Is It Really Cosplay Harassment? Or Just Neuroatypical Behavior?

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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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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.

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.

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.

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 <_<.

insanelich:
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:
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.

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.

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.

insanelich:
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.

White knighting... what does that mean and why is that person in the wrong?

the silence:

insanelich:
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.

insanelich:

the silence:

insanelich:
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.

Worgen:
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.

the silence:

~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.

Ihateregistering1:

Worgen:
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.

insanelich:

the silence:

~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.

the silence:

insanelich:

the silence:

~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?

insanelich:

the silence:

insanelich:

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.

Worgen:

Ihateregistering1:

Worgen:
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.

the silence:

~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.

insanelich:

the silence:

~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.

Your "learning" is worthless.

Of course you can't trust one person speaking on their own experience to give a complete picture about autism. But not factoring in the inside view ... which is the only view that can even tell you what the experience is like ... is just extremely ignorant.

You know, for example, in france there is still the theory that a cold mother causes autism? If you learned that 10 years long, it still would not be right.
And comparing it to cancer is just wrong.

And you would ask smokers about their addiction, about how it feels like, not about fucking cardiopulmonary diseases. Your comparisons are completely faulty and wrong on a base level.

If you call it disease, I believe your your experience is pretty wrong. You could be one of these autism speaks guys, for all I know. And their "experience" is actively harming autistic people. They still can have 10 years experience on that.

I sincerely hope you at least learned most of the things you "know" from experts about autism, and the rest from autistic people. If not, well ... start all over again.
For example, you wouldn't even know about the perception differences if you didn't ask autistic people. You would only know about the behaviour, and that's not the core of what autism is.

the silence:

~snip~

Your "learning" is worthless.

Of course you can't trust one person speaking on their own experience to give a complete picture about autism. But not factoring in the inside view ... which is the only view that can even tell you what the experience is like ... is just extremely ignorant.

You know, for example, in france there is still the theory that a cold mother causes autism? If you learned that 10 years long, it still would not be right.
And comparing it to cancer is just wrong.

And you would ask smokers about their addiction, about how it feels like, not about fucking cardiopulmonary diseases. Your comparisons are completely faulty and wrong on a base level.

If you call it disease, I believe your your experience is pretty wrong. You could be one of these autism speaks guys, for all I know. And their "experience" is actively harming autistic people. They still can have 10 years experience on that.

I sincerely hope you at least learned most of the things you "know" from experts about autism, and the rest from autistic people. If not, well ... start all over again.
For example, you wouldn't even know about the perception differences if you didn't ask autistic people. You would only know about the behaviour, and that's not the core of what autism is.

Assumptions. So many assumptions.

insanelich:

the silence:

~snip~

Your "learning" is worthless.

Of course you can't trust one person speaking on their own experience to give a complete picture about autism. But not factoring in the inside view ... which is the only view that can even tell you what the experience is like ... is just extremely ignorant.

You know, for example, in france there is still the theory that a cold mother causes autism? If you learned that 10 years long, it still would not be right.
And comparing it to cancer is just wrong.

And you would ask smokers about their addiction, about how it feels like, not about fucking cardiopulmonary diseases. Your comparisons are completely faulty and wrong on a base level.

If you call it disease, I believe your your experience is pretty wrong. You could be one of these autism speaks guys, for all I know. And their "experience" is actively harming autistic people. They still can have 10 years experience on that.

I sincerely hope you at least learned most of the things you "know" from experts about autism, and the rest from autistic people. If not, well ... start all over again.
For example, you wouldn't even know about the perception differences if you didn't ask autistic people. You would only know about the behaviour, and that's not the core of what autism is.

Assumptions. So many assumptions.

That's all you got?
Guess we can stop here, now. Who cares about logical arguments anymore, am I right?

A concern I have with the "Cosplay is Not Consent" movement is how it sometimes focuses too heavily on punitive action and uses online call outs to shame. Some behaviors are, indeed, absolutely inexcusable, but there are also a lot of "Cosplay is Not Consent" pictures out there that mock awkward turns of phrase or a lack of understanding of personal space and those pictures offend people, creating an unending cycle of offense. I've had many conversations with people with autism, also known as non-neurotypical or neuroatypical people, about the distress these sorts of pictures cause them. They feel like they're being picked on.

If they want people to stop certain actions, then of course the 'Cosplay is Not Consent' movement will be geared towards punitive action and online call outs. Those are tools to discourage the behaviors they don't like. What else should they be using?

And it is unfortunate if people are offered dedicated because people are being hard on a lack of understanding of personal space, but quite simply it is not on other people to have to accept others infringing on their personal space. If someone doesn't get personal space the solution is to give people extra distance until you get it better, not complain that people disapprove.

I'd really love it if I never again have to console someone who legitimately doesn't understand why they've been accused of harassment at a convention. I think it's important for cosplayers to remember that some people have not had access to things like spacial awareness training that makes us neurotypicals more comfortable. That doesn't mean that they're deliberately violating consent.

The thing is whether it is deliberate or not people shouldn't have to put up with it. Cosplaying is not an invitation to be a teacher to others about personal space, after all. It's not a sign that you'll be extra patient with people.

I don't have autism. I'm not an expert on it. I've just had a lot of personal experience with neuroatypical people. It's really hard to spend any meaningful time in the cosplay community without encountering people with autism. So I'm not trying to speak for people with autism in this article, and I'm certainly not claiming to know everything there is to know about this issue. I just hope this column gives people less familiar with autism a little more awareness that behavior that may be unnerving probably doesn't have ill intent. Some people with autism I know are so high functioning I forget they have autism, until moments crop up where it becomes relevant.

The problem is a lack of ill intent isn't going to make it any less uncomfortable for people. Either way it is not acceptable and people should be made to understand that.

So how does that apply to cosplay, consent, and respectful environments? Well, here's a situation I personally witnessed:

A friend of a cosplayer approached her and gave her a giant hug while snapping a selfie. A person with autism who was an acquaintance of this cosplayer promptly mimicked the gesture, and gave the cosplayer a big hug when posing for their own picture. The cosplayer recoiled and complained that the person with autism touched her inappropriately. She felt harassed. Her reaction upset the person with autism, who felt falsely accused. The cosplayer's friend white knighted pretty hard, leaping to her defense in a somewhat aggressive way, and the whole thing became a big mess.

Who was right there? Objectively, everyone... except the white knight. For god's sake guys, stop assuming we want you to jump in and solve our problems for us. Ask us if we want help.

And here's the bit that got me to bother to comment.

Did the cosplayer themselves say they didn't want their friend's help? Consider that maybe when your friend is upset by someone doing something they shouldn't and then tries to claim they are falsely accused, you make sure to have their back. It's not clear at all in the article that the cosplayer did not appreciate the basic help you'd expect for a friend when someone wrongs them then argues it.

Furthermore, did the cosplayer ask you to do this? If anyone is white knighting, you seem to be speaking up for her sake for something that it is not particularly clear actually bothered her. And quite frankly it doesn't even seem to be her sake except nominally, you seem more upset about how it affected the autistic person overall.

Hell if speaking up for someone is 'white knighting' and something you should ask people if they want beforehand, did you ask autistic people if they wanted this article speaking up for them?

The standard of 'ask if we want help' applies much more to an article that covers many people you don't know than sticking up for a friend in the heat of the moment.

And lastly, no not everyone was objectively right. Beyond the point that that this is not the type of thing people can be objectively right about, hugging was clearly the wrong action here.

The person with autism wasn't doing anything deliberately harassing - they were trying to fit in with social interactions by mirroring them. Those of us who knew that the person trying to get a photo was on the spectrum found it funny and cute until people started getting upset. However, the cosplayer was also absolutely right that her boundaries were violated, and her discomfort was legitimate. Situations like this are why I don't believe in "zero tolerance" harassment policies. A poorly-worded policy might have required the convention to remove the "inappropriate hugger" -- which would risk being discriminatory. You can't punish people who mean no harm just because their brains work differently.

It is not discriminatory at all to remove him. *Maybe* out of proportion, depending on how the cosplayer feels about the matter, but expecting everyone to know and follow basic rules for everyone's comfort isn't discriminatory. It doesn't matter if someone means no harm, if they cannot follow the rules properly then everyone else's comfort should not be compromised just because the one making people uncomfortable isn't malicious.

Like I said, this isn't to say that there aren't some legitimately disgusting people exploiting others at conventions, but they're usually the ones that excel at squirming out of trouble. Too often, people who harass with deliberation slip away or manipulate their way out of accountability. Meanwhile, people who are just socially awkward get the book thrown at them.

The solution to people getting out of trouble isn't to then remove or lighten the rules that they slipped away from thereby letting those that get caught go unimpeded or at least less impeded. Further the more wiggle room you make the more you increase their ability to get out of it.

Sometimes, however, that luck doesn't hold, and the rattled cosplayer doesn't feel terribly open-minded. This is valid: a person who has had a scare can't be expected to be immediately open to hearing another perspective. It's a real tightrope and every case is different. You can do everything by the book and still not get a good outcome.

It's hardly closed minded to not feel forgiving.

And if the person who made the complaint isn't satisfied with that outcome, prepared to get called out on social networks and possibly have some websites write some nasty articles about your convention. You'll get accused of "victim blaming" or "condoning harassment," and from experience? That's so not fun. But I didn't feel right sacrificing some poor kid who just didn't understand how they were being received to avoid these accusations, so I took it on the chin.

Understanding is hardly the end all of whether an action was inappropriate and needs more discouragement or not.

Corey Schaff:
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 <_<.

I'm in this boat.

People with different abilities or issues aren't exempt from having to attempt to behave "normally" because of said abilities or issues. They get excited and hug someone, whether it's with or without ill intent, tell them not to do it again. If they do it again, have them removed. It's just basic procedure and there are rules and guidelines.

Similar to people with PTSD not expecting everyone to bend over backwards to appease them, I expect the same to people (myself included) with autism; if we break rules, that's not okay. A kid who accidentally steals from a gas station isn't a bad kid because they stole, they didn't know better. You still have to tell them that what they did was wrong, though.

...I hope that's a good enough analogy. If people on here couldn't tell, I'm not a good counter-point maker

Worgen:

Ihateregistering1:

Worgen:
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.

Not quite. A white knight is somebody who helps specifically someone they perceive as weaker - as in need of a white knight. You're not a white knight if you realise your buddy is going two-for-one down the local and step in to even the odds. You're not a white knight if you stop a woman being mugged.

You're a white knight if you witness a woman (a stranger) having a confrontation with a man (also a stranger) and you leap in between them and give the man both barrells. You're a white knight if you find yourself asking your friends' girlfriends if they're 'okay' when you're out in the same place. A white knight never helps the situation. They escalate, exacerbate and make it all about them. The problem with the knight in the article was that he didn't give the girl much of a chance to confront her 'harasser' before he did it for her. If my partner has a problem with somebody and I'm present, she gets first dibs on the confrontation. Automatically assuming someone needs your help - by virtue of being smaller than you, more female than you or just plain inferior to you, however your perspective works - is an insult.

Again, it's not a bad thing to help other people. But being a white knight is definitely a bad thing. White knights exclusively save damsels and slay dragons in the hopes of getting some of that sweet damsel booty. They don't give to charity or help an old lady with their shopping.

Thyunda:

Worgen:

Ihateregistering1:

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.

Not quite. A white knight is somebody who helps specifically someone they perceive as weaker - as in need of a white knight. You're not a white knight if you realise your buddy is going two-for-one down the local and step in to even the odds. You're not a white knight if you stop a woman being mugged.

You're a white knight if you witness a woman (a stranger) having a confrontation with a man (also a stranger) and you leap in between them and give the man both barrells. You're a white knight if you find yourself asking your friends' girlfriends if they're 'okay' when you're out in the same place. A white knight never helps the situation. They escalate, exacerbate and make it all about them. The problem with the knight in the article was that he didn't give the girl much of a chance to confront her 'harasser' before he did it for her. If my partner has a problem with somebody and I'm present, she gets first dibs on the confrontation. Automatically assuming someone needs your help - by virtue of being smaller than you, more female than you or just plain inferior to you, however your perspective works - is an insult.

Again, it's not a bad thing to help other people. But being a white knight is definitely a bad thing. White knights exclusively save damsels and slay dragons in the hopes of getting some of that sweet damsel booty. They don't give to charity or help an old lady with their shopping.

There was no indication that he didn't give her much chance to confront the person.

There was also no indication it was because she was female and not just that there's someone denying responsibility for something they blatantly did to a friend of his.

It's interesting how certain people apparently automatically assume a man joining in an argument on the side of a woman (who's a friend but apparently that's an inconsequential detail, who speaks up for friends?) must be doing it because she's a woman. Have to wonder where this idea comes from when nothing was mentioned that at all indicates this supposed ulterior motive

Long story short "stay away from everyone, because people are too soft to handle social interactions now". Maybe glass dividers need to be put in place, or at the very least plastic bubbles to ensure a "safe space".

Yes I am mocking the whole thing because it is just so weird, with every passing day people find more ways to get offended at something, anything, just to get their kicks somewhere. Probably won't be long before nerd culture and Amish are one and the same, except worshipping different figure heads.

Smooth Operator:
Long story short "stay away from everyone, because people are too soft to handle social interactions now". Maybe glass dividers need to be put in place, or at the very least plastic bubbles to ensure a "safe space".

Yes I am mocking the whole thing because it is just so weird, with every passing day people find more ways to get offended at something, anything, just to get their kicks somewhere. Probably won't be long before nerd culture and Amish are one and the same, except worshipping different figure heads.

I think it's more like anime/gaming/comics conventions having a reputation of attracting creeps and many people (both cosplayers and non-cosplayers) have atleast one horror story. (Aside from some attempted upskirt shots, I've got a dude that got all touchy and gropey, and someone who started following me around despite me saying 'no, leave me alone' - and I'm not even a cosplayer!) When someone oversteps a boundary, people expect the worst, either as a result of personal experience or the experiences of those close to them. It can be difficult to take a deep breath, count to ten, analyse what actually happened and act accordingly.

Thyunda:

Worgen:

Ihateregistering1:

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.

Not quite. A white knight is somebody who helps specifically someone they perceive as weaker - as in need of a white knight. You're not a white knight if you realise your buddy is going two-for-one down the local and step in to even the odds. You're not a white knight if you stop a woman being mugged.

You're a white knight if you witness a woman (a stranger) having a confrontation with a man (also a stranger) and you leap in between them and give the man both barrells. You're a white knight if you find yourself asking your friends' girlfriends if they're 'okay' when you're out in the same place. A white knight never helps the situation. They escalate, exacerbate and make it all about them. The problem with the knight in the article was that he didn't give the girl much of a chance to confront her 'harasser' before he did it for her. If my partner has a problem with somebody and I'm present, she gets first dibs on the confrontation. Automatically assuming someone needs your help - by virtue of being smaller than you, more female than you or just plain inferior to you, however your perspective works - is an insult.

Again, it's not a bad thing to help other people. But being a white knight is definitely a bad thing. White knights exclusively save damsels and slay dragons in the hopes of getting some of that sweet damsel booty. They don't give to charity or help an old lady with their shopping.

Thyunda:

Worgen:

Ihateregistering1:

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.

Not quite. A white knight is somebody who helps specifically someone they perceive as weaker - as in need of a white knight. You're not a white knight if you realise your buddy is going two-for-one down the local and step in to even the odds. You're not a white knight if you stop a woman being mugged.

You're a white knight if you witness a woman (a stranger) having a confrontation with a man (also a stranger) and you leap in between them and give the man both barrells. You're a white knight if you find yourself asking your friends' girlfriends if they're 'okay' when you're out in the same place. A white knight never helps the situation. They escalate, exacerbate and make it all about them. The problem with the knight in the article was that he didn't give the girl much of a chance to confront her 'harasser' before he did it for her. If my partner has a problem with somebody and I'm present, she gets first dibs on the confrontation. Automatically assuming someone needs your help - by virtue of being smaller than you, more female than you or just plain inferior to you, however your perspective works - is an insult.

Again, it's not a bad thing to help other people. But being a white knight is definitely a bad thing. White knights exclusively save damsels and slay dragons in the hopes of getting some of that sweet damsel booty. They don't give to charity or help an old lady with their shopping.

So they are just another way of calling someone a 'nice guy'?

Secondhand Revenant:
There was no indication that he didn't give her much chance to confront the person.

There was also no indication it was because she was female and not just that there's someone denying responsibility for something they blatantly did to a friend of his.

It's interesting how certain people apparently automatically assume a man joining in an argument on the side of a woman (who's a friend but apparently that's an inconsequential detail, who speaks up for friends?) must be doing it because she's a woman. Have to wonder where this idea comes from when nothing was mentioned that at all indicates this supposed ulterior motive

Honestly, I'm trusting the witness. The writer felt that the intervention was unwarranted, and they were there. None of us were, so I'm taking their word for it. If the witness is unreliable, so is the statement. Pointing that out accomplishes nothing, so you probably shouldn't put so much effort into this. Also, the fact it was mentioned in the context in which it was mentioned is evidence of a suspected ulterior motive.

Worgen:
So they are just another way of calling someone a 'nice guy'?

There is overlap. A white knight doesn't necessarily demand reward for their actions - whereas a Nice Guy will often make some sort of complaint about how they're not appreciated and should just become a Jerk. But, Nice Guys are often white knights and vice versa, so you could probably use them interchangeably without causing much trouble.

Thyunda:

Secondhand Revenant:
There was no indication that he didn't give her much chance to confront the person.

There was also no indication it was because she was female and not just that there's someone denying responsibility for something they blatantly did to a friend of his.

It's interesting how certain people apparently automatically assume a man joining in an argument on the side of a woman (who's a friend but apparently that's an inconsequential detail, who speaks up for friends?) must be doing it because she's a woman. Have to wonder where this idea comes from when nothing was mentioned that at all indicates this supposed ulterior motive

Honestly, I'm trusting the witness. The writer felt that the intervention was unwarranted, and they were there. None of us were, so I'm taking their word for it. If the witness is unreliable, so is the statement. Pointing that out accomplishes nothing, so you probably shouldn't put so much effort into this. Also, the fact it was mentioned in the context in which it was mentioned is evidence of a suspected ulterior motive.

The witness didn't say anything at all that indicated the motive. Nor that the cosplayer disapproved. And the witness did not say what you said, that he didn't give the cosplayer a chance to confront the person.

Pay a bit more attention to the distinction of what is even in the article versus what you seemed to pull from nowhere, that no time was given.

Not only that, I didn't call the witness unreliable as it pertains to recounting the story. I'm calling her judgement into question. Sorry if that ruins your deflection.

MarsAtlas:
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.

That's only going to help up to a point. People with autism tend to be very aware of such rules. And we mostly know those aren't the real rules so to say. They're just the extremes collected mostly by people who seem unaware of the sheer amount of non-verbal information and signalling they're understanding.

The problem lies in that we constantly see people breaking them under specific circumstances and sometimes it's hard to figure out what those exact circumstances are. And sometimes we think we've figured it out and it turns out we were wrong and did something inappropriate.

Because there are no clear simple rules that govern interactions. And if you genuinely want to help people who don't intuitively grasp the rules that do exist the first step is to recognise how complex human interactions can get and work from that basis.

I'm not saying having such a list is all bad. Not at all. But if you think it's going to cover most if not all such incidents you don't really understand the problem.

Have such a list. But understand that because that list doesn't accurately describe the actual interactions going on there's still going to be problems and you should still be aware that they may not come from malice even if there's clear rules laid out.

Speaking as an autist, this is basically the reason I don't bother with conventions or most other forms of high density social affair most of the time. It can be a lot of fun, but it is basically always a rolling shit-show of stressful misery trying to parse and navigate dozens to hundreds of erratic, loud, hyper-enthusiastic people in an environment almost wholly dedicated to evoking hyper-enthusiasm. I have been to one convention and one concert, and while I don't regret having attended them with my friends, I don't plan on repeating the experiences any time soon.

Especially given the tendency for neurotypical folks to 'talk around' the weirdo in the room when they figure out what's going on, as is the nature of pretty much every discussion about autism I have ever encountered that didn't involve a predominantly autistic group.

Right, so, autism as a disease vs. autism as a functional variation on typical human neurology.

Lemme science you up a little as someone who lives with this.

We live in a world where, from childhood, the merest hint of our being autistic can make our families wig out so hard they start dosing us up the rectum with bleach because some charlatan told them it could 'fix' us. This is a thing. It happens. It is horrifying.

Even if they don't wig out /that bad/, they generally wig out in some other terrible, generally loud, fashion. Some of them indulge in a form of changeling-syndrome in which they can't even think of their child as really being their child. It's a self perpetuating madness hole, because when you treat someone as not a real person long enough, saturate their life with the sense that they aren't real to you, they're gonna start believing it. Especially if they're just a child, and the source of their depersonalization is the handful of people they're supposed to be learning how to function from.

Autism is not hereditary, per se. An autist isn't particularly more likely to have autistic children than a neurotypical individual. It doesn't seem to map to a particular set of genetic markers, but it /does/ map to certain interesting factors, most prominently the age of the male parent at time of conception. What does this tell us?

Well, it tells us that autistic children are more likely to be sired by older men. In the context of human history, an old man is a successful man, and one who has most likely already had a number of children with any number of women. By the time one is breeding autists, one already has an heir and probably a couple more (if we're talking about nomadic to early settler human groups).

So you've got spares, and they're kinda weird. But it turns out that functional autists tend to be surprisingly good at a couple of nifty survival behaviors relevant to living alone in the wilderness for extended periods of time, not the least of which is a relative disconnection from typical human social antics. Not because we don't enjoy them on some level, but because we don't need them /as much/...ask most functioning autists and they'll likely tell you that socializing with neurotypicals is exhausting because you are SO GODDAMNED LOUD, ALL THE TIME (in such terms or in others). For us, a little goes a long way, and a lot can be painfully exhausting to endure.

You know that guy at that party? You know the one. The one who won't shut up about the thing, for hours. He's drunk. He's loud. And he's just INCREDIBLY whatever, happy, sad, just /blasting/ everyone around him with whatever emotion is currently dominating his mind.

That's /you/. All of you. All the time. To an autist.

But hey, someone who can function best with minimal human contact, whom your tribe can afford to throw into the wilderness 'cause you already got a solid podling posse, that can be good for the community, right? We could scout. We could hunt. We could do a thousand little solo things outside the village that the modern world just isn't really made for anymore. There's no particular /point/ to being a bit better at the wilderness when there basically is no wilderness for you to be good at.

Your average western kid, autistic or not, is thrown into the exact same milieu almost from birth: intense, high density socialization and learning, generally from strange people they've never met in standardized formats designed by trial-and-error for neurotypical minds. It is often, to the isolated and excessively interrogative mind, outright hostile.

This, for an autist, is basically a recipe for psychological damage even if their home life is perfectly fine, which it often isn't (there tends to be a feedback loop: if you're having trouble at school, you're going to have trouble at home if only because your family is going to want to try to fix the trouble you're having for you).

When you meet a low functioning autist, you probably aren't meeting someone who is just so autistic they can't function. You're /probably/ meeting someone whose particular circumstances have damaged them so much in such arcane ways that it's hard for them to think at all because all they know is that every thought they have is the wrong shape for the world they've been thrust into and it does nothing but confuse and hurt to even try.

And nobody knows why, because they don't have the first clue that they're even doing harm, because they aren't treating them any differently than they treat anyone else and we just. Can't. Escape.

We are not a disease. Stop treating us like one, and maybe we can finally stop being sick.

Thank you for your time.

VaporWare:
Speaking as an autist, this is basically the reason I don't bother with conventions or most other forms of high density social affair most of the time. It can be a lot of fun, but it is basically always a rolling shit-show of stressful misery trying to parse and navigate dozens to hundreds of erratic, loud, hyper-enthusiastic people in an environment almost wholly dedicated to evoking hyper-enthusiasm. I have been to one convention and one concert, and while I don't regret having attended them with my friends, I don't plan on repeating the experiences any time soon.

Especially given the tendency for neurotypical folks to 'talk around' the weirdo in the room when they figure out what's going on, as is the nature of pretty much every discussion about autism I have ever encountered that didn't involve a predominantly autistic group.

I must say I genuinely appreciated your post~

I must also say that I feel that trying to explain this to some people is akin to that one thread about asexuality and that no matter which way you slice it, some people just aren't gonna get it and think that anyone who's different is broken by default.

So I'm glad you took the time to explain it because I saw the sub-conversation and I was like "heh, I'm not even gonna bother". But thank YOU for bothering! *thumbs up*

[[ and I mean this in the nice way, not the sarcastic way ]]

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