Monday, March 11, 2013

Con behavior.

Ana Aesthetic posted a blog about how men should treat women (mainly ones in cosplay) at various conventions.

Ana Aesthetic seems to think that women should be able to attend cons without being hit on with gross come-ons. She provides an example with this kind of statement in regards to Zatanna cosplays. Now, as anyone who knows me can testify, I constantly seek out cosplayers who come as Zatanna (If you think I am kidding than you need to see the photos I post on this blog and on Facebook). Even still, I would never make the rude comments Ana mentions.

Is she right? Do woman have the right to attend cons without the fear of harassment? Do women have the same right as men in that women should be free to roam cons and enjoy the experience? Should women be allowed to wear what they want and not have to deal with men who trash talk their costumes? Should women be free from having to participate in convention dating games?

The answer to all those is YES! If I am representative of the men at cons than yes, women should be able to enjoy the con without being hit on or bothered by guys. Women deserve better.

Men do not have to make gross comments about the costumes such as the outfit being wrong How can you say it is wrong? Artists and writers are constantly making changes to character's outfits. There are so many parallel versions of any one costume that you cannot really say anything is wrong. I have seen many costumes that are not traditional but are still fantastic.

Ann McManus is pictured here and this is not a traditional Poison Ivy. It is not hard to identify who Ann is cosplaying. It doesn't matter she went her own way with this. It is still fantastic. This applies to costumers. Changing a costume so it is not what has been seen before is the right of the costumer.

Do I care that someone goes a different way with a character I like? Not at all. Don't we live in a world that is supposed to celebrate difference? Why does this not apply to costuming?

Her posts hits home with several salient points about things I have seen. Men seem to think just because a woman has a costume that she is a plaything. Not at all. They are still the same person who works in an office or a retail store. The cosplayer is cutting loose for the weekend as she shows off what they made or paid for. It is not an excuse for men to become verbally or physically abusive.

Ana Aesthetics's blog is something most guys need to read. I have attended several cons where men treat women as objects. I have not heard some of the comments she writes of but I have seen many men run to cosplayers to get pictures taken. Without asking, they are touching these women and doing some outlandish poses for the cameras.

I am not good looking and leave a lot to be desired in the muscles department. Brandy Gibson also pointed out that she can never tell if I am even aware of her when we meet since I have such an expressionless face. I still go all over the place and take many, many photos which I post here and on Facebook. Does having a camera or being male validate insulting or making unwanted come-ons to women? Absolutely not and they are all unwanted.

I limit myself to a few comments to women so I do not get labeled as a con creeper.

1) "May I get a picture?" I always ask since it is polite and cosplayers almost always say yes. Sure, there are some exceptions from women who look at me and say no based on what I look like. There are those who say no for good reasons such as they are trying to get somewhere. I also do not ask when they are on the phone, eating or clearly heading to the bathroom. Also, I am not one of those guys who stands outside the bathroom waiting to get pictures (you know who you are). That is a horrible thing to do. Also, when the photo is taken, do not to forget to say "Thank you" since they do not have to say yes.

2) "I like your outfit." Be concise and tell what you like about it. Don't be drooling on her when you say this. Don't tell her that you like it cause it shows off various parts of her anatomy. Say you like the boots, the cape, the whole ensemble. Sometimes I will inquire about the length of time the costume required to make. Women like talking about this. It shows interest in the craftsmanship. End the conversation by telling her that the costume was worth the time.

3) "May I get a picture with you?" This is something guys should be asking but many do not. They just rush up and put an arm around the cosplayer. Really? So it would be okay if some random guy comes up and starts touching your girlfriend/wife? You might have a problem if don't mind guys come and pawing your significant other. Sheri Lyn did this with me and she was willing to pose with me since I asked.

Let the model decide the level of comfort when getting a picture with them. I keep my hands to myself when they agree to a picture. If she wants, she can put her arm on me. I will react accordingly to what she shows she is willing to do. Still, her initiating contact does not give me the right to put my hand wherever.

Ana Aesthetic dedicated a part of her post to things men have said to women at cons. Guys need to learn most women are not there to get picked up or to have guys touch every inch of their bodies. Ana states she is not sure where men get the idea that this treatment of women is acceptable. I have a theory. It comes from within. It doesn't matter how many sources suggest this kind of behavior is acceptable. There are just as many sources saying that it is not fine and there are different ways to  treat other people. Men make the choice to do this. They can be acting out of anger or just because they want to.

Men get to experience cons with little fear of sexual harassment or innuendo. Women should get the same courtesy. Wearing a costume does not mean one is trying to get bothered. Some women may be there to draw a paycheck for working at a booth, meet with a photographer or wearing a costume of a character that moved the cosplayer to make. None of these reasons give men the right to bother women for whatever reason might be going through the guy's head.

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