Is It Really Cosplay Harassment? Or Just Neuroatypical Behavior?

Liana Kerzner

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Is It Really Cosplay Harassment? Or Just Neuroatypical Behavior?

Cosplay harassment situations can be multifaceted, especially when neuroatypical people are involved.

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MatParker116

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Your never going to find a perfect solution, a lot of conventions have a zero tolerance policy and for legal and PR that's the best way forward for now.
 

insanelich

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The writer clearly doesn't understand autism very well.

This is probably why the article feels like it's meandering and lacking a real point it's progressing toward. It's very likely why she mixes up contexts for managing the disease in extremely inappropriate and offensive ways. (Such as that comment about writing down what they thought was happening, which feels like an updated version of jokes about picking cotton.)

It's also not acknowledging culture shock. Autistic people are not the only ones who fuck up due to social contexts they're unaware of, they're just prolific offenders.

Ultimately, there's no real answers. Conventions are not about creating a good experience for everyone, they're about turning a profit, and understanding of the neurological basis for social behavior is so scarce any real account of the internal process makes people get angry more often than it teaches them anything.

If someone autistic thinks a con is ever somewhere they can belong, they're just setting themselves up for a disappointment. Being autistic means people will always fling undeserved abuse your way, and in a context with a lot of people, they're always going to assume the connecting factor - the autistic person - is the problem. World ain't fair.
 

Liana Kerzner

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You know you don't have to understand why the rules are to understand what the rules are. When you understand why they're there you're more likely to obey them but most rules regarding cosplay consent are pretty clear, things like "no pictures with consent", "no touching without consent' and "no interrupting cosplay functions". When in doubt, ask. For your example of the autistic person who hugged somebody, even with difficulties understanding social circumstances, one should be able to understand that they weren't given an explicit "yes" or "no" to the action, meaning the rational course of action is to assume no until told otherwise. Its a really simple rule for most social interactions, actually - assume its not okay until you're told it is. When in doubt, simply don't. Autism simply does not preclude the inability to follow rules and while it can be a barrier in social interactions it doesn't bar somebody from being able to use good judgement. If it did we'd be seeing an epidemic of autistic people setting their pubic hair on fire because they saw it online. All that is really needed to cover most if not all incidents regarding attendees who have difficulty dealing with these social situations are clear rules set prior to any interactions. Shouldn't be terribly difficult to make such a list and distribute it.
 

Liana Kerzner

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I'd say that the only unwanted behavior from someone with autism, as someone with autism, might be hugging or talking for too long.

Of course, the opposite might also be true; sometimes I might not like to be touched, or start getting jittery if a conversation goes on too long (especially if it's a standing conversation).

I don't think, autistic or not, anybody should get away with anything more than that though <_<.
 

Something Amyss

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insanelich said:
The writer clearly doesn't understand autism very well.
I'm going to echo this.

Also, it's particularly strange the way "white knighting" is used in this article, too, given the immediate, ill-informed (no matter how good the intention) ideas that seem to be behind the author's thoughts on autism and conduct.

MarsAtlas said:
Autism simply does not preclude the inability to follow rules and while it can be a barrier in social interactions it doesn't bar somebody from being able to use good judgement. If it did we'd be seeing an epidemic of autistic people setting their pubic hair on fire because they saw it online.
Don't even need to go that far. If it did, we'd be seeing the sort of misconduct at cons elsewhere, likely on a wider and regular scale. This is the sort of thing that seems to only happen in certain circles, where social issues are already...well, issues. I'm reasonably sure that, when we make an apples-to-apples comparison, it's not autism that's at-issue.
 

UberPubert

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I don't know much about autism, but there is one other thing in this article I want to comment on, and that is the idea of using online call-outs for shame and punitive action to resolve these incidents.

I totally agree that it is within the offended party's right to request that the offender stop what they're doing and leave them alone, and I'd be willing to bet in most of these cases that would actually be enough without needing to get security involved, and the two could just part ways. But the waters of social interaction have been muddied (as if they've ever not been) and harmful intent is being assigned to what would normally be harmless blunders. A "hug" can't just be a greeting between acquaintances to some people, sometimes it is given sinister, even sexual undertone, rather than taken at face value. We can do a lot of back and forth on what a hug is supposed to mean in society, but it is undeniably common, and treating it as assault or molestation has just as much a chance of deterring any would-be serial huggers, as it would traumatize the future hugged: Demonizing human interactions helps no one, promoting patience and open mindedness does.

And finally, we get to the consequences of oversensitiveness. It's not enough that people end an awkward or unpleasant exchange by parting ways, they mistakenly believe that by holding the offender accountable for their assumed intent and the unpleasantness felt by the offended - rather than the actual consequences of the offender's actions - they can stop future incidents like this from occurring, when in all likelihood, they only succeed in ostracizing and shaming someone for an honest mistake or, as Liana points out in the article, completely fails to stop perpetrators who know how to game the system and escape punishment.
 

NPC009

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Isn't this more 'awkward teens being awkward' rather than 'people with autism having trouble with social interactions'? Conventions are the first vacation without parents for many teens, and many tend to be... enthousiastic. They forget they're sharing space with a lot of other people, with strangers.

About a decade ago, a convention a went to had a bit of a glomping problem. Actually, it was so bad people had to be reminded in the rules to ask first before hugging anyone who was not a friend. To me it seemed like an online interaction (the virtual glomp) had found its way to real life through groups of friends and spread from there, turning into 'this is what you do at conventions' thing. I very much doubt all those people were autistic. I got glomped myself a few times. Two were more like gentle surprise hugs, one a full-on 'jump on someone's back without warning' (by someone who weighed a good 40 pounds more than me). Scared the crap out of me, which mortified the glomper, who was soon on the verge of tears when she saw my panicked reaction. In the end I was assuring her I knew she wasn't trying to hurt me, and that I forgave her and didn't hate her.
 

Silence

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insanelich said:
The writer clearly doesn't understand autism very well.

This is probably why the article feels like it's meandering and lacking a real point it's progressing toward. It's very likely why she mixes up contexts for managing the disease in extremely inappropriate and offensive ways. (Such as that comment about writing down what they thought was happening, which feels like an updated version of jokes about picking cotton.)
You, however, seem to neither understand autism nor the article very well.

First, confusing it with a disease pretty much does give it away ...

Anyways, Liana's just reporting several different things she experienced can help for different people. She basically describes the problem, but is open about that she does not know a solution. And she definitely says she does not know enough about autism ... in contrast to you, who pretty much imply you do ... and then "disease", really.

Still, I second that focusing on autism only was probably a bad judgment call. There can be several other circumstances leading to similar problems.
Also, online call-outs are absolute bullshit.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
White knighting... what does that mean and why is that person in the wrong?
 

insanelich

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the silence said:
insanelich said:
The writer clearly doesn't understand autism very well.

This is probably why the article feels like it's meandering and lacking a real point it's progressing toward. It's very likely why she mixes up contexts for managing the disease in extremely inappropriate and offensive ways. (Such as that comment about writing down what they thought was happening, which feels like an updated version of jokes about picking cotton.)
You, however, seem to neither understand autism nor the article very well.

First, confusing it with a disease pretty much does give it away ...

Anyways, Liana's just reporting several different things she experienced can help for different people. She basically describes the problem, but is open about that she does not know a solution. And she definitely says she does not know enough about autism ... in contrast to you, who pretty much imply you do ... and then "disease", really.

Still, I second that focusing on autism only was probably a bad judgment call. There can be several other circumstances leading to similar problems.
Also, online call-outs are absolute bullshit.
People who like coddling the affected or just don't want to admit to the reality of the situation may prefer the terms "disorder" or "syndrome", but a simple check of a dictionary will tell you that autism is a disease.
 

Silence

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insanelich said:
the silence said:
insanelich said:
The writer clearly doesn't understand autism very well.

This is probably why the article feels like it's meandering and lacking a real point it's progressing toward. It's very likely why she mixes up contexts for managing the disease in extremely inappropriate and offensive ways. (Such as that comment about writing down what they thought was happening, which feels like an updated version of jokes about picking cotton.)
You, however, seem to neither understand autism nor the article very well.

First, confusing it with a disease pretty much does give it away ...

Anyways, Liana's just reporting several different things she experienced can help for different people. She basically describes the problem, but is open about that she does not know a solution. And she definitely says she does not know enough about autism ... in contrast to you, who pretty much imply you do ... and then "disease", really.

Still, I second that focusing on autism only was probably a bad judgment call. There can be several other circumstances leading to similar problems.
Also, online call-outs are absolute bullshit.
People who like coddling the affected or just don't want to admit to the reality of the situation may prefer the terms "disorder" or "syndrome", but a simple check of a dictionary will tell you that autism is a disease.
So according to you people with autism are wrong and need to get healed?

Wow, you're completely ignorant.
Disease:
a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.
2.
any abnormal condition in a plant that interferes with its vital physiological processes, caused by pathogenic microorganisms, parasites, unfavorable environmental, genetic, or nutritional factors, etc.
3.
any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society:
His fascination with executions is a disease.
4.
decomposition of a material under special circumstances:
tin disease.
So you see autistic people as mentally damaged? That's the only disease-definition that would fit.

A simple check of the dictionary provides this:
any of various disorders, as autism and Asperger syndrome, commonly manifesting in early childhood and characterized by impaired social or communication skills, repetitive behaviors, or a restricted range of interests.
No word about disease in my simple dictionary check.

...

Please stop talking about autism altogether.
Also, your lack of knowledge about dictionary definitions is disappointing. And that doesn't include the fact that you should look at a diagnostic manual and not at a dictionary for a good definition.
 

Ihateregistering1

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Worgen said:
White knighting... what does that mean and why is that person in the wrong?
Like pretty much every phrase born of the internet, it means different things to different people.

But as I understand it, it's basically any guy who considers himself a feminist 'ally', hates MRAs and PUAs and all that sort of stuff, but still treats women as if they need him to rush to their defense whenever anyone looks at them wrong.

They frequently get accused of basically just doing this to score brownie points with girls so they can get laid.

As to why this guy was in the wrong, well, again, up for debate. If I was with a female friend and some stranger ran up and hugged her and she was clearly not liking it, I'd have zero problem stepping in and helping. I'm not going to challenge the guy to a duel or anything, but I'd expect anyone who is a friend to do the same.
 

insanelich

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the silence said:
~snip~

No word about disease in my simple dictionary check.

...

Please stop talking about autism altogether.
Also, your lack of knowledge about dictionary definitions is disappointing. And that doesn't include the fact that you should look at a diagnostic manual and not at a dictionary for a good definition.
Autism is an incorrectly functioning system of the body.

I am aware there's a widespread movement to try to redefine autism as a different shade of normal. There's also a widespread movement blaming vaccinations for autism.

I would advocate for curing autistic people, except there's no cure.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Ihateregistering1 said:
Worgen said:
White knighting... what does that mean and why is that person in the wrong?
Like pretty much every phrase born of the internet, it means different things to different people.

But as I understand it, it's basically any guy who considers himself a feminist 'ally', hates MRAs and PUAs and all that sort of stuff, but still treats women as if they need him to rush to their defense whenever anyone looks at them wrong.

They frequently get accused of basically just doing this to score brownie points with girls so they can get laid.

As to why this guy was in the wrong, well, again, up for debate. If I was with a female friend and some stranger ran up and hugged her and she was clearly not liking it, I'd have zero problem stepping in and helping. I'm not going to challenge the guy to a duel or anything, but I'd expect anyone who is a friend to do the same.
So is it supposed to just relate to anyone trying to help out anyone else? Its such a weird thing to use as an insult.
 

Silence

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insanelich said:
the silence said:
~snip~

No word about disease in my simple dictionary check.

...

Please stop talking about autism altogether.
Also, your lack of knowledge about dictionary definitions is disappointing. And that doesn't include the fact that you should look at a diagnostic manual and not at a dictionary for a good definition.
Autism is an incorrectly functioning system of the body.

I am aware there's a widespread movement to try to redefine autism as a different shade of normal. There's also a widespread movement blaming vaccinations for autism.

I would advocate for curing autistic people, except there's no cure.
You can't "cure" a differently grown part of the body. You can either try to eliminate the cause (basically by doing eugenics and abortion if genetic markers are found, I wouldn't want that) or by trying to change side-effects of the different (faulty, in your mind) perception.
 

insanelich

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the silence said:
insanelich said:
the silence said:
~snip~

No word about disease in my simple dictionary check.

...

Please stop talking about autism altogether.
Also, your lack of knowledge about dictionary definitions is disappointing. And that doesn't include the fact that you should look at a diagnostic manual and not at a dictionary for a good definition.
Autism is an incorrectly functioning system of the body.

I am aware there's a widespread movement to try to redefine autism as a different shade of normal. There's also a widespread movement blaming vaccinations for autism.

I would advocate for curing autistic people, except there's no cure.
You can't "cure" a differently grown part of the body. You can either try to eliminate the cause (basically by doing eugenics and abortion if genetic markers are found, I wouldn't want that) or by trying to change side-effects of the different (faulty, in your mind) perception.
I'm glad you... agree?
 

Silence

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insanelich said:
the silence said:
insanelich said:
the silence said:
~snip~

No word about disease in my simple dictionary check.

...

Please stop talking about autism altogether.
Also, your lack of knowledge about dictionary definitions is disappointing. And that doesn't include the fact that you should look at a diagnostic manual and not at a dictionary for a good definition.
Autism is an incorrectly functioning system of the body.

I am aware there's a widespread movement to try to redefine autism as a different shade of normal. There's also a widespread movement blaming vaccinations for autism.

I would advocate for curing autistic people, except there's no cure.
You can't "cure" a differently grown part of the body. You can either try to eliminate the cause (basically by doing eugenics and abortion if genetic markers are found, I wouldn't want that) or by trying to change side-effects of the different (faulty, in your mind) perception.
I'm glad you... agree?
Well, you basically backed down from the disease argument.
And I don't advocate for a cure, but as it isn't possible anyways, a theoretical disagreement is irrelevant.

It wouldn't do much harm if you learned a little bit more about autism, though. Mainly from autistic people.
And, to get back on topic, learn about how conventions can actually be more inclusive. Because that is certainly not an impossible thing.
 

Luminous_Umbra

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Worgen said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
Worgen said:
White knighting... what does that mean and why is that person in the wrong?
Like pretty much every phrase born of the internet, it means different things to different people.

But as I understand it, it's basically any guy who considers himself a feminist 'ally', hates MRAs and PUAs and all that sort of stuff, but still treats women as if they need him to rush to their defense whenever anyone looks at them wrong.

They frequently get accused of basically just doing this to score brownie points with girls so they can get laid.

As to why this guy was in the wrong, well, again, up for debate. If I was with a female friend and some stranger ran up and hugged her and she was clearly not liking it, I'd have zero problem stepping in and helping. I'm not going to challenge the guy to a duel or anything, but I'd expect anyone who is a friend to do the same.
So is it supposed to just relate to anyone trying to help out anyone else? Its such a weird thing to use as an insult.
It's more based around the intent of assistance and how the individual views the women they help.

As you can imagine, with both being exceptionally difficult to know for absolute certain, the term can get tossed around fairly easily.
 

insanelich

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the silence said:
~snip~

Well, you basically backed down from the disease argument.
And I don't advocate for a cure, but as it isn't possible anyways, a theoretical disagreement is irrelevant.

It wouldn't do much harm if you learned a little bit more about autism, though. Mainly from autistic people.
And, to get back on topic, learn about how conventions can actually be more inclusive. Because that is certainly not an impossible thing.
The very first definition of "disease" you quoted entirely encompasses autism.

And unfortunately for your argument about learning, I do have a lot of education regarding autism. Well over a decade in fact. And I didn't learn about autism from autism sufferers, much like I wouldn't learn about cancer from cancer patients, or cardiopulmonary diseases from smokers.

The problem is that autistic people themselves tend to be very keen on telling their own story about their disease. It's comparable to people insisting they can still walk when paralyzed. The truth is sometimes a very bitter pill to swallow.