sorry, I don’t stop being feminist because it’s fandom
Long time, no see.
At Ohayocon I let a couple of emcees know exactly what I thought of them.
People shout at anime conventions, and I figured there was no reason I shouldn’t do so at an acceptable time, either – never mind that my shouting was of a political bent.
I can’t, or won’t, or don’t, check my feminism (or femaleness) at the door when I go somewhere. Even though I can compartmentalize a little (or I’d never enjoy anything), I cannot and will not simply stop caring about problematic stuff just because it’s “only fandom/entertainment/whatever.”
It’s never “just for fun.”
Usually, if a show bothers me, I try to just ignore it, unless it’s shoved in my face. If something I enjoy suddenly becomes problematic (or if it’s problematic from the beginning), I’ll think/talk about that, too – because, like I said, I can’t not enjoy anything ever because it’s not completely politically correct. There would be nothing left.
However, if I am at a convention – if my physical body is in a physical space, especially one I have paid money to inhabit – then I absolutely refuse to just ignore it. Even if it’s not a literal and immediate threat of violence against me, personally, the kind of “jokes” that I ended up shouting about were implicit threats against my personal safety – especially the first time.
One of the improv actors in the Anime Whose Line made a “joke” about violence against women, and that was the first (and probably loudest) time that I spoke up. “What other manly things can we do?” he asked, “beat women!”
And I sat up straighter, cupped my hands in front of my mouth, and told him to go fuck himself.
It was only a conference room, not a big theater like the Masquerade. I bet everyone heard me. I hope they did. I hope he went home and was terribly embarrassed that some chick called him out as the unfunny douchebag he is.
I was worried at first, but then nothing bad happened to me – the actor himself just ignored me, and I got a few approving nods.
Whether he realized it or not, and even if he didn’t ~intend~ to make me (and, you know, like half of his audience) uncomfortable, what he said was directly threatening to women’s safety – and con spaces are not known as very women-friendly spaces to begin with. (I’m sure there are more examples, those are just the first two that came to mind.)
Of course, everyone in that panel was just a douche. Another guy called on an attendee for a suggestion, then said “see, I didn’t call on you as ‘that Black guy there!'” and I was like wow, really? because come on, dude not funny. I think once upon a time, fandom was a place for white, straight, cis dudes, but the world has moved on.
After that, the actor added a disclaimer, saying that the 18+ panel later during the conference wouldn’t be “PC.”
If you can’t be “funny” without reinforcing the *ist status quo, you’re a shitty comedian and need to get a day job. Seriously, there is nothing entertaining or edgy about being a douchebag. It’s just a lazy way to get some cheap laughs; ditto this to the emcee of the Masquerade, who said “you want to hear a joke? women’s rights.”
I shouted about that, too, but I think my protest was lost in the general din – and while I was offended*, it wasn’t as threatening, because what can he, this one loser emcee, do to take my legal rights away? Of course, it contributed to a general culture of misogyny, but unlike the first emcee, would could literally go out and attack women at the con, this one couldn’t really do much other than stick his foot in his mouth and make himself look like a douche.
I also yelled at a couple of Hetalia cosplayers for letting their flags touch the ground† but I couldn’t’ve addressed every case of that I saw, and… well, tbh I care more about the feminism thing than the flag thing.
However, if there is a repeat of the Anime Boston ’10 incident, I will be speaking up – and loudly.
I won’t sit back and let the parts of fandom that I don’t like slide by. I won’t be made to feel uncomfortable in something I enjoy because I’m not a cis white straight man. Fuck that; we’ve all got a right to be here, and to feel safe here.
*and no, jokes about stripping me of my legal rights as a citizen to vote, to press charges, &c. are not funny and I’m not being ~over-sensitive~. just don’t start that with me right here/now.
†just don’t carry them, people. just don’t.