GeekGirlCon Blog

Three Television Portrayals of Women

I’ve been dealing with a persistent case of burnout over the past couple of months. Although it’s been frustrating from relational and productivity standpoints, staying home and hiding from the world has left me with a lot of good tv-watching time. I’ve been checking out new shows and catching up on old ones, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the portrayals of women in several of them. Here’s a snapshot.

Nadia Vulvokov from Russian Doll

Nadia, standing in a bathroom, adjusts her shirt before swaggering toward the door. Source: Giphy.

Caitlin Foskey
“Rock On!”

The #GGC18 Photo Booth

Feeling the mid-winter blues? My fellow Seattlites are thrilled that the worst of our weather is (hopefully) behind us, but I’ve got something to warm up this chilly afternoon: did you know that the photo booth pictures from #GGC18 are up on our Flickr?

Taken by photographer and GGC veteran Sayed Alamy, there’s no better time than now to find inspiration for your next cosplay or get yourself a little hyped for this upcoming November.

I was feeling a little under the weather this week, but scrolling through these photos did wonders for my mood. Here are some of my favorites (with absolutely no bias towards my favorite characters, I swear!) Plus, I don’t think there’s anything cuter than a mini cosplayer. Prove me wrong.

Indigo Boock
“Rock On!”

Changing the Game: How Can the Gaming Industry Be More Gender Inclusive?

By guest contributor Kate Harveston

When Super Mario Brothers first came out, my brother and I spent hour after hour trying to save a princess trapped behind Goombas and those weird-looking duck-turtle hybrid things. I never thought about the premise behind the game—that women characters were delicate flowers in need of rescue. To my young mind, I accepted that mindset in the same fashion I accepted fairy tales featuring damsels in distress.

Early video game manufacturers definitely catered to a certain audience, namely young men, many of which probably enjoyed escaping into gaming to create strong alter egos. Over the years, more women have joined the ranks of heavy-duty gamers, but has this influx of women players changed the way women characters get treated in the gaming world?

The “Madonna/Whore” Paradigm

Early game designers included women characters not as equal players, but rather as either innocent little princesses or sultry seductresses. This Madonna-versus-whore treatment of women in video games reinforced the false belief that women only exist in terms of their relationships with men. Any personality traits a unique woman character might possess were often overlooked.

As time progressed and more women began gaming, video game manufacturers began including more women characters to choose from in role-playing games and the like. Allowing gamers to select women avatars appeared to be a step in the direction of gender equality, and in some ways, it was.

However, serious gamers soon discovered that selecting a woman character often meant losing the game. For example, in the fighting game Dead or Alive, the woman protagonist must engage in battle with her much larger, stronger, and more powerful father in the second half of the game, putting the players who chose the woman character at a distinct disadvantage.

Even something as basic as the way game designers attire their women characters leaves these characters at an additional disadvantage. It’s a bit difficult to run very fast in high heels! No man video game protagonist has to go into battle clad only in his Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs, but women characters often wage war in skimpy bikinis or are otherwise scantily-clad.

How Video Games Impact Behavior

The issue of the gender divide between the treatment of characters in video games has implications beyond just the gameplay itself. Multiple studies suggest that while frequent exposure to violent video games doesn’t necessarily lead to criminal activity, images still do influence behavior. The consequences of how a fictional avatar treats women characters could potentially translate into the way the player interacts with women in the real world. At best, exposure to violent video games that also objectify women normalizes the objectification of women in real life. At worst, it may lead to more actual violence against women.

About four out of five victims of intimate-partner violence are women. One in six women have been the victim of a rape attempt, and one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. With harrowing numbers like that, we should be looking at any and every way we can to prevent furthering the violence against women that is unfortunately so prevalent in society.

Perhaps the solution is as simple as parents taking more of an active role in preventing their children from playing violent games that send the wrong messages about how to treat women. For example, should a child tell of playing a violent game at a friend’s house, a parent should take time to talk with them to help them process what they saw and explain its full context.

Changing the Game for the Better

Video game manufacturers likewise should take responsibility for the way their creations portray women. While many video game manufacturers have shied away from using women protagonists in the past, they should realize women gamers prefer entertainment that portrays them complexly. Even if sales of a game with a woman protagonist dip among men, women could more than make up their slack!

In addition, video game manufacturers should embrace diversity and eschew rigid gendering that    treat women as secondary in importance to men. Likewise, manufacturers should eliminate the practice of making men avatars automatically stronger or more talented than their women counterparts. Featuring more trans and nonbinary characters would also be an excellent addition to gaming.

Furthermore, primary and secondary schools alike can encourage women to explore the amazing opportunities of STEM fields, including video game design. The interest definitely exists. In Australia, for example, women make up 46 percent of all gamers, but only 15 percent of all of those working in the video game industry. Many researchers consider educator bias as a contributing factor, as many schools encourage boys to enter science and math career fields whereas young girls are  steered into nurturing positions such as nursing or teaching.


In the end, few people believe that women have reached total equality in all areas of life, the lives of gamers included! Works of art such as video games serve as powerful tools in creating an alternate reality that can be more, not less, inclusive.

About Kate: 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.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Geek About Town: March

It’s almost March, and you know what that means! Celebration! Besides Holi and St. Patrick’s Day, did you know that March is not only National Women’s History Month, National Peanut Month, and National Craft Month?! The more you know…

Image Description: A gif of the words “The More You Know” on top of a rainbow that is shooting through the sky. This graphic was originally used for a series of NBC public service announcements. Source: Giphy

So get out there (or stay inside—it’s still pretty cold out, after all) and enjoy this month of merriment and green clothing!

Read on to see what’s happening in March.

Image Description: A gif of a crowd of people dancing and throwing colored powder in the air to celebrate Holi. Source: Giphy

Saturday, March 2: Lunar New Year Celebration — Year of the Pig

  • 11:00am – 4:00pm
  • Hing Hay Park
    423 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98104
  • It’s time for the QRC’s annual Drag Show!  On Friday, February 1st, join us in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall for a night of great music and even better performers! The show starts at 7pm and goes until 9pm, and will feature both drag queens and drag kings. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for non-students.

    All money collected goes to benefit Lifelong and the Sean Humphrey House, local organizations that support LGBT+ people in our community.

    Please bring cash to tip the performers! Since this is a benefit, the performers are not being compensated, so please show them your love and tip heavily!

    Tickets will be available in the PAC box office very soon, we will comment in the discussion when tickets become available for purchase!

    For disability accommodations, please contact

Saturday, February 2: Lunar New Year Celebration & Fair

  • 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wing Luke Museum
    719 S King St, Seattle, Washington 98104
  • Celebrate the Year of the Pig with lion and dragon dances, cultural
    performances, and the $3 Food Walk!

Saturday, March 2: Spring Plant Sale

  • 9:00am – 3:00pm
  • UW Center For Urban Horticulture
    3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, Washington 98105
  • Come celebrate spring a little early while helping support our local plant growers! The annual NHS Spring Ephemeral Plant Sale will take place on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.

Saturday, March 2: NerdFaire Con!

  • 9:00am – 6:00pm
  • 7:00pm (Feb. 2nd), 5:30pm (Feb. 3rd)
  • Lynnwood Convention Center
    3711 196th St SW, Lynnwood, Washington 98036
  • NerdFaire is NOT a craft fair or handmade fair, it is a MINI CON for ALL THE THINGS Nerdy and Geeky. Our focus is on supporting local Shops, businesses, and handmade items, in addition to creating community for all of Nerdery and Geekdom. This is our first year, but we hope to make this a long standing event.

    Enjoy Cosplay contests and Fandom Meetups, Story Time and Meet n Greets with Our Princesses and Heroes.

    Check out our show floor for some Trading Card Game duels OR learn how to play TCG Games, Board Games, and Miniatures Table Top Games. You can even take some time to paint a Miniature to take home.

    Don’t forget to check out our Exhibitors! Some of the best Local Businesses, Artisans, Hand crafters, Authors, Artists, and more, the PNW has to offer!

    Kids 15 and under are free, but they need a badge and accompanied by an adult. Come out, buy some Nerd trinkets to add to your collection, participate in our activities, and most of all HAVE FUN!

Sunday, March 3: Dear Black Man: A Spoken Word Event

  • 5:00 – 8:00pm
  • Delancey’s on 3rd
    810 S 3rd St, Renton, Washington 98057
  • Join us for a raw and unfiltered experience as we address our black men by way of spoken word and live painting. There will be a full bar available to purchase drinks. Music by DJ Bankhead. Full Bar. Spoken Word. Live Painting.

Tuesday, March 8: Trivia Tuesday: Parks and Recreation

  • 7:00 – 10:00pm
  • Neumos
    925 E Pike St, Seattle, Washington 98122
  • Neumos Presents:
    Trivia Tuesday ft. drink specials and prizes. We serve the full Bok a Bok food menu! FREE! 21+

Wednesday, March 6: Be Bold Seattle: International Women’s Day Celebration

  • 5:30 – 8:30pm
  • Benaroya Hall
    200 University St, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world for 111 years, is coming back to Seattle. Join us to hear from inspirational speakers how together we can accelerate equality.

Wednesday, March 6 – Thursday, March 7: Teaching Tolerance | Facilitating Critical Conversations

  • Starting at 8:30am
  • Holocaust Center for Humanity
    2045 Second Ave, Seattle, Washington 98121
  • TWO WORKSHOPS: “Teaching Tolerance” and “Facilitating Critical Conversations”
    Register for one or both!
    $25 for one | $40 for both | Includes lunch and clock hours

    The Holocaust Center for Humanity is proud to offer these workshops in partnership with Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Thursday, March 7: Free Days at the Museum of History and Industry

  • 10:00am – 8:00pm
  • 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-4330, United States
  • On the first Thursday of each month, general admission to the Museum of History and Industry’s permanent exhibits are free all day long! The museum is open from 10a-8p.

Saturday, March 8: GeekGirlCon Board Game Night at Wayward Coffeehouse!

  • 7:00 – 10:45pm
  • 6417 Roosevelt Way NE #104, Seattle, WA 98115
  • 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!

    Our group is inclusive and totally newbie-friendly. We play a wide range of modern board and card games as well as some classics.

Friday, March 8: Indigenous and Women of Color Rise

  • 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • The Seattle Public Library
    Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98104
  • As our world burns, injustice festers around the globe. Patriarchy, racism, and capitalism are bringing us to ruin. In the face of this brutality, we need to elevate voices from the grassroots. And not just any voices. We need radical voices that take no prisoners, that speak the truth, that rip down the fantasies of the powerful and inspire us to fight like our lives depend on it.

    On March 8th, 2019 (International Women’s Day), an event will be held featuring two of these powerful voices: Dominique Christina, the author of four books and the only person to EVER become a two-time world champion in slam poetry, and Cherry Smiley, warrior hero, feminist activist, scholar, and artist from the Nlaka’pamux (Thompson) and Diné (Navajo) nations.

    The evening program will inform, educate, empower, inspire, and strengthen our spirit for the injustices we face: male violence, objectification, sexual exploitation, and racialization.

    The event will take place at the world-famous Seattle Central Library in downtown Seattle, Washington, and is being organized by Asian Women for Equality and Fertile Ground Institute for Social and Environmental Justice.

Saturday, March 9: Service and Community at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

  • 10:00am – 2:00pm
  • Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
    4192 Eagle Harbor Dr NE, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110
  • Originally scheduled to be on February 19th –  the Day of Remembrance anniversary when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942 – snow and uncertain weather conditions forced the cancellation and rescheduling to March 9th., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    Inspired by the unique legacy of a community that welcomed their Japanese American friends and neighbors home after World War II, everyone is welcome to gather for “Service and Community” at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, offering landscaping maintenance and improvements to the National Historic Site, located at Pritchard Park, 4192 Eagle Harbor Drive, Bainbridge Island.

    Hosted by the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and generous support from the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, everyone is invited and welcome to pitch in and help. Please wear appropriate clothing for work and weather, bring gloves and your own gardening tools.

Saturday, March 9 – Sunday, March 10: More Fats More Femmes Witch Market 8.0

  • 12:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Indian Summer
  • 534 Summit Ave E, Seattle, Washington 98102
  • Celebrate every inch of yourself at this Aquarius/Pisces season cusp pop-up shop just in time for the beginning of Seattle’s spring. Indian Summer owner Adria Garcia, ex-IS manager Kim Selling, and current IS shopgirl Abby Cooke will be selling racks on racks on racks of plus size vintage clothing. We’ll have pieces of many style varieties from size 12 to 32, especially pertaining to the encroaching (hopefully) sun-soaked seasons. Come get swathed in mesh, silk, velvet, faux fur, leather, pleather, lace, and all of your other favorite textures with us ♥

Thursday, March 14: Emerald City Comic Con 2019

  • 10:00am – 7:00pm
  • Emerald City Comic Con
    800 Convention Pl, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • Emerald City Comic Con is the destination comic and pop culture show for the Pacific Northwest. ECCC delivers the best that the comics and pop culture industry has to offer directly from the creators, bringing super fans exactly what they crave: interaction with quality content and guests and an inclusive space to celebrate their fandom.

Friday, March 15: The “Shrill” Premiere: Binge with Lindy West

  • 5:00 – 10:00pm
  • The Cloud Room
  • Lindy West will be here to join us as we binge watch her new adapted series, Shrill, debuting on Hulu March 15th. Based on her 2016 memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, the 6 episode comedy stars Aidy Bryant, “A woman who seeks out ways to change her life without changing her body.”

    We’ll have special cocktails and on-theme snacks for your viewing pleasure! 21+

Saturday, March 16: 28th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • Downtown Bremerton
  • Time to get your Irish on and celebrate this fun community tradition. Sponsored by Olympic College Foundation. Parade steps off at 11am at 6th and Pacific. Heads south on Pacific to Fourth Street.  Turning Right to head down to Park Avenue. At Park Ave turning Right to 5th St. Right on 5th St back up to Pacific Ave.

Saturday, March 16: Harry Potter Inspired Beer Festival

  • 6:30 – 10:00pm
  • Block 41
    115 Bell Street, Seattle, Washington 98121
  • Join us for our Harry Potter inspired Beer Festival as we transform the Iconic Block 41 into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter complete with Hogwarts Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and the Leaky Cauldron. The event will hosts a beer tasting of over twenty winter, pumpkin, and holiday ales including Snape’s Lair of Secret Cider Potions and Adult Butter Beer. There will be a Hagrid Photo Op, plenty of characters, food from Mac Shackk, and live music from the Slytherin Sisters and DJ Dumbledore. 21+

Saturday, March 16 – Sunday, March 17: Public Huge Book Sale 2019

  • 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
    301 Mercer Street, Seattle, Washington 98109
  • It’s not just big, it’s huge!  Over 100,000 items will be for sale with over 50 categories of nonfiction including art, cookbooks, crafts, gardening, history, music, performing arts, pets, nature and travel.

    We have an extensive selection of fiction including science fiction, graphic novel, classics, and short stories. Our children’s selection covers every reading level you can imagine plus several special categories such as folk & fairy tales, history and nature.

    We’ll have over 15 languages represented in our foreign languages section plus a vast selection of DVDs, CDs, audio books and records. Don’t miss it!

Monday, March 18: EduTalks: A Place Called School

  • 3:30 – 5:30pm
  • Sartori Elementary School, 332 Park Ave North, Renton WA
  • On March 18, education researchers and practitioners will discuss how teachers, students, administrators, parents, communities and researchers are coming together to renew and meaningfully improve how young people experience school during EduTalks: A Place Called School.

    During the fast-paced program, presenters will have five minutes and one image to share their unique take on practices and policies that can invigorate and improve the experience of school for young people, educators and communities—and in particular for historically marginalized students. The event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required to ensure seating:

Thursday, March 21: The Moth Seattle GrandSLAM Championship

  • 8:00 – 9:30pm
  • Seattle First Baptist Church
    1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle, Washington 98122
  • The Moth Presents the GrandSLAM, the culmination of ten open mic StorySLAM competitions. The champions of ten previous StorySLAM nights return to the stage to compete with brand new stories for the title of GrandSLAM champion. Take a seat ringside at the ultimate battle of wits and words, and witness a storytelling showdown that ranges from fierce to hilarious to heartbreaking, and all points in between.

    Each ticket purchase includes a copy of The Moth’s new book, Occasional Magic: True Stories About Defying The Impossible!. Due to be published on March 19, 2019, this collection is drawn from the best stories ever told on The Moth stage.

    Presented by Town Hall Seattle and The Moth.

Friday, March 22: GeekGirlCon Board Game Night at Wayward Coffeehouse!

  • 7:00pm – 10:45pm
  • 6417 Roosevelt Way NE #104, Seattle, WA 98115
  • 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!

    Our group is inclusive and totally newbie-friendly. We play a wide range of modern board and card games as well as some classics.

Saturday, March 23: Teen Action Fair

  • 10:00am – 3:00pm
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
    440 5th Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109

    It Starts with Youth!  

    Celebrate youth-driven change at #TeenActionFair 2019. Connect with youth and organizations working to make a difference in their local and global communities through volunteering, art, social justice campaigns, and more.

    Free and open to all. The celebration features powerful performances, a youth-led open mic, an art showcase, give back activities, and over 30 youth-driven and youth-focused organizations.

Saturday, March 23: Grand Opening: ARTS at King Street Station

  • 12:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Office of Arts & Culture Seattle
    303 S. Jackson Street, Top Floor, Seattle, Washington 98104
  • Join us for the grand opening of ARTS at King Street Station, our new arts and cultural space in the heart of Seattle. This space is dedicated to increasing opportunities for communities of color to:

    – GENERATE and CREATE work
    – DISPLAY and SHARE their work
    – RECOMMEND PROGRAMMING through the King Street Station Advisors

    In recognition of the Coast Salish peoples on whose land the City of Seattle is built, we are honored to open ARTS at King Street Station, with yəhaw̓, an indigenous-centered inaugural exhibition that will run March 23 – August 3, 2019.

    This opening celebration will have performances, song, and storytelling all day. Join us! More details coming soon.

Saturday, March 23: Holi Festival of Colors

  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Phinney Neighborhood Association
    6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98103
  • Celebrate this traditional Hindu festival with entertainment, food, and a fun color fight!

    Holi – “the festival of color” or “the festival of love” – celebrates spring, connection, and the triumph of good over evil.

    Come join in this raucous celebration, where people will chase each other around, throwing handfuls of colored powders.

    Folks from all religions, cultures, backgrounds, and ages are welcome!

    Indian food by The Roll Pod and chai from The Chai Lady will be available for purchase; bring cash!

Saturday, March 23: Maria Bamford Live

  • 8:00pm – 11:00pm
  • Moore Theatre
    1932 2nd Ave, Seattle, Washington 98101
  • STG Presents & Live Nation Welcomes Maria Bamford – Live to The Moore Theatre on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
    Reserved Seating on Main Floor & in First Balcony
    General Admission Seating in Second Balcony
    All Ages / Bar with I.D.
    Tickets are $25.00 – $30.00 (not including fees).

Sunday, March 24: Big Climb Seattle

  • 8:30 – 4:30pm
  • Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center
  • 700 4th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98104
  • 1,311 steps | 69 floors | 788′ of vertical elevation | March 24, 2019

    Each year the Big Climb hosts 6,000 participants to climb the stairs of the Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington. We want to maintain our fundraising focus to fight blood cancers thus all participants, are required to fundraise a minimum of $150. This $150 is in addition to the registration fee.

    During the 2018 season, $3,007,080 was raised by 6,000 passionate participants – all for a cure. Join us on Sunday, March 24, 2019 as we CLIMB. CONQUER. CURE.

Wednesday, March 27: Drunk HERstory 3!

  • 6:00pm
  • Brouwer’s Cafe
    400 N 35th St, Seattle, Washington 98103
  • It’s that time of year again where we try to give back to the community and give the Badass Women of Craft our stage to try and raise funds for on organization that’s near and dear to us – Planned Parenthood.

    That’s right! Drunk HERstory, now in its third rad year, will once again be held at Brouwer’s Café on March 27th. After the success of the past two years, we couldn’t keep the train from rolling on. This year, we’ll have 9 women representing 9 breweries and they will regale you with tales of awesome women throughout the ages. The night will begin at 6 pm with an introduction by a representative from Planned Parenthood and then move into 4 unique skits to educate and entertain our guests.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Celebrating the Season of Love

To those of you who celebrate it, happy belated Valentine’s Day! To those who don’t, happy Discounted Chocolate Day, one of my favorite days of the year!

Description: A man appearing to wash his face with chocolate from a chocolate fountain. Source: Giphy.

Caitlin Foskey
“Rock On!”

Workshop Recap: You Can’t Suck at Everything

Prepare yourselves, dear readers, for today I will be telling you about an experience that changed my life.

No, not a death-defying feat, a thrilling adventure, or an inspiring turn of events.

A workshop.

Specifically, “You Can’t Suck at Everything,” a writing workshop that I was lucky enough to attend last October at GeekGirlCon ‘18.

As someone who has abandoned so many half-finished novels I could set up a small graveyard in my backyard, I couldn’t get to this workshop quickly enough. Not only did it promise to help provide the basics of a 3-act story structure, delve into character creation and worldbuilding, and explore how our perceived “flaws” are actually key to finding and articulating our own unique perspective as writers, but it was also run by the one and only Margaret Stohl.

Image Description: A headshot of author Margaret Stohl. Stohl is turned slightly to the side, and is looking straight at the camera. Source: Twitter

If you are one of the ten billion people (a rough estimate) who devoured the Beautiful Creatures series (co-authored with Kami Garcia), you might be familiar with the powerhouse talent that is Margaret Stohl. As if being an internationally bestselling author isn’t enough, Stohl has also written multiple comics, including the Mighty Captain Marvel series, and has a long career as a writer and narrative director for video games.

Almost immediately, Stohl cultivated a sense of community in the workshop, uniting us all as writers, artists, and creators of all kinds. It can be so easy to feel isolated as a writer or creator. If you’re like most of us, you’re probably plagued by constant doubts, spend an unhealthy amount of time with fictional characters, spin off into daydreams when you should be doing things like “concentrating” or “working at your day job,” and guard your work like a fearsome dragon mother.

Image Description: A screenshot of a tweet by Margaret Stohl, which says “WRITING TIP: NOBODY NEEDS WRITING TIPS! You need LISTENING TO THING YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR tips & JUST GET IT DONE tips. Then you’re golden.” Source: Twitter

This workshop felt like the perfect antidote to the self-imposed isolation of doubt, fear, and embarrassment. When everyone’s in the same boat, what is there to be self-conscious about?

There were so many points, tips, and ideas that I walked away from the workshop with, but, in the interest of not making you read a full thesis, here are some of the highlights:

  • Everyone has a story, and everyone wants to tell a story. As Stohl said, “I’m interested in yours and you should be more interested in yours than anyone.”
  • Don’t put off what you want because you’re worried about failing. You will fail! Spoiler alert: that’s okay.
  • It’s hard to take yourself seriously as a writer and creator, even–and especially–if it’s the thing you want most in the world. Do it anyway. Affirm yourself as a writer and creator.
  • “If you want something, you take it. There is exactly nothing standing between you and that thing.”
  • “You cannot write a protagonist without being a protagonist in your own life.”
  • Understand who you are writing for, and write for them, not for the whole world.
  • A novel is, at its core, just 30 words. Write a list of 30 words that map the arc of your story, and make those your chapters. Go from there.
  • You are probably a specialist in fear. Write about that, use that. There is nothing you know more about than what you fear.
  • Start developing and curating your “brain office.” Collect and organize your material, even in your own mind.
  • Keep everything. Old lists, descriptions, terrible poems, scraps of dialogue. Keep it all.
  • Find a critique partner for accountability and support.
  • “Do not confuse sucking at one thing with sucking at everything.”

There you have it, some solid gold advice for when you’re feeling stuck, uninspired, or insecure. If I came away with one conviction from the workshop, it’s that I’m a writer. I’m a creator.

You probably are too.

Now let’s go write.

Image Description: A screenshot of a tweet from fellow GeekGirlCon Copywriter Teal Christensen quoting me, which says “Who knew that @mstohl would become our mother today?? – @hupptwothree re: a mind-blowing writing workshop this morning at #GGC18. GeekGirlCon Campaign Manager JC Lau comments “I like everything about this tweet.” Source: Twitter

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

Programming Submissions For #GGC19 Open Now

Can you believe that it’s already February? We’re well into the new year and you know what that means: programming submissions for GeekGirlCon 2019 are officially open!

The GeekGirlCon staff is ramping up again as we plot this year’s convention. The creative team is in the thick of brainstorming the 2019 theme (which we’re excited to share with you later this spring) and now our programming team is eager to see your ideas for new panels, events, and workshops.

We are currently accepting applications and submissions for:

Panel Submissions
Panels are the heart and soul of GeekGirlCon. We’re all about sharing a diverse range of unique voices and stories—and we want to hear yours. This year, we’re particularly interested in engaging content inspired by our community. What are you passionate about? What do you want to share?

Panelist and/or Moderator Application
Interested in being on a panel but don’t necessarily have a group? You can apply to be either a solo panelist or a moderator! We’ll try our best to match you to any panel in need of an additional participant.

Performance & Event Submissions
Panels aren’t the only events at GeekGirlCon. Historically, we’ve hosted our annual Fashion Show and Cosplay Contest, but each year we aim to expand on our content. From variety shows to networking events, if you and your company have an idea for a performance or event, we’d love to hear from you!

Workshop Submissions
GeekGirlCon also hosts a variety of workshops and other interactive programming. If you’re interested in giving a more hands-on presentation or class, we welcome you to apply. Prior workshops have included the Use Your Voice, Rey: Political Advocacy 101, Allyship in Fandom, and the Black Girls Code Workshop.

Tabletop Game Host Applications
Are you working on a game, whether independently or with a larger studio? We’d love for you to demo it on the gaming floor! Tabletop games, indie developers, and larger game studios have joined us at GeekGirlCon in the past, and we’d love to see you this fall.

A couple tips and pointers to consider when submitting your proposal:

Make sure your submission is on-mission.
We’re looking for engaging content that correlates with our mission statement, which is to celebrate and honor the legacies of under-represented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, game play, and game design. We do this by connecting geeks worldwide and creating an intersectional community that fosters the continued growth of women in geek culture. GeekGirlCon provides a safe space to spark conversations around social justice while encouraging unabashed geekiness.

Think about what’s going on right now.
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and we are very interested in topics that are relevant to recent events or discuss important issues in interesting or new ways.

We want to hear your unique perspective.
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Indigo Boock
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Memory, Media, and the Ted Bundy Tapes

A promotional image from Netflix’s series Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. The title of the series is overlaid on the image of a red, white, and black cassette tape. Netflix’s logo is in the upper left hand corner. Source: Heaven of Horror

Like many—maybe even most—of us, I’m just a little too obsessed with true crime. I’ve listened to the podcasts (Up and Vanished, And That’s Why We Drink, Criminal…), read the books (Helter Skelter, The Devil in the White City, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark…), and gone on my fair share of deep dives into the murky depths of Wikipedia (do not, I beg of you, google Issei Sagawa alone at 2:00am.) I come by my obsession honestly; I was practically raised on British crime television (Poirot, Miss Marple, and Midsomer Murders, anyone?) and have been devouring my mom’s paperback murder mysteries since elementary school.

Given all of this, I had no hope of holding out against Netflix’s Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, all four parts of which were released this past Thursday. I tried to resist. I took in the repeated warnings not to watch it alone. I thought about my own complicity in a culture that romanticizes killers while erasing their victims. I asked myself why I wanted to watch the series in the first place when I’d already conducted enough personal research into Bundy’s life and crimes that I could have applied for grant funding. I reminded myself that I had work in the morning.

A tweet from Twitter user @zblay, which says “ted bundy looked dehydrated and dusty and had no lips. oh, and he was a fucking serial killer. people are weird.” Source: Twitter

All to no avail—I watched it. Of course.

And, at the end of those four episodes, I emerged from my cave of blankets, tortilla chips, and sweaty palms with the dawning realization that, even after hours of facts and memories and police reports and archival footage and death row interviews, Ted Bundy remained exactly as he had always been—a transparent cipher, at once empty symbol and impenetrable mystery, both utterly anomalous and entirely commonplace.

Because, at its core, the story of Ted Bundy is just the story of privilege and manipulation—power and charisma, bias and delusion—writ large, retold and recited into a burnished collective memory, reduced to familiar signifiers (the beige Volkswagen, the blue eyes) and bone-deep fears (if a supposedly handsome, Reagan-Republican law student could be a remorseless killer, couldn’t anyone?!).

And ultimately, our fears are justified. Yes, anyone around us could be a murderer, an abuser. Yes, they could remain undetected. Yes, they could escape. Yes, their judge could sentence them to death in one sentence and practically offer them an internship in the next. Yes, we’re afraid of it all, and not because it feels unknown, but because we’ve seen it before.

A tweet from Twitter user @no_sucker_MC, which says “to anyone who doesn’t believe in white privilege or thinks it’s overstated, watch the Ted Bundy tapes where a judge sentencing a man convicted of raping and murdering almost 40 women say ‘there is no animosity here, you would have made a greater lawyer you just took the wrong path.” Source: Twitter

The triumph of The Ted Bundy Tapes is that they reveal, time and time again, the ways in which even our deepest instincts, our most ingrained self-preservation mechanisms, can be overridden by our socialized bias, by our racism, by our willingness to trust—again and again—those who have continually revealed themselves to be untrustworthy.

In a time when convicted abusers are so often celebrated, when harassers maintain their careers even after they’ve been exposed, when forgiveness is coerced from victims and perpetrators demand unearned redemption, the story of Ted Bundy—regardless of how horrific and disturbing it is—starts to feel like a prosaic terror, a known entity.

Partway through The Ted Bundy Tapes, an old coworker of Bundy’s, Marlin Lee Vortman, says that Bundy seemed like the kind of person “you’d want your sister to marry.” A police officer recalls that, after her department released preliminary information seeking leads, multiple women came forward in the fear that their boyfriends could be the elusive killer. Bundy is repeatedly described as “good-looking,” “clean-cut,” “charming.” He’s portrayed as both normal and special, a combination that—even now, thirty years after his death—serves to inoculate him against the kind of vilification we reserve for those who are not troubled white men, the kind that doesn’t leave room for a sort of winking, sideways lust.

And yet here I am. Watching Netflix series about men who murder their wives, listening to podcasts about charismatic cult leaders, poring over Wikipedia articles of violent criminals. All those good-looking, clean cut white men we hate to love and love to hate. Rapt, waiting, almost gleeful. Watching a monster create his own myth. Watching a villain hide in plain sight.

Hanna Hupp
“Rock On!”

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