Tag Archives: discrimination

I Can’t Even

So I was going to write about some books, really I was, and I will soon, but in the meantime (not counting all the really nasty horrors going about the planet,) we had another one of those incidents. The one where the people running a SFF convention turn out to be bigoted asshats who retaliate against women, POC, queer authors, etc. and fans because they think a crimp is being put in their old-fashioned party. This time, it’s the Odyssey Convention in Madison, Wisconsin, which not only put two known, notorious harassers on their convention committee, but when one of their GOH authors who had been a victim of one of the harassers complained about being forced to deal with the man at their convention, twice, they proceeded to accuse her of lying, lied to her in turn, scolded her for having no legitimate complaint, and when she withdrew as GOH, doxxed her private email address on their public Facebook page while ranting at her with a level of sexism that was high even for the usual rhetoric in these things.

While some of them are attempting to make amends at the moment, that any of them thought they had the right to behave this way in the first place is a shining example of the problems SFF fandom has been tackling head-on the last 5-10 years as the people who routinely get told to suck up abuse say no and are sometimes forced to go public about it to try and help others out. The enough is enough line started getting drawn in the 1980’s and people have been pushing conventions to become safe, inclusionary fun places for everybody, which is a message that should have really sunk in by now, even with convention volunteer organizers who are still trapped in the 1970’s.

The Odyssey Convention hasn’t been doing that well apparently, and it’s not very surprising, given that some of the people waving their harassment policy around as proof of their virtue are the very people the harassment policy was written for. The GOH isn’t the only person who has turned away from this convention — quite a few authors and people were reportedly already not going because of the harassers’ presence, and others have now joined in the exodus in support, because of the concom’s behavior.

I vented a bit on Jim C. Hines’ blog on this one as he is doing a decent round-up of links with the details of this mess, which you can check out if you want: http://www.jimchines.com/2017/04/odyssey-con-frenkel-and-harassmentA number of other authors have been talking about it on Twitter or their blogs, with great sadness.

But in short, if you are a con-runner, here are things you don’t get to do:

  1. Tell guests and panelists who have a problem with the convention that they don’t have a problem.
  2. Tell women and marginalized authors what they should and should not have as safety concerns about the convention workplace.
  3.  Accuse those making reports of harassment of being liars and mentally unstable whiners who will be ignored.
  4. Publicly expose authors’ private contact information and personal information without their consent.
  5. Claim that somebody might be abusive to others, but everybody at the event, who are paying money and time to be there, has to put up with that person because reasons.

This is a lesson that many con-runners have been slow to absorb. And the sad thing is, not simply what that’s going to do to their conventions over the long term, but that whenever one of these incidents occur, we have so many people — mainly women and POC — saying that they’ve never been to a convention and now don’t see how they can try attending any SFF convention, as it seems like they are run by horrible people and aren’t safe to visit. And that is not because of the people who have brought up the issues of abuse and tried to get changes. It’s because of the people running the conventions who announce that they are okay with the situation and who go after those who bring the issue up. Many conventions are not run by such people and can be great experiences.  Some of them have had problems in the past, but have learned and often gotten new people in to run them. But when the people running a convention embrace a con culture that ignores and enables abusive behavior — and engage in it themselves — then it ends up reflecting poorly on the entire SFF network of fandom events and opportunities are lost.

Quite simply, authors — and their fans — aren’t going to go to conventions where they are abused and further abused by the con-runners. They have plenty of choices and it’s not worth their time or their careers to deal with such behavior. If you behave in this manner, surprise — people don’t want to work with you or hang out with you. And if you put people who behave in this manner in charge of your convention and let them speak for you, again, you are going to lose customers and authors who can draw in customers. Far more than the abusers themselves — who are a minority — it’s the people who help abusers and abuse their authority to do it who cause a systemic problem. This one might sink the Odyssey Convention or not, but it would sure be nice to have fewer problems in this vein.

*Up-date: I’m going to add this link to Brianna Wu’s guest column on Hines’ blog because it does speak to the wider systemic problem that created this situation.

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Filed under SFFH, Social Equality, Women

Links & Misc. — Spring Cleaning! — Part 3

Diversity & Ending Discrimination:

Because I can, ha ha! There are just a lot of these saved up, from various craziness that’s occurred in the last several months, and many folks have been writing interesting things. So I’m presenting the links all at once.

At Salon.com, Sara Eckel presents actual evidence that “Feminism Isn’t Ruining Your Love Life.”

Jim C. Hines deconstructed this bizarre rant from Larry Correia back in January. It is even more relevant now with Correia’s Hugo voting fun times. Correia attempts to accuse a writer at Tor.com who was encouraging other SFF writers to think outside the box regarding binary gender in their stories of actually demanding as a commandment that all should get rid of cisgender characters. Hines looks at each of Correia’s assumptions, misinterpretations, and misdirections.

The always interesting super fan Michi Trota explains the extent and damage of discrimination in geekdom in “No One Can Deny You Entry to Geekdom, but Some Can Make It Really Hard to Get Through the Door First.”

Astra Taylor looks at misogyny and inequality built into the Web and how we deal with the gender gaps.

Amanda Marcotte in an editorial at The Raw Story looks at “What Are Misogynist Geeks So Afraid Of.”

Comics maven Janelle Asselin talks about meeting this sort of misogyny firsthand when she dared to criticize a poorly done comics cover, and received rape and death threats.

Jonathan McIntosh writes about the difficulties in the gaming world with “Playing with Privilege: The Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male.”

The Korra Is Not Tan blog does a nice little rundown of racism and sexism regarding attitudes towards superheroes.

Mark Chu-Carroll at Goodmath.org talks about misogyny in “The Horror, the Horror, How Dare We Discriminate Against Men by Listening to Women.”

Katherine Lampe talks about helping out her guy friends dealing with discrimination issues in “What’s a Good Guy to Do.”

An older piece from two years back that was brought to my attention — Dr. Sheila Addison expands on John Scalzi’s famous piece about privilege, “The Lowest Difficulty Setting.”

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates tackles recent racism controversies concerning Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling in “This Town Needs A Better Class of Racist.”

PZ Myers, regarding the recent Hugo voting slate discussions, talks about how “But Silence is Political.”

Foz Meadows also tackles the subject for Huffington Post in her highly intelligent way, in “Politics Belong in Science Fiction.”

Daniel Jose Older writes at Buzzfeed.com what is perhaps one of the best pieces on discrimination and diversity I’ve seen in awhile, in “Diversity Is Not Enough.”

Most recently, Violet Baudelaire at Jezebel gives a really excellent explanation of what the term “privilege” means in an open letter to the idiot young white boy who calls himself the Princeton Kid. (But really, it isn’t his youth that’s the issue — we get this at all ages.)

And lastly, a very moving video in which the artist called Panti speaks after a play production about discrimination:

 

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Filed under Life, Social Equality, Women