Anne Bean

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Tag: cosplay

Geek Girl Con 2013

Seattle has a lot of cons, many of them very quality and wildly popular. ECCC is becoming a contender for major US comic con alongside NYCC and SDCC. PAX sold out in nine minutes and packed the entire convention center. But this past weekend was the Seattle con that has my heart the most: Geek Girl Con. I have heard (male) friends describe the best part of going to PAX is “being with my people.” And for reals, GeekGirlCon is my people, even more so than any other con.


Pretty sure the guy on the left won the costume contest. On the right is cosplayer Chaka Cumberbatch.

How do I describe GeekGirlCon? Do I talk about the gender distribution: maybe 75% women, 25% men? Do I talk about how much more visible queer geeks, geeks of color, and geeks with disability were than at other cons? Do I talk about the high quality of cosplay, the seriously good panels, or the interesting bits that other cons don’t have, like the DIY Science section or the networking section? I dunno, maybe cosplayer Chaka Cumberbatch said it best:


I just hope everyone else had as good a time as I did. This con was a game changer for me, and I mean that sincerely. #geekgirlcon

— ★ Chaka ★ (@princessology) October 20, 2013


There’s just nothing else like it! Here’s a quick rundown of Interesting Things from the con:

The first panel I went to was about female characters in videogames. The panel was well-chosen: two game designers, Shoshanna Kessock and Kimberly Voll, and two gamers/critics, Anita Sarkeesian and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry. They talked about how to make good female characters. (Protip: Agency. Making choices that affect things in a meaningful manner.) They talked about the difference between choose-your-own-gender games and games where there is a female that you must play. They talked about the silly double-standards revolving around emotions: women have too many, men have none or maybe one. Douchey game developers have argued that women have too many, and even that anger (the only male emotion obvs) is just easier to animate than more complex emotional states. Shoshanna Kessock said she’d actually heard an argument against female “must-play” characters that goes like this: “Why would men be able to feel through the avatar of a woman?” I think if we could determine why many men wouldn’t be able to feel through the avatar of a woman, or if those men could figure it out for themselves, then we’d actually be on our way to a more just society. Not just in games and geek culture, but in general. To me, avatars and empathy is an example of the positive power of games.
Later in the day, I went to a panel entitled “Rule 63 Cosplay,” about genderbent cosplay. The presenters were my buddy from childhood (no kidding) and cosplayer extraordinaire, Torrey Stenmark, and turbo-experienced cosplayer Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Prill. They highlighted the difference between crossplay and gender-swapped cosplay. Crossplay is where one dresses as an differently-gendered character attempting to look like that character’s gender.

Jareth, the Goblin King (Torrey Stenmark)

On the other hand, genderswapping is where one dresses as a version of a character that is as if that character had been written a different gender.


Steph Rodgers, Captain America. (Torrey Stenmark)

The radsauce Kelly Sue DeConnick gave a fantastic spotlight presentation where she talked about her upcoming title, Pretty Deadly, and a host of other topics. Kelly Sue is so smart, down-to-earth, and genuine in her presentation. I am consistently impressed by her as a writer and a human being. She talked a lot about Captain Marvel as well. She had a simple, humble moment of apologizing for screwing up by not putting in a black servicewoman into the Banshee Squadron. It’s an idea she’d gotten and discarded because it seemed unrealistic to her at the time. “I have these women with guns that they somehow know how to use fighting aliens in the South Pacific,” she said. She was saddened to later realize that she’d found a black servicewoman somehow *less* realistic. “I screwed up,” she said. “I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.” God damn, I wish more creators and cultural curators could/would do that when they screw up. What a world that would be.

When Trade Secrets! reviewed Captain Marvel, incidentally, one thing we weren’t so hot on was the time travel aspect to the story–the pacing felt a little weird to us. I now know the heart-wrenching reason why she did a time travel story right off the bat: she really wanted to get to the banshee squadron and some of Carol’s relationship with Helen Cobb, but was also convinced that the story would be cancelled after six issues. So she got what she wanted to write about most done up front. I, for one, am glad that Captain Marvel didn’t get canceled after six issues. I heard several women talking about how they started reading comics because of the title–wow. We need this. Representation matters.

Lastly, let me give you a beautiful gift that Kelly Sue DeConnick gave the audience: The Sexy Lamp Test.

Deluxe Lit Leg Lamp mediumThis is a good test of whether or not your (female) characters have agency. It goes like this: “If you have a female character and you could replace her with a sexy lamp and the plot still works, then FUCK YOU.” *Cough* I mean, then re-examine her, give her a real purpose and like maybe a character arc or something, give her some agency, and let her choices matter.


So, GeekGirlCon! There are important conversations about women and race and disability and all kinds of neat things! There’s a lot of rad cosplay! There is actual science! There is a non-creepy vibe! (And yes, you can totally come if you’re a dude. Aside from it being FUN, it’d be a good exercise in what-is-it-like-to-be-female-at-most-other-cons.) It is a magical place. See y’all next year.


Link Roundup: Disney

We interrupt your regular programming to bring you a link roundup, a feature which I am hoping to run weekly (likely on Wednesdays in the future). Oblivion Part Two will go up on Monday. But now for something completely different…

This week: Disney.

hipster princesses

If you grew up in America, you are likely to have a relationship with Disney: Love it, hate it, obsess about it, love to hate it, have embarrassed unironic love for it, have unabashed unironic love for it, throw up in your mouth a little whenever you see it, whatever.

For the record, I tend to fall into the nerdrage/mouth throw-up camp. That being said, I really do enjoy singing Disney songs. This one time I directed a Kabuki play, and the all-male cast’s anthem was “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. As culturally incorrect as you can get, but there’s still something fabulous about blasting that song in the theater with 11 guys belting it out.

Anyway. Disney links!

Let’s start with something positive! This cosplay is pretty badass!

Disney Princesses as warriors

This post about Tiana from Racialicious encapsulates the love/hate/rage feelings I get from Disney pretty well.

You know how they were trying to make Merida from Brave all sexy and stuff for the Disney Princess collection? People aren’t so into that. Sadly, though, Disney is not listening.

The movie I love to hate the most: Beauty and the Beast. Here are some plot holes in it!

Remember that one time Disney actually tried to buy a holiday? Or rather, since they’re making a film about it, they wanted to, like, trademark it and stuff. And they thought that was okay, apparently just ’cause it came from another culture? Yeah, that time. (DID YOU CATCH THE BIT WHERE THEY WANTED TO MAKE DIA DE LOS MUERTOS CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS? BECAUSE I FIND THAT LIKE ALLCAPS RIDICULOUS.)

If you haven’t seen the Advice For Young Girls From a Cartoon Princess series from the Second City Network? Well, Ariel, Snow White, and Belle have some key advice for you.

And last but not least, did we all catch this talented youngster’s parody Disney Princess song? I think it’s adorable; I do wish that he went a little deeper with some of his points. Because there are much, MUCH deeper issues in Disney. I think he gets the closest in the Aladdin section. …Anyone up for making a Disney Prince one with me? Especially you’s folks who can sing? I have some devious ideas.

I’m sorry if I’ve wrecked anyone’s hopes and/or dreams. They were probably nebulous dreams that ended up being realized in the form of a prince ’cause that’s more convenient than figuring your shit out anyway. *cough*That is to say, sorry, here’s some adorable and only sometimes creepy pictures of Disney couples all dolled up for prom.


Post your Disney links in the comments! Sharing is Caring!

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