GeekGirlCon announces the appearance of Chaka Cumberbatch at GeekGirlCon ‘13 on October 19 and 20, 2013.
On February 4, 2013, Cumberbatch authored a piece on XOJane called I’m a black female cosplayer and some people hate it responding to an uproar over her professional cosplay career. In addition to being a professional cosplayer, she is the Associate Brand Manager at FUNimation Entertainment, and a freelance journalist/blogger. Her writing has appeared on numerous sites, including TheMarySue.com and NerdCaliber.com.
Cumberbatch cosplays as various superheroes, in full character, at comic book conventions. Cumberbatch’s cosplay has become such a large focus in the media, she says she expects to never enter a job interview without also discussing her hobby. If you want to talk about back issues and current issues of comics, she is the person to see!
“GeekGirlCon is excited for Chaka Cumberbatch to attend our third annual convention. We look forward to hearing her speak on social, race, gender, and sexuality issues within the geek community and seeing her cosplay,” said Jennifer K. Stuller, Director of Programming and Events.
Hi folks! In this installment of Ask GGC, we asked our staff members about the most memorable gifts they’ve received. Read up on what some of them had to say:
“My first pet, a baby black and white kitten I named Domino! I asked for a cat (from Santa) when I was seven and decided to test Santa’s reality by putting my christmas list in a neighbor’s mailbox down the street (instead of my own where my parents could find it!) I never mentioned wanting a kitten to my parents, and I wanted one SO badly … and it turns out the neighbors found my letter and brought it back to my parents the next day. So Christmas morning, I woke up to a little black and white ball of fur under my neck! It was seriously one of the most magical moments from my childhood! I was convinced Santa was real!” – LB Chambers, Manager of Fundraising
Sarah’s gift: a talking Dalek!
“I dated a very nice guy several years back, and he was pretty good with gifts. For my birthday, he got me a pair of sterling silver earrings with pretty purple stones, and a gift card to Barnes and Noble — both right on the money. The best gift he ever got me came wrapped in the newspaper — comic section, of course. I opened as we were driving to dinner, and I remember bursting into delighted laughter. He got me a talking Dalek from Doctor Who — black case, flashing lights, rollers underneath it. When I hit the button it croaked out, ‘Exterminate the Doctor!’ and ‘Obey! Obey!’” – Sarah Grant, Copywriter
You can’t go wrong with Snoopy!
“One year, I asked Santa to bring me everything Snoopy … which were my exact words. ‘Bring me everything Snoopy!’ My mother saved all the letters, so there’s tangible proof. Among the avalanche of Snoopy memorabilia, two items tie for some of my most memorable gifts. There was the super-cool Snoopy snow cone machine that my cousins always wanted to use during the summer. It was a lot of work for a little treat! And I loved my Snoopy soap dispenser. The contraption attached to the counter with a suction cup, and it used a weird granular dry soap that looked like dry laundry detergent.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
“My most memorable gift was a Super Nintendo from my dad that was bundled with Donkey Kong Country when it first came out. We didn’t have much money growing up, so any kind of gift more than $50 wasn’t something I could hope for. My Pa and I used to play on the NES together (he’d ALWAYS AND FOREVER beat me at Tetris) so he thought of it as an investment in family time. My SNES still works perfectly, and I marathon Donkey Kong every so often!” – Meg Humphrey, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator
Stephanie and her boyfriend, Robert, celebrating after completing a half-marathon.
“My awesome boyfriend spoiled me on my birthday! He bought tickets for Wicked and got me a Camelback — complimenting my geeky and sporty interests.” – Stephanie Little, Web Administrator
Thanks, Staff! Readers, what was your most memorable gift?
Hey readers! Shubz here with another installment of Ask GGC. We asked our staff how their time with GeekGirlCon made a difference for them in their lives outside of our organization. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’ve started getting back into comics and science, two avenues of geekdom that I enjoyed when I was younger, but fell to the wayside when I discovered RPGs, video games, and anime. I’ve also become more vocal when I find things offensively misogynistic or racist. As a female Filipino-American nerd, it’s important to speak up about these things. Being on staff has stepped up my game on many fronts including how to succinctly convey my thoughts in 140 characters or less when needed without textspeak abbreviations! Grammar nerds FTW!” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
Erica striking a pose at GeekGirlCon 2012
“I’ve been an idealist for most of life, and the world has in many ways tried to stop me from believing in the ability to change the world. GeekGirlCon has really proven that through community momentum, we can change the world. When we first started planning for GeekGirlCon ’11, we would’ve been happy if 400 people showed up; but instead we had almost 2,000. And even more for GeekGirlCon ’12. We’ve inspired people, helped build new skills and interests, and fostered women-positive geeky community. We can be the change in the world.” – Erica McGillivray, Director of Marketing
Left to Right: Shubz Blalack, Tammy Vince Cruz, Raye Abellar
“GeekGirlCon changed my life. It opened my eyes, my mind, and best of all, my heart, to an amazing community all working towards a sincere goal. Admittedly, GeekGirlCon consumed me; it consumed my time, my energy, and my life – but it’s all been worth it. I’ve worked with remarkable people, many of which I would consider good friends. Beyond that, the rad folks I’ve had the chance to meet along the way, reinforced that genuine people do exist, and they support what you believe in.
GeekGirlCon pushed me to work my butt off. I’ve produced some of my best pieces for GeekGirlCon. While giving me that challenge, it’s resulted in a rejuvenated design portfolio. I’ve definitely forced myself to learn a lot of better habits when it came to my work – learning communication is vital, especially leading my own team, and overall organization is detrimental to making things run smoothly. I was known as a mute when I was a kid, but helping lead meetings and represent GeekGirlCon helped build my self-confidence, and improve my own public speaking and interaction skills. A lot of these skills I’ve applied to my day job and personal life, and it makes me feel all sorts of awesomely weird – like I’ve definitely stepped full fledge into “grown up” territory. And I’m quite happy with that.
– Tammy Vince Cruz, Manager of Design
Susie and Stephanie cosplaying it up as Hawkgirl and Starbuck, respectively
“Working at GeekGirlCon opened my eyes in so many ways. It opened my eyes to the hundreds of geeky things out there I didn’t even know existed. It opened my eyes to the fantastic community of geeky women and their amazing supporters. And it opened my eyes to the fact that GeekGirlCon is still a needed organization — there are too many people out there who still feel mistreated, misrepresented, and misunderstood. GeekGirlCon staff members bring a range of personalities to the table, which has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in ways I never expected. It has seriously been a gift to be on this staff.” – Susie Rantz, PR Manager
GeekGirlCon is currently looking for enthusiastic and driven individuals to join our staff and continue to make a difference with us. Could that be you? Check out our Open Staff Positions for more information.
These are just a few of the things I “geek out” over.
For those scratching your heads, these are stats used in baseball, football, and soccer—stats I analyze while playing fantasy football or rooting for my favorite players and teams.
You see, I grew up wanting to play basketball like Gary “The Glove” Payton. I will never forget that night, during the magical season of 1995, when Ken Griffey Jr. rounded third base and scored the game-winning run to beat the Yankees. Or being live at the Rose Bowl to watch Brandi Chastain tear off her jersey when the U.S. Women’s Soccer team won the World Cup.
And I am not a crier, but this song makes me tear up.
If it wasn’t clear already, let me say it loud and proud: I love sports. I love feeling a part of a team, a part of a culture that spans the world. I love that a sport can empower girls to feel strong, to feel in control, to feel limitless.
But it amazes me when those in the geek community put sports down, as if you cannot be into “geeky” things and love sports at the same time. Perhaps it is because the jocks from our younger years were the meanest to us. I’m not sure, but I hear it again and again—little jabs or snide comments to feel above those who enjoy sports.
As a “geek girl” and “sports girl,” I find this sad. Particularly because the same mistreatment of women and girls found in geekdom occurs in sports as well. Let me give you some examples of the common themes I hear in both worlds.
Girls can’t be “real” sports fans. (Girls can’t be “real” geeks.)
Girls don’t know how to play fantasy football. (Girls suck at playing video games.)
Girls’ sports are boring; they don’t sell. (Movies with strong female leads don’t sell.)
Let me infuse these statements with a few facts.
Fact: The U.S. women’s victory over Japan in the gold medal soccer game at the London Olympics attracted 4.35 million viewers, a record for the NBC Sports Network. An additional 1.5 million streamed the event live online, a high for any Olympic event.
Fact: Female participation in high school sports has increased 979% since Title IX passed in 1972.
Women and girls can be sports fans. They can play sports. They can also like Doctor Who, Star Trek, video games, and coding.
Case in point: This gymnast from Mexico, who performed an Olympic floor routine to the Legend of Zelda theme song. A lifelong gamer and an athlete.
It’s time to move on from the stereotype that women can’t like comics AND cricket, Buffy AND basketball, or Hellboy AND hockey. And it’s time to stop arguing that women can’t be “real” geeks or sports fans.
I know I have fellow sports geeks out there. So tell me, what’s your favorite sports team?
Hiya, readers! For this edition of Ask GeekGirlCon, we asked our staff what their favorite part of being on staff was. Here is what some of them shared:
Kristine on the GeekGirlCon clock giving you the updates from the Twitterverse!
“Joss Whedon once said that he was a great believer in ‘found families,’ and I really lucked out with the family that I found in GeekGirlCon. I don’t have to explain my current nerd obsession or be apprehensive about my fandoms — they just get it and then share their own! My co-workers are smart, witty, and all-around amazing people that never cease to inspire me and crack me up. I less-than-three you all.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
Erica with the Chicks Dig Comics Panel geeking out and sharing in camaraderie
“I love being part of GeekGirlCon’s staff because I truly do believe we can change the world or, at least, geekdom. We’ve created a wonderful space for celebrating geeky women of all stripes. The best reward for being on staff is the smiles on our event-goers faces; seeing amazing cosplay; meeting creators, shakers, and makers; and hearing all the incredible stories. We’ve helped women (and our allies) get new jobs, build skill sets, make new friends, and just generally have a safe space to gather.” – Erica McGillivray, Marketing Director and President
Great minds think alike! Melanie with another Princess Peach cosplayer
“My favorite part is being able to look back on GeekGirlCon ‘12 and know I totally made some little geeky girl’s day. :D” – Melanie Werts, Customer Service Coordinator
When we say geeks of all types are welcome at GeekGirlCon, we truly mean it. You won’t be challenged to prove your love for Star Trek: The Next Generation by sketching the seating chart for Ten Forward, demonstrate your Star Wars knowledge with the cargo capacity of an Imperial I-Class Star Destroyer, or name every item in Batman’s utility belt. Whether you know everything there is to know about one thing, one thing about everything, or are just starting out in your geeky journey, you are welcome at GeekGirlCon!
Don’t believe us? Check out this No Geek Cred Required blog post we shared in advance of our convention last year.
Starting with a foundation of “no geek cred required,” we also believe it is important that we actively support women and girls in a range of passions—to make sure they feel supported, welcomed, and encouraged. We want to put this in action by helping geek girls support one another.
And as GeekGirlCon ‘12 approaches in just a few days, we want to dissect what it means for geek girls to support one another. We believe there is an important underlying message at the core of this phrase—one that emphasizes support over cattiness, encouragement over judgment, collaboration over competition.
Women and girls today live in a society where they are constantly encouraged to care about how they look rather than what they know or what they do. Much of mainstream television showcases female relationships where women compete with one another, attack or belittle one another, or otherwise get ahead by undercutting other women. Other media and advertising bombard us with messages that our bodies aren’t good enough, that we aren’t whole without larger bra sizes, smaller tummies, or perfect skin.
It is no surprise these constant messages impact our behavior. Women can also be harsh critics of other women. How often do we hear things like, “I can’t believe she’s wearing that,” or “Lay off the ice cream,” or bond with other women by “hating” someone for being prettier, skinnier, or younger?
But we know there is a different path, a path that recognizes we should be supporting each other. That’s particularly true in geekdom. We all know that women can face rejection, hostility, or harassment in video games, online communities, science, and technology. So how can we start solving this problem?
We can be encouraging fellow geeky women and girls to find out where their passions truly lie, to find something to believe in that goes beyond the harmful media messages. Instead of telling a woman she needs to go away because she isn’t enough of a geek, we should be excited she wants to venture into our world in the first place. We should be inviting these women—friends, coworkers, family—to Doctor Who or Buffy marathons, or passing along our favorite comic books or craft projects. We should help each woman find her niche, niches, or just learn about something we know and love—and celebrate it with her.
Think about your best friend in the world. Think about what makes them a good friend. Perhaps it’s the fact that they’ll tell you when you have something in your teeth. Or maybe they are a great friend because they are the kind of person who will share the last piece of cake with you.
Chances are, this person has remained a best friend because they believe in you. They believe in your potential, they support you in your endeavors, and they celebrate your successes.
So, for those who are new to GeekGirlCon, we say “welcome,” and “we believe in you.” Whatever you love, whatever you “geek out” about, we think it sounds awesome. For our veterans, thank you for helping us create a community full of best friends who believe in and celebrate one another.
We hope to see you at our convention—it is one of the best ways we can show the world that geek girls exist, and we support each other.
Hi folks! We’ve got less than three weeks until GeekGirlCon ‘12, and staff members are already getting our convention schedules together to make sure we don’t miss out on all the fun. Here’s what some of our staff had to say when asked which panel they were most excited for!
“I am most excited for the “Once More with Feeling” Sing-Along because who doesn’t love the musical episode of Buffy? Also, I’m excited for YA Literature and Feminism. As an avid reader of YA books, I’m interested to see the panelists’ perspective on this topic.” – Jex Ballard, Volunteer Coordinator
“This year, we have SO many excellent panels that this was a tough decision. Since I’m a die-hard Browncoat and Buffy fan, I had to go with Jane Espenson and Husbands because it’s a hilarious series and I cannot wait to see what surprises Team Husbands has for us.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
“The panel I am most excited for is—well, it is really, really hard to pick just one—Steampunk Sewing! Each year I have a fabulous idea for a Steamcon costume that never gets executed. And this year is no different; I have a great idea and I am way behind. I hope DodiRose Zooropa, Alisa Green, and Annah Sophia Summers share some nifty tips to save me from donning my dirigible mechanic garb once again because a girl needs options!” – Adrienne Fox, Copywriter
“I’m most excited to see Jane Espenson and the cast of Husbands. Jane is my hero as we desperately need more women writing and producing TV shows. I love that she can bring the funny, the dramatic, and the heartfelt. I also adore Husbands as I do remember a time (when I was a tiny kid) where I never thought queer people like me would be positively portrayed and in lovingly adorable relationships in TV.” – Erica McGillivray, President and Marketing Director
“I am so excited about some pretty different panels this year. I’m really looking forward to A Fate Worse than Death: The Last “Outsider” in Popular Culture – Disability — the panelists are a fantastic group and it’s a topic I am interested to hear more of. If I have to choose between the super cool science-y stuff (robots! NASA! more!), I would have to say that the Stunning Space Science: Voyager — 12,396 days and counting is really calling out to me — you had me at space + science.” – Amanda Powter, Copywriter
Check out our Saturday and Sunday Programming Guides and let us know which panel you are excited for!
Hi folks! In this installment of Geek of the Month, let’s get to know our amazing Corporate Sponsorship Coordinator, Sabrina!
Occupation: Student/Comic Slinger
Position in GeekGirlCon: Corporate Sponsorship Coordinator
1: What are you geeky about right now?
Well I recently started working at The Comic Stop, and while I’ve been a longtime reader of comics, I still have many great titles that I’ve never read. The customers are great because they bring these great titles to the register, and I always end up making a mental note of half of them. I feel like my weekly comic stacks have doubled just from customer suggestions alone. I’m also super geeky about knitting and video games, always video games.
2: How did you find out about GeekGirlCon?
I saw a flier for it at Sakura-Con the previous year and was really interested. I feel this is such an amazing idea, and it’s completely needed.
3: Why did you choose to get involved with GeekGirlCon?
Before volunteering with GeekGirlCon, I spent many moments feeling frustrated about the reaction I got as a geek, a person of color, and a woman, or how women are treated in fandom. And it is really great to be part of an organization that strives to be supportive of all geeks, no matter who they are.
4: Why is supporting and celebrating geeky women important to you?
Many of us felt we were alone in our “geekness.” I know I did. I felt that the friends I had didn’t understand the frustrations I had or didn’t get excited about the same things that I did. I think it’s important for women to know that it’s OK to be geeky, including about topics like math and the sciences. There is a growing population of women who are interested in these fields, or even work in them, and I feel it’s really great to have a convention like GeekGirlCon that can give those women a place to network. Personally, I’m beyond excited about our new area this year, GeekGirlConnections, an amazing area where women can sit down with professionals from various fields and industries and get help from mapping out career paths, learning what it’s like to work in a particular job, or getting tips on how to apply. I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of this year’s con.
5: Who is your geeky role model and why? Neil DeGrasse Tyson is just the best, I have always adored him, and he is on my bucket list of people to meet. I will completely admit to having a crush on him. 🙂
Thanks for all the work you do, Sabrina! You rock our socks!
How about you? Why is supporting and celebrating geeky women important to you?