Jump to question/answer:
- This is all too serious/embarrassing. I'm having a party! I don't want to make people think about this stuff and associate negative things to my event.
- This whole thing is ridiculous; it's political correctness gone too far. How can anyone have any fun worrying about the social police all the time?
- Does this mean I can't joke around with my friends about [subject]?
- We don't need this in my social circle. None of my friends exhibit/experience any of the unwelcome behaviours.
- I don't agree with [certain point from the Code], and neither do my friends.
- I think my friends would be offended if I tried to use NEST at my event. It seems like you're implying my friends are a bunch of racist, sexist, violent beasts!
- Do I really need to do all the preparation like assigning Guardians? Suddenly my idea of a simple house party feels all formal and weird.
- I asked my friends to agree to NEST and I'm disappointed because they're either laughing at me or offended. What can I do now?
- Isn't this kind of thing just a means of stifling free speech?
- I'd like to adapt NEST for [purpose]. Do you have any pointers or links?
- Do you have any resources that can help me understand this subject better? Any tips on how I can adjust my behaviour or react to situations?
This is all too serious/embarrassing. I'm having a party! I don't want to make people think about this stuff and associate negative things to my event.
No one wants to have to deal with this stuff, including us. But this stuff happens, and that's no fun at all. Until such time as these undesirable behaviours stop happening everywhere, then we think the best way to deal with it is to get everyone thinking about it and talking about it. Remember that NEST should be less about the aberrant behaviours we don't want, and more about the positive environment we do want, so think carefully about how you frame things when discussing NEST with your friends.
No one likes to think any of these things will happen at their social gathering, but think of it this way: no one expects a fire to break out, but we still have smoke detectors. That doesn't mean that we associate our homes with house fires. Wouldn't you rather be prepared than be caught out?
This whole thing is ridiculous; it's political correctness gone too far. How can anyone have any fun worrying about the social police all the time?
The only kind of fun we're trying to stop is the kind where one person is enjoying it but the other person isn't. NEST is about having a good time while being welcoming, safe and consensual. If this means that some people have to rethink certain actions or words, then so be it. Having fun at someone else's expense shouldn't really be fun anyway. That doesn't make us "snowflakes", nor does it mean that people should be scared of interacting with one another. It just means speaking and acting with openness, respect and understanding. We don't think that trying to make society a nicer place is taking things too far.
Does this mean I can't joke around with my friends about [subject]?
The key is consent and how the person you're speaking with feels about your words. If your friends don't find your jokes offensive or your comments unwelcome, then of course it's fine to carry on. If you're not sure, then ask them. But maybe also ask yourself if there are ways you can continue the same sense of jovial camaraderie in ways that might be less likely to make anyone who's not part of your consensual group feel unwelcome.
We don't need this in my social circle. None of my friends exhibit/experience any of the unwelcome behaviours.
Even if you personally haven't witnessed or heard about it, it's pretty unlikely that no one you know has ever experienced or done any of these things. They just may not have talked about it, because there's a social stigma, they're ashamed, or it's just plain awkward/unpleasant. And even if it hasn't happened yet, wouldn't you prefer to have a safety net in place to help prevent these things from happening in future, or deal with them if they do? It is up to all of us to help reshape social norms, regardless of our position, gender identity, ability/disability or skin colour. Even though not all men are sexist, it is still up to all men to help stop sexism. Not all white people are racist, but the only way to stop racism is if we all work together to enact change. And even if none of your friends today are gay/black/disabled/[something else], it doesn't mean that you shouldn't put measures in place to ensure they would feel welcome within your social circle tomorrow.
I don't agree with [certain point from the Code], and neither do my friends.
That's cool. Feel free to carry forward the parts of The Code you do want, and add any bits you think are missing. This is a framework - use it however makes the most sense for you. The main thing is to get awareness and dialogue going within your social group. If you'd like to look at some other resources, there are some further links at the bottom of this page.
I think my friends would be offended if I tried to use NEST at my event. It seems like you're implying my friends are a bunch of racist, sexist, violent beasts!
We're definitely not implying that. Most people adhere to The Code in everyday life, regardless. NEST is just a simple reminder of that, but it's also a way to help your social group cope with the edge cases: the rare instances when things don't quite go to plan. It might help to think of NEST as a kind of insurance policy for good times: something you have "just in case".
Plus, if you will be in a public space, for example, then you at least know that your friends have your back and will step in if a stranger does or says anything unwelcome to you.
Do I really need to do all the preparation like assigning Guardians? Suddenly my idea of a simple house party feels all formal and weird.
We get it. It is weird to have to think about this stuff. But if you don't have a plan, then it's unlikely that there will be a positive resolution to any unexpected situation that arises. We're not saying you can't use The Code without Party Pals or Guardians, but we can say that you will be much more likely to make others aware of the impact of their behaviour, raise more awareness about these issues, and be much less likely to ever have to call on Guardians if you have these things in place and communicated to all attendees.
We're also sure that you've probably been to a party/event where someone unexpected turns up or things get out of hand somehow. Having plans in place to deal with that is a pretty good idea, as it can keep things from going off the rails and spoiling the event.
I asked my friends to agree to NEST and I'm disappointed because they're either laughing at me or offended. What can I do now?
We're sorry to hear that. Talk to them 1:1 and ask them why they have reacted in this way. Explain to them why you have chosen to try NEST, and consider using examples either from this site, the media or from your own experience (if you feel comfortable doing so) to justify your decision. Find out if there are particular points that people seem to disagree with, and discuss how you might change things to create a code that your social group will accept.
Challenging the status quo is never easy. If you have at least a couple of people on board, ask them if they will show/tell their support to your other friends. Remember that scene from Dead Poet's Society? The more people who stand up, the more likely you will be to get others to join.
If you can't get everyone on board, think about whether having a proportion of your group signed up will be enough to go ahead with your plans. Maybe having some people on board is enough to ensure a positive environment, or maybe you need to think about whether it's OK to uninvite those who aren't. Talk to the friends who are on board and ask them how they would feel before making your decision.
Isn't this kind of thing just a means of stifling free speech?
No. The right to free speech doesn't include the right to harass, verbally or physically abuse someone, incite hatred or oppression, or bully/coerce someone into something that they don't want to do. And these are the things that NEST is aiming to stop. Also remember that NEST is opt-in: it's a method for enabling social groups to self-define how they want to treat each other, and what they need in order to feel safe while having fun together.
I'd like to adapt NEST for [purpose]. Do you have any pointers or links?
NEST borrows heavily from the Geek Feminism Conference Code of Conduct - a fantastic place to start, especially if you intend to apply something like NEST to a more formal community than just a group of friends/family. Here are some additional resources you may find helpful when building your own code tailored to your specific needs:
- Open Code of Conduct
- Wikimedia Friendly Space Policies
- Kinky Salon Code of Conduct
- Peace Love Unity Respect
- Tips for Developing an Organizational Code of Conduct
- Pink Therapy Guidelines
Do you have any resources that can help me understand this subject better? Any tips on how I can adjust my behaviour or react to situations?
Sure, here are some good places to start:
- Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry - covers dealing with lots of different types of situations
- How to Confront Prejudice Whenever You Hear It - applicable to all types of prejudicial language
- Not all men are guilty of violence and sexism – but all men have a responsibility to stop those crimes
- The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’
- How To Talk To A Person With Disabilities Without Sounding Like An A-Hole
- Tips To Stop Body Shaming & Food Shaming - examples and how to respond
- It's The Casual Homophobia That Hurts My Family Most
- 5 tips for calling out transphobia - these tips are applicable to calling out any hurtful language
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - excellent resource for understanding white (and/or class) privilege
- End the Awkward - how to stop feeling/acting awkward around people with disabilities
- Flirtation or sexual harassment? Here's how to tell the difference
- Unlearning How White People Ask Personal Questions
- Political correctness really works! Science just said so
- Everyday Sexism - personal stories submitted by real people
- What not to say to a trans person - for romantic/flirting encounters
- The Borders of Sexual Harassment - interesting perspective from a man experiencing it for the first time
- Rez Project Resources - a collection of resources on topics such as gender, class, consent, body positivity & more