Posted on

GeekGirlCon ’17 – A Convention to Celebrate the Female Geek

GeekGirlCon ’17

All right, so many things have occurred in the last decade of geekdom, and one I am very proud to be witness to is the massive expansion of acceptance for geeks from the general public. The thing is, many think the fight is already won, but it is not a battle. Indeed this is a war being battled on many fronts. There is a war of sorts women, people of color, nonbinary genders, and people of all sexual orientations have been fighting. One for safety and acceptance, to proper representation, and even employment.

They fight not to be better, but to be equal in every way to everyone else. This is a simple concept to some, but to others is an uphill battle through snow and wind.

Now I feel in this violence-laden world it is necessary to state I mean the metaphorical battle. Though violence does exist in every situation, I cannot condone violence in such a fashion going either way. 

GeekGirlCon gamers

It is for this reason I wanted to attend GeekGirlCon as press. I wanted to see, and support, the battle for equality in every way I could. At this time, it is through words I prove the pen is mightier than the sword. For you see, many misconceptions have been said about everyone who is different than the speaker from today to the beginning of time. It is up to people such as myself to dispel the fog of mystery and shed light into the darkness about those trying to have their day in the sun. GeekGirlCon comes to praise and celebrate the women in gaming, science, mathematics, literature, and all things geeky.

So, dear Nerdarchy Reader, come with me and you’ll see, a world that is not just imagination. Where we’re free, to be who we want to be.

DIY Science Zone

Right when you step through the doors of the Seattle Convention Center, you will see they have a rather unique place. Scientists and volunteers from the Pacific Science Center have come together to teach science through exciting projects for all ages. From being taught of plasma, wind and earthquake effects on buildings, to making tasty marshmallow constellations.

The DIY Science Zone is a fantastic opportunity to feed the minds of early scientists. I observed the volunteers taking time to explain things, nurture theories, and even offer up experiments. Many of them are actually students and scientists in a multitude of fields. Even at 32 years of age, and reading science journals for fun on more than one occasion, I had found myself learning a thing or two.

As my late father was fond of telling me, any day you have not learned something is a day you have wasted. With that in mind, and watching my own six-year-old daughter in this area, I can honestly state no day spent in the DIY Science Zone would be a wasted one. One pleasant moment I have to share is when a young woman heard me state my niece is just discovering Dr. Who, she insisted I give her a button stating “I *Heart* Dr. Who.” The fact this wonderful geek would not take no for an answer, that she was so adamant about encouraging her fellow geek, was a living testimony to the spirit of GeekGirlCon.

Gaming floor

Stepping down a floor, I was greeted with the all too familiar sight of gaming of all kinds. Table after table of everything from a Bob Ross game (how cool is that?), to testing of the newest product from Wizards of the Coast. Even Mox’s Boarding House was in attendance to provide games, and a warm welcome gaming environment. This may not seem like much, but I wanted to remind you the focus of the convention is equality and celebrating those geeks who may not always feel included or safe to express their nerdy ways.

From the nice Girl Scouts who taught my daughter a game, to the Transgendered Harry Potter Cosplay who tried to fix my torn camera bag, I found this to easily be the most accepting and pleasant place to be within the entire convention. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find Nerdarchy fans who approached me with adoration at our presence at the convention. One of whom walked away with a new Nerdarchy hat!

Never split the party…unless someone in the traitor!

That being said, the absolute highlight was the warm and welcome way I was treated by Wizards Of The Coast. I was able to sit in on a game play of the newest product, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate.

This was accompanied by a presentation highlighting diversity in gaming, the growing presence of women gamers, and the way streaming has brought gaming to the future.

Hmm… I think Nerdarchy has a thing or two fitting those categories. I know there was more than one person in attendance all atwitter at the thought of becoming streaming gamers akin to Mathew Mercer and Satine Phoenix.

Nonetheless, it was a delight to see the events unfolding around the Tomb of Annihilation. I am certain more than one player there had the thought, “you had me at dinosaurs.” This presentation was able to kindle the fire within many and had those in attendance smiling from ear to ear.

Cosplayers and convention goers

All along the floor of GeekGirlCon I took the time to speak to convention goers of all types. My favorite, due to being a huge fan of the art, was the cosplayers. Though the convention was saturated with geeks of all kinds, the things I heard, and bore witness to were amazing to anyone who took the time to listen. This is the moment I will take to soapbox a smidge and state this is this humble writer’s opinion and cannot speak for Nerdarchy or anyone else. To quote Patrick Stewart, “people will not listen unless you are an old, white man, so I’m an old white man and I will use that to help people who need it”. Well I am a white man who is not that old, but I will use my voice for the rest of my years to state this message I heard at the convention loud and clear.

When someone has an experience, it is a truth, their truth. Truths cannot be changed, explained away, or covered up. In the end, the truth is always revealed. It is our responsibility to see to it this generation is better than those that came before it. That the truth that will be told from this point on is one of acceptance, inclusion, and love for your fellow human being.

Check out Lizzy from the video above and see more of her terrific cosplay photos on Instagram @clementinecosplay.

GeekGirlCon is a gigantic step in the right direction. Throughout my time as a gamer and geek, I have spoken to hundreds within the community, and looked into many situations of ill activity online and off.

The world has a way of showing it’s ugly side.

From making it odd to be a young woman who reads Nintendo Power or playing with G.I Joe, to harassment of female gamers. These things do happen, and I won’t speak of the saturation or percentage of people who do this because even one time is too much.

The growing geek is something that needs to be nurtured no matter the gender, orientation, race, religion, or any other factor. Their passion needs to encouraged and supported. Their loves need to be protected from this harsh world. It is here this can be found. For at GeekGirlCon one can let their geek flag fly.

I even heard one member of the staff speak of how she felt so safe she could dress and cosplay as she would never do elsewhere. That right there speaks to the effect of GeekGirlCon – those who step through the doors feel safe to geek out as they have always dreamed of without fear of being assaulted physically or verbally.

Artists and contributors

Stay Nerdy Meow!

Walking the convention floor was another example of how society can be, in many ways how it should be, and a stark contrast of how it is.

I spent a half hour alone hearing the tale of a little girl who had asked me why I had the type of camera I did. She told me she had never been able to express her love of Star Wars or Star Trek. She proudly told me her aunt took her to GeekGirlCon for the last three years (I believe this was the fifth year of GeekGirlCon) and it is their special time together.

I talked to her freely of our mutual love of Data from ST: TNG and she pointed out as she left she didn’t know, “boys could be so cool.” This speaks loads toward the necessity of GeekGirlCon and all it stands for. That this little girl had never experienced a boy who could be supportive of her hobby is evidence of why I will continue to support GeekGirlCon.

That being said, I did enjoy hearing from all the contributors and artists within the convention. Many had powerful messages to share about equality, removing the stigma from problems facing female gamers, and another problem I will emphasize now. Erasure is a real thing.

People of all walks of life experience it, where their accolades are buried in history. “It happened to Tesla, it can happen to anyone,” was a statement of one of my teachers back in high school. I heard from artists of all kinds, styles and levels of success. The thing I heard from many of them is they have had or have witnessed people being ignored. Their art pushed to the wayside because they are female, a person of color, nonbinary, nonheterosexual, or even because their art is focused on such things. I was elated to see all this given a platform. To find a place to celebrate writers, painters, actors, and a million other projects where these creative people can get recognition and a market for their trade. I may have had myself drawn as a kitten.

Meta in a picture: Lucia Pohl the voice of Mercy (Overwatch) watching a Mercy cosplayer play Mercy.

The other side of the coin

Okay, now for the straight dope as the term was popular when I was young. Before attending GeekGirlCon I looked into the convention, its past, and its reputation. The fact is, I heard a lot of negative reviews online. Everything from it being, “SJW Con” to it being a place where whitecishet males were actively not welcome. I even brought this up to the convention staff when I had the chance to speak to them before entering the convention proper, which was also the first step taken to dispel the rumors online.

I do want to take this moment to state for the most part the negative things I had read were exactly that, only rumors. There was a few negative interactions scattered throughout the convention, but I would not say this is any different from my experience at other conventions. Gather a few thousand people into one area, and you are bound to have a few bad seeds.

What bad experiences do I speak of one might ask? Well, I had my camera and bag knocked out of my hands as the perp passed by after calling me “breeder.” I had a convention volunteer in uniform  at the DIY Science Zone blatantly ignore me and another father, making a noticeable point to not speak to me or the other father standing near by. This could have been misinterpreted but a woman nearby noticed what happened and asked the same question we had, and got an immediate response before the volunteer got up and left amidst both fathers asking why we were ignored. There were other small things I could see how people overreact to but that is exactly that, small things you would have to blow out of proportion to have an issue with.

These events did not sour the event for me. In fact they cemented the desire to support it. Because bits of animosity like these were not born of a world where these people were treated like equals. These people were lashing out at a world they have grown frustrated with after presumably years of being ignored, bullied, and belittled.

They needed to vent, to feel like their voice is heard, and with each GeekGirlCon attendee who heard the message and changes the world through their actions they will have what they desire. With the word of how amazing GeekGirlCon is, how women and any other geek is not alone, and growing interest causing others to share their interest in any geek they meet regardless of differences, it is my sincere belief events like these will occur less and less often. There will no longer be a need to vent, and any geek, nerd, or dork will be able to feel welcome wherever they may find themselves.

Closing thoughts

  1. I met a lot of interesting people who share my beliefs in equality. The feeling I am not alone is something every person needs. I can only speculate as to how badly some individuals need this.
  2. My views were challenged, expanded, and enlightened on a slew of topics. This is the cornerstone of education and self-improvement.
  3. I saw not only is GeekGirlCon established, but it has a strong drive to grow. I sincerely cannot wait to see what becomes of it in the future.
  4. The fact GeekGirlCon has such an intense focus on family made it an absolute treat to have my daughter attend. This will become a yearly tradition for my family.
  5. GeekGirlCon is inclusive. There is not one kind of person who is not welcome here. In fact there is a room just for introverts to decompress. How awesome is that?
  6. This is a safe place. Take it from a security professional, and that is my day job, you need not worry about your children or sense of self here. Right from the start the staff informed my daughter of who to speak to if she get’s lost. I even noticed the staff was very responsive when I spoke to them of a problem I had observed.
  7. I wish there was more food, water, and such at GeekGirlCon. On day one it was a hassle for me who severely dislikes public water fountains and the food options were limited.
  8. I sincerely hope the DIY Science Zone becomes a standard at conventions. This novel idea is one of the best experiences I have had in years at any convention.
  9. GeekGirlCon needs to have better press coverage. The real story of all the good  going on here needs to get out.
  10. I found the convention a tad hard to navigate after my map was lost (due to my damaged camera bag). Having helped with various other conventions and fairs, I think it would be a good idea to have maps posted on each floor with schedules of the events for the day.

So that was a rundown of my experience at GeekGirlCon. I know it was overall a positive experience. Like I said, it will be a yearly tradition in my family.

If you are a convention goer, or always wanted to be, this is something you should check out. Seattle is an amazing city, and this convention will be just another reason to visit. I sincerely hope Nerdarchy is invited back, as I would love to be involved in the growth of GeekGirlCon. Though next time I want to spend more time meeting and greeting. Maybe a booth? After all, Nerdarchy is for everyone! In fact why not check out our all girl gamers group? Scarlet Sisterhood of Steel and Sorcery is an amazing liveplay of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons similar to what Wizards of The Coast spoke of.

Please, no matter someone’s gender/religion/orientation/or any other factor making you different from them, support your fellow geek. Nurture each other, after all, we are all one big adventuring party. Are we not?

Play on PS4 or PS3? How about Destiny 2? Did you know Nerdarchy has a community and clan that plays together often? Go ahead and search in the community section for Nerdarchy and for the player Nubz_The_Zombie!

Did I miss something? Have any Questions or Comments? Feel free to message me at www.facebook.com/NubzTheZombie or at nubz.the.zombie@gmail.com. I am now on Twitter too: @nubzthezombie

Stay Nerdy,

Nubz

Nubz and Nerdarchy would like to thank our volunteer camera person, Megan Fortner, for her talent and time during GeekGirlCon ’17

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2017 Nerdarchy LLC
Nubz hails from the American Pacific Northwest where he has spent the last 24 years living the gamer life and running campaigns of all kinds. Through this he has managed to sate his acting bug and entertain many. Now a father, he wishes to pursue writing to leave a legacy in Nerd culture for his offspring to enjoy.
Dissecting the X-Card Controversy
D&D Worldbuilding - Getting Players to Help with RPG Creation

Leave a Reply