Yesterday, both those unpleasant factors came into play at the Calgary Expo, a large-scale comic convention.
Normally, such things were the domain of geeky guys obsessed with the strange fantasies that unfold in comic books and science fiction. But in the last couple of decades, more women have emerged as leaders in the field. More recently still, such events have become infused with movements trying to impose their versions of political correctness, and dictates of hyper-sensitivity to their own points of view at the cost of any others.
That reached a peak at Calgary Expo when during a panel discussion, one of the panelists rhetorically asked about why Men's Right's advocates became so infuriated about women's participation in comics. A woman named Alison Tieman was in the audience and asked if she could address the question as she identifies as a female Men's Rights advocate. Tieman raised a point about "damselling," which is a term for women playing the victim to their advantage and discussed, in what the recording sounds like a very polite, thoughtful exchange, the perceptions of female and male roles in comics and different writing genres, both as characters and creators.
One of the most salient points made by Tieman, who herself is a comic book author, was, "I made the comic I wanted to see. That was what I did. I think that's the message you need to tell people. Don't say you're a victim of this culture. Say that you build what you want to see."
Evidently that was too much for the 3rd Wave Feminists on the panel and the Calgary Expo organizers, who must have been "triggered" by Tieman's assertion of self-sufficiency and statement that women don't have to revel in their own victimhood.
The website The Mary Sue published an account by one of the panelists, Brittney Le Blanc, trying to justify Tieman's ejection. But an audio recording of the panel suggests Le Blanc's account is merely a series of distortions, slanders, and smears.
Calgary Expo's censorial priggishness took an even more preposterous turn when they attempted to justify their abhorrent narrow-mindedness. The Calgary Expo censors "discovered" a fundraising web post by the Honey Badger Brigade, to seek funds to travel to the convention. In the pose, the Honey Badgers wrote:
...the Honey Badgers plan to put on a booth at the Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo! We plan to infiltrate nerd culture cunningly disguised as their own. Each of us has been carefully crafting a persona of nerdiness through decades of dedication to comics, science fiction, fantasy, comedy games and other geekery, waiting for this moment, our moment to slip among the unaware. Once there we will start distributing the totalitarian message that nerd and gamer culture is… perfectly wonderful just as it is and should be left alone to go it’s own way.
That’s it folks...Evidently, Calgary Expo's organizers believed, in literal seriousness, the sarcastic joke that the Honey Badgers had spent decades crafting the persona of comic book geeks for the purpose of slipping in to a comic convention.
It's hard to imagine how anyone who isn't functionally retarded could come to the conclusion which the Calgary Expo organizers used to justify their actions by (re)tweeting it out through their account.
I've written before that I think the Men's Rights Movement is a generally silly, but harmless phenomenon. Considering some of the responses to them, I'm no longer sure of that, at least where it comes to they're being silly. The reactions they have evoked from fanatical 3rd wave feminists show that some of the issues they raise are indeed valid. Censorship and politically correct totalitarianism is neither silly nor harmless, and it needs to be fought if we want to live in a society where only the establishment's ideas are permitted.
Unfortunately, by this one spectacular screw-up, Calgary Expo won't be remembered for the fun it gave the overwhelming majority of its attendees, but the cruelty and censorship they inflicted on a few.