I live for panels where I can walk away with a mile-long list of recommendations, and GeekGirlCon 15’s panel “Nah, Babe, It’s Just the Wind: Validating Women’s Fears in Horror” was one of the best of those I’ve been to in a while.
Despite huge technical difficulties, we couldn’t have asked for such amazing donors this year. In GeekGirlCon’s first year of teaming up with Seattle Foundation for its GiveBIG program, we raised over $12,000 with 115 donors!
As a 100% volunteer-run, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, these dollars are crucial and we can’t wait to give back to all our supporters at GeekGirlCon’16 on October 9th and 10th!
With Daredevil returning for season two this week, let’s revisit our GeekGirlCon panel on the show! I attended a panel with Elsa S. Henry, a feminist scholar and disability rights activist. She also happens to be legally blind and, given that Daredevil is a show with a blind protagonist, she had several misconceptions about vision impairment to clear up.
“You can still like Daredevil, but here is a perspective you might not have had before,” Henry explained to a full room at the start of the session. She began by disproving several presumptions about what it was like to be blind. “Not all blind people use braille. So a lot of what you see isn’t accurate towards a blind person’s life,” she said, with reference to Matt Murdock’s constant use of a braille output device. “Most people use text-speak; you can hear it and don’t need to mess around with machines. When I watch the show, it’s very difficult not to notice things that don’t make any sense.”
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.”
The first time I saw Mad Max: Fury Road in theaters, I cried for at least half of it. My roommate was pretty sure I had gone insane, but the simple fact that this movie not only existed but was a big-budget film with beautiful effects and great name recognition was shaking me to my core. I loved every moment of the film, even though I hadn’t seen the other movies in the series and hadn’t even been interested in it until I learned it was making men’s rights activists angry. But I was quickly converted and, obviously, very touched by the story.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that GeekGirlCon ‘15’s panel on MMFR was on my go-see list as soon as I got the panel listings. Moderated by Jennifer Stuller and with an amazing panel composed of disability activists, feminist scholars, and associate professors, “Matriarchy in Mad Max: Mothers, Warriors, and Wives” was a study of feminist themes in the movie. Perspectives on the film varied across the panel, but thanks to a remarkably calm and respectful atmosphere, the discussions never dissolved into arguments.
The panel took its title from a quote from Michelle Rodriguez. Ambushed coming out of a bar, she was asked about rumors that she was being considered for the role of Green Lantern. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. “Like, stop stealing […] all the white people’s superheroes.”
What did she mean by that? the panel asked.
“Part of me wants to justify her comment,” said Hassell. “We should have our own.”
But as DePass pointed out, Rodriguez was reinforcing the idea that comics are for white people, that “nerd stuff isn’t for us.” The well-known names belong to white people as the default humans.
This one-hour panel, given by Elizabeth Sampat and Zoe Quinn, was a crash course in how—and why—to make your own game. Between them, the two designers have made video games, tabletop games, board games, and other entertainments, and they brought their breadth of knowledge and experience to GeekGirlCon attendees. Each half of the panel could really have been an entire talk of its own, being condensed versions of talks and workshops that Sampat and Quinn have given elsewhere. If you’re interested in more in-depth information on these topics, check out Elizabeth’s and Zoe’s websites.
It’s been a week since the success of GeekGirlCon ’15, and if you’re already missing it, here’s a roundup of some of the fantastic press we’ve received following our con:
Conshark wrote up a recap of the overall event, highlighting that what makes GeekGirlCon unique is our focus on our community, and Persephone Magazine also offers a great summary of our con, including some livetweets from our panels and a cosplay photo gallery. Becky from No Continues Media describes our con as “one of the most immersive experiences as an attendee I’ve ever had at a convention”, and Whiletrue.do has a short but heartwarming piece on three ways she was inspired at GeekGirlCon. Nicole from Across the Board Games has a recap where she also recounts her experience as an exhibitor and panelist, and describes GeekGirlCon as her favorite convention in Seattle!
Photo by Danny Ngan Photography.
For those of you who like pictures, Jetspace has a great photographic summary of the highlights from the convention, and Bitch Media has a lovely rundown of some of the costumes and events. Of course, GeekGirlCon wouldn’t be GeekGirlCon without a healthy dose of cosplay; GeekMom’s cosplay gallery shows off some of the awesome costumes from the weekend. GeekMom also gives us the lowdown on some of the swag she found on our exhibitor floor, ranging from geeky food, to amazing apparel, to many fluffy, cute things.
Although we hardworking staffers will provide you with panel recaps throughout the coming year, sometimes we get beaten to the punch by our amazing con attendees. [Re]meshed.com has a detailed article on Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn’s packed panel, and Sonja from Soultamer Gaming has produced not one, but three panel write-ups on QUILTBAGs in Geekdom, the representation of Asians in the media, and Elsa S. Henry’s panel, Blind Lady Versus, where she demonstrates what gaming is like for blind and low vision players. She’s also got a piece on our Kick-Off event from the Friday night before the con. Talk about dedication!
Photo by Nicole Tanner of Pixelkin.
One of the things that GeekGirlCon prides itself on is its family-friendly focus. Nicole from Pixelkin did a lovely write-up about how GeekGirlCon was a great way to bond with her daughter. We also even got a whole episode on a gaming podcast! Here’s Epic Drop’s episode discussion what GeekGirlCon is about, and recapping how much fun the family had, including an interview with a five-year-old Geek Girl!
Finally, we also got coverage from MSNBC in a video about cosplay and science, featuring our own Raychelle Burks and Torrey Stenmark!
Have you come across any other press for GeekGirlCon? Let us know in the comments below!
G. Willow Wilson, creator and writer of the new Ms. Marvel, featuring Kamala Khan (a Muslim Pakistani-American teenage girl living in New Jersey) skipped New York Comic Con this year to join us at GeekGirlCon for the very first time. We were thrilled to have her here in Seattle for a non-compliant discussion of women, diversity, and comics.
Moderator Sabrina Taylor set the tone by telling us, “We are here, as Kelly Sue DeConnick would say, to smash the patriarchy.” (DeConnick is the creator of Bitch Planet, a comic about “non-compliant” women in a dystopian future who are sent to a prison planet for transgressions both major and minor.)
It’s that time again when the Convention Center’s doors are now closed, and thousands of happy, smiling con attendees have spent a fun-filled weekend attending panels, playing new games, meeting awesome people and buying all the things.
Our last official event of the day was our traditional closing celebration, with a brief speech from GeekGirlCon co-founder Jennifer K. Stuller, who acknowledged the things that GeekGirlCon has done in its five years. “Our atmosphere is joyous and celebratory,” she noted. But Stuller also recognized that it could not have been done without the thousands of GeekGirlCon staff, vendors, panelists, attendees and other supporters. “You and I are part of this community… and I want to thank you all for being a part of us.”