Monday, April 21, 2014

Cosplay And Consent

So, I was at a con this weekend...

Aha, you're thinking. This is going to be that story. You know, some girl in a rather scanty costume got groped by a guy - and you already know, or should, how I feel about revealing clothing and consent.


Not that story.

Although it did, indeed, involve a woman in an extremely scanty costume - specifically, a slave girl outfit. She was wearing a slave bikini that covered no more than it absolutely needed to, and a collar and chain around her neck.

I was looking through the Hercules DVDs in Kevin Sorbo's booth when this woman walked in and asked to have her photo taken with him. Fair. He'd been doing that with different people for the last ten minutes. He agreed.

At which point, she pushed, quite forcibly, the chain into his hand.

So, what's wrong with that?

In BDSM circles, offering somebody your leash has sexual implications. Not all master/slave play is sexual in nature, but it has implications.

Forcing it into somebody's hand? That's harassment. And there's a surprising overlap between BDSM and geek society. Enough that I am not about to give somebody a pass on "Not knowing the implications." From the look on Sorbo's face...he clearly did and he was clearly not comfortable with this situation.

(I later found out this same woman had been doing this to a variety of people in the hall, of both sexes, including minors. Although, fortunately, I also missed the guy in the "ill-fitting" loin cloth who was actively creeping on kids and got thrown out).

Maybe her actions were innocent - but this exhibits that consent issues can go in all sorts of directions. And even if she was not like that and not intending it that way, she should have been aware that it could have been taken that way...

And it about sums up my life that I'd end up telling the story where the scantily dressed woman was the harasser.

I didn't step in, mind. Because Hercules? He can look after himself. And, trust me, did.