Leading up to November, we’d like to feature some new perspectives on the blog about what it’s like to be at GeekGirlCon. If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, here’s a non-exhaustive list of ideas to get you thinking:
What’s it like to attend GeekGirlCon with kids? Parents? Grandparents? Friends who aren’t themselves geeks?
What’s it like when your geeky interests are pretty niche?
What’s it like as an introvert? Someone with anxiety? Sensory sensitivity?
What do you wish more people knew about the con?
Best ways to make new GeekGirlCon friends and stay in touch?
How do you prepare for the weekend?
What are the best tips and tricks for staying hydrated and full of snacks?
What’s your typical con-going itinerary? Mostly panels? Mostly Expo Hall? Do you usually get enough sleep?
Favorite programming or Featured Contributors to date?
If you’re interested in being featured, please submit your piece (approx. 500 to 1,000 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Con Weekend Pitch.
The U.S. women’s national soccer team won this summer’s World Cup in truly phenomenal fashion. The unbeatable crew started out the competition with a stunning performance against Thailand, winning the match with a final score of 13-0.
But many people shied from lauding the team for their monumental defeat, one that secured their place in the next round of the tournament. Instead, they focused on calling their celebrations and goals boastful and braggadocios. It was rude, they said, to keep scoring when the win was all but guaranteed.
Such damaging coverage followed the team throughout the tournament, especially co-captain Megan Rapinoe. Many people suggested she remain humble instead of showing pride in herself and her team. She played a huge role in winning the World Cup, but people still thought she should default to demure.
Why did people conjure such opinions of some of our country’s first-class athletes and now-World Cup champions? Much of it has to do with the way the media portrays and covers women in sports and women in general.
Content warning: this post includes conversations about sexual assault and violence. While not explicit, it may not be suitable for all readers.This piece also contains spoilers for the film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Director Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy, as he has been writing and directing violent, R-rated films since the early 1990s. His second feature film, Pulp Fiction, made Tarantino a household name. The film was a critical and commercial success, received the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes that year, and earned Tarantino his first Oscar for screenwriting.
But Pulp Fiction wasn’t (and isn’t, to this day) a film for everyone — and the same sentiment rings true for the director’s ninth feature film. Twenty-five years after the release of his most famous & known piece, Tarantino is making headlines yet again, especially when it comes to violence and misogyny in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, released in U.S. theaters July 26 after premiering at Cannes in May.
Geek culture has had an inclusivity problem for decades. Despite being one of the most popular countercultures in our society, and one that attracts fans from all backgrounds, many queer individuals have dealt with media that often paints them in a two-dimensional or negative light, sometimes not recognizing them at all. Those in the LGBTQ+ community have dealt with vanilla protagonists—often straight, white men—as the focal point of their comics, books, video games, television shows, and movies for years.
Fortunately, the tides are turning. Despite having a long ways to go, inclusivity in geek culture has reached an all-time high. Let’s explore how this shift is happening in each medium:
Some of the misunderstandings that people in the LGBTQ+ community face in their daily lives can be rectified with proper inclusion and representation in literature. Inclusive literature can reach and educate millions of minds. Comic books and graphic novels have hit record sales in recent years, which means it is more important than ever that the comic book community embraces the LGBTQ+ community, and vise versa.
Sean Z. Maker, the creator of Bent-Con (a queer alternative to Comic-Con), is trying to marry geeky comic book culture and queer culture by showcasing the amazing work that LGBTQ+ creators who are often overshadowed by the heteronormativity of mainstream comics. Maker not only sees a problem in the gatekeepers of the comic book community, but also in the overall acceptance of geek culture in the queer community—referring to the reluctance to admit that one is both queer and nerdy as a “double closet”.
Thankfully, depictions of openly queer characters have become more common in both comic books and romance novels. Batwoman, Mystique, Catwoman, John Constantine, Iceman, Northstar, and Deadpool are all high-profile superheroes who are openly and unabashedly queer. Their queerness isn’t used for laughs or meant to make them villainous, but it’s a normalized and integral part of their character. At this point, there are more LGBTQ+ superheroes represented in comic books than there are Canadians (though, both Northstar and Deadpool enjoy the distinction of falling into both camps).
TV and Film
Queer people haven’t always had the best depictions in either film or television over the years, especially during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Many movies and television shows chose to portray those who had contracted HIV as heterosexual. Media failed to address the fact that HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect queer POC—a fact that remains true to this day. Accurate representation is vital, not only in promoting inclusion, but to better educate and protect our community overall.
Today, however, we have seen a wealth of positive queer figures in film and television, both in leading and supporting roles. Queer Eye, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and even Arthur are all television shows that depict queer individuals as role models. It is especially important that this level of representation is happening in our modern political climate. The fact that three out of the four previously mentioned shows have primarily younger audiences is an essential step toward fostering a more inclusive future.
Queer representation in film falls far behind what is happening in the world of television, though. According to GLAAD’s 2019 Studio Responsibility index, of the 110 movies released by major studios less than 20% depicted an LGBTQ+ character—and no transgender characters. The sad state of the levels of inclusivity can be summed up by Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first openly gay character: a random guy in a support group. However, this is still progress and shouldn’t be cast aside; it is just important that we continue to recognize the need for improvements to inclusion in films going forward.
Although queer representation in gaming has seen an uptick in recent years, there is a serious inclusivity problem that still needs to be dealt with. Of the thousands of commercially released games over the last few decades, only 179 feature queer characters. Of that 179, a mere 83 contain a queer playable character. However, more and more modern AAA titles are beginning to feature queer characters that don’t exist to be comedic relief or serve as the villain.
All things considered, we are living in a “golden age” of queer representation in video games (still recognizing the need to encourage further growth). Huge titles like the Borderlands, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age franchises all make concerted efforts to be inclusive, even if they don’t always hit the mark. The Assassin’s Creed and Fire Emblem franchises, two games that have faced prior criticism over their lack of inclusion, have also made attempts to do better in their latest installments. Smaller studios are also trying to improve inclusivity in games. Stardew Valley and My Time at Portia offer a queer experience to players. These games let characters exist without defining their entire existence around their sexuality.
It is important that studios continue down on this path of inclusion, eschewing the white-washed and heteronormative media of yesteryear. Normalizing queer culture is important—by doing do, we are telling young, queer individuals that it is okay to be themselves, that they don’t have to distrust the system or worry about being labeled or objectified.
Geeks of all genders, sexualities, shapes, creeds, and color need to help each other feel welcome in a community that has always prided itself on acceptance of those outside the mainstream.
Frankie Wallace is a freelance journalist interested in all things pop culture. Wallace resides in Boise, Idaho and contributes to a variety of blogs across the web.
In recent years, the quality and standards of cosplaying have reached incredible heights. Artists are focusing more and more on bringing characters to life with careful attention to detail, set design, and facial features. They now combine various skills in costume development, makeup, graphic design, modeling, and even acting.
With the rise of Instagram’s popularity in the last few years, more and more Asian cosplayers are displaying their passion for their craft. They capture the attention of dedicated casual and dedicated fans alike amassing influence all over the world. Some even welcome viewers behind-the-scenes and showcase their talent on YouTube.
Among the thousands of cosplayers around, we list the most create Asian cosplayers you can follow.
AniMia started modeling back in 2001 and caught the cosplaying bug in 2008. She is a regular across many conventions in the United States, typically as a judge in cosplay contests. The Asian-American is also a columnist in Otaku USA Magazine. You can also find her hosting PREVIEWSworld channel on YouTube featuring comic books, toys, and more.
Alodia Gosiengfiao is an internationally known cosplayer, model, actress, singer, and presenter. The Filipina discovered cosplaying in an Internet forum called Anime Club at the age of 15. Since then, she joined various competition gaining popularity in 2003. Her creativity and achievements in the community have led to various endorsements both in the Philippines and abroad. She’s now known as a VJ for Animax-Asia. UNO Magazine names her one of the Most Influential Women in the Philippines. Alodia was also featured as one of the local FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Aside from Instagram, you can find her on YouTube featuring anything and everything geek.
In a world where we’re becoming increasingly conditioned to question cliches, challenge stereotypes, and come up with more open-minded narratives, there are still quite a few things we still struggle to get right in our media representations. One of these is TV and movie depictions of single mothers.
It’s not a new concept to the cinematic world—or the real world, for that matter. From black and white films to Oscar-nominated blockbusters, single mother characters have been prevalent in movies and television over time. As Jeff Sharp, co-producer of the 2000 film You Can Count On Me said when the movie was released, “This isn’t a fad, it’s a trend that reflects reality.”
According to the CDC, 39.8 percent of annual births are to single, unmarried women, and one in four children under age 18 will grow up with only a mother. Single motherhood is a norm and a reality in our society—and while the strong presence of these badass women in film is encouraging, many movies and TV series have trouble portraying these characters without imposing stereotypes or unrealistic personas.
What can we do to change the perception and portrayal of single mothers cinematically? Here’s what you need to know about the evolution of single mothers in film and how it can continue to improve.
Since the rise of the #MeToo movement in October 2017, a shift has occurred in the way the media talks about and addresses sexual abuse allegations. Until the expansion of this movement, the taboo subject went largely avoided by the media and in all industries, except in the most high-profile cases, as it made readers, viewers and listeners uncomfortable. However, the hashtag movement, started by Tarana Burke and popularized by Alyssa Milano, has opened this conversation to the masses as a subject that can and should no longer be ignored.
One of the large and essential consequences of this movement has been the critical reflection on the behaviors we, as a society, deem acceptable and promote through the forms of media we commend and popularize. Those who are affected by discrimination, as well as allies, have begun to speak out about problematic messaging. From songs that promote rape culture and misogyny with their language, as well as some classic, critically acclaimed films whose dialogue and humor has not aged well with the times, our perceptions of media have been refined to notice the dangerous concepts we are reinforcing as the norm in our society.
For decades, women have made incredible strides in the world of sports and are becoming more and more visible within the athletic community. Here are some of the ways women have inspired us and challenged the status quo time and time again.
Historic Moments in Sports for Women
According to research from Ohio University, “40 percent of all sports participants are female. Yet women’s sports receive only 4 percent of all sports media coverage.” Despite this low amount of coverage, women continue to break barriers and achieve greatness within the sports industry. Here are a few notable milestones for women in sports throughout history:
Billie Jean King Defeats Bobby Riggs: Already turned into a big studio movie, the Battle of the Sexes tennis match in 1973 was a triumph for women around the world as they watched King take the win against the notoriously misogynistic Riggs. King was already a legend at that point, but defeating Riggs sent a statement to women everywhere that they can do anything.
Althea Gibson Breaks New Ground: Often referred to as a female Jackie Robinson, Gibson made strides for both race and gender equality by becoming the first black competitor at the U.S. Nationals in 1950. She also became the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon in 1957 and the U.S. Open in 1958.
Ann Meyers Drysdale Inspires Generations of Women: Drysdale became the first woman to sign an NBA contract, as she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. She also became the first woman to broadcast an NBA game when she served as a color commentator for the Pacers.
Danica Patrick Proves It’s Not Just a Men’s Game: In 2008, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy race with her victory in the Japan 300. As a professional racing driver since the age of 10, Patrick continues to make an impact on the sports industry and inspires women everywhere.
The Olympics Makes History: In 2012, the U.S. sent more female Olympians than male to compete in the summer games. Women’s boxing made its debut that year, while male competitors were outmedaled by women in the U.S., Russian and Chinese teams in all sporting categories.
These are just a small number of the ways women are making a tremendous difference in the sports industry. But it’s not only in sports where women are breaking new ground. According to Arizona State University, “women make up nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and 51 percent of corporate professionals.” It’s inspiring figures like King and Drysdale who have brought strength and confidence to women everywhere and motivated women to move up in their career.
Since King and Drysdale made such important milestones, other women have achieved greatness in other industries. For example, Eileen Collins became the first female space commander in 1999 when she was assigned to pilot space shuttle Columbia. Collins became the first female astronaut to pilot a space shuttle mission in 1995 and became the Air Force’s first female flight instructor. From healthcare to technology, athletics to journalism, women have made a difference in how they’re represented and proven there are no boundaries to what women can do.
These women and their inspiring stories of success will continue to stand the test of time and empower everyone to accomplish their goals. The impact women have made in the sports industry demonstrates the strength and power our femininity holds within all of us. The amount of barriers broken by women throughout history is astounding. But we still have a long way to go before that glass ceiling is completely shattered.
Frankie Wallace is a freelance journalist interested in all things pop culture. Wallace resides in Boise, Idaho and contributes to a variety of blogs across the web.
Earlier this fall we announced the Name Our Avatar Contest. We received so many amazing entries, and we’re beyond excited to finally share the winners with you today!
Every name that we received was thoughtful and picking just one was a true challenge. We were so heartened by your bounds of creativity and passion. So without any further ado, here are the two runners-up as well as the winning name:
Why?: This is a beautiful middle eastern name that means “rivers” which I love as a representation of fluidity as well as strength in the GeekGirlCon community. “What I love most about rivers is: You can’t step in the same river twice. The water’s always changing, always flowing.”
Why?: First, it means sky or heaven in Arabic: this reflects the constellation-like patterns on her clothing, her freckles, as well as the fact that she is very bright! It’s a name that gets used in many places and cultures, and is very beautiful to boot! (It’s also the name of a character from Miraculous Ladybug! Alya runs the world’s best Ladybug fanblog, and is Marinette’s best friend.)
…and finally, our first place winner and the new name of our avatar. Introducing…
We at MoPOP look forward to GeekGirlCon every year. And this year is no exception. We’ve got our panel guide planned, our cosplay laid out, and MoPOP booth prepared for you to come visit.
When we were asked to write a piece for the GeekGirlCon blog, we got excited! But what to write about? There are countless topics we could have tackled, but when we got down to it, we thought it might be nice to pull back the curtain and introduce you to just a few of the many people who populate the world of MoPOP.
If you see them around the Con (or the museum or Seattle), feel free to say hi.