Since the premiere of this season of The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of feminist TV and feminist media generally. To be fair, I don’t really ever stop thinking about the concept of feminist media, but as there has been a clear influx over the past few years, the conversations surrounding it are becoming more and more pointed.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a clear example of what is widely considered feminist media, but it’s not the only example. Its tone and sense of hopelessness have led me to think a lot about what is useful to feminists about feminist media. Many people think of The Handmaid’s Tale as a story that can open the eyes of those who don’t themselves suffer at the hands of heteropatriarchy to our plight. But as feminists whose eyes are already opened, what do we need from our media?
Thank you for supporting GeekGirlCon during our third year of teaming up with Seattle Foundation for its GiveBIG program! With your help, we raised $14,846 from 41 donors!
As a volunteer-run nonprofit organization, GGC relies on the support of this community to continue to exist and grow. We can’t thank you enough for helping us both maintain and develop spaces where geeky girls, women, non-binary people, and their supporters are safe to be who they are, enjoy what they love, and celebrate women who have done and are doing great things.
Source: GGC Flickr. Description: A group of adults and children gather around a table of science supplies at the GGC17 DIY Science Zone.
Because of your support, we will be able to continue adding more programming, gaming, vendors, artists, year-round events, and community engagement to the GeekGirlCon lineup in the coming year. Your passion for the GGC mission makes everything we do possible, and we are so honored to have you partner with us as we continue to build this community.
We can’t wait to show you the ways that your donations will make a difference both at the con this October 27-28 and throughout the year. Thank you for believing in us!
Source: Giphy. Description: a gif montage of Annie and Troy from Community high-fiving each other.
Tomorrow, get ready for a day of giving with GiveBIG!
GiveBIG is sponsored by the Seattle Foundation. It’s an online fundraising marathon designed to help Seattle area nonprofits create momentum and excitement about community philanthropy. You can pre-schedule gives to GeekGirlCon right now, and you won’t be charged until the morning of May 9. This way, you can set it and forget it, as it were.
This is our third year of GiveBIG. In previous years, our funds donated to GeekGirlCon have gone to supporting our annual convention and year-round outreach programming. Our goal is to make attendance accessible and affordable for every geek. That’s why we also partner with other organizations to provide free passes to those who may not otherwise have the resources to attend.
There are ways to make your dollar go further too. Per GiveBIG giving requirements, there is a minimum of $10 to participate, but there is no maximum. Also, donations for GeekGirlCon ‘18 benefits begin at $50 and all donations at that amount and above will receive convention benefits.
You can also harness the power of donation matching! GeekGirlCon will be offering a match during GiveBIG thanks to a generous donation from I-Wei Feng, GeekGirlCon’s outgoing board president. All gifts will also be eligible for a Dollars for Change grant. If your gift is selected, GeekGirlCon will receive an additional $2,500. If you have an employer match, you can indicate so with your donation. A GeekGirlCon staff member will follow up after GiveBIG to complete any necessary documentation.
Every year, volunteers from countries around the world come together to help us make GeekGirlCon a success. From setup to tear down, our Agents are there to make sure every aspect of the con is pulled off without a hitch, and we would love to have you on our team this year!
The fourth member of our Voice of a Hero panel was one that I was particularly interested in listening to at GeekGirlCon ‘17. Kimberly Brooks, whose voiceover work you’ll hear just about everywhere, shared with us her years of experience working on everything from Rugrats, to Bioshock Infinite and Voltron. A fan of hers myself, I was ecstatic to cover her personal Q&A at the convention.
Art saves lives.
Kimberly was really shy growing up, and faced a pretty rough period during her childhood. It was her 5th grade teacher that really helped spark her creativity. She had a small puppet theater set up in her classroom, and Kimberly started voicing all of the puppets in her own little shows. After listening, her teacher invited Kimberly to audition for the children’s theater. They were putting on Alice in Wonderland.
She gave Kimberly the confidence to believe in herself, and like all creatives eventually do, that’s how she got the bug.
She did the children’s theater, and later moved on to a good high school in LA with a pretty stellar theater department. She was in Sweeney Todd, she played Mrs. Lovett. It was a great experience where she learned different aspects of production, like directing.
Happy (almost) May, blog readers! As the sun continues to grace us with its mercurial presence, it’s time to get out and take full advantage of some of the incredible events coming up this month! Catch some movies, play some games, go to some talks…this month, the world is your oyster!
The Grinning Yogi 345 15th Ave E, # 102, Seattle, Washington 98112
Each year Eating Recovery Center celebrates Eating Recovery Day–a day dedicated to removing stigma, raising awareness and inspiring hope for recovery. The Eating Recovery Day theme for 2018 is #MyRecoveryLetter. Join us in Seattle at The Grinning Yogi. This complimentary evening of activities will include yoga, mindfulness, letter-writing, conversation and celebration. First, Jamie Silverstein E-RYT 500, Owner and Director of The Grinning Yogi, will be leading a heartfelt yoga practice. Following yoga, the group will participate in a creative letter-writing exercise to practice accessing love and gratitude in recovery. Letter-writing will be led by Nica Stepien, LMHC, NCC, Alumni Family Liaison at ERC, Washington.
8:00pm – 11:30pm The Showbox 1426 First Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 Tickets: $27 – $77
SuicideGirls is bringing back a revamped version of the sexiest show on the planet for 2018! Blackheart Burlesque is unlike any other burlesque act you’ve seen filled with pop-culture references, a high energy indie soundtrack and the sexiest choreographed strip tease to make your inner nerd explode with glee. Choreographed by one of their very own – you can see Star Wars, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Star Trek and West World numbers in a insanely sexy reimagined way!
Each year, local nonprofits receive a surge of support during the Seattle Foundation’s annual giving campaign, GiveBIG. GiveBIG invites individuals to support their favorite nonprofits with monetary donations. You can check out GeekGirlCon’s page here. This year, we’re able to provide matching funds thanks to former GeekGirlCon board president I-Wei Feng.
While this time of year is surely important to a lot of orgs, it’s also super important to us, as it’s when some of GeekGirlCon’s most supportive individual sponsors show up in full force. To give you a sense of some of the remarkable folks who really come through for GeekGirlCon during GiveBIG, I interviewed longtime supporter Stevie Lantalia Metke.
We’ve still got a little ways to go, but the GeekGirlCon staff can’t begin to tell you how excited we are for ‘18 convention. As of my posting this, we’ve got about 192 days until the con commences on the morning of October 27th. We’ve still got a some planning to do ourselves, but there are a few things you can do right now to prepare for a weekend of fun as we celebrate diversity in popular culture.
Pick Up Your Passes
Passes are currently available for purchase online and are still listed at early bird pricing. Make sure to grab yours now before they go up, because the sale will be ending on May 1 at 11:59 PST.
…and at that price, maybe you’ll grab a couple for your kids, your favorite in-law, or your sister. There’s something for your entire family at GeekGirlCon (and we mean that!)
Book Your Hotel
This year, we’re ecstatic to be reviving our partnership with Hotel Max in downtown Seattle the weekend of the convention! A few city blocks away from the Conference Center at the WSCC, Hotel Max is giving you a special GeekGirlCon room rate of $169 Thursday through Sunday evening.
Finish Your Programming Submission
Looking to do something a little more hands-on, or have a great idea for a panel at GeekGirlCon ’18? Never fear, there’s a little more time to submit your programming application! We’re still accepting applications for panels, panelists and moderators, performances, events, workshops, and tabletop hosts. But make sure to submit yours soon, because applications close on Monday, April 30 at 11:59 PST.
Apply To Become An Exhibitor
Interested in bringing your wares to GeekGirlCon? We’re also still accepting exhibitor applications until Monday, April 30 at 11:59 PST. Each year I spend an obscene amount of time perusing the tables of the exhibitor hall, enamored with everyone’s work—so whether you’re an independent artist or shop owner, the GeekGirlCon community thrives on creativity and this is the perfect way to express and share yours.
Stay tuned as we continue to sculpt your perfect convention, where every geek is free to participate in the conversation, share their passions, and express what makes them unique. GeekGirlCon ‘18 is all about being loud and being proud of who we are, and we’re thrilled to share that experience with you.
As some of you already know, I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I had been eagerly awaiting the GGC’17 Looking for Leia panel since I first read about it while helping edit the con’s program booklet. The panel highlighted filmmaker Annalise Ophelian’s six-episode docu-series Looking for Leia about women of the Star Wars fandom. The panelists included Annalise herself, along with droid-builder Christina Cato, Rebel Legion member Pat M. Yulo, physician and starwars.com writer Linda Hansen-Raj, fanfiction author and cosplayer Maggie Nowakowska, and KUOW reporter Jamala Henderson.
Given the wildly fluctuating highs and lows of 2017 (let’s face it, mainly lows), this past year’s GeekGirlCon represented the perfect space to reflect on the progress that has been made in the media we love, as well as the work that still needs to be done. One panel which perfectly encapsulated this blend of nostalgia and foresight was Lassos, Lightsabers, and Stakes: Assessing the Heroine’s Journey 20 Years After Buffy.
Image Description: Buffy twirls a stake in her hand. Source: Giphy.
Since 2017 was the 20th anniversary of the premiere of the complex and groundbreaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, this panel highlighted the ways in which the entertainment industry still struggles to accept the lessons demonstrated by the enduring impact of the show, its characters, and its fans. Simultaneously, panelists celebrated the gains made through media ranging from Wonder Woman and Star Wars at the movies to Supergirl, The 100, and The Crown on television.
Drawing on the theory of the Heroine’s Journey – a counterpoint, most notably presented by Maureen Murdock in her 1990 book of the same name, to Joseph Campbell’s famed Hero’s Journey – in which characters experience a cyclical journey of personal and communal growth, the panelists analyzed the state of affairs in media representation for women and other underrepresented communities.
Image Description: A gif of Buffy squinting her eyes and looking intense. Source: Giphy.
The panelists included B.J. Priester, a law professor, novelist, editor, and self-professed “lifelong geek;” Tricia Barr, an engineer, novelist, and writer at the FANgirl blog; and Jennifer K. Stuller, a writer, editor, and pop culture critic and historian specializing in the history of American female superheroines and action heroines in comics, film, and television.
Image Description: A gif of Buffy and Willow, with Buffy sucking on a lollipop. Source: Giphy.
Fittingly beginning with the enduring significance of Buffy, the panelists discussed the modern-day resonance of its values, especially the themes of community, friendship, mutual support, and female empowerment and leadership. The panelists argued that, while many shows shaped the values of young people at the time, Buffy truly defined those values. However, the show is not without its flaws. The panelists noted the egregious lack of diversity in the show’s cast as a particularly frustrating limitation. Similarly, the actions of the show’s creator Joss Whedon – which have been incredibly problematic and disappointingtosaytheleast– are important to grapple with for fans who continue to glean insight, comfort, and empowerment from the series.
Image Description: A gif of the character Rey from Star Wars, with the caption saying “Follow me.” Source: Giphy.
The panel subsequently analyzed Star Wars and Wonder Woman, pieces of media which represent both how far we have come in terms of representation for women in film, as well as highlight the limitations that we still encounter time and time again. With the emergence of the character Rey, the Star Wars universe has introduced an exceptional new example of a heroic arc, as well as an inspirational figure for audiences and storytellers to connect with. At the same time, the film series needs to ensure that all female characters are depicted as full human beings, with agency and complexity of their own.
Image Description: A gif of the character Diana from Wonder Woman, deflecting a bullet with her forearm cuff. Source: Giphy.
As Jennifer noted, Wonder Woman not only became the highest grossing DC comic film ever, but had a “visceral, resonant impact,” due to the care with which director Patty Jenkins crafted a narrative of empowerment and the struggle for power and self-determination in a world marred by war and misogynistic violence. However, as Trisha noted, Wonder Woman is far from perfect, and it too falls far short in terms of full representation for women and marginalized groups as a whole.
This panel is a perennial staple at GeekGirlCon, a chance to check in on the state of affairs in feminist media. As the panelists noted, every year there are more stories to talk about, more examples of exciting and necessary representation, and more opportunities in the future to look forward to. But as with the Heroine’s Journey itself, the progress of intersectional feminist representation is never-ending, and we must constantly challenge ourselves to support diverse media, to fight for greater representation, and to create our own narratives which challenge all of us to extend our knowledge, understanding, and empathy.
Image Description: A gif of Dawn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the caption saying “Cause at least I admit the world makes me nuts. Source: Giphy.