Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Extricating yourself from Uncomfortable Situations

In keeping with our goal of offering techniques to folks to get out of situations where they are being “creeped on,” and with Halloween coming up and the chance for costumes hiding identities, we wanted to offer some suggestions on extricating yourself from uncomfortable situations.

Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, it is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame.

Some options that can help you escape are: a trip to the bathroom, getting a drink, or by letting the person know you want to go talk to a friend you just saw.

If the person follows you to the bathroom, getting a drink, etc, it may be time to resort to these more direct suggestions.

Other suggestions:
  • Talk to them - If someone's conversation makes you uncomfortable, tell them. By not telling them, you're attempting to make them feel comfortable and you need to ask yourself this: why?  Why should you remain uncomfortable just to avoid awkwardness?  The situation is already awkward, and telling someone you're uncomfortable isn't cause for anger or further dispute. "We've been talking for a while, and I really want to see some other people here."  The key is to be assertive without being mean.
  • “Let me stop you there.” One of the techniques I’ve seen work very well is to hold up your hand making a stopping motion and say “Let me stop you there,” when confronted with a topic that makes you uncomfortable.  You can follow that with "I am uncomfortable discussing X Topic, can we talk about the weather, the football game, insert new topic here.”  Most people are understanding and will switch topics.
  • Signals – Many women (and men) may feel uncomfortable in situations where they find themselves alone.  Because of this, feel free to take a buddy with you.  You can pre-arrange a signal with your friend, a wave, a look at a watch, or something that signals them to come help you out.  Your buddy can then give you an opportunity to leave.

Last thought, never be afraid to walk away.  If someone is making you uncomfortable and none of these tactics have worked, say thank you for their time and walk away.  Leave the space.  Remember you did nothing wrong and it is okay to leave a situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dos and Don'ts for taking pictures of costumers

With several fairly large conventions heading into the Memorial Weekend and weekends after, I thought this would be a good time to remind people that the concept of “Cosplay /= Consent” goes for Costumers at non-anime conventions as well. - These are some great examples of posters from Convergence.

At Nerdiquette 101, we firmly believe that most people being “that guy” or "that girl" do not understand they are making others uncomfortable, so here’s a quick list of Dos & Don’ts for interacting with costumers at a con.

Do ask to take pictures.
Do ask costumers about their work. 
Do compliment them on their work
Do ask costumers about the character.

Don’t monopolize the costumer.  Make sure others have the chance to talk or take pictures.
Don’t comment negatively or criticize.  (About the person, about the character, or about the costume.)
Don’t take pictures of butts, breasts or other areas!!!!
Don’t touch the costume/costumer without permission.  Many costumes take hours and several hundred dollars to create.
Don’t interrupt a professional photo shoot w/o permission.

The bottom line: follow the Will Wheaton rule:  Don’t be a dick!

Also, if you are going to be at ConCarolinas, check out the Nerdiquette 101 panel on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nerdiquette 101 talks to DigBoston's Geek Chic

DigBoston's Adri Cowan reached out to Nerdiquette 101 for some information before the Boston Comic Con hits town.

Check out her two articles:



~Nerdiquette 101

Monday, April 8, 2013

We are not afraid to fail

What would you do if you were not afraid?
What would you attempt to achieve if you believed it was impossible to fail?

These two questions seem to be at the forefront of the female world lately, mostly thanks to Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In.  (Which I can’t wait to read…#3 of 8 on the Library list!) and a great post by Meagan Marie.  

But it got me thinking about what we, as women in fandom, could do if we weren’t afraid to fail?

From taking the leap to be a model  & costumer (a la Chainmail Chick) to being an editor for one of the premier SF/F publishers in the industry to starting a movement all about “that guy,” the members of Nerdiquette 101 are often taking risks to follow their dreams.

Even when sometimes those dreams require sacrifices and struggles.  Every one of the members of Nerdiquette 101 have at some point had “that guy” experiences…

These two women are only part of the example of the Nerdiquette 101 crew have taken leaps of faith and followed their dreams even though those dreams come with baggage of their own.  From an industry dominated by men, to the concept of Fake Geek Girls, they and, by default we, struggle with the choices we make in our lives to challenge the status quo of fandom.

Are the sacrifices worth it? What about the hours and travel?  The times of "that guy" ness?  Are the perks that come from being a member of fandom – the squeee factor when you meet a like-minded fan who gets it, the excitement of meeting your favorite actor or author, worth it?

What could we do if we knew we couldn’t fail?

Nerdiquette 101 is a unique entity in that while it was started by a bunch of women, it quickly incorporated men who “got it.”  Men, who didn’t feel the need to explain away the negatives that the women had encountered and, in most cases, were quick to defend us.  Men, who may have had “that girl” experiences, and understood why the movement got started.

So what can we do when men and women aren’t afraid to fail?

How can we change fandom so that all women (and men) feel accepted for who they are and what they are fans of?  Where no one has to feel uncomfortable about a situation because there were people around who called out “that guy” on his behavior? Or who pointed out that using a particular term was insulting?

We can start with what we’re doing now.  Teach the teachable.  Nerdiquette continues to host panels at conventions, facebook relevant news, and protect and back up women (and men) when in uncomfortable situations. 

But there’s more to come…expect to see us doing video blogs, “taking it to the street” and getting more women to share their stories (like the PAX incident) of both the negative and the positive of fandom and conventions.

We may fail.  We may get laughed at and told we take things too seriously but what could fandom be like if we don’t?