I read this story at the Nerdologues: Your Stories recording last week. This was the original draft, what I ended up reading was a quickly retyped version from my memory because my computer died on the train.
Okay, so last year, I attended C2E2. I did this year too, but this concerns last year specifically. It was my senior year of college, I had just gotten hired at my first job, telemarketing (which, for the record, was an awful idea, but it paid the bills for a few months while I searched for something else, taught me just how cruel people actually are to other people, and I got some free tickets out of it), I was preparing to move in with my boyfriend… basically, this particular C2E2 became my last hurrah before I would have to start being an adult. Like, full on adulting… which I didn’t know at the time would include nights of me lounging around in my underwear, eating coffee ice cream, and binge watching Jem and the Holograms (all of which is a very good idea, you guys), but I digress.
This C2E2 I attended a bunch of panels. One of those panels was Genre: Feminism and it was basically a discussion with the people in the room and the two panel heads, a comic artist and an indie filmmaker, both women. During this discussion, one of the women in the audience stood up and asked for help: this was her first con, she and her friend were on the show floor, and she saw some asshole taking upskirt pictures of them. When he noticed they had noticed, he ran off and they couldn’t find him again. Luckily, there was a C2E2 staff person in the room and they took it from there, but I was heartbroken. To go off on a small tangent again, my first time at C2E2 was my sophomore year of college after a massive break-up with a guy who ridiculed me and belittled my intelligence and self-worth. Going to the con dressed as Kaylee from Firefly, getting hugged from Nicholas Brenden from Buffy, then having indepth conversations with strangers about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic while I waited in line to get John Barrowman’s autograph and watching Team Starkid perform “Super Friends” at their panel basically jumpstarted my path to self recovery and self love again. To see the thing that had helped me so much hurt someone else tore me apart.
Now, I’m not sure how many of you are aware, but C2E2 is run by ReedPop, who runs a bunch of cons around the country and some internationally. Later last year, right around September or October, The Mary Sue and other sources of geek news were praising New York City Comic Con, run by ReedPop, for having “Cosplay is not Consent” posters up all around the con. ReedPop continued that trend to Star Wars Celebration and this year’s C2E2, where it was not only on the posters, but on the back of the badge as well. One of my friends who works with ReedPop said that the posters made the attendees feel safer and that some of the more clueless people on staff actually had discussions on how to handle the problem. I didn’t eradicate sexism in geekdom, but I like to think I helped. So moral of the story: if injustice has occurred, if you need help, speak up. No really, speak up, scream, keep screaming. Eventually, someone will listen and they will help you.