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Every human is sovereign in their own body.
They have the right to say what happens to it.
I might be preaching to the choir with this one but I felt that I needed to say something about the level of sexual harassment that goes on in the comic book scene - specifically the stuff that happens at the conventions.
Please listen to my podcast where I discuss this in great detail:
To sum it up: Just because a woman turns you on sexually, it does not mean she is obligated to engage you on a sexual level.
She is not responsible for your hormonal reactions. Part of being a mature person is understanding what you are entitled to and what you are not entitled to – men are not entitled to sexual favors just because they get hot and bothered.
And here's some rules when encountering women cosplayers:
a) Keep your distance until you ask if it is okay to take a picture with her.
b) If she says yes, DO NOT touch her unless she initiates contact first.
c) If you are unsure she is open to being touched, ask if it is okay for you put your arm around her shoulder for the picture, if she says NO – then DON’T TOUCH HER.
d) Do not make any sexual comment about her body or costume. Trust me, she is fully aware of what body parts are heaving out or how much skin is showing, she has a right as a human being to wear what she wants – the issue of taste and morality is an important one and deserves a lengthy conversation – but not now.
I agree that some folks shouldn't dress a certain way in a family-friendly environment, but that does not warrant sexual assault or harassment.
e) Chances are, approaching one of these women for a date in the middle of a comic book show is not a good idea, she is usually not there for romantic reasons. However, I will say that if a woman is interested in your romantically, she will find a way to let you know. Usually, women aren’t that ambiguous or coy – at least that’s been my experience.
There are many women cosplayers whom I find incredibly attractive, but in my entire life, I've only taken pictures with two of them.
Mainly because I get why they enjoy dressing up and why they come to shows. I feel it is enough to say “nice work there” and keep moving.
HOW TO BE AN ALLY TO WOMEN:
a) Listen… just be quiet and listen to what she is saying.
b) Don’t make excuses for the harassment.
c) Don’t assume the woman is being too sensitive.
d) If you don’t believe her, the worst time to tell her would be in the moment where she relates her situation.
e) Get as much information about the incident as possible and don’t be afraid to contact the organizers or law enforcement authorities if the incident was more than innuendo.
f) Talk to other men – even the men who come off as the most sexist. Men generally don't LISTEN when women relate their issues with patriarchy. It is a powerful statement when a man will take a stand about sexism with no women around.