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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

169

Geek Love

Needlepoint at the Nerd Jerk artist’s booth.

I was never a proper geek. A nerd and outcast in high school, yes, but not a true geek, if geek means someone who’s into gaming, techie culture, comics, or sci-fi. I had a geek friend in high school who spent her Saturdays playing Mortal Combat at the 7-11 when she wasn’t watching Hackers. She tried to pull me into watching Dune with her once, David Lynch’s over-two-hour sci-fi classic that put me to sleep dreaming of gigantic worms.

So what about attending Geek Girl Con this past weekend made me start to wish I had caught up on old Doctor Who, played Assassins Creed, or flipped through a C++ coding manual just once? Now in its second year, Geek Girl Con is a two-day convention in Seattle that celebrates women in the fields of science and technology, comics, and gaming, for a segment of geekdom that the founders felt was not always properly recognized — even though 42% of all game players are women, and according to the National Science Foundation, women make up 45% of SyFy Channel viewership. Even for those not deep into these geeky worlds, if you had watched a single Harry Potter movie or Game of Thrones episode, there was something here for you, like discussions of gender roles and racism in the Hunger Games.

There were panels with names like “Science, I Am Just That Into You” and “Tech Jobs You Never Knew You Wanted," with opportunities to meet the panelists later for networking, or job advice, and it made me long for my own supportive community — what this group would be called, I do not know... "35 year old single women who watch too much Dawson’s Creek?" No, but in all honesty, where was my own group of like-minded buddies that wanted to help me find a job or prepare for an interview? They even had a seminar on how to negotiate your salary! Negotiate your salary, goddammit!

Wandering around the exhibitor booths looking at earrings fashioned from old vintage comics, admiring women dressed up as Thor, heading down to the gaming floor where I was warmly invited to play Fluxx, my sense of wanting to join in grew even deeper. By the time I listened to the female video game developers at BioWare talk about designing Mass Effect, I had blossomed into full wannabe. “Thane wasn’t always dreamy you know,” one of them said to a rapt audience. “He used to be white as a board, with a red strip down the middle of him, and all I could think was: If I pee on him, do I get pregnant?” Tittering with everyone else in the room, I furiously scribbled the joke down — even though I have no idea who the hell Thane is. But I loved that panel discussion, like I loved the comic book writer and novelist Greg Rucka, who advised the audience not to buy comics that demeaned them, and confided that, “the most common mistake male writers make with their female characters is to say 'I’m writing it exactly like a guy with breasts.'”

By the time the last announcement to visit the gaming room came on — “Geeks,” it addressed us, in a deep, slighty robotic female voice that sounded like it was asking us to board the Starship Enterprise — I felt a strange twinge of sadness that the convention was coming to an end. Catching the last 15 minutes of a nerdlesque performance, I applauded with the rest of the crowd as a sexy lady geek finished up her Lord of the Rings-inspired performance, polishing her pasties with her long gnome hair.

Here's more from the convention floor:


Learning how to play Fluxx.


Glued to Battlefield 3.


Rachel, a volunteer with GeekGirlCon. Her mom made her Empire Strikes Back skirt. Favorite video game? “Fallout III.


Kawan here, dressed up as Amon from the Legend of Korra, tells me he’s at GeekGirl Con because “he’s a geek at heart" and “likes things to do with social justice—geekism with a positive vibe.” His favorite video game was “Final Fantasy VI,” at which his friend incredulously scoffed, “Final Fantasy VI?!?!?”


I found Katherine hanging out at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment booth. She is one of only two female students at the academy, and is studying to become a video game designer. Katherine is dressed up as the Scythian from the Sword and Sworcery, her favorite game. She admitted she doesn’t interact much with the online community, because “the guarantee of anonymity online lets some discredit women, which carries over to the industry... They’ll say something like ‘Go back to Angry Birds,' because it’s supposed to be a game popular with single white moms.”


Megan Humphrey is a Star Wars nerd, and was originally scheduled to help lead a panel on sexism in nerd culture. “Even guys who are hitting on me will try to test my Star Wars knowledge. They would never do that to another guy. They’ll be like ‘Who shot first?’” — a reference to a difference in A New Hope editions which I will not explain it because it took her like ten minutes to relay to me.


Jessica here is dressed up as Nightwing from the Batman comic.


Choose your button.


A corset hawker.


Leigh Honeywell, a computer security consultant, was part of the female hackers’ panel. How she deals with mysogny online? “My tactic in the hacker community has to be a loud cranky feminist, and that filters out of a lot of the assholes.” She is working on a geek feminism wiki.


Purple Reign, part of the Rain City Superheros movement that fights crime in the streets of Seattle, told me about her first date with Phoenix Jones, the main superhero in her life: “He told me that by night he dressed up as a superhero and fought crime.” Phoenix had wounded himself the night before, tried to glue himself back together using Superglue, and in the process had glued himself into his superhero suit. “So he had to wear the suit on our date. Halfway through, he started bleeding through it.” And love blossomed.

Corina Zappia is a former staff writer at the Village Voice. She lives in Seattle but is afraid of hiking.



169 Comments / Post A Comment

maybe partying will help

I was at GGC this weekend too, and it was the best con I've been to so far. Great vibe, great programming and guests, great attendees. Just excellent. There was some seriously great cosplay going on, as evidenced here; I think my favorite was the Legend of Zelda family. Or maybe the genderswap Avengers, or the three Carmen Sandiegos...

ALSO mad props to 'Pinner Sarcastic Fringehead for putting me up on her futon! Viva Seattle.

wharrgarbl

@maybe partying will help Did they organize a search for the three Carmen Sandiegos? Please tell me that they did.

maybe partying will help

@wharrgarbl

Alas, not that I heard. I did do a doubletake the first time I saw two Carmens right after each other. Between her and the various Doctors, TARDISes, and Companions, there was a lot of time travel going on.

SarcasticFringehead

@maybe partying will help Cheers to mutual not-axe-murdering!

...and, you know, a great con. Which it really was, and we really need a Hairpin identifier for next year so we can all hang out and have an even more amazing time!

maybe partying will help

@SarcasticFringehead

Yeah, my mom was like, Well she looks nice and normal! upon viewing our dinner pic. Indeed.

aliceandstuff

Geek Girl Con seems like it is the best convention in the country. I have never been but for two years now everything I have heard about it has been outstanding.

lavender gooms

Ha, aw, poor Thane. (I do not actually find him attractive. It's his lips.)

Jane Marie

@lavender gooms hahaha, oops! THANE. thane. thanks.

TheBourneApproximation

@lavender gooms Thaaaane. You magnificent hot lizard man, you. (But seriously, Garrus4lyfe.)

lavender gooms

@TheBourneApproximation I held out for Tali through two separate playthroughs only to have my hopes dashed by ME3. And then James panicked during our little flirting sessions. Somehow Ivy and Alix Shepard can't seem to give it away.

TheBourneApproximation

@lavender gooms My poor renegade Shepard has the hots for Zaeed. Their murderous love was, alas, not meant to be.

aliceandstuff

@lavender gooms Thane was my pick too, his voice was too sexy and Garrus was too much my bro to ever happen.

Katrina Lehto@twitter

@lavender gooms I shacked up with Liara in ME and decided to be faithful but damned if Garrus Varakian did not test my resolve! Had I known... had I known...

wharrgarbl

"Even guys who are hitting on me will try to test my Star Wars knowledge. They would never do that to another guy. They'll be like 'Who shot first?'"

That might be because you're officially not allowed to sex people who answer Greedo. (And that was A New Hope, not Empire Strikes Back.)

OhShesArtsy

@wharrgarbl Yessssss, I am happy that I didn't have to be the only one who corrected this in the comments.

NERDY GIRLS. WE ARE THE BEST.

wharrgarbl

@OhShesArtsy We are. Let's all go fight George Lucas over the answer. Except for the sexist geek-boys who gatekeep, because they suck.

Jane Marie

@wharrgarbl @OhShesArtsy oh man, you guys, thanks for this help!

maybe partying will help

@wharrgarbl

It would probably be a dealbreaker if a person I was romantically interested in didn't have a proper opinion on this matter.

sarah girl

@maybe partying will help The real question for me is the ghosts at the end of Return of the Jedi - which Anakin should be there? The answer is THE OLD ONE OF COURSE UGH THANKS FOR RUINING MY CHILDHOOD GEORGE LUCAS

wharrgarbl

@Sarah H. I'm holding out for the edition where James Earl Jones gets to be the ghost. Hands up, everybody who'd give half as much of a damn about the Luke-Vader plot if Jones hadn't delivered hardcore on the voicework.

maybe partying will help

@Sarah H.

Agreed. To make it young Anakin removes the redemption story from Anakin's life. It's not insignificant that he found his way back to the light before his death, for Pete's sake.

melis

THAT IS SUCH RUDIMENTARY STAR WARS 101; I would not sleep with anyone who even thought to ask that question in the first place. Who assassinated Thrawn? What were the causes of the Bacta War? Why couldn't Admiral Daala do anything right ever, even if she had been given a doing-things-right charm and everyone agreed to fight her with their hands tied behind them? Those are questions worth asking.

melis

How do you pronounce Qwi Xux? I say "kwee sooks," but I'm open to other possibilities.

melis

Why the hell was Kyp Durron never, I don't know, IMPRISONED FOREVER for using the Sun Crusher? "I was possessed by the spirit of Exar Kun" is not reason enough to not go to jail!

wharrgarbl

@melis "Who assassinated Thrawn?" Okay, so I've resolved to flip over a table if I ever meet Timothy Zahn due to the fact that I still remember Thrawn's last words. How is that still sucking up space in my brain. How.

melis

@wharrgarbl Whenever I die, I plan on smiling faintly, fixing my gaze at a point in the middle distance, and whispering, "But...it was so artistically done..."

melis

@wharrgarbl What I'm trying to say is that Timothy Zahn is the EU writer we need, not the EU writer we deserve.

maybe partying will help

@melis

I say "kwee zzzhhhuzhe" but really I have no idea.

wharrgarbl

@melis Okay, but I'm still going to be flipping over a table somewhere when that happens.

TheUnchosenOne

@melis Admiral Daala question, part two: Why did everyone insist on acting like she wasn't a gross incompetent, including other authors who should have been able to see that she always got everything wrong?

maybe partying will help

@melis

Oh, and about Kyp, I think "possessed by a Sith Lord" is the New Republic version of pleading insanity. #stillhatehim

melis

MY PEOPLE. My best guess about Admiral Daala was that she had so many vowels in her name it threw everyone off and they felt intimidated. Also yeah, sorry, Kyp, thanks for playing, but that should at least get you a prolonged stay in some kind of Jedi psych ward! You did so much genocide! More than Moff Tarkin, even, probably! You don't just get to go have adventures with the Solo/Skywalker clan after that just because Luke had a secret boner for you or whatever!

Katrina Lehto@twitter

@wharrgarbl OMG, I love you people so very much right now. This is now the best comment thread ever. I am not even kidding.

QuadrophonicSound

@melis In my head, it is "Kwee Zucks."

My dog's favorite toy is a hedgehog that we've named "Hedge Antilles."

Also my D&D character (okay, Pathfinder) is named "Mirax Terrik."

area@twitter

I would like to form a Mando'ade mercenary clan with everyone in this thread. But especially melis. Join your hand with mine, melis, and we will raise warriors together. Naasa'guur mhi!

collier

@melis : You are my most favoritest now. Also, I assumed it was "kwee zooks." Also, <3 Wedge forever.

EpWs

@Quadrophenia HEDGE ANTILLES. You are my new favorite person.

@wharrgarbl *raises hands*

@everyone "Who shot first" is INSULTING. I mean, gatekeeping is insulting, but COME ON. This is just absurd to even ask. (True story: I never even knew about the new version Greedo-shot-first clusterfuck until I started wandering around on the internet, saw all the "Han shot first" stuff, and thought people were making things up, because I was raised on the ONLY CORRECT VERSION of this move. The newer editions never made it past the door. Bless, parents.)

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@melis: Reading about how Kyp escaped the Sun Crusher made me realize they could never actually translate this to film. Ew.

anachronistique

I may have to go next year, even though I haven't been to a con since 2003. I just. NERDS <333

(Also, Jessica-as-Nightwing: HELLO.)

maybe partying will help

@anachronistique

There was a vintage blue Nightwing too! GOD I MISS FINGERSTRIPES

OhShesArtsy

@anachronistique I get SO EXCITED anytime someone brings up Nightwing. Then I have to tell myself to chill out because, seriously, I'm strange enough already.

anachronistique

@maybe partying will help FINGERSTRIIIIIIIPES.

@OhShesArtsy Um, because he is the best? (Lies, Batgirl is the best, but Nightwing is a close second.)

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@anachronistique Yes Batgirl but also Batwoman! BATWOMAN! YOU'RE SO AWESOME, WHEN DO YOU GET A MOVIE??? Oh right, you date ladies so = never :(

maybe partying will help

@anachronistique

He was also the best Batman. Sorry Bruce.

anachronistique

@quickdrawkiddo KATE KAAAAAAAAAAAANE <3 <3 <3

Katrina Lehto@twitter

@anachronistique BETTE KANE!!!! <3 <3 <3 I am always so alone in my love.

lora.bee

I LOVE THAT SKIRT

sarah girl

Ahhhh this is great! And I love that the pics cover such a broad spectrum of geek ladies, from hackers to comic book fans to costume makers.

TheBourneApproximation

This looks magnificent. And it sounds like it did something very important, which is make the things that it was celebrating seem *fun*. This has always been one of my big problems with "geekdom": the sense that to truly be a geek, one needs to earn one's credentials through years of devotion and fandom. No, screw that. You don't need to know the finer details of galactic politics to love Star Wars. As an example, I only recently started playing games again, after years of being mostly a literature and film fan, mostly because like you, I became a "wannabe" after hearing from lots of people I respected how much they loved certain games (Portal, Dragon Age, etc.). I feel sometimes like a bit of a "pretender," since I haven't played through large parts of the modern canon. But that's ridiculous - things which are fun are fun! I shouldn't need to show my "geek resume" to say that I frikking love Mass Effect, or that I'm having a blast playing Deus Ex: HR right now. The world is too interesting to worry about not learning C++ programing when I was 10. In short, this conference sounds awesome.

breccia

@TheBourneApproximation You really need to have a working knowledge of early to mid-90's Japanese RPGs in order to appreciate any modern video game.

I mean not because they're important canon or anything, but because hot damn will you ever appreciate good graphics, proper grammar, and translations that actually translate into the intended language.

BornSecular

@TheBourneApproximation Seconded! My husband tells me all the time the lists of things I "need to catch up on" in order to be the best geek-wife ever, but seriously, life is too short for that! Plus, he's already married me, so now I don't have to change! :-p

TheBourneApproximation

@BornSecular How it worked for me: I spent years telling my husband "You're the one in our couple who plays videogames! This game looks awesome! You should play it and tell me about it!" At some point, it occurred to me "Wait, I could just play this myself." He now sometimes has to request that I stop talking about said games so much during dinner (I can't help it if I want to keep talking about Deus Ex! I am an awesome cyborg! I am going to hack ALL the personal emails!).

wharrgarbl

@TheBourneApproximation It seems patently bogus that anyone should have to know the finer details of galactic politics in Star Wars, since half the characters don't seem to. Jar Jar accidentally overthrows the Republic, and Obi-Wan's all "We're breeding a clone army for what now? Who authorized this? Is this okay?" while everyone else is shrugging and going "Well, none of the checks bounced? We haven't gotten any calls from accounts payable asking what we're trying to pull? We guess it's okay? We're not really sure who's in charge over there anymore?". I'm sure there's also a deleted scene in which Anakin is asking how a twelve-year-old gets elected queen of a planet, and Obi-Wan gets all "Fuck it, I don't know, that's just how things work around here, let's go get drunk," and Anakin reminds him that he's ten, and the logical response is "Two years away from being able to hold elected monarchical office is old enough to drink a goddamned space-beer."

Xanthophyllippa

@wharrgarbl That, I'd watch.

TheBourneApproximation

@wharrgarbl I have now upset my commuter train with sudden loud laughter.

Sierrararar

@TheBourneApproximation THIS!! I used to play Final Fantasy but shied away from anything I thought would be too hard. And then my boyfriend suggested I try Dragon Age & Mass Effect because "You might like it" and now we have arguments about whose turn it is on the computer. And I've played Mass Effect about 20 times, no joke.

Also, am I the only Kaidan fan here? Why do peeps hate him so much? Oh Kaidan... you so dreamy...

TheBourneApproximation

@Sierrararar I have come around a little to Kaidan since finally doing a romance with him in ME1. He's a nice guy! He's got nice hair and a hunky body! He's just...not Garrus. Garrus takes you zooming around in the sky and shooting stuff and kissing in ME3! Kaidan has lunch with you and talks about Canada. But he's not without his dreamy charm, and I am now in the "sure, why not!" camp for Kaidan. (ihavespentwaytoomuchtimethinkingabouthis.)

mkpatter@twitter

DID YOU SEE THE PAPER DROIDS AD!?
Also: GOING NEXT YEAR IF I HAVE TO KILL A BABY

breccia

@mkpatter@twitter that escalated quickly.

mkpatter@twitter

@breccia Seriously tho, did anyone who went to GGC see our ad? :(

Serafina

@mkpatter@twitter I FEEL THE SAME WAY

Ophelia

I really want to get that "Self-Rescuing Princess" pin for my niece.

maybe partying will help

@Ophelia

I got so much swag for my littlest cousin, a burgeoning nerdgirl. I am an enabler. It is always fun to see kids there with their parents or older siblings. Though I think I might have creeped out a mother-daughter duo; I saw a girl wearing a purple Bat-tee and asked if she and her mom had met Bryan Q. Miller, who was upstairs signing stuff. They were like...crazy lady, we know not of what you speak.

Moral: I mustn't assume everyone wearing a purple Bat-tee is a big Steph Brown fan! :B

Daisy Razor

@Ophelia I got my niece the t-shirt that says that from ThinkGeek.

Megasus

@Ophelia ...http://www.paperdroids.com/2012/08/14/geek-baby-onesies/

Scandyhoovian

I really want to go to this con forever and ever in the future amen.

a small sea

I'm writing myself a reminder to look this up next year because this sounds SO AWESOME. Like the author, I'm not the hardest of hard core geeks but I think I'd definitely find a metric ton of neat things to learn and people to talk to here!!!!! Thanks for writing this!!

chrysopoeia

HAN shot first. Because if Greedo shoots first, it ruins Han Solo's redemption journey from heartless mercenary to Ewok hugger.

wharrgarbl

@chrysopoeia Not to mention that it makes Han the sort of idiot who'd sit there with a gun on the hired murderer who's all but doing a little jig about getting to face-shoot him and not pull the trigger.

chrysopoeia

@wharrgarbl Every Star Wars discussion just ends with me growling "LUCAS" through clenched teeth, my raised fist shaking in the air.

aliceandstuff

@chrysopoeia This is highly relevant to post here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQoPyxIaREY

Xanthophyllippa

@aliceandstuff I might love you a little bit now.

sarah girl

Poll: What was your most recent geeky endeavor?

Mine was introducing Munchkin to a few of my siblings, although I almost got in a fight with my boyfriend because he plays DIRTY.

breccia

@Sarah H. I sat my BF down, held his hand, and told him "Guild Wars 2 has an early start for people who pre-ordered on the 25th. It starts at 3am our time. I am going to have to stay up until 3 so I can reserve a bunch of awesome character names. I need you to understand this. I am not going to be available that weekend."

wharrgarbl

@Sarah H. I am trying to turn a co-worker on to a bunch of comics after she reminded me why I rage-quit Spawn in my teens.

Daisy Razor

@Sarah H. Buying tickets for NY Comic Con, despite nearly all my modern comics knowledge coming from Tumblr.

OhShesArtsy

@Sarah H. I may or may not have shown up at all the midnight openings for Lord of the Rings in costume. I also may or may not be planning a similar venture for the upcoming Hobbit movies.

Shame? Pride? WHO KNOWS. HOBBITS.

breccia

@Daisy Razor Tumblr is amazing/terrible for that sort of thing. Teen Wolf? I didn't even know that was a THING but now I probably know more about the show than casual viewers (and I've never seen an episode).

lavender gooms

@Sarah H. I can't really take credit for this since it was my boyfriend's idea, but! We inherited a bunch of those drink coasters that you can put pictures in from his dad and stepmother when they sold their condo. He replaced all of the pictures that were in them with black and white pictures of Mass Effect characters. You can put your drink down on Garrus, Liara, Legion, or Tali.

Daisy Razor

@breccia re: Tumblr. Yeah, all I wanted were cute pictures of Chris Evans. And now I know 30 years-worth of Marvel canon.

fb100003964691892

@Sarah H. I currently have...4 or 5 different challenge runs saved to my carts because I will not emmulate I have ancient SNES carts and you will pry them from my dead hands. The current one which is the best one so far is the CT LLG. Thank you and good night.

BornSecular

@lavender gooms ZOMG I have those coasters & they have pictures from my wedding in them...but that is so much better!! I may be switching those out soon....

aliceandstuff

@Daisy Razor We should have a Pinup at NYCC!

Jenivere

@Sarah H. This weekend I started a campaign of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG (from the 80's, of course) with my husband and a group of girlfriends. It was SO MUCH FUN.

QuadrophonicSound

@Sarah H. I'm going to be making a Companion Cube birthday cake for my boyfriend (I may have subtly nudged him into playing Portal 2 again so that it's relevant) and I'm currently engaged in plans with an old online friend to improve a village on our Minecraft server so we have more NPCs to trade with since the 1.3.1 update.

area@twitter

@Daisy Razor and now I know 30 years worth of Marvel canon Preach. (CapWolf, tho. And Hawkeye's Indian princess outfit. And the red thong!)

sarah girl

@Quadrophenia I love this whole thread <3 Keep it coming!

dale

@OhShesArtsy I WANT YOU TO LIVE NEAR ME PLZKTHX.

Audley

@Sarah H. I've done a lot of geeky things lately, but the most concentrated bit of geekery I've been up to lately was making bat-shaped gingerbread cookies to eat at the midnight showing of the new batman movie. Also, while we were waiting for the movie to start, I GMed a super, super rules-lite "tabletop" role playing game to keep my friends entertained.

Megasus

@Sarah H. I spent pretty much all of last weekend playing Skyrim and trying to find my missing fucking Shouts. I just got press passes for Fan Expo and an email from a game studio's PR person to make an appointment to check out some games. I will be taking her up on that offer.

Mandalas

@Sarah H. My boyfriend and I have been watching Deep Space Nine on Netflix and it's a really enjoyable show! Previous to this, I'd watched an episode or two of it and The Next Generation back in the 90's and the first episode of Enterprise (because Scott Bakula... sigh!) and I guess I saw the movie that came out a few years ago as well. This sounds like a lot, having typed it, but I'm trying to say that while I had a passing acquaintance-ship with Star Trek, I've never really indulged. So, I'm so pleased with DS9 and the other day in the car I told the boyfriend that I feel as though I'm switching allegiances. I may like Star Trek more than Star Wars. He looked crestfallen and told me (jokingly) that I may need to get out of his car.

Anyways, DS9! Jadzia! Love!

anachronistique

@Sarah H. Writing 4500 words of post-Dark Knight Rises fic that brings in Barbara Gordon, because what that universe needs is MORE LADIES.

area@twitter

@Sarah H. I LOVE everyone's recent geeky endeavors! Mine is a fic I'm writing as a cheering-up and thank-you for a friend who's having a rough time; it is a few thousand words of plotless fluff that involves the Avengers rescuing a dog.

questingbeast

@Sarah H. Oh my God, Munchkin! My friends introduced me the other week, in the gap between watching The Dark Knight and going to see Rises. I'd never heard of it before, but after an hour I was like, 'Screw Batman, I have the Plutonium Dragon!'. But they let me come back the next day and we played for 12 hours. IT IS THE BEST THING.

TheBourneApproximation

@Mandalas DS9 is the show which made me a geek when I was 10 years old. As much as I love BSG, and as much as I love Mass Effect, it will forever hold my space opera allegiance. I think I owned the station blueprints at one point. Kira Nerys is the ultimate Star Trek badass. (Also, is it weird for a tween girl to have had a crush on Odo? It really is? Crap, forget I said anything.)

Springtime for Voldemort

@Sarah H. Trying to make my Castleville kingdom look like if My Little Pony and LOTR had a baby.

Serafina

@Mandalas When I was a kid I decided to get Bajoran nose ridges and Trill tattoos. Somehow I don't think that's going to happen after all.

catspajamas

@breccia You need to immediately get to netflix and start watching Teen Wolf! I started watching it because I was sure it was going to be train wreak bad. They have managed to totally pull it off. It's suspenseful and really good/bad TV.

Liz Henry@twitter

@Serafina I fondly remember seeing Ursula Le Guin at WisCon way back when, wearing a Bajoran ear cuff that she had made herself.

Jennifer Culp

This is giving me a lot of feelings, like I want to hug everyone in the photos and this thread and cry and laugh and mostly be at Geek Girl Con right now. And steal Rachel's skirt and wear it with a corset and cowboy boots.

OhShesArtsy

@Jennifer Culp We need a Geeky 'Pinup. It would be the perfect place for your skirt-corset-boots ensemble.

stuffisthings

Wait, why is the National Science Foundation collecting SyFy viewership figures?

Shouldn't they leave that up to the National Synce Foundation?

wharrgarbl

@stuffisthings hi5. Well done.

Tower of Babble

It used to be that a history of being a bullied for being so weird and nerdy was almost a prerequisite for being a "real" geek. Geekdom has gotten better at convincing people that "hey, geek things are fun and awesome!", so being bullied for being freakishly geeky is becoming less and less of a necessary quality for entry. Which has some gate-keeping geeks pissed-off, even though geekdom has been trying to shake off geek stigma, and this is what happens when you successfully de-stigma something. *headdesk*

ANYWAY. Be a geek if you want! It's an open club! Enthusiasm for geek culture is the main (read: only) requirement.

han
han

Ahhh, amazing. I wish I could have gone to this! That Sword and Sworcery costume, OH MY GOSH!

melis

Also: hello Leigh Honeywell.

stonefruit

@melis OH INDEED.

loudmouthedgirl

@melis I went to highschool with her. She is pretty awesome.

melis

@loudmouthedgirl I am going to win her love someday, in a respectful and appropriate fashion.

lavender gooms

I never thought of myself as the con-going type (reads the opening of my letter to Penthouse...), but one that is specifically for geek girls would be so cool. There are so many discussions I want to have about, say, Mass Effect* that just would not fly in a male space (unfairly or not) for being both "too feministy" and "too shallow" at the same time. It's just too tiring to do the dance of "here are my geek credentials/I shouldn't need to present my geek credentials/I want to talk about x subject from a female perspective/but I can't make my writing to female-y etc/how do I make it known that I am a female without being called an attention whore" in male-dominated geek spaces.

*Did "Gentlemen's Club" Chora's Den exist when only the asari were on the Citadel? Were dancers part of their social structure even before coming into contact with males? Are there asari that patronized "Gentlemen's Clubs" before meeting other races/males?

What is the in-game explanation for Liara having eyebrows? Are they natural facial markings that just happen to look exactly like human eyebrows? Is it face-paint that she applies because she likes the aesthetic? Is it because she wants to appear attractive to humans?

Why does it matter so much to certain people that female Shepard moves in a "manly" fashion? I understand the technical aspect of using a single animation rig for both Sheps, but isn't it possible that in-world, Shepard moves that way because she doesn't give an F about crossing her legs daintily?

Does anyone else think that Starships by Nicki Minaj was written about F!Shep?

I considered doing a Let's Play in order to ruminate on these thoughts but the thought of a) trying to sound interesting for a hundred hours of game play sounds really hard and b) youtube commenters made me scrap that idea with a quickness.

BornSecular

@lavender gooms My questions!

We finally get to see one female Krogan, and there are female Humans and Quarians, but where are the female Turians? Or Drell or Elcor for that matter?

Why do Quarians (or Asari) have breasts???? Also, if Quarians are avian, do they lay eggs?

lavender gooms

@BornSecular Quarians reproduce like humans I think, but turians... who knows! The lack of female turians is pretty glaring, since turians have to join the military to achieve citizenship. I saw one comic that had a female turian, who looked roughly the same except with no crest, which would make sense? I guess?

Is all life on Thessia mono-gendered? Or is it just the asari? So many questions.

TheBourneApproximation

@lavender gooms Turian females is my #1 concern, though they have appeared at least once in the comics (they're basically dude Turians minus the fringe). I'd love for some of the DLC to have some female members of any of the species that BornSecular mentions.

Otherwise, one major question I have:

What the hell is Miranda's catsuit MADE of?

lavender gooms

@TheBourneApproximation Mass Effect fields.

SarahP

@lavender gooms I actually looked this up once! The simple explanation is that initially, Bioware didn't have enough money/time to create female turian models for the game. BUT female turians do exist in the comics, and they do serve in the military.

TheBourneApproximation

@lavender gooms Whatever it is, it certainly only could be produced by beyond-the-standard-model physics. The avoidance of VPL alone...

SarahP

@BornSecular OH and there were female elcor! There was one in an advertisement I think on the Citadel, and I remember hearing another one somewhere. I am obsessed with the elcor.

And here's my take on the asari: They are meant to be appealing to every race, so we see what's attractive to us. Human standard conventions of beauty for ladies involve curves, so that's what we see most. All the races in the ME world value symmetrical features--the asari have those. The elcor (may--again, I make this up to feel good about it) value a gray-ish pallor, which many asari have. The turians and drell (may) value bumpy/tentacly heads. Sooo we see what we interpret as comforming to our race's standard of beauty.

thiscallsforsoap

@lavender gooms Is Kaidan Alenko the Ryan Lochte of the MS universe? The only place the dialog failed big time for me in MS1 is when I tried to be friendly with him, and he took it for flirting, and I just could not get out of that conversation (all the 'no thanks' options were interpreted as 'playing hard to get'), and things just proceeded to a very yucky conclusion.

TheBourneApproximation

@SarahP "Female elcor." Badassfully, there is totally one in Blasto 6.

area@twitter

@SarahP initially, Bioware didn't have enough money/time to create female turian models for the game
Maybe it shouldn't, but it always really frosts me when that happens. So...these characters are important enough to be in the game, but it's not worth the time to make sure half of their species is represented? Specifically, the half I identify with as a lady gamer? And the default is always male- there's never (insofar as I know) a default female model with no male counterpart. I've been playing WoW for years, and every time I see a Broken or a Taunka or, hell, ANY NPC race, it really bugs me that they didn't take the time to build the female model. Hrmph. (On the plus side, Blizz's inclusion of awesome, chunky, ass-kicking panda ladies in the next expansion makes my heart sing.)

lavender gooms

@thiscallsforsoap I feel like if I had benn allowed to hook up with James like I wanted to, Kaidan would have spent all his time posting to facebook about how I had friendzoned him and whining about how girls never date nice guys like him. Go away, Kaidan.

Danzig!

@area@twitter Well y'all got Asari, who are all female!*

*Please note: Asari are monogendered and totally not female, so the Liara thing is not actually a gay romance, none of which were considered "appropriate" until ME3 came along

SarahP

@area@twitter I totally feel your frustration here. It doesn't help that most of the writers for games are men, which means they usually write male characters, so that when the companies can only depict one gender depicted, it's default male. : /

Summer Somewhere

@lavender gooms OH MY GOD I KNOW! I also found myself trapped in a relationship with that jealous turd through the power of conversation! I was expecting it to work like Dragonage, where the "official" relationship starts with sex, but no. Dude tricks me into being his girlfriend, then gets mad when a fine lady gets a crush on me, but refuses to make out?! UGH

chrysopoeia

East coast Geek Girl Con, please. PLEASE.

aliceandstuff

@chrysopoeia Instead of waiting for them, maybe we should organize our own??!?

Megasus

@chrysopoeia If I had the money/influence I would totally start Geek Girl Con North

chrysopoeia

Cons are a huge pain in the ass to organize, though! And, money.

Gef the Talking Mongoose

Katherine is dressed up as the Scythium from the Sword and Sworcery...

/geek on
It's actually "the Scythian". Please correct at your leisure.
/geek off

Also, it's nice that in-game the Scythian isn't visually rendered as any particular gender but is described as female in the text. I'm trying to think of another case where this happens (Metroid doesn't really count) and I'm drawing a blank.

thiscallsforsoap

There is only one true test of geekdom: the ability to explain THAC0.

The really sad part is that I never even played proper D&D, only the CRPGs (BG1+2, IW1+2, and on the GOAT shortlist, Planescape:Torment).

Girl Named Jack

@thiscallsforsoap My inability to understand THAC0 kept me from approaching anyone about D&D for years, because I could not understand the AD&D PHB I bought. Until recently, some new friends were like, um, d20? It's easy now?

It felt like that time when I was a little kid and I held my hands over my ears because I was scared of thunder, and I continued to hold them over my ears for like an hour after the storm was done.

Krispy McGrumpypants

YOU GUYS. You don't even know how much happiness this is bringing to me RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT.

I'm on the staff for GeekGirlCon (not a lie, I swear - I'm the vendor coordinator), and I am going to pass this on to them, even though I got the link originally from our PR lady.

This sums up exactly how I feel right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlJM4UhbQ7A

Also, you all should come next year. All of you. There should be a 'Pinners meet-up, so that I can meet all of you (EVERY SINGLE ONE).

It was a wonderful, lovely, welcoming, safe, full-of-love con. And we're gonna make it even more awesome next year.

BornSecular

@Krispy McGrumpypants@twitter I'm adding this to my list of vacations next year! (Keeps fingers crossed the dates work, and that money and vacation time holds out)

Krispy McGrumpypants

@BornSecular We are still figuring out the dates for next year! So keep the bits crossed :)

Luckier

@1098331 Tell the staff it was awesome, but the Samwich and Misogyny panels needed to be longer to allow for audience questions and discussion. So many good feminist panels!

Krispy McGrumpypants

@Luckier I'll pass that on :)

dale

I'm so sad I missed it! I had big plans to go, but had assumed it would be in the fall again. :-(

Next year? A bunch of us? Pretty please?

Xanthophyllippa

@dale I'll go with you next year! I don't know anything about any of these things but it looks like fun.

Krispy McGrumpypants

@Xanthophyllippa Please, yes, do - I'd love to see a Hairpin presence there. There ought to be secret hand signals, or a pin, or SOMETHING.

dale

@Xanthophyllippa YAYYYY! I'm not a gamer gal, I tend to steer more towards literature and movies and a smattering of TV, but it'll be good.

Megasus

@1098331 Wear a hairpin on your lapel!

SarcasticFringehead

@dale You guys, this is happening. It has to be happening. It would bring my whole life into one giant circle and all the things I like would be in one room and it would probably cause a singularity of amazing and I don't even care because what better possible way for the world to end?

Also, I'm mostly a books/movies/TV person myself (as opposed to games/comics/tech/whatever), and I had a great time.

dale

@SarcasticFringehead A singularity brought on by a bunch of geek ladies? I'M THERE.

Right. So. When we hear details about next year, we'll brainstorm, and figure out comfortable room-sharing arrangements and such. I promise I'm not scary! My LOTR fellow fans can confirm that I'm nice to 'strangers'!

Serafina

@dale Can I get in on this or..? I bake delicious things!

And I think there is a hand sign! Um, how to explain it. Make a gun hand with your middle and pointer fingers together, and slide your thumb through your hair like it's a hair pin, I think?

dale

@Serafina Yes, yes! The more pinfolk, the better!

JustSomeGuy

'Megan Humphrey is a Star Wars nerd, and was originally scheduled to help lead a panel on sexism in nerd culture. “Even guys who are hitting on me will try to test my Star Wars knowledge. They would never do that to another guy. They’ll be like ‘Who shot first?’”'

Maybe I just don't get what she is explaining here, but I have been a guy for my whole life. This is essentially the basis of all male friendships. I mean, not specifically star wars knowledge, but testing someone's position in the ingroup pecking order is. If you meet a bunch of...I don't know, guys who do anything, and you make clear to them that you do that thing, the first thing they will do is probe to what degree you do that thing.

Again, this is kind of presented as a sidenote in the post, so maybe I'm misinterpreting it, but one male Star Wars nerd meeting another self-proclaimed Star Wars nerd WILL ABSOLUTELY 100% GUARANTEED TEST the other guy's knowledge.

In the absence of more details, I would encourage this lady to consider the possibility that this is this nerd's way of offering her entry into the ingroup. Like, she might be being treated totally normally. The normal nerd sexism here would be to just assume you don't actually like star wars and not ask you any questions.

Jesus Christ. I can't believe I may be sort of defending nerd sexism AND star wars nerdism here, two of the things I find most irritating in the world. Star Wars: it's really not that cool, guys. I mean I liked it when I was seven, too. Laser swords! But, you know, I also thought I'd eat ice cream for breakfast when I grew up. It's really a pretty clunky movie, and as a multipart epic, it's completely incoherent.

Xanthophyllippa

@JustSomeGuy You mean you DON'T eat ice cream for breakfast?! What crazy hell-world are you living in?

(But you're right about the knowledge-testing for pecking order. Even my dad kind of does that, with golf trivia.)

EpWs

@JustSomeGuy Some of us still enjoy it and think it's cool* for a variety of reasons. It's not perfect, but very few things are, and I can enjoy it on its own terms as well as for the massive impact it had on movies, pop culture, and the geek world. I can love it because of the nostalgia it brings up, because I've been enjoying it with my family since before I can remember, and I can love it because of the camaraderie it creates with people. It's good fun, it creates endless amounts of discussion, and it'll always be a part of my general pop-culture knowledge and who I am. Then again, I'm just some girl who enjoys Star Wars (and, occasionally, ice cream for breakfast), so I'm not terribly cool anyway. But that's okay.

*It=Star Wars, but also ice cream for breakfast.

wharrgarbl

@JustSomeGuy Laser swords are still fucking awesome.

Part of what you might be missing is the basic vibe. Friendly guy-on-guy testing is to suss out how into this thing you are. Hostile gate-keeping testing, which a lot of sexist boy-geeks will absolutely level against girl-geeks in an attempt to make it clear that they are not welcome in the club, tends to escalate, and instead of being used to say "Well, she's a huge nerd, but not as huge a nerd as me," it's used to say "Well, she's clearly not really a nerd at all and instead a terrible poseur who is just here for all that sweet male geek attention that her infernal kind crave."

Another part you might be missing is that this tends to happen a lot, so even if the fifth guy to pull this in two hours means perfectly well, and is trying to just do what he does with all potential new geek-friends, he's doing this with a lady who's spent the last two hours having to defend her nerdentials to strange dudes doing their best to shut her enjoyment of the entire fucking event down. At best, he's going to get the side-eye until he demonstrates that he's trying to be a bro instead of a juicebox.

JustSomeGuy

@Xanthophyllippa-- Right after I wrote that, I remembered how I had ice cream for breakfast _literally two days ago_. I was telling everyone about how excited I was about my new invention all day (new to me anyway: I had poured myself a bowl of granola (i was trying to eat something not super filling cause I had a ticket to a barbecue contest at 12:30) and it looked so sad lying there in the bowl. It was also super hot so I figured: drop a scoop of ice cream in here. It turned into an awesome granola-milk-ice cream soup that was delicious.) So yeah, I'm being an idiot because I was annoyed about unrelated crap when I wrote this post.

Similarly, @The Everpresent Wordsnatcher, I'm sure if I gave SW a rewatch I'd totally enjoy it, I just waste too much of my life reading the internet and I find the whole "WHAT IF EVERYTHING WAS A STAR WARS BACON CUPCAKE????" mentality grating. I also don't understand why there's still so many grown-ass nerds who are like, "Star Wars is essentially the core around which my being is built." I'm like "yo are you sure there's not a gaping flaw in your engineering such that a small fighter could fly through one of your exhaust vents and blow up your soul? It can't be much bigger than a womp rat and I used to bullseye those in my T16 back home all the time" Ok I don't even know who I am any more.

@wharrgarbl that sounds pretty fucking irritating. Nerds. NEEERRRRDDSSSS!!!! ogre-from-revenge-of-the-nerds.jpg whoops-i-just-remembered-thats-the-rapiest-comedy-in-the-game.png

Serafina

@wharrgarbl if I could like this harder I would. I stopped going to anime conventions years ago because specifically guys would come up and grill me on the show or game my costume was from. They'd stand over me and talk really loudly and quickly, and it was super intimidating, so eventually I would stutter or misspeak or freeze up. They'd look at me with disgust, call me a whore, and tell me to get out of their convention and stop ruining their(!) fun. =/

JustSomeGuy

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Did you see this: "Can We Talk About Why We Really Love Princess Leia?" http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/08/can-we-talk-about-why-we-really-love-princess-leia

EpWs

@JustSomeGuy I hadn't seen that, but it's fantastic, thank you! This:
"Forced to be a sexual object for a crime lord? Choke him to death and get outta dodge. Find out your stealth party was spotted on by the enemy? Hunt them down with their own vehicles. Meet a strange new species that doesn’t speak your language? Share food and make friends."

Love it. Thanks again. :D

tspofnutmeg

@wharrgarbl

Hi! I'm actually the Megan in this article (no really, I swear!) and I do want to clear up what I meant here...

wharrgarbl is completely correct in saying that these guys asking me "who shot first" is done because they don't believe that I could possibly be a "legitimate" Star Wars nerd. They're not trying to be bros, they're trying to prove that, at best, I couldn't possibly know as much about Star Wars as them, and at worst that I'm totally faking it. Last year at Emerald City Comic Con I was wearing a Star Wars dress that I made. A guy came up to me and asked "Who Shot First?" I replied with "Han. What's the name of the ewok medicine man?" He said "Ewoks have names? That's not a fair question to ask, only girls like ewoks," then stormed away.

Don't get me wrong, I have a LOT of male Star Wars friends and we go back and forth on trivia, quotes, our opinions on the EU and so forth. But that has an INCREDIBLY different feeling than these guys asking me the LAMEST QUESTION in Star Wars history to prove that they're superior. These guys are trying to break me down and WORSE some are trying to break me down so I'll be impressed with them.

For the past five years at Sakura-Con I've run multiple Star Wars panels. At the very first one ("I Love You: A Star Wars Panel") I had a room of about 150 people who came in looking confused as they sat down. Before I even introduced myself I asked "how many of you are surprised to see a woman hosting this panel?" and almost everyone raised their hand. I wasn't trying to prove myself to them, I was just sharing what I love. That's what nerds do - share what they love with other nerds.

EpWs

@tspofnutmeg You are awesome and fabulous. Please keep doing what you do. (Thanks for stopping in and saying hi!)

Waiting

GUYS LET'S ALL BE FRIENDS!!!!

<3<3<3

Serafina

Does anyone else remember the shift Star Wars went through? It started as being written by people who can actually write, and being seen as something only disgusting basement dwellers who don't bathe and who yell at their moms for hot pockets watch, at least among the people I used to go to school with. If I had had any friends I sure as hell wouldn't have told them I watched Star Wars every single night I was at my dad's house (literally every night there). Then when the new movies came out and they were soooo baaaad oh my goooddddd (dying whale noises) but the effects were good for the time I guess? and Star Wars became super fucking popular? What the hell is up with that shift? The greatest part is that all the new merchandise is for the old films and it's all supposed to look vintage and everything, but every time I see someone with a vintage Star Wars thing I want to point at them and scream "FAKERFAKERFAKER" with the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" face, as if Geek is a quest-awarded title and you have to pass a broad knowledge test to be able to call yourself geek. I hate this reaction in myself because it's a) dead fucking wrong, geekdom is a continuum and sliding scale and b) it's so incredibly hurtful.

Related note: in the Pokemon geek community there's this intense duality between the fans who were the target age when it came out (like me) and had to suffer through years of "hahaha you still like Pokemon? Jeeesus" ostracism. Even in this kind of really relaxed social setting, I'm still getting this knee-jerk reaction to prove that I do, in fact, like Pokemon by casually dropping in my IV and EV training and the time I got an invitation to an invitation-only TCG competition and my whole deck list and everything. Not only have I not played the TCG for three years now, but nobody was even going to challenge me. Anyway, now it's fans like me and very young kids playing it, and any time I mention Pokemon there's an instant association with two things I don't appreciate: pedophilia, and the kind of person who puts a picture of Umbreon up on facebook with the comment "lol i love pikachu im such a nerd<33."

So I guess the point I was really trying to make is, a lot of guys assume that a girl in any geek fandom is the "lol i love pikachu im such a nerd<33" type who's only in the community to get attention from geeks, and they'll shut her down as fast as possible. There's a marked difference between pecking-order grilling and "get the fuck out of here you filthy goddamn whore" grilling, and unfortunately, most geek girls I've seen have only been greeted with the latter. I've seen guys fire questions at girls like they're swinging crowbars at headcrabs, leaning over them, and finally crowing with victory when the girl is outed as Not A Geek, Actually A Fucking Poser Bitch, Everyone Get Her if she misspeaks or didn't memorize all the release dates of a barely known comic from a decade before she was born.

Breaking Dead Men@twitter

@Serafina I guess it's a question of your generation. As someone who saw the first Star Wars as a kid on the day it came out, it's something that was only cool until Lucas started making crappy prequels.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Serafina: This is a pretttty good breakdown.

Male geeks can be notoriously defensive creatures.

Summer Somewhere

hey! i went to geek girl con both days and when i saw the program i cried a little bit because i was like "my people are here!" talking about social justice issues in nerd culture is my JAM. but i only went with my girlfriend and ended up feeling kind of lonely. it would have been nice to know that other 'pinners were there! we should definitely have a meetup next year! or maybe right now. i haven't gone to local meetups because i am kind of scared of strangers but i could get over that if i knew we had something in common besides visiting the same website. i need more geek girls in my life, i am tired of yelling about sexism at the boys.

catspajamas

@Summer Somewhere I can not believe I didn't know about this! I will be there next year because I need this in my life. Now, the question is should I come alone so I can party with the pinners or should I bring my awesome 10 year old so she can roll around in all the awesome?

dale

@catspajamas Bring your young lady! It looks like the other kids there were having an awesome time too!

(I don't party hard, btw, so anyone who doesn't either is welcome to just chatter with me in the evening)

Summer Somewhere

@catspajamas Bring your munchkin AND someone to watch her while you go party. ;D

Krispy McGrumpypants

@catspajamas Do both! We're trying to make it as family-friendly as possible, especially since it means exposing young people to nerdy and geeky things.

catspajamas

@Krispy McGrumpypants Last night I mentioned this to said daughter and there is no possibility of keeping her away! It would be an awesome mother daughter trip as it seems to have things we will both enjoy. I hope I'll see some of you there.

Krispy McGrumpypants

It's been over a year... but we're putting on GeekGirlCon this coming weekend! You all should come and visit :)

(October 19th - 20th.)

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