There is much ado in the media and the interwebs lately about saying “This goes no further.” where one challenges the status quo and demands a change and where one gets resistance by those who say “there’s no real problem”.
I’m involved, tangentially or directly, in several aspects of this declaration that essentially says “no matter if there was supposedly “no problem” before, there is the recognition of a problem now”. I’m an atheist (no kidding, eh?), I’m loud about equal rights for everyone, I’m a woman, I’m a gamer and I’m a costumer. That combination will get anyone into trouble with those who want to claim special privileges for themselves, that they have a “right” to harm/control others. What’s sad is that some of the folks who were different, who were bullied in school, who never fit in, haven’t realized that they shouldn’t do such things to others. Many humans act like the worst theists, always declaring what is “pure” and “right”, abusing power and generally acting like jerks.
I’ve done costumes for science fiction conventions before and am looking forward to doing it again which brings this topic up to the forefront of my thoughts and now to my blog. I won’t call myself a cosplayer because that has the connotation to me of someone who is *vastly* more devoted to the art than I am.
Being middle aged, a bit softer than I’d like to be, etc, there are some costumes I’d never consider. I’d love to do Storm from the X=Men in her Mohawk phase, or Wonder Woman in tribute to the awesome Lynda Carter. That ain’t going to happen, because I’m too self-conscious (Inara from Firefly is something I’d be happy doing). But other people have no problem with that and they should be able to dress as whom (or what) they please (same as someone should have no problem with dressing up as a character and *not* knowing the entire history of the character verbatim. If they do, great, if not, so the* fuck* what?). I do occasionally feel sympathy for people who don’t quite hit the mark and who might get ridiculed, sympathy most likely misplaced and unwanted. The fear of being made fun of is still my one big issue left over from being a nerdy girl and I get really uncomfortable when I think of someone else suffering that. But if they are happy, then that’s what is important.
This also applies to women and men who want to wear sexy costumes, or dress sexy. If they want to show skin and feel comfortable doing it, good for them. Some folks get plastic surgery done to make themselves feel better. Bigger breasts: if you like it, then go for it (and guys, they usually aren’t enlarged *for* you, so you don’t own them). I went the opposite direction, smaller breasts made me like myself better (and in my experience, big natural breasts *hurt*). If they like the attention, that is their prerogative. It is also their prerogative to reject attention if they wish. They are doing this to have fun, it is no one’s “right” to take that fun away from them by assuming that they want to be touched, hit on, treated as a thing, etc. That is selfish, stupid harassment, and makes the aggressor seems like a twit with no self-control. This also applies to gaming, where some idiot thinks that since it’s “just imaginary” this allows for any they want to do. No, it doesn’t. It’s a shared world and it’s not just your little playpen (again also why I counter theocratic nonsense, keep your god fantasies in your head, not on my body). That I’m playing a female character does not mean that this character is yours in anyway. I experienced pure sexist stupidity in my very first D&D game, let’s strip the female thief to see if she’s stealing from the party. Yes, it was from a guy, but another guy stepped in. Guess which one happens to have become my best friend and one true love? And he’s the reason that I still play, not repulsed off by the twits, since no, they aren’t all “like” that.
Nonsense should not be permitted to go any further, no matter the source.
There are a couple of good groups that stand up as “rough men” for those who might need some help or more understanding in the costuming/con world:
Of course, I have to note that sexism (among other things) is raising its head in the atheosphere. Atheists aren’t perfect. We have our own problems in the rather vaguely defined community, being that atheists are very little different than any other group of humans except we don’t believe in god/gods. We have those who want to pretend that the only real atheists are “x”, just like con fans love to claim that only “x” are the “real” fans. We have idiots who use their celebrity to prey on others, just like in the con world. We have outright bigots, who don’t like anyone not exactly like them and surprise they’re at cons. We have bullies, though at least they can’t claim that their uber-bully will damn us and cons have bullies too. They are atheists too, just like fen are fen. And humans are humans. Again, happily, most humans are decent, thoughtful people. But the fact is some aren’t. (And theists, telling and showing you that you are wrong isn’t being a jerk, unless you’d like to share the title when you tell a theist or atheist you don’t agree with that they’re wrong.)
Yep, it’s a pain to share a descriptor with someone I don’t agree with but there it is, they’re an atheist and I’m an atheist too. I’m a fan, they’re fan. I’m human and they are human. But this fact makes it even more important to declare that unpleasant behavior will be called out and responsibility demanded. They can remain what they are, attempting to make others less than them, but the time for excuses and hand-wringing is over. In all of the worlds I inhabit, I’ll stand up to the liars and the twits, the bullies and the fundamentalists. I may not be the target, being older and more assured now, but I will be there if necessary. You don’t need a gun or a sign or a blog, you just need to stand up.
“”Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.”Let not any man pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part and makes no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who , without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means he helps supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind upon the subject.” – John Stuart Mill (http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044018937722;view=1up;seq=30) , also variants attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Burke, etc.