As you are (sadly) likely aware, there seems to be a surge in cases of sexual harassment and/or blatant sexism with the geek/writing community. There was the ReaderCon fiasco, and more recently a comic that I will not link to here, but you can refer to the blog of the lovely and talented Amy Ratcliffe if you want the details of that lovely piece of bigotry. In short, the ‘artist’ (for lack of a better term) wrote a comic wherein ‘LOL GIRLZ HAVE PERIODS AND EAT ICE CREAM’, that centered around GeekGirlCon.
There are two things I, as a guy/human being, want to say here:
First: Do not f**king do stuff like this. Dudes, I’m lookin’ at you. This is not complicated. It is not OK. In the first case, it’s a violation of basic human rights. In the second (in addition to being trite, played out and unfunny), it is so unfathomably sexist as to be unbelievable. It is just not OK (even if it was funny).
Second: Be a man (pun intended). Because what neither of these asshats have done is apologize (eff me, I didn’t see that before. I guess I did link to them after all). I jumped all over the creator of the strip in question on Twitter, and he hid behind “it’s satire”, and when I informed him of the actual definition of satire and that women didn’t really need to be ‘held up to scorn, derision and ridicule’, his brilliant response was to call me a ‘white knight’ (why thank you), tell me I should read the rest of his stuff (I pointed out his sales pitch was not well thought out) and talk about what a prolific artist he is, thus proving Sturgeon’s Law.
Not once – not on Twitter, not on Amy’s blog (and not in that post up there, which I am fuming about) did he (or the rest of his ilk) just say “I’m sorry”. No, instead he wants clicks, links and people to read his crap. This is not a matter of laughing at ourselves (the collective women who were slandered in that comic shouldn’t have to do that, too) the comics creators should. But no, everyone else is wrong.
And in the case of the ReaderCon thing, I am not aware of a peep from one René Walling, but I’m prepared to let that slide a bit more. It’s just as well for him to lay low. Cheers to ReaderCon (Rose Fox in particular) for doing the right thing and owning up to the mistakes that were made.
If you are a guy as well, please, think before you act. It’s called the golden rule for a reason. If you wouldn’t want someone doing it to you, don’t do it to someone else. Don’t give the good guys in this world a bad name.
Dean Richard is the author of the 3024AD series, a science/speculative fiction series of short stories and novels. Short stories can be read for free and you can follow him on Twitter
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