Sexual Harassment

Recent posts

Dealing With Sexual Harassment As A Professor

GracieABD blogs about an experience being sexually harassed in her college classroom, when a student wrote on a mid-semester evaluation that her teaching would be improved if she taught naked. Her reaction – to use it as a teaching moment to educate her class about what sexual harassment is – was brave and inspired. I received one comment like that while I was assisting with a class; one student responded to the end-of-semester evaluation question “What did you like least about the class?” with something along the lines of “That I wasn’t dating the instructor.” GracieABD’s remarks about feeling humiliated and objectified resonated with me. 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 →

Be A Woman, Join The Gun Debate – Get Sexually Harassed!

The (female) co-editor of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffrey, tweeted about the death of a skilled American sniper who had recently been murdered at a gun range. She wasn’t mocking him or his death, but rather stating that if even a talented shooter couldn’t stop a determined gun attack, maybe we should keep discussing the gun laws in our country. The outpouring of sexual harassment on Twitter was prompt and vicious. Among gender-neutral insults like scumbag and worthless ass, she was called a whore, bitch, slut, and other derogatory names. I’m really disappointed by how unsurprising it is that women who share their opinions on the internet can expect to receive that kind of harassment pretty regularly. 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 →

The Problem With “Well, Why Didn’t You…?” And Sexual Assault

Through some combination of luck and living a sheltered life, I have not encountered much sexual violence or harassment. My friends, both male and female, have, which enrages and saddens me to no end. However, my exposure to harassment changed recently, when I moved to a Baltic country, Estonia (where, I am told, conditions are still pretty patriarchal). I live in a university town and feel safe most of the time. I walk by myself on well-lit roads at night, always passing enough people that I am within eyesight of someone the whole time. Continue Reading →

Sex Discrimination In The Newsroom

I’ve been recently working on a piece for a war and terrorism class pertaining to women reporters and overseas affairs, and I thought MSP would be a good outlet to share some of the info and get your reaction. As the news has well informed us, back on February 11th, CBS news correspondent Lara Logan was attacked at Tahrir Square in Egypt by an outraged mob of Egyptians. We later learned that Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten in the midst of the attack, being rescued soon after by a group of women as well as (an estimated) 20 Egyptian soldiers. Once word broke of the attack, stories were popping up left and right about her assault, yet not all were informative. Many blogs* were posting stories* spewing the typical (negative) rape responses, such as “she was asking for it,” or “she should have known better and not put herself in that position.” Continue Reading →