GeekGirlCon Blog

Practicing Self-Care in Isolation

Description: A white cartoon cat meditates as it levitates and reaches rainbow-colored nirvana.
Image courtesy of Giphy

When we think of self-care, the first image that comes to our minds is a bubble bath, candles, and a glass of wine. But the idea of self-care is much more than that. Don’t get me wrong—if a bubble bath, candles, and a glass of wine are things that help relax you and make you feel good, by all means do those things! However, there are also a lot of other ways that you can practice self-care in these stressful times that you may not have thought about while you are in isolation.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

The situation the world is in right now is scary and stressful and maddening, so it is okay to feel scared and stressed and angry! If you allow yourself to feel your feelings, you are better able to identify what is making you feel that way so you are able to cope with the situation. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but just let it out!

Limit your News Intake

While you absolutely should stay informed about what is happening in the world right now, try to limit your news intake to one reputable news source. If there are important developments, a reputable source will surely be reporting on it. The problem with seeking out multiple sources is that you will often see the same stories over and over and over again (as well as sensationalist stories to get clicks), adding to your stress and anxiety about the situation. As tempting as it is, try not to stay glued to your newsfeed. Just to take a look at it a couple of times a day to stay well informed.

This can also equate to limiting your time on social media in general. While it is easy to sit and scroll on your phone for hours because there isn’t much else to do (I’m guilty of this as well), you will often come across a lot of people posting about how bored/stressed/angry they are, as well as possible misinformation about COVID-19, which can feed your own boredom/stress/anger.

Control What You Can

A lot of negative feelings in this time are related to a perceived lack of control, so instead of focusing on what you can’t control, try focusing on things that you can control. Clean your closet, organize the bookcase, weed the garden, bake something, etc…. Controlling the heck out of this small stuff will help you feel grounded.

Keep to a Regular Schedule

I have come to find that my time in isolation has felt a bit like that week between Christmas and New Years. Time seems irrelevant and it is easy to get sucked into a nonexistent schedule of sleeping, eating, and sleeping again. To maintain a sense of normalcy, it helps to keep a regular schedule. Wake up at about the same time, eat your meals at normal times—you get it. Then, when this crisis is over and we are able to emerge from our homes, it won’t be such a shock getting back to our normal routines.

Help Others

Helping others is one of the biggest mood boosters there is. While it seems difficult to help people when we are supposed to be staying away from people, there are a few ways you can help out that take little to no contact. If you are going to venture out to the grocery store, check in with elderly neighbors to see if they need anything. Getting necessities was already difficult for our elderly population, and the current crisis has made it even more so. It only takes a minute to call or drop a note in their mailbox offering help, and they will surely appreciate it. Check in on your extrovert friends over FaceTime or Skype, because I can guarantee you that they are craving social contact. This could also be a great time to take in a foster pet, as adoption rates have gone down dramatically. Look around in your neighborhood for these little ways you can contribute to the cause, because we are all in this together.

Moisturize!

This one is small, but very important. We all have a heightened awareness about washing our hands, and all that extra contact with hot water, soap, and alcohol based sanitizers can quicklyy take a toll on the skin on your hands. Use a hand cream or body moisturizer a few times a day to keep the skin from getting cracked and itchy. Over-dry hands are not pleasant.

Escape Reality for a Bit

In times like this, we need a bit of escapism more than ever, and it is okay to duck out of reality for a little bit. Read a book, play a video game, or binge watch your favorite television show without guilt! You deserve to be able to relieve your mind with a bit of distraction.

Meditate

Even if it just for five minutes in a day, it is good to sit down and clear your mind for a moment. If you aren’t well practiced in meditation, try finding a guided meditation on YouTube. Trust me, it really helps.

Self-care is possibly the most important thing you can do for yourself during this time. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t care for others effectively, so don’t feel guilty about taking a few minutes for yourself during the day. 

And, as always, GGC is here to help support our community through hope, love, and acceptance. Tell us what kind of things you do to practice self-care at home!

Description: A small yellow cartoon chick sleeps and is surrounded by the phrase, “It is absolutely okay to take time for self care. You can’t do things well if you don’t feel well.
Image courtesy of Giphy

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

#GeekGirlTalk: We Want to Hear from You!

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 #GeekGirlTalk, a (biased, subjective, opinionated) conversation about the pop culture we’re currently loving, hating, and obsessing over. 

This month–this dark, dark month–Hanna and I are coming to you with a request: We need guest co-writers for this series!

The goal of #GeekGirlTalk, from the beginning, has been to carve out some digital space for this community to really talk about the media we’re thinking about. For the past year(ish), Hanna and I have been facilitating the conversation via these blog posts, but now it’s time to grow. Not only has this been our plan from the beginning, but given everything that’s going on right now, we think this could be a really great opportunity to lean into the community we’ve built here at GeekGirlCon and get to know some of you better.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

We’re still accepting programming submissions!

[Image description: a photo from the 2016 panel “Saving Sci-Fi & Fantasy: POC, Women, & LGBTQ Voices Saving the Genre.” In the foreground a large group of people sit and listen to 6 panelists, while looking at a screen. The screen reads “Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn.”]

As we posted on Wednesday, we are still planning on GeekGirlCon 2020 happening as scheduled. That means we are still looking for programming submissions! Here are the different types of forms we have for programming:

  • Panel Submission: To submit your own panel or presentation for consideration.
  • Panelist and/or Moderator Application: To be considered as a panelist or moderator on any panels needing additional participants.
  • Performance/Event Submission: To submit an idea for an event or performance (musical performance, variety show, networking event, game show, DJ, etc.).
  • Workshop Submission: To submit interactive/educational content (Paint ‘n Take, hands-on wig styling tutorial, learn-to-code hour, etc.).
  • Tabletop Game Host Application: To submit a game you/your company created for consideration for the Gaming Floor.

If you want to submit an idea for programming but need help brainstorming, think about what kind of programming you attended at last year’s GeekGirlCon. Don’t remember? The programs of GeekGirlCons past are always available on our website to download. The Copy team also wrote some sample pitches last May.

More importantly, think of the kind of programming that you wish GeekGirlCon had last year. What would make you excited to come to GeekGirlCon 2020? Chances are, there are others who would love your idea too. Read through our Mission and Values, and if your idea fits, send it in!

Find all of the details about programming submissions on our site. We will accept submissions to all forms until Thursday, April 30 at 11:59pm PST.

Most importantly—stay healthy, stay safe, and practice social distancing. We’re in this together.

Kalyna Durbak
“Rock On!”

We’re In This Together

To the GeekGirlCon Community,

The safety, security, and health of our attendees are of the utmost importance to GeekGirlCon. Beyond the scope of the convention, we want to make sure that you feel supported during the COVID-19 outbreak. We will take on each day as a community and communicate all updates should they arise. 

During this time of uncertainty, we recognize that late October feels like the distant future. However, we wanted to reach out and let you know that as of this time we are still planning on GeekGirlCon 2020 happening as scheduled. Passes are now available and we are actively accepting applications for exhibitors, sponsors, and programming content. We look forward to seeing you there!

In the interim, we are taking several precautions to ensure a safe and successful convention this fall and to support the community today:

  1. We are working closely with the Washington State Convention Center to ensure that we can count on a safe and hygienic convention. The Convention Center is committed to the standards set by the Center for Disease Control and have protocols in place for everyone’s protection.
  2. We understand that this is a difficult time for many of the contributors and attendees who are small independent businesses. We would like to work with you to help you promote your business during this downtime by highlighting and sharing your work with our community on social media. Let’s help one another continue to build community during the quarantine. 

Our staff is committed to monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and will keep you informed if any changes are in order. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and the GeekGirlCon blog for live updates as we continue to watch and assess the situation.

Thank you to those who have already purchased tickets, submitted their applications, and committed to attending in 2020. Your support allows us to continue our mission during this time of uncertainty. As a grassroots, all-volunteer organization, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all geeks are supported, welcomed, and encouraged to pursue what they love.  

Stay healthy, stay safe, and practice social distancing. We’ll get through this together. 

Sincerely,
The GeekGirlCon Staff 

Indigo Boock
“Rock On!”

Exhibitor Applications Are Now Open!

[Image description: a vendor smiles at a child who has stopped at their booth. The vendor is selling a variety of art prints. Photo by Sayed Alamy.]
[Image description: a vendor smiles at two people who have stopped to look at their booth in the GeekGirlCon Exhibitor Hall. Photo by Sayed Alamy.]

I think I can safely say that one of the highlights of many people’s experience at GeekGirlCon is the Exhibitor Hall.

It’s hard to resist! Where else can you find all of the artwork, books, games, clothing, pins, plushies, and stickers you could ever want from the most talented group of geeky creators around? It’s a magical place full of people forming connections over shared fandoms, finding just the right gift for their loved ones (or themselves!), and supporting incredible creators from across the region.

If you happen to be one of those incredible creators, you’re in luck – exhibitor applications are now officially open! We will be accepting submissions through Friday, May 15 at 11:59pm PST. (All applications submitted after May 15 will be automatically moved to the waitlist.)

Before you apply, here are a couple of useful resources to get you started:

Once you’ve reviewed that information, you’re ready to apply! Thank you for your interest in exhibiting at GeekGirlCon ’20. We can’t wait to see you (and your wonderful creations/items) there!

[Image description: two GeekGirlCon attendees in cosplay look at art prints in the Exhibitor Hall. Photo by Sayed Alamy.]

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Stay Healthy!

Here at GeekGirlCon, we care about the health and safety of everyone in our community. Currently, The greater Seattle area (and many other places in the world) is facing a battle with COVID-19, popularly referred to as Coronavirus. Now is a good time to review a few ways to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community as safe as you can. When it comes to germs, sharing is not caring.

Wash Your Hands

This cannot be stressed enough, folks! WASH. YOUR. HANDS. Hand washing is the simplest and most effective way to stop the spread of disease. Follow these simple rules while washing your hands  to give yourself the best shot at killing as many germs as possible:

  1. Use hot running water and wet your hands.
  2. Soap up!
  3. Scrub your hands for 15-20 seconds. Yeah, it seems like a long time, but that’s just how long it takes to kill the germies. A good rule is to sing Happy Birthday twice. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and around your finger nails.
  4. Rinse well. Don’t touch the faucet when you are done! This can re-contaminate your hands.
  5. Get a disposable paper towel and dry your hands. Use the towel to turn off the water without touching the faucet directly.

If you can’t wash your hands, you can use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base, but nothing beats a good ol’ wash.

Check out this funny old video about washing your hands from the Washington Department of Health:

Description: Various people enthusiastically endorsing hand washing to a catchy tune.
Video courtesy of the Washington State Department of Health

Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes

Believe it or not, there is actually a right way and a wrong way to cover a cough or sneeze. The best method is to cover your mouth with a tissue and throw it away. If you, like me, often find coughs and sneezes sneaking up on you and you don’t have time to get a tissue, then you should turn your head into the crook of your elbow. This will direct the germs away from your hands while also not spreading germy spittle across the room. Try not to cough and sneeze directly in your hands unless you have no other choice, and please wash your hands immediately.

You should cover that sneeze, little dude…
Description: A kitten sneezes adorably.
Image courtesy of Giphy

Don’t Touch Your Face

This is a really, really hard one. We touch our faces all the time, every day. When your eye itches, you scratch it. If you have dry lips, you put on lip balm.  Do you see where this is going? Your fingers are the parts of your body that will undoubtedly come into the most contact with germy surfaces, and your face houses the mucous membranes that give germs the easiest access into your body (eyes, nose, and mouth). It is like granting bacteria VIP access to your body. I know it is hard, but please try to not touch your face.

That’s just what the germs want!
Description: Will Ferrell belligerently threatens, “I’ll get inside your face!”
Image courtesy of Giphy

If You Feel Sick, Please Stay Home

Through most cold and flu seasons, we are told to stay home when sick, but are kind of pressured to go about our lives as usual. It is difficult to make the decision to stay home from work or school when there is so much to be done and people who depend on you. But please, please, please stay home if you are feeling unwell. Please keep your children home from school if they are feeling sick. Trust me, no one wants them there and they don’t want to be there.

Currently, the King County Public Health Department has put out a list of Public Health Recommendations to help combat the spread of Coronavirus. They recommend trying to work from home if you can, and to avoid large gatherings of people. We should all stay calm, but be mindful of our habits and surroundings to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.

It is important to point out that, while many people get the cold and flu every year and come out of it perfectly fine, there are also many who don’t. COVID-19 is proving to be similar. While you, a reasonably healthy adult, may just have mild symptoms and will recover on your own, there are those in our society who would not. The elderly, the very young, those who are pregnant, and the immunocompromised react much more severely to common illnesses. If we have it within our power to stop the spread of diseases that may prove fatal to the most vulnerable members of our society, then we have a moral and ethical obligation to do so. So please, protect other peoples loved ones and wash your hands.

Want a little more info? Check out our previous blog post How to Conquer Con Crud for some more tips from GeekGirlCon on how to stay happy and healthy!

And also… wash your hands!

Description: A waving hand informs us that clean hands care, protect, and count.
Image courtesy of Giphy

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

The 10 Best Manga Created by Women Writers

Post by guest contributor Hayk Saakian.

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

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

GeekGirlCon
“Rock On!”

#GeekGirlTalk: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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 #GeekGirlTalk, a (biased, subjective, opinionated) conversation about the pop culture we’re currently loving, hating, and obsessing over. For February, and to kick off a 2020 full of #GeekGirlTalk, we’re reflecting on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and the special place teen rom coms hold in our hearts. 

I, like everyone else in the world, fell in love with To All the Boys when it premiered on Netflix in the summer of 2018. For whatever reason, I hadn’t read the books, so I went in with almost no preconceptions. I’m not the biggest of movie fans, so it’s notable that that summer I watched it twice back-to-back and have returned to it several times in the past year and a half.

Hanna, we can get into the sequel (if we must), but first, I want to try and articulate why I think of this movie as such a triumph of its genre. To start, I must admit that I am very, extremely in favor of the Fake Boyfriend trope. It’s definitely my favorite romance trope and also maybe my favorite fiction trope in general. Not only do I think that it reliably adds the tension and drama we’re all seeking in our love stories, but I also find that it more consistently centers actual emotional closeness than other common tropes can or, at least, do. One of my biggest pet peeves about stories with romantic plots is how much so many of them rely on readers just believing in the emotional closeness of the characters without its development actually being reflected in the text. Now that I think about it, in my mind I tend to frame the Fake Boyfriend (and all of its more tangential iterations) as the opposite of the Soul Mate in terms of romance fiction. And, honestly, I think that while obviously the average person is not actually getting into that many fake-romantic-partner situations over the course of their life, the relationship-building that accompanies the trope is wildly more applicable to our real lives than the kind of situational drama that comes with finding (and then losing and then reuniting with) a quote unquote Soul Mate. I know we generally agree on most of this, Hanna, but I’d really love to hear what you think in re: the Fake Boyfriend potentially being the best romance trope out there. I also want to acknowledge that Fake Boyfriend stories can depend heavily on heteronormativity in way that erases the experiences of and/or is inaccessible to queer folks, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on that piece of things as well.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

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

Post by guest contributor Kate Harveston.

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

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

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

Meet Joss Kendrick

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

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

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

Why the Disabled Need Representation in the Media 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recognizing the Contributions of the Disabled Community 

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

Congratulations, Joss.


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

GeekGirlCon
“Rock On!”

Happy Smash-the-Patriarchy Day

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

Aces and aros are valid,

And their relationships are, too.

Today is February 14, and you know what that means: GeekGirlCon ’20 is only 260 days away!

A gif of Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time throwing confetti into the air. Source: Giphy

It’s also Valentine’s Day, a super fun holiday with no negative connotations whatsoever for anyone whose life isn’t playing out like a romantic comedy—or for anyone whose life is playing out like a romantic comedy, but who hasn’t yet made it to the happily-ever-after part.

Caitlin Foskey
“Rock On!”

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