harassment

Recent posts

Tips For Men With Good Intentions

Actually, this fabulous blog post by my feminist friend Xenologer is less of a collection of tips and more of a comprehensive guide to understanding how male privilege can negatively affect the interactions of well-intentioned men with women. Using simple language and concrete examples, and packing a ton of links for further reading, Xenologer unpacks how guys who don’t perceive themselves as sexist can have happier and healthier interactions with not just women, but everyone around them who’s impacted by patriarchal power structures – which is to say everyone, really. Here are some of my favorite points from her post (though really, you should just go read the whole thing):

Recognizing your privilege is important – and perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to feel bad about being privileged. When feminists point out instances of male privilege, we’re not trying to shame you for having it: “You are definitely not a bad person for having male privilege, and you don’t need to be a sexist male to have it. It’s not ‘misogynist privilege,’ after all. Continue Reading →

The Double Bind Of Sexual Harassment

Author Jim C. Hines nails it with this comic on how reporting sexual harassment at conventions tends to go down. As we’ve covered previously, geek culture is notoriously misogynist at times, and the handling of sexual harassment is but one manifestation of this general trend. Unfortunately, we see plenty of these attitudes in the rest of contemporary culture as well. Continue Reading →

Dealing With Harassment – Again

It seems that I keep returning to the topic of harassment, in part because it continues to be present in our culture, and in part because it just keeps happening to me. I’m not particularly special or attractive, I just have the poor luck of being a woman who spends a lot of time in public places. Like, ya know, a lot of people tend to do these days. In my most recent instance of harassment, though, I managed to keep a level head and defuse the situation in a way that seemed to work, so I thought I’d share a bit about the experience. I was at a street festival, dressed in my belly dance costume – not that this is a particularly relevant detail, as it wasn’t skimpy (which is totally not a justification for harassment anyway!), plus I was surrounded by other belly dancers so it’s not like I really stood out. Continue Reading →

Taking A Stand About Sexual Harassment At Conventions

Novelist John Scalzi has announced that he will not attend conventions without strong sexual harassment policies. This is an important step in combating the misogyny present in geek culture, but also that which is present in mainstream culture. I completely agree with author Rosenberg’s analysis of the situation: “Scalzi is saying one of the most important things men who want to be feminist allies can say: that sexual harassment affects and offends him personally, even if he’s not the subject of it, that if someone he cares about is hurt or humiliated, he’s going to be offended on their behalf, and stand with them as they report their experiences and look for ways that things could be different.” We need more feminist allies, not just in subcultures, but everywhere. Taking a stand publicly is a wonderful way to demonstrate that you support making a space safe for women (and in doing so, making it safe for all). Continue Reading →

Some Thoughts On Harassment And Consent

How to deal with harassment – street harassment like catcalls, as well as persistent attempts to flirt – is an ongoing topic in feminist circles (as it should be). There are frequently misunderstandings, however, about what harassment actually means, and why it’s considered a big deal. This Brute Reason post lays out a lot of reasons why the men who say “But I’d love that kind of/that much attention!” aren’t actually talking about street harassment. They fail to understand that harassment is, by its nature, unwanted attention. Continue Reading →

How To Approach A Stranger And Not Be Creepy

My last post on sexual harassment and the problem of being creepy had a lot of “don’ts” in it, such as don’t corner someone you don’t know, don’t invade their personal space, and so on. But what about the “dos”? One blogger, an author I know (Marie Brennan), listed a bunch of her “dos” in this post. She introduces her post by linking to John Scalzi’s An Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping and writes: “See, sometimes you get guys responding to this kind of thing by wailing that they’ll never be able to compliment a woman again, or whatever. And that just isn’t the case. Continue Reading →

Geek Culture, Misogyny, And Harassment

Geek culture seems to have a love-hate relationship with women. On the one hand, where would so many classic science fiction and fantasy tales be without a princess to rescue? But on the other hand, as soon as women try to involve themselves in geek culture, asserting their right to be there as fans of the multifaceted culture, there’s a lot of pushback from the men. A LOT. In Defense of Lady Geeks argues that while women are “appreciated for our decorative qualities, we certainly shouldn’t expect to be welcomed beyond that as active participants. Continue Reading →

Sexual Harassment And The Problem Of Being “Creepy”

Geek culture has some problems with sexual harassment and misogyny, sadly, many of which manifest at conventions in the form of stalking and generally creepy behavior. Genevieve Valentine’s experience at Readercon is only one of the most recent and publicized examples. As I’ve discussed previously, “creepy” may not be the best term for these kinds of behaviors. For one thing, the word itself is vague, and can mean different things to different people. For another thing, the term can be used to indicate unwanted social or sexual attraction regardless of the other person’s intentions. Continue Reading →

Subtle Sexism: It Adds Up

A lot of people are slowly coming around to realizing that overt sexism sucks, especially when it leaves obvious signs, as domestic violence and rape do. Overall, this is a good thing, but it leaves subtle or implicit sexism unexamined. I suppose we have to start somewhere, right? This essay by a woman coder on the phrase “lighten up” perfectly exemplifies what I’m talking about. Her numerous experiences with being the only woman in a meeting and being told to take notes, or having her outfits constantly commented on, demonstrate how these experiences add up. Continue Reading →