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GeekGirlCon ’15 Recap: In Conversation: Anita and Zoe

One of the biggest turnouts at GeekGirlCon ’15 was for a panel that was announced at the last minute. “In Conversation, Anita and Zoe” featured special guests Anita Sarkeesian (creator of Feminist Frequency) and Zoe Quinn (game designer and co-founder of Crash Override Network) as they discussed what it was like to be high-profile women in tech, online harassment, and what action we can all take to prevent online abuse.

Elizabeth Sampat, who moderated the panel, started by posing some questions to Sarkeesian and Quinn. “You are both successful women in the public eye,” she said. “What kinds of things do you have to do or put up with that men in similar positions don’t have to do?”

Quinn answered first: “I’m worried that people will see me in public and I look like crap.” With the amount of focus that goes into evaluating women’s appearances, she voices her concerns about how if she doesn’t look “acceptable,” she will find threads on Reddit the next day criticizing how she looks. “There are all the things that go into appearance. I got into game dev and writing so I didn’t have to see people but now with this public thing I have to use makeup. It’s easier now when I think of it as painting a Warhammer mini.”

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

January 2016 Geek About Town!

Ring in the New Year with these awesomely geeky events!

Friday, January 1: The Princess Bride Quote-Along

SIFF Film Center, Seattle

5:00pm and 7:15pm

$15 | $10 SIFF Members | $14 Senior & Youth

Adapted for the screen by William Goldman from his equally hysterical and brilliant novel, director by Rob Reiner brought to the screen a modern day classic filled with memorable performances, sharp wit, derring-do, and heaping helpings of romance. Thoroughly tongue-in-cheek and forever quotable, The Princess Bride is filled with iconic characters and moments: the Dread Pirate Roberts, insanity-inducing cliffs, a wily Sicilian, a six-fingered count, a friendly giant, the Fire Swamp, and the ultimate story of “Wuv, True Wuv” as read to us by that most lovable of grandpas, Peter Falk.

Saturday, January 2: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smell-O-Vision

SIFF Film Center, Seattle

12:00pm and 2:30pm

$15 | $10 SIFF Members | $14 Senior & Youth

SIFF’s annual extravaganza celebrating the 1971 musical family classic returns! Sign our giant contract on the way in the door, then enjoy fragrant and tasty treats from our legendary Wonkariffic goodie bags. Bring your nose, your taste buds, and your sense of adventure as you tour the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all, made even more outrageous by Gene Wilder’s wonderfully eccentric performance, utterly singable songs, and those lovable hardworking Oompa Loompas.

Seeing this film on the big screen (with candy!) makes for an experience that is “ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple.”

Saturday, January 9: Rat City Rollergirls presents: Star Wars Benefit Bout for Food Life Line

The Rat’s Nest, 19022 Aurora Ave N, Seattle

Doors open 4:30pm, first whistle 5:30pm

If you sense a disturbance in the Force, it’s probably because there’s a battle of Death Star-proportions brewing. Join us Saturday, January 9th for a Star Wars themed evening featuring lots of fast-paced derby action. First up, Rat City skaters split into two teams will take the track in Rebels vs. Empire. Will you choose to cheer for the light or dark side? Following that bout it’s an intergalactic clash as our Washington State Conference team takes on Overbeaters Anonymous.

Jedi robes and light sabers are encouraged (though you’ll have to leave your droids outside), and you’ll have the chance to meet Garrison Titan’s stormtroopers. And don’t forget your canned goods – as always, we’ll be accepting non-perishable food donations on behalf of Food Lifeline. So save the date and join us in Shoreline – as a wise master once said, ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’

Tickets are $20 or at the door.

Friday, January 15: Black Lives Matter in Hip-Hop (featuring local artists and community members)

Town Hall Seattle, Downstairs

Doors open at 6:30pm, event starts at 7:30pm

From Sir Mix-a-Lot to Macklemore, the face of Pacific Northwest hip-hop has changed. How does that affect the historical link between hip-hop and social activism? This panel discussion (featuring performances by local artists) will explore the gentrification of Seattle hip-hop and its effects. They’ll also discuss the local Black Lives Matter movement and ways to preserve the integrity of the music and its social effects. Featured panelists include moderator Wyking Garrett and Black Stax member Jace Ecaj, among others. This event is in conjunction with MOHAI’s exhibit, “The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop.”

Tickets are $5

Thursday, January 21: I’ll make a man out of you: Redefining Strong Female Characters

Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue


From the webpage: There has been a significant increase in the number of television shows and movies that showcase female action heroes, challenging and transforming the historical representations of women. But are these truly examples of “Strong Female Characters,” or do they simply replicate traditional masculine archetypes in a sexualized, female body?

In this lecture, Anita Sarkeesian deconstructs the “Strong Female Character,” and argues for a better approach to how women are portrayed in media, one that breaks out of oppressive interpretations of gender and supports feminist values to promote a more just society.

Tickets are $5.

Friday, January 22: It’s Our Right: 43 Years of Legal Abortion (presented by Planned Parenthood)

Town Hall Seattle, Great Hall


Recent attacks on Planned Parenthood locations, national talk of defunding the organization, and allegations of the sale of fetal tissue here in Washington, have thrust the group into the spotlight. This celebratory event will recognize a woman’s reproductive choice and the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court case upholding a woman’s right to access abortion). The evening will bring together storytellers from across the state to commemorate this landmark decision, highlight the impact of Shout Your Abortion, and help destigmatize abortion and those who choose it. Learn about this constitutionally-protected (and controversial) right and show support for reproductive freedom.

$10 early bird tickets; $15 general admission; and $50 VIP entry. Tickets at the door are cash only.

Thursday, January 28: Campout Cinema: Blade Runner blade_runner_poster

Sky Church, EMP Museum

Doors open 6:30pm, screening starts 7:30pm

Experience Ridley Scott’s dystopic vision of the future, Blade Runner (The Director’s Cut) (1982), as part of EMP’s Campout Cinema.

In this timeless sci-fi classic, humans have developed the technology to create replicants, robotic human clones used to serve the colonies outside Earth. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specializes in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he’s forced to re-enter the force when four replicants escape from an off-world colony back to Earth.

This Director’s Cut version of the film, made with direction from Scott, was officially re-released in theaters in 1992.

Tickets include admission to Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, where you can see several artifacts from the film, including costumes from Pris and Zhora, Deckard’s pistol, and more.

Tickets are $12 ($10 EMP members), 21+ only.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

The (Social) Justice League: Chip Nixon on Buttons, Classes and Meeting Anita Sarkeesian

Written by JC Lau, MouseSmash.com

Amongst the hostility of current Gamergate debacle, there have been positive, creative and humorous responses. The Doubleclicks, for example, offered internet trolls their own love song. Nonadecimal developed a satirical battle game about arguing online. And this year, Sarah “Chip” Nixon brought 150 sets of social justice class buttons with her to GeekGirlCon.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Kicking off the Con With Anita Sarkeesian

Written by GeekGirlCon Copy Writer Winter Downs


Anita Sarkeesian
Image Source: Feminist Frequency

Anita Sarkeesian, creator of pop-culture analysis webseries Feminist Frequency, joined us in the very first panel at GeekGirlCon ‘14 to talk about her work, her inspirations, and the pressures of being a high-profile feminist on the internet. For those keeping track at home, this was her fourth time at GeekGirlCon–she’s been with us every year since the very beginning, and we thank her for being such a strong supporter!

Winter Downs
“Rock On!”

Live Blog: Let’s Get Critical: Fans, Creators, and Social Justice

What’s up, everyone! Shubz Blalack here! For those of you at the Con, join us in Room 303 for this moderated roundtable discussion with Anita Sarkeesian, Alejandra Espino, Suzanne Scott, and moderator Miley Martinez!

Alejandra Espino (AE): How can we create being politically engaged while not losing the pleasure of creation?

Anita Sarkeesian (AS): How can we be fans AND be critical? What does that mean and how do we actually do that?

Suzanne Scott (SS): Race, fandom, and social justice. Teaches about race, fandom and video game culture. How do you manage the “squee” in a critical fashion? We need to find a meaningful critical ground.

Check out the organization of transformative works!

Topics and questions raised:
How do we talk about representations of economic classes?

Chauvinism in favor of the STEM fields.

Creating characters in a feminist context in a culture of sexism.

Points made:
AE: Being critical is what fuels creativity.

Who is being represented in geek culture is not always who is consuming geek culture.

What times of fandom are industrially valued?

AS:There are a lot of interpretations of feminism and what that means.

AE: I create fantastic characters with the idea of the “outsider” in mind, someone that is marginalized.

AS: Storytelling needs to be the way we change the world.

AS: Art is to make change.

SS: More attention towards the industrial structures that promote not promote social change.

It will take a social movement for oppressive storytelling to change.

We need to spend more time to what will create change versus what will pull the focus away from it.

Closing Statements
SS: Discomfort often exposes the prejudices people have. Having a conversation about that will be a great step towards social justice.

AE: Don’t let others cease the criticism you may have.

AS: Your anger towards social injustice can be used to create something to fight it.

“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: A Q&A with Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian (From FeministFrequency.com)

I have two words for today’s GeekGirlCon ‘12 preview: Anita Sarkeesian. We are incredibly lucky to have her at our convention this year. If you didn’t know her name prior to this year, it is likely you have heard about her by now. She’s been busy lately.

For those who need the introduction, Anita is a feminist pop culture critic who produces an ongoing web series of video commentaries from a feminist/fangirl perspective at FeministFrequency.com. She explores representations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability in popular culture.

Recently, Anita posted a Kickstarter project to raise money for a video series, “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” that explored female character stereotypes throughout the history of the gaming industry.

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Kickstarter

Despite the fact that she had yet to even produce one of the videos, the trolls deployed in full force. They left hateful comments on Anita’s YouTube video, repeatedly vandalized the Wikipedia page about her, and sent a number of threatening messages that went as far as threats of violence, death, sexual assault, and rape. This New Statesman article  (Major trigger warning: there are some very disturbing examples) provides perhaps the most detailed look at how Anita was treated.

Anita didn’t back down, and neither did her supporters. You see, despite the horrible treatment, there is some good news to share. While she only asked for $6,000 to create this video series, Anita ended up raising over $158,000! Geeks and pop culture fans of all types came together to show their support for her project. Now that’s a movement we can all get behind.

We had a few moments to catch up with Anita and chat about this project, as well as the panels she’ll be participating in at GeekGirlCon ‘12. Enjoy!

1) Let’s talk about something positive! Tell us what it’s like to have a community rally behind you and support you, as many did with your Kickstarter project.
I’m actually not sure how to describe the feeling, but it was pretty incredible especially considering I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to raise my initial funding goal. In the midst of all the horrific (and at times scary) harassment, I received an outpouring of support by way of comments, private messages, video responses, and even fanart from both my long time supportive viewers and also from folks who had not heard of my web series before the Kickstarter. I feel inspired and tremendously lucky to have so many wonderful people defending and supporting me in the face of all the trolling, hate, and abuse.

2) What messages are you hoping to share at GeekGirlCon ’12?
This year I’ll be participating in a few different panels and workshops. In “Go Make Me A Sandwich: Barriers to Women’s Participation in Online and Fan Spaces,” I’ll be sharing my experiences with online harassment, as well as some strategies other women can hopefully use to protect themselves online.

During “Let’s Get Critical: Fans, Creators, and Social Justice,” I’ll be talking about the complexities of being a fan within a media landscape that is largely created for (and by) straight, white men and how we can love our fandoms while simultaneously being critical of the more problematic aspects.

Lastly, I’m co-facilitating a video making workshop called “Really Make Your Own Videoblog” with Reel Grrls. We are going to teach the basics of how to record a captivating and engaging video blog. We’re bringing filmmaking equipment and all participants will be invited to make their own videos during the workshop.

3) Aside from your panels, are there any panels or special guests you are particularly looking forward to seeing at GeekGirlCon ’12?
I’m excited about everything, and I’m trying to figure out a timey-wimey way to be at every single panel! I’m thrilled about the “Once More, with Feeling Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sing-Along” (I still believe it is one of the best hours of television, ever).

I’m looking forward to hearing Greg Rucka talk about “Why Men Write Women Poorly, and How to Get a Clue” and learning about Corrinne Yu’s experience working in the video game industry. I’m also really happy to see the subject of harassment in geek culture as the focus on a number of panels this year. I’m looking forward to learning about other women’s experiences and sharing strategies on building stronger communities to fight against sexism in geek spaces.

4) What sort of things are you geeking out about right now?
I am a big fan of the Portal video game series so I was anticipating the release of Kim Swift’s latest project this year. Quantum Conundrum is endearing and quite challenging, plus the whole game is narrated by John De Lancie giving it that extra geeky charm.

I also recently read a book series called The Steerswoman’s Road by Rosemary Kirstein. It’s such a great example of a captivating, creative and brilliant fantasy novel that stars a genuinely complex, interesting, female protagonist. I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet, but it’s now one of my all time favourite books which I recommend to everyone!

Thanks for your time, Anita! We look forward to hearing more from you at the convention.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

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