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Missing Left Sock Beast
sistercoyote
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Coyote Musings
Coyote handsome
his coat the same brown
as the dust from which he rises

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What is the sound of one hand slapping Schroedinger's cat?

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The Quantum Duck goes "quark, quark."

September 2010
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Missing Left Sock Beast [userpic]

So. Harlangate. (Yes, I know, I said I was done with the subject. I changed my mind - just bear with me. Also, we veer wildly into hypothetical land.)

I want to talk not so much about What Harlan Did (I think there have been sufficient words expressed on the subject by other, more eloquent, people), but to respond to the comment made by one of the many bloggers I read asking what a young woman entering into the field must think at seeing such behavior. I'm sorry that I don't remember who asked it now, or I would link properly to the blog entry in question.

As a relatively youngish woman hoping to enter the field, I have to admit that my first thought was, "Oh, well, that's just Harlan. Yeah, it was wrong, and yeah, it was shameful behavior, but that's Harlan for you. At least I don't have to work with him." I would like to hope (but realize it may be asking a bit much) that other women entering the field might have the same reaction because they, too, are familiar with at least the work of those who have come before them. Please note that this does not in any way excuse what was done; it was just my initial reaction.

In thinking about it, though, I realized there's a deeper truth in the last sentence of my thought: At least I don't have to work with him. Because, in the end, I don't.

A caveat: I haven't been to a con in years, and I don't know how the organizers work. Welcome to hypothetical land.

I can't control the behavior of anyone else, but I can control mine. So, if I were somehow to be invited to a con as a guest, I would like to think that it would be possible for me to discuss with the organizers that I am not willing to serve on a panel or otherwise work with a person who has shown that they do not respect me, or who has shown that they are not trustworthy. Is this actually possible? I don't know. Would it probably result in my not attending cons that otherwise would welcome my presence? Yes, I imagine it would.

But I also imagine that if enough people began to make the same request of the con organizers they would eventually recognize that something was up.

I'm not talking about refusing to attend a con that Person X is also attending - that would be overreactive and counter-productive on my part. I'm simply talking about not serving on a panel, or co-presenting an award or receiving an award from that same person. I'm also not talking about not being civil to Person X should our schedules at the con intersect in any way. I'm just talking about not working with that person. Because I don't have to - even if it limits my options; I just have to decide if working with people who at the very least are willing to act like they respect me is more important than whatever other benefit I might gain by working with the person who doesn't respect me and isn't willing to be polite about it.

It is entirely possible for someone to be themselves, and yet not to be tolerated for it. Getting back to Harlan directly for a moment, I think the man is absolutely a brilliant writer. I also think he's shown that he can't be trusted. And that's fine.

I don't have to work with him. Neither does anyone else.

Comments

From following this somewhat, I have decided on an appropriate reaction, or at least how I would consider reacting. If anyone groped my boob, he, in turn, would receive a hearty purple nurple/titty twister.

It'd be only fair.

Actually, that's only a pleasant fantasy. But I don't think I would react at all in a 'civilized' manner and an apology would not keep my lawyers at bay.

It is entirely possible for someone to be themselves, and yet not to be tolerated for it.

Well put. I like your thinking on this. It's very rational, not over-reactive, and yet firm on the topic. :)

what a young woman entering into the field must think at seeing such behavior.

I dislike this question, because it implies that all young women think the same thing and is thus a form of stereotyping.

I don't have to work with him. Neither does anyone else.

This is true. And it's a legitimate choice.

On the other hand, if
*a person with a lot of influence in a field only behaves badly toward certain subset of people,
*and that subset of people has less power in the field,
*and the rest of the people in the field continue to choose to work with the person because (as many people have responded in Harlangate) "he has always been nice to ME, and I treat people according to how they treat ME, not based on hearsay about them",

then

*the result can be that the subset of people who are making the choice not to work with the person are further marginalized.

Multiply this by millions and pretty soon you end up with a bunch of pretty marginalized people. In other words, you end up with the society we have now.

This isn't particularly the case with Harlangate because Harlan is more or less mean to people across the board, I gather. Also I don't know how much influence he has any more. But it's what came up for me when I read your post.

Your concern about the "young woman" question is a valid one; to be fair to whoever posted it in the first place it may have been less stereotypical than my paraphrasing.

And I absolutely agree with the rest of your comment; because I was thinking of this in terms of Harlangate my focus was rather narrow.

Also, I think I know that you're not a regular con-goer, but would you be interested in putting in your input to [Bad username: bellweather_talk], where they're trying to create/encourage a "safe space" for/in cons group?

Your concern about the "young woman" question is a valid one; to be fair to whoever posted it in the first place it may have been less stereotypical than my paraphrasing.

I have definitely heard that phrase bandied about in this discussion and a number of others. So it was a general comment.

Sure, I'll join that community. Thanks for suggesting it!