I spent this weekend at Geek Girl Con in Seattle. I’ve only been to two other cons, PAX and Rose City Comic Con, both of which are large and draw a lot of talent, crowds, and retailers. GGC is only three years old, but it’s clearly on its way, selling out completely and attracting names like Susan Eisenberg (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) and even Anita Sarkeesian.
My friends Tess and Jessica came with me. We cosplayed Han, Luke, and Leia, and heard delighted gasps from the other attendees approximately once every 10 minutes. It was the first time Tess had been to a convention, and I’m glad this one was her first, ego-feeding cosplay appreciation aside.
Here are five reasons why, and why you should consider attending next year:
1) It’s family-friendly. With the con’s emphasis on being welcoming to fans of all types, GGC is a great con for families. The size helps – no need to worry about crisscrossing a huge building to get to panels with a child in tow. Plus the cosplay was generally not as reliant on sex appeal as it might be at a larger convention. We saw husband-and-wife Master Chief cosplayers with their two daughters. We saw not one, but TWO little girl Darth Vaders in tutus. We saw girls dressed as everyone from Spider-Woman to Harley Quinn to the cutest Miss Marvel ever. The panels covered a wide variety of subjects ranging from fun to educational to practical, which could entertain a little girl or get her interested in a career in the STEM fields. GGC even has a DIY science section where kids can do experiments!
It was also family-friendly in that it was inclusive, with many panels focusing on minority creators and characters, including women of color and LBGTQ. We attended a panel about diversity in YA and it was heartbreaking to hear the panelists talk about the narratives they wish had been available to them as teenagers – narratives which are only now being produced, and struggling to gain traction.
2) Everyone was nice. The attendees took the con’s message of inclusivity to heart. Only once did I hear of anyone being catty or disrespectful – the rest of the time, I was surrounded by women (and men!) gushing about their favorite fandoms and complimenting each other’s costumes. A huge percentage of the panels focused on diversity, and all of them shared the goal of helping everyone find – or make – safe and successful spaces for themselves doing or participating in the geeky things they enjoy. When a 13-year-old fanfiction writer had a question the panelists couldn’t answer, several attendees went to the mic and offered their own advice. There was even an Introvert Alley, where those who needed it could escape to a quiet place for a little while!
3) (Almost) all the panels were excellent. There was one glaring exception which I will address in another post, but for the most part, my friends and I loved the panels we attended. The panelists were knowledgeable and the attendees asked great questions. Tess went to one called “What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say,” which was aimed at women in the workplace or other environments where they have to deal with sexism or off-color comments…so, uh, lots of places. She got great information from it, and, as she put it, the panel would be a vital resource to this group of women who would be way more likely to attend a convention like this than one about the professional workplace.
Alternatively, you could spend two hours watching “Justice League” while a comics historian and Wonder Woman herself share their insight. (She ships Wonder Woman and Batman, so enjoy that warm-fuzzy feeling of validation, everybody!)
4) There was some impressive cosplay! Hopefully every con has impressive cosplay, but since GGC is still fairly new and small, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were not disappointed:
5) It’s not just for girls! It was maybe 25% dudes? GGC could have been weird and awkward with the inevitable complaints about being in each other’s spaces, but it wasn’t. Sure, there were probably some fanboys online who don’t want something like GGC to exist (like the guy who threatened Anita Sarkeesian with yet more death threats), but they stayed hidden online, leaving us to fully enjoy our weekend in the company of people who had similar goals for the things we geek out about: increased diversity, better representation, and the ability to pursue our dreams.