Another county heard from.

May 09, 2010 15:21

I'm making this post on behalf of both lazy_daze and myself. We share the same feelings about this, the same take on things, and she's read and approved it and will be linking it.

We have a connection to the events that are currently going on in SPN fandom merely because we roomed with those at the center of this incident at the 2008 Wincon and witnessed some of what is being discussed. We have been hesitant to speak on the matter at all because we generally do not care to get involved in stuff like this, nor did we feel the need to or like the risk was worth the gain. At this point, though, we think perhaps our perspective might be useful, and that our silence is probably conspicuous.

lazy_daze and I both split a room with these people and were put off by the activities going on in our shared space and in our shared bed (we moved to a different room with some lovely and generous other friends of ours after being party to that). We did not, however, personally experience coercion of any sort and didn't notice it going on during the time when we saw what was happening. That doesn't mean it didn't happen. That doesn't mean that our experience of the situation is the only correct one. There is no way we could know the feelings of those involved, nor would we ever try to assume that we did. It wasn't until later that we heard about the things that supposedly preceded the activities in the room, and the experiences of some of the people who were in that room. Still, we gave one of our roommates the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that she didn't understand or was not aware of the feelings of anyone involved who had been made uncomfortable at the time, and that she had made or would make reparations as necessary.

It seemed unfortunate to us that this was all being dragged up again on the anonmeme when it was our understanding that it had been dealt with a long time ago and was both water under the bridge and a sensitive subject not to be bandied around without the express knowledge and participation of those involved. After our roommate's initial, seemingly knee-jerk response post, we communicated with both the Concom and with her, everything pleasant and honest on all sides, as the last thing we wanted was to be part of any public wank or to engage anyone or reveal anything best kept between the people involved.

However. Since those civil, appropriate, private exchanges, as well as after gleaning more information, our roommate's reaction has become appalling. Her consistent demand for the victims to reveal themselves, to "confess," is completely inappropriate. Her call for legal action against someone for stating a feeling and against the Concom for trying to ensure a safe space at a private convention is ignorant and crude. Her responses perpetuate rape culture to an alarming degree, and we do not, CANNOT, understand why her first (and second, third, etc.) thought wasn't, "Oh my god, someone was made uncomfortable by my friends and me! I am so sorry! I have to make it better!" but instead was one of anger, resentment, and entitlement. The activities we witnessed in our hotel room and bed made us feel awkward seeing them, purely because we were not expecting to walk in on...what we walked in on, nor did we care for it happening in our room and where we wanted to sleep. We've partaken in much crazier fandom parties ourselves, though, and did not judge anyone for participating; we simply found the situation to be off-putting. So we changed rooms. We can, however, easily imagine a fangirl in that room, especially one impaired by alcohol, made uncomfortable in a much more personal and upsetting way than we were, yet reluctant to say so. We don't understand why the first reaction of someone accused of perpetuating that discomfort wouldn't be, "Oh man, I really thought it was okay and everyone was into it. I'm so sorry that is not the case. I feel awful. It was my responsibility to ensure that everyone in the room was okay with the activities before they proceeded. What can I do to help you?" instead of, "Clearly you are making this up, because if you weren't, you would've said something when it was going on." What? How is that okay? How could anyone think that is the right response? Does anyone who believes that is the right response hear themselves? It worries us and saddens us so much that in a space we thought was as safe and enlightened and woman-positive as fandom, that sort of thing still happens.

Our initial plan of two years ago to give our roommate the benefit of the doubt is clearly no longer appropriate. Our more recent plan to keep our mouths shut and practice the adage that discretion is the better part of valour is also no longer appropriate. Sometimes offering a public stance is the better part of valour, and we applaud all those who spoke up with their feelings about this before we did, as you brave women made us feel comfortable to do the same. We also appreciate the attitude, actions, and support of the Concom immensely, and greatly respect their decisions and their dedication to keeping Wincon a safe and enjoyable place. This year, the first round's on us, ladies!
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