Dressing For Con Is Not "Asking For" Sexual Harassment
By: Amy Cooper, ACRONYM
You've heard it before: "She dresses this way, she was asking for it!" "If you don't want attention, don't dress like a slut!" All of these notions that because a woman reveals her body, she clearly is asking for people to make comments about it.
Now, though some truly do want to be noticed, it's time to remember the fact that this is not an invitation to say "feel free to come and grope me," or "feel free to catcall me or try and get my number / Instagram."
And though women (and men) are harassed every single day, one place that people tend to sexualize someone the most is at Conventions, whether it be Comic Con, Youmacon (or any other anime con), or even a Tattoo Convention. Yes, some people will be dressed in a physically pleasing way. No, that does not mean you get a free pass to be disgusting or disrespectful.
With Motor City Comic Con coming up this weekend, this crossed my mind as something to bring up and remind con-goers. We're sure to see some very scantily clad Harley Quinn's, among other favorite characters like Tight Suited-Black Widows, or even an Enchantress or two.
I'll say it again for people in the back: JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT FULLY CLOTHED, THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN BE RUDE, PHYSICAL, DISGUSTING, VULGAR, OR OTHERWISE PERVERTED.
Luckily, some of the cons have taken measures, including Motor City Comic Con to point it out on their website that they have an "anti-harassment" policy. Their site reads as follows:
"Motor City Comic Con is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, age, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form. Use of sexual or discriminatory language and imagery is never appropriate at the Motor City Comic Con. Anyone violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the event at the discretion of the event organizers."
The site further elaborates with the definition of harassment ("offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, national origin, religion, age"), as well as the definition of sexual harassment ("verbal, physical, and visual conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and offensive to the recipient... sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; an unwelcome display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; and offensive, unwanted physical contact such as patting, pinching, grabbing, groping, or constant brushing against another’s body").
The staff at cons are particularly aware of things like this occurring, and in the example of Motor City, they note that you can contact a staff member immediately, and it will be promptly investigated.
As I mentioned with other Cons, like for example, Tattoo Conventions, many think that because someone is inked and doing a competition, or is showing off their ink that it invites them to make vulgar comments. It is the same as any Comic Con or Anime Con, you are not green lit to harass someone just because they are showing their skin.
Granted, with the way of the world, even our current president has been caught saying that he's got an open invite to just grab someone by the genitals because he's rich, so it is important to remind everyone - especially those of us who are socially awkward the difference between a compliment and harassment. And if you think you might be crossing a line, it might be safer just to keep your thoughts and your hands to yourself.