Before I Panel…

There are a number of articles online (like this one) about sexual harrassment at Comic-Con. I keep meaning to write a long post on this topic and it will take a while because when you deal with a topic as sensitive as this one, you have to pick your words very carefully and then proofread to look for anything you wrote that someone could possibly misunderstand…and someone will, anyway.

I think this issue has managed to be both under-reported and exaggerated at the same time. I also think that while I am wholly on the side of those who think this kind of thing must be stopped, outrage alone is not enough; that coming up with workable solutions is necessary and that if you aren't coming up with any, you really aren't helping. You may even be making things worse by demanding things that are humanly (and perhaps legally) impossible.

One of my solutions is that we stop using the term "sexual harrassment," which is easily misunderstood. Many people think it refers to a case where someone in a position of power — a teacher or employer, say — uses that power to take advantage of someone they think is both powerless and cute. That's very wrong but it isn't the same wrong as groping a scantily-clad lady at a convention. The groping would more correctly be labelled as something else — perhaps assault or…well, I'll try to come up with a better word for the crime before I write my long piece. And if I don't stop here, this will become the long piece and I'll miss my panels. So more to come.