I always talk about wanting to attend Comic Con one day. I mean, it’s the biggest geek convention in the world that features amazing guests and panels. But there is another convention that I would like to attend one day: Girl Geek Con.
You see, while San Diego Comic Con is a huge must-visit on my list, it is dominated and aimed a lot at men. It’s kind of saddening to be reminded that something I love very much is not exactly “me” friendly. Geek culture, as it were, is still marketed a lot at men. Therefore, it sets up young women as the subject of ridicule for liking the same things. The implication, as I have run into, is that women only like these things to gain attention from the men in their lives. They don’t like it for their own reasons! Why would a woman like aliens, magic and superheroes?
And apparently, I am not alone. A huge demand for female fans of science-fiction, gaming and comics is what created Girl Geek in Seattle. In fact, the demand was so huge, convention staff had to turn people away. This year, a bigger space was rented to, hopefully, make enough room for everyone.
The con was founded by Erica McGillvray, a 28-year-old comics fan, who was sick of being asked if she was buying comics for her boyfriend. She took to the internet, finding other women who expressed the same frustration. Today, she is the president of Girl Geek con, and believes that women have a just as much right to express their interest in the “geeky” topics without ridicule or hate. She created Girl Geek con to celebrate what comics, movies, books etc women have contributed to the world, giving them the recognition they deserve.
Nearly all of the panels were run by women (there were a few guys in the mix, too!) But all of the topics covered were revolving around women, including topics such as “The Story of Science and Engineering: Finding a Happy Medium.” Comic artist Gail Simone had a panel about her work in DC comics. But the convention wasn’t all fun and games. Panels were also about topics such as harassment. Anita Sarkeesian, who received rape and death threats over her new documentary that explores sexism in the gaming industry, ran a panel discussing this hot topic.
Many of the convention-goers dressed up as their favourite characters, including an adorable little girl who had “princess-fied” her Darth Vader outfit, adding in a crown and tons of sparkles. Seriously, how fabulous. However, Girl Geek is proud to accept anyone who calls themselves a geek. As long as you are interested in the accomplishments done by women in areas like sci-fi and fantasy, you are welcome at Girl Geek, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation etc.
There was also a screening of the new documentary called Wonder Women! The Untold History of American Superheroines, which, as the title suggest, is about the super heroines that don’t get a lot of recognition. There is a lot of interest being generated by this film (both positive and negative) because it is both a history lesson and providing a lot of context for the feminist movement that wasn’t previously explored. Seriously, Wonder Woman in the 50s? Wow.
There were all sorts of fun events, such as a sing along to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s musical episode “Once More with Feeling.” It helped create a fun atmosphere where new people could meet and share their happiness with the media they loved.
And this is all getting attention from major media outlets, including CNN. It’s kind of a slow beginning to get companies to realize that girl geeks do exist and it would be nice to be acknowledged one day.
Girl Geek Con has definitely been bumped up on my list of events to go to. I find the idea of meeting other woman who love the same things a lot more appealing that regular geek cons.