This year, we’re partnering with the Paramount Hotel to offer group-rate rooms literally on the SAME BLOCK as the Conference Center. (Shout out to our excellent Operations team for making this magic happen!)
$175 per night
Available Friday, October 30 through Tuesday, November 3
This rate will expire, so wrangle your con-going companions and book now!
You’ve undoubtedly seen a storyline similar to this one on TV: A woman becomes obsessed with so-and-so. Have you ever paused to wonder how this trope plays into the inaccurate depiction of those with mental illnesses?
Although many celebrities have come forward about their battles with mental illness, depictions of characters with these disorders in movies and TV have little to do with reality. Instead, those with such disorders, particularly women, are still portrayed as emotionless and evil. This stereotype does a grave disservice to everyone in entertainment as well as to mental health awareness.
Mental Illness and Women
Researchers often claim that women experience mental illness at higher rates than men. However, this figure is convoluted by the fact that they also receive treatment for these disorders more often than men. For example, while more women attempt suicide, more men die from it.
Suffice it to say that all genders experience mental illness. However, you can’t ignore the way society interprets these conditions differently based on gender. For example, picture somebody with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you’re like many, you may envision a male soldier coming home from war. This stereotype is valid in some cases, but not all by any means. Studies actually show that physical and sexual trauma followed by PTSD occurs more often in women than in men.
This statistic should shock no one in a world where 90% of all adult rape victims are women. Repeated sexual and physical trauma often results in mental illness, not murderous rampages. Consider how few sexual assault survivors receive justice in our courts. The records of rapists getting away with their actions should spur an epidemic of revenge slaughter if women were inclined to turn their trauma outward. The majority of the time, however, they suffer in silence.
Depictions of Mentally Ill Women in Film
If you flip to channels like Lifetime, you’ll see countless representations of women with mental illness losing their collective minds, stalking and killing with impunity. We’ve all heard of the “crazy ex-girlfriend” trope. In fact, the Lifetime channel dedicates Wednesdays to Women on the Edge. On the edge of what?
Most of the time, the violent women depicted in these types of films don’t have a definitive diagnosis. Consider the classic Fatal Attraction. We know that Glenn Close’s character boils a bunny, but the movie never tells us what disorder compelled her to commit such a heinous act. It’s as if mental illness all fits into one neat category—it doesn’t matter if you have PTSD or a schizotypal disorder or anxiety. If you’re a woman and you have a mental illness, you’re simply nuts.
Contrast this treatment to the way films depict men with mental illness. Has anyone watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest without cheering for Nicholson’s character? Directors often portray men with mental illness as loveable-yet-misunderstood rogues. Such movies focus on their redeeming qualities, a man-versus-society theme. Conversely, when a woman character has a mental illness, she’s the problem—not the culture she’s grown up in.
Changing the Dialogue Around Mental Illness and Women
To truly embrace the reality of mental illness, filmmakers need to quit using it as a convenient plot device. Mental illness doesn’t explain why women, or anyone for that matter, commit heinous acts. Such actions stem from a multitude of factors. Making the simplistic correlation between violence and mental illness leads to a continued problematic stigma about mentally ill individuals. Mental illness can be a contributor to violence in a person, but it’s not the sole factor. A convenient explanation for an unpleasant phenomenon doesn’t make it accurate.
Instead, movies should show the real way mental illness affects women. They should present how they tend to isolate themselves from those they love and withdraw into despair. Films should show—and address—the overwhelming loathing of self, not hatred of others, that often exists as a hallmark way in which disorders manifest among women
Representation matters, and the images that people see in the media form part of our collective consciousness. By depicting the reality of mental illness for women in film, we can hopefully open up a better dialogue about mental health. Ideally, this new dialogue may even inspire people to seek help if they need it, instead of feeling like they have to hide their problems from the world, lest they be labeled and stereotyped.
First off, from everyone at GeekGirlCon, thank you so much to our Agents, attendees, contributors, and exhibitors. As always, we just cannot do GeekGirlCon without you. Thanks for making the magic with us.
Before we beginning peppering your feeds with some more formal recaps of the weekend, I wanted to bring some cheer to this Monday we’re all experiencing while coming down from our con high with some staff selfies from the weekend. So peruse these, reflect on the pure joy of the weekend, and share yours with us using #GG19.
If you’ve never been to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, you’re truly missing out. It’s one of the cutest, geekiest, most special places in the city, and we were lucky to have hosted our annual pre-con party there this year.
Hanna and I (and my sister!) swung by the party after work, picked up our passes, and meandered around our fellowed geeks for an hour or two. We sat in on a planetarium open house (did you know Pluto and Charon actually orbit each other??), learned about software that was created for embroidery patterns, and witnessed an epic dance party.
It was just good to be around folks who know what’s so important about the next two days, and we were beyond glad to have been there.
As a lot of you might know, GeekGirlCon has this really excellent practice of hiring an artist every year to design our year-specific merch. This year, that artist is Tatyana Vogt, whose art is so beautiful I’ve literally teared up over it. We are all in for such a treat with this year’s stuff, so read on for some of that good good design reveal and a little Q&A with the artist herself! Then, get your passes, check out our full programming schedule, and get yourself organized with the Guidebook app. Three days and counting!
Tell us a little about your story. Where are you from? Have you always been an artist?
Sure! So I was born and raised in California. I’ve drawn off and on my whole life, not realizing that it was something that could be a job until my later years of high school. I went to an art college where I worked part-time to help pay the bills and spent the little bit of free time I had working on becoming a better artist.
For the rest of this week we’ll be posting our last few Q&As with Featured Contributors, and today I bring you Dajae Moe Williams, a Quality Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Dajae will be speaking alongside Featured Contributor Trudy Kortes in a panel about women pursuing STEM careers on Sunday at 10 a.m., so be sure to check it out in the Guidebook app! And don’t forget your passes!
But for now, let’s get to know Dajae!
Tell us a little about your story. Where are you from? Where are you based out of now?
St. Louis, Missouri. I now live in Los Angeles, California.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy song writing, music production, basketball, and entrepreneurship.
Who did you look up to growing up? How about now?
When I was younger, I looked up Will Smith, Queen Latifa, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Now I look up to Nipsey Hussle and Steve Jobs.
Who We Are Vaguely and in Terms Only of the Media We Seek Out Most Often:
Teal (roman type!) Literally any teen TV show, YA, women’s and feminist media, everything Star Trek
Hanna (italics, baby!) Reality TV, memoirs, romance novels, anything British, any podcast ever
Welcome to Geek Girl Talk, a (biased, subjective, opinionated) conversation about the pop culture we’re currently loving, hating, and obsessing over. Leading up to next weekend, we’re coming through with a special edition of Geek Girl Talk where we’ll be talking through our respective self-care plans for GeekGirlCon ‘19. The con is coming up on the weekend of November 16 and 17. If you haven’t yet, get your passes here!
I’ll start the conversation with an admission: As much as it pains me to say it, a lot of my excitement about attending conventions tends to be ultimately overwhelmed by anxiety. There’s some irony in that, I know. I spend months writing about an event that, when it comes down to it, ends up being one of the weekends I feel most drained and on-edge of the year. But, I also feel like that goes to show how much unique value I find in our con and organization; I’m beyond willing to support and show up for this thing, and I’m willing to do the work to manage my mental health well enough to make sure I can continue to sustainably. I have lots of tips and tricks and successes and horror stories about attending GeekGirlCon as a person with a lot of social anxiety, but before I get into that, Hanna, I’d love to know specifics about your relationship with mental health and con-going.
Now that we’re all in the throes of organizing our con-weekend itineraries, we’re posting these panel previews to highlight some of the programming we’re most looking forward to. So far we’ve covered sessions about gaming and academic geekery, and here I’ll be gushing about the panels to bookmark if you, like me, spend an almost superhuman amount of time listening to podcasts.
First up, I would like to seriously and desperately implore you to come to the live recording of Feminist Frequency Radio at 3 p.m. on Saturday. This year, Anita Sarkeesian, Ebony Adams, and Carolyn Petit will once again bring us an hour of pure joy in the form of thoughtful, funny, and serious feminist media analysis. Definitely include this session in your schedule and add some of their backlist to your podcast queue in the meantime!
We’ll also be graced with a live recording of the Fansplaining podcast at 10 a.m. on Sunday! The Fansplaining podcast deep dives into everything fandom, and the topic for the live recording is con culture! Swing by to hear hosts Elizabeth and Flourish discuss GeekGirlCon, the con experience in general, and the relationship between underrepresented groups and con culture.
Next, we have the folks behind d20 Dames, your favorite tabletop storytelling podcast. Join the four Dames as they play should an all-ages, one-shot adventure in front of a live audience at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday!
The last live podcast recording I’d like to draw your attention to is Sartorial Geek at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Jordan Ellis and Liz Crowder host a podcast about all things geek, and especially for GeekGirlCon, they’ll be discussing LGBTQIA+ themes in books and YA with Mallory Cohen from WhatchYA Reading?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I know for sure how I’ll be spending at least four hours of the weekend. Check here for the full programming schedule, and be sure to grab your passes if you haven’t already!
One Featured Contributor I’m especially excited to see in action this year is SassyBlack. SassyBlack is a Seattle-based artist who creates dreamy music that’s richly inspired by the traditions of sci-fi and Afrofuturism. She’ll be performing at GeekGirlCon ‘19 (at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday! Check out the whole programming schedule here!) and we couldn’t be luckier or more excited to have her. Read on to learn about her longtime love of Star Trek and newest album, Ancient Mahogany Gold.
I was born in San Francisco, raised in Hawaii and Seattle. Seattle is definitely my home!
What are your favorite communities to be a part of?
I really like being a part of the music community and music tech communities. Producing music in Ableton and composing on my synths bring me a ton of joy. I’d like to get more involved in the Marvel & Star Trek communities, but I get a little nervous about my knowledge base around all of that and sometimes that can prevent me from getting deeply involved in any of those communities. On the flip side, my family is a good source of community for all that type of conversation.
As Programming hammers out the final details of the con-weekend schedule, we’ve been taking some time to get to know this year’s Featured Contributors. I was lucky enough to chat with Johnnie Jae, who you may know as the founder of A Tribe Called Geek. I learned about everything from where she’s from to the depth of her love for Star Wars. Keep reading to get even more stoked for the con than you already are.