a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
"Pay a heavy price for it" 
18 July 2014 19:03 - "Pay a heavy price for it"
rosefox: This has been a consciousness-raising message from THE SISTERHOOD. Power to the oppressed. Stay strong, sister. (feminist-militant)
Shorter Wiscon: In recognition of the possibility that a harasser may eventually learn to behave himself like someone who graduated kindergarten, we will guarantee that a minimum of two people (the ones he harassed) will no longer feel comfortable at our convention.

Good job, folks. That is some solid community-minded thinking right there. When you have loads of people saying "As long as this dude is at your convention, I will not feel safe there" the OBVIOUS feminist position to take is that the dude's potential rehabilitation matters more than the feeeeeeelings of all those laaaaaadies. They're probably just being oversensitive. They'll come back. After all, there are no other soi-disant feminist conventions for them to go to!

All sarcasm aside, I suggest that any con that has ever permanently banned a harasser begin labeling itself a feminist convention, as the claim to the term is clearly pretty wide open at this point.

I wrote about redemption narratives and convention harassment in 2012. I could write about it again, but why bother? It's clear that the people who needed to read it the first time around either never did or forgot it as soon as they closed the tab. And we're right back where we started, following some guy through his sin-repentance-redemption story while ignoring all the women who will be going to other conventions or just staying home.

(Incidentally, if you want to help mitigate the financial costs to Elise for having to stop selling her gorgeous handmade jewelry at Wiscon, please consider buying some of her wares for yourself or someone else.)

Note that Frenkel can appeal the decision in case he thinks it's too harsh, but no one else can appeal it for being too lenient. That's a very clear sign as to which way the committee thinks it's erring. And it's dead wrong.

The subject line of this post is from Dan Harmon's plot embryo:

1. A character is in a zone of comfort
2. But they want something
3. They enter an unfamiliar situation
4. Adapt to it
5. Get what they wanted
6. Pay a heavy price for it
7. Then return to their familiar situation
8. Having changed

That's the Frenkel story. He's supposed to pay a price for getting what he wanted--the opportunity to harass a couple of women--but all he loses is four years of Wiscon. However, anyone who doesn't want to be around harassers loses Wiscon forever. And Elise and Lauren pay the highest price of all for having spoken up: the price of being told, almost in so many words, that their pain and sorrow don't matter as much as Jim Frenkel getting a second chance. They don't get to return to their familiar situation. They don't get what they wanted. They don't get the neat episodic story arc. They're left to make new stories for themselves, with so much less cultural and community support than they need and deserve.

This is really dispiriting.
19 July 2014 09:12
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
I really hoped they would do better.
19 July 2014 14:11
dantesspirit: (Default)
You know, crap like this is exactly why I go to exactly ONE con- Mysticon here in Roanoke. And that's because I know the people who run it quite well (we game together) and I live less than 5 minutes from where it's held, as well as the fact they don't put up with crap from people like Frenkel.

Congrats, WisCon, for making it so more people will never, ever attend your con.
20 July 2014 01:34
brooksmoses: (Default)
Ooh, it hadn't occurred to me to wonder if there was a con in Roanoke. I grew up near there (over in Newport, north of Blacksburg) and come back to visit every so often, and it sounds like it might be fun to attend. Do they have a mailing list that I could subscribe to as a reminder?
20 July 2014 05:50
dantesspirit: (Default)
It's still a relatively 'young' Con (only in its 5th year), but it's pretty awesome.}:)

19 July 2014 15:24
akycha: (Default)
I was really under the impression that WisCon wanted to, and would, do better. Instead they have thrown all the most vulnerable people (who are, incidentally, all the people the con has been trying to attract) under the bus.

Women, queer folk, transfolk, people of color, people who are non-gender conforming, and people who have disabilities are all more vulnerable to social, emotional, sexual, and physical violence, and this response is terrible. It sends the message that the pain of those who are considered socially "lesser" in the hegemony will also be considered irrelevant by WisCon, and... I did NOT think that was what WisCon was about.
22 July 2014 23:44 - It's in who you identify with
mystery gardener
What is truly disheartening about things like this for me is that it is beyond clear who the people who make these decisions are identifying with.

They identify with the harasser. In a similar situation, they would want a second chance, so they give one. They can more clearly see themselves in the harasser's shoes than those of the women he harassed. Because of that, it's hard for them to truly understand why you might feel unsafe even around a "redeemed" man. And they aren't bothering to correct that.

In a court of law type context, sure, go for rehabilitation if you can because prison is dreadful, expensive and research shows a much less effective way to avoid recidivism. But WisCon is not society. You have the option of just never letting someone back in again and forgetting they exist. Attending WisCon is not a right, it's a privilege and one I think you should lose if you can't be trusted with it.
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