GeekGirlCon is growing up! Last year they occupied just a few rooms at Seattle Center, while this year they took over the entire Conference Center at the Convention Center: four floors of panels, artists, vendors, gaming, and more. Cosplay seemed lighter than last year, though pretty much everyone had at least a nod to geek culture in their outfit, and generally speaking the crowd feels more diverse than at other cons. (I'll post photos soon!)
Highlights from my yesterday: a panel about online harassment (more on that after the jump); a panel with Jane Espenson, Brad Bell and Sean Hemeon about their online comedy Husbands, including the world premiere of season 2; a Buffy sing-along to "Once More With Feeling" with participation to rival Rocky Horror; and a general sense of community and well-being.
more after the jump…
One of the most important reasons for GeekGirlCon to exist is that it creates a forum for discussions like “Go Make Me A Sandwich”: Barriers to Women’s Participation in Online and Fan Spaces. On the panel were Anita Sarkeesian, Regina Buenaobra, Grace (gtz), and Colette Vogele. At only an hour long the conversation was unfortunately a bit rushed. (Having another half hour would have been perfect.) A discussion about misogyny, bigotry and generally assholery on the interwebs can be a downer, but feeling like you're not alone in the fight is priceless. One point made in the panel was to be vocal and explicit about the harassment you experience online: Sure, we all know people can be dicks online, but some of us have a special window into the violent and demeaning rhetoric. Those who don't are often unaware of exactly how bad it can get. (Want a taste of the bile? Visit fatuglyorslutty.com.)
I hope GeekGirlCon continues to have panels like this every year. (And hey PAX and ECCC... this topic isn't just for girls, you know!) We need to keep talking and talking about online harassment until the jackasses doing it are silenced instead of their targets. As one panelist pointed out, rolling your eyes and saying, "Well, that's the internet for you" is passively allowing this behavior to continue. What we need is for harassment to become as socially unacceptable as taking a shit in the middle of the dinner table. You can do that if you want, but everyone's gonna think you're an asshole and you won't be invited back.