The 10 Best Manga Created by Women Writers

Post by guest contributor Hayk Saakian.

Japan has always been associated with manga (漫画). Manga are graphic novels that invaded not just Japan but the entire world as well. This immensely popular art medium has been adapted into Anime, movies, live-action TV series, and plays.

Though the industry is dominated by men, women have also had their share of success. Their works are not just confined in Shoujo manga (targeted at women), but they are also excelling in Shounen (targeted at men) as well. In this list, you will find the 10 best manga created by women!

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American Girl Announces Announces Its First Disabled “Girl of the Year” Doll for 2020

Post by guest contributor Kate Harveston.

An image of American Girl’s latest doll, Joss Kendrick. Image via The Hill.

Representation matters, especially among our youth. Children with disabilities often feel isolated from their peers due to their perception of being different. Sadly, without mainstream media depictions of such individuals, their abled peers may pay more attention to those differences rather than the strengths such a friend brings. 

Now, American Girl seeks to raise awareness and denounce incorrect perceptions by introducing its first disabled “Girl of the Year” doll for 2020. Hopefully seeing this fictional character living her best life will inspire other disabled youth to reach for their dreams. It may also help to eradicate some of the stigma experienced by those who use assistive devices.

Meet Joss Kendrick

Joss Kendrick is a 10-year old surfer girl from Huntington Beach, California. Previous disabled American Girl dolls have featured McKenna, who had a learning disability, and Gabriella, who had a stutter. Joss is the first to win the prestigious girl of the year designation. 

If you read Joss’s story, you’ll learn that she was born deaf in her left ear, but has partial hearing in her right with the help of a hearing aid. The hope is that seeing the doll with an assistive device will help overcome stereotypes of the disabled community as being shy or retiring. Quite the opposite, Joss is very active! She loves playing with her two brothers and her pet bulldog—and she doesn’t let any challenges keep her from her beloved sport. 

American Girl partnered with the Hearing Loss Association of America in creating Joss’s character and will be donating $25,000 to support the HLAA. The hope is that the real-world depiction Joss will inspire other girls with disabilities to go all-in on their dreams—seeing people just like them goes a long way in this effort.

Why the Disabled Need Representation in the Media 

The disabled are among the most marginalized and invisible groups in America, and most dolls take on normative characteristics. They have functioning arms and legs, as well as eyes and ears that presumably see and hear. When you look at a character in mainstream cartoons and television shows, relatively few have visible disabilities. While some cinematic breakthroughs, such as the recent movie Joker, feature characters with emotional challenges, the majority of protagonists don’t encounter any physical impediments outside of external monsters and bad guys. 

Even though 15% of the world’s populationover a billion people—live with some form of disability, they are ignored by the media, politicians, and even doctors. Half of the disabled cannot afford needed health care. This issue is a severe problem in the US, as many individuals lack insurance coverage, meaning they can’t get the treatments they need to manage their conditions effectively. Because untreated conditions make it challenging to perform on the job, many members of this population are vulnerable to extreme poverty. 

Many young girls already feel somewhat stigmatized by a misogynistic society that establishes different norms for men and women. The addition of physical challenges can make things feel grim. However, when they see characters that resemble them happy and succeeding in life, it will give our youth hope and encouragement that they can do the same. 

Thus, increasing accurate media depictions of the disabled community is vital. Books like El Deafo and others that promote diversity and inclusion belong in every classroom and library. Parents can use films like Finding Dory to discuss neurological differences among people and how speech or memory impediments don’t mean that somebody is unintelligent or unworthy of contributing to society when they are just as brilliant as anyone else.

Writers and producers play a role as well. They can talk to members of the disabled community when designing stories and shows that depict their plight. Only when we openly and honestly discuss the unique challenges facing this population can we make strides in bringing about more meaningful inclusion. Media producers need to show the struggles these individuals face in a realistic and authentic light, while at the same time offering hope that people can and do succeed despite overwhelming odds. 

Until society makes these strides, such as American Girl in their celebration of Joss, disabled students will continue to face bullying at two to three times the rate of their abled peers. They’ll have an increased risk of suicide, both from their struggles with their condition and the subsequent poverty that often results. Can a doll fix all these problems? No, but Joss can do a significant amount to make young, deaf girls feel less alone and their friends more apt to include them in activities.

Recognizing the Contributions of the Disabled Community 

The disabled contribute a lot to society despite the unique challenges that they face, serving as beacons of hope that the human spirit can overcome any odds. It’s well past time that the media started recognizing their triumphs with more depictions like American Girl’s Joss Kendrick!

Congratulations, Joss.


Kate Harveston is a young writer from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She enjoys topics related to culture, feminism, and women’s health, and how those elements intersect and act upon each other. If you like her writing, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, So Well, So Woman.

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How to Safely Recycle Old Cosplay and Props

Post by guest contributor Brooke Chaplan.

Most cosplay can be reused, but there will come a time when old costumes need to be repurposed due to size, expense, or just age. When it comes time to get rid of your old cosplay outfits and props, the trash can might not be the best option. Those props and pieces of clothing are often filled with materials that must be safely recycled, and tossing them in the trash could potentially be a health hazard. Even just regular fabric often cannot be recycled easily and ends up more often than not in the landfill. To avoid causing a strain on the environment, follow these simple steps.

Reuse What You Can

In many cases, costume parts and props can be broken down or reused for different projects if the cosplay they were originally created for is no longer viable. Old cosplay that no longer fits could also be gifted to younger cosplayers. Materials that have been ripped or broken could still have useable parts for other projects. Wire, padding, and mesh can be removed and reused. Be creative and see what you can still make use of!

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How Bullying is Portrayed in Media

A person sits on a concrete floor alone, their head is hidden in their arms. They're wearing a maroon beanie, black long-sleeve shirt, and jeans. They are barefoot.

Guest post by contributor Frankie Wallace.


Bullying has been portrayed in movies, television shows, plays, and more for years. There’s a reason for that, too. Simply put, “art reflects reality.” Bullying is such a popular topic in media because it’s so prevalent in today’s society. Just how much of a problem is it? According to the Bureau of Justice, about 160,000 teens in the United States have skipped school due to bullying. 

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Redefining What It Means to Age as a Woman in Media

Post by guest contributor, Kate Harveston.

Many societies venerate the stereotype of the crone. Wisdom pours from her ancient eyes. Her face is a roadmap of experience and understanding. 

But if you tune in to any American television station, you’ll see bevels of younger beauties and hardly a female face over 60. When shows do portray older women, they pigeonhole them as evil stepmothers or meddling mothers-in-law. We need to redefine what it means to age as a woman in media and start treating wrinkles like badges of honor, not targets for the Botox needle!

Why Are There Negative Stereotypes Against Older Women? 

Think back to the fairy tales you loved most as a child. What do Snow White and Cinderella have in common? A wicked stepmother. Even Bugs Bunny featured the crone mystique as the decidedly ditzy Witch Hazel. If early writers needed a villain, an older woman fit the bill. 

Part of the negative stereotype stems from ancient times. Before the Romans arrived, older women were seen to hold the healing wisdom of generations. They prepared everything from cold remedies to love potions. However, in the latter years of the Roman Empire, the Romans subjugated these women, fearing their teachings interfered with those of the Church. Some evidence now suggests interactions with pagans weren’t always violent. Nevertheless, it was the beginning of the end for the worship of the older female generations.

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Past Featured Contributor Banned from Future Participation in GeekGirlCon

Response to Sexual Assault Allegations against Hope Nicholson

On Nov. 20 Hope Nicholson, one of GeekGirlCon’s past featured contributors, identified herself as the assailant in an alleged sexual assault. GeekGirlCon has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and assault, therefore Nicholson is banned from any future participation in GeekGirlCon events. 

GeekGirlCon had no knowledge of Nicholson’s actions prior to Nov. 20, as all featured contributors go through a strict vetting process. This is to ensure respect for all attendees through the creation of safe spaces. Violations of these safe spaces have never and will never be tolerated by GeekGirlCon.

GeekGirlCon’s mission is to foster continued growth among the geek community by celebrating and honoring the legacies of under-represented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, gameplay, and game design. GeekGirlCon representative Kristine Hassell Director of Community Engagement said “Since we learned of these allegations, we removed Nicholson from our list of Featured Contributors and will not have her back at any event hosted by GeekGirlCon. We are examining our panel selection process to look for ways to improve. Should the criteria be revised, we will announce any changes to panel processes for 2020.”

GeekGirlCon celebrates and honors the legacies of under-represented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, gameplay, and game design. We do this by connecting geeks worldwide and creating an intersectional community that fosters the continued growth of women and their allies. Embrace your inner geek with us, email press@geekgirlcon.com or visit geekgirlcon.com.

For more information or to set up an interview with a representative from GeekGirlCon, contact Ceilia Gutentag at pressrelations@geekgirlcon.com. 

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Thank You From GeekGirlCon

Another amazing GeekGirlCon is in the books. This year’s convention was definitely my favorite so far (though to be fair, I’ve been saying every year for nine years—and will continue to say it in the years to come). We had amazing panels, spectacular featured contributors, delightful musical performances, and most importantly an awesome, engaged community of attendees (that’s you!)

Whether you attended those panels, lifted your voice at a sing-along or concert, showed off your cosplay creations, played a game, met your favorite author, or found new treasures in our exhibitor’s hall, you contributed to GeekGirlCon. You continue to surprise and delight us each year. We do it for you, but we couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you for sharing your world (and your weekend) with GeekGirlCon. We’ll see you soon.

With love,
Sharon Magliano Feliciano
President, GeekGirlCon Board of Directors

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How to Use Castable Materials to Create Cosplay Props

Post by guest contributor Brooke Chaplan.

A fierce cosplayer is wielding a massive, expertly-crafted battleaxe. Photograph via Unsplash.

Being able to create your own props gives you greater flexibility when it comes to controlling the design of your cosplay. Doing it at home also works to reduce the price and leaves you with more room in your budget. Here are just a few of the ways that you can go about using castable materials in your props for cosplay.

Fiberglass Options

Fiberglass has always been a popular option in that it can lend you rigidity or even be used as a base for something more life-like. There are a variety of options when it comes to the use of fiberglass. The resin can be colored to be more realistic, and fiberglass also allows you to paint your material to suit your needs. The use of vacuum sealing is common with fiberglass because you can mold it into the shape that you need to be a base for any type of prop.

Versatile Plastics

Plastics still reign supreme when it comes to creating your own line of cosplay props. This is because it’s easier to work with the materials at a lower temperature to achieve the desired results. A Polyurethane casting material supplier may able to help you locate the plastic castable materials that you need to craft your realistic items. Make sure to use a mold that has been treated so that you can easily remove your prop.

Wax Molds

The use of wax molds is fairly common when you’re working with metals. This is because the wax will melt and leave you with the perfect cosplay prop. You’ll need to encase your mold into something like sand so that the metal will have a chance to cool before the mold is destroyed. Consider using a lower melting point material so that it will cool at a faster rate and stay intact throughout the process. It will also make it easier for the DIY enthusiast.

Silicon and Rubber Materials

Silicon and rubber molds and materials are popular for many different reasons. The mold itself is great because it has many of the nonstick qualities that you require when you’re creating your props. The material is also good because it gives you a greater range in terms of the items that you’ll be able to create. This is due to the flexible nature of the material. It’s easy to paint or even shave down to the dimensions that you want.
You have loads of options when it comes to finding the right castable material for your cosplay items. Use these solutions when it comes to making something that will appear realistic and be easy to manage.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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What Do You Love About GGC? Write About It!

Photograph of a group sitting at table working; notebooks and laptops are spread out everywhere. Productive! Image via Pexels.

Hey all!

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 blog@geekgirlcon.com with the subject line Con Weekend Pitch.

Thank you!
Teal & Indigo

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Exploring How Media Portrays Women in Sports and How We Can Do Better

Post by guest contributor, Kate Harveston.

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. 

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