There are times when I simply want to stand in the middle of the street and yell, at the top of my lungs, “Grow up!” Well, to be honest, there’s another word I’d add to that, but it’s early and I’m really trying to be good. That desire has been especially strong the last day or two as I read the posts complaining about ComicCon and as I read comments on other blogs about other topics. Long story short, we have somehow become a nation where there is an entire generation, or so it seems, that is incapable of standing up for itself and just saying “No!”
I’m female — proud of it — but I have never seen myself as a victim. My mother taught me to stand up for myself just as her mother had taught her. She taught me how to turn situations back on a man who might be acting the boor. Laughter and a well-placed comment can quickly deflate the drunk who is hitting on you. Cat calls from construction workers can but turned right back on the guys with a little thought and help from your friends. Elevators, especially for a tall woman in with short men (and that may be in stature or maturity) can be uncomfortable but a look can wither.
Don’t believe me? Find yourself a proper Southern lady or a New England matriarch and just watch how they handle unwanted attention or crude comments. They are masterful in cutting the offending party down to size and all without raising their voices or pulling out their victim card.
But my mother did more than that. She taught me to be aware of what vibes I’m sending out as well. If I’m acting like a target, I’ll be treated as a target.
Now, don’t go getting all bent out of shape. I am not saying that if I — or any other female — were to go walking around in a short skirt and tight top, I’d be asking to be attacked. Far from it. (Although, and I know this will bring out the GHHers, you do have to exercise some judgment in what you wear. If you’re going out and there’s going to be a lot of drinking, dressing like a slut might just get you treated like one by men — and women — who are impaired due to too much booze or other substances.)
No, what my mother taught me was, as Cedar Sanderson discusses over at According to Hoyt this morning, situational awareness. Know your surroundings, know your options and always keep your eyes open.
But that’s not what bothers me about what I’m seeing these days. What does is how we are teaching our kids not to stand up for themselves. Students aren’t allowed to fight back against bullies for fear that they will be suspended from school under the Zero Tolerance provisions. Our boys are being put into positions where they can’t even touch a girl’s arm for fear of being disciplined for sexual harassment. Folks, three year olds are being kicked out of pre-k for kissing or hugging their friends on the playground. Three year olds. They wouldn’t know harassment if it hit them and sure can’t form the intent to harass. What they are doing is showing affection for a friend. But that is bad, especially if it is the boy showing it to a girl.
Give me a break.
Then we come to the ComicCon complaints when it comes to CosPlay. (Note, the complaints aren’t limited to ComicCom but it is the latest and largest con to come under attack). While I agree that no one, male or female, should be groped without wanting to be groped by the groper, the complaints go beyond that. Folks get upset because some of the con goers will comment, often negatively, on their costumes or — gasp — will take pictures of them in costume without getting permission.
Yep, you read that right. They go to a major con, in costume, and complain about having their pictures taken. But more on that later.
Words hurt. I think we can all agree about that. But if you are going to dress up as a well-known character and then go to a con where folks will know that character and what that character should look like, you ought to be prepared for comments to be made. You should realize there will be men and women, boys and girls, there who aren’t mature, whether due to age or simply because they haven’t grown up. In other words, if you, as an adult, are going to a con focusing on comics and comics-related characters, and you are going in costume, you ought to realize you have just stepped back in time to junior high school. So either pull up your big girl panties and be prepared to receive comments and be prepared to respond to them or think about what your costume is going to be.
Sorry, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for folks who get so bent out of shape over words when they have willingly put themselves into that position. If you don’t want the “uneducated” and “unclean” to see your costume and comment on it, then find a private event to go to or set one up yourself. Otherwise, be prepared for what you’re going to get.
As for getting upset because people are taking your picture when you are in costume, really? Really? What did you expect? Especially when you are at a con devoted to fans of the genre. Now, if the photographer is in your personal space, tell them to back off. Or, better yet, laugh it off and let them have your picture. What harm is it going to do? The only time those photos cross the line is if the photographer is trying to crawl under your skirt, or whatever, and get a crotch shot. Then a carefully place foot followed by an “oops, so sorry. I didn’t see you down there,” is called for.
Besides, for each of those women — and men — complaining about having their pictures taken without permission, I’d lay odds they’ve taken photos of folks while on vacation, at parades, etc., without asking permission. I’d also like to know how many of these SjWs complain about the scantily clad men on the covers of romance-genre books. Do they decry those covers with the same fervor and zeal they do the chicks in chain mail covers in SF and fantasy? Hell, no. That’s one double standard they happily embrace.
No, I’m not advocating that we roll over and fall down and let men — and woman — act like heels around us. But I’m also saying there are ways of dealing with it besides declaring your victimhood. In other words, it’s time to pull up your big girl panties, remember what your mother and grandmother told you and the examples they set and to use that gushy grey matter between your ears to handle the uncomfortable situations you might find yourself in instead of crying “victim” and demanding someone else handle it for you.