Panel Recap: Dissecting Disney: Race, Gender, Sexuality in Children’s Films

Being a Disney fan can be tough sometimes. Despite the countless hours I’ve spent rewatching “Moana” and belting out the entire “Mulan” soundtrack, it’s impossible to ignore the many, many ways in which Disney films – as well as all the other aspects of the massive capitalistic juggernaut that is the Disney corporation – have been incredibly problematic, normalizing sexism, racism, and other forms of oppressive bigotry. For many of us, Disney is an omnipresent influence throughout our lives, representing all that is beautiful, nostalgic, and hopeful, while simultaneously perpetuating harmful messages and stereotypes.

Given this dilemma, I couldn’t wait to sit in on the Dissecting Disney: Race, Gender, Sexuality in Children’s Films panel from this past year’s Con. Led by Dr. Arielle Wetzel, a lecturer in Writing Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma, and an amazing group of her students both past and present, this in-depth, thoughtful panel addressed how we can still love Disney films while finding them problematic, analyzing films such as “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “The Lion King,” and many more through a critical, intersectional lens.

The panelists began by introducing themselves and their geeky, Disney-related interests. At UW-Tacoma, Dr. Wetzel has taught a variety of pop culture topics, including television, warrior women, Disney, and Mr. Robot. She was joined by Theo Calhoun, an Ethnic, Gender, Labor studies major who enjoys film and board games; Larissa Bokoni, a recent UW-Tacoma Communication major graduate who is also a French translator and MAC makeup artist; Kiona Jones, a graduate student in the Master of Social work program at UW-Tacoma and an intern with the Children’s Administration; Ashley Primer, a recent Art, Media, and Culture graduate from UW-Tacoma and former intern at the Destiny City Film Festival; and Joshua “Rocky” Marks, a Psychology major at UW-Tacoma who is also a semi-professional voice actor who has had a few roles in audiobooks, games, and animation.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the panel itself!

Image Description: The character Wendy Darling from the film “Peter Pan” jumps off the plank of Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Source: Giphy.

Divided into several sections, the panel focused on a few key areas: race, intersectionality, and sexuality.

Image Description: The baboon character Rafiki from the film “The Lion King” fights off the villainous hyena characters. Source: Giphy.

First, the panelists explore the ways in which Disney’s anthropomorphic animal characters are racially coded, often along stereotypical lines. This history of racist representations goes back to characters such as Jim Crow in 1941’s “Dumbo,” a supposedly comical, foolish character named after the Jim Crow segregation laws of that era. Additionally, characters such as the Siamese Cats from 1955’s “Lady and the Tramp,” who sing the deeply problematic “Siamese Cat Song” and are heavily racialized and stereotyped, as well as the Hyenas from 1994’s “The Lion King,” who are coded as Black and Latinx characters and are both literally and figuratively segregated from the other, more noble, characters.

Image Description: The characters Baloo and King Louis from “The Jungle Book” dance together. Source: Giphy.

Additionally, panelists found a running theme of these “animals of color” longing to be human, and to win acceptance by assimilating into the culture of the human characters. This theme can be found in both 1964’s “The Jungle Book” as well as 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog.” In the latter film, the character Louis even sings the song “When I’m Human,” which the panelists analyzed as a representation of a hierarchical relationship in which animals – often racially coded in stereotypical ways – are seen as lesser than the “civilized” humans, even by themselves.

Image Description: The character Judy from “Zootopia” bangs her head against a desk in frustration. Source: Giphy.

The panel then moved on to discuss intersectionality, specifically as depicted in 2016’s “Zootopia,” in which various elements of identity are depicted in complex and intriguing ways, notably through discussions of the privilege afforded to prey vs. predator animals, animals of different sizes, and animals of different socioeconomic statuses. The film’s main character, Judy, is marginalized because of her small size, and is barred from many cases as the first ever bunny cop. She is denied the rights and resources of her fellow police officers, and “jokes” are made about her rural background and low socioeconomic status. At the same time, however, she experiences privilege as a prey animal and commits microaggressions against Nick, a predator animal. The panelists looked to this film as a representation of the ways in which Disney can successfully portray the compound effects of multiple identities within a single individual, and in the relationships between multiple individuals, demonstrating how people can experience both privilege and oppression simultaneously depending on their various identities.

Image Description: The character Moana from the movie “Moana” pulls Maui closer to her by the ear so that she can angrily talk to him. Source: Giphy.

Lastly, the panel tackled sexuality and gender in 2016’s “Moana.” Beginning by comparing Moana’s role as a woman leader and central character to other characters such as Mulan, Merida from “Brave,” and Rapunzel from “Tangled,” the panelists spoke about the ways in which Moana is able to experience more familial support, less gendered pressure and criticism, and more autonomy than those characters. Moana is not expected to fulfill a compulsory gender role in the same way as these characters from the past, and her community is comfortable with her being a leader. Additionally, other characters in the film demonstrate inclusivity when discussing gender. Even the extremely macho character of Maui has a line in which he calls himself “demigod of all men, and all women, and all genders,” implicitly recognizing the fact of a multiplicity of genders outside the binary. In the film, Moana also represents a welcome change from the Disney norm in that she does not have any romantic interests, and is not expected to fall in love with a man to be a compelling a strong central character.

Image Description: The character Shan-Yu from “Mulan” turns toward the camera and sheathes a sword behind his back, while a bird flies by. Source: Giphy.

The panel ended with a Q&A discussion period in which panel attendees. Some of the topics discussed included how minority characters in Disney films are often coded as “acceptable” and “unacceptable” in different ways, how to synthesize multiple musical styles without being appropriative, and how to introduce kids to Disney films responsibly by helping them question what they’re seeing.

Ultimately, I left the panel feeling inspired, hopeful, and invigorated by both the potential for growth and change within Disney itself, as well as the immense importance of remaining thoughtful and critical, even – and perhaps especially – when interacting with media that we’ve grown up with our whole lives and been taught to love and accept without question.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Geek About Town: March

We’ve made it (almost) through the winter, my fellow geeks! We’re moving from the cold and gray and rainy and to the…slightly less cold and gray and rainy. And as the temperature outside starts to creep slowly upwards, we’ve got a wide variety of incredibly, cheering, 100% certified nerdy events to help you celebrate the coming of spring!

Image Description: A gif of a person basking in the rain as a flower blossoms. Source: Giphy



Thursday, March 1st: Emerald City Comic Con

  • March 1st through March 4th
  • 10:00am
  • Washington State Convention Center
    800 Convention Place, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) is the premier comic book & pop culture convention in the Pacific Northwest. Join us March 1-4 2018!

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Panel Recap: Sex Ed Super Friends!

It’s time for me to make a confession. I have to admit, dear readers, that even though I look forward to all the amazing panels we at GeekGirlCon offer each year (seriously – so many different topics! So many incredible panelists!) there is one category that I await with an almost feverish anticipation, and that is the sex panels! There is maybe nothing I love more than smart, cool, thoughtful people getting nerdy about one of life’s most confusing, awesome, weird, and wonderful topics: sex.

This past year, GGC17 was graced by the incredible Sex Ed Super Friends! panel. Presented by Planned Parenthood, this panel amassed a slew of the raddest sex nerds around to delve into the complicated, emotional, embarrassing, and oftentimes difficult to talk about world of sex. Whether it was offering compassionate insight, providing recommendations, clearing up misinformation, or much more, the panelists took on attendee question – both anonymous and not – with thoughtfulness, wit, and utter aplomb.

Image Description: A person dressed in a superhero costume dances through a shopping mall. Source: Giphy.

Before delving into questions, the panelists began by introducing themselves. Comprising a veritable murderers’ row of sex education, the panelists represent a variety of experiences and identities. Moderator Liz Andrade is a sex-positive graphic designer who works for Planned Parenthood and has co-founded All Cycles, a grassroots Outreach Project for community members to bring menstrual supplies to folks in need and is a member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network. Andie Lyons is a Health Educator for the Seattle & King County Public Health department, where she provides direct sexual health education, support and training for teachers providing sex ed, as well as a variety of resources to promote sexual health and wellbeing in the community at large. Forever Moon is a Community Outreach Educator and Teen Council Facilitator at Planned Parenthood in Olympia, Washington, and a self-professed nerd who has been educating about topics of sexuality since she was 17. Dawn Serra is the creator and host of the weekly podcast, Sex Gets Real, and of the annual sexuality summit, Explore More. She also lectures at colleges and universities on sex and relationships and works one-on-one with clients who need to get unstuck around their pleasure and desire. Tobi Hill-Meyer is a multiracial trans woman with well over a decade experience working with feminist and LGBTQ organizations, and one of the few people in the world who can claim to being both an award-winning porn creator and a children’s book author. She currently serves on the board of Gender Justice League and works as Communications Director at Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, along with operating her own media production company, Handbasket Productions, and releasing the recent anthology Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic. Cy Enseñat is a queer pleasure-based sex educator, full spectrum doula, and curandera who works with Babeland, a Seattle-based sex toy boutique which works to create an approachable space for people to explore their sexuality with high quality, body safe products and accessible classes on a myriad of pleasure based topics.

Image Description: Emma Watson as Hermione from “Harry Potter” raises her hand to ask a question. Source: Giphy.

After introducing themselves, the panelists answered attendee questions on a variety of topics. First up was a question about how to support a friend who is doing sex work? The panelists recommended education about sex work and sex workers, including the ways in which many anti-sex work policies are incredibly harmful to sex workers. Like other work, sex workers experience a range of working conditions, and preconceived stereotypes about sex work can fail to adequately represent real-life experiences. Ultimately, resources like the amazing Whorecast podcast – run by queer sex worker Siouxsie Q – can help educate, which, alongside involvement in sex worker advocacy, is a crucial way to support sex workers.

Another panel attendee asked about ways in which to delve deeper into body positivity and fat-positive media. In response, the panelists noted that the more we see representations of ourselves in media, the better we are able to feel about ourselves. In this way, finding community and representation online and in person can be crucial. Some examples of resources to look into included the Instagram hashtag #bodieslikeoceans, the store and community Fat Fancy in Portland, the queer No Lose conference, the porn performer April Flores, the Oh Joy Sex Toy webcomic, the More Fats More Femmes quarterly event in Seattle, and Curvy Girl Sex, an amazing book by sex educator Elle Chase.

Another question centered on the difficulty of accessing sex and having a sex life while facing homelessness, dealing with public and group housing, living in poverty, and other related issues. The panelists pointed out that sex can look many different ways for different people depending on their various situations. It doesn’t have to follow one particular model to provide pleasure. Ultimately, though, there are many barriers in place for marginalized people around their own bodily autonomy and access to fulfilling sexual lives. Because public sex is criminalized and private space is commodified, access to money so often means access to sex in our capitalistic culture. Additionally, sex and sexuality can be hugely important to mental health and general well-being, so devoting energy to these aspects of life are in no way a waste of time, resources, or energy for marginalized people facing such barriers, but rather a necessary form of care and wellness.

Image Description: Characters from the movie “Pitch Perfect” engage in an a capella sing-off, and the caption reads the lyrics “Lets talk about sex baby, lets talk about you and me.” Source: Giphy.

Another panel attendee asked about how to figure out if they are asexual or just having bad sex. In answer to this question, the panelists offered tips and resources to help explore asexuality., graysexuality, demisexuality, and many more identities. They also urged people struggling with whether they are asexual to engage in thoughtful individual contemplation of what sex mean to them and the place it has in their life, since sexuality is incredibly individual and cannot be dictated or defined by anyone but yourself. Perhaps the most important element to keep in mind when going through this kind of questioning is so allow space to change with time, to recognize that identity does not have to fixed, and that changing your mind is incredibly valid.

Image Description: Beyoncé takes off her glasses seductively. Source: Giphy.

Another question asker shared their experience of having come to terms long ago with being a lesbian, and feeling uncomfortable in queer spaces now that they are currently in a relationship with a man. They wondered how to participate in queer spaces while feeling like they no longer quite fit. Dawn Serra, one of the panelists, empathized with this question, sharing that she too had gone through a similar experience and grappled with the same questions of belonging, She – along with the other panelists – advocated for finding bi-specific spaces rather than monosexual queer spaces, recognizing that queerness isn’t defined by a current relationship, behavior, type of sex, or experience, and that many people find themselves in the position of feeling isolated in queer spaces for a variety of reasons.

Lastly, one question centered around how to explore sexuality while working through guilt from growing up in a deeply religious family. The panelists offered a variety of fascinating and thought-provoking responses to this question, including the possibility of finding erotic possibility in their own internalized guilt by exploring taboo, kink, and shame. They also spoke about the intrinsic elements of embodiment and sensuality in many religious traditions, and the potential power of exploring the latent queerness and erotic potential of even the strictest of traditions. One panelist also suggested the Our Whole Lives curriculum offered through the Unitarian Universalist church as a way to explore sexuality and sexual education as a religious person.

Thanks to Planned Parenthood and this amazing group of panelists, I left feeling comforted, inspired, and excited by the potential of nerdy, queer, fat-positive, inclusive, empathetic, and fun sex education to truly transform the ways that we engage with and experience sex and sexuality!


Image Description: Sex educator Lindsey Doe from the YouTube channel Sexplanations riases her fists in excitement. Source: Giphy.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Geek About Town: February

Welcome to February, my fellow geeks! Cliché or not, this month is all about celebrating love in all its forms, whether it be for friends, family, partners, pets, books, movies, games, songs, foods, or, you know, even particularly great gifs.

Here’s looking at you, every image of Gina Rodriguez ever (Image Description: The actress Gina Rodriguez as the character Jane Villanueva from the television show “Jane the Virgin,” looking happy. Source: Giphy)

So, whoever or whatever you find yourself loving this month, consider checking out some of the amazing events coming up, and celebrate your interests, enthusiasms, and passions to their fullest!

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Panel Recap: ¿Como Se Dice ‘Nerd’?

Going into my second Con as both an attendee and a copywriter, I was incredibly excited to attend the panel “¿Como Se Dice ‘Nerd’?” Last year, this panel was without a doubt one of the highlights of my entire convention experience, and this year proved to be no different. Moderated by Sylvia Artiga, a writer and the creator and manager of ¿Cómo Se Dice Nerd?, an online spaced dedicated to celebrating Latinx nerds and their contribution to art, music, and pop culture, the panel explored the fraught yet joyous intersection of Latinidad and geekdom. Artiga’s fellow panelists included Tristan J. Tarwater, a prolific comic and fantasy writer, Isabel Ann Castro, an illustrator who acts as co-founder and art director for St. Sucia, an international Latinx art and literature zine, and organizer for the San Anto Zine Fest, and Joamette Gil, an illustrator, cartoonist, curator, podcaster and publisher.

Image Description: Panelists speak at the “Como se dice ‘Nerd'” panel at 2016’s GeekGirlCon. Source: Sayed Alamy via GeekGirlCon flickr

The panel was guided by a variety of questions surrounding creativity, community, and identity. How does language, nationality, race, and history influence the way Latinx nerds interact with fandoms, hobbies, and geekery in general? What are some of the works or places that make Latinx nerds feel welcome and represented and what feels isolating? How can geeky interests be used to confront issues of colorism, colonialism, and culture clashes in the Latinx community?

The beginning of the panel focused on introducing the panelists, a diverse group of self-identifying Latinx nerds from a wide variety of backgrounds. The panelists immediately reflected on the difficulty of the time in which the panel was taking place. This year, the convention took place during the utter devastation of Hurricane Maria, and the ensuing governmental and aid response (or lack thereof). Artiga and her fellow panelists noted that it was a “heavy time” for the Latinx community, and that GeekGirlCon provided an opportunity for those carrying so much stress and heartache to still recognize how much they simultaneously deserve joy and fun.

The panelists then highlighted some of the ways in which their geekery interacted – and often clashed – with their Latinx identity growing up. As fledgling nerds within a Latinx community, the touchstones of nerd culture that they loved were often seen as “American” (read: white), leaving the panelists in a difficult position in which “American-ness” was both venerated and discouraged. As Tarwater pointed out, “the whiter you acted, the better you could do,” highlighting pressure from within the Latinx community to comply with the forces of assimilation in order to get by. Artiga underscored this point, noting that there is a “painful and complicated narrative of passing into ‘Americanness.’” Ultimately, many of the lessons that the panelists absorbed growing up played into the false narrative that if marginalized people play by the rules of assimilation they will succeed and be accepted. Part of their individual and collective activism lies in recognizing the damage of this narrative, making sure that the Latinx community knows that it doesn’t “have to play the game anymore,” and creating new spaces for Latinx people to thrive without having to adhere to the strictures of a white, capitalistic, colonialist society.

In order to create these spaces, the panelists spoke about the crucial importance of the internet as a tool for communicating, collaborating, sharing work, finding your voice, finding an audience, and, ultimately, expressing yourself independently and authentically. In this way, Latinx creators can push for their own representation, creating media that speaks to their experiences far more directly than anything in the mainstream. The internet also tends to have a snowball effect, creating large-scale change out of small-scale projects and mobilizing people around common goals and experiences. To this end, the panelists highlighted the hashtag #latinxscreate, which provides one such space to share and celebrate Latinx work that is also inclusive of the Black community.

Image Description: Audience members at the “Como se dice ‘Nerd'” panel at 2016’s GeekGirlCon. Source: Sayed Alamy via GeekGirlCon flickr

The panel moved on to a discussion of the challenges facing Latinx nerds and how to face them. The panelists noted how much guilt can be involved in the process of creation for Latinx individuals – a sense that pursuing their passions means betraying both their community and their ancestors. They reflected on the importance of being self-centered rather than selfish, of paying attention to what you are and what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt others. They spoke of the fact that guilt will inevitably crop up, but alongside it there must be space for a reclamation of happiness and joy, and a recognition that incredible suffering has occurred in the hopes of building a better future.

The panelists then offered a few examples of great representation of Latinx identity within mainstream media, such as characters from “Jane the Virgin” and Cisco from “The Flash,” as well as the re-vamped America comics from Marvel. Alongside these positive representations, the panelists also expressed uncertainty about Claire Temple from “Luke Cage” and frustration over the fact that white brunette actors are often substituted for Latinx characters and that Afro-Latinx women are usually cast as Black characters. Because of the disappointing nature of so much media representation of Latinx identity, many of the panelists spoke about purposefully avoiding content that promises Latinx characters in the understandable fear that they won’t deliver. The representation that is necessary is of Latinx characters as authentic, well-rounded, diverse people – a low bar, but one that mainstream media all too often fails to meet.

Image Description: Panelists speak at the “Como se dice ‘Nerd'” panel at 2016’s GeekGirlCon. Source: Sayed Alamy via GeekGirlCon flickr

The panel concluded with a question and answer period. One attendee reflected on the fact that too many Latinx characters are written by white people and the result is almost uniformly terrible. They wondered where consumers should be looking right now to nurture Latinx creators. In response, the panelists pointed to the aforementioned #latinxscreate hashtag along with the #comesedicenerd hashtag as valuable resources, as well as the power of writing and creating for yourself. They noted that it’s important for Latinx creators to allow themselves space to fail and get it wrong, but that putting their work out their is too important to stay silent out of fear.

Another attendee asked about Latinx-owned businesses to support, to which the panelists noted that many creators at the Con itself were incredible and more than worthy of support. They also highlighted zine fests, creator Patreon pages, and the importance of supporting friends and utilizing community resources, as well as prioritizing money to support independent creators of color. One of the final questions centered around “passing privilege” as a light-skinned Latinx person, and wondered how they could interact within Latinx spaces without bulldozing and taking advantage of their privilege. In response, Artiga noted that “there is space for people to be the scaffolding and make the space” for others to speak, to provide crucial behind-the-scenes support and signal boosting and to use privilege and the energy that privilege provides to call out racism and prejudice where those with less privilege might feel unable to. Ultimately, the panelists also emphasized the fact that light-skinned Latinxs are “part of the story too,” and have an importance space within the larger fight for greater representation of the incredibly diverse Latinx community.

This panel was thought-provoking, beautiful, and an important reminder of the power that creators have when nurtured by an inclusive and committed community. Here’s hoping that the panel will be back to provide additional insight and inspiration at this year’s Con!

(Also, a reminder that, more than three months after Hurricane Maria, nearly half of Puerto Rico’s residents still do not have power and the devastation from the hurricane (and the lack of an adequate governmental response) means that attention and support is as necessary as ever. Alongside supporting Puerto Rican creators, please consider checking out the following links and directly contributing to disaster relief efforts:)

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Geek About Town: January

The New Year is (almost) upon us, which means that we can finally bid goodbye to the unfortunate, terrifying mess that characterized most of 2017. The good news is that there is SO MANY incredible and exciting events coming up in January to help beckon in a better and brighter new year!


Source: Giphy. Image Description: The character Rachel Berry from “Glee” wearing a Happy New Year Crown. The image text reads “The countdown begins.”


Tuesday, January 2nd: Kit Build! Adafruit LED Goggles

  • 1pm – 4pm
  • Living Computers: Museum + Labs
    2245 First Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
  • $68
  • Kill two ravens with one stone and learn how to solder while you create your newest costume headpiece – a wicked pair of Adafruit LED Goggles – in this 2-hour entry level workshop. Space is limited for this take-home activity.


Wednesday, January 3rd: Reading Through It: Weapons of Math Destruction

  • 7pm
  • Third Place Books Seward Park
    5041 Wilson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
  • Free event!
  • The Seattle Review of Books and Seattle Weekly aim to help you cope with the next three years thanks to Reading Through It, a “monthly book club exploring who we are as Americans, where we’re going, and how to fix it.” Weapons of Math Destruction is a former Wall Street analyst’s warning against “the mathematical models that pervade modern life—and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.”

Source: Giphy. Image Description: The characters Bones and Kirk from Star Trek: The Original Series nod at each other.

Saturday, January 6th: Extraterrestrial Architecture in Space

  • 10am – 12pm
  • Center for Architecture & Design
    1010 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Free event!
  • All-ages event!
  • We’re bored with Earth. What about Mars? Participants will learn about the very different problems architects would face if building for the surface of other planets….and moons…and asteroids? The sky is not even the limit…

Source: Giphy. Image Description: The characters Steve and Nancy from “Stranger Things” dance at a party.

Saturday, January 6th: Laser Stranger Things


  • 4 dates – January 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
  • 8:00pm
  • Laser Dome at Pacific Science Center


  • Follow our Laser artists into The Upside Down with this laser show tribute to the music of Stranger Things. A synth-heavy score and dark 80s soundtrack contribute to the spooky nostalgia of this popular Netflix Original hit. Performed, as always, by our talented laser artists, don’t miss this limited run in January of Laser Stranger Things.


Saturday, January 6th: Children’s Storytime at Elliott Bay Book Company

  • Every Saturday of the month
  • 11am
  • Elliott Bay Book Company
    1521 10th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98122
  • Free event!
  • Join us for this fun hour of readings from picture and storybooks with one of Elliott Bay’s bookfolk. Go to the castle in the children’s section … and the stories begin!


Thursday, January 11th: Gay City Arts presents To Exist Is To Resist

  • 4 dates – January 11th, 12th, 20th, 21st
  • 7:00pm
  • Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center
    517 E Pike St, Seattle, Washington 98122
  • General Admission $15, Discounted Tickets $12, Radical Hospitality Tickets free!
  • What would Marsha P Johnson, Leslie Feinberg and our sick and disabled queer grandparents have to say about fighting to survive and win? Sick and disabled queer/ trans people have always resisted, from the first colonial invasions to nursing homes to freak shows to street based queer and trans activism. We are heroes, fighters and survivors and we have the medicine we need to survive Trump. In this star-studded sick and disabled QT/POC show, curated by billie rain and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, come witness Seattle based disabled queer/ of color artists performing new work reflecting on the resistance wisdom of our disabled queer ancestors.This performance is also part of a star studded ALL SICK AND DISABLED QTBIPOC ALL THE TIME DOUBLE WEEKEND! Come see us, and then check out Neve Andromeda Bianco Mazique’s one femme show, Betcha Ungodly Things! Support all of us! Come for this living altar of disabled QTBIPOC testimony, genius and love. 

Thursday, January 11th: Art Spiegelman, Anita Kunz, & Steve Brodner on Art Young

  • 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • Society Of Illustrators
    128 E 63rd St, New York, New York 10065
  • Non-Member and Member tickets $15, Students and Seniors $7
  • Join us for an evening with comics art giant Art Spiegelman and acclaimed illustrator Anita Kunz as they discuss the lasting influence of 20th century political cartoonist Art Young, with master caricaturist Steve Brodner moderating the discussion. The three will examine the historical significance of Young’s work, and its relevance in today’s artistic and political landscape.

    Images for discussion will be drawn from the 2017 retrospective To Laugh That We May Not Weep: The Life & Times of Art Young (Fantagraphics) by Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young. Copies will be available for purchase after the event.

Source: Giphy. Image Description: Characters from the movie “Jumanji” sit down to play the game “Jumanji” together.

Friday, January 12th: GeekGirlCon Board Game Night at Wayward Coffeehouse!

  • 7pm – 10:45pm
  • Wayward Coffeehouse
  • 6417 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • Free event!
  • Do you love board games and enjoy teaching others how to play? Explore the board/card game hobby and meet folks happy to teach you their favorite board games! Come and play with folks who love playing games. And the best part about the GeekGirlCon ( game nights with our friends at Wayward ( They are absolutely FREE with no cover charge!


Monday, January 15th: BlackLivesMatter- Let Black Liberation Ring

  • 6pm
  • Westlake Park
    401 Pine St, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • Free event!
  • We strive for #BlackLiberation – we strive for freedom to not be treated like animals and for our justice system to treat us equally or be abolished – we strive for fair and equal taxation so that people of color can not only survive but thrive – we strive for a day were we are not discriminated against for our skin color or our culture but treated equally for content of our character – we strive to not be shot and killed by police and then our image be slandered on the news. We ask you join us and say Racism and police brutality and unfair and unequal treatment of Black people has to stop and freedom has to begin because until Black people are free no one is free.


Sunday, January 15th: Cine-City: A Community Exposé

  • Seating at 6:30pm, show at 7:00pm
  • Naked City Brewery & Taphouse
    8564 Greenwood Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98103
  • $8 in advance, $10 at the door
  • Cine-City is Seattle’s only consistent film night with bi-monthly (every other month) screenings of local short films. We will fill up a block of films 45 minutes to an 1 hour, at the end of the night the films will be voted on and the most voted film will be announced the next day and will move on to the Best Of in November. All proceeds help the Film Non Profit Ardor Creative Media.


Monday, January 16th: MLK Seattle Rally & March

  • 11am – 4pm
  • Garfield High School
    400 23rd Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122
  • Free event!
  • Educate yourself at workshops from 9:30-10:50am, then at 11:00am, join the pre-march rally in the Garfield Gym to become inspired and informed with speakers, performers, and more. View the full schedule at Following the rally (12:00-12:20), the march line-up starts in the Garfield parking lot (across the street from Ezell’s chicken). The march will begin at 12:30, heading to the Federal Building at 2nd & Madison. The Downtown Program is estimated to start at 1:30 p.m. Marchers are welcome to return to Garfield for a late lunch or to join employers and more at the Opportunity & Information Fair at Garfield (1:30-4:00pm).


Wednesday, January 17th: Literary Arts Series: Jesmyn Ward

  • 9pm – 2am
  • Benaroya Hall
    200 University St, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • Tickets between $10 and $80
  • Jesmyn Ward has been called “fearless and toughly lyrical” by the Library Journal. Her novel Salvage the Bones, the story of four motherless children trying to protect their home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction. Her unflinching portrayals of young black men and women struggling to thrive in a South ravaged by poverty and natural disaster have been praised for their “graphic clarity” by the Boston Globe, and for their “hugeness of heart” by O, The Oprah Magazine.
    Ward’s follow-up to Salvage was Men We Reaped, a memoir that confronts the five years of Ward’s life in which she lost five young men—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that follows people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Lauded by Kirkus as a “modern rejoinder to Black Like Me [and] Beloved,” Men We Reaped is a homage to Ward’s past, her ghosts, and the haunted yet hopeful place she still calls home. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, it was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, Kirkus, New York Magazine, and TIME magazine.

    Ward is also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, which NPR listed as one of the Best Books of 2016. Taking James Baldwin’s 1963 pivotal examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, is a jumping-off point. The groundbreaking collection features essays and poems about race from the most important voices of Ward’s generation and our time—from Edwidge Danticat, Natasha Trethewey, and Isabel Wilkerson, to Mitchell S. Jackson, Kiese Laymon, and Claudia Rankine.

    In the forthcoming Sing, Unburied, Sing, Ward will return to Mississippi and the themes of her earlier work. Confronting the realities of life in the rural South, Ward gives us a road map through Mississippi’s past and present that explores the bonds of family as tested by racism and poverty. Her work is all set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi where Ward grew up, and each new publication makes her a fitting heir to the rich literary tradition of the American South.

Source: Giphy. Image Description: Beyoncé and Lady Gaga dance together in a music video.

Thursday, January 18th: BEYONCÉ vs. GAGA vs. BRITNEY vs. MADONNA SING ALONG

  • 8pm
  • Central Cinema
  • $12 General Admission
  • Four of music’s finest divas join you for what’s sure to be one of the best nights of your life. The Queen of R&B, The Queen of Pop, the Princess of Pop, the , and the Mother of Monsters team up to get you singing, dancing, and so much more. Telephone on the big screen is worth the price of admission alone.


Sunday, January 20th: 2018 Pantsuit 5k Run/Walk

  • 9am – 11am
  • Green Lake
  • $22.09 entrance fee
  • Bring out those pantsuits ladies (& gents, kids, dogs ok too). Fun run/walk around Greenlake. The primary purpose of the event is for the unification of the Pantsuit community and to continue to strive for change. Last year we had over 700 attend, let’s make this event bigger & better. Event is not timed. It is a fun run/walk. No refunds or transfers. Rain or shine. This is a no frills run/walk. 30% of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood!


Wednesday, January 24th: #MeToo in Tech: How Men Can Help

  • 6pm
  • Northwest Film Forum
    1515 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
  • $12 tickets
  • This event will be a forum for men who work in the tech industry in Seattle to discuss ways that we can show up for women, trans folks, and other non-cis-male-identified folks who often experience harassment and discrimination in our industry. More details will be posted at this URL as we get closer to the event.


Monday, January 25th: Children’s International Film Festival

  • January 25th – February 10th
  • Northwest Film Forum
  • 1515 12th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
  • $12 General Admission, $9 Students, Seniors, and Children
  • Over the past 13 years, Children’s Film Festival Seattle has become the largest and most respected film festival on the West Coast dedicated to children and their families. Each year, Northwest Film Forum selects more than 170 children’s films from 50+ countries, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of 15-20 U.S. cities. What we stand for: Racial equity and diversity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness, and the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people. Produced by Northwest Film Forum, Children’s Film Festival Seattle includes live performances, features, shorts and hands-on workshops, all crafted with care for the next generation of movie lovers.


Friday, January 26th: Lovett or Leave It

  • 8pm – 11pm
  • Moore Theatre
    1932 2nd Ave, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • Ticket prices vary, starting at $47
  • STG Presents & AEG welcomes Lovett or Leave It to The Moore Theatre on Friday, January 26, 2018. The Lovett or Leave It podcast, as part of Pod Tours America, has announced additional tour dates and will be live on stage January 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm at The Moore Theatre. Former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and the Obama White House and co-host of the wildly popular podcast Pod Save America, Jon Lovett brings his Lovett or Leave It podcast live to Seattle. Get ready for a night of lively and humorous discussion of politics and top news stories with special guests along with other popular Lovett or Leave It segments.


Friday, January 26th: GeekGirlCon Board Game Night at Wayward Coffeehouse!

  • 7pm – 10:45pm
  • Wayward Coffeehouse
  • 6417 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • Free event!
  • Do you love board games and enjoy teaching others how to play? Explore the board/card game hobby and meet folks happy to teach you their favorite board games! Come and play with folks who love playing games. And the best part about the GeekGirlCon ( game nights with our friends at Wayward ( They are absolutely FREE with no cover charge!

Source: Giphy. Image Description: Ryan Gosling works on on an exercise bike while wearing a onesie on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Saturday, January 27th: 2018 Onesie Bar Crawl

  • 14pm

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Panel Recap: The Road to Riverdale: A Look at the Evolution of Archie and the Gang

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been a “Riverdale” fan for very long. I’m sad to say that I never read the Archie comics growing up, and my major investment in the Riverdale universe pre-CW adaptation was an extreme love for “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and a sneaking suspicion that Betty and Veronica should almost definitely be the major romantic pairing in the series.

When the TV series debuted in January, though, my ignorance quickly turned to true love. With my newfound enthusiasm and rookie knowledge securely in place, I arrived at GeekGirlCon ‘17 convinced that the panel The Road to Riverdale: A Look at the Evolution of Archie and the Gang was going to be a joyful, geeky celebration of all things Riverdale, and it did not disappoint.

Source: Giphy. Description: Betty Cooper clasping her hands together and looking excited.

Moderated by Mary Gallacher, panelists Mia Gipson, Devi Sword, and Jeremy Huff explored not only their own hopes, ships, and disappointments surrounding the show itself, but delved into the history of the Archie comics as well.

They described how the characters of Archie and his friends have been staples of pop culture for 75 years, encompassing multiple comic and television spin-offs and becoming a sprawling and beloved franchise. After each of the panelists spoke about their own journey with the Archie comics, and their arrival at “Riverdale,” they explored the way that Archie characters have populated other films, television shows, and spin-off series, such as the Melissa Joan Hart “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series and the “Josie and the Pussycats Movie.” In fact, all the major characters from the Riverdale universe have been given comic spin-offs of their own, leading to a rich and highly populated universe. As part of this background, the panelists highlighted a YouTube video from NerdSync called “The Bizarre Origin and History of Archie: From Comics to Riverdale Explained!” This video gives a fascinating glimpse of how such an iconic franchise has expanded and evolved over its long history.  

After providing background to the series, the panelists were able to fully delve into their love for “Riverdale,” pointing of the show’s highlights, exploring concerns and critiques, and expressing their hopes for the series as it continues.

Show Highlights

Though many aspects of the show were enthusiastically celebrated in the panel, a couple specifically stood out. One was the level of diversity in “Riverdale.” While the show has a long way to go to provide adequate representation for many identities, its portrayal of Veronica as a latinx character and the strength of the characters Josie, Valerie, and Melody are highlights that point to where the series could go in terms of greater representation in the future.

The panelists also agreed that the moment when Alice Cooper stands up to Hal over what has happened to Polly (only vague spoilers here!) felt absolutely triumphant, especially given the fact that so many parents on the show are problematic to say the least.

Concerns and Critiques

One common criticism of the show is that it diverges from the comics. The panelists, however, believe that while the show has put its own signature spin on the original stories and characters, it retains the spirit of the Archie universe, and, moreover, was never meant to feel exactly like the original. Part of what makes it so compelling, after all, is its darker tone and more mature themes, capturing the concerns of its teenage-and-beyond audience.

On the other hand, a critique that is merited is the major, deeply unfortunate change in the Ms. Grundy storyline. This problematic storyline proved controversial for fans and represented a huge overhaul – and, for many, a betrayal – of Ms. Grundy’s character. The panelists pointed out that they were at least satisfied that none of the characters treated the predatory relationship between Ms. Grundy and Archie as though it was okay or acceptable.

Source: Giphy. Description: The character Ms. Grundy looks up with a sad expression on her face as she plays the cello.

Another major controversy is the portrayal of Jughead’s sexuality. In the comics, Jughead’s sexuality has been portrayed in various ways, but as of 2016 his asexuality has been part of the canon. The show, however, has not identified Jughead as asexual, and his relationship with Betty has caused fan concern that this aspect of his identity won’t be addressed at all, leading to even further disappointment and a near-total lack of representation for the ace and aro community in TV and media. The panelists agree that the handling of Jughead’s sexuality has been disappointing, but notes that there may be cause to hope. After all, long-term the show could be providing representation of ace people who have relationships if Jughead is identified as asexual, or even that this characterization of Jughead could be demisexual rather than asexual.

Source: Giphy. Description: The characters Betty and Jughead kiss.

Future Hopes

At the time of the panel, the second series was about to premiere in only 10 days, and the panelists were feverishly excited about what they were looking forward to seeing as the upcoming season, as well as hopes for the show’s future more broadly.

Among these hopes and expectations was more representation for Josie and the Pussycats, since Josie, Valerie, and Melody are often under-utilized characters, a more in-depth exploration of Moose’s sexuality, an appearance by Jughead’s little sister Jellybean, more screen time for Kevin, and a bigger glimpse at Riverdale’s Southside.

Apart from their hopes for the series itself, the panelists were all deeply excited about the upcoming adaptation of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Though this new show means that the character of Sabrina most likely won’t be a regular in “Riverdale,” the panelists were hopeful that this series might provide representation for paganism or wicca.

After the bulk of the panel, the panelists opened up the discussion to the audience, welcoming a variety of questions from fellow enthusiastic “Riverdale” fans. One audience member spoke about the Ms. Grundy storyline and how it furthered the problematic trope of predatory student-teacher relationships in TV (such as the uncomfortable love story between Aria and her English teacher Ezra on “Pretty Little Liars.”) Another question revolved around what forms of diversity the panelists would love to see represented in “Riverdale,” especially representation of trans and nonbinary characters. Another audience member wondered hopefully if the CW might legitimize the love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica as a polyamorous relationship. Lastly, the problem of queer-baiting in “Riverdale” was addressed, with an audience member hoping for more actual queer femme representation and a move away from this destructive trope, which has especially been present in the relationship between Betty and Veronica.

With the show about to wrap up its second season in January, and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” on its way, this panel couldn’t have come at a better time and served as a fun-filled, hilarious, and thoughtful reminder of all the reasons that so many of us have fallen hard for “Riverdale,” whether we’ve read Archie comics our whole lives or – ahem – only began our infatuation a few months ago.

Source: Giphy. Description: The character Cheryl dancing in her cheerleading uniform.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Geek About Town: December

It’s almost December, beloved GeekGirlCon blog readers, and you know what that means! Another round of Geek About Town, where we highlight some of the amazing events coming up to help keep your spirits high and your enthusiasm stoked as we enter  a time during which I, for one, can usually be found mumbling “always winter, never Christmas” to myself like a C.S. Lewis character. Happy Holidays!

Image Description: a gif featuring the character Lucy Pevensie in Narnia in the film “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” Source: Giphy


Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Panel Recap: A Geek Girl’s Right to Erotica

I have been more than a little bit obsessed with romance novels, erotica, and romantic fanfiction for most of my life. It started with sneakily checking out books from the library and skim-reading to get to the “good parts,” then moved on to scouring Archive of Our Own,, and other glorious sites for all of my slash fic needs, no matter how niche (Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini, anyone?), and now, at long last, I can finally say that I am a proud sex nerd and devourer of all things romance and sexuality.

Given this extensive history, I think it’s safe to say that I couldn’t have been more excited to sit in on this year’s GeekGirlCon panel A Geek Girl’s Right to Erotica. This panel was the first live episode of the certifiably awesome Podice Rippers podcast, hosted by Natalie Warner and Lainey Seaton. When not podcasting “at length and girth” about romance novels, Natalie and Lainey are a cyber-security technical writer and an account manager, respectively. Together, they host a podcast that is an incredibly funny and thoroughly geeky exploration of all things romance, smut, and erotica.

Image Description: podcast hosts and panelists Natalie Warner and Lainey Seaton sitting at their panel table at GeekGirlCon ’17. Source: Twitter

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Witchy Women: Reclaiming the Misunderstood Halloween Heroine

As Rufus Scrimgeour says in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “these are dark times, there is no denying.” Given all of the darkness, pain, and anxiety that all of us are inundated with so often in recent times – and which so inordinately affects those who have already been oppressed and marginalized – it sometimes feels to me like everyday is Halloween. Experiencing an ambient sense of dread and fear, worrying about looming monsters both actual and theoretical, consuming a truly impressive amount of candy – this is basically my day-to-day reality. But Halloween is about more than just stress and candy. For me, at least, it’s about acknowledging the spookiness around us, facing up to all of our lingering fears, and proving to ourselves that we can laugh and have fun and eat our body weight in candy corn despite whatever ooky-spooky ghouls might be plaguing us.

So for this Halloween, I’m turning to my trusty source for all things inspiring, empowering, and fear-fighting: pop culture. These might be dark times, but one of the best ways I’ve found to both revel in and rise above the darkness is to celebrate the unruly, wonderful, strange, exciting, monstrous, and magical women who populate some of my favorite scary movies.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

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