Comic books have been proven to work as excellent educational tools.
Comic books engage a wide and varied audience. Reaching out to men and kids are two of our top priorities.
The concepts of justice, right and wrong, good vs. evil, heroism, and taking a stand for a moral code are already built into the psychological framework of the comic book universe.
Generally, people who read comic books and enjoy super heroes are already geared towards the idea of being heroes themselves.
Comic books/conventions were once considered to be silly things that amused awkward people. Thanks to the crazy success in recent years of blockbuster movie franchises, television shows, and theme parks, comic books and their characters are now smack in the middle of, and thus shaping, popular culture and should be considered an influential part of media. Almost all major movies and television shows that are aiming for a teen – thirty year old audience, even ones that have very little to do with comic books, do panels at comic book conventions throughout the year.
Comic books themselves are changing to become more inclusive of women, minorities, and LGBT folks, both in terms of characters and creators.
Meet Red, Yellow, and Blue! Red and Yellow are girls who get harassed and have to figure out how to deal with it. Blue is Red’s boyfriend, and he has seen other dudes harass girls but doesn’t realize the impact, or that he can help, until Red fills him in.
This comic book project, which will be used for educational workshops on street harassment against women and LGBT folks and bystander intervention. The comic book is 24 full-color pages, created by artist Erin Filson, with input from Rochelle Keyhan and Anna Kegler. We will also be creating an online, interactive comic (choose your own adventure!).
Why support us?
Our goal is to go beyond just spreading the word that cosplayer harassment is not okay – we are providing a platform for people to join together to actually end the harassment. It’s not a compliment, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. Harassment affects women and girls, and can be particularly violent when directed towards members of the LGBT community. Not only can it have serious effects on people’s ability to enjoy public spaces, and their self-esteem and sense of safety, but it also says something big about who we are as a culture: if we accept harassment, that means we accept the objectification of women, gender-policing, and gender-based violence. We can do better! The first step is to start talking about it. The comic book, and especially the choose your own adventure computer based version (scheduled for release late 2014!), will help youth think through this difficult issue in an accessible way.
Women and Comic Books
There’s another big reason you should get behind our project. For many years, the world of comic books and gaming was boys-only, no- girls-allowed. This is changing – slowly – and every effort towards expanding the culture makes a difference. We are part of a growing movement to support talented female comic book artists, strong female comic book characters, and the community of women and girls who love comics.
By donating to our project, you are helping to chip away at sexism at comic and sci-fi conventions. Harassment and groping at comic book conventions is a real problem that gets little attention or support from convention hosts. We’re going to change that. It started with our anti-harassment team at Philadelphia Wizard Con 2013, where our walked around the convention with 16 Bit Sirens’ “Cosplay =/= Consent” signs, taking pictures, talking about harassment, and arming cosplayers with “That was harassment” cards, to make it easier for them to call out convention goers who cross the line. We will also be taking this effort to San Diego Comic Con in 2014!
How you can help
First and foremost, help us steal cosplayer harassment’s current “invisibility cloak” by talking about it. Be aware of cosplayer harassment when you are at conventions, call it out when you are comfortable, and talk to people in your lives about those experiences. Help us change the culture surrounding cosplayer harassment from one that just ignores it into one that actively works against it.
If you want to help us start more conversations about gender-based harassment in public and at conventions, financial contributions will go a long way. We are a completely volunteer organization, so 100% of donations will go towards supplies for conventions. Any amount you can give is sincerely appreciated, since even the smallest amount will help us expand this comic book to more classrooms and the anti-harassment effort to more conventions.