People You Should Be Reading: Carrie Cuinn

I first heard Carrie Cuinn (when she was a guest on the Functional Nerds podcast (You can listen to episodes 130, 131, 133, and 134 here). While I was listening to those episodes, I remember myself nodding along or saying, “YES!” to many of her points (well, saying it silently, as I don’t normally talk out loud while driving by myself or while exercising at the gym). Not only did I find myself agreeing with many of her points, but I was also surprised and impressed by many of her other points. So I started following her Twitter feed and blog, and I think more people should as well.

So why am I putting up a post on Carrie Cuinn now when I first heard of her in December? Well, to be honest, I don’t know. I mean, her commentary and opinion pieces continue to be thought-provoking, and her personal blog entries continue to be funny, charming, and moving. That alone is more than enough reason to become a fan of Carrie Cuinn. But perhaps it was her recent post on sexual harassment at cons that spurred me into action.

This is the post that I really wanted to spread because I was so disgusted by what she described. I’ve only been to a handful of cons, so maybe I just haven’t seen enough. Or maybe because I’m a guy, I haven’t been on the receiving end of the harassment. Or maybe I was just naive enough to think when a bunch of (and I’m going to stereotype genre fans here) people with anxiety, social awkwardness, and a history of getting picked on get together, they would treat it as a safe place to make friend or do business, and not to be grossly offensive. So I wanted to spread the word about this, because sadly, Carrie’s experiences are not unique.

So please, don’t be that guy. And don’t let another person be that guy. Let them know it’s not cool. Make them feel ashamed. And no, this isn’t about white knighting or anything like that. This is about keeping cons safe and welcoming and friendly. It’s about keeping genre fans, not driving them away. Remember Wheaton’s Law, kids: Don’t be a dick. And letting people get away with sexual harassment is being a dick, okay?

Finally, I should point out that Carrie just released a collection of short stories, Women and Other Constructs. You can buy DRM-free versions (in epub and mobi format) from her directly. Or you can go through Amazon, but that version will include DRM. Go check it out, and spread the word about Carrie Cuinn.

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