On -isms: Something Positive's Happening

By | Thursday, March 27, 2014 2 comments
Towards the end of April, the ReedPop group will be running their C2E2 event in Chicago. I went last year for the first time and was impressed, so I've signed up again for this year.

I was going through the list of artists and exhibitors that will be in attendance to make sure I talk to everyone I need to, and I also went through their panel listings. And I have to say that I was impressed. Here's a selection of some of the con's panels...
Fri. Apr. 25
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Graphic Novels: Super Classroom Tools of Tolerance and Taming Aggression!

Fri. Apr. 25
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in our Culture

Fri. Apr. 25
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Opening the Clubhouse Doors: Creating More Inclusive Geek Communities

Sat. Apr. 26
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Creating Community: Hosting Ladies' Night at Your Local Comic Shop

Sat. Apr. 26
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Gay Character and Creators Panel

Sat. Apr. 26
2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Glass Ceilings, Missing Stairs & Gatekeepers: Geeks Still Deal with Sexism

Sat. Apr. 26
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Genre Feminism
That's a fair chunk of time devoted to inclusion and tolerance. And while the "Gay Character and Creators Panel" seems to go a bit down the "Women in Comics" route, for the most part, they're dealing with a combination of outreach and getting people to understand and act on discrimantory problems we have in the industry.

Also, take a look at the "About" menu on their home page...
Not only is their Harassment Policy clearly delineated, but there's also a prominent link for "Fans with Special Needs." Not only do they talk about things like wheelchair access and guide dogs, but they even have accommodations for people who require medicines that need to be in cold storage.

The idea of a convention having a formal harassment policy has cropped up in the past few years and, while it's not exactly common yet, it's not uncommon either. I think this is the first con where I've seen such explicit mention of special needs fans as well, though. (Admittedly, it has never been something I've actively looked for in the past.) I want to point this out because it's another aspect of inclusion that gets overlooked frequently and, despite not garnering the popular attention that harassment has, ReedPop was still prescient enough to bring it to the fore on their own.

So while we still have plenty of issues to address in comics, I find it incredibly encouraging to see shows take more progressive steps like this out of the basic idea of doing the right thing for its own sake than out of any pressures that might come from their constituents. Let's see more of this, please!
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Brett Caton said...

Formal harassment policy?

Oh good grief, I hope they aren't heading down the 'Elevatorgate' route where asking someone for coffee is a crime. A lot of people hook up at cons, sometimes they even marry!

Some Politically Correct Feminist Agenda to crush all flirting and squeeze all the joy from life - ugh. I really hope the cons aren't going down that path.

"Genre Feminism .. That's a fair chunk of time devoted to inclusion and tolerance. "

Yeah, did they have a section on Nazism as well? Feminis has zip to do with "inclusion and tolerance", it's in the branding. It's a female supremacist movement, to which men, at best, can aspite to being 'allies', and sit underneath the table while their betters eat, hoping, just this once, someone will drop a scrap for them...

Feminism is a movement that actively harms men.

I've always been really impressed with C2E2's programming and this year was really fantastic, though I hope they have more panels supporting racial diversity next year. I moderated Creating Community: Hosting Ladies' Night at Your Local Comic Shop, so thank you for spreading the word ahead of time. Here's a video of the panel if you were not able to attend!