Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – When it’s right to stand up, even if no one stood up before

wecandoitThere 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.

ororoBeing 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.

Thank you, John Z.
Thank you, John Z.

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 (;view=1up;seq=30) , also variants attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Burke, etc.

11 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – When it’s right to stand up, even if no one stood up before

  1. Hello again. Just making sure you’re behaving yourself. 🙂

    Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (I Peter 3:1-4)


    1. Ah, hello Woody. Nice to see you are still shilling primitive nonsense and demonstrating that TrueChristians use magic decoder rings to determine what their god “really” meant. You’ve made a great subject for a blog post. here’s the link:

      now, you can post there and tell us just how wonderful a TrueChristian you are. 🙂


  2. I still don’t think ‘hit on’ is such a wrong thing. The man tries to solicit a woman as romantic partner. The woman politely says ‘no.’ The man accepts that ‘no’ as a ‘no’ and acts accordingly.

    I have been hit on by gay males I have no interest in. I am mostly hetero.

    Being hit on by men that you are not interested in is the very small cost of not being part of the sexually straightjacketed society that Woody and the Burka enforcers want. I also feel that me being hit on by men I am not interested in the very small cost of living in a society that does not, at least for the most part, allow for the beating and mistreatment of homosexuals.


    1. Do you think men have to solicit romantic partners? and do you think it’s romantic and not simply sexual?

      To demand that the woman “politely” do anything seems to be having a double standard. It seems to say that it’s alright that women can be addressed any time in any way, but women must simply accept it and be “polite”.

      It is my opinion that people should not focus on romance/sex when meeting someone. Get to know them as human beings, not just something that you want.

      I do not agree that finding being hit on annoying to be sexually straightjacketed. This is not an all or nothing scenario.


      1. Overall, yes, men do have to solicit romantic or sexual partners. It is generally how it works. Not always, but generally.

        If the advance was polite, the response should be polite. If it was a hoot and holler out a car window or something of that nature…yes an upraised middle finger is the appropriate response.

        But when is an advance “appropriate?” Remember, the man can’t read the woman’s mind. So we are really talking a judgement call here. Given that the man is generally expected to be the solicitor, it ends up being his judgement. And yes, sometimes that judgement is poor. Or in the case of some males, they just don’t care.

        What I said is that the ‘cost’ of not having sexually straightjacket society such as “The male has to got to the father of the woman to request his permission to take her out” for instance, is that women will end up being subject to unwanted advances. I don’t see any way around this, no more than I being the subject of unwanted homosexual advances as a cost of a more open society.


      2. let me ask you, what would you consider a polite advance? For instance, I can see that “excuse me, would you like to have sex?” being considered technically polite but it is still unwanted. As for when an advance is appropriate, I do agree it’s a judgement call, but I do not think that the man is expected to be the solicitor so that it is solely up to him. I would think that making a romantic/sexual advance to a complete stranger is never good judgement. Now, if you can strike up a friendship and then make the advance that is a different thing.

        I do not think that we have to go from “woman has to get permission from a man” right to “everyone has to put up with bullshit from everyone else”. I think that people can be taught to respect each other.


  3. I’ve been thinking about this; What exactly is wrong with “excuse me, would you like to have sex?” Unless it was at a workplace, classroom, funeral, or similar venue. Is our negative reaction to such…honesty… just a psychic shadow of the Christian revulsion towards sex contaminating our upbringing?


      1. Well, you used that exact phrase as “technically polite, but unwanted” as if it should be treated with scorn. So if the scorn is just an echo of Puritanism, why should we treat it with scorn? After all, shouldn’t we embrace Enlightenment Values and dump Puritanial though onto the trashheap of history?

        Again I am not trying to be just antagonistic, but just countering thoughts to dig deeper towards a more coherent ethics system.


      2. yep, no problem with countering thoughts 🙂 The scorn for asking directly for sex I think is an echo of Puritanism. However, I don’t know if I’d call asking for sex honestly an enlightenment value. It’s honest, but it’s asking for what can be considered an intensely private thing, no puritanism needed IMO.


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