Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ladies: Don't Be The Con Troll

Credit: I've no idea, but if you do, tell me.
Anyone with an ounce of sanity will tell you not to feed the trolls -- not at Cons, not online, and not on bridges. Conventions of all types are instituting formal processes for reporting and dealing with trolls. Coordinators, volunteers, and attendees are raising awareness that sexual predators and bullies will not be tolerated.  While it is tragic that the groundswell against trolls is necessary, it is laudable that it is happening.


Being the service minded Word Whore that I am, I am here to remind our readers that you don't have to have a dick to be a dick. Any gender can cross the line. A leer is a leer. An inappropriate comment is inappropriate. Fondling, groping, and ass-pinching are beyond the pale.  Acts committed in a pack do not absolve the individuals.

~drags out soap box~
~prepares to dodge rotten tomatoes~

Alas and sadly, I've attended more than one Con in which women have been the trolls. Recent example? A handsome hotel employee was formally reprimanded by his employer for helping a workshop run by women for women that somehow devolved into them insisting the employee take his shirt off, pose like a cover model, and beefcake like a stripper.

Are You Turning Troll?

If "but what's wrong with what they did" just flitted through your mind, you might be turning troll.  If you're annoyed that the employer took action, you might be turning troll.  If "it sounds harmless," "it was just his shirt," "but they asked him to," or "he could have said no" comes to mind as a defense, you might be turning troll.

A convention isn't high school. You're not a college kid on Spring Break. If you're an author, go back and review last week's topic about why you should attend Cons. No where in seven days of suggestions and advice did anyone say "because you get to manhandle men." What one person thinks of as flirting another may view as sexual aggression. That's a lesson for all genders.

"But men like it" is no more an excuse than men saying "but women like it." 

Yes, I am aware that certain Cons bring in the hunksome (often shirtless) cover models as eye candy. A lot of trade shows bring in hot chicks in provocative attire. Many of the models are there for the express purpose of taking photos with attendees. ASK FIRST (and politely accept rejection if it happens). Yes, I know certain sponsors provide a male-stripper experience for their themed parties.  (Imagine the furor if the same was done with a female strip show!)  I am aware the prevailing notions are "it's harmless," "it's just adult fun," and "it's all consensual."

It is not an excuse to behave like an oversexed predator.

Lest you think you're safe from from turning troll by locking down your libido, do not ping to the other extreme and revert to slut-shaming other women.  We can be horribly catty, wretchedly critical, and covertly cruel. You should be nothing of the sort when attending a Con.  "Pleasantly Professional" is a mantra worth repeating.

KAK's Top 5 "No Con Troll" Tips:

Tip 1: The Golden Rule applies at any and every Con. If you wouldn't want it done to you, don't do it to others.

Tip 2: If you can't say something nice ... smile instead (then walk away).

Tip 3: Resist Mob Mentality.  It is easy to get swept up in the moment and the atmosphere. Take a breather now and then to remember who you are and why you're there.

Tip 4: It's your reputation. Everything you do in public can be broadcast on Web.  If you wouldn't want "people you know" to see it, don't do it in the first place.

Tip 5: Have a good time (but not at someone else's expense).


  1. I'm so glad you brought this up, KAK, having been there with you, to observe the shenanigans around that particular incident. Apparently women, now having the freedom to sexually harass in turn, must now follow the arc our men have in learning to apply the filter to behavior. Alas!

    1. The darker side of role-reversal. We decry the behavior even as we emulate it. ~smh~

  2. Shortly after my first book came out and long before I was a word-whore, I attended a romance-themed con that was within driving distance. I returned home rather ashamed of my gender. Watching the actions of some women (and cheered on by the loud crowd) make a few good-looking men understand what it means to feel like a piece of meat was stomach turning. It was like watching a bad Jerry Springer episode, but it was live, in front of me, and made up of people who were supposed to be my peers and/or possible audience. I had to leave.
    I didn't really get what the topic meant by 'trolls'. Now I getcha.

    1. ~cringe~

      It is exactly that kind of experience that prompted me to write today's post. We may be the softer sex, but we are more than capable of being jackals (and jackasses).

  3. Good post. I have to save some thoughts for my Saturday one...but this was very well put!

  4. All last week I was wondering what a con troll was...now I get the picture, in a snapshot at least. A very nice post KAK, and if I ever get to a con I will be prepared to watch out.

    1. Thankyouveddymuch!

      The infamous Internet Trolls & Con Trolls are less like the trolls of Norse myths (aka the Jötnar) and far more like the trolls of Norse fairy-tales (aka the dull-witted, unkempt, and carnivorous sort).