Just wanted to take a moment to post our policy on harassment on tumblr, it is also on our website, and will be in the program guide. The image attached is the sign we will have displayed throughout the convention.
Emerald City Comicon’s mission is to create a safe, awesome environment where geeks of all kinds can come together. We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any kind.
Harassment includes offensive verbal comments (related to race, gender, sexual orientation, body size, disability, appearance, and religion), overly sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact and unwelcome sexual attention.
Exhibitors, sponsors and guests are subject to our anti-harassment policy as well and have also been informed. In particular, exhibitors should not use images or material that surpasses a PG-13 rating at their booths. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use over-sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes.
If a person engages in harassing behavior, ECCC Directors and Department Heads may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from Emerald City Comicon (with no refund). If you are being harassed, witness someone else being harassed or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the Emerald City Comicon staff immediately (identifiable by green Minion t-shirts or black polos/Staff badges). We are happy to contact our security or local law enforcement, provide escort, a safe place, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the convention.
All attendees, exhibitors and staff are subject to this anti-harassment policy and are expected to follow these rules at all Emerald City Comicon events.
Emerald City is one of my very favorite shows in the world, and this is the iceberg-tip of why.
Obligatory panel plug: On Saturday, at 12:40, in Hall D, Laura Hudson, Janelle Asselin, Bobby Roberts, and I will be talking about harassment in geek communities.
Thank you, Emerald City Comic Con for being a positive example for other fan conventions when it comes to harassment issues.
Kick-ass women crime writers for Women’s History Month. These crime-fighting pioneers don’t fear a little murder and mayhem—they welcome it.
Does it Matter?
Dude these two eagles were fighting mid-air and got stuck. They crash landed at an airport and both survived.
How hardcore is that? Look at their faces tho.
Its like “I swear to GAWD Jerry”
If this isn’t the best metaphor for congress I don’t know what is.
“A writer who hates the actual writing, who gets no joy out of the creation of magic by words, to me is simply not a writer at all. The actual writing is what you live for. The rest is something you have to get through in order to arrive at the point. How can you hate the actual writing? … How can you hate the magic which makes a paragraph or a sentence or a line of dialogue or a description something in the nature of a new creation?”
One of the first things I did when stuff started falling into place with my writing career was talk about it with people like it was all this questionable accident. “Yeah, I wrote a book and it’s being published,” I’d say, like it was nothing—not like it was easy, but like it was literally nothing. It was amazing how quickly I was willing to let go of the hard work and sacrifices I’d made in hopes the thing I wanted to happen would. When it did, I did not want anyone to be uncomfortable or, God forbid, like me less for my accomplishments. Before I gave anyone a chance to be proud of me, to celebrate with me, I wanted them to know I was so sorry first.
Eventually a friend emailed me and told me I could work that angle less and when she did, I realized how truly scared I was of claiming my part in what I made happen for me. It’s so sad so many of the accomplished, hardworking women I know struggle with owning their success. How immediately they will tear themselves out of that part of the picture because it just doesn’t look as nice with them in it.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is: that’s enough of that. Let’s stop.
So many women I know do this. I’ve done it myself.
As a follow up to the Doubleclick’s powerful “Nothing to Prove”, I wanted to talk a bit about the sign I submitted (1:40).
Firstly, I like both this song and video not because they are “anti-“ or “against” this fake geek girl nonsense, but because the whole song and vibe of the video are more of a Oh, c’mon. Give your head a shake. You’re being so silly. It’s not a push back, or an attack, or a scream so much as it’s a palm to the forehead and raised eyebrow and a “Did that really just come out of your mouth? Really? ‘Fake Geek Girls’? Do you maybe wanna… think about what you just said?”
Secondly, my sign:
“I have to use a gender-neutral pen name to be respected.”
So here’s the story: I’m a science fiction and fantasy author. Most people automatically assume that as a Caucasian female (cis-female, identifying/presenting female, bisexual) writer, that means I write Middle Grade or Young Adult fiction. When they learn that I generally write for the Adult market they assume Romance or Erotica. When I write genre books, then the next assumption is Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, or Magical Fantasy – fairies, princesses, dragons, like that.
When I explain that no, I write Science Fiction mostly, the next reaction is usually “Oh, but that fluff stuff, right, no real science?”
What, I can’t science because I’m a girl?
Leaving aside the fact that no, actually, I don’t write a lot of hard science fiction because I find the science-telling often gets in the way of the story-telling. (That’s not to say that what science I do include in my books isn’t rigorously researched. I have a military advisor, a historical architecture advisor, two historians, an ex-military dude, a NASA physicist, a biologist, and a poisons expert in my roster.) But the implication is there:
I’m a girl and therefore I can’t science.
The implication of these conversations is that I’m a girl and therefore I have to write books for kids about princesses getting rescued, and unicorns, and fairies with rainbow wings that vomit bubbles. Or ‘trashy’ romance books. (Which… I hate that stereotype. Romance books are never trashy or worthless.)
Now, there are lots of lovely MG, YA, NA, Romance, Erotica, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, Magical Fantasy writers out there of all genders and sexual inclinations –I’m not harping on those writers. They write what they enjoy, I write what I enjoy, and it’s okay! I prefer to write Social Science Fiction. What I’m harping on is the assumption that I can’t write “real” science fiction because I have ladyparts. (Instead of getting into the false assumption that “Accurate” = “hard” = “good” science fiction writing, I’ll just link you to my article on such.)
And that assumption also ends up playing out in such a way that female science fiction writers just don’t get the respect from the readers that male ones do. I haven’t been neglected by the critical press (thanks PW, Lambda, and CBC!), but it’s incredible to be at a convention and what male shopper’s eyes gloss entirely over my books simply because I, a girl, am sitting behind the table. When I take a break from my merch table and ask a male friend to watch my stuff, my sales inevitably go up.
Shortly after Triptych was published, I got an email inviting “Jim Frey” to do an interview with a media outlet I won’t name. I often get called “Jim” in emails, because it looks a lot like “J.M.” with a quick glance. I replied, saying I would be delighted, and sent along my media-kit PDF, where the interviewer could find a bio, my bibliography and filmography, etc. Including my photo. Generally I find interviewers like to have a foundation of research, so I put that page together to make it easy for them. I signed it “J.M.”
When I arrived at said outlet to do the interview, I was shown in, my hand shaken by the interviewer, and he said: “So, you’re Jim’s assistant then? Is he on his way?”
I stopped, stunned, and said. “Jim? Who’s Jim?” (Having forgotten that I’d been addressed as such in the email)
“Jim Frey?” the interviewer said.
“J.M. Frey,” I corrected. “Jessica Marie. That’s me.”
The interviewer was stunned. “You’re a girl?”
I couldn’t help the scowl. “I’m a woman, and yes. I did send you my media package.”
He made some noises when I assumed meant he couldn’t be bothered to read it. As you can guess, it wasn’t a very good interview. He had no idea what to ask me, and in fact had no clue about my work or my history as an academic. I didn’t enjoy myself, he was clearly unhappy I wasn’t who he thought I was, and I have never actually seen anything come of it.
And would he have asked me to the interview if he had realized I was female? Probably not. As bummed as I am that it was a missed marketing opportunity, I’m more peeved because I realized that this interviewer was glossing over what was probably hundreds of fantastic writers just because they’re female.
Needless to say I mentioned James Tiptree Jr and George Sand as often as I could.
Rewinding a bit:
A few days before I had to turn in my decision on what name was going to be on the cover of Triptych, I was browsing the aisles of a big-chain book store, trying to get a sense of what sorts of ways people were titling themselves. I had done a few things (publications and film credits) as J.M. Frey because I felt “Jessica” was just a little too Sweet Valley High to really fit the brand I was trying to build with my work. But for my debut novel, did I want my full name on the cover?
I eavesdropped on a pair of guys, completely in my target demographic, as they browsed the aisle a few feet away from me. My choice to remain “J.M. Frey” was made when I overheard one of the guys say, “Oh, this looks interesting. Read this back cover. Nice blurb from… oh. It was written by a chick. Never mind.”
My photo is also not on the novel for the same reason.
I have it on my website, because I figure by the time a reader is invested enough to search me on the internet, they won’t care about my gender, just about my writing. But for the people just browsing the book shelves, it matters.
And the thing is?
It shouldn’t. What’s between the covers should matter to a reader, not what’s between my legs.