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.
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on 2010-07-01 03:09 pm (UTC)
thingswithwings: dear teevee: I want to crawl inside you (a dude crawls inside a tv) (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] thingswithwings
I rather adore you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this post. You're absolutely right, and fair, and I like the way your critique comes so obviously from a place of love.

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

This, exactly, this. I want to be as excited about VVC as I used to be.

on 2010-07-01 03:13 pm (UTC)
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] cofax7
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.

Yes, this. I changed my position on trigger warnings last year, for the same reasons as Thuvia did.

Thanks for making this post.

on 2010-07-01 03:19 pm (UTC)
kass: Rodney and his whale. (Rodney screen)
Posted by [personal profile] kass
I really appreciated [personal profile] thuviaptarth's post, especially the part you chose to excerpt here.

I really appreciate this one, too. Thanks for making it.

on 2010-07-01 03:49 pm (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] jarrow
I really like this post, and I have updated my position (in my post) based in part on it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

on 2010-07-01 03:58 pm (UTC)
nestra: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] nestra
Co-signed. It is precisely because I know the concom is made up of awesome, intelligent, kind people that I have faith that they will listen, learn, and adapt.

on 2010-07-01 04:03 pm (UTC)
bradcpu: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] bradcpu
More and more, I feel like we're headed toward a schism in the con that will end in a second, splinter convention of some sort. Looking at the different attitudes and approaches and expectations, it seems increasingly unavoidable. The divide is already there.

on 2010-07-01 04:09 pm (UTC)
sage: image of the word "create" in orange on a white background. (create)
Posted by [personal profile] sage
This is beautifully said. And god, yes, I wish people would understand that dismissing a trauma survivor as a "crybaby" serves to multiply her trauma because it shames and disenfranchises her from her own -- entirely valid -- grief. It's, effectively, blaming the victim for getting herself hurt, even though she had no control over what happened to her. And that is never okay.

Meanwhile, I agree that creators totally have the right not to warn, full stop. Shock value has a certain place in a work's effectiveness -- I get that. And yet, as a trauma survivor, I have to protect myself from further injury, even if that means not watching vids/reading fic that has "Creator Chooses Not to Warn" until they've been vetted for me by someone I trust.

That puts me in an awkward place as a fan, sometimes, and can make for an inconvenient and challenging fannish experience, as relying on pre-readers/viewers can get a little dicey. But the peace of mind I get from going into potentially triggery fannish situations by choice and with a prepared mind is worth the extra step. Also, being given the option to make that choice is wonderfully empowering.

Thanks for posting this. :)

on 2010-07-01 04:40 pm (UTC)
jonquil: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jonquil
Thank you so very, very much for saying this, so clearly, and in particular for talking about what "trigger" means.

on 2010-07-01 04:52 pm (UTC)
bradcpu: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] bradcpu
However, I don't actually think that having more vidding cons to choose from would be a bad thing

I agree!

on 2010-07-01 04:57 pm (UTC)
such_heights: a hand cupping a candle (stock: candle)
Posted by [personal profile] such_heights
They are not asking other people to take responsibility for them. They are taking responsibility for themselves.

Yes. Thank you so much for saying this - and the whole post. <3

on 2010-07-01 05:00 pm (UTC)
lim: baby Spock peeks over the bottom of the icon (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lim
Laura I love you, and Toft etc, but I…feel you have been swallowed by the monster of your good intentions. Please set some achievable, reality-based goals instead of this showboating:

I want to be sure that everyone who is interested in coming to Vividcon can come

That's very nice but it's never going to happen. VVC is a small con based in the US and even given the scholarship they offer there are plenty of people who simply CANNOT GO. For example: I cannot come to Vividcon. I can't come! You can't fix it with a flyer or a list. You can make it better for some people, but that's not everyone. (And that's OK! Life has limits; there are other things we can do) It's never going to be everyone and this condescending self congratulating BULLSHITTERY is massively, now, doing my swede in. God, let's all take you poor dears on a bus to Blackpool and sing a song about inspiration; here's a sodding chufty badge.

By all means make a flyer about triggers or whathaveyou for those people that want/need those things but can we PLEASE STOP with this PREPOSTEROUS assertion that it's making cons/fandom/wtfever accessible to everyone?? PLEASE? It's a 125 person con! A post and a warning flyer will not change that fact and I'm o.O at you pretending that it does in order to make yousen feel good. VVC has limits, and I'd rather you own up to it than pretend that this grandstanding is changing the world.  It's so embarrassingly hamhanded and I just feel like the bullshit is pressing down on my face and oozing past my collar and I might die of it.

*flails*

Drowning! 125 people! Tell the truth to yourself.

I realise this is probably a nuclear bomb of a comment and I'm sorry for that, but also, I have now had to make a stupid filter to filter off you lot who discovered disability ten fucking minutes ago..

I don't accept this thesis that disabled fen are a disempowered or minority group in fandom and framing all these things in terms of weakness and kindness means I must actually socially DISEMPOWER myself in this model. How about that Vidder87 won't come to VVC because VVC is not GOOD ENOUGH and that is VVC's LOSS? How about if you build a house with no doors or windows I will LAFF at you and think you built a BAD HOUSE? I'm not ready to give up my power in fandom. I won't have you do gooders take it off me. I'll fight you for it.

on 2010-07-01 05:05 pm (UTC)
lim: Mulder making an "uh huh" face (uh huh)
Posted by [personal profile] lim
BTW, to somewhat deflate my last comment, I have no idea how I posted this as a reply to dear Cofax. Complete mistake. Sorry! Wrong button!

on 2010-07-01 05:06 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
I have to say, that I agree.

Actually, I'll add that all of this is making me not want to attend the con in the future, so it's actually making the con the opposite of a fun and acessible place.

on 2010-07-01 05:13 pm (UTC)
jonquil: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jonquil
For clarity -- are you saying that both the "The con needs better access" and the "The con is doing fine" sides are making you feel unwelcome and disempowered?

I am trying to phrase this neutrally; if I'm biasing it, I apologize. I'm trying to educate myself so I avoid future mistakes.
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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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