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Author Topic: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay  (Read 8213 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #100 on: October 24, 2012, 09:17:33 PM »
The blog post was written by a woman holding a PhD in psychology.  Melissa Burkley is an Associate Professor of Social Psychology at North Carolina University and has published various articles in the field of social psychology.  The blog post she wrote was for Psychology Today and her “oversimplification” was made because she is writing to an audience composed primarily of amateur psychology readers at best.  She explained the dynamics involved along with two key theories in the field of social psychology.  Her words carry a bit more weight than an opinion, despite them being done in a none peer reviewed article.

http://www.wadsworth.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/0155060678_rathus/ps/ps19.html

This is a detailed experiment conducted so that group size can be tested as the lone variable.  The charts and evidence show that the larger the group size, the longer a participant took to respond and participants responded less frequently depending on the amount of people perceived to be bystanders. 

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #101 on: October 24, 2012, 09:32:34 PM »
I was shown this in Critical Thinking a few weeks ago:

THE BYSTANDER EFFECT

It was proved right the following week with this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-19885252

The human mind really is a strange thing. Lots of things we think would be common sense to us, aren't always to other people.

The blog post was written by a woman holding a PhD in psychology.  Melissa Burkley is an Associate Professor of Social Psychology at North Carolina University and has published various articles in the field of social psychology.  The blog post she wrote was for Psychology Today and her “oversimplification” was made because she is writing to an audience composed primarily of amateur psychology readers at best.  She explained the dynamics involved along with two key theories in the field of social psychology.  Her words carry a bit more weight than an opinion, despite them being done in a none peer reviewed article.

http://www.wadsworth.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/0155060678_rathus/ps/ps19.html

This is a detailed experiment conducted so that group size can be tested as the lone variable.  The charts and evidence show that the larger the group size, the longer a participant took to respond and participants responded less frequently depending on the amount of people perceived to be bystanders. 


So the larger the group, the longer it takes - except one man in the video linked above took all of six seconds to get help on a busy London street.

... ummmmmm...

The fact that someone holds a PhD or a professorship doesn't automagically make them impressive. Sorry, too jaded by school at this point - I've been instructed by too many PhDs who don't know an enol from their asshole.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #102 on: October 24, 2012, 09:43:49 PM »
For what its worth, I found this article to be rather interesting. Its based on research done by the FBI on a number of serial rapists. While it doesn't directly answer the question as to whether or not provocative dress is a factor, they said that this profile was typical of other rapists that they interviewed. The description of this rapist's first rape suggested that dress was not really a factor. In this criminal's case it was more that they were there at the moment.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=107091

I did some more looking around for information on rape prevention and saw no mention of being careful about one's attire.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #103 on: October 25, 2012, 12:12:34 AM »
One man in the video helped out of a multitude of people.  Only when a new variable was manipulated, manner of dress, did others offer to help within six seconds.  Simply because a variable was manipulated does not disprove the phenomenon of the Bystander Effect, simply brings into sight another part of the effect.  Group unity and solidarity have an effect on the intervention of a bystander, which can be shown through similar dress.  The original reaction and experiment still stand.

A person with credentials that are openly presented and valid speaking on a subject pertaining to their credentials still carries more weight and meaning than someone who is not involved in the field.  Dismissing such statements offhand is poor judgment, especially with no evidence to counter the claims.  Thus far a video presenting the Bystander Effect, the words of an credentialed expert in the field of psychology and one of the founding experiments of the Bystander Effect have been presented.  Not sure how much more is required to satisfy that the Bystander Effect plays a role in people ignoring the cries of a person for help.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #104 on: October 25, 2012, 01:12:08 AM »
Her words carry a bit more weight than an opinion, despite them being done in a none peer reviewed article.

This is pedantic. However, speaking as someone who makes a living in this academic stuff, I have a non-peer-reviewed publication coming out next year and a peer-reviewed one pending acceptance (fingers crossed for this last set of revisions): the non-peer-reviewed one is just an opinion. It's a very good opinion and I personally know I am right, but it is not in the same order of magnitude as the peer-reviewed one and should not be treated as such. Appeals to authority are a terrible form of rhetoric, this is why peer-review exists. Now, I'm not expressing an opinion about whether the bystander effect is at play, but let's be clear on how science works: no points for just going "but I'm smart and have credentials"; it's peer-review and P values or bust.

Offline Sabre

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #105 on: October 25, 2012, 01:17:43 AM »
The article linked is in reference to date rape and even the article points toward the unusual nature of date rape when applied to the evolutionary theory of rape.  A date rapist does not fit what was once thought to be the standard profile of a rapist.  Someone who commits date rape has shown an ability to get a date, typically possesses enough education and monetary status to attend college and is of a higher social class as the article points out.  So these people are able to acquire dates that could potentially lead toward sexual intimacy, but instead make the choice to push for rape.  This shows a desire to remove power from the other person for self-gratification, not simply a desire to have sex.

For date rape, I would argue that the removal of power is not what is ultimately self-gratifying, and not why date rape occurs.  It's related to a desire to have sex, but not entirely.  It's more likely related to the date rapist's desire to have ego-friendly sex.  As you say, these individuals are usually able to have sexual intimacy in a normal manner, yet choose to drug a woman and rape her.  Obviously it's a sign that sex itself isn't the main driving concern so much as having the right kind of sex (in the rapist's mind).  Whether based on how well they handle rejection or how confident they are in their sexual prowess, the ultimate goal is the protection of the ego, with thought processes and self-justifications usually following:

"I want to have sex with this person."
"I am capable of wooing her, or have already done so."
"I do not want her to judge my performance poorly."
"Can I live with rejection?"

Ultimately what is required to achieve self-gratification for the date rapist is to remove the victim's power of judgment, with restriction of all other powers being secondary to it.  He's shooting a porno in his head, and it wouldn't do to have the actress talk back to the director.


In some ways this issue is related to sexual harassment of cosplayers.  What some men normally assume to be off-limits to them in everyday, public life - overt ogling, cat calls, and someone being receptive to their attention - is suddenly available to them.  An attractive woman who, if she walked by on a busy public street in a power suit, would be instantly offended or even violently react to being complimented for the way her dress compliments her bust by strangers, is now poured into a catsuit and posing for everyone to see.  They suddenly feel they needn't fear rejection any longer when it comes to showering their attention on a woman regardless of their ability to attract or seduce a woman normally to make such comments acceptable.  Some go too far simply because they believe the cosplayer, by her costume and posing, has been stripped of her power to judge their attention as unwanted.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #106 on: October 25, 2012, 01:20:24 AM »
I think I've already said that the so-called Bystander Effect oversimplifies human behavior. The video made this clear. There is a wide range of behavior that doesn't support the diffusion of responsibility. The first guy had to wait over twenty minutes, and the video does not make it clear if anyone stopped. The second actor was helped in less than five minutes. The first actor when he dressed up, six seconds. There is no evidence that the surrounding amount of people diminished or increased significantly (countering the article that states that the amount of help is inversely proportional to the number of people around), and the second scenario clearly demonstrates someone looking at someone else for social cues. This demonstrates the aforementioned Pluralistic Ignorance more than it does the Bystander Effect. Clothing is a kind of social cue.

As for the PhD comment, PhDs are obtained by specializing, not generalizing. According to her biography in Psychology Today, she specializes in social prejudices and stereotyping. That's only marginally connected to the effects discussed in that blog post. If she were an expert specifically researching the so-called Bystander Effect, I would still wonder what her biases are, where her funding comes from, whether she has a particular theory that she supports, and how vehemently she supports it. Just because you have a PhD does not make you an expert in everything remotely related to whatever field your PhD falls under - it just means that you've spent a lot of time paying your dues to the academic system. Her credentials, on this subject, are no more meaningful than a B.S. in psych - her focus is in a different area entirely.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #107 on: October 25, 2012, 01:33:13 AM »
I should just like to note, by the way -- in a gratuitous moment of newbie euphoria -- that however the contentious points resolve or don't resolve themselves* here, I'm quite impressed at how fascinating and educational this thread has turned out to be, and thankful to everyone who's weighed in. Well-played, Elliquiy.

(* Trieste has been largely right thus far, I think -- but do carry on!)
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 01:38:17 AM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #108 on: October 25, 2012, 11:37:19 AM »
The Bystander Effect has been shown to be very accurate in judging human behavior.  Human beings though are not grown in a petri dish and the variables of an experiment regarding humans are not ones that can be controlled perfectly.  This statement is especially true of one being conducted on the street, though the video probably does not have all the elements of a proper experiment.  Forces outside of the experimenter’s control are always at work particularly in public places.  An experiment that focused more so on the size of the group being proportional to the time elapsed for help was done and presented.  The numbers are pretty consistent.  A change in clothing is not an example of pluralistic ignorance that was done when the man assisted the woman and then the indecisive woman came to help as well.  She was taking her cue from another person.  By changing to clothing that fit more with some of the people walking past, business like, the actor played on group solidarity.  I would also argue that the construction worker who stopped might well have been from a similar social class as the dress the actress was portraying.

A social psychologist is not holding up Bystander Effect as the sole reason to explain human behavior and neither am I.  Bystander Effect is certainly dependent on other variables because human beings do not live in a perfectly controlled environment.  Group cohesiveness, cost-reward theory, pluralistic ignorance and other variables do play a part in these situations.  Understanding the Bystander Effect will help develop methods to overcome this part of human reaction and group dynamic.  Also note, as the researchers in the published experiment concluded that an individual’s lack of assistance is not due to apathy.  The researchers concluded that those who did not act were under a great deal of stress, were greatly concerned about the individual in distress and exhibited all the signs of a person under duress.  The people were still in decision mode.  As you pointed at Trieste, the people around the rape victim froze.  Despite knowing what they should do, the people did nothing because they were locked into indecision.  Then they looked around to take their cues from other bystanders and continued in their state of indecision. Since nobody was doing anything, they didn’t want to be the odd one that did something.

Here is the Abstract of a paper documenting a change in Bystander Effect when group cohesiveness is worked into the equation.  http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/44/3/545/.  If you want to purchase the full article be my guest. 

My remarks could be considered an appeal to authority and pedantic if they were not followed with an actual experiment and a listing of other incidents where the Bystander Effect plays a role.  The issue I have is that the words of a PhD should not be so easily dismissed as, “oh that’s a blog post.”  Even if the specialty is not perfect in line with the topic of conversation there are still years of additional work and theory behind a PhD.  I am not saying that only truth falls from the woman’s lips in regard to social psychology, only that being so dismissive with her words is showing disrespect for the field.

The problem with your statement Sabre is that the comment still comes back to power.  Protection of the ego is certainly an aspect of power play because the victim threatens the perceived power of the attacker.  The attacker then removes the victim’s power to reject him, to insult him, to resist his wants and desires.  Were sex the ultimate goal of the act then, as we both agree, the attacker could just move on to another woman in a string of serial dates until one had sex with him.  Cost-reward simply works out to the low output of effort of serial dates to raping a victim.  Sex may have been a factor in asking the person out on a date, but power became a more important reason as the date progressed into rape.  Either, as you said, because the ego was threatened or the attacker felt some threat from the person taken out on the date.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #109 on: October 25, 2012, 11:49:44 AM »
It wasn't "that's just a blog post". It was: Holding a PhD doesn't automatically make her an expert in the topic at hand. If that's disrespectful of the field, take comfort in the fact that I apparently disrespect every scientific field out there and don't only discriminate against psychologists.

This is your opinion:
The Bystander Effect has been shown to be very accurate in judging human behavior.

This is my opinion:
I think I've already said that the so-called Bystander Effect oversimplifies human behavior.

Both have been pretty well supported. It's been nice comparing notes with you.



I should just like to note, by the way -- in a gratuitous moment of newbie euphoria -- that however the contentious points resolve or don't resolve themselves* here, I'm quite impressed at how fascinating and educational this thread has turned out to be, and thankful to everyone who's weighed in. Well-played, Elliquiy.

(* Trieste has been largely right thus far, I think -- but do carry on!)


Regardless of right or wrong, I'm glad it's been interesting for you. There are some pretty interesting perspectives in P&R and it gets kind of crazy around election time. So it's good that we haven't scared everyone off. :P



The cosplayer's experience hasn't deterred me from wearing a catsuit or something for Halloween costumes. ::)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #110 on: October 25, 2012, 11:53:41 AM »
Trieste...you didn't have any notes.  You just stated your opinion.  I'm sorry, but you presented nothing to back up your opinion other than..your opinion. 

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #111 on: October 25, 2012, 11:56:46 AM »
For the record I feel rather immune to the bystander effect myself, sizing it up as a "spectator situation". I've been known to walk out of my way and help people and to confront those who were just standing around and poking fun, even when that took a bit of resolve.

Obviously different if you're the one being knocked over or tricked into a vulnerable situation, or if it's at home and nobody can see it, but if it's in the street people are actually not that cool with open violence against someone who appears defenceless.

*steps off soapbox*

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #112 on: October 25, 2012, 12:01:37 PM »
Sure, it's not like there was a lengthy discussion of the evidence presented or anything. ::)

For the record I feel rather immune to the bystander effect myself, sizing it up as a "spectator situation". I've been known to walk out of my way and help people and to confront those who were just standing around and poking fun, even when that took a bit of resolve.

Obviously different if you're the one being knocked over or tricked into a vulnerable situation, or if it's at home and nobody can see it, but if it's in the street people are actually not that cool with open violence against someone who appears defenceless.

*steps off soapbox*

I wonder if the people who accompanied the interviewer in the original blog post were part of the interviewer's 'crew' or if they were people who just stopped to watch. Is it considered acceptable at a convention to step in on an 'interview' that has so clearly gone awry? I'm not familiar with etiquette there.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #113 on: October 25, 2012, 12:24:44 PM »
Trieste, we can discuss the evidence presented supporting my opinion at length.  Your opinion is not supported in any way by anything you presented, because all you presented was your opinion.  Claiming to have a supported opinion is false when that opinion comes with no supporting evidence or even presented fact.

Offline Mithlomwen

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #114 on: October 25, 2012, 12:54:00 PM »
I think it's fair to say that there is a difference of opinions here.  Probably best to leave it at that and move on. 


Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #115 on: October 25, 2012, 12:55:27 PM »
Pumpkin Seeds, arguing a valid point of view or against somebody else's ideas of how things are set up, or of what we're supposed to know, doesn't have to mean you're always supporting every bit of what you say on peer-reviewed studies or articles. Far as I can see, Trie is arguing that the bystander hypothesis and some other stuff are poorly sourced, are illogical and/or  don't match many people's everyday experience. That's totally valid grounds.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 01:57:01 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline LunarSage

Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #116 on: October 25, 2012, 01:21:58 PM »
I don't know.  As often as I've heard people ask "source linked please" in order to validate any sort of opinion on this or any other forum...

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #117 on: October 25, 2012, 01:31:41 PM »
I don't know.  As often as I've heard people ask "source linked please" in order to validate any sort of opinion on this or any other forum...

Definitely. Which is why I sourced the statistics I gave about acquaintance rape. And which is why I pointed out examples of my opinion from evidence being presented - videos, articles. I even sourced where I got the biography of the psychologist who was being discussed.

The opinion I have presented has been well-supported. If you read back through the thread, you'll see that. You may not agree with my conclusions, but the opinion I present does not come from ignorance.

And despite several attempts to move the conversation past this particular ridiculousness, I'm starting to feel a bit like Sisyphus, so that's about all I have to say about that.

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Re: Sexual Harassment in Cosplay
« Reply #118 on: October 25, 2012, 01:44:43 PM »
I think it's fair to say that there is a difference of opinions here.  Probably best to leave it at that and move on. 



I think the request has been made to agree to disagree so perhaps any other pertinent remarks can now be made on the topic under discussion.

*glances at the signature below*