#YesAllWomen: Creeps and Crypts and the War on Women

ETA 6/4: Hey, I’ve written a follow-up post!

ETA2 6/4: Since this post was published Crypticon has put together a Code of Conduct prominently displayed on their home page, which is awesome. Thank you again to everyone who reached out, took my concerns seriously, and took immediate action.


 

I went to Crypticon 2014 to be creeped out, not to be creeped on.

Ugh, I sort of hate starting this post off like that, because in many ways I really enjoyed my first time at Crypticon. Elisa and I went primarily to meet the Soska Sisters, the directors of American Mary, a horror movie I highly recommend for people interested in female-centric horror and with a strong stomach. (There’s a graphic sequence of rape and several of graphic gore, surgery, and torture. Fun!) I was hoping to meet Doug Jones too, but timing didn’t work out. But we got to meet the twins, with Elisa dressed as American Mary herself, and they were incredible:

Jen Soska hugging Elisa while Sylvia looks on in GLEE

Believe it or not, these adorable ladies create horrifying yet compelling blood-soaked movies!

Jen Soska, Elisa as Mary Mason, Sylvia Soska.

LOOK HOW FREAKING CUTE THEY ARE THOUGH.

They were sweet, kind, and generous with their time, not to mention eloquent in their panel. Meeting them was inspirational in the best way.

We also attended a panel called “Is Horror Still a Boy’s Club?” hosted by the Horror Honeys. It was a panel I wish could have gone on for several more hours, covering everything from the sexism women face when creating horror works or writing about them, to the MPAA’s double standards about nudity and violence, to what makes a good rape revenge movie and what makes an exploitative one.

But Crypticon was not, frankly, a safe space for women, almost from moment one. Everyone knows that sci-fi and comics fandoms have a lot of entrenched sexism, but the horror genre takes it up a notch. In a panel of female horror artists, a panelist called another woman in the industry a four-letter gendered slur within minutes of the panel starting. In a panel on sexism in horror, men in the audience rapidly began taking over the conversation to make their voices heard over the four women on the dais.

It was not a safe space. Elisa asked the Horror Honeys and other panelists to talk about how to respond to men who say things like “but you like [x movie] with violence against women in it, so why can’t I like [y movie] with violence against women in it?” As one panelist began explaining that she thinks a rape scene crafted by a woman will have a better understanding of that act’s effects than a scene crafted by a man, one vocal male audience member interrupted to say, essentially, that that was sexist, that we couldn’t just write off men like that, that not all men

“Or did you just prove my point?” Elisa said, and the room erupted into laughter and applause and a dude in a kilt in the back yelled “MIC DROP” and the male audience member got angry. “That’s a funny quip but it doesn’t actually mean anything!” he protested — almost yelled. He was mad.

Elisa and I hustled out of that panel, after stopping by the dais to thank the panelists for their conversation and apologize for starting an argument. The panelists were great, but it was not a safe space.

At the Prom of the Dead the Hilliard’s employee giving away free beer looked at Elisa and said, “You’re, like, my fantasy.” Later we were dancing on an otherwise empty dance floor and a young man came up to us and offered Elisa an open beer. When she declined, he said, “Oh, okay, so, either you think this guy you don’t know is offering you a beer and it could be roofied, in which case — smart, be safe — or you don’t drink.”

image

Here’s me in my stupidly high-concept but adorable-as-hell Overlook Hotel costume. All work and no play . . .

When it became abundantly clear that Elisa was not going to be receptive, he turned to me and started asking where I lived, where in Capitol Hill I go out to, why didn’t he know me, he knows everyone in Seattle, he has kind of a reputation for getting around, not sexually. The look on my face had to have been dubious, because he started changing tacks, admitting he had a tendency to ramble, talking about his friends, talking about how he’s really open and honest and sensitive and that’s really hard for a guy.”That’s rough, buddy,” I said, arms folded. (Elisa staggered off the floor muffling laughter at this point.) “It is!” he said. “When’s your birthday?” he said.

And I lied to him, because I didn’t want him to have ammunition of any kind. “January 2nd, believe it or not.” And my instincts were right, because he followed up with “What are you? I’m a Virgo.” Yes, he ACTUALLY ASKED ME “what’s your sign?” And I’m sorry, Anton, I lied again and said I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. (I’m a Libra, Anton. We’re water signs. I’m afraid you’d need to look elsewhere for the earth sign you were hoping for.) I feel confident that if I’d told the truth and said I was a Libra, said anything to indicate that I went through an astrology phase and was willing to discuss horoscopes and star signs, he’d have used it to try and get in my pants.

(Tangentially, it’s endlessly weird to me that at a genre convention, this guy felt like the best way to engage me was to talk about . . . himself. Astrology. Capitol Hill. I’m at a horror convention, dude, has it occurred to you that I might actually be interested in talking about, you know . . . horror? What’s my favorite horror movie? Do I think Vertigo is the best movie of all time? (Spoiler: I do not.) Vampires or werewolves?)

Unlike Erik the Red, Anton didn’t ever touch me or neg me, and he didn’t keep following us when we left the Prom to check out the other dance party, Biohazard. (I do have a vague memory of joking I’d punch him in the face of he said or did something, but I can’t recall the details now.) But at Biohazard, a photographer spent an entire song taking pictures of no one but Elisa dancing, and would have kept taking pictures of no one but her if she hadn’t told him to stop — and in spite of that, I’m half sure I saw him sneak a few more shots.

Maybe most egregious of all was the man who came up to the two of us while we were dancing and asked “Why are you two dancing alone?”

“Because we’re closed off,” Elisa said. “Because we’re radiating hostility,” I said. “Because we’re holding a bone saw and an axe.”

“Well, that’s just foreplay!”

We immediately turned our backs on him and ignored him for the rest if the night. This didn’t stop him from getting up close and trying to get us to dance with him. Is that scene clear in your head? Two small women in dresses, one with a plastic blood-splattered axe and one with a medical-grade bone saw, who have said out loud, with their words, “we’re hostile” — and a man with a considerably more imposing physical appearance continued to get into our space.

You know the problem with clubs and dance floors is that in any other context, turning your back to someone is read unequivocally as a rebuff. On the dance floor, there is always a very real and very scary possibility that it will be read as an invitation.

Crypticon has no harassment policy posted on its website that I could find. It did not, like Emerald City Comic Con, have clearly posted photography policies reminding attendees to ask permission before taking pictures. The atmosphere at these parties was not one of fans enjoying music and shared interests and dancing around, it was one of men looking to score with the freaky girls who like horror. It was not a safe space. And that kills me, because I’d love to go back — but I wouldn’t feel safe cosplaying, and I wouldn’t feel safe for my friend cosplaying, and I wouldn’t feel safe saying what I thought in a room full of men ready to yell at me for saying horror is sexist, for saying something as innocuous as “women have a different understanding of rape than men”.

I’m not writing this to say that Crypticon should have a blanket “don’t hit on women” policy or something. I don’t blame the con staff for men on a dance floor acting the way men at every club I’ve ever been to act. I do wish they’d had a clear harassment policy; it might have made me feel more confident in dealing with the creepers, with the guys taking pictures of us across the dance floor. It would have made me feel less like I needed to leave the room to avoid Anton; it would have made me feel safer leaving my friend friend when I went to the bathroom. But you know, at Emerald City, a con with a very clear harassment policy and a great atmosphere, there were still men creeping on my friends in skin-tight cosplay, or being jerks to female fans. They had to be more subtle, maybe, but creeps gonna creep. So I’m not writing this post to call out Crypticon’s staff.

While I sit here writing this, a TV is playing CNN behind me and a crowd of talking heads are wondering what could have stopped the killings at UCSB this weekend. All over the internet this weekend, women have been sharing stories about saying no and not being heard, or being pressured to say yes, about harassment and assault and sexism and fear. And yet CNN’s banner reads “Was this shooting an act of terror?” Like that’s a question that needs to be asked about a mass killing by an ideologically motivated person.

Does it not count as terror if you’re not frightened, only on alert, every day of your life? Does it not count as terror when the actual physical presence of a weapon and the words “we’re hostile” aren’t enough to keep someone away? Is it not terror when I wonder if this boy will take my “no” and use it to prove I deserve to die? Is there no war on women, when my female friends and I plan our routes through a party using the Moscow Rules, when we put ourselves between friends and men’s attention like soldiers taking fire for their buddies, when a man jokes about drugging us and has no reason to think that’s going to hurt his chances?

Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with axe.

Why do I feel like I have to be her, just to go out on a weekend?

It makes me tired. And sad, and angry, and mostly tired. I’m just one small bespectacled hipster lady, and the last time I wasn’t aware of how dangerous the world is, I was eleven years old; by the time I was twelve and dreaming of acting on Broadway, I was asking for karate lessons because I figured if I was going to live in a big city like New York, I should know how to defend myself.

But it doesn’t make me hopeless. I won’t let it. Because there are men out there like Genuinely Good Guy Greg, as we dubbed him, who joined in the conversation Elisa and I were having about how American Mary and Bates Motel framed their rape scenes, who wanted to listen to us and engage with us without telling us we were wrong and never tried to ask for more time with us than we showed we were willing to spend. Because Crypticon is aware enough of the problems in the genre to address them in panels, to invite female guests and showcase female artists. Because the Soska Sisters are making movies for the WWE, because Peggy Carter is getting her own series, because people are listening to Laverne Cox, because DreamWorks is doing an animated movie with a black female lead, because male feminists like my friend Izzy and the guy in the utilikilt with the killer dance moves are out there.

Because you’re reading this blog, and I think that’s important. I think you and I can change things. I think you can tell men “stop hassling her,” you can learn to listen instead of just waiting for your turn to speak, you can start a conversation instead of a conquest, you can think about why women say “all men” if really not all men are like that, you can boost the signal, you can put flowers in the rifle barrels and defuse grenades and help us instead of killing us.

It doesn’t make me hopeless, because if I give up hope, the terrorists win.

I will not be bullied into silence by men with guns and people who agree with them. I am a little woman, but I’ve got a big voice — and a black belt — and also an axe. Even if it’s only plastic.

What kind of woman doesn't have an axe?

Coda: Santa Barbara isn’t the only city mourning after a hate crime this weekend. A gunman in Brussels killed four people at a Jewish museum. Please keep their families in your thoughts, too.

If you want to read more of my (more cheerful) thoughts on horror and feminism, check out A Feminist’s Horror Film Marathon.

If you want to read more of my posts on pick-up artists and street harassment, I’ve got you covered. If you want to read someone else’s posts on the UCSB shootings, misogyny, feminism, etc, I highly recommend We Hunted the Mammoth (formerly Manboobz).

If you need a palate cleanser, here are some puppies. If you want some great female-centric horror, check out American Mary on Netflix.

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29 thoughts on “#YesAllWomen: Creeps and Crypts and the War on Women

  1. I do wish things had changed more in the past 50 years. They have — you could get a black belt, and there are these places to go — all sorts of interesting ones — and conversations that couldn’t have been dreamt of in the 1950s and 1960s. But many of the male (and female, I have to say) attitudes haven’t changed a bit. Not sure where that leaves us. Thanks for the commentary.

  2. Regarding Anton, he approached me as well with a beer in each hand trying to offer me one under the claim that whoever it was he was with, had left without him and now he had two beers. Also said the same thing about being smart to turn it down since he might’ve drugged it. He said he was two beers in for drinks already, and certainly rambled on like he was. I think he is just someone who can’t hold his alcohol but can’t stop himself from continuing to drink. I’d met him earlier in the day or the day before, and he didn’t seem intrusive. He asked the same question about where I live, which I answered vaguely, as I always do with strangers. Didn’t get as far as asking about my birthday. The young man did get a healthy dose of my un/amused stare that I give to those who try to hit on me, but are obviously stumbling and failing rather miserably…..followed that with an ‘aren’t you cute….’ smile and nod, before I left. He didn’t follow.
    The rest of con, I didn’t encounter any problems, even with one of my cosplays having an extremely low cut top. No one leered at me or harassed me.
    I am sorry to hear that you were treated that way, but hopefully you won’t quit cosplaying at Crypticon because of this experience. If you haven’t yet, it might be worth a moment to send a message to the staff about posting physical copies of the anti-harassment policy for next year as well as reminders on the site and Facebook pages. I know there are things happening in the background to diversify the community, and as with any change, there are going to be conflicts and details missed as things get fleshed out.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! I was really pleased with the programming at Crypticon, and it’s clear they’ve got a vested interest in having a diverse con, which I really appreciate. (Again: any con that has a panel called “Is Horror Still A Boys’ Club?” is a con with its head screwed on right.) Getting in touch and giving them some feedback is definitely in my radar — I didn’t want to write to them while I was still upset over things that have nothing to do with them, like the UCSB shooting.

      I’m glad you had a good experience and felt safe! It says good things about the con in general. And I’m glad to hear that they’re working to make positive changes; that’s also very heartening.

      As for Anton, well, I agree with your assessment and I wish him all the best, as long as his best doesn’t include joking about drugging women’s drinks. Just not funny, man, not funny.

  3. Hey, We met briefly at Crypticon this year; I’m a filmmaker and was a guest at the con, and we got to chat about your costumes and the Soskas briefly in the hallway while our actors were promoting our new film – and I just got a chance to read your posting about the problems there. I’m sorry you guys encountered that. It sucks, and makes me really disappointed.
    Some of the actresses we work with deal with stuff like this at festivals and conventions, and we do our best to be open and communicative with fans (lots of photos) while trying to deal with the sometime creep factor. I’m still not 100% sure what the right balance is, and it’s something we discuss regularly within our company as we’re always seeking answers to issues that plague the industry in general.
    Anyways, I thought you guys were cool, and the cosplay was neat. Please don’t get discouraged; there are awesome people at festivals and conventions as well and the topic of overall safety is one that is coming more and more to light, and I feel like most con organizers take it seriously and do what they can. I also think it’s a topic that needs to be addressed more openly – harassment of any sort is unacceptable – period.
    I also sent you a FB message, non-creep type, in case you want to discuss this topic more and compare thoughts -we’re coming at it from the business/filmmaker perspective, and it sounds like you’re coming at it more from the fan experience. What’s the middle ground answer?
    Be well,
    Jason

    1. Wow, thank you for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment! I’d love to discuss this further — I think it’s an important conversation. (Obviously, given the length of this post!) I’ll drop you a line.

  4. Greetings, my name is Steve. I’m the director of guest relations for Crypticon, which is just a way of saying I deal with signing the celebs and making sure they get to where they need to go.
    I want to thank you for writing this. While i am immensely sorry that you had a negative experience, I am glad you were open enough to talk about it. Trust me, those of us who direct Crypticon will pay strict attention to this, and will act to try to ensure these things do not happen in the future.
    My email is mcslange@gmail.com. I would love if you (or anyone who reads this) reached out with any suggestions you may have, though I think it’s clear we need to discuss our harassment policy (or lack thereof) and how people are allowed to take pictures.
    I saw you and Elisa with the Twins, and how excited they were to see the American Mary cosplay (they even raved about it on the way to the train station, saying how Elisa even had Mary’s pissed off scowl down pat). This is part of why I was excited to bring them (as well as Tristan Risk and Jessica Cameron) to Crypticon, as I felt like they were exemplary of the great films a new generation of female directors are putting out there. Seeing you two interact with them is a big part of why we all do this, because when you boil it down, we just want people to come have fun.
    So it saddens and infuriates me that you were treated inappropriately. While there are always a few creepers in any crowd, we want to ensure that our attendees feel safe, and have instruments available to them if they feel threatened.
    I hope you’ll reach out, because I’d love for the two of you to return next year, confident in the fact you won’t be harassed. Again, thank you for writing this. I know it will open some eyes on our side of things.

  5. Please also contact Biohazard. They are VERY much against anyone making their attendees feel uncomfortable.

  6. Thanks for the comments! The staff is always striving to improve and even I was directed to your page by a staff member to read and brainstorm how adjustments can be made for next year! I’m sorry that this was your experience, but soo happy you enjoyed other aspects of the convention! I hope you will give us another shot next year!

    1. Hey, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I can’t emphasize enough that I appreciated the programming and the guest list a LOT. This was also my first time at a smaller con, and there was a lot about the vibe that I really enjoyed. The outreach from people involved with the con has also been really heartening.

  7. First and foremost, I am so very sorry that you had such a negative experience. I am heavily involved with events at Crypticon (especially the Prom) as well as security. I assure you that safety is our number one concern. We have security at the convention 24hrs a day for the length of the entire convention. I would love to chat with you regarding your negative experience at Crypticon Seattle so that we can make improvements. We welcome feedback and want to do all we can to ensure attendees, staff, guests, etc are happy and safe. Please send me an email. I really would like to discuss your issues further and listen to your ideas on how we can improve your experience. I do hope you will give us another try next year.

  8. Having been going to many a con over the years, I have seen it go from the all male heavy breathing “fun Seeker” types to family’s, then to young women attending to eventually just women in general. While I am no woman, I cant really truly understand what plights you deal with in such environments, I can say that many guys that attend these events often times leave me disgusted. At the same time, as such with the guy at the dance floor with the beer, I have been the guy trying to be nice (note not the “Nice Guy” whiny battle cry) and failing at only coming off as a creep. In this instance its rough all the way around, women get hit on and rape jokes get made by guys who have the social graces of a rock and thus defenses go up (and for a well respected reason) and then guys with white knight syndrome try to come in and be kind and give some sense of safety…. but even this can be a predatory tactic…. so who is to know?
    Bluntly nerd men have been shunned by women and honestly have no clue how to go about talking to them like people. In all of the media that they consume they are fetishist objects as has been discussed at great length. To complicate things further, some women seem to like that kind of treatment. Thus when one guy finds that 1 out of 100 in the room (maybe more) all of the other nerds see this and think it is acceptable or that all women secretly are like this.

    I guess the real point for this message is to ask just one simple question, one that I know will come with a very complex answer, how do you want us to behave? What is it that would make these environments more comfortable and safe?

    Codes of conduct for both sides as to be fair maybe?

    1. It is, indeed, a simple question, but I think the answer is less complex than you might think: just treat us like people. Like I said, instead of treating us like potential conquests, talk to us like conversational partners. Talk to us the way you’d talk to, I don’t know, your boss.

      To get into a little more detail, there are specific behaviors — from anyone, not just men — that raise red flags for me and I think for a lot of women. Most of us have been told from a depressingly young age not to accept drinks that we didn’t see opened or poured. Even if it doesn’t seem like the guy is going to roofie us, encouraging us to drink alcohol we didn’t order makes it seem like the guy wants to get us drunk. Ignoring body language, non-verbal “no”s and polite “no thank you”s are also huge: men who keep trying to talk to me after I’ve turned away, or do the “aww, c’mon” bit when I say “no” to something like dancing with them or accepting a drink, are scary. (I’ve had women push the boundaries of me or my friends before, too, like touching me without permission, but not nearly as often as men have pushed my boundaries in all kinds of ways.)

      It’s really sad to me that guys in fandom are so often dismissed as unable to talk to women like they’re people. (It’s true that a lot of genre media portrays women as fetish objects, not as people, and we need to address that problem, but I think that’s a topic I could spill another 2000 words on!) We had some really great conversations with men at Crypticon, too — even if the whole of the conversation was “Hey, I love your costume! Can I take a picture?” Those guys were horror nerds and still able to engage with us like we were people. And I know that there’s a pattern in my interactions with guys at cons (and honestly everywhere): when we talk about shared interests, I usually have a good time! And I feel like everyone is way, way less likely to get in trouble or make someone else uncomfortable if they start from there. You know, ask me if I went to any panels, ask if I made my costume, whatever. We’re both at a horror/comic book/theatre/whatever convention! Let’s talk about horror/comic books/theatre/whatever!

      Does all that make sense/help clarify things at all? Like, I don’t want to say “MEN AND WOMEN SHOULD NEVER EVER TALK IN PUBLIC EVER BECAUSE RAPE CULTURE” because that would be silly! But I do want to help make clear why I felt unsafe in these situations, and I do want to see if we can work towards a better experience for everyone.

      What do you think “codes of conduct” for men and women in these situations would/should look like?

      1. Hey Jacob!

        I just wanted to pop in to give you some food for thought about “what women want”:

        – As a cosplayer, I expect and welcome a certain amount of attention. I personally will never shut somebody down who greets me with a neutral comment like, “Hey, great costume!” or who asks to take my photo (unless I am exhausted or late for panel). Many lovely gentlemen at Crypticon did just that, and it was great to meet them; it was especially great to bond over how wonderful American Mary is as a film.
        – I don’t enjoy it when people come up to me and their first comment is an overtly sexual one. I don’t really judge people for looking/gawking (looking is free!) but why do people need to make that a conversation with me? Starting out a social interaction with a sexually charged comment means that there’s nowhere for me to go! If I don’t want to have sex with that person, what on earth do I say? It’s incredibly uncomfortable.
        – I REALLY don’t enjoy it when people try to touch me without my consent.

        That said, these statements just apply to me. It’s entirely possible that a different cosplayer– even one dressed as the same character as me– WOULD feel unsafe to be stared at. The trick here is that there’s nothing that “all women are secretly like.” Women are individual people, with individual preferences that come as a result of many different factors in their histories, only one of which is gender. You should be deeply suspicious of any advice– dating or otherwise– that encourages you to bypass what an individual woman’s preferences might be in favor of treating us like an undifferentiated bloc.

        Luckily, this is a good thing! Take heart: There is no need to waste time worrying about predicting what a woman wants before you talk to her. There’s no cheat code! Just go talk to her.

        Of course, there are risks to putting yourself out there. I know that “just go talk to her” is hard for people with social anxiety to hear. There is a possibility of rejection in any human interaction, so nothing I can say will guarantee that a woman you want to get to know will feel similarly. Maybe she’s exhausted and doesn’t want to have a conversation. Maybe she’s heartbroken and can’t stand the thought of talking to a dude right now. Maybe she’s a lesbian. But if you’re really stuck, here are some scripts that might help you (or others) approach women without being seen as creepy:
        – “I like your costume! Could I get a picture?”
        – “Hey, I really liked your question at [X Panel].”
        – “Oh, you have a Freddy Krueger keychain! So which movie in the series was the irredeemable worst?”
        – “Have you heard anything good about the movie screening tonight? I’m trying to figure out if I should go.”

        Many women will figure out you probably think they’re kinda cute if you’re cold-approaching them. But at least you’ll be doing it based on mutual interests.

    2. I have always talked to the guys. Always. I’ve made a lot of friends that way, but very rarely am I romantically interested in any of them. Some have become my bodyguards at cons over the years when a creeper does show up.
      My own advice from being in the fandom as an adult for 20 years, just be yourself, talk to us like we’re a friend. Now, this doesn’t mean standing there and talking about how “hot” some other female cosplayer is. But talk to us about the fandom. Don’t do the whole “drooling” stare, which is really unbecoming to anyone, and a huge turnoff for us. Do not stare at our chests, or any other … asset… you may find attractive. And listen, just as antheacarns says, learn verbal and non-verbal cues. Pay attention to body language. You’ll do much better both at cons and in RL if you learn and understand core body language cues.
      I once had someone tell me “body language doesn’t matter” and that’s utter BS. It does matter. Very much.
      Talk about the movies or shows. If you don’t recognize what her costume is from, ask nicely about the costume and its origins. I design my own stuff sometimes, so it isn’t always as obvious. Compliment the costume, especially if they made it. I put a lot of work into my costumes and it’s nice to hear compliments about the costume, not comments about my cleavage or other things.
      Maybe I’m one of the odd ones in that I do take the time to talk to the guys. I usually feel more comfortable hanging out with the guys. Not all cosplayers and female fans are that way, though. Just respect the body language cues and back off if they turn you away. Be respectful. I had a guy once who was twice my age at the time and he kept following me around the after hours part of the con. I didn’t know we had security for warning guys like that off, but I approached my Klingon friends (all male, all over 6 foot, all big guys) and asked them to warn him off for me, as he wasn’t listening to me. He backed off. It’s sad that it took a trio of Klingons to get him to listen.
      Just pay attention to the cues. Learn them, and then pay attention to them. If you respect our boundaries, we may come to respect and like you in return. Just my own two cents.

  9. ANTHEACARNS This was an eye opening read I’m sorry that the creeps ruined your trip experce great job on the Cosplay I noticed this at Fan Expo Canada ion Toronto I wanted to help but I have a disability I ask nicely for pictures with Jen and Sylvia Soska, and Tristan Risk they signed my American Aary Dvd to my first Con was an amazing Time I look forward to next year everyone treated me very well and I felt save I’m sorry I could not help the girls be creeped on I hope you don’t think I’m horrible for not helping them I hope you go back again next time.

    1. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting! I’m glad you had such a great time at the con!

      It’s so kind of you to be thinking about helping out women at these cons. You are not horrible for not helping — it’s really hard to speak up. (Hell, even speaking up for myself is pretty scary; it’s been a crazy day over here.) I’m glad you’re noticing when things seem to be going badly, because so many people turn a blind eye to that, and spotting those bad situations is a good first step to ending them.

      Thank you again for the comment and the kind words! I hope you keep going to cons and having fun!

  10. This is a really excellent thing to share – tarnished by the fact that you went through it. I hope that something important can come out of this and the stories told by other people. Here’s to hoping that it adds weight to the need to have harassment policies at cons that are well-thought out and properly enforced.

  11. Hello doll 🙂 This is Linnie, Revenge Honey for the Horror Honeys and one of the panelists at the Women in Horror panel. I just want to thank you so much for coming to panel and both of you being vocal and brave advocates for women. Like you, I wish we could have gone on talking for hours, and I hope we get to expand the panel into a weekend long series next year!
    Please please PLEASE drop me an email an therevengehoney@gmail.com. We would love to have you ladies add your voices to the noise as Guest Honeys!

  12. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and your thoughts. My name is Amanda, most people know me as Chicka and I am the High Priestess of Biohazard; namely I run the show and try to keep the madness in check.

    It is EXTREMELY important to us that people inside our party feel safe. We always encourage our guests to get their own drinks, never set their drinks down unattended or accept drinks from a stranger. We also encourage anyone who feels unsafe to go to one of our staff members or volunteers to get help. Whether the resolution needs to be a clarification (sometimes someone doesn’t realize they are doing something that makes someone feel threatened) or removal of a person from the party, we wi not hesitate to take action. We try and have our security team – both staff & volunteers who’ve been trained on what to do – in brightly colored shirts that stand out so they can be easily found in a dark room full of people.

    I apologize on behalf of our crew that you felt uncomfortable during our party. I have tried to control the cameras in the party and though it’s much better than in previous years, I now know we still have work to do.

    I invite you to email me at biohazardparty@gmail.com so that perhaps you can help me come up with some ideas on how to make the environment a better one for all our guests.

    Again, thank you … hopefully we shall see you at future parties.

    1. Hi Amanda — Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I’m really glad to hear that Biohazard is aware of these issues and committed to making the party feel safe.

      Creepers aside — creepers gonna creep at a dance party, and that’s nobody’s fault but the creepers — the DJ at Biohazard was great and I enjoyed the party! I’ll definitely drop you a line.

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