Trigger warning for rape culture rhetoric, and use of rape language as a joke.
This is an Ask a Geek Feminist question for our readers:
What would a geek feminist do about this sign, which was posted all over the walls at a conference I went to this spring?
[From Mary: trigger warning for linked image, a description follows at the bottom of the post.] http://imgur.com/krkwG
I wasn’t sure what to do, and I’d like to hear what other feminists would suggest. I have no idea who posted the sign, or why. The conference did not have a sexual harassment policy. I felt that the sign was inappropriate but I wasn’t confident that I could convince other people of that — since the sign technically wasn’t about raping humans, and since one of the core values of this community was freedom of speech. Yet I still felt that the sign could hurt people — not just people at the conference but also the conference center staff.
Description of image:
The image is a photograph of a poster or flyer, which appears to be a black-and-white photocopy. The poster is in the style of a standard “police warning” or “missing person” poster, with a photograph of an apparent young pale-skinned man looking straight at the camera. The man’s face has been pixellated and his features are not distinguishable.
Text around the image reads:
ROBOT RAPIST ON THE PROWL!
Name: [text is obscured by pixellation]
Last seen: Violating a vending machine in Virginia
Status: extremely dangerous! Do not let this man near your electronics or machinery!
If spotted petting a parking meter, licking a laptop, fondling a fan, seducing a snowplow, coming onto a coffeemaker, or making passes at a payphone… Do not approach or attempt to intervene!
Call [visible phone number] or tweet w/ hashtag #robotrapist immediately.