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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Quentin Tarantino and Violence Against Women in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Guest post by contributor Frankie Wallace.

A photography of director Quentin Tarantino standing next to actress Margot Robbie. They are standing on the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival. Photograph via Wikimedia, by Joan Hernandez Mir.

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.

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How Geek Culture is Becoming More Inclusive Toward Queer People

Post by guest contributor Frankie Wallace.

Photograph of a young woman laying on the ground in the aisle of a bookstore. She is surrounded by various open comic books, inspecting a page. Image by Joe Ciciarelli, Unsplash.

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:

Literature

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.

Video Games

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.

A fan favorite, The Last of Us introduces the world to Ellie, the punchy and earnest teenager who gives us one of the most touching romances in gaming to date. Even better, the upcoming sequel completely focuses on Ellie, giving players the chance to play a game with a strong, queer protagonist.

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.

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