What is Harassment?

Alma Boykin blogs at length about conventions, harassment, and how it is being mishandled. This touches on my post Monday, so I wanted to send you all over to read the whole thing, with a chunk I found most pertinent quoted below.

What’s harassment? I suspect part of the problem lies in the definition. If someone gropes you without express permission, it’s harassment. I don’t care if the gropee is wearing a slave Princess Leia costume or is dressed like Leonidas of Sparta from 300, no touching. And a revealing costume does not imply consent, male or female. If someone makes passes at you, you tell her to stop, and she keeps suggesting that you come up to her room for a little recreational procreation, since you obviously have the equipment for it and so on, it’s harassment and needs to stop pronto. So go to ConSec and . . .

Come on, folks, that’s basic how-to-live-past-age-16 level behavior skills. It’s like airplanes at an airshow: look, don’t touch. Don’t make passes at people who are not interested. If they say no, take them at their word, just as if they say “No, thanks, I don’t like ice cream/beer/WoW/LARPing/whatever.”

BUT, say the protestors, women were subject to harassment through unwanted looks and objectification! That’s wrong and must stop! OK, how do you define “unwanted looking” when you are in costume? Guys (or gals) trying to get up-skirt photos? Yup, that’s unwanted and should be reported to ConSec. Gals ogling a guy with 6-pack abds and great muscles wearing a Conan the Barbarian costume? Not so much. Teenaged males staring at the chest of a gal doing anime cosplay? Possibly, but remind them that staring is not polite and that if they want pictures, they should ask. If they get stupid about it, go to ConSec and . . .


6 thoughts on “What is Harassment?

    • Yep.

      There’s a reason that (despite the wonderful time at LibertyCon), I’m not planning to de-gafiate anytime soon (although I will, as stated, retain the exception for Liberty).

      I am, unlike the original poster, not so optimistic as to expect multi-colored badges or identifying ribbons or any other such means (short of telepathy, of course, which is the typical requirement at present) to become available, for separating those who are mortally offended by casual interaction with strangers (and who nevertheless come to cons anyway, for some reason) from those who welcome being politely interacted with. I think that, for as long as the screeching lunatics can get their way (and no one in authority over any con but LC seems remotely interested in stopping them), they will continue to push further and further, and thus continue to make organized fandom less and less safe (let alone “fun” or “welcoming”…adjectives that only 10 years ago still mostly applied) for the rest of us.


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