It's been known for a long time now that geek culture contains vast, undrained swamps of unreconstructed misogyny (along with bigotry, ignorance, racism and various other unpleasant things). Stories like this are just another example of the widespread ignorance and lack of self-reflection that feeds those phenomena in much of the male geek community. It's exactly why many girls prefer to avoid cons where there are booth girls: the spectacle the fanboisie tend to make of themselves, and the resultant atmosphere for women generally, is horrific.
Of course it's very obviously unacceptable, on account of sexual harassment being criminal. But until a much larger share of the geek community faces up to the need for some self-criticism -- which many socially-isolated members tend to hide from behind an ironclad sense of their own victimhood -- and some basic social ground rules, it's not going to change.
(As a side note: some of those cosplays you've linked are incredible. The Duke Nukem one in particular... now that's not something you see every day...)
Sadly, what you have said is true. But because of the attitude of "She dressed like that so what do you expect." a lot of them suffer in silence and don't bother reporting it to the organisers. So unless they speak up this will continue.
That being said; I noticed in the anime community the problem isn't so bad for girls and if anything guys are a worse target. Fangirls can be dangerous things as a friend of mine found out when he jokingly asked Johnny Botch (Famous anime and video game voice actor, and was a power ranger.) for a sparing match. (Johnny is a black belt in karate and my friend at that point was a a green belt.) Johnny agreed and said he needed to get changed. When he walked away my friend was confronted by some fangirls, who had over heard the request. After a small few exchanges they proceeded to gang up on him and literally kicked the crap out of him. It took for Johnny to intervene for them to stop. My friend ended up with a broken rib or two, and it has left him weary of fangirls. Can't say I blame him really.
Some people have pointed out to me that unfortunately what doesn't help matters is the small minatory of girls who love the attention and encourage it. So this throws another spanner into the works. Crossed messages.
And yeah I made a point to look for some good examples of cosplay, since people who generally aren't aware of what it is tend to prejudge and see such people and the community as a joke. To me I don't care if it is well done or not. If a person has put a lot of thought into it that is all that matters.
Like this version of a moogle (Final Fantasy series)
I love the outfit and you could tell she put a lot of thought into it.
And Bato from Ghost in The Shell:
Once again, the thought was there but this one isn't so good.
When I saw the Duke one I instantly thought "I totally have to use that!" it is the most awesome cosplay of him that I have seen.
I don't think that it is overly-dramatic or even stretching things to make the link to the type of character attacks you sometimes still see in rape cases. There is really no set of circumstances that makes uncouth, unwanted, sexual advancement okay. None. Period.
Thanks for the assurance. I was worried I was going over the top, since some idiots like to throw around the rape card these days. Penn and Teller's Bullshit has shown that. The episode on "War on Porn" or "Abstinence" shows as much.
I've told a few tools to give the ladies space when I come across them giving them grief, typically though I try to send the Con Staff to do it if I see it (and they aren't already doing it)
My other half does that as well. Although he has come across one case where a girl was actually enjoying it. Made him confused as hell.
I don't think I can think of a single instance wherein it is acceptable to go up to a strange woman and ask her cup size. Not one.
In addition, these aren't just random things women are wearing. They are costumes emanating the heroes of the comic world, at a comic-inspired convention. At no point does clothing give free license for harassment, but especially not when they are actually wearing thematically appropriate clothing.
I totally agree. Unfortunately some women give the geek community a little too much credit and don't think such things would happen, and when they do they don't know how to handle it. Although this woman did.
I agree Trieste.. but that doesn't mean you won't have some ignorant Yutz DO IT. And I've seen it happen. Or assume because they are dressed up as Black Cat, Cat Woman, Scarlett Witch, Mantra, (the list goes ON) that it's OKAY. That is usually why the Con folks watch the female cosplayers closer so they can lend a hand if needed.
It really is sad that that has to be the case. Also makes you wonder where the hell security was to not catch some of these people in the act.
I know it's widely assumed among geek culture that it's okay to ignore social mores.
The people who make that assumption should be repeatedly kicked in the gonads until they understand that it is not okay. I hear that electrical aversion therapy can also be quite effective.
I have noticed at the anime cons, that I go to, that social morals seem to fly out the window. However, some still keep some and know self control while others totally let loose. Yet for some reasons anime cons, despite all the perversity that goes on, are more civilised and know that when someone says to leave them alone they do, compared to scfi/comic cons. Also you don't get randoms asking about boobs. Then again people also seem more comfortable with their sexuality and let that be known at anime cons. (We have a guy who does Steampunk talks and is proudly gay. He crossplays and even sells t-shirts that show your gay pride.)
At gaming cons I see males feeling either happy they aren't alone or are slightly awkward, and hostile towards females if anything. Only reason I can think that this happens is because of two reasons:
1) For a long time video games have been seen as something for boys. Now the internet, online gaming and voice chat, girl gamers have emerged from the shadows. So while the once lonely ones are happy for us some are in the mindset that we are invading their terrory.
2) Now the media has caught onto the girl gamer "phenomenon" and their appeal to males they are exploited, and we are known as idiots who talk the talk but don't walk the walk. All because "OMG I PLAY CoD AND GoW SO I AM A TOTALLY AWESOME GIRL GAMER LOL!!!" While some guys lap this up and fap soon as they find out the voice isn't a 12 year old boy they are talking to on XBL/PSN, others see most girl gamers as attention whores until we beat their asses into the ground. Even then they get more angry because "HE GOT BEATEN BY A GIRL! LOLOLOL!!!"
So it's a lose, lose situation. Although I have met a few who are nice. Some are shocked when I shake their hand after me beating them or the other way around. (Blazblue is so insane...) But that being said, you do get the odd one who are actually happy to have girl gamers coming into their pack and are very welcoming. (On ME3 a few guys stood up for me when I kept being told to get in the kitchen and make them a sammich or to stop playing with boys toys and being told I am shit.) I have had endless conversations with guys over different games and all without being hit on.
But while that happens it is quite rare for stories of sexual harassment to happen in either communities. Which is quite interesting when you think about it. It makes you wonder why there is such a big difference in behavior among the different communities. Why are anime fans more accepting than your average person? Why are gamers so testosterone filled yet welcoming? Why are Scifi/Comic fans so uncivilised?
I am not meaning to paint all with the same brush. But I think you get what I mean. There is a dramatic difference in behavior and it is confusing.
It's fine as a comparison, in my opinion. The fundamental lack of respect is the same. She made a clear acknowledgement of the difference between pure social ineptitude like inability to divert attention from her breasts, and this incident. She's not complaining about guys staring at her breasts, she's complaining about a pretend-alpha and his posse who were downright predatory.
Demanding that she spank him and discussing her cup size in front of her and debating over it gives me a vibe somewhat like discussing the qualities of a piece of meat. Sure, it didn't end in gang rape. It's the same sort of dehumanization that leads to it, and there's no reason to tolerate it.
I am glad you see where I am coming from.
I have heard horror stories in which some do end up being date raped.
Most people who engage in active harassment don't know what they're doing is unacceptable. They can't comprehend the concept. It's even worse when they've already made a number of friends - many bans led to harassment campaigns of their own. "Did you tell on me/him? Did you!?"
I think many social groups are wary about 'losing support' or membership, not really comprehending how many people quietly or publicly leave over getting harassed. There's also the issue of where to draw the line, or making sure accusations are legitimate.
Unfortunately, dealing with creeps is a two-step process.
1) The person being harassed has to make the issue known to the authority figures in the given community, and
2) Said authority figures need to be willing to do something about it.
Those can both be a hurdle. Often the first is "It must just be me." or "I can take care of myself." ...what about those who can't?
I have seen poor guys who didn't do anything or there was a big misunderstanding. This lead to a massive hate campaign against him lead by a community she was part of. They pretty much ruined his life and as a result he almost killed himself over it. It was only when it reached that point did the girl bother talking to him about it and realised she made a big mistake. Sadly, at this point the damage was done. So this wasn't something a simple "Sorry" could fix.
The whole situation is a big mess. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don't mess.
The community I am part of have a zero tolerance policy on such behavior and stress before the con in emails about what to do if something happens, and even print it in the con book. (Long with general ground rules and phone numbers of the orginisers.) They also have strict rules on the cosplay blind date and the charity auctions since there have been problems of sexual harassment in the past. The rules have been put in place to protect both parties. Although these funny demotivators and peoples' comments are what made them put the rules in place:
Sadly, not all cons do this, so I think that might also be one of the problems. It happens and no one knows what to do about it. what doesn't help is attitude they see. That alone makes afraid they will be painted the same way. "Dressed as FFX-2 Rikku? They won't listen to me because I look like a slut/attention whore..."
Well, they offended her, what do they expect?
If your first words to a woman who you don't know(or more specifically, to one who doesn't know YOU) are, "You have nice tits" or "My dick is hard", you're gonna get ignored if not slapped. I think that's one of those unwritten rules that you learn somewhere around puberty. Perhaps that should be taught in high school as its not obvious to everyone.
What makes this tricky for guys, is if a woman approached a guy and said, "You are making my cunt wet" or "I like the bulge in your pants(for those who don't understand the wet comment)", the guy would take that as a cue that he's gonna get lucky. He would not take offense.(generalizing, obviously). So when an inexperienced guy uses reverse logic and tells a woman something that he sincerely things is flattering only to get slapped or dissed, it causes a little initial confusion. If he is social enough to have more experienced friends, they will likely clue him in at this point, otherwise he may be bound to repeat his mistakes.
Maybe a "morally" acceptable thing should be taught in schools. Seems some parents can't really be arsed to do so these days. ¬_¬
Sadly it is those women that lead guys on that don't help the situation, nor does their attitude of "Well I do dress like it for the attention! Why else would you?" and "It's a general rule of thumb for guys to do this so don't cry over it when we all know it happens!" I find that just amazing.
That is another odd thing. At anime cons girls tend to laugh at guys that hit on them because of the terrible chat up lines they come up with. I have a friend who told me that this line was used on her when she cosplayed a Gundam character. "Hey, did you want to check out my cockpit?" She said it made her laugh so hard. Another one of my friends told me one he uses on girl gamers is "I'm not one of Lucifer's men, but I have been told I that even devils may cry with what I can do in the bedroom~" That made me laugh harder than I should have. He also admitted that he just shows off his Pikachu tattoo just to get girls to "Awww that's cute!"
Such a messy subject area indeed. =/