comics people admire, we can all agree this is something that happens, & try other things to do something about it?
The TL/DR for both of those is what The Beat Herself has already said:
Seth: Okay so the COSPLAYERS need to be confined to a “Safe space” but the people who “can’t control their animal urges” should be allowed to roam free?
Do you see how Effed up that is?”
That’s seriously Effed up.
jesus christ some of you guys are just gross. you are so disgustingly narcissistic that you think that there must be NO OTHER REASON that a woman would want to dress up in a sexy outfit beyond getting the attention of men. how about maybe because she loves clothes and comics and wanted to combine the two in a way that she enjoyed? this twisted and gross view of women as all being objects waiting to be claimed by a man is just beyond me. to fall back and claim that it’s all “biology” is even more idiotic – you do realize that for most of human history, the roles have been completely reversed and women have been viewed as sex-crazed lunatics and men as the rational, intelligent and chaste ones? “geeks” like to play themselves off as being so smart and intelligent but when you get right down to it, most of you are just basically sadist losers who fall back on long-winded psuedo-intellectual crap that other sadist losers then affirm in a never-ending circle jerk that effectively eliminates the chance of the sexism problem in the comics, tech and other “geek” industries from ever being truly addressed, let alone solved. and every single one of you, in being dismissive or rationalizing this sort of behavior, is absolutely complicit. you should be ashamed of yourselves, because i am so ashamed of all of you, and it makes me miserable sometimes to know that people like you are supporting me and my work. the fact that i don’t feel like i can even write this comment under my real name should speak volumes about how deep this problem goes and i know that i am not the only professional who feels this way. so disappointing and disheartening. my heart really goes out to those who are truly supportive of cosplay and the cosplayers themselves and who put such an incredible amount of blood, sweat and tears into their work just to end up berated and abused – i have seen costumes that put my own design work to shame and i have adopted ideas i’ve seen used in cosplay for series i’ve worked with many times. please progress beyond this adolesent crap as soon as possible, thanks.
@Eva – I’m pretty sure that after the first 20 articles I was presented with, I got the picture that guys need to stop other guys. The problem is, I go to like one convention a year, and when I do, I never ever see any of this happening. And I would wager that 99% of the other guys never ever seen this happen. So again, telling us to do something about it is useless.
And I get really frustrated when I AGAIN have to say we’re not blaming the victims. What we are saying is, we can easily identify the person who is likely to be a victim ahead of time, and that person has the ability to control what they are doing, and that may be the only way to prevent this from happening. We would LOVE to stop the harassers, but we don’t have ANY way of doing it. It’s a harsh reality but it’s a reality. That’s not “blaming the victim”, it’s “solving the problem the only way we know how”.
Nobody is disrespecting your biological imperative – we hear about it constantly. What I’d like to hear someone admit is that sexually revealing costumes do indeed appeal to a large portion of the male population and it’s only understandable that they would have prurient thoughts about them, and therefore it’s only understandable that some of them, lacking the proper social skills, would be a-holes about it. I do think “Cosplay is not Consent” is a great thing to post around the con, because it reminds them ON THE DAY, AT THAT MOMENT, that it’s not something they are supposed to do.
You are right, the current methods aren’t working. The question is, will any method work? And the current method, for what seems like a year now, has been to harangue the men who aren’t doing it. That doesn’t seem to be working either, does it?
And I do think the fact that we’re talking about effectively nerd gatherings where a large portion of the male population presumably has dating issues of some sort, at the very least a history of not getting the women they want either in terms of quality or quantity. There’s bound to be a lot more sexual tension at a comic con than a jewelry trade show.
Is the whole thing effed up? Certainly. But we live in a world where cops and teachers make very little but football players are millionaires. The world is not fair. When someone suggests that the cosplayers may not get to do what they want to do, that’s just a reflection of the fact that life is just not fair sometimes. Nobody’s thrilled about it, but it is what it is.
@baffled artist – perhaps you mis-read. Nobody (or very few) people think that cosplayers in sexy costumes dress up JUST to get the attention of men. Certainly if I said that, let me know. What is more accurate is that a female in a sexy costume absolutely cannot AVOID the attention of men. She could be oblivious to the male gender from concept to execution, but on the day, men are going to be looking at her boobs. We can’t help it, sorry.
And then, ironically, there’s this:
Looked at the video Glenn Simpson linked. The people creating and titling the video seem to think that “flirtatious” means reaction/interaction. Woman after woman simply acts out signature moves of the character she is portraying. Most don’t even give the camera a smile while locking eyes. There was nothing I recognized as “flirtation” in the video (not that I am good at recognizing flirtation…)
In a way this illustrates the root of the problem being yelled about here. Some guys will classify a scantily clad woman POINTING A GUN AT THEM WITH A COLD STARE as “flirtatious”! No this doesn’t equal men “owning” women’s bodies, but it does effectively trap these women in a box created by the male’s expectations.
As I have said above, I think this issue is fairly immutable. But yelling about it may at least effect a few people’s attitudes and have some positive impact. Silence does equal acceptance and not everything that can’t be changed should be accepted.
re video, Glenn SImpson, yes and…? Women displaying their costumes….and not even actively flirting????? Maybe a regular schedule of abuse will teach them not to go out in public!
>>>What I’d like to hear someone admit is that sexually revealing costumes do indeed appeal to a large portion of the male population
Yes I admit that. I admit that humans of all sexes like to look at sexy people of all sexes.
>>>> and it’s only understandable that they would have prurient thoughts about them,
Yes yes I agree, I definitely have prurient thoughts about [REDACTED] when I see him [REDACTED]
>>>>and therefore it’s only understandable that some of them, lacking the proper social skills, would be a-holes about it.
Yes that happens. Sure. And so, once again, we are going to BUILD THE ENTIRE SYSTEM AROUND THE A-HOLES instead of teaching others to recognize and stop their behavior and making it clear that their behavior is inappropriate and hopefully allowing them to learn to be socialized? This is a win win for everyone!
Don’t you see that by CONSTANTLY PUTTING THE ONUS ON THE NON TRANSGRESSORS YOU ARE ENABLING THE A-HOLE BEHAVIOR???
I would hope that some group of a-holes would learn that their behavior is unwanted and inappropriate, however based on the ability of the men in this thread to understand the meaning of “blaming the victim” I think some people just don’t WANT to learn.
Baffledartist, I’m letting this thread run because the opinions here are not obvious trolls but seemingly reasonable and well meaning people who are struggling with the whole concept. I think hearing these thoughts and interacting with them is enabling ME at least to understand more of the issues involved.
That said, to quote Anne Frank, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.”
OH and OTW I just watched that video and YIKES. Most of the women in the video are SIMPLY LOOKING AT THE CAMERA. That’s it. No wonder people thinking cosplay equals consent.
“I’m letting this thread run because the opinions here are not obvious trolls but seemingly reasonable and well meaning people who are struggling with the whole concept.”
Heidi, THANK YOU for letting this thread continue. It has been extremely fascinating, frustrating, and illuminating.
So to review, by suggesting that cosplayers may not be able to avoid being harassed when wearing sexy costumes, I am enabling the harassers.
Isn’t that like saying by locking my doors at night, I am enabling thieves? Shouldn’t I have the right to leave my doors unlocked? If I leave my doors unlocked and someone comes in and steals my stuff, and someone suggests I should have locked my doors, aren’t they blaming the victim?
When there’s a natural disaster like a tornado, afterwards you hear warnings on the radio to be careful about scam artists pretending to be contractors, and not to pay them in advance. Why are they telling us this? Isn’t that making me responsible for keeping myself from being scammed? Isn’t that blaming the (potential) victim?
Aren’t we told to drive defensively? That it’s not enough to make sure you are driving properly, but also to watch out for what other people are doing, in case they aren’t?
What is this so different?
Also, my main point about the video is that, as far as I can tell, it was a cosplayer or leader of a cosplaying organization who labeled it as “flirtatious”. Heck, I didn’t even watch it, the headline alone was the point. Isn’t that a bad juxtoposition to have given the current issues going around?
The amount of victim blaming in this thread is disgusting. Folks, if you can’t be in a public gathering where women are showing skin without acting like a hormone fueled adolescent and going touchy feely and have a unmanageable need to make dumb ass comments, just don’t go.
Glenn, that is one of the more insipid arguments I’ve ever heard if you’re being serious. Imagine if someone broke into your house and you called the police and their response was, “Is your house nice? What did you expect? You know criminals break into houses; maybe you shouldn’t have owned a house if you didn’t want to get robbed.”
“we are going to BUILD THE ENTIRE SYSTEM AROUND THE A-HOLES instead of teaching others to recognize and stop their behavior and making it clear that their behavior is inappropriate and hopefully allowing them to learn to be socialized? ”
And here we have the big flaw in this whole discussion. The onus shouldn’t be on the victims or the a-holes ability to change. Especially given that a-holes choose to be a-holes. No, the onus should be were it is for every crime: laws and their enforcement. Harassment is against the law. When a person is harassed or assaulted in some form or fashion, we call the police, gather statements from victims and witnesses and then, if there is enough evidence, we prosecute the perpetrator.
Is this a perfect system? No. Unfortunately, life isn’t like an episode of Law & Order. But it is better than putting our faith in educating a-holes and having faith in their capacity to change after having read better written convention harassment policies. We should simply enforce the laws that we have and hold law enforcement more accountable. That’s the only thing that will ultimately help the victims.
One of the interesting assumptions in the counterarguments here and elsewhere is that there’s a baseline mode of dress that won’t incite desire. Trying to act on this is a sartorial form of chasing the dragon – we live in a world where you can Google “potato sack sexy” or “burqa babes” and actually get results.
I’ll be following up on this discussion in future posts. Until then, a few more quick points:
–Although the research data re comic conventions appears to be thin, there is an abundance of evidence re behavior in other contexts, including workplace environments where the dress code is primarily business attire. Assuming that this behavior stops in a comic-con context would be irresponsible – if anything, departure from the normal spaces of interaction creates a greater sense of freedom from constraint.
–Heidi’s point re the attire of women in comics is solid – cosplay runs along the spectrum from mimetic (imitative) to transformative, and a woman not inclined to follow the gender-swapped cosplay trend has a far more limited range of options.
–Making “family friendly” the norm is problematic. Comic conventions are an adult space. Yes, families can bring children there, and there is programming for children, but Comic-Con ain’t Disneyland, nor should it be. Adults need social spaces too, and giving kids a chance to see a civil space where IDIC reigns can be an invaluable educational experience.
This is a principle that has applications outside harassment. To see how the family friendly norm can affect community gatherings with culture-specific attire, we need only look to what has been happening in the Chelsea & Meatpacking areas of New York City, where an influx of families to the High Line area has led to campaigns to ban longstanding annual leather & fetish street festivals. There are parents who believe that same-sex kissing and Pride-themed events are inappropriate for children to witness – should Comic-Con ban those too? Do the men and women who attend such events dressed in something other than business attire forfeit the right to be treated with respect?
Life isn’t fair. The good have to suffer for the bad. Neither of those are new concepts, yet somehow there are some women out there who think those concepts don’t apply to them. The entirety of life consists of working around assholes no matter the situation or who’s involved. Should it? No, but that is the reality.
“One of the interesting assumptions in the counterarguments here and elsewhere is that there’s a baseline mode of dress that won’t incite desire.”
I disagree that this is the case. I think what the people commenting on the mode of dress are addressing is that there is a scale or formula to it. The more clothes you take off=the greater the desire incited. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a burqa or a bikini; as a woman, you should take the same precautions and have the same concerns for your safety because a determined attacker doesn’t care how much material is in the way.
“based on the ability of the men in this thread to understand the meaning of “blaming the victim” I think some people just don’t WANT to learn.”
based on how quickly and frequently the women in this thread drag out that ol’ chestnut, I think some people just don’t want to learn that “blaming the victim” needs to contain some actual blaming of victims to be called that. Phrases like “she was asking for it” is blaming the victim. Talking about the details of the situation and pointing out that it’s not surprising it happened due to the various facts that are presented and probably could have been avoided had one or more of those facts been remedied is not blaming the victim.
“Glenn, that is one of the more insipid arguments I’ve ever heard if you’re being serious.”
Glenn’s comment was spot on. Your reaction to it was hyperbolic and in no way reflective of what he was talking about.
The only way to stop harassment of women and cosplayers at comic book conventions is to not have women or cosplayers at comic book conventions. The only way to achieve world peace is to get rid of all the people.
What I’ve noticed about topics like this and their comment sections is that generally (as in NOT reflective of ALL) the men willing to discuss the topic do so from a realistic standpoint whereas generally (as in NOT reflective of ALL) the women are constantly crying foul and playing the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” game. That results in pissed off people and closed threads, as if a solution would be reached in the comment section anyway.
The reality of the situation is harassment is going to happen, and the burden is on the harassed to do something about it. “See something, say something” is a cop-out. The campaign for rewritten and detailed policies is pointless. You could put it on a banner at the entrance and it would still happen. The one and only key to stopping harassment or assault is to protect yourself to the best of your ability and hope that’s enough. All of the other stuff is just futile palliative b.s. I’m sorry that the world is such a cruel place, but I’m not going lie to you and hold your hand and pretend otherwise just to avoid being called names by those that refuse to accept it.
“What I’ve noticed about topics like this and their comment sections is that generally (as in NOT reflective of ALL) the men willing to discuss the topic do so from a realistic standpoint whereas generally (as in NOT reflective of ALL) the women are constantly crying foul and playing the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” game. That results in pissed off people and closed threads, as if a solution would be reached in the comment section anyway.”
Actually, it’s comments like this that tend to result in closed threads. The women-are-irrational card is best left unplayed.
I think if a realistic discussion cannot be had on a subject, the thread might as well BE closed. I think theBeast made every effort to state that while not every woman automatically takes that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, it is prevalent. If the only way anybody is willing to discuss this subject is to complain to men who aren’t doing it about how the men who are doing it need to stop so that cosplayers can do whatever they want without considering that most men don’t have any control over other men, then obviously they don’t want any actual input, they just want to vent.
As for family-friendly, as someone who doesn’t have kids, I dearly wish the world wasn’t so focused on having things be family friendly, but that too is not the world we live in. The organizers of an event have every right to set rules for what will go on at their event. If someone wants to complain and try to get the rules changed, that fine (and I would support their right to do that, especially if the rules are being discriminatory) but that doesn’t change the fact that the people who organize a particular con have the right to decide what the dress code will be for that con.
And I disagree that the mode of dress doesn’t have an effect on the *odds* of being harassed. Yes, anything with a set of boobs stands a chance, but Slave bikini Princess Leia is going to get it worse than a woman wearing jeans and a loose t-shirt. To go back to my unlocked doors example, there’s still a difference between leaving the doors unlocked and actually leaving them standing wide open. Earlier in the thread, there were comments from a creator who was uncomfortable with what others were saying to the female in his booth. While he has a right to be uncomfortable, what it sounded like to me was that it was goofy nerds who were just trying to say “we’re glad you’re here because we like girls and want there to be more girls around” and were just doing a terrible job at it.
“The women-are-irrational card is best left unplayed.”
I agree, but that’s not what thebeast did. It seems to me it’s about lamenting the absence of a middle ground where an actual discussion can take place because each side is limited in their approach to the subject. Neither side being irrational yet ultimately unhelpful until the commentary goes off the rails.
No, this is a classic example of rhetorical projection – by claiming to have the only realistic perspective in opposition to those who irrationally hold to an us/them dichotomy, one side is projecting its own stereotypical us/them dichotomy onto the opposition. It’s a well-worn trick, and if the conversation continues to go down this rabbit trail I’m inclined to make that part of it disappear. Women trying to express themselves re harassment get enough of that elsewhere – not on my thread.
And please note that I’m a male, if that makes a difference.
As for the question of a linear connection between exposure and unwanted attention, I beg to differ. Composition is as important, if not more so, than exposition – there are women in business attire and full-body suits who get more attention than any number of women in Princess Leia costumes, and the response has a lot to do with our perception of style. There’s also a lesson here in the importance of ethos and education – comic conventions could learn from the culture of naturist communities, where there’s an inverse correlation between openness toward advances and exposure of skin.
“Comic conventions are an adult space.”
I started going to comic conventions back when Wizard was just a magazine and the Chicago Comicon was a relatively close second to San Deigo in being a big deal in the comic world. I can tell you that the environment back then was both more adult, in the sense of folks behaving themselves, and less adult, in terms of exposed flesh.
I also imagine that women get harassed at Sherlock Holmes conventions, so I don’t think there is anything comic book specific about this problem. I do not think, however, that an environment where men are supposed to behave like it is Victorian England while women dress like it’s a Japanese techno-brothel is either attainable or sustainable.
A lot of comic fans seem to applaud the mainstreaming of our sub-culture. I wonder if we’re not just trading one kind of dysfunction for another.
“Actually, it’s comments like this that tend to result in closed threads. The women-are-irrational card is best left unplayed.”
I never said irrational. That’s you putting words in my mouth.
“this is a classic example of rhetorical projection – by claiming to have the only realistic perspective in opposition to those who irrationally hold to an us/them dichotomy, one side is projecting its own stereotypical us/them dichotomy onto the opposition.”
You don’t get to tell me what I said or meant. Simply reading the comments will provide all of the necessary support for what I said. And seeing how the author of this article can’t even read a comment properly and obstinately refuses to accept 2 supporting comments that go against his personal assumptions and opinions, it’s clear that credentials don’t make a person any more capable of understanding simple concepts than the average person.
I’m done with this. I have better things to do. I’d just like to make it clear that I was not defending or providing justification for anyone or any behavior. I did not overtly state or imply anything approaching the “women are irrational” card. It was a judgment-free comment based on an observation that anyone could make based on the available data. Being provoked into defending myself only drags the comments further off topic which is a prime example of what I was talking about.
>>>Life isn’t fair.
No it isn’t, but it sure is a lot more unfair if you’re a woman.
And with that, on to the next argument.
Comments are closed.