Well. That Happened.

A few days ago I posted (here) a list of things I’ve experienced over 20 years of attending conventions–a few “big ticket” items that were obviously horrible, and several “smaller” things that are still definitely harassment, but only sometimes get considered that (and, as always, context is key, but we’re talking about things done by strangers who usually hadn’t even introduced themselves first). I expected it to be read by my usual readers, and thought it was a good way to lend support to the other women doing the same thing right now; instead it’s been spread around the Internet and I’ve spent the almost 48 hours since dealing with the reactions–good, supportive, confused, and trolling–to it. I’m introverted by nature, and the whole thing has been a bit overwhelming.

Almost everyone said they’d only seen one or two of the big bad things, or maybe not seen any, but at the same time, the smaller things? Everyone’s seen or experienced those. I’ve heard things ranging from “oh I thought it was just me” to “well, I’ve seen guys pick up women they didn’t know and carry them out of the room, and no, no one even tried to help those women even if they were protesting, but is that really harassment?” to “you should be grateful a guy wants your attention”. I realized that not saying anything sooner was an example of the problem: we’re so used to it that we notice, enough to roll our eyes and mumble, “Jerk,” when it’s over, but don’t do anything about it.

We’re worn down. Tired. I’m exhausted just from talking about it, and having my experiences talked about, for less than 2 days. Imagine how hard it is to speak up when you’re a regular con attendee and you’ve been convinced that this is an inescapable something that happens. The power needed to break free from the gravity of this mess is astounding.

I’m writing up a post now about how to deal with harassment at cons. UPDATE: Part 2, Stopping Harassment, is here.

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2 thoughts on “Well. That Happened.

  1. The gravity is strong, and in large measure artificial. It is considered somehow natural when it fact it is manufactured in the heart of some of our social relations. I read something yesterday that was basically someone saying that people should be able to publicly proposition people loudly because it’s funny and they should not take offense. And then arguing for temperance of language. ::boggles::

    For something to be fun it should be fun for BOTH parties, not embarrassing and anxiety-provoking for one of them. If that is the case, something is not right. It’s really not that hard to see in context. Someone who reacts “nervously” and then laughs may just be submitting to the pull of social gravity, because everyone around them, through participation or inaction, is telling them that is what they should do. Laugh it off; pretend you aren’t pissed or frightened.

    That’s what has to change.

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