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An Uncomfortable Situation…

July 23, 2011

I wrote this just a few moments ago in safe community and felt like I should share. I’ve been trying to figure out why the ComicConPerv Twitter and accompanying Tumbler accounts bothered me. I was originally behind the idea, as I believe that people should call out bad behavior at conventions.

I’ll now insert what I wrote in that other community.

At first, I was excited that people would be called out for doing upskirts. And then I realized it was photos of guys taking photos of women in cosplay. Yes, maybe these men were taking pictures of people’s asses. However, they’re not *upskirts*. I’ve been trying to phrase how I feel about this, but don’t want to come across as a hater with “she was asking for it by the way she dresses”. It’s not that simple. And no, I don’t believe anyone should feel or be harassed for wearing skimpy (or not) attire. THAT IS NEVER OKAY.

However, I can’t find anything which indicates harassment. Sure, I get that you can see all kinds of skeevy stuff when stuck in a booth (or just walking around). I think when I just saw that the tweets were photos of men taking pictures of women I stopped paying attention and felt it was too “zomg”. I know what a real upskirt is. I have a story about it from a few years ago.

A bunch of video game professionals were at a convention, because the con was looking at bringing in video games. I dunno. But we had all gone out there and demo’d our games for everyone. I won’t even get into the booth babe thing. Maybe I’ll make it a blog post.

Anyway, we all went to the (redacted) party. We were hanging out on the 3rd floor, where they have beds instead of tables and chairs. We were all sitting on the bed, hanging out and enjoying ourselves chatting. I got up to get another bottle of water and noticed this guy, who we thought worked in games, holding his camera at bed level. He was taking photos of all the women on the bed. It wasn’t an obvious thing; he had it in his hand down at his side and not even looking at the women, as he was clicking.

I watched for a bit to see what he was doing, to make sure I wasn’t gonna accuse him of something he wasn’t doing. But no, he’d look down every so often and click the button. I grabbed one of the guys, told him what was going on. He culled the guy from the herd in one of those “Yo dude? What’s up? Haven’t seen you in a while” kind of things. While he was distracted, we all slowly left the bar. Everyone was shocked and creeped.

The next day, we see this guy running around. I popped over to Mark’s booth and let him know. He went and found the guy, “Hey man, good seeing you last night! Have fun? Get good photos?”

The guy handed over his camera. Mark proceeded to delete all the photos this guy took of my co-workers and other industry women who were at the club. He also had pictures of women from the con who were photographed while eating lunch, playing games, whatever.


In an odd coincidence, when I was at PAX East, I saw someone who looked familiar. I couldn’t figure how why I knew him. I was hanging out waiting for my booth mate to get his food. As I was leaning against the wall, this guy got totally into my personal space, in the one hand against the wall, blocking my movement, while his friend stood next to him. I was polite, but extracted myself. He knew exactly who I was (a chick from the Con mentioned above). I didn’t tell him my name, where I worked or anything. He didn’t know my name (thank goodness). Mike got his food and came over, I pushed the guy out of the way. OKAY GOTTA GO BYE.

Later, he came to the booth. I was sitting down at my netbook writing and he CAME INTO THE BOOTH. He was all close again. The people who owned the booth thought he was someone I knew, but luckily they could read my mood/posture and one called me over to “look at something”.

“Who’s that?”
“Remember the upskirt guy I told you about from that convention?”

They shoo’d him out of the booth and explained it was NOT cool to be in their booth. They weren’t defending me or speaking for me because I am a woman, they did it because it was their booth. I also told the guy “Dude, it’s NOT cool to walk behind someone’s booth. Now leave before I call an Enforcer”.

He chuckled off with a “Hey sweetheart, relax” comment. I was too shocked about it all to say anything. I wish I had a picture of this jerkface.

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  1. July 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    The thing is, these women have the right to wear what they want without having pictures taken of their boobs and ass. What they are wearing does not give anyone consent to take their pictures. No, they should not be classified as ‘upskirts’, but they are definitely still offensive as fuck. Their outfits are not designed to pander to the male gaze.

    As an aside, that guy sounds really creepy and I’m sorry that you had to deal with him. =(

    • July 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      I agree. The hard part is how do we make people stop taking pictures of other people in costume? ;/ I take pictures all the time of people in and out of costume when I go to conventions. Of course, when taking something of a specific person, I always ask. Crowd shots? Not so much. I am having a hard time finding the words I really want and I’m afraid they’re sounding horrible. I can only hope it leads to a better discussion; it is how people /get/ better with their words, yes?

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