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Dragon*Con Official Post: Good Intentions, Bad Situations 
20th-Aug-2012 06:31 pm
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At times, good intentions can lead to bad situations. Dragon*Con has become aware of a potentially dangerous situation involving a self-started project that provides ribbons for fans identifying themselves as people who are able and willing to help another fan in the event assistance of any sort is needed in a difficult situation. While we absolutely believe that the creation of this movement was done with the best intentions to protect fans, we feel that it presents a possibility for a person coming in as a "wolf in sheep's clothing," perhaps luring someone in distress to an even more dangerous situation. Providing a ribbon for someone to wear to give them any type of "official" sanction when no screening has taken place is quite frankly, scary to us. To that end, we have asked the individual to stop providing ribbons for Dragon*Con attendees. We think a lot of our fans and believe strongly in the message that if you see someone in trouble, you should always be willing to help out or get someone who can. We expect no less and you all have never disappointed.

Dragon*Con takes the safety and security of our fans and volunteers very seriously. We have put many things into effect to provide the best environment at the convention, including the badge/room key check during peak evening hours and increase of Atlanta Police presence. 2011 was a great year with fewer problems than ever before and we plan to continue to maintain these same practices, and incorporate new ones as the show grows to make sure that everyone who attends Dragon*Con is as safe and secure as possible.
Comments 
20th-Aug-2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
You plan to continue to maintain these same practices, except the Back Up ribbons, which were in use during the last convention, which had fewer problems than ever before. Ok.
21st-Aug-2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Correlation, causation, so on and so forth. To imply that the ribbons were solely responsible for the drop in problems while mentioning nothing of the badge checks and increased security that kept random folks and idle troublemakers last year is not giving D*Con the credit it deserves. I don't agree with their response to the Back-Up Project, but I'm not going to ignore everything they did to make the con better last year.

Edited at 2012-08-21 10:25 pm (UTC)
20th-Aug-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
I like the Back Up initiative. However, this post makes a very good point. What if someone doesn't know the nature of the program and does think that more trust should be given to those to wear the ribbons - rather than them just being strangers who will want to help if asked? All the program is really saying is, "I won't ignore you."

I can definitely come up with a few scenarios of instigator/hero that would be very dangerous to someone who misunderstood that.
12th-Sep-2012 04:52 am (UTC)
Ed Kramer for example. Ed Kramer getting money from DragonCon for example. Ed Kramer is a pedophile.
20th-Aug-2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
What exactly is DragonCon doing to address harassment? Because this right here is solving the wrong problem.
21st-Aug-2012 12:10 am (UTC)
In the second Paragraph:
--We are increasing the badge/room key check at the hotels.
--We are increasing Atlanta Police presence.

If you or anyone else is being harassed, then report it. The hotel staff, Atlanta Police, and our volunteer staff are all there to help.
21st-Aug-2012 12:26 am (UTC)
Are people wearing Back Up ribbons going to be asked to remove them?
21st-Aug-2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Can't, First Amendment applies. See Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971), wherein the US Supreme Court rules that a person wearing a jacket with "Fuck the Draft" in a public place was free speech and could not be restricted. Hotels are, by law, public places.
21st-Aug-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
If it is taken "very seriously" then why when I was groped in the men's restroom at the Sheraton on Saturday during the MMO party and told a member of security and was given the "Well it happens to women more than men" speech and told "there is nothing we can really do". While at the time I bought it after thinking about it I do not feel it was taken "very seriously" they did not even offer to call for a uniformed officer for me to speak with. I spoke with the director of the MMO track after thinking every thing that could be done had been done and told him what had happened and that I had already reported it to security so he did not have to do anything I am not sure he will remember me talking with him about what happened. I wish I had told him first may be some thing would have been done and minus the speech. I am an eternal member and while I know that does not entitle me to any more privileges (other than the party on Thursday and going through the guest/VIP line during registration) than any other member but the staff member should have respected that I have even more reason not to risk my membership by making up a story and should respect any member regardless of what type of membership they have. This is the reason that I disagree with this post while there is a risk people need all the resources they can get and the vast majority of people at Con would help the wearing of a ribbon is such a small risk that it does not need a response like that, the guy who put his hand on my rear end and put his finger on my anus was not wearing a ribbon
21st-Aug-2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
As a member of the MMO track staff, I believe that if you had brought this to my Director's attention, he absolutely would have taken action (I can't speak for him, but know what kind of stand-up guy he is; he, and the rest of us, take our guests' safety and enjoyment of the event seriously).

I will be wearing a Backup Ribbon while working the con this year, and if you, or anyone else feels harassed or threatened at, near, or during one of our events (or anywhere I happen to be), please reach out to a staffer, and we will act.
21st-Aug-2012 01:05 am (UTC)
Just to be clear -- as per discussion with the Dragon*Con concom, this post will be linked on the Backup Ribbon Project website, as well as on its Twitter feed. We feel it is only fair to Dragon*Con attendees why may have ribbons to know the concom's position on on this. At this point, to our understanding, Dragon*Con will NOT be imposing sanctions on those who wear or distribute Backup Ribbons, nor will the ribbons be confiscated.

The Backup Ribbon Project, after discussion with the Dragon*Con concom, will NOT be targeting its message to any specific con/event. In essence, if you feel there is a need for ribbons at an event, that is all we care about. We do not ask for what event and we do not track that information.

While we appreciate the concerns of the Dragon*Con concom, we believe the value of making the Backup Ribbon Project accessible to as many people as possible outweighs the possible risk of a few bad apples. We are certainly open to discussion on this matter, via our website.

We would also ask that if there is an unfortunate incident of somebody with a Backup Ribbon taking advantage of the situation to please let us know.

Our goal in this is NOT to replace the con's security efforts, but merely to add to it and give fans a way to help each other out.

Thank you!

The Backup Ribbon Project
21st-Aug-2012 01:37 am (UTC)
"We would also ask that if there is an unfortunate incident of somebody with a Backup Ribbon taking advantage of the situation to please let us know."

I believe then the question would then become:

A) How do you figure out who that person was?
B) How do you prevent them from continuing to wear the ribbon?

I don't have answers to that. I'm just posing the logical questions that any resolution would need to entail.


Ultimately, I think it would be more important to make sure attendees know that these are just people, and can be reported like anyone else. That's something that would work best with the cooperation of the con planners. I don't see the ribbon project in an of itself, a threat.

To respond to another comment concern - anyone who escalates something inappropriately (as in, assault) would be seen as an aggressor by the police, so that would deal with itself. Someone playing hero to that extent wouldn't need the excuse of a ribbon to do so. It would however be a good idea to post information on the ribbon site about what is and is not acceptable in terms of the law.
21st-Aug-2012 01:16 am (UTC)
Call me devil's advocate, but I don't think that giving someone a ribbon makes them any more qualified to deal with these situations, and in my opinion could probably make the situations twice as bad. It's not just a wolf in sheep's clothing thing, but also a thing of putting more people in a dangerous confrontation. Some people might mistakenly get a hero complex from wearing the ribbon, and picking a fight with someone who's already harassing people is going to blow the problem up even more. I think it's great to support other people, don't get me wrong, but I don't think the ribbons were really going to make a difference.

Besides, why wear a badge for something that's just a common decency. I think we all need to just keep an eye out individually while we enjoy the con, badges or not. We're all kind of a big Dragon*con family, and we need to help each other out.
21st-Aug-2012 01:24 am (UTC)
the Back Up Ribbon is not intended for "heroes" but "escort to safe places" and to assist anyone accosted to redress their issues through means of authority, or that is how i read it. All dcon is saying is caveat emptor regarding people wearing these ribbons, for they may have slipped you the roofie in the first place. While Hopeing with some degree of personal experience that most people at the Con can step up into that roll to help/assist where needed, Volunteer staff or not.

imho.
21st-Aug-2012 01:53 am (UTC)
I am not planning to attend D*C this year. This statement makes me even less likely to attend in future years. A badge and key check and more police presence is not sufficient to keep the con safe. Stamping out the Backup Ribbons out of fear of some hypothetical (have you ever heard of your "wolf in sheep's clothing" happening?) means that D*C will feel less safe and less friendly. Don't go down this path; it will blow up in your face.
21st-Aug-2012 05:18 am (UTC)
This. I'm an SDCC-goer, and I've always said that if I ever happened not to get a badge some year, I'd spend the money on D*C instead... looks like GenCon or PAX will get me now, unless this is handled.
21st-Aug-2012 02:09 am (UTC)
Wow, way to make a fine project seem creepy DragonCon! A group of women decide to back each other up when they see someone getting harassed and that's somehow a threat to the convention? Did you even do any research into the purpose of the Backup Project before you came out and said they were potentially dangerous people?

As someone who has started another fans-supporting-fans project about a decade ago that involved ribbons, I'm horrified to think that *I* might have been considered a shady character by DragonCon.

Badly handled folks, badly handled. Especially right on the heels of the fiasco at ReaderCon.
21st-Aug-2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
I was a supporter of the Backup ribbon project, and am mulling over now in light of their concern whether or not to continue this year as I read this thread, but I wanted to interject that never was I told it was a group of women backing each other up. I saw my role as a male to assist anyone, male/female, who asked if I thought it was safe and prudent to do so, as would my wife and other male/female friends attending the con.
21st-Aug-2012 02:28 am (UTC)
I'm actually surprised this hadn't been addressed earlier. I've never really liked the idea of the ribbons (mostly for the reasons D*C listed above). On the flip side, I've never actually seen a ribbon at the con either, so I don't think D*C has too much to worry about.
21st-Aug-2012 02:30 am (UTC)
So, all this has made me curious about Dragon*Con's harassment policies, since not only am I wondering what kind of structures are in place for harassed congoers outside of the APD and "Staff and volunteers take security very seriously", but I've also heard (as a non-goer but one who used to want to go) about its reputation as a con where the cosplayers are kind of known for not wearing a whole lot of clothing. What I've found (or rather, what I haven't found) is really quite disturbing and makes me very reluctant to go.

From the main D*C site, the only thing I could find that resembled a harassment policy (Because searching the site for "Harassment" or "Unsafe" did nothing) was this line:We reserve the right to ask you to leave the convention and refuse to refund your membership money if you are behaving - in technical terms - like a jerk. and this: Keep all behavior that polite fans would find offensive in public in your hotel rooms, and from the FAQ wiki, under "How do I keep the fanboys away from me?" there's this: Your sexy costume can attract unwanted attention. Be firm with your NOs and travel with friends. You should never feel harassed or unsafe.

Given that this is an enormous convention with a reputation for being a little risque, I find the lack of a clearly stated harassment policy disturbing. I'd be a lot more OK with asking the Back Up project not to distribute ribbons if there were clear anti-harassment structures already in place.
21st-Aug-2012 02:58 am (UTC)
Sexy costumes can attract unwanted attention, but so can dressing in normal clothing and just being a chick at a convention. I think signs that state COSTUMES ARE NOT CONSENT would do better to discourage people from being a jerk.
21st-Aug-2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Good grief. Do people have any idea how hard it is to organize a HUGE event like this? How stressful? How many hours of sleep one loses? And then, when the organizing committee makes a decision that they have likely spent hours, maybe even days debating, a decision that impacts the safety and comfort of the attendees of this event, all people can do is bitch and complain and not realize that, essentially, the organizers of the event have their guests' bests interests at heart? I am sure there are many good and valid reasons why this decision was made, and the Dragon*Con organizers do not need to make those public. Clearly this is a decision that they have made after weighing many options.

Dragon*Con organizers I FEEL FOR YOU. I am currently coordinating an event for my organization and 30,000 people are expected to attend. There are only 8 of us in the non-profit so the whole thing is very all hands on deck, and anytime we make a decision or a change the board and the public and all the people BITCH AT US and COMPLAIN and don't take into account how much work it is, how hard it is, how much we are stressing to make the event good and fun and safe and the best it can be. And I know that that is all you are doing, Dragon*Con organizers--trying to make this event good and fun and wonderful and SAFE and the best it can be. So THANK YOU for all the hard work you do, and I am sorry that people do not realize this, and I know that this was a hard decision but that you have the Con attendees best interests at heart. So, again, thank you for all you are doing to make this Dragon*Con fantastic!
21st-Aug-2012 03:07 am (UTC)
Just because they spent a lot of time on a decision doesn't mean we should have to agree with it. No one's attacking the con organizers that I can see, just bringing up legitimate objections to this policy.
21st-Aug-2012 03:02 am (UTC)
While in their right to do so I would feel uncomfortable with a harassment policy would saying to a friend (not to them and with no intention of them hearing me) as a woman wearing a reveling costume that they looked hot and they overheard me and found that offensive could I get kicked out? or would it be based on actions like following and repeated statements (I would never do that even before my experience last year) or touching? or could some one not in the conversation bring the claim even if both parties were consenting (i.e. roll-playing) like how it is at work? I think touching, following, etc should get some ones badge removed but if you follow the governments work policy even saying to a friend that Jane or John Doe looks hot that is harassment even if both parties are okay with it.
21st-Aug-2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
There's a difference at a con and a work environment though. A woman or man posing for photos who gets told they are hot is not harassment IMHO. Following or groping someone who is minding their own business, regardless of how they're dressed, clearly is. Lewd comments may or may not be harassment depending on the circumstances. I would be leery of trying to enforce a government-style work policy at a con.
21st-Aug-2012 03:10 am (UTC)
Like a previous commenter stated, if you are going to make a statement about the Back Up Project (the entire purpose of which, honestly, is to make con-goers, especially females, feel a lot more comfortable and less alone, knowing that there are others in the vicinity who may take threats of harassment seriously, who keep a watchful eye out for fellow con-goers being harassed, and actively help them get out of a bad situation; whereas a con-goer who's been harassed cannot even easily report the situation to your security until after the harassment has happened), you NEED to have a better, more detailed Harassment Policy.

People may not realize it, but members of the cosplay community especially are CONSTANTLY harassed at cons. If someone is dressed just the least bit scantily (like, some cleavage here and there), they will get hit-on unwelcomely by a number of fellow con-goers, and that can turn very bad very quickly, especially when alcohol comes into play. Badge check/key check will do NOTHING to help, because most of the time the harassers are con-goers.

And I myself have not often seen members of the security team around the bars or the shadowy, unpopulated corners and hallways where harassment is most likely to take place. The last time I tried to get a drink from the sailboat bar, I was pretty much chased away by a group of drunken male con-goers getting into my personal space and saying obscene things right into my ear, and nearly putting their hands on me. There was no volunteer nearby to whom I could report this incident, and I haven't returned to that bar since, because I am honest-to-god afraid of being harassed without knowing anyone is there to back me up and to tell the harassers to hit the road (as I would if there were con-goers sporting the ribbon). And for the record, I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

...so anyways, if you don't like the ribbons, you need to put into play a much better anti-harassment policy (clearly and very visibly stated on your site and program guides), with more volunteers patrolling the areas where most harassment takes place, and volunteers that know how to non-violently handle a harasser as the situation is happening. Not after it's occurred. Because after is too late.
21st-Aug-2012 03:26 am (UTC)
So well-said. Reporting a harassment after the fact doesn't undo being harassed in the first place.
21st-Aug-2012 03:17 am (UTC)
I am really not pleased with this choice. Have you actually had any reports of something like this happening? The thing is, to know what the Back Up ribbons are about, you generally have to have read up on them--which means that you probably understand that a person with a ribbon is not automatically trustworthy, but someone you can signal to in a tight spot. It's not about going with them somewhere alone or putting yourself in more jeopardy because you believe that they're trustworthy--it's about them not ignoring something bad that's going on, but rather stepping in and giving you an opportunity to leave the situation.

Having been in this situation out in the "real world," I desperately wish these ribbons existed in everyday life. So I could know who would come and say "Hey, she said no, back off," when I signalled and who (like most people) would just make a "what do you want?" face and go on with their business. The badge/room key check is all well and good, but there seems to be a lot of belief that only outside folks are doing the harassing. D*C attendees can (and have) harassed people too, and while reporting to security afterwards is a good thing to do, that doesn't help me get out of the situation in the first place.
21st-Aug-2012 03:32 am (UTC)
I appreciate all the work the the D*C staff do, and believe that you have con-goers interests at heart, but while I understand the concern being raised here, I think the title "good intentions, bad situations" applies to the approach Dragon*Con has chosen for dealing with the concern pretty perfectly. I would urge you to consider the baby you're throwing out with this bathwater, and that you will engender more ill-will by trying to be heavy handed than you would by bringing up, discussing, and addressing the potential problems of the Backup Project in a way that doesn't also toss out the good that this community-driven effort does.

If this post had been, for example, about reminding people of the obvious fact that just having a ribbon doesn't mean someone is automatically trustworthy, and how D*C plans to work with the Backup Project to inform con-goers about what does and does not make for legitimate "backup" actions (escorting to a safe, public space: good, escorting to the badge-wearer's hotel room where you can "talk": bad), I think you would be enjoying a much more supportive reaction (and it's not too late to change course!).

All the backup project is about is making the statement "if [I] see someone in trouble, [I will] always be willing to help out or get someone who can" explicit and visible. If you really do "expect no less" of us, why should your first reaction to the possibility (never actually realized, as far as I know) of abuse be to try to prevent us from saying so?

Edited at 2012-08-21 03:35 am (UTC)
21st-Aug-2012 03:36 am (UTC)
you put it by far better than I did. Thank you
21st-Aug-2012 03:38 am (UTC)
One of the things I have learned running 3,000 person conventions is that trust is not transitive, and that at that size the convention staff will contain bad apples. In fact any large enough group of seemingly trustworthy people will contain bad apples; this is how come Readercon had so much trouble coming to the right decision when a former Worldcon chair (you'd think those were trustworthy, right?) turned out to be one.

I certainly see how there will be some bad apples among the backup ribbon wearers, just as there are bad apples on convention staff and on police forces and so on. That is not the point of a backup ribbon. The point of a backup ribbon is to foster an atmosphere in which people feel comfortable reporting harassment at all. The reporting does not have to be and probably won't be to a ribbon wearer. If 1000 people wearing backup ribbons at DragonCon purport to be saying "I will publicly support you in reporting harassment" and in fact only 998 of them are telling the truth, that is still an important and powerful message -- one that was delivered successfully only last month despite the fact that not all of the community members were on board.

Edited at 2012-08-21 03:46 am (UTC)
21st-Aug-2012 03:57 am (UTC)
Dragon*Con has become aware of a potentially dangerous situation involving a self-started project that provides ribbons for fans identifying themselves as people who are able and willing to help another fan in the event assistance of any sort is needed in a difficult situation. While we absolutely believe that the creation of this movement was done with the best intentions to protect fans, we feel that it presents a possibility for a person coming in as a "wolf in sheep's clothing," perhaps luring someone in distress to an even more dangerous situation.

I think your straw-person argument is showing.

With all due respect, while I appreciate the work that Dragon*Con volunteers do and have enjoyed the con in the past (and hope to do so again this year and in the future), I believe this is not the best approach that you could have taken. Given the harassment that I have personally witnessed the past two years, I also believe there is a recognized need for the community to be willing to help its members in order to provide and encourage a safer space. The post you have made here is the antithesis of that.
21st-Aug-2012 05:26 am (UTC)
We can hope!
21st-Aug-2012 04:42 am (UTC)
How do you know you can trust a person who joins the local neighbourhood watch?

The simple fact is, you can't. It's a risk you take.

Frankly, I don't see the Back-Up Project as giving anyone any "official" standing or power at the convention. This is a group of people who witnessed or experienced the horrible harassment that permeated the convention two years ago and said "enough."

They are volunteers. They are wearing these ribbons to indicate they are NOT official con staff/volunteers, but they are here to help someone if they need it. And there's nothing wrong with that.

From what I understand, the Back-Up Project has no ability to detain anyone. They have no ability to enforce convention rules. That's not what they're about. They're there simply to provide help. Something any con-goer could do with or without a ribbon attached to their badge.

If we don't have a ribbon attached to our badge, does that mean we ignore harassment if we see it? We don't say to someone who is backed into a corner "hey! Come on!" to draw them out of a bad situation as if they were a member of our group? Do we just leave that person to the harassment while we try (often in vain) to find a con volunteer or an APD officer?

I don't know about you, but that is -not- how I was raised.

I'm not endorsing vigilantism or heroism. I'm endorsing decent human behaviour.
21st-Aug-2012 05:46 am (UTC)
The Back-Up Project encourages no hero-ism, no vigilantism, no detaining of individuals. It's just con-goers looking out for other con-goers. It's fostering a safe environment.

And as someone who has been repeatedly ignored or dismissed by the security team of DCon (including being harassed in front of security team members and them ignoring calls for help, that was fun! Not.) vs having nothing but positive experiences with those who carry purple ribbons? I'd take a purple ribbon any day.

And honestly, it doesn't matter whether or not I have a purple ribbon (I won't this year, since I forgot to order in time), I still approach distressed people to see if I can help. But I am one person.

When I had the purple ribbon last year, I got into multiple conversations about what the Back-Up Project's goals were. The response was positive--quotes included people saying it was great to have an outside indicator that other con-goers were watching their backs. It fostered a community spirit of "We're all in this together, let's take care of one another". It gave people a sense of control over their own situation. A "Yeah, we can tell them it's not ok! And we'll be backed up!" As someone who cannot even remember all the times I've been told creeping/harassment/hassling is "all in my head" or "not that big a deal" or "you're just over-reacting", encouraging people that they'll be believed? It's huge. The single not-overwhelming positive response was "That doesn't apply to me, but I think it's cool you're doing it for other people."

Telling a project speaking up against harassment that they're creating an unsafe environment? Not part of the solution.

Creepers are going to creep, with or without a ribbon. Creating an environment where creepers do not feel welcome will help cut down on harassment more than this rather ham-handed approach of attempting to get rid of one leg of the anti-harassment support network. We're adults. You trust us with weapons (as long as they're peace-tied, etc), but you won't trust us with ribbons? Seems kind of weird.

Editing to add: I have nothing against the security team of DragonCon as people. And I am sure they have helped others in the past. I am merely stating my experiences with them, which does not indicate a whole, etc, etc.

Edited at 2012-08-21 05:48 am (UTC)
21st-Aug-2012 05:53 am (UTC)
You trust us with weapons, but you won't trust us with ribbons?

Nail. Head.
21st-Aug-2012 07:06 am (UTC)
A girl came stumbling out onto the pool deck at the Marriott last year, very late at night, after having just been accosted in the hallway leading to the ppol area, and being vomited upon by a severely inebriated badge wearer. There was not a single security person in sight. One of my best friends, Michael Cook, was wearing a back up ribbon. Both of us, and more of the group that was with us, sought out the pool deck showers for her to try to clean up. Eventually, a friend of hers offered to stand guard while she was cleaning up (she was completely naked while trying to get the vomit off of her, and there are no covers on those showers). So we left.

A little while later, this same girl -- after being told about the back up project and the ribbon that Michael was wearing -- flagged us down in the lobby. She was only covered by a very small towel she found on the pool deck. Her clothes had been unsavable. She sought us out, to make sure she could get a cab without getting mugged. She had managed to walk all the way from the pool deck to the lobby, at 1 in the morning, after looking and looking for security and never finding them. She sought US out, because she knew we would help.

THAT is what the back up project is about. It's a signal booster. She did not know about the project until we told her. But she knew it after we helped her, and knew then what to look for if needed, and said she would be sure to tell everyone she knew.

HOW is this a bad thing?
21st-Aug-2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting such a good example of what this project is about and how it helps. <3
21st-Aug-2012 07:13 am (UTC)
We aren't an organization. We're technically not even a club. We're just a bunch of like minded folks who want people to know that if they need us, we're there for a purpose. The MOST involved we're supposed to get without being invited, is if we see someone who looks very uncomfortable with a social situation, we can walk up and ask if they are ok. This is not meant for mid crime. We're not asked to put ourselves in harms way, or act as security. If a situation looks that serious, we're supposed to go get security.

The vast majority of people who will be wearing the ribbons are women. While I suppose it's true that a woman can be dangerous, it's less likely in this scenario. It really feels like a catch 22 also. When it's pointed out that we're mostly women, will the policy become, "Well, we don't want you ladies to get hurt?" Like we're stupid and have no judgement.

I am close friends with a couple of members of D-con staff. I *know* the intention here is good. I just think that those who are trying to enforce this policy haven't taken the time to actually get to know what the Backup Project is, and isn't supposed to be. And frankly they shouldn't want to micromanage who is, and isn't giving out ribbons. Could there be a "bad apple" with a ribbon? Sure. But as many others have pointed out, there could be "bad apples" all over the con. There could, and HAVE BEEN really terrible security people. There are bad cops, bad people working hotel desks, and bad guests who come in for the ball game and not the con. (That's why doubling down on the badge check, key check policy is better than nothing, but ultimately kind of amusing. So much harassment of the more sexy costumed ladies, or the more attention getting men are from people who were legitimately in the hotel, but not there for the con. )

Edited at 2012-08-21 02:24 pm (UTC)
21st-Aug-2012 07:24 am (UTC)
This is the first time I've heard of the Backup Ribbon Project (though I've also been talking about the problem and think it's fabulous that someone is getting the word out about a social fix), but it seems like the ribbons specifically *don't* give anyone a free pass. It is simply a badge that empowers -- and reminds -- any passers-by to check in and make sure everything is okay if something doesn't look right. Nothing about this should change if the harasser is wearing a ribbon as well.

I can imagine a scenario where someone sees a ribbon on someone and thinks, "Oh, everything hunky-dory there, no need to check in," but the spirit of the project is for checking in on any potentially shady situation. D*C is not only overreacting, but misunderstanding the point of the project as a simple reminder for the community to pitch in to combat harassment.

Edited at 2012-08-21 07:29 am (UTC)
21st-Aug-2012 08:10 am (UTC)
The Back Up Project was set up, by women, for women, in response to concerns about harrassment. Your response to those concerns is to...ban the Back Up Project.

I don't think you have really thought this through.
21st-Aug-2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
"Ladies don't need to worry their pretty little heads about harassment" is a ... dismayingly common sentiment, I find. I also find that men are much more worried about "bad apples" than women are. There are probably lots of reasons for this, and I'm going to enumerate some of them here:

- men often imagine The Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project as male-run with mostly-male volunteers, instead of crowdsourced with mostly-female volunteers.
- women tend to understand better than men do that anyone can be a bad apple; fewer women will take a Backup ribbon on a man as a statement that he's 100% safe/couldn't harass them. That is, men's expectations of another man wearing a ribbon tend to be "that guy is completely safe" and women's expectations tend to be "that guy is more likely than average to notice if some other guy is bugging me and might bother to ask me if I am ok". Those are wildly different expectations.
- men, as much as anyone else, are socialized to believe that men are predatory and always looking to score. For some men, this leads to believing that any man who wanted to be involved with Backup is automatically more suspicious, because he must be working an angle.


Part of the deal with something visible like the ribbons (or tshirts, or flyers, or whatever) is fostering a safe environment. If both regular, normal, human beings and creepers know that people are keeping an eye out, it makes normal humans feel safer and creepers feel unsafe - and in practice this tends to mean that a bunch of men now feel less safe. Understandably, creepers do not like feeling unsafe or like normal humans object to them; it makes it harder for them to effectively creep. When you make it harder for normal humans to visibly foster safety, you make it safer for creeps. Whether you know it or not, you're taking a side, and it's worth thinking about whether it's a side you want to be taking.
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