wood cat


incidents and accidents, hints and allegations

wood cat
Kate kate_nepveu
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On asking to touch the breasts of a stranger

If you are a stranger, especially a man, perhaps especially in a group of other strangers who are men, and you come up to me and say, "You're very beautiful. I'd like to touch your breasts. Would you mind if I did?":

You will put me in fear.

Because you could be someone who will go away quietly if I say no (which I will). You could be the exiled gay prince of Farlandia, cursed to wander this Earth looking for the key to his return that can only be revealed by touching the breast of a willing stranger, and who isn't enjoying this at all. You could, in short, not be a danger to me.

But how am I supposed to know that?

How am I supposed to distinguish you from the person who says he's really just whatever, but is actually going to put emotional pressure on me, or make a scene, or stalk me, or rape me?

I can't. Because that would require a level of discernment and of trust that is not possible, by definition, in my dealings with a stranger.

And therefore, if you ask to touch my breasts, you will frighten me.

If your goal is actually to make a better world, I suggest that you use a method that doesn't involve putting women in fear.

(Also, I find it hard to believe you can create "the kind of world where [people can] say, 'Wow, I'd like to touch your breasts,' and people would understand that it's not a way of reducing you to a set of nipples and ignoring the rest of you, but rather a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful," by going up to women, touching their breasts, and then going away. Among many, many other problems that are noted in the comments to the original. But that's secondary to my main point here.)

fandom seems to include a lot of creepy guys.

Uh, of course. It's the only group association that carries no social skill requirements for membership AND actively discourages exclusion, avoidance, or even the mildest correction.

It's the catchall for the people who can't find anyone else to talk to them, because everyone else has standards and fandoms, famously, notoriously, do not.

I find that circulating Geek Social Fallacies often helps people feel better about saying "fuck along now" to some of the creepier people.

It does not, however, offer any education to the creepier people, because of course it does not mean them. It just helps the not-totally-inept breathe a sigh of relief and impose some normal human order for their own sanity.

(Why, yes, it did make me feel better about cutting those creepozoids who skeeved me out and kept being inappropriate to me out of my life, why do you ask?)

That article, and this one, explain every problem I've had with the inadequate socialisation of fans, and they do it better than I do.

I've never been a carrier of the Geek Social Fallacies, but I've certainly been on the receiving end of "Ostracisers are evil" once or twice. And I'm okay with that, really - my desire to avoid the losers outweighs my desire to hang out with the reasonable people who insist on hanging out with the losers.

But I get the impression I'm relatively rare, among geeks.

I spent about, hm, three years of undergrad trying to negotiate the waters of Geek Social Fallacies, and then my now-husband and I looked at each other, said "do we even LIKE these people?", and started behaving in ways that made us a lot happier.

For example, our social circles liked to have "commutative coolness" parties, where if you were invited, you were cool, so anyone YOU invited was cool, because coolness is commutative. We decided we just weren't going to go to any parties operating on the commutative coolness principle anymore -- we were going to be "busy". That alone cut about 90% of the highly obnoxious/highly scented/highly inappropriate people out of our lives. It had the unfortunate side effect of cutting some nice people mostly-out, too, but...it was worth it, and I'd do it again, a hundred times over.

Also, I just realized I'm wittering about this because I am so...*something* about the original post that my brain, she is going in circles, so I'll quiet down now. But damn.

Unfortunately so. This is a large part of the reason why Steph and I stopped going to cons, even though that's how we met.

People kept telling me cons weren't as bad as I remembered. At this point, I've been through the doors of ten conventions, been staff on one[1], and actually paid to attend two, and all those people were liars.

Conventions are full of sad, pathetic people, who are relying on the fact that they've paid for membership to make the con runners reluctant to throw them out. There are exceptions, and they're all busily trying to avoid the majority of the congoers. It's like White Wolf LARPing, done large. While I love the people I went to actually see at the con I paid to go to, I'm never planning to attend, ever again. I'll go town to that city and hang with people on a weekend that is NOT the convention, just to avoid the convention people.

[1]: Volunteered to help a friend with security on an art show at a furry convention. NEVER AGAIN. Dirty! Dirty! Yach! It's been, like, 5 years, and I need to go shower now. Nothing to do with the art content, since that was all PG, everything to do with that patrons.

(no subject) - dlganger, 2008-04-22 10:09 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - countess_baltar, 2008-04-23 09:13 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - lirrin, 2008-04-23 03:36 pm (UTC)(Expand)
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There's a "Wizard's Tower" - a gaming and comic store - near my new house. I haven't been in yet, although I mean to go[1]. torrain stopped in once, on a Sunday, during "gaming time", and immediately turned around and left again, because the place was full of screeching 30-something doughboys who *stunk*.

[1]: Mostly to either confirm that the place stinks all the time, or to tell the owner that the Sunday Stank is driving off paying customers.

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - cmdr_zoom, 2008-04-23 05:17 am (UTC)(Expand)
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(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2008-04-23 02:20 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - ms_daisy_cutter, 2008-04-24 06:23 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous), 2008-04-24 09:14 pm (UTC)(Expand)
GSF4 just explained some classic WTF reactions I've had over the years, when I have wondered why on earth a particular person would expect me to do THAT for them. Great essay.

I went to a very geeky university; the GSF essay came years too late for me, but I made sure my younger sibs got copies. Because DAMN.

There's the SCA, too. There's some overlap, but not complete.

"Oooh, we must be WELCOMING, even of clearly sleazy people!"

The SCA has changed. It's motto is no longer "Oooh, we must be WELCOMING, even of clearly sleazy people!" due to recent legal actions taken against it.

As a lawyer, I approve of this change of motto. =>

I have to disagree--the SCA is somewhat more careful now about certain types of sleazy (the blatantly illegal types), but still much more welcoming of the everyday creeps than most social groups.

I'm very active in the SCA and I like it, but it is a more-than-average-tolerance place.

Well, if active is defined by being a Peer and having been a member since 1991, then color me active. I think our definition of "tolerant of creeps" must differ.


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