I was so fortunate to be able to attend GeekGirlCon (GGC) 2016 in Seattle, WA. GGC is a celebration of the female geek, which sounded right up my alley (my blog is called Geeky Girly Gamer). I actually found out about it last year, but was unable to attend do to a scheduling conflict. I vowed that I would make it this year, and it was more than worth it. There were so many interesting panels offered, I had to pick and choose which ones I was going to attend. There simply wasn’t enough time to attend them all. These panels were made up of mostly women, and it was really empowering to see women from all different fields talk about their passions and geekiness. They gave some stellar life advice that I think can apply to anyone whether or not you identify as a geek.
There were also meet-ups planned for different fandoms. I was only able to attend the Hamilton meet-up (where I got to sing Non-Stop with a room full of other Hamilton fans <3) but there was a Harry Potter and Dr. Who meet-up that I really wish I could have attended as well. GGC also featured video games and a Virtual Reality booth where you could make really cool 3D art. For the second time this year (the first being at PAX: West) I missed out on my chance to use really cool virtual reality equipment, but next time for sure! I also dropped some $$$ on really cool art both geeky and not.
The first panel I attended after the Hamilton meet-up was an Imposter Syndrome panel. This panel included women and men who were all writers of some sort. If you don’t know what imposter syndrome is check out the wiki. It is unfortunately something that impacts women at a much higher rate than men, and is something that I think most women feel at some point in their lives. I know it’s something I’ve struggled with most of my professional life. Especially taking the plunge to start a blog and having people read my writing (:/). They had so much good advice. One suggestion they gave was starting a bragging folder of all your accomplishments so when you have doubt or don’t feel good enough you can go back to that folder and remind yourself of how awesome you really are! My biggest take away was that we are able to see the best of the best before we are able to learn the skills to master something. This resonated with me deeply, because sometimes when I think about the works of people like J.K. Rowling and Lin Manuel Miranda and how amazing and inspiring they are (especially to me personally), it just feels like what is the point of even trying to create something. Then you hear stuff like that and you remember that everyone started somewhere and you have to practice to become a master. This was such an inspiring panel and served as a good reminder that we all have these feelings of doubt, even professionals.
I then attended a panel about women at Pixar. When I was in college my dream job was to be an animator for Pixar. I applied for an internship there (alas I did not get it), but I just thought it would have been the coolest place to work. After listening to these women talk about their jobs, it turns out I was right. It was nice to hear about all of their different jobs from lighting to rendering the animations. It was also inspiring to hear about the different paths these women took in their careers at Pixar and it gives me hope that maybe I will be able to get there further down the line, we shall see.
The next panel I went to was called Rolling for Boob Size: Being a woman in a (masculine) D&D world. It was a super funny panel of women who both DM and play in various D&D games (check out my previous post about RPGs for a primer on terminology). These women discussed the sexist history of D&D. Fun Fact: E. Gary Gygax’s 16 year old daughter posed fairly provocatively for an early marketing campaign for the game, WTF?! There is definitely some stuff that D&D should be ashamed of in its marketing past. These wonderful women pointed out that D&D has come a long way to create a more inclusive game, featuring more women in different roles (not just the typical ones) and more racial diversity. I hope the company continues to make strides in these departments and I am happy that the people I game with are great about being inclusive at the table. At the end of the panel I had the opportunity to join an all women D&D gaming group, so I did. We haven’t started yet but should soon!
The World of Star Wars panel was next. This was an all-female panel featuring physicists, astronomers, and science writers from all over the country who were talking about the feasibility of the world of Star Wars. For instance is it possible to have a planet with two suns a la Tatooine? Short answer yes, longish answer we will probably never inhabit it. I normally don’t like things that bring real life into my much beloved fantasy world. Lets be honest, sometimes the real world is the living worst and I use these wonderful fantasy worlds as a means of escape. These women were doing the opposite by bringing the world of Star Wars into our reality. It was hella interesting and very cool to imagine living on a planet like Tatooine or the forest moon of Endor. It was a weird mistake that I ended up at this panel, but I’m so glad I did. It was one of my favorite panels.
I also attended a fight like a Girl panel, which featured the awesome women from the House Valkyries. They are fighters in Belagarth which is padded sword, arrow, and spear fighting. I got the chance to test out some of their equipment and had a blast! I also chatted with a few of the women afterwards and really would like to join. I’m working on making that a reality. After that I went home and crashed.
Sunday I got there early and walked around the marketplace for a while and bought a bunch of art. I probably spent too much money there, but there was so much good stuff. It was great to be able to talk with the artists who made all the work. Sunday’s panels were every bit as good as Saturday. I went to a Love what you want panel, Casting and Moulding 101, Women in games, and the Heroines journey-which featured one of the founders of GGC. I loved the heroine’s journey because they talked about a lot of the current issues in pop culture around having more strong female leads. It was really insightful and had a lot of worthy advice about writing female leads in a different way from the traditional Hero’s journey.
I wasn’t able to stay for the closing ceremonies, but I’m sure they were amazing. I will definitely be attending GGC next year (and I really would like to be a volunteer). I encourage anyone in the area, or if you can afford to travel to Seattle, to go to this Con! I think it will only get better.
Did anyone else go and have a good experience at GGC? Let me know in the comments!