laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] laurashapiro
Note: This post is addressed to friends of mine in the vidding community who have expressed anger and frustration that the current discussions around Vividcon's policies, accessibility, and trigger warnings are taking place.

Vidding is my fandom. For me, Vividcon is its nexus, the highlight of my year, my favorite place to be, where almost all of my very best friends are. It's where I see great vids and have great conversations, where I dance my ass off and have my mind blown. All of it is made possible by a fastidiously-organized concom and the vidders and vid fans who volunteer and participate. I love it.

Vidding is my fandom. Vividcon is my con. I am part of it. I feel responsible for it. That's why I'm making this statement.

The VVC concom asked people to offer concerns and suggestions about their Background and Policies document. The fact that many people have done so does not mean they are "bashing the con", just as giving critique in vid review does not make a person "mean". I have complete confidence that when the concom says "VividCon welcomes comments and feedback on the VividCon Background and Policies statement. We would like to express our gratitude to those who have taken the time to make a comment or write to us about their concerns" they mean exactly that. I respect the people on that concom, some of my best friends in fandom, and I know that they are sincere in wanting to hear criticism so they can learn and improve -- the same way many vidders who come to the con sincerely want criticism on our vids so we can learn and improve.

This is not about being "politically correct", a phrase that I have a lot of problems with. This is about trying to make Vividcon accessible and fun for everyone.

Regarding the trigger warnings debate specifically, I'm going to quote [personal profile] thuviaptarth here because she says just what I would have:
Last year's discussions about warnings in fanfiction changed my mind about warnings. I am firmly opposed to censorship. I don't have triggers myself. Generally I prefer to avoid vid warnings. I am almost certain that my position on my premiering vid will be "Choose not to warn." And I am in favor of implementing warnings for common PTSD and physical triggers, preferably as a separate list rather than included on the vid or in the vidshow itself.

...

The thing is, I am opposed to requiring warnings for "offensive content." That's something I consider a free expression issue. I am in favor of warnings for "triggers," which is more of a disability and accessibility issue. I don't feel that my artistic freedom of expression is best served by my incapicitating people with flashbacks or inducing a migraine.


Her entire post is worth reading.

A person who requests trigger warnings is not a crybaby. They are a survivor of trauma or a person with disabilities trying to protect themselves from serious harm. They are not asking other people to take responsibility for them. They are taking responsibility for themselves.

To return to the subject of the con itself: in order for to make Vividcon accessible and fun for everyone, some things will have to change. Change is upsetting, and it takes work. It's particularly hard for people who have loved VVC for years just the way it is. We feel protective of VVC and of the people who make it happen.

But I want to work for the change, because I believe that my pleasure is not worth more than other people's pain, and because as much as I love Vividcon, I believe that it's possible for it to be better. I want to be sure that everyone who is interested in coming to Vividcon can come, can feel welcome and safe there the way I do, can return home with the same cherished memories of fannish delight and deep thinkiness and social hilarity that I do. I want everyone to love it the way I do.

I want everyone to say, the way I do, "Is it August yet?"

ETA July 1, 2010 4:35 pm: I am reading every comment but I may not be able to reply to them all. At this time I am also not moderating comments, but will do so should it become necessary. I am working full-time, busy tonight, and going away for the weekend, where Internet access will be limited. But I am taking it all in. Please do continue to discuss among yourselves.

on 2010-07-01 05:21 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
The problem as I currently see it is that we're trying to make VVC something it is not and doesn't have to be. It's a vidding con and not the Single Most Acessible and PC Place on Earth(TM). The most sensible solution to many of the policy issues is that you make a general guideline that fits the most people, and then as the actual problems (and not hypothetical 'maybe someone will etc etc' problems) arise, try to find the best solution for them. Right now, we're actually trying to build a model around the exceptions and as important as it is for everyone to feel included, that's the equivalent of trying to build a house with a bunch of chopsticks instead of using the bigger chunks of woods and then trying to fit the chopsticks in. The chopsticks matter, they're important, but the needs of one individual shouldn't have more importance than the needs of many.

I personally have 'triggers'. Strong triggers. I have developped a coping mechanism that involves reading the con book, and mentally preparing myself for being challenged. Apparently, some people have chosen to interpret the policy as 'you can't put warning signs', which is never what it said. It said you don't *have* to. What if putting a warning sign actually makes the vid upsetting? One of my premiering vids would become vastly triggery and upsetting if it had a warning sign, so I chose not to put one. If the policy had forced me to, then I'd have a triggery vid, which I currently don't have.

We can't make any space acessible and perfect for all. We can only be open to helping it be more fun for people who have specific issues, and that is what the current policy is doing: it's open to warnings, but it doesn't enforce them. It's open to people notifying the concom about any issues they might have. It's a good policy and I never thought in a million years that people would create wank around it, but apparently I should know better about anything VVC related by now.

on 2010-07-01 06:42 pm (UTC)
vom_marlowe: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] vom_marlowe
Thanks for letting me know I'm not welcome! I am now firmly in my place.

on 2010-07-01 06:44 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
Thanks for putting words I never said in my mouth. You've just confirmed that my opinion is not welcomed and I should just shut up. I'll consider this a valuable lesson for the rest of my life.

on 2010-07-01 06:49 pm (UTC)
vom_marlowe: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] vom_marlowe
the needs of one individual shouldn't have more importance than the needs of many.

And: We can't make any space acessible and perfect for all.

And It's impossible to make everyone feel as welcomed as the next person. That's just how life works.

You're talking about me, the indvidual chopstick.

on 2010-07-01 06:59 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
I'm an individual chopstick too. Way to judge without knowing about me.

And I stand by the line we quoted. I don't know what kind of utopia you've been living in, please do get me plane tickets there, because in the real world, not everything can be perfect all the time and not everyone can be as welcomed as the next, it's the sad, unfortunate, harsh truth and we can only try to make people as comfortable as possible.

on 2010-07-01 07:05 pm (UTC)
klia: (flowers)
Posted by [personal profile] klia
Thank you. And ditto.

on 2010-07-05 06:01 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
I don't know what kind of utopia you've been living in,

Shame on you.

on 2010-07-05 07:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Are you kidding me? In what world is everything perfect for everyone? Please do tell me, because perfect accessibility everywhere has not been my personal experience.

I wish the world was that way, it saddens me that it's not, but people saying that everything can be perfectly accessible for everyone is unrealistic. The best we can do is make it as good as possible.

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on 2010-07-05 07:38 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Please don't chastise her like she's a child. That is really unhelpful and condescending.

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on 2010-07-01 07:00 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
And by chopsticks, I didn't mean that people with disability were chopsticks and the bigger chunk of wood were people without disabilities. I meant that individual= chopstick, group= big chunk. Which is obvious if you read the entire paragraph.

on 2010-07-01 09:56 pm (UTC)
amireal: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amireal
Wow. I don't read that as being unwelcome at all. I have a reasonable expectation that I will not always have my disability completely catered to. It's life. It sucks. But that doesn't mean I'm unwelcome, it means that there are limitations on everything. VVC is a small con with only so much time, space, ability and money. While some of the policy might have been worded badly, I don't think you could find many people with disabilities that haven't had a completely welcoming attitude from the concomm when addressing their concerns.

on 2010-07-01 10:24 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
Thank you for being the voice of reason <3

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on 2010-07-01 10:36 pm (UTC)
vom_marlowe: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] vom_marlowe
I have read varying reports from people with disabilities who attended. Some found that their needs were met, others said they were not, some alternate opinions were said publicly, others (I think) were under f-lock.

I was reading it as someone who would like to go--and...that's kind of how I judge how I can go someplace, you know? That was the idea behind having the policies.

And, uh, I don't expect to be catered to, but I do expect the same basic accommodations/allowed difference that I expect from any business as per ADA. As the policies were written, the con would have been impossible for me to attend. Nothing that I would need would have excessively drained the resources of the con. I keep seeing 'but they're small'. Yeah, well, if I have to go to the room in a wheelchair with help to get settled in, and then I have to pee--I will need that same someone (who had been banned per the policy) from coming and helping me out again. Or have room for a chair if I needed it and so on. So no. I don't think I was particularly asking to be catered to, and yes, I find the attitude that the resources couldn't possibly stretch that far to be...unwelcoming to say the least. When Walmart is more welcoming, there's a problem. YMMV and all that.

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on 2010-07-01 06:56 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
Actually, I was gonna leave it at that, but please do enlighten me. Where did I say 'these people are no welcome'. Please, do quote me?

We can't make everyone feel equally as comfortable and make the con as accessible to everyone. It's unrealistic. It DOESN'T WORK. You can't please everyone, it's a fact. You can only be open about ATTEMPTING to please them, which is exactly my point. I'm not sure how you went from that to 'I am not welcome'.

I'm one of the person whom a warning policy would directly concern, because I have trauma, triggers and a physical condition directly related to vidwatching, especially on a big screen. It's nice to know that my opinion, because it doesn't fit with your own, is being dismissed as ignorant. Kind of ironic, actually.

on 2010-07-01 09:58 pm (UTC)
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] deepad
the needs of one individual shouldn't have more importance than the needs of many

For my own clarification, could you please explain which needs of the many (or perhaps just you in particular) are being compromised or not met by the provisions being discussed that meet some of the needs of some of the disabled and trigger-able individuals?

on 2010-07-01 10:18 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
Yes, because when I talk to 'needs of the many', I absolutely mean myself. Why yes, that is exactly what I said. Are you *serious*?

There have been people talking about displacing all men from the men common bathroom in the hotel to accomodate one or two people. That is not common sense and that is the kind of comments I was referring to. In no way was I saying that accomodating people with disabilities as best as possible is in anyway unreasonable - quite the opposite. Speaking of which I'm sure the people with disabilities who do attend the con would love to offer their opinion on it and what their actual needs are, not some hypothetical person, if they weren't being ignored or dismissed at every turn.


Don't try to read my comment to be what it's not, and don't try to shame me, because you're fighting a lost battle there. *I* am a person with triggers, PTSD and an actual physical condition that affects my vid viewing experience and causes strong nausea and migraines. Apparently, I have to show my victim card for my opinion to be taken seriously - if it differs from the rest, I must absolutely be a priveledge, pristine, unaffected person, right? Wow. You're being judgmental while not knowing the slightest thing about me and that's incredibly offensive.

on 2010-07-01 10:23 pm (UTC)
jonquil: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jonquil
"There have been people talking about displacing all men from the men common bathroom in the hotel to accomodate one or two people."

The only place I saw anything like that suggested was in an original Concom policy. The concom policy suggested that at some times the two available bathrooms might be labeled "Women" and "Everyone".

Are the Concom part of the extreme faction you're objecting to?

on 2010-07-01 10:26 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
You might have seen it only there, but I've seen it mentionned in many other places through chats and convos. The concom takes the suggestions people offer them, it's their responsability to share it with the rest and test the water. Also, 'everyone' =/= no men, so we're obviously talking about two different things.

on 2010-07-01 11:31 pm (UTC)
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] deepad
If I understand what you wrote correctly here and in your reply to jonquil below, you are saying that the decision to label the 'men's' bathroom 'everyone' in order to meet the needs of the one or two genderqueer people whom you think it would serve, would displace and therefore thwart the needs of the several self-identified males who attend vividcon.

I accept this example as a case where there are perhaps conflicting and mutually exclusive needs, and one where the concom would need to be careful in arbitrating a decision.

As for the rest of your comment, it contains a level of hostility that disinclines me from further engagement with you.

on 2010-07-02 12:08 am (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
Just as well, I feel similarly about your own comments, and I'm really out of spoons now.

on 2010-07-02 12:20 am (UTC)
fan_eunice: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] fan_eunice
And what I am reading here is that when a disabled person is angry and hurt and frustrated in the way they express their criticism of Vividcon and expresses that anger and hurt forcefully, that their hurt should be taken seriously and their concerns addressed. (I agree)

But

When a disabled person is angry and hurt and frustrated because they feel their voice isn't being heard, that the reality of their life and concerns are being dismissed and unwelcome in the discussion, and expresses that forcefully they should...be told to watch their tone?

This, this is why despite actually being a disabled Vividcon attendee who is *directly affected* by what is happening here I have essentially disengaged from the whole thing. Because what I'm seeing is a whole lot of people claiming to speak for me, who don't seem to have the slightest interest in listening to me.

I do feel erased in this conversation. Just not by Vividcon. And that's...you know what, I still don't have the energy to have this conversation. Take this comment as you will, do with it as you will. I don't actually have any faith it will make any difference anyway.

on 2010-07-02 12:46 am (UTC)
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] deepad
With due respect to your reading, I was not telling [personal profile] milly how she should or should not express herself; I was explaining my reasons for disengaging.

For what it's worth, I am reading all the comments made in publicly accessible posts, and I am interested in your opinion on the vividcon accessibility policy as well as your con experience, if you choose to share it. I also understand that for a variety of reasons you may not wish to, I certainly don't presume to have earned your (or anyone's) trust to the extent that I can demand participation in a public discussion.

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on 2010-07-02 02:41 am (UTC)
thuviaptarth: golden thuvia with six-legged lion (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] thuviaptarth
I'm sorry you're feeling erased by the conversation. I am not seeing how the problem with Milly's comment--

Don't try to read my comment to be what it's not, and don't try to shame me, because you're fighting a lost battle there. *I* am a person with triggers, PTSD and an actual physical condition that affects my vid viewing experience and causes strong nausea and migraines. Apparently, I have to show my victim card for my opinion to be taken seriously - if it differs from the rest, I must absolutely be a priveledge, pristine, unaffected person, right? Wow. You're being judgmental while not knowing the slightest thing about me and that's incredibly offensive.


--as a response to Deepa's question is a matter of tone. I am seeing the problem as several assumptions about Deepa's motivations and responses not based on anything she has said in this conversation.

I would like to talk about how "hypothetical" the other people (besides Milly) affected by triggers are, but I think I will save that part of the conversation for tomorrow and elsewhere. I do want to say that I've been reading what you've said in the conversations about disability and thinking about it.

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laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
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