…of why I don’t care for the reenacting community in part, some of the time.
Some individuals can be utter, complete butt-heads. Which would be bad no matter which community they belonged to. However, I take particular offense when they’re dressed out in historical clothes and I’m not. This creates a level of disparity and rudeness which is not often encountered elsewhere.
I am not an idiot. I can clear up a whole lot of mess about this situation just by clarifying that one fact: I am not an idiot. I have certification to fire and handle black powder. I know safety distances. I know the do’s and don’t’s of having black powder. As it so happens, I also know a bit of history, so I’m not ignorant, either.
That being stated, some people can be real butt-heads. This past weekend, I was incognita again, making sure the rather large event was photographically covered. I was being paid to do this. So, I remained sans-pirate-garb and opted for my usual jeans/tank ensemble. Not as sexy, mind you, but it gets the job done. As I am taking pictures during a torch-lit parade, one of the “safety” officers decides that, since I am behind the camera, I must be an idiot. He puts his hands on me to force me back, and offers a gruff explanation that I’m both in the way and too close to the torches.
I have a telephoto lens on the camera, dip-wad. I can’t be that close. So, I tell him I know about the torches and move on. This first incident gets me incensed. His “explanation” for his behavior was rude and unnecessary. Unless my life is in danger, do not speak to me with anything less than casual-acquaintance respect. You don’t know my name? I don’t know yours? Then we’re not on good enough terms to be anything but civil to each other. Putting your hand on me to shove me along is a no-no, too.
I continue to take pictures of the parade. He approaches me again. He rudely tells me I’m too close again. And again…telephoto lens, people. I’m at least 30 feet from the flames. I take my camera down from my face, stop dead and tell him, in no uncertain terms, that he will never address me that way again.
His mature answer? (Parents, cover your children’s ears). “Then you can get the f**k away from the parade.”
To which I tell him I am hired by the very group he represents. He swallows glass and says I have to take it up with them. Needless to say, I finished my job and he avoided me the rest of the night just as much as I avoided him.
I have to wonder… Would I have been treated better or worse had I been in pirate-garb? Part of me thinks worse. I would have represented the non-historical side of dress-up. Then again, the part of me that thinks better says that, were I dressed funny, he would have at least known I was, in some small way, more like him. It would have made us equals. Although I’m sad to report that this jerk seemed to exist in the camp of “women are inferior”, so there may not have been much hope for him either way.
We are judged the moment people see us. I have been judged as a pirate, as a woman, or as both simultaneously. And the responses to me being a pirate often outweigh the responses I get as a woman. I live in a small, old-fashioned town. No one here wants a woman to be independent with opinions. As a civilian, I am not well tolerated. As a pirate, they forgive those very traits and sometimes encourage them. So, the same people who frown on me for not being historically accurate are also the people who treat me better when I’m dressed as a pirate than when I’m dressed incognita.
What’s a poor pirate gal to do?