Anonymous said: After "Don't rape" and "Don't threaten rape" what's the best way for men to improve the lives of women and girls in geekdom?

Okay, look: “Don’t rape” and “don’t threaten rape” are pinpoint-specific parts of social compact, also known as “the bare minimum expectations for getting to be part of society.”

These are things that should be taken as a given. Don’t hold up ”don’t rape” and “don’t threaten rape” like they are gifts.

I mean, don’t do those things, and deter others from doing them, and talk about all of this, but, fuck, man.


The best way men can improve the lives of women and girls in geekdom is to do their damnedest to shift the balance of power. Geek dudes—especially white geek dudes—you have something the ladies do not: you have a platform from which to speak about issues of justice with relative impunity. Use it. Better yet, share it with or give it to someone who does not have that privilege.

Are you a pro on a panel that’s all white dudes? Give up your seat to a woman of color. Encourage other panelists to do the same. Straight-up refuse to be part of panels that do not work toward equal representation. Hold speaker and guest lists at cons to the same standard. And talk about what you are doing, and why.

If you are in a position that gives you hiring power, hire women—especially into positions where they will have power, not just low-level editorial and work-for-hire gigs. Actively seek and use the input of women, and go out of your way to make really damn sure they’re credited for those contributions

Seek and vocally advocate for works by and about women, for female-friendly and generally diversity-friendly publishers, retailers, and fan communities. When someone does shit right, vote with your dollars and spread the word. When someone fucks up, call them out, and—if there’s any real potential for it and you’ve got the capacity—offer them impetus for and tools to change.

Buy girl books. Buy books with pink covers, and read them in public. Break down the box of geek masculinity, and live the geek culture you want to see and be part of. Subvert everything.

Meanwhile: Hold other men accountable. Don’t tell rape jokes. Call out bullshit.

And respect the anger of those of us who have been consistently marginalized. If you want to be an ally in this fight, recognize that the fight is not about you: sometimes solidarity means giving other people space to be frustrated and angry at a system from which you directly benefit, and sometimes that means that they will, by extension, be angry at you—and that this, along with everything else, means *that system* is your common enemy.

Speaking of systems: Educate yourself. Read How to Suppress Women’s Writing and call that shit out. Understand that in this fight, your voice is generally considered to mean more than mine. Fight that inequality as hard as you can—but meanwhile, while you’ve got that platform, use it.


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