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[livejournal.com profile] thewronghands had a great post on her thoughs on the DefCon / red-yellow-green card thing and [livejournal.com profile] scalzi has a follow up on some of the rampant MRA douchebags, er, non-femonist commenters at The Whatever who took exception to his comment that folks need to Acknowledge that you don’t get to define other people’s comfort level with you. Which is to say that you may be trying your hardest to be interesting and engaging and fun to be around — and still come off as a creeper to someone else."

Here is what I wrote in response to John's post

There’s an interesting discussion going on in Geek Feminism that’s somewhat related to this, as well as a conversation about hacker manners at DefCon. A friend I have who goes there, and is invested in the culture but upset by the creepers says that it’s a case of “fuck you, you don’t gell me what to do” that’s embedded in hacker culture.

I can sort of see that, but I also think representatives of a dominant culture refusing to change to accommodate a minority is sort of universal.

The guys John is seeing claiming they’re offended are similar to white folks in the US who’re uncomfortable with criticism of endemic racism from non-whites, straight people who get hackles up about QUILTBAG folks “shoving it down our throats” (usually by existing outside of a closet and speaking up) and so on.

They don’t want to have to think about complicated issues of oppressions, and the inherent complicity that they have in that oppression. It’s part not wanting to feel like a bad person when they don’t think they did anything wrong, and part feeling like someone is attacking something they identify as a part of.

This is usually cause (IMO) by an inability to separate criticism of one single action IN a culture with ravening hordes seeking to destroy everything about that culture, salt the earth, and have a party on the ashes.

Why? Because once in a while an individual that culture has offended will inevitably get angry enough to wish, in public, that the culture be burned to the ground. And suddenly that person becomes a representative of all criticism, just opposite from the way that a creeper is painted as a lone-grope-man, not at all representative of this culture and HOW DARE YOU YOU VILE… FEMINIST!

That, in a very large nutshell, is what I think is motivating the reaction to ‘point 2′.


I'm also a bit uncomfortable with the card system. I think it encourages men who *get* the yellow or red cards to argue with them, and with the woman handing them over, and possibly demand an explanation. There are certainly women who might be comfortable with that role, but there are also women who would rather not. The end goal is for all of the people involved in dealing with being creeped on to feel safer, for non-creepy and non-creeped on people of either gender to change the culture to make that happen.

I can see the cards as sort of a tool, but they're more of a crutch, IMO, not a solution. I predict far too many people wanting them to reflect a state of "problem solved, let's move on, everything is candy and unicorns now". I mean, you've got cards now. Problem. Solved. Geeks fix problems. This was a problem, geeks fixed it. Geeks pat selves on backs. Geeks have fixed everything. Dear god please stop talking about rape culture. It hurts my MRA glands.

And also, the "green" cards really worry me. I'm not sure I can articulate fully why. It's a combination of "you want a cookie for being a tolerable human being? No." and "She handed Bill a green card for that, so clearly it's OK if we all do it" and also "Well, she handed me a green card for a hug in a public space, so I followed her back to her room, because that was a clear signal of "I want your cock" she gave me wasn't it?" and something else I'm not able to put into words. It's not cards=bad, it's ... something I can't put into words. If you like the cards, you're not a bad person. I just don't like them.

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