GeekGirlCon ’15 Programming Highlight: Fandoms, Fandoms Everywhere

Fandom is a powerful thing. It can connect, inspire and frustrate—often at the same time. I’ve my fair share of important fandoms, which I participate in to varying degrees. There’s the movie I’ll reblog any picture from as long as it has my favorite character, the musical I’ll talk about to anyone who looks like they might care, the book series I’ll push on you as soon as we talk. But fandom isn’t just about the actual work of art: at its most powerful, it can also be a source of community.

GeekGirlCon 2015 has, of course, a variety of panels focused on individual fandoms and also a few that will discuss the idea of fandom on a larger scale. Whether you’re a fantasy fan interested in science or a dystopia fan interested in utopian ideals, there’s a panel or two for you.

Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in her completely non-gendered uniform. [Image source.]

Is your favorite fandom coming back from the dead? Both Star Wars and The X-Files are experiencing exciting reboots right now, so on Saturday be sure to check out “The Fangirls Awaken: The Women of Star Warsand X-Files: Can’t Stop Believing.” At the Star Wars panel, you’ll learn not only about new women characters being introduced into the universe, but also all about the women who work on the movies and in the universe. If you’ve been waiting since 2002 for the continuation of The X-Files, wait no longer—well, wait until 2016 for the real show, but in the meantime, check out the Saturday panel which will examine how the budding Internet changed the way fandom worked in this groundbreaking show.

Also on Saturday are two fascinating panels examining how fanfiction and fandom. In “Fanfic and the Academy: War of the Worlds?,” panelists will discuss the alleged war between the scholars and fic writers of fandom. How is fanfiction like criticism, and vice versa? This panel of academics who aren’t ashamed of their fic-reading and -writing habits will talk about what happens when those two worlds collide. Later that day, at “Beyond Fanfiction Live: Fandom in Performing Arts,” you can take that journey a step further. Through the use of their bodies, voices and fandoms, performing artists create live fan art, expressing their unique analyses of source materials while also entertaining audiences. Learn from comics, actors, puppeteers, and burlesque performers who will pull back the curtain on how fandom and pop culture has influenced their work.

Sisterhood is redefined on Orphan Black.

Sisterhood is redefined on Orphan Black. [Image source.]

Sunday morning is filled with more great fandom finds—unfortunately, these three are all at the same time, so figure out your schedule or cloning now! At “A Woman’s Woman: Female Community in Agent Carter, Lost Girl, and Orphan Black,” panelists will talk about different examples of female community (such as friendships, romantic relationships, and sisterhood) and how these particular shows inspire community experiences among fans, which is a fantastic side effect of TV’s recent trend of making female relationships central to narratives.

Looking for something more measurable? “GoT Science?” will satisfy those urges by examining the science in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Find out if there’s real-world versions of the strangler, sweetsleep, wildfire, and moon teas, and whether or not genetics can explain the people and animals of Westeros. I, for one, want to know how a decades-long winter could work. Another hands-on panel is “Make the Media You Want to See: Tips and Tricks to Becoming a Content Creator.” If you’re tired of never seeing anyone in TV or movies who looks like you, learn how to tell your own non-mainstream stories. This workshop will show some examples of home-grown content and discuss their strengths and pitfalls. Get some resources on how to gather ideas and techniques to help you tell your stories!


A shot with only women in an action movie? Yes, please, Mad Max. [Image source.]

If you want an intellectual fandom discussion to cap off your weekend, schedule time for “Matriarchy in Mad Max: Mothers, Warriors, and Wives!” The feminist politics tying this film together enraged some audiences and captivated others. By subverting notions of masculinity and femininity while also rejecting a world that favors power for a few in favor of one that privileges collaboration, Mad Max: Fury Road was a presentation of modern gender politics and hope. Panelists will discuss how and where the movie succeeded with the heroine’s journey, with age, race, gender, disability and representation, war and sexual slavery, where it can do better, and where we go from here.

There are honestly just too many fantastic panels this year at GeekGirlCon and not enough time to fit them all in. If you hit up one or more of these, let me know! I won’t be able to fit them all into my schedule, so I’m counting on some of you to fill me in on the details.


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Henry Behrens
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