Star Wars at GeekGirlCon ’14
Written by author Trisha Barr.
In a piece here last year, I shared how community building is an effective way to deter bullying and gatekeeping. One of the reasons I am so passionate about supporting GeekGirlCon is the sense of inclusiveness and welcome that is evident the moment you enter the venue. In the three years I have attended, I have made important connections with members of the geek community. Sometimes I have gained a new geek friend or ally; GeekGirlCon gave me the opportunity to meet Ashley Eckstein, who invited me to be a contributor in her own fangirl community-building venture, Her Universe’s Fangirl of the Day. Last year’s connections started me down a wonderful journey that resulted in a feature article in Star Wars Insider Issue #151, where I had chance to mention GeekGirlCon.
As an advocate for female fans of Star Wars, I have always known women loved the franchise and have sought ways to highlight their contributions. Greg Kubie, who markets Star Wars Books for Random House, had sent along an introduction to journalist Tish Wells. She and I spent over an hour in a corner of the convention hall chatting about Star Wars, the dynamics of the fandom, and her experience interviewing George Lucas. Later that day Tish introduced me to a few more longtime fans, including Maggie Nowakowska, who has been a fan academic, fanfic writer, and fanzine contributor since the late 1970s. Maggie and I exchanged contact information after she recollected an old fanzine piece that wondered where all the men were in Star Wars fandom. Considering the common perception of the state of today’s fandom, it was a piece of Star Wars history that definitely interested me.
Corresponding with Maggie – each email was marked with fantastic looks back at fandom before the internet – was like reading a history of fandom. I decided to ask Maggie to share her memories as part of an oral history project. Shortly after the recording was made, I was solicited to write a piece on fangirls for Star Wars Insider magazine. The Force seemed to be guiding me in a direction, and Maggie’s journey as a Star Wars fangirl became the focal point of that piece. Star Wars Insider Issue #151 included several pieces featuring the contribution of women to the franchise, including Lisa Granshaw’s article on geek couture. Lisa will be joining me on the panel “Fangirls Find the Force: Star Wars, from Episode VII and Beyond” at GeekGirlCon this year, where we will talk about the franchise and how we can participate in shaping its future.
You can listen to Maggie Nowakowska’s oral history on my podcast Fangirl Chat. She will also be participating in the GeekGirlCon panel “Geek Elders Speak: How Media Fandom Empowered Women in the 60s, 70s, and 80s” where I am sure she share some more wonderful stories.
Tricia Barr discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters at FANgirl Blog. Her novel WYNDEwon the Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/ Fantasy/Horror Ebook in the 2014 Independent Publisher Awards. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com. For updates on all things FANgirl, follow @FANgirlcantina on Twitter.