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I’m taking up the challenge from Doctor Nerdlove (http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2013/11/nerds-male-privilege-tess-fowler-comic-harassment/):

“Men are privileged in having a louder voice than women do. … When we speak up in support, we make it possible for their voices and their messages to carry that much further, to penetrate that much deeper.”

Dr. N is talking about the sexual harassment that women in comics face from men, as reported by Tess Fowler, my bride-to-be Lea Ada Hernandez, and others.

So listen up, my fellow males:

A lot of the time, there’s nothing wrong with a guy approaching a woman to get a date or a few moments’ pleasure. But there’s a lot wrong with continuing the approach after the woman has indicated disinterest. “No” means “no,” not “try again.” 

And there are plenty of times when even hinting at anything romantic or sexual is wrong. If you’re in a business context — for instance, talking with a woman about her work — changing the subject to more personal or intimate topics is at best inappropriate. It can easily become creepy. If you’re talking about hiring her, it’s illegal.

How would you feel if you wanted to talk to a guy about comics, but the guy kept bugging you for a date (or a quickie)? And how would you feel if you told the guy, “Sorry, I’m not interested,” and he kept creeping on you? (I’m not implying that you’re gay, just that you’re not interested.)

For that matter, how would you feel if some jerk behaved that way toward your sister or girlfriend?

Not only is this behavior repulsive, here’s a bit of guy-to-guy advice: IT WON’T GET YOU LAID. I’ll bet that no woman has ever told you, “You’re such a scummy jerk, sex me up now!”

Yes, some scummy jerks do get laid. Women have occasional lapses of good judgment. But in general, scumminess fails. And when so many guys are being so scummy that an atmosphere of sexual harassment becomes part of, say, the convention scene, then women will be less willing to come to cons. And that hurts everyone.

I’ve hesitated to speak up about this problem — not because I think that harassment doesn’t exist or because it’s harmless, but because the women I know can take care of themselves. They’re not waiting for me or any other guy to play the self-righteous defender of the damsel in distress.

But as Doctor Nerdlove has said, support from men can be helpful. Guys tend to listen to other guys.

So guys: LISTEN UP AND TREAT WOMEN RIGHT!

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