Click to read on about why we are against Toronto Batman.
I have to agree, at San Diego Comic Con last year I had a run in with him myself. A group of my friends and I had been at the Arkham City booth (as it was before the game had…
Toronto Batman asked my wife and I if we were bisexual at a party; groped me at an all-ages event; asked my wife and I if we were spreading rumours about him being homophobic; and after we told him, no, this was the first time we heard about the rumours, he unfriended us on Facebook.
Then I read your post. Now I kind of have to say something.
The norm in the nerd community is that men grope female cosplayers and those women tell other cosplayers and nothing happens. In that respect, Toronto Batman is well within the norm.
But I think your words have thrown a wrench into that mix. Good on y’all for letting other women know ahead of time about the harassment and heterosexism you’ve received from this guy. You’re standing up for what you believe in (feminism and gay equality, good and noble causes), discussing the community matter with other female cosplayers in a medium that encourages introspection, and taking full responsibility for your words (i.e. not using an anonymous moniker).
I’m sorry that someone has explained away your harassment with “he has a good heart.” I have friends, some that identify as feminist and some that don’t, who are still friendly with Toronto Batman. Even though they know what has happened to me, the issues they’ve cited for starting to question him mostly involve him ignoring them, not sexual harassment or homophobia. Most of them would probably do photoshoots with him if he asked. Some of them encourage him and his Internet fame, but also essentially conclude that he is too dumb to know how to conduct himself in a non-oppressive way.
Insisting that, yes, although a man made a mistake (heterosexism, sexual harassment), this man had good intentions or he is actually a good person or he is socially misunderstood or he is too dumb to learn a lesson: that is enabling and rewarding a bully. That is redistributing misogyny as an okay, unquestioned, and dominant mode of being. Writing off a harasser’s wrongs by insisting the harasser is too much of a baby to take responsibility for their own actions is equal to rewarding a harasser with a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card.
Knowing T.O. Batman personally, hearing about an offense (and perhaps multiple offenses), and then defending T.O. Batman with “he’s a good person” or “he’s too dumb to know better,” does not make one a good friend or a good person. Defending a harasser merely means one can’t see past one’s own immediate interests. It means one’s moral system is not as strong as one thinks it is; and that the suffering of others in the community is second to one’s inner circle of entitlement and privilege. For more information, see Misogyny in the Nerd Community and the People Who Let it Happen.
A phenomenal response and a delight to read. Thank you very much, and I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with his negative actions.
Everyone is responsible for their own behaviour. No one is “too stupid” to get it — too arrogant or too boastful, perhaps, but everyone is capable of realizing their mistakes and taking responsibility for their actions and their treatment of others.
I, personally, don’t think Toronto Batman will change. I would adore to be proven wrong, and I have seen some people in my life make tremendous changes, but given that his response to this was along the lines of “that’s just my character” and “sorry my character offended you”… as if some demonic spirit of Toronto Batman takes over his mind and body and he is without agency in the whole matter, as if he had no role to play in what he does as Toronto Batman.
Not today, I suppose, but one always keeps a glimmer of hope.