Tag Archives: creep

AnachroCon Controversy

Two weeks ago, one of my dearest friends called me to tell me this article was coming out the following week. I listened with compassion and solidarity as he told me that he was DONE. No more. Finit. Enough of this sexual harassment/assault bullshit in our convention spaces. This time the target was a close friend of his, and the (alleged) assailant, the husband of his cherished colleague.

Here’s an excerpt:

AnachroCon 2014, held February 14-16, at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, announced last week via Facebook that one of its founding members and co-chairmen William MacLeod would be leaving the con. In his original message (dated Tuesday February 18th) he stated, “The Army finally took its toll on me…. After 6 years as Chairman of AnachroCon, I (William MacLeod) am stepping down and turning convention operations over to my beloved co-chair Cindy so that I may focus on medical issues that have begun to plague me even more over the years.”

However, in the two days leading up to William MacLeod’s announcement, accusations surfaced that a member of the con staff allegedly received inappropriate and unwanted verbal and physical advances from the co-chairman. The staffer, who asked not to be named publically but was interviewed at length by a member of the Steampunk Chronicle staff, states that William MacLeod made repeated offers of sex over the weekend and fondled her at the most recent convention. According to the staffer, this was not the first time he had inappropriately touched her, and she alleges a pattern of such behavior going back several years.

A Troubled History

SpC has uncovered a string of allegations against William MacLeod, including a related sexual harassment allegation in the resignation letter of a former AnachroCon Senior Director of Promotions, Dan Carroll, who cited MacLeod’s behavior toward female members of Carroll’s staff. Carroll stated this week, “I resigned from AnachroCon because of the completely inappropriate treatment of women by the Chairman. All of the women who worked under me at the convention had asked me to address the issue. He did not seem to take these concerns seriously. It was my understanding he had taken steps to seek treatment and was working on the problem.” Carroll resigned in 2011. According to Cindy MacLeod, at the time of Dan Carroll’s resignation, AnachroCon, was not as well organized and they were still running it as a “private party.” There was no formal investigation.

A more recent departure was that of Megan Maude, director of the Fashion Track. She alleges that the problem of harassment has been pervasive at the con for a number years.  In a statement to Steampunk Chronicle, she said, “Predatory behavior was being tolerated and even encouraged by the chairman and his friends… I explained my many concerns about the safety of women at the con to Strobel [Charles Strobel, the Director of Programing and Anachrocon LLC Board of Directors member]… There was even talk of having a woman on staff whose only job would be to handle sexual harassment reports…[but nothing changed]… I genuinely don’t feel that I can safely invite any of my younger girlfriends to the con. I don’t want to tell a bunch of girls in their early to mid 20s to come to an event where I’m genuinely afraid they will be sexually assaulted.”

MacLeod has a long (alleged) history of harassing and assaulting women at his convention. Unfortunate for each of his subsequent targets over the years, no one did a thing about it before now.

Additionally, this man MacLeod supposedly spoke quite loudly for the “Cosplay is not Consent” campaign, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. As I’ve said countless times on this blog, offenders have no moral qualms about hiding in feminist ranks–just as they hide in other places like spiritual and sex-positive communities.

Enough.

Enough.

Enough.

I’m so proud of my dear friend for making a stand on this topic. This is what it takes. Every time another person stands up and says NO MORE or I’M DONE and takes action, the space in which these predators and rapists can operate becomes smaller and smaller. Standing up and saying NO MORE, no matter who is accused, and revoking their social license to operate will stop these predators from operating in our spaces.

Let’s make our convention spaces and communities safe for everyone, except those who perpetrate violence, especially sexualized violence. A good start for conventions is to have a response policy in place and posted publicly on its website, distributed in its literature, and announced at opening ceremonies. Join John Scalzi in boycotting events that do not take sexual harassment and assault seriously enough to have an action plan in place.

Join me in boycotting these events and events who continue to schedule known rapists as their musical guest and Guest of Honor (SteamCon & Wild Wild West Con, specifically), and let them know why you won’t go.

Support conventions who refuse to book known assailants like The Steampunk World’s Fair and AnomalyCon.

Read the entire fascinating article on MacLeod and the AnachroCon Controversy in The Steampunk Chronicle.

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Filed under Community Response, Rape Culture, SFF Conventions

Oppressed Majority

Powerful video.

Brilliant, really.

“Oppressed majority” takes place in an alternate reality where women jog half naked and work while the men take care of the kids and endure daily sexual harassment….The short film, in French and directed by Éléonore Pourriat, shows a father taking his kid to kindergarten and going through the rest of his day facing catcalls, sexist remarks, sexual assault, and contempt. (Source)

From the experience on the street to the way the father was treated by the police and his partner…it’s all extremely accurate to how women are treated daily. By flipping the gender to men, we start to see just how damaging such behavior is and the absurdity in putting up with it (and perpetuating it).

Pay attention to what comes up in your thoughts as you watch it. You’ll see how deeply ingrained rape culture truly is in all of us.

May you find peace.

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Quite Clear Lines

I’ve had more than one heated, triggering discussion about the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” and mostly what I hear just before I completely disengage from the discussion in self preservation is rape apologia, victim-blaming, and other such rape culture rhetoric.

An amazing person by the name of Sezin Koehler put together this undeniable proof that “Blurred Lines” not only promotes rape culture, it also attempts to normalize rape. In fact, his lyrics are things that repeatedly come out of real-life rapists’ mouths, as shown by selections from Project Unbreakable. There is absolutely nothing blurry about these lines. What Thicke sings about is coercive rape, period.

The following is a long excerpt, but please visit the source for the entire comparison, as well as the very eye-opening and highly disturbing comments that illustrate our rape culture more than anything else.

Robin Thicke’s summer hit Blurred Lines addresses what he considers to be sounds like a grey area between consensual sex and assault. The images in this post place the song into a real-life context.  They are from Project Unbreakable, an online photo essay exhibit, and feature images of women and men holding signs with sentences that their rapist said before, during, or after their assault.   Let’s begin.

I know you want it.

Thicke sings “I know you want it,” a phrase that many sexual assault survivors report their rapists saying to justify their actions, as demonstrated over and over in the Project Unbreakable testimonials.

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You’re a good girl.

Thicke further sings “You’re a good girl,” suggesting that a good girl won’t show her reciprocal desire (if it exists). This becomes further proof in his mind that she wants sex: for good girls, silence is consent and “no” really means “yes.”

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Calling an adult a “good girl” in this context resonates with the the virgin/whore dichotomy. The implication in Blurred Lines is that because the woman is not responding to a man’s sexual advances, which of course are irresistible, she’s hiding her true sexual desire under a facade of disinterest. Thicke is singing about forcing a woman to perform both the good girl and bad girl roles in order to satisfy the man’s desires.

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Thicke and company, as all-knowing patriarchs, will give her what he knows she wants (sex), even though she’s not actively consenting, and she may well be rejecting the man outright.

 

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Do it like it hurt, do it like it hurt, what you don’t like work?

This lyric suggests that women are supposed to enjoy pain during sex or that pain is part of sex:

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The woman’s desires play no part in this scenario – except insofar as he projects whatever he pleases onto her — another parallel to the act of rape: sexual assault is generally not about sex, but rather about a physical and emotional demonstration of power.

The way you grab me.
Must wanna get nasty.

This is victim-blaming.  Everybody knows that if a woman dances with a man it means she wants to sleep with him, right? And if she wears a short skirt or tight dress she’s asking for it, right? And if she even smiles at him it means she wants it, right?  Wrong.  A dance, an outfit, a smile — sexy or not — does not indicate consent.  This idea, though, is pervasive and believed by rapists.

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And women, according to Blurred Lines, want to be treated badly.

Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you.
He don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that.

In this misogynistic fantasy, a woman doesn’t want a “square” who’ll treat her like a human being and with respect. She would rather be degraded and abused for a man’s gratification and amusement, like the women who dance around half naked humping dead animals in the music video.

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The pièce de résistance of the non-censored version of Blurred Lines is this lyric:

I’ll give you something to tear your ass in two.

What better way to show a woman who’s in charge than violent, non-consensual sodomy?

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Ultimately, Robin Thicke’s rape anthem is about male desire and male dominance over a woman’s personal sexual agency. The rigid definition of masculinity makes the man unable to accept the idea that sometimes his advances are not welcome. Thus, instead of treating a woman like a human being and respecting her subjectivity, she’s relegated to the role of living sex doll whose existence is naught but for the pleasure of a man.

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Still Think It Doesn’t Exist?

The following are some Facebook responses to this graphic. Thank to notemily and jhameia on Tumblr for this.

This is rape culture.

As long as we tolerate this behavior, it will continue. A woman is raped in the USA every two minutes.

This is largely why.

I read a great quote yesterday. I’ll paraphrase: Many people love to say that feminists think all men are rapists, but they don’t. You know who does think all men are rapists?

Rapists.

Every time you let a comment like this slide, or laugh at these kinds of comments–or a rape joke, or make excuses that they’re just being trolls or aren’t serious or whatever-other-rape-apologia-rhetoric, you are validating rapists. You are telling the rapists that it’s okay to rape, that all men are rapists, really.

Stop accepting this behavior. Don’t excuse it. Don’t explain it.

Make it completely unacceptable. Shun friends over it. Speak up against misogyny.

Please, don’t validate rapists.

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Several Disturbing Examples

The following excerpt has been copied from Tumblr. Seems to have been originally compiled by scooterpiebanana. Find the entire post here.

men can take upskirt pictures of women and girls because women in public spaces have no legal expectation of privacy

women are treated as property that can be bought and sold and stolen as opposed to people

girls as young as kindergarten are called “sluts” for wearing a short skirt and forced to change clothes because boys and men might be distracted

men and boys literally can not seem to empathize with women (because i swear to god if melinda was a male character and everything else was the same the boys would not be asking that question)

men view women as literal objects

men build their own superiority into achievement tests that (in america) determine your future prospects

men believe that fat women don’t deserve to be loved simply because they are fat

women are villified for normal miscarriages and for aborting fetuses that were the result of rape (not to mention intentionally asserting bodily autonomy simply because you don’t want a fetus)

women can be raped on screen but can not masturbate on screen (even though men have masturbated on screen all the fucking time)

not wearing make up is one of the ways that psychologists determine if a woman is mentally healthy

Men have flat out stated that even if there is concrete evidence that a rape happened they would vote not guilty if on a jury.

Women need about 6 more years of education than men on average to make a comparable amount of money

Male Police officers have arrested women for resisting their advances with no initial punishment (until activists spoke up)

and this is just what i can think of recently.  There is so so so so so much more

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We See You.

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Warning: NYCC Film Crew Creepers

Friend and colleague Ay-leen the Peacemaker had a creepy experience at NY Comic Con this weekend. Read her entire post about it on her Tumblr page. Here’s an excerpt:

On Saturday, October 12th, 2013 at approximately 5:30 PM, I was walking through Artist Alley with my friend A, who was dressed as steampunk-version of Death from The Sandman comics. I was dressed in an Asian steampunk outfit (an image can be seen here, taken earlier that day). As you can see in the photo, I was modestly dressed (steampunk!) and carrying my parasol. We had been stopped numerous times for pictures from attendees and interviewed courtesy by another press crew while in the Artist Alley. This is why I didn’t hesitate when a man dressed in a dark T shirt and dark jeans pulled me aside and hurriedly asked for an interview.

My friend A was busy posing for other photographers at the time. I’m noting this in case any other photographer in the room noticed them and possibly took a photo with them in the background.

The creeper interviewer (which will now be known at TCI) was about 5’ 2” – 5’4” tall (we were eye-level with each other), slightly stocky athletic built, short crew cut dark hair, brown eyes and tanned complexion. He had at least three others with him, dressed all in black. One of them carried a full camera with built in sound boom, and one other had a clip board and looked like a production assistant. There was some sort of logo on the cameraman and on the interviewer’s mic (probably some generic “The_____ show” but I couldn’t see clearly).

Read the creepy conversation on her Tumblr page. Warn others about these revolting, offensive human beings. She’s not the only one who has had this kind of experience with these people, although it would be enough if she was.

People have since messaged me saying that they experienced similar incidents with this group. I encourage you to report these events to con security if you are on site. I myself will be emailing the show manager Lance Fensterman (@Lfensterman, Lance@REEDpop.com)

Please email the show manager, too, and report them to NYCC. This kind of behavior must not be tolerated.

These creepers have been identified:

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Filed under Misogyny, Objectification, Rape Culture, SFF Conventions