By Samantha Lee Donaldson, a guest writer for GeekGirlCon
For many students across the globe coming from low-income households, trade school courses are their life, from the first day of kindergarten to their last day of high school. The skills gap remains a global problem even now. Instead, if these students were given the ability to learn more than the basics which allow them to only receive low-wage professions, they could reverse this trend and help create an economy that reflects a growing parity in no time.
Just as doctors must take the Hippocratic oath, educators are asked to take the educator’s oath. This oath says, “I promise to seek and support policies that promote quality in teaching and learning and to provide all engaged in education the opportunity to achieve excellence.” Despite this, children who come from low-income households are often neglected and the low-income schools they attend are seldom given the amenities necessary to train these children to change the world and their lives, even though studies suggest that the key to power in the workplace is education, especially for women. Therefore, when these children are provided with sub-par education, they are ultimately set up for failure from the start and not given the tools necessary to achieve their goals in life.
If you are at all familiar with GeekGirlCon, you’ve surely noticed the high standard our community has for con programming. Before being offered a slot in the GeekGirlCon lineup, all programming (panels, activities, workshops, and performances) is carefully reviewed by our excellent Programming department. This is what makes GeekGirlCon so magical and so welcoming.
Panels comprise a large portion of the programming that takes place at the con. And so, we’re always seeking new voices and new ideas for panels. Just because you haven’t seen it at GeekGirlCon before doesn’t mean we don’t want it. In fact, it likely means we need it especially!
I talked to our Panel Program Manager, Marina Martinez, to find out exactly what makes a GeekGirlCon panel. If you’ve never submitted programming ideas to GeekGirlCon before, now’s your chance. Applications close on Sunday, April 30, so take your time and let these arguably-infrequently-asked Frequently Asked Questions be your guide.
Ever been at a convention, sitting in on a panel, struck with the realization of “I could do this!”? Do your friends often have to, politely or not, ask you to stop lecturing them about your latest passion? Is your Tumblr carefully curated and focused on a specific fandom or interest? Or, hey, do you just want to push yourself and try out public speaking?
Are you excited for another year of amazing GeekGirlCon panels? We know you are–and we are, too! This year, we’re offering you the chance to help us find great content in exchange for the chance to win a free GeekGirlCon ‘16 2-day pass and t-shirt. All you have to do is share our call for submissions on your social media, and you will be entered to win!
This contest will run from Thursday, March 17 to Thursday, March 31.
Winners for week one will be drawn on Friday, March 25, and winners for week two will be drawn on Friday, April 1. (No jokes, we promise!)
We on staff at GeekGirlCon are thrilled to share that comic book writer and novelist G. Willow Wilson will be joining us as a featured contributor at GeekGirlCon ‘15 – even if she has to miss New York Comic Con to be here!
She’s one of a upcoming cadre of comic book (and other pop culture) creators who engage deeply with their fanbase, who wear their geeky fannish roots on their sleeve. She’s active on Twitter, answering fan questions and squeeing alongside us at fandom news.
As well as celebrating the amazing accomplishments of women in geekery, GeekGirlCon has always had a strong focus on helping women and other marginalized geeks find the tools, contacts, know-how, and resolve to achieve their own goals. In addition to our GeekGirlConnections room (we’ve already highlighted some of the organizations who’ll have tables there this October), we have a range of awesome panels and workshops lined up where you can pick up tips on everything from cosplay to community building to content creation.
Saturday, October 10 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm in Room 301/302
It’s your time to shine in all your geek finery at the GeekGirlCon ‘15 Costume Contest hosted by Devious Cosplay!
Tiffany – aka Devious Cosplay – has been actively cosplaying for 2 years. Before she discovered cosplay, she couldn’t even make a pillow. Her mom has been her mentor and taught her how to sew. She is 33, works full time, and has 2 children, so having a hobby that allows her to be creative and escape from the daily routine of adulthood is amazingly fun and liberating. She loves instantly having something in common with so many people. She hopes to continue to improve and make many more friends over the years. Her geek loves are video games, anything Joss Whedon, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and comic books.
The Costume Contest is open to everyone – all ages, experience levels, and fandoms. Entrants will vie for Best Individual Costume, Best Group Costume, and Best Child’s Costume.
There will also be a new non-competitive Junior Cosplay event from 5:00 pm to 5:20 pm – bring your costumed young ones to the Costume Contest for a chance to show off their nerdiness.
One of the five panels starting our Sunday morning at GeekGirlCon ‘14 was Diversity in Young Adult Literature. As the GeekGirlCon Strategy Guide explained, “Representation is vital for people of all races, sexualities, gender identities, and abilities. According to Malinda Lo’s 2013 Diversity in YA website, only 15% of NYT Bestselling YA Books had people of color as main characters, and only 12% of books had LGBTQ main characters. This panel will examine the market today, what readers want versus the disconnect with publisher’s diversity, and what we can do to improve the number of diverse books for teens.”
A packed panel room greeted panelists for the Cosplaying While Fat.
Panelists Jo Jo Stiletto, Wolfcat, and Mickey Schulz. Image from the GeekGirlCon Flickr
Cosplaying While Fat occurred on Saturday afternoon, with the description: “Cosplaying when you’re plus-sized presents some unique challenges. Putting together an awesome costume you’ll be comfortable in can be a real challenge for a number of reasons, including how people treat you and a general lack of ‘off the rack’ options. Come hear our panelists talk about coping with the trash talk as well as how to make what you wear look great and feel comfortable.”
Are you a geeky parent? Do you have a child with geeky interests and tendencies? Then GeekGirlCon ‘14 is the place for your family! GeekGirlCon strives to be family-friendly, starting with the passes. The 12 & under crowd can attend at $10 for the entire weekend; 5 & under are free (but must be registered.)
Image courtesy of GeekGirlCon flickr
And what is there to do for these geeks-in-training?
The gaming floor is ever-popular with kids. With a wide variety of games and game types present, they’ll find something to enjoy. In addition to all the exciting games to try out, there’s a Paint ‘n’ Take miniatures painting session on Saturday morning from 10 am – noon.
“Imaginary Worlds for Kids” happens twice during the weekend! Saturday at 11 and Sunday at 3pm, you can bring your 10 and under to an interactive storytime for families, including a lively author reading, participatory creative and singing games, and a lot of faerie mischief. A seasoned and award‐winning spoken word artist and educator, Danika Dinsmore has performed at hundreds of events, from the Bumbershoot Arts Festival in Seattle, Washington, to the FaerieWorlds International Festival outside Eugene, Oregon. Imaginary Worlds will keep your kids buzzing with inspiration!
Bring your teen to learn all about representation in the books they (and you!) may be reading at “Diversity in Young Adult Fiction.” Representation is vital for people of all races, sexualities, gender identities, and abilities. According to Malinda Lo’s 2013 Diversity in YA website, only 15% of NYT Bestselling YA Books had people of color as main characters, and only 12% of books had LGBTQ main characters. This panel will examine the market today, what readers want versus the disconnect with publishers’ diversity, and what we can do to improve the number of diverse books for teens.
Image courtesy of Ryan Roehrich
We have parent-specific programming, too!
Are you a new mom or a mom-to-be? “Geek Girl Transformation to Geek Mom” is all for you! It goes without saying that everything changes when a baby arrives in your world. But for geek girls turned geek moms, there are some unique changes and challenges in store. Don’t worry—that’s what we’re here for! Join a panel full of geeky moms who know what it’s like to have your life, career, and identity turned joyfully upside down when you add kids to the crazy mix of your life.
Comics, games, and films tend to go the “less is more” route when it comes to representation. Often we only see one character of a racial, gender, or sexual minority. Even worse, some people aren’t represented in media at all. Kids grow up asking, “Where are the characters like me?” At “Why Isn’t Bilbo a Girl? Talking to Kids About Media Representation” you can have a thoughtful discussion regarding how we address this issue with kids—with an emphasis on constructive, positive, and educational answers for the kids who ask.
Lastly, for the parents of cosplayers, or cosplayers themselves who want tips on talking to their family, come to “Cosplay, Parenting, and the Word ‘Appropriate’.” Come discuss cosplay from the perspective of children, teens, and adults who cosplay as individuals and as families. This panel of parents and kids who cosplay will cover a range of topics: How to present cosplay to your parents? How to present cosplay to your kids (and not embarrass them)? How does a parent encourage their teen to express themselves, be body positive, and consider modesty? How do you discuss appropriation vs. appreciation? Deep topics, some advice, lots of discussion!
Most of the panel programming is all ages, so please bring your family to enjoy your favorite topic. And be sure to get your passes now!