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[personal profile] eleri
I went over some of what was bugging me about the whole 'don't be a creeper' thing yesterday.

Then this post from John Scalzi came along, and (as always) it is well written and clearly stated. So I wanted to go through it point by point. Also, for background, understand that I am a person who experienced sexual assault & coercion as a teenager, and was married for 10 years to someone who had behaviors that could be considered rape.

1. Acknowledge that you are responsible for your own actions.

Absolutely. You are also responsible for your own reactions. Neither of these exist in a vacuum, though. Our actions and reactions are constantly shaped by the environment around us. So that's something to keep in mind- what is the non-verbal message being conveyed by the whole area? How are all the other people who aren't 'creepy' behaving?

2. Acknowledge that you don’t get to define other people’s comfort level with you.

Again, absolutely. But, as I mentioned in my other rambling, it seems that there is starting to be a layer of "If one person thinks you are creeper, then everyone does/should." I saw that feeling expressed in multiple places, and that bothers me. There's a difference between behaviors that make an entire group uncomfortable, and need to be addresses quickly and firmly; and something that makes one person uncomfortable.

Just because you don't like the way someone interacted with you, it does not mean they are, by default, a creeper- and they don't need tarred and feathered as such. Now, if they act that way around multiple people, and multiple people have a problem with it, then yeah, something is wrong. Which brings me to three...

3. Acknowledge that no one’s required to inform you that you’re creeping (or help you to not be a creeper).

I disagree with this one. Bunches.

No, it isn't required that anyone give you a crash course on not being oooky. But staying silent makes the ooky last longer. If you aren't explicit with saying 'back off' or 'leave me alone', or a polite "That's creeping me out, please go away.", then not only is it more likely that they are going to continue acting that way towards you, they are likely to behave that way towards others. (Tangentally, you should tell someone else-so they can have your back.)

How many of the stories out there include variants of "I never said anything" or "I just ignored them, and they kept on doing it." or "Turns out everyone in the group was creeped out, but we never talked about it until after they were gone."

Informing isn't primarily a courtesy to the creeper, it is a courtesy to the community. And this falls back on what I said before- "No means No" is turning into "Thou must be able to read all body language." Scalzi brings this up later in his post- how to recognize regecting body language, which is important but not enough. Especially with the high number of ASD people in the fandom community, verbal cues are vital. If someone ignores the verbal cues, then give them whatfor.

*However*, the TL:DR short version he posts; "It’s on you not to be a creeper and to be aware of how other people respond to you." is still accurate. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

Acknowledge that other people do not exist just for your amusement/interest/desire/use.

This is very true- although I think there can be a lot of fuzzy edges to it. It is another area where being responsible for your reaction is just as important as them being responsible for their action.

Scalzi goes into some What To Do points after this, the first of which is *Don't Touch*- "Here’s an idea: That person you want to touch? Put them in charge of the whole touch experience. That is, let them initiate any physical contact and let them set the pace of that contact when or if they do.

Ok, here is exactly what I was talking about yesterday- we're making people touchphobic. If everyone is always sitting around for the other person to be the first one to touch, then no one elver will! At the very least that should be ASK before touching, and Deal With It if the answer is no.

He brings this contradiction up later, too- "Let the other person be in change of starting the sexual innuendo." What, are people supposed to Rock/Scissors/Paper for it? You can't make being the first to touch/flirt/be suggestive into part of the 'This Person is a Creeper' checklist otherwise EVERYONE will be in the list.

The other thing that shows up in these threads about creepers (and, for some reason, I hate that term.) is that even though people admit there are females who are creepy- much of the assumption is that the offenders are male. So is that because males are more likely to be creepers, or that we're more accepting of 'creeper' behavior out of women? I think it is the latter. Women can hug, touch, flirt, comment on how 'hot' someone is, and no one accuses them of being a creepy pervert.

Heck, look at the latest 3Muskateers ad- three professional looking women cat-calling at a guy- And his body language is all "Why thank you!". Of course they were really cat-calling at the candy, but that's not the point. Can you imagine if this ad was gender reversed? Holly crap there would be an uproar. The woman would have been pegged a slut or a sell-out, the guys as oppressive creepy stalkers.

And yeah, I know that it comes from the fact that men are more likely to assault women, than vice versa- but the double standard exists, and needs to stop being glossed over. Too often pointing out that double standard is attacked as being apologistic. But, lets face it people; read through that list of Scalzi's and ask yourself if women are expected to follow those rules- with either gender? Acknowledge that 98% of the "how not to be a creeper" conversation is directed at a heteronormative 'guys who are interacting with girls', and that girls interacting with guys are not held to the same high standard of behavior to prevent being labeled.
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