Friday, August 9, 2013

On Harassment and Consent

As many of you are undoubtedly aware, there is a distinctly depressing, but non-surprising unfolding of events in the atheo-skeptisphere. 

"Big Name" players in the movement are being named and shamed for their behavior, with accusations running the gambit from verbal sexual harassment to rape. 

I'm (obviously) a new blogger, so I have zero firsthand knowledge of this in the skeptic communities. I haven't gotten to go to any conventions/conferences yet. However, I have no reason to doubt the accusers/victims claims. Why? I've seen how the authorities and police handle these things in real life.

I was lucky, I made it through high school and college with minimal sexual harassment directed toward me. I was too short, too flat, and too nerdy to even be on the radar of most people I met. I made being invisible an art.

One of my good friends was not so lucky. Most of my memories of my freshman year of high school are of how my group of friends tried to protect her. She was raped by her boyfriend and broke up with him. She reported his behavior to the school authorities, including on-campus cops. They told her that all she could do was try to avoid him. He took her attempts to avoid him as a challenge. He started stalking her. She got a restraining order on him. However, at school, it was deemed 'unenforceable'. When the authorities again refused to do anything, we, her group of friends took her safety into our own hands. We didn't let her go anywhere alone. One of us was there to walk her through the halls in-between classes, to lunch and stayed with her after school until she was picked up, she wasn't yet old enough to drive. This lasted for several months. Those of us acting as her shields got death threats from him. This was finally enough for the school to decide action needed to be taken. He was transferred to a different local school.The harassment described above was my life for the better part of my freshman year. I was not the core focus, but I still had to live through it. This behavior of ignoring personal autonomy simply isn't extraordinary. It is commonplace. Therefore, it is not extraordinary to believe victims when they speak up, even if the person they name is one that might (or might not) be surprising. 

The other side of this discussion has been consent. I'm going to use a cheesy move here but Google defines consent as (v.) 
Give permission for something to happen. Guess what? That means that if consent is not expressly given, you don't have it. It doesn't matter if you're dating. It doesn't matter if one or both were drinking. It doesn't matter if consent was initially given, or given with caveats. Consent can be withdrawn. Consent can be gotten before the act. Consent can't be given if the person is in a state where it would be unwise for them to drive, severely inebriated for example. Consent can't be given in cases of coersion. Consent is an enthusiastic, "Yes! I want to do X with you." If you have any doubt about if you have consent ask, and then respect the response. You may not like the answer, but if it turns out to be "No" then anything past that point is rape. The onus to not be raped is not on the victim. The onus is on the partner/stranger/friend/acquaintance to Not Fucking Rape.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Really Moffat?

So I'm scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and one of the posts I come across is "Women Don't Want Female Doctor -- Moffat." This was the headline for a news article posted on

So I clicked on it to see the actual quote. This is what I got:

"It's absolutely narratively possible (that the Doctor could be a woman) and when it's the right decision, maybe we'll do it. It didn't feel right to me, right now. I didn't feel enough people wanted it. Oddly enough most people who said they were dead against it - and I know I'll get into trouble for saying this - were women. (They were) saying, 'No, no, don't make him a woman!'"

So line by line my reaction was, "Sweet, they formalized that into canon!" followed by, "oh, ok, I guess that makes sense" then, "Wait, really? Since when is the Doctor a popularity contest?"

And then came the kicker, repeated to refresh the impact, "Oddly enough most people who said they were dead against it - and I know I'll get into trouble for saying this - were women."

Wait...What? "I know I'll get in trouble for saying this" Protip, if that's your reaction, don't say it.
Also, sure I can believe there is a decent swath of the Whovian community who would flip their shit if there was a female Doctor. Fuck knows I've seen too much of the same attitudes in the Sci-Fi community at large, as well as the atheist/skeptical communities over the last several years. Hell, I would be more surprised if there wasn't a segment of the fanbase who flipped their shit.

But seriously, Moffat, you already gave a valid reason for not selecting a different actor or actress for the Doctor--it didn't meet what you wanted to do with the storyline. Why not just leave it at that?

Post the Second

Now that we've gotten the serious bit of commenting policy out of the way, Welcome to Dreamfall.

For those of you out there who aren't complete and utter nerds/geeks/etc. Dreamfall is a reference to the video game "Dreamfall: The Longest Journey." If you haven't played either Dreamfall, or The Longest Journey and can handle a decade-old point-and-click adventure game, I highly recommend both. They revolve around a world and its mirror. Stark, the world of science based technology and hard facts, and Arcadia, the world of magic and fantasy. They balance each other, two halves to the whole. Reality and imagination. For me this balance of fact and fiction and the blending and blurring of the two is what makes these games so lovely.

As to why I chose this for the name of my blog, well, it's not too far from how I view life. Life is a journey, and it is the longest one we get. Imagination and creativity go so far into creating so much beauty to enjoy, yet so does technology, for all that technology is generally viewed as cold and impersonal. What's awesome is that modern technology is working to break that mold by creating more aesthetically pleasing devices, and combining and varying what materials are used to create different effects.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Post The First

I had a blog called Dreamfall several years ago, but it appears to have been tied to a now-defunct email address, so here goes an attempt to restart it under a new url.

As I have had ample experience over the last 5 years as a member of various online communities I am going to get my initial commenting policy out of the way in this first post. This blog will be a safe space. It will be moderated.
1) Attack the arguments not the person (no ad homs)
2) Gendered slurs will not be tolerated.
3) Actually, slurs and othering in general will not be tolerated.
4) You are all commenting at my whim. This is a privilege that can be revoked.
If I feel the need to add more, I will, but I rather hope that this is enough for a baby blog like this one.

Some background of what I hope this blog to be. I am starting this as a space to write about stuff I enjoy and care about. That means one post may well be about a cool new (or old) anime I found. The next could be on feminism, or politics. Still the next could be an amigurumi project. Most will probably be my musings on random things I stumble across online that I find interesting.