GeekGirlCon 2013: Review and Panel Recap!

A few weeks back, I hosted a panel titled Black, Latina, Girl and Geek: A Tale of Acceptance that was, literally, one of the highlights of my entire freaking life.

It took me awhile to get around to this because I’m so freaking busy and I lack writing discipline.  I’m working on that.  Here are some of the highlights and our review of GeekGirlCon 2013 and tidbits on our panel!

– GeekGirlCon keeps getting bigger and better.  I remember when this Con first started and I am utterly amazed and impressed with how far they’ve come.   You can tell the men and women who are behind this organization are 100% dedicated to their brand, but even more, to the people who come to see GeekGirlCon as a really progressive space.

– The place was PACKED!  GeekGirlCon went down at the Washington State Convention Center, the same place that hosts Emerald City Comicon.  Here’s what my early predictions are.  If done right, the right marketers will pay real close attention to this Con and start building a partnership.  Personally, if the Wonder Woman movie EVER comes out (and I’m about two seconds away from not holding my breath), Geek Girl Con would be the PERFECT place to pour a ton of money into marketing.  I have high hopes for them.  Oh, and get your tickets now.  It sold out online by Friday, October 18th and by Saturday afternoon, my people who didn’t buy tickets were almost hosed.

Sidenote:  Massive shout out to the GeekGirlCon staff for giving my family some passes for free so they could see our panel (and leave of course lol).  Thanks a million!

– There was some bloody awesome cosplay this year.  As more and more people go and the word spreads, the cosplayers are showing up and showing out in a good way.  I saw a freakin’ badass Dalek moving around the place.  Full disclosure, even my mini-Geekstress showed up as Captain America… And not the girl version.  This went over really well with people.  Her Brother-Goons showed up as Spider-Man and Iron Man and totally hammed it up as members of The Avengers.  Yeah, I’m a proud “Motherian Unit”.

– GeekGirlCon is for boys (too)!  I saw a lot of guys.  Lucky for them, I’m married.  No, I’m kidding.  Seriously, there were tons of guys there either as media, contributors, vendors, cosplayers, or just taking in the geekery.  GGC may have an emphasis on women in geekdom, but they never said men weren’t welcome.  In fact, they are very welcome and they totally showed up and showed love.

– There are tons of things to buy there.  Unfortunately, we suck so we forgot the freakin memory card for the DSLR AGAIN (for the second freaking year in a row, I might add… Damn it!), but luckily some Friends in Geekdom have some really cool pics of what was there.  Wonder and Risk has some awesome photos:

– If you’re into it, I think GeekGirlCon has you covered, or will have you covered.  Tabletop gaming, conversations about different groups, media, making your way throughout the business… It’s one of the more well-rounded Cons and I felt like this year, they really stepped it up with the panels.  I had so many panels I wanted to see… I would’ve missed my own panel.

Black, Latina, Girl, and Geek Panel:

So, one of the best things about this year for me was doing the panel at GGC.  I want to thank them again for giving us the opportunity: Thank you!

If you’re a geek and you’re dying to hear meaningful conversations about inclusion and bettering geekdom in general through the fresh ideas that diversity brings, then you would have been right at home at GGC.  This is why we were so grateful that they gave us the opportunity.  I hosted the panel along with two friends of mine, Emily Berrios and Aquala Lloyd, who are some of the most serious, dedicated (girl) geeks I’ve ever known.  We were so amazed when people streamed into our little panel with their daughters, in their cosplay, wearing afropuffs, or facepaint… We were just so stoked.  I had–for the first time in a long time–stage fright.  You’re talking about an accomplished Mistress of Ceremonies here… Yeah, I was totally freaked out.  They came to see US talk.  I couldn’t believe it.  Hell, I would’ve been happy with five people.  After our panel, which even got a little emotional (it was awesome guys!), we had so many women come up to us thanking us for having a panel like this.

The recurring theme of the comments was gratitude for having the panel and for giving geek girls of color a voice.  Unfortunately, most often times we are neither seen or heard, and that’s frustrating when you are as entrenched as some of us are into this culture.  Overall, geek girls of color are tired of being overlooked.  They want to be counted as well.  What I hope those women realize is just how much they’ve touched us, me in particular.

We talked about our experiences and about how media can severely “color” someone’s views about people of color and the lack of media representation in geekdom is distressing, if not a bit stifling.  Everybody knows that the more diverse the experiences, the better the storytelling will be.  Variety, after all, is the spice of life.  Unfortunately, comics, video games, books, etc. are still focused on and tailored to a small demographic.  That’s not always good for geeks, especially geeks of color.

I grew up on comics.  I learned to read at five using Archie Comics.  I was obsessed with comics in general.  In the panel I mentioned that I was firmly #TeamBetty, fuck Veronica.  I didn’t say the F word by the way.  Still, I watched anime and Batman (The Original Series) almost daily.  When I got to the States, the lack of inclusion, and the overall freaking ball-busting for being geeky, nerdy, eclectic, Panamanian, and female was enough to put a broad in hiding.  I traded comics for books, cars, and boys… Whereas my old man just kept on reading his comics, and collected them over the years.  The guy still has a shit ton of comics.

We also talked about how liking certain things didn’t automatically make you a geek in Panama and Puerto Rico, considering that we had to import a lot of our media at the time.  Aquala also touched on gaming, being a “gamer chick”, and people underestimating her skills until she handed out cans of whoop ass on Xbox or PlayStation.

In years past, GGC had gotten some flack for lacking diversity and lack of organization, but it’s definitely taken steps in the right direction, and it’s definitely on my geeky “to do list” for the year.

My only critique, and it’s not so much something that can be laid on the feet of GGC’s organizers and the like, is that more word needs to spread about this convention to PoC communities.  Geeks of all races, genders, and sexual orientations were there showing geeky love and support, but more awareness needs to be raised.  We can say what we want about lower income communities, but there is incredible potential in those communities if they could just find a place to call “home” away from home, where they can exercise their interests; interests that might not be affordable, possible, and/or “cool”.  That’s my only critique, and again, it’s not necessarily their fault, but I think we need a collective effort to reach out to those communities.  I have every belief that GeekGirlCon could be a life-changing event for a kid out there.  I know it would’ve been for me.

Until next year!