So this is kind of a heated topic right now. Full disclosure, I didn’t write this in response to the recent nastiness, though it certainly was wonderfully timed. In case you were wondering I actually came up with this storyline before the whole Gamergate thing happened. The strips were already in the can when that exploded on the Internet.

This was actually inspired by a conversation I had with someone who helps run one of the bigger anime conventions in my area, and her experiences at various cons across the country. It’s actually in part due to her and other women’s experiences that this con has a strict harassment policy in place.

In fact, the crossplay strip is very much inspired by some of the experiences she relayed to me. I’m going to admit some naivete regarding this subject. Being a guy and having never seen such behavior myself, I was kind of surprised at the time to hear how often she experienced some blatantly horrible harassment. When I first came up with this webcomic and decided to do a convention storyline, I knew that was getting worked in somewhere.

And honestly, whether you’re on the side of Gamergate or not, it is really hard to argue that this behavior isn’t out there, not just in the gaming community but in all aspects of geek culture. From Scott Lobdell’s behavior during an actual panel in front of many people to the death threats people like Anita Sarkeesian have been receiving for simply talking about it, it is clearly we have problems in our geeky communities.

There are some very legitimate points to argue on both sides, if people are willing to discuss them. But until they do, this is not going to help our fandoms. It’s funny, because I remember the days when the question in comics was, “How do we get more girls reading them?” And now that they are… well, this happens.

I’m not one for being all controversial and I’m not looking to stir things up, but it is pretty ridiculous the level of harassment that goes on towards women in our umbrella of geek cultures. I felt with the majority of my cast being female it wouldn’t be right to ignore something that they would most likely experience in real life. Hopefully this isn’t a turn off for most of you reading. And if it is… uh, well, there’s probably a lot more coming. Sorry.

Anyway, do you agree? Not agree? Have you seen or experienced such harassment, or do you also have a con with strongly enforced policies to prevent such a thing? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this (and comments are approved before being posted, so let’s keep it civil).