Sexism, Gaming, Pax and Fear

KaterinLHC wrote:

It is rude and an invasion of privacy to frame a stranger's choices in the context of how you feel they relate to you, whether that choice is to wear a Lara Croft costume or a low-cut top or nothing at all. "I like your sexy costume" is a great example, because "sexy" is an adjective that's entirely in the eye of the beholder. In your attempt to compliment the cosplayer, you are making her costume about your sexual interest. You are taking her hard work and making it about you.

In a normal situation, agreed. With respect to the things that were said to these girls - agreed. (Again, what was said was 100% wrong) As a general rule and specifically in the case of cosplay - no. I think you'd agree that cosplay is, for the most part, artistry - cardboard box GUNDAM cat not withstanding. And expressing your opinions about the way an artist has evoked emotion isn't a bad thing, is it? In fact, that's kind of... the point. You're basically creating a situation where complimenting an artist on technical accomplishments such as her use of color or brush technique is fine, but the discussion of how that painting makes you feel is somehow inherently immoral and demeaning. That doesn't make sense to me. Suppose I tell a cosplay Aeris how seeing her made me a little sad because FFVII is my favorite game and she reminded me of a tragic part of the game. By your definition I've just "made it all about me" and done the cosplayer a disservice but isn't that part of why people go through the trouble, discomfort, and attention to detail?

Again, no one "deserves" a comment like the ones that were said. But I don't think it should necessarily be off limits to express politely how attractive a given cosplayer looks, especially if she chooses a character whose traits are expressed in the source material through sexuality.

You can come up with as many scenarios as you want, but it still all comes down to justifying the objectification of women. There is a disconnect that some guys here are just not seeing.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

It is rude and an invasion of privacy to frame a stranger's choices in the context of how you feel they relate to you, whether that choice is to wear a Lara Croft costume or a low-cut top or nothing at all. "I like your sexy costume" is a great example, because "sexy" is an adjective that's entirely in the eye of the beholder. In your attempt to compliment the cosplayer, you are making her costume about your sexual interest. You are taking her hard work and making it about you.

In a normal situation, agreed. With respect to the things that were said to these girls - agreed. (Again, what was said was 100% wrong) As a general rule and specifically in the case of cosplay - no. I think you'd agree that cosplay is, for the most part, artistry - cardboard box GUNDAM cat not withstanding. And expressing your opinions about the way an artist has evoked emotion isn't a bad thing, is it? In fact, that's kind of... the point. You're basically creating a situation where complimenting an artist on technical accomplishments such as her use of color or brush technique is fine, but the discussion of how that painting makes you feel is somehow inherently immoral and demeaning. That doesn't make sense to me. Suppose I tell a cosplay Aeris how seeing her made me a little sad because FFVII is my favorite game and she reminded me of a tragic part of the game. By your definition I've just "made it all about me" and done the cosplayer a disservice but isn't that part of why people go through the trouble, discomfort, and attention to detail?

Again, no one "deserves" a comment like the ones that were said. But I don't think it should necessarily be off limits to express politely how attractive a given cosplayer looks, especially if she chooses a character whose traits are expressed in the source material through sexuality.

Interesting point.

And to take it to even further territory, would it not be okay to tell a cosplayer that a costume he or she chose offended you? (e.g.: the wearing of, say, a nazi armband?).

Holy ()@&^. I had actually never watched that Felicia Day video, and I assumed the carpet/drapes thing was some sort of backhanded get-back-in-the-kitchen sort of thing. It never even )(!@&%! dawned on me that was what was being discussed.

I don't see how anyone would interpret her response as her finding it funny. Her expressions of shock when the guy sitting with her explained it should make that extremely clear.

Baron Of Hell wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

My mind is boggled that the Felicia Day video is shown as an example of something good. If a journalist stands up and asks that question, he is fired.

If Felicia responds by asking for the guy to be removed, she risks the IHM's wrath.

That question is why my wife, while she enjoyed PAX with me, would never go alone. She told me that there are too many examples of guys not only being inappropriate, but absolutely no sense that she could trust the crowd to back her up.

I'm not sure if this was addressed at me. I did not bring up the Felicia Day question as something good. My question was should one defend the honor of a person that doesn't try to fight for themselves. I could go through youtube and find a hundred videos of girls being asked rude questions but obviously enjoying it. If one is going to fight for the honor of these cos players why not also talk to the women that do nothing or encourage the comments?

Don't mistake my question for a rejection or acceptance for what she did or a acceptance or rejection for the comments.

You used Felicia Day as an example of a woman who thought a crude comment was funny, and asked if since that was okay, why wasn't what the jerk from the blog said okay. I posted the video to show that Felicia Day was clearly not okay with the question and didn't think it was funny.

No I used felecia day comment as an example of a worst comment no one said anything about. And don't agree that Felecia found the comment all that rude because she laughed about it. Maybe she did though and also found it funny.

A nervous laugh doesn't even look or sound like actual, honest to god laughter. That's why it's called nervous laughter. It's a defense mechanism produced by embarrassment or fear, not amusement. That's how we can tell the difference. The fact that she laughed is meaningless. How she laughed is key.

The statement was inappropriate. Her shocked look, covered mouth, glancing back and forth in confusion and nervous laughter make it clear that she was not amused.

See also: courtesy laugh.

momgamer wrote:

Holy ()@&^. I had actually never watched that Felicia Day video, and I assumed the carpet/drapes thing was some sort of backhanded get-back-in-the-kitchen sort of thing. It never even )(!@&%! dawned on me that was what was being discussed.

I don't see how anyone would interpret her response as her finding it funny. Her expressions of shock when the guy sitting with her explained it should make that extremely clear.

Yeah, that was very uncomfortable to watch. I wanted so much for someone to stick up for her and it just didn't happen.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Suppose I tell a cosplay Aeris how seeing her made me a little sad because FFVII is my favorite game and she reminded me of a tragic part of the game. By your definition I've just "made it all about me" and done the cosplayer a disservice but isn't that part of why people go through the trouble, discomfort, and attention to detail?

I don't think you're doing a cosplayer a disservice if their portrayal triggers an emotional response to the character or costume. That said, I don't think sexual response falls under the same umbrella, despite how intertwined emotions and sex can be.

momgamer wrote:

Holy ()@&^. I had actually never watched that Felicia Day video, and I assumed the carpet/drapes thing was some sort of backhanded get-back-in-the-kitchen sort of thing. It never even )(!@&%! dawned on me that was what was being discussed.

I don't see how anyone would interpret her response as her finding it funny. Her expressions of shock when the guy sitting with her explained it should make that extremely clear.

I agree; until this thread I've never actually seen the video of that. Not only did it make me upset and uncomfortable for her, she was very visibly unhappy about it.

If you can watch that full video and not pick up that she was confused first, shocked second, upset third, and then recovered and regained her composure to laugh it off politely since she's a public figure and didn't want to risk a blow-up between her and the audience... well, then you've got some serious learning to do on how to read social cues and body language.

momgamer wrote:

Holy ()@&^. I had actually never watched that Felicia Day video, and I assumed the carpet/drapes thing was some sort of backhanded get-back-in-the-kitchen sort of thing. It never even )(!@&%! dawned on me that was what was being discussed.

I don't see how anyone would interpret her response as her finding it funny. Her expressions of shock when the guy sitting with her explained it should make that extremely clear.

That's my interpretation, too. However, the ongoing disagreements seem a bit silly within the context of this thread if we all agree that the question did not belong. It's another example of the "What if it's okay to her?" mentality which shouldn't even figure into it when it comes to interacting with a stranger.

Yellek wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Holy ()@&^. I had actually never watched that Felicia Day video, and I assumed the carpet/drapes thing was some sort of backhanded get-back-in-the-kitchen sort of thing. It never even )(!@&%! dawned on me that was what was being discussed.

I don't see how anyone would interpret her response as her finding it funny. Her expressions of shock when the guy sitting with her explained it should make that extremely clear.

Yeah, that was very uncomfortable to watch. I wanted so much for someone to stick up for her and it just didn't happen.

The audience's laughter made me even angrier. I am disappointed that there wasn't someone in the audience with the compassion and guts to stand up and call the question-asker and the host out on this.

I have seen that Felicia Day video before and I cannot imagine how anyone could possibly interpret her response as finding it funny. My discomfort meter was off the scale in sympathy with her after someone explained the remark.

shoptroll wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

Suppose I tell a cosplay Aeris how seeing her made me a little sad because FFVII is my favorite game and she reminded me of a tragic part of the game. By your definition I've just "made it all about me" and done the cosplayer a disservice but isn't that part of why people go through the trouble, discomfort, and attention to detail?

I don't think you're doing a cosplayer a disservice if their portrayal triggers an emotional response to the character or costume. That said, I don't think sexual response falls under the same umbrella, despite how intertwined emotions and sex are.

This. As I mentioned above, portrayal of the character is part of cosplay. And if she does it well enough to bring in the melancholy of Aeris and her situation would be flattering, as long as you weren't trying to couch it in terms aimed at her person.

For example, try "You are really good at this. Your performance is evoking the feelings I had when I played through the tragic parts of the game." You are expressing your feelings, but it's not about her person.

Whereas, "I'd like to be the gentle tear rolling down your cheek," is somewhat creepifying, and comments about your Masamune and impaling her on it are way the heck out.

How about not telling strangers your most shallow thoughts about them?

And the hooking up fantasy is just a carry over from high school when we all thought everyone was getting laid but you. It drives a lot of kids to place an even higher priority on getting laid than even their hormones dictate. Most people grow up and stop viewing every gathering as a chance to get laid.

Farscry wrote:
Yellek wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Holy ()@&^. I had actually never watched that Felicia Day video, and I assumed the carpet/drapes thing was some sort of backhanded get-back-in-the-kitchen sort of thing. It never even )(!@&%! dawned on me that was what was being discussed.

I don't see how anyone would interpret her response as her finding it funny. Her expressions of shock when the guy sitting with her explained it should make that extremely clear.

Yeah, that was very uncomfortable to watch. I wanted so much for someone to stick up for her and it just didn't happen.

The audience's laughter made me even angrier. I am disappointed that there wasn't someone in the audience with the compassion and guts to stand up and call the question-asker and the host out on this.

One of the things I consistently notice in situations like that is how difficult it is for an individual to summon up the courage to break the momentum once things start moving in that direction. That said, I also find that once an individual does, the momentum swings rather quickly (e.g.: "Gamer Boyfriends" thread).

momgamer wrote:

Whereas, "I'd like to be the gentle tear rolling down your cheek," is somewhat creepifying, and comments about your Masamune and impaling her on it are way the heck out.

And is a good way to get bopped on the head if she's carrying a metal staff as part of the costume.

momgamer wrote:

This. As I mentioned above, portrayal of the character is part of cosplay. And if she does it well enough to bring in the melancholy of Aeris and her situation would be flattering, as long as you weren't trying to couch it in terms aimed at her person.

For example, try "You are really good at this. Your performance is evoking the feelings I had when I played through the tragic parts of the game." You are expressing your feelings, but it's not about her person.

Whereas, "I'd like to be the gentle tear rolling down your cheek," is somewhat creepifying, and comments about your Masamune and impaling her on it are way the heck out.

Holy crap, people say stuff like that? That's... disturbing.

I haven't been to a con yet, but if I ran across someone (male or female) who really nailed a character via their cosplay, I would feel comfortable saying "wow, you make a great [insert character name here]; your costume is awesome and you do a good job acting like them too!"

And more specifically in dealing with women, whether regarding cosplay at conventions or regular in-person interactions, I generally would not tell a woman "you're gorgeous/sexy/etc!" out of the blue. That doesn't even make sense to me. Just a generic "Hey, you look really nice today!" is about the extent I take it unless I know them really well and we have established a closer, more comfortable familiarity where we can cross that line into more specific compliments.

"That's a really great costume"

"OH MY GOD, IT'S (character X)!"

"How did you get (this bit of the costume) to do that?"

shoptroll wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Whereas, "I'd like to be the gentle tear rolling down your cheek," is somewhat creepifying, and comments about your Masamune and impaling her on it are way the heck out.

And is a good way to get bopped on the head if she's carrying a metal staff as part of the costume.

Well, Aeris should be carrying a basket of flowers or a glowy green ball. I guess if she bounced them off your head...

Seriously, it's not going to happen at a con anyways. That's a good way for the cosplayer to get banned. And justifiably so, IMHO.

That's another way of framing this whole conversation, though. Girls don't generally hit. It's trained out of most of us pretty thoroughly. A friend of mine who is a cop who teaches self-defense classes on the side has a terrible time getting his students to seriously strike even a dummy.

She might yell or leave, but more likely she'd laugh nervously and change the subject.

Also, I'll add that it's more than a little bothersome and telling that so many male forum members are so intent on arguing in this thread, that the women posting here are getting skimmed over. May I suggest a few of you go back and read this post:

http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/1...

This is where I politely agree with KaterinLHC and just say:

+1

shoptroll wrote:

I don't think you're doing a cosplayer a disservice if their portrayal triggers an emotional response to the character or costume. That said, I don't think sexual response falls under the same umbrella, despite how intertwined emotions and sex are.

Well, that's not really the argument Lara was making, but I'm not really sure I buy the argument that an artistic work that evokes lust automatically insults the artist if expressed. And again, the source material for cosplay is normally overrun with innately oversexualized characters.

momgamer wrote:

Whereas, "I'd like to be the gentle tear rolling down your cheek," is somewhat creepifying

Now all I can think of is

IMAGE(http://eatthattoast.com/comics/2012-05-14.gif)

I really don't understand why some people think it's OK to go up to a total stranger and sexualize a situation, based on what they're wearing, at a con of all places. Complementing the cosplayer on their outfit makes total sense to me (and hey, might start up a great conversation about shared interests) but to say "you look f*cking HOTTTT in that outfit" just seems weird to me. I ain't gonna go up to a dude dress as Kratos and tell him his package looks amazing, but I might complement him on his outfit (if it's a good costume).

I also think context is key too. If you're at a sex party for cosplayers, it's probably OK to say dirty things; anywhere else, not so much And yes, there ARE men and women cosplayers out there that probably do welcome the dirty comments and advances. But that doesn't mean ALL of them are.

And don't even get me started on inappropriate comments at work/work functions. When I hear/read about how women are being treated in the tech industry my blood just starts to boil.

Empathy is serious business guys.

momgamer wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Whereas, "I'd like to be the gentle tear rolling down your cheek," is somewhat creepifying, and comments about your Masamune and impaling her on it are way the heck out.

And is a good way to get bopped on the head if she's carrying a metal staff as part of the costume.

Well, Aeris should be carrying a basket of flowers or a glowy green ball. I guess if she bounced them off your head...

Seriously, it's not going to happen at a con anyways. That's a good way for the cosplayer to get banned. And justifiably so, IMHO.

Good point.

NSMike wrote:

May I suggest a few of you go back and read this post

I'm sad that got lost in the shuffle. It's ok to not know how to express an intelligent/profound response right? Because I can't think of anything else to say other than "that really sucks :("

(Sorry, I don't come into these threads that often, so I'm bad at responding to personal experiences with anything more substantial than simple empathy)

NSMike wrote:

Also, I'll add that it's more than a little bothersome and telling that so many male forum members are so intent on arguing in this thread, that the women posting here are getting skimmed over. May I suggest a few of you go back and read this post:

http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/1...

I can't even begin to explain how many times I've "laughed" things off while at work. The few times I don't laugh things away, they respond back with aggression, sarcasm, disrespect, laughter, defensive questioning, nasty comments under their breath...

Most of the time, it's just not worth it because A) no one else will back you up, B) nothing will come of it and C) you end up with a target on your back. It sucks but what are we suppose to do? Build a Thunderdome?

Mystic Violet wrote:

Most of the time, it's just not worth it because A) no one else will back you up, B) nothing will come of it and C) you end up with a target on your back. It sucks but what are we suppose to do? Build a Thunderdome?

TINA TURNER COSPLAY!

As I related to some folks at a board game night a while back, I speak bro. This has to do with some time spent being in... no... running a fraternity.

I was the social chair. It was my job to run the parties. To purchase palettes full of beer. To make sure at least one person in the house (9/10 times me) was sober. To smuggle the overly drunk/passed out people (male and female, passive and violent) somewhere quiet in the house and make sure they were attended to. To call campus med services when needed, and to under no circumstances allow outside/campus security into the house. Ever. They would bring the whole sh*t show down in an instant.

Essentially, I was running a sexual abuse machine. The goal of every party was to lure in as many women as possible, get 'em liquored up, and take advantage of them. That was my mission, and they came in droves.

Now at the time it didn't sound like that. When speaking bro, the first rule is that everything is always about you and your cohorts. It's about protecting the pack, about increasing its influence vs. other packs, about improving your largesse. So you can get more cohorts, and more money, and more women.

There are those in your circle, and there are those who are outside your circle. Who are outside your help who are deserving of scorn. Who are merely fuel for the idiot train you are driving.

What you're seeing in these interactions with cosplayers is the glancing blows of a tangential collision of the bro-sphere with the smaller niche that is the gaming community. What you're seeing in the women complicit with these acts, and other highly violent and similarly sexist incidents, are women who have been abused into submission.

Do not deceive yourself that the male oligarchy is anything less than the power behind most institutions, either formal or informal. Good and decent people should have their shields up all the times, and be ready to protect people from bros.

It took me a long time to unlearn what I had learned, to start to work against the bro-sphere. I'm still working on it. sh*t still comes out of my mouth that I am horrified at, either instantly or days later. I'm nowhere near being deprogrammed. But I gotta tell you folks in this thread, the majority of males in this country are bros. And they are dangerous. I lived among them. And I have a lot of regrets.

Edit: About the complicit bit above, I was not talking about the cosplayers. I am talking about women attacking those cosplayers, and other "whistle blowers" if you will. The women attacking other women for speaking out are those complicit. NOT THE COSPLAYERS.

Trachalio wrote:
Mystic Violet wrote:

Most of the time, it's just not worth it because A) no one else will back you up, B) nothing will come of it and C) you end up with a target on your back. It sucks but what are we suppose to do? Build a Thunderdome?

TINA TURNER COSPLAY!

IMAGE(http://eviljohn11.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/mad_max_beyond_the_thunderdome.jpg)

You know what? Screw it. Someone get me a chain mail dress. I'm building a Thunderdome.

Mystic Violet wrote:
Trachalio wrote:
Mystic Violet wrote:

Most of the time, it's just not worth it because A) no one else will back you up, B) nothing will come of it and C) you end up with a target on your back. It sucks but what are we suppose to do? Build a Thunderdome?

TINA TURNER COSPLAY!

IMAGE(http://eviljohn11.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/mad_max_beyond_the_thunderdome.jpg)

You know what? Screw it. Someone get me a chain mail dress. I'm building a Thunderdome.

YAAAAAAASSSSSSS!

((non-sexualized hugs to Charlie, the Brennil, KaterinLHC, Momgamer, Yellek, Mystic Violet, Shoptroll, NSMike))

Thank you, all of you, for your brave posts in this thread.