Category Archives: Community

Con Updates

The time is drawing near for Emerald City Comicon, Seattle’s mainstream nerd festival. I am totally going, but the better question is are you?

To get excited for the upcoming events and mentally prepare myself to be surrounded by gobs of people, I started looking through my own photos of past cons. While not totally applicable, I came across this photo I took of a signed “The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories” from Portland’s Stumptown Festival, and squeed from pleasant memories.

Nicholas Gurewitch owns our base.

In other totally rad con news, Geek Girl Con has confirmed dates and location and is starting to announce guests. I highly recommend buying passes now to support this emerging celebration rich with awesome and potential.

Geek Girl Con!

I caught whispers on the ‘tubes and tales from my nerdy co-workers (shout out to Info Deb!) of a wondrous development in Seattle nerd culture, almost too awesome to be true:

Geek. Girl. Con.

I close my eyes and imagine swarms of like-minded, awesome, nerdy and engaged women and womyn and hir allies showing up to build a vocal community to make our nerd-verse better. [Ed. note Not a typo, read up on gender neutral pronouns; learn, respect, repeat.] I can feel the collective sigh of being in a safe space where fawning over Buffy and talking about Raina Telgemeier’s latest work is welcomed;  where a real conversation about body-positivity in our culture could be had while the grrrl next to them excitedly dreams about Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters; where we discuss the conundrum of loving Tomb Raider games, despite glaring problems with the sexualization of Lara Croft.

So, clearly I’m projecting my feminist army dreams onto a collective of geek girls. Sue me. It could happen though.

At this stage, the convention is in the fundraising phase. Like any good community building exercise, Geek Girl Con needs some love and nurturing to get it off the ground. I swell with pride knowing that if any city could pull this off, it’d be Seattle. I’ll keep you all posted with details as they emerge, but you better believe I’ll be front and center. I hope to see you there too!

Con Abuse

I’m sure some of you kick-ass feminists out there have attended cons of some variety. Whether its a ComiCon, a gaming con, a programming con, or a craft upraising, a convention can be an amazing community building experience. I fondly remember my first event (APE, for the curious) as a mind-blowing explosion of art and fan-girling and meeting fellow comic bloggers.

But what happens when cons are an uncomfortable and violent place? And how does this destroy our beloved nerd communities? An account of sexual harrassment at San Diego ComiCon in 2008 by friend Kevin Church was terrifying. A positive effect of the sexist treatment was that our shocked community began speaking back, having important conversations about safety and responsibility that rippled through the blogs and forums. I can’t speak on behalf of the offenders, but having a frank conversation about proper behavior around women working in booths (ed. note: I refuse to use the term b–th b-bes for anti-sexist reasons) and treatment of women was in dire need.

Sadly, these incidents still continue. It’s heartbreaking and triggering to recount the stories, so perhaps it serves my purposes to weave a story of uncomfortable community interactions by redirecting you to Geek Feminism’s wiki page on reported incidents. Go ahead and catch yourself up, if you have the need or the heart.

With that sad groundwork laid, have you ever had an uncomfortable experience at a con? If not, have you witnessed behavior that made you angry? What is your tactic in handling these situations? While I am glad that a wiki exists, as information sharing is important to bring visibility to the fact that women do attend cons and have encountered sexism, we need to develop a strategy to calling offenders out on the floor. We need to learn to speak up.