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GeekGirlCon Power!
October 22, 2011 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Was GeekGirlCon 2011 the most important con of the year?

Scenes around the con 1, 2.
A first time con-goers account 1, 2, 3.
GeekGirlCon President Erica McGillivray On Girls & Comics.
Kyrax2, the San Deigo Batgirl, on GeekGirlCon.
posted by Artw (88 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
If conventions are supposed to be more about politics than having fun, then I'd have to say yes.
posted by shii at 7:42 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


All evidence seems to point towards everyone having a lot of fun.
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on October 22, 2011 [24 favorites]


Well, the fact that a very entertaining presentation on "Women's Careers in STEM*" was made by Cheryl Platz, a Microsoft Engineer who is also a musical theater actress and improv performer proved one of three things:

(1) There really ARE women who are as funny as men, but they're all working in Tech.
(2) You have to have an incredibly good sense of humor to be a woman working at Microsoft.
(3) You have to have an incredibly good sense of humor when your name is Cheryl Platz.

*Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, not Cells.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:54 PM on October 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


If conventions are supposed to be more about politics than having fun, then I'd have to say yes.

Too many women and children for you, no doubt.

And then there was the Kink Panel. Oh, the kink panel. The panel was pretty much ALL Q & A between the audience and the panelists, which included my friend, Cunning Minx of the Poly Weekly podcast, and the audience was not shy! The first question was about fisting, fercryinoutloud!

It does sound like they had a lot of fun.

Wish I'd known this was going on; not that I would have gone (not that I would have gotten in!), but it would have given me a warm feeling.
posted by jamjam at 8:26 PM on October 22, 2011


Mini Leia is not to be trifled with. She considers wherever she is standing to be the most important place of the year. She dares you to say otherwise.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I got a poster for this back in May and I was really excited to take my daughter and a friend of hers but as I followed it on Facebook it seemed geared towards older girls, there was no way I could drag them to the panels I wanted to see without boring them to death, and the one day passes were kind of expensive. Looks like we might have missed out. Maybe next year.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:51 PM on October 22, 2011


Mini Leia is the most adorable little girl, ever.

And a little scary.

But in a good way.

Mostly.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:57 PM on October 22, 2011


If conventions are supposed to be more about politics than having fun, then I'd have to say yes.

shii, I was naively thinking "Great! The Tron Guy, but with females! That does sound like fun" before I started clicking on the links.

But yeah, to my dismay it was the usual gaggle of whiney discussions about - you won't believe this - women's bodies and their portrayal in comics!!!

But it also appears that one of the guest speakers likes to be tied up so she can be all submissive and endure painful sex play. And then, of course, there are the strip burlesque shows. WTF ladies? What's it gonna be?

To finish on a positive note: More of this, please
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:35 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


But yeah, to my dismay it was the usual gaggle of whiney discussions about - you won't believe this - women's bodies and their portrayal in comics!!!

But it also appears that one of the guest speakers likes to be tied up so she can be all submissive and endure painful sex play. And then, of course, there are the strip burlesque shows. WTF ladies? What's it gonna be?


Apparently it's gonna be that women can enjoy sex and talking about sex, even if they don't like being solely portrayed as sexy in comic books.

p.s. what's a con without sexy sex sex, anyway? In my experience there's almost always a ton of overt sexuality at cons.
posted by vorfeed at 9:44 PM on October 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Great. But then don't complain about OVERT sexuality.

"What's it gonna be, ladies?" was my question.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:47 PM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


...

JFC, is the concept that maybe women enjoy sex, but on their own terms, so fucking alien?
posted by kmz at 9:49 PM on October 22, 2011 [27 favorites]


Maybe it's gonna be that overt sexuality is ok when it's on their terms and not yours, fanboy.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:50 PM on October 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Mini Leia is genuinely great.
posted by tcobretti at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2011


Beat to the punch again. If I were a boxer I'd be ok'd.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2011


I was a bit dismayed to see the prominent cleavage in the logo. I understand that it is a representation by the organizers,their own terms. But what about attendees that don't care to be represented in that way? They may feel excluded or unwelcome.

I am not trying to be a dick, I am just curious what people think about this.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:55 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's gonna be that overt sexuality is ok when it's on their terms and not yours, fanboy.

Eggs ZACKLY! And right back at ya.

So how about ix-nay with the ixed messages-may, and all the random complaining about boys making comics on "their terms"..... and a bit more of the writing and drawing and distributring of the comics? How 'bout dem apples?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:56 PM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Soooooo, anyway....
posted by Justinian at 9:58 PM on October 22, 2011


Sounds like there were some good panels. I'm always a little wary of cons with "passes" instead of memberships, and it sounded like the panels may have been of the type where big-name, famous people talk to each other while mere fans worship them from a distance. That kind of thing isn't my cup of tea. If the con wasn't like that, though, I'll have to check it out sometime.
posted by jiawen at 9:59 PM on October 22, 2011


So how about ix-nay with the ixed messages-may, and all the random complaining about boys making comics on "their terms".....

How is it a mixed message to say "I like sex, just like men like sex, but I would like to see women portrayed as diverse, multifaceted characters the same way men are, not only as sex objects"? Explain the mixing of the messages there to me.

and a bit more of the writing and drawing and distributring of the comics? How 'bout dem apples?

Um, I believe they are, that's sort of the point of cons like these? But women are fighting against a serious boys-only club in the comics world, and "Suck it up and shove it" attitudes like yours do not help.
posted by schroedinger at 10:00 PM on October 22, 2011 [45 favorites]


Great. But then don't complain about OVERT sexuality.

Ah, yes, "they're asking for it." Glad to know that we'll never entirely get this one through your head.
posted by tzikeh at 10:01 PM on October 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thank you for saying that so eloquently schroedinger. I'm sitting here dumbfounded.
posted by bleep at 10:02 PM on October 22, 2011


Metafilter: All evidence seems to point towards everyone having a lot of fun.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:02 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is it a mixed message to say "I like sex, just like men like sex, but I would like to see women portrayed as diverse, multifaceted characters the same way men are, not only as sex objects"? Explain the mixing of the messages there to me.

Those two do not contradict. A badly written character can like sex as well as a well-written, multi-faceted one can. The former is a reaction to the exploitation of female characters, the latter is just a call for better characters.
posted by CarlRossi at 10:04 PM on October 22, 2011


Look at Ad hominem. Making a valid point but having to back it up with "I am not trying to be a dick." This is where the thread is already heading.

In closing, let me RE-state, it's not about "sex" as most of the replies are coyly putting it. The speaker I highlighted likes being tied up, and being submissive, and being fucked painfully.

Her lecture was so out there that the blogger linked in this FPP was scared to even summarise her thoughts.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:04 PM on October 22, 2011


Has it ever been answered as to why comics remain somewhat of a boys club after the reign of Jeanette Kahn? Is/was comic creation truly exclusive or is it something that's just seen as something men do, and so (some) women don't choose to enter a career in comics?
posted by CarlRossi at 10:07 PM on October 22, 2011


In closing, let me RE-state, it's not about "sex" as most of the replies are coyly putting it. The speaker I highlighted likes being tied up, and being submissive, and being fucked painfully.

Gotcha. It's not about sex, it's about sex.
posted by bleep at 10:11 PM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well from my perspective, speakers are speaking for themselves, not representatives of their entire gender. One could go up and admit to murdering kittens, and I would not presume every woman murders kittens.

But I am Just wondering about the logo and calling it geek "girl". Presumably there are women who would not self-identify as girls who would like to attend. Girl has an undertone of infantilization and paternalizm. I think they could have been more inclusive.

I've just spent too much time on metafilter. I have been playing Arkham City and as soon as I started playing I realized Bruce Wayne is the 1% and started wishing I could play as The Joker. He is obviously the hero the 99% need.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:17 PM on October 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, I fear The Joker is the 'hero' the 99% are going to get stuck with.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:19 PM on October 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like how the 3 ladies are diverse, one is wearing a high-cut t-shirt and one of them has smaller boobs. Perhaps none of the girls had to show cleavage but that would be equally weird. And they aren't all white. They could have called it "Geek of non-male identification" but "Geek Girl" is a little catchier.
posted by bleep at 10:26 PM on October 22, 2011


From the frequently-but-not-always on-target webcomic Shortpacked, here's what you lose when you disenfranchise the Geek Girls...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:27 PM on October 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm amused by the fact that uncanny hengeman has written "In closing," as if this were a lecture he is conducting, rather than the comment thread of an FPP, and now that he's decided he's finished, we can all go home.

CarlRossi: Has it ever been answered as to why comics remain somewhat of a boys club after the reign of Jeanette Kahn?

For the same reason that England was still a patriarchy after Elizabeth I's reign (and Anne's and Victoria's and Liz II's...). For the same reason that there's still racism in America even though a person who isn't white is President. Deeply entrenched cultural norms don't just disappear because a temporary leader doesn't fit all of them.
posted by tzikeh at 10:31 PM on October 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Actually that's a great question, CarlRossi.

Co-incidentally, I just happened to be re-reading Nathaniel Dusk for the first time in decades (god am I old). In the first two issues, the writer of the book, Don McGregor, wrote two columns describing how the mini-series came into being. He credits (eventual) co-creator Gene Colan for sending him to Dick Giordano, who then took him to see Jenette Kahn (as he spelled it in the column). Apparently Kahn encouraged the writer and offered him some direction about one of the plot points. (What an old-fashioned notion, a publisher concerned with plot points and characters.)

Now admittedly, the female lead in that book didn't fare too well, but given the nature of the genre (hard-boiled 1930s detective stories) that could almost be taken as given, but there was a maturity and a respect to the way the character was used -- especially in the way the male lead responded to her circumstances.

Now how much of that had to do with having a woman in position of power and how much of that had to do with D.C. comics at the time actually trying to be mature and adult in nature, I can't say, but it does seem that there was more willingness in those years to take risks with topics, genres and styles that fell outside what the stereotypical male adolescent fanboy would read.

(And although this isn't a general comics thread, but a convention thread, I really do feel the need to say, boy there was a lot more writing back in the day. There were pages and pages covered with words. Flipping through the new 52 -- not to mention a few Marvel titles -- the writing in the books seems so sparse and thin these days. Yes, I admitted I'm old. I think it's time to start chasing people off my lawn who find it too much work to read actual words.)
posted by sardonyx at 10:32 PM on October 22, 2011


"For the same reason that England was still a patriarchy during and after Elizabeth I's reign," not just after.
posted by tzikeh at 10:32 PM on October 22, 2011


Anyone else initially read "important con" as "important scam?"

Read that second link for a while waiting for a big angry BUT!

Sounds nice tho. Good post.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:32 PM on October 22, 2011


They could have called it "Geek of non-male identification" but "Geek Girl" is a little catchier.


They could have called it GeekWomenCon. Single point of data,I know my mother would never attend anything with the word girl in the name.She won't answer to anyone who calls her by any words used by men to demean women. If a waitress asks "what will you have, hun?" she won't answer until the waitress has rephrased the question. Made it real fun going anywhere with her.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:39 PM on October 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've just spent too much time on metafilter. I have been playing Arkham City and as soon as I started playing I realized Bruce Wayne is the 1% and started wishing I could play as The Joker. He is obviously the hero the 99% need.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:17 PM on October 22


Bruce seems sympathetic to the OWS cause (at least in the fan art world).
posted by sardonyx at 10:42 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem, feminists of my generation are really sensitive about "girl" but younger feminists, not so much. There's a pretty good reason for this, actually. Thirty or more years ago, it was pretty common for men to refer to all women as "girls", in pretty much every context. You still hear "girl" in casual, friendly contexts where other choices seem stiff; but you don't hear it so much where it very obviously is patronizing.

An hour after reading shii's and uncanny hengeman's comments, I find I'm just as furious as I was when I first read them. I had hoped that blatant stuff like this—which besides creating a hostile atmosphere for the very people most interested in this post, also does a great job of derailing the conversation which follows them—was much rarer these days.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:54 PM on October 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


I think there's something to be said for smaller cons as well, as opposed to cons that attract tens of thousands of fans, and which seem to be designed to either market Hollywood or sell comics, books, and other gear.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:54 PM on October 22, 2011


if I defend my position any further by pointing out the obvious that "sex" DOES NOT EQUAL "rough painful submissive sex" and that maybe it's sending MIXED MESSAGES to have a female guest speaker who likes being on the receiving end of rough painful submissive sex....

Wait, that's what you're being a dick about? If she wants rough painful submissive sex, then that's what she wants. There are some factions in feminism that have a problem with BDSM, but that's not the mainline view. Consent, as always, is key.

if I keep that up, then my non-conforming comments are gonna get yanked by the Mods....

Holy shit, a live one.
posted by kmz at 10:59 PM on October 22, 2011


[non-conforming comment yanked by mod; uncanny hengeman, you need to dial it way back.]
posted by taz at 11:08 PM on October 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I liked the diversity of the logo as well.

They could have called it GeekWomenCon.

"Geek Girl" reminds me of "Gamer Girl", a term which likely originated with male gamers as a way to distinguish between "normal gamers" and "female gamers." It got a lot of flak for that reason, but stuck around and didn't die, so there was eventually a sort of reclaiming of the term by female gamers that turned it into something more positive. Same thing could apply in theory here. Also, alliteration is always awesome.
posted by Nixy at 11:11 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The speaker I highlighted likes being tied up, and being submissive, and being fucked painfully.

You say that like that's a bad thing.

I'm not the target audience for this at all (being neither female nor particularly geeky in the way they are using the word), but I wish I had known it was happening, because I would have urged my partner to go. Looking at the photos, I think she would have had a great time.
posted by Forktine at 11:21 PM on October 22, 2011


There is a whole lot more open sexual discussion in the world today. All the sane women I know applaud that.. or giggle when nobody's looking. Anyone who's offended by this con focusing too much upon sex stuff deserves being branded as anti-sex. Comics and games are another issue of course, but apparently this con addressed them rather well.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:29 PM on October 22, 2011


Oh so that was the problem? One of the links said the con was way more family friendly than others and there was lots of kids there. It seemed like the sex stuff was relegated to the Kink Panel.
posted by bleep at 11:47 PM on October 22, 2011


Wait wait wait, back up a second:

Wish I'd known this was going on; not that I would have gone (not that I would have gotten in!)

.... Why do you think you wouldn't have gotten in? Are you a guy, is that what you're saying? I ask because I'm a guy, and I went, and I had a pretty fantastic time. You'd have been allowed. Encouraged, even.

I had at least one (male) friend who was puzzled as to why I was going -- "But you're not a girl," was his point. No, I'm not, but most of my friends my whole life have been geek girls, and so the things that are important to them -- decent representation of female characters in fantasy and science fiction, encouraging young women to grow up to be scientists or comics creators or directors or anything they damn well want to be, making sure that conventions are fun and safe and welcoming environments for girls and women instead of hostile, sneering, leering boy's clubs -- those things are important to me, as well.
posted by webmutant at 12:17 AM on October 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


Sounds like fun (as did GeekGirlConcert.) Wish it had been in my neck of the woods.
posted by Zed at 12:23 AM on October 23, 2011


The blog I quoted (Artw's 2nd link) said something I interpreted to mean it was all sold out; that's why I don't think I would have gotten in.
posted by jamjam at 12:26 AM on October 23, 2011


wow! 2000+ people! That's amazing for a first-year event. Congratulations to them.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:39 AM on October 23, 2011


what's a con without sexy sex sex, anyway? In my experience there's almost always a ton of overt sexuality at cons.

Uh, no. Sorry. DefCon doesn't have lots of sexy-sex. ShmooCon? No sexy-sex. I, like uncanny hengeman, was hoping this would be an honest attempt at trying to bring women into the Geek fold without all the leering and pandering—just the sort of crap that the ComicCons and their ilk get dragged over the rails for by feminists. Instead this is just a We can be just as pandering as the boys! Which, I mean, yeah of course you can. Congrats, hope you feel real proud of yourself.

Why is it all Evil Male Hegemony when you have "booth girls" but it's Grand Feminine Awakening when it's a burlesque show?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:13 AM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why is it all Evil Male Hegemony when you have "booth girls" but it's Grand Feminine Awakening when it's a burlesque show?

Context, sisters doing it for themselves vs sisters doing it for patriarchy. Burlesque is about performance, booth babes are women as decoration.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 1:28 AM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


an honest attempt at trying to bring women into the Geek fold

I think the people who attended GeekGirlCon might have a different definition of geek than you do.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:36 AM on October 23, 2011


Oh man , I don't even know what geek means anymore. I hear there are people going around calling themselves geeks that don't even know how to program. We gotta set some standards people.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:53 AM on October 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ad hominem, feminists of my generation are really sensitive about "girl" but younger feminists, not so much.

As a not-speaking-for-everyone counterpoint, many of my younger feminist friends and I feel very strongly about calling women women and not girls, too. I mean, there are still plenty of contexts where "girl" feels best, but I try to default to "women." Anyway, I was really turned off by the "Geek Girl Con" name. Unfortunately, that kneejerk reaction kept me from doing much work to find out more about it, which in turn kept me from going.

Now I regret getting hung up on the name, because this sounds cool. Also, knowing that it was a child-friendly event makes me feel a lot friendlier to the name. I do still think it's more appropriate for an adult-oriented event to not be called a "Girl" event, but something that makes this con feel welcoming to girls and young women, even if they're not the primary audience, is cool with me. Being a young female geek can be so alienating. If a "girl" in the name communicates to actual young girls that this is a safe space for them, that's awesome.
posted by mandanza at 1:55 AM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


In closing, let me RE-state, it's not about "sex" as most of the replies are coyly putting it. The speaker I highlighted likes being tied up, and being submissive, and being fucked painfully.

You know what? That's also sex. It might be not be the kind of sex you like, but it is sex.

to quote wikipedia:

Sex-positive feminism centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women's freedom. As such, sex-positive feminists oppose legal or social efforts to control sexual activities between consenting adults, whether these efforts are initiated by the government, other feminists, opponents of feminism, or any other institution.

Women are allowed, nay, encouraged to enjoy sex - on their terms. There's a world of difference between rough submissive sex the woman in question doesn't want, and one she does in an environment and with a person she trusts.

I would also point out - in closing :) - this was at the adults only kink section of the con. This was not the main point of the con, nor the focus of it, nor even the main event, just one part of the overall thing.

But of course, self-righteous men make one small section of the con the most important thing and get all outraged over the 'mixed message' because women are individual complex people, and can't all be pigeon holed in one universal box of how they 'should' behave.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:38 AM on October 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


The burlesque describes itself as whedonesque.

I am hoping this doesn't mean that someone everyone loves gets killed near the end.
posted by aubilenon at 4:22 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, for a burlesque to be really "Whedonesque", your favorite participant would have to get killed right in the first two minutes, and then the rest of the show would portray the leadup to that.

I'd be surprised if somebody could make thatwork in a burlesque show, but i'm totally ready to fall in love with whoever succeeds.
posted by mhoye at 4:57 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, let me get this straight: you're saying some food eaters like cooking their own duck a l'orange at home, but other food eaters like to eat at Mcdonalds? What's with all these mixed messages?

It's either one or the other, right? What's it going to be, food eaters? What's it going to be?
posted by mhoye at 5:54 AM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Uh, no. Sorry. DefCon doesn't have lots of sexy-sex. ShmooCon? No sexy-sex.

Someone wasn't invited to the right after-parties.
posted by ymgve at 5:54 AM on October 23, 2011


I am shocked - SHOCKED - to find the social nuance lacking in a discussion of female sexuality amongst self-described geeks. Also self-important incorrect wordsmithing. UH's line of argument is very "tits or get the fuck out" and kind of complex. It requires, I think, a belief that BDSM is aberrant sex and therefore practiced only by perverts and that slut-slut-slutty-sluts are therefore in no position to be concerned about the depiction of themselves or any women in a chaste form.

Wrong.

The drive to obsessively -- and at time incorrectly -- categorize is the definition of geeky in lots of ways. Sexuality is a complex thing. Its OK to be concerned about the depiction of women in various media? Yes. Is it OK to have a wide range of mutually agreed to sexual mores in one's sexual makeup? Yes. Are these gender-related issues? No.


My gender-biased eye says that most conferences are kind of man conferences, even ones where its not geared fully to T&A. My first thought on reading the summary was that there weren't probably going to be as many "naughty heroine" tropes on display. On review: maybe that's correct. Interesting inclusion of the cute Batgurl-next-door, itself tropic (and I ain't talkin' beaches). Seriously though, if you could get away with a "no girls allowed" hetero guy event its going to be (a) obvertly sexual and (b) sad but at no time will any of those issues be discussed openly. In the geek community there's arguably also the completely cerebral gathering where sex might be talked about in fairly normal terms but those gatherings (I'm looking at you Silicon Valley language conferences!) will produce very little sex and even less sexy sex.

The depiction of women in media remains kind of shocking, and this comes from someone who enjoys that sort of pandering image. There are plenty of smart and sexy but most-of-all sexy role models. Reality is that smart women are sexy but like most of us spend the walloping amount of our time being sexy last ("yeah!"). If women want to discuss owning their own sexual image in a venue for discussion gender issues or any other, I'm all for it, including while flaunting their own sexual privilege.

Humans of all types seem most drawn to the female form: artistically there tends to be more interesting things going on. There's obviously a titillation factor when dressing your heroines in bodysuits with little in the way of padding or garment structure. If there were any sort of justice in the world every young male geek would have maybe four magical days where sexual reality mapped to sexual fantasy. Until then maybe the world should cut the depictions he enjoys some slack because that's part of his sexual orientation to some degree...(how's that for a mixed message?)
posted by Ogre Lawless at 6:19 AM on October 23, 2011


Feminism: still not a monolithic entity! Some people: still thinking that means it's illegitimate!

There is no Feminist, Inc., headquarters that decides how much cleavage is women-empowering, or whether BDSM is actually capitulation to the patriarchy or whethe it's subversion of same when done right.

In other words, maybe talk to some feminists. They have opinons...not all of them the same!
posted by emjaybee at 6:28 AM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Feminism: still not a monolithic entity! Some people: still thinking that means it's illegitimate!

In fairness I frequently see "The Patriarchy" referred to as an atomic, singular thing as well. It's even happened in this thread.

Some people will through deliberate obtuseness or otherwise, insist that any argument that doesn't involve narrow, all-encompassing definitions is somehow flawed or insincere. It's a real, generally human problem, despite the fact that it's a practice more often used as a bludgeon by the powerful against the disenfranchised than the other way around.

Overbroad stereotyping and false dichotomies are very progressive, in a sense - we all have an equal opportunity to employ them, and be included in them.
posted by mhoye at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


mhoye: In fairness I frequently see "The Patriarchy" referred to as an atomic, singular thing as well. It's even happened in this thread.

"patriarchy (n): A family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced."

Please tell me how this isn't a singular thing.
posted by tzikeh at 8:29 AM on October 23, 2011


Booth babes are men exploring their sexuality on their own terms. No less legitimate than a burlesque show.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 8:51 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"patriarchy (n): A family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced."

Please tell me how this isn't a singular thing.


Okay, look, here's the plan. You go scout out the Patriarchy Headquarters after midnight, and I'll go buy a whole bunch of explosives from the Shady Merchant in the cave and Tuesday morning, we go and blow it up on our way to work.

Now, is this a perfect plan or what? We can't lose!
posted by byanyothername at 9:52 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Booth babes are men exploring their sexuality on their own terms. No less legitimate than a burlesque show.

You can have people wearing the exact same costumes and doing the exact same things, and the difference would still be that in the former, people are being hired to be objects intended to appeal to strangers and in the latter, people are presumably doing what they enjoy.
posted by byanyothername at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone was questioning the legitimacy of booth babes, but rather the healthiness of the practice. Burlesque clubs usually have bouncers; the show starts and ends at specific times; the spotlight is on the performer during that time, meaning anyone who harasses her does so with the entire audience looking at him. None of this stuff is true of booth babes.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2011


Wish I'd known this was going on; not that I would have gone (not that I would have gotten in!)

.... Why do you think you wouldn't have gotten in?


I thought the comment was referring to the fact that con tickets sold out early both days.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2011


(And in fact the person said as much and I somehow missed it.)
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2011


byanyothername, a singular thing is not the same as a singular entity. A "thing" can be an idea, a social structure, etc.
posted by tzikeh at 10:37 AM on October 23, 2011


I was going to announce my free beer and cheese-athon on Metafilter, but it seems that there are still too many people who doubt and distrust brilliant things. Maybe next year.
posted by howfar at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2011


Booth babes are men exploring their sexuality on their own terms.

My eyes rolled so hard I now have the ability to see the inside of my skull. So, thanks for that, I guess. Not sure it's a really useful superhero power or anything though.
posted by kmz at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Okay, so with less silliness this time:

In a feminist context, "The Patriarchy" usually describes a variety of institutionalized cultural attitudes and conditions that generally disempower women, which is usually a subtler thing than an explicitly patriarchal society, and I agree with the sentiment that it's still a mistake to treat that as a singular thing. If you don't agree with that sentiment, I'd sincerely love to know why.
posted by byanyothername at 11:27 AM on October 23, 2011


...hoping this would be an honest attempt at trying to bring women into the Geek foldCivil_Disobedient
I'm not sure you realize what you did there. You're assuming that women are naturally not geeks and that something like this is an outreach effort in an attempt to recruit women to the geek way-of-life.

Which is factually wrong and also confused in an actively destructive sense.

Women are, of course, geeks all on their own, and for the same reasons, as men. An implication of your comment might be not just what I wrote above, but also that it's men who want to recruit women into geekhood for their own purposes. Which is a problematic way of thinking about things, as I'm sure you realize.

This event is an attempt to counter many of the social forces that are implied by your comment. Women are geeks, but male geeks partly don't recognize that women geeks exist, and partly value women for their functional utility. So women geeks feel excluded from the social identity and communities that they otherwise would naturally be a part of. This event is a way to say to all those women that, yes, we really do exist, there's others like us, we don't need to wait for male geeks to recognize us, we can organize ourselves and have fun like anyone else.

The one thing that they're not interested in doing is trying to satisfy whatever expectations that male geeks have for who women are and how they should behave within geek culture. As we can see from this thread, these male expectations aren't just passive forces, they're active and enforced with ridicule.
As a not-speaking-for-everyone counterpoint, many of my younger feminist friends and I feel very strongly about calling women women and not girls, too. I mean, there are still plenty of contexts where "girl" feels best, but I try to default to "women."mandanza
I didn't intend to speak for everyone, nor offer a normalizing viewpoint. Because I'm very averse to "girl", it's been difficult for me to become accustomed to young feminists using the word—though there's many, like yourself, who dislike it, it's definitely less disliked than it once was. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. My own usage hasn't changed, I never refer to women as either "girls" or "ladies" as both seem oppressive to me.
But of course, self-righteous men make one small section of the con the most important thing and get all outraged over the 'mixed message' because women are individual complex people, and can't all be pigeon holed in one universal box of how they 'should' behave.ArkhanJG
Too right. And it's a shame.
In fairness I frequently see "The Patriarchy" referred to as an atomic, singular thing as well. It's even happened in this thread.mhoye
That's an invalid comparison. I think that many people don't understand the term patriarchy. It's a technical term and it shouldn't be understood merely via some attempt to analyze it in context in conjunction with its etymology. When people do that, they often seem to come to the conclusion that it's referring to some sort of informal ruling council of men, or an amorphous equivalent.

But that's not what it refers to. What it refers to is a kind of worldview that is manifested in society via various conventions and institutions. These things are all loosely connected and there is no controlling person or persons who direct it.

Feminism is a worldview that is expressed via people who self-organize in its defense and promotion. In that sense, it's about people and their beliefs and actions more than it's about institutions and conventions. It makes sense to think of feminism as something defined by individual people in a way that it doesn't make sense for the patriarchy. Sure, individuals participate in and help perpetuate the patriarchy. And some individuals are very committed to the worldview, though it's significant that they wouldn't identify it, nor do they think of it, as such. Patriarchy is more like "racism". There is no racist council who directs the defense the racism and its particular views. It just is. Individual people are co-opted in its defense, enforcement, and promulgation, but not in any directed and self-aware way. It's a self-perpetuating idea that exists within the organic mess of culture. "Individual freedom" is a similar idea—not all such things are bad, of course.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:43 AM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


As a member of the patriarchy I can tell you all about it.

It is when we get an informal mandate not to hire women programmers and the reasons given range from "women suck as programmers" to "they are too much trouble".

When women are hired and they are, for lack of a better word patronized, they run a gauntlet of scrutiny and hazing male programmers don't face. I'm not sure why people expect female hires to be computer illiterate.

Male co-workers comment on their dress and appearance every time they are out of earshot.

When "the guys" go out after work women are usually excluded. Except for the one with the highest tolerance for bullshit. If the one that is incuded objects to something, like going to a strip club, she is told something like "but you are one of the guys!"

Socializing with management outside of work is an important way to get ahead in the corporate world. If women are excluded they do not receive the same opportunities as men. This is the glass ceiling. All real business is done at bars after work, the stuff during the day is just making widgets.

Women who do reach positions of power are treated in ways no male executives would ever be treated. I have never seen a man talk about his male boss's ass, he will talk about his female boss's ass though.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:14 PM on October 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


I realized Bruce Wayne is the 1%...

Bruce seems sympathetic to the OWS cause (at least in the fan art world).

Yeah, but then he turned around and posted this I AM THE 1% manifesto.
posted by straight at 1:24 PM on October 23, 2011


That pen is CLEARLY one of the sort known to be used by Oswald (Penguin) Cobblepot (a known 1%'er, both wealthy by inheritance, but, rather than continued business acumen, and investment in both Research and Development [Wayne Industries R&D department has been a singular bright spot in recent East Coast American Manufacturing, WIR&D have been central investors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, even funding public education programs, and community outreach, meanwhile Cobblepot has been content to let his inherited money sit in tax havens, profiteering by pyramid scemes set up by Ras-al-Ghoul, and exotic monetary schemes invented by E. Nygma, and Harley Quinn]; not all 1% are equal in what they return to society); Batman uses The Internet, and Computers in his Bat-cave (pens are not in his arsenal, Batman uses siri, and a bluetooth headset in his mask to send texts, tweets, and to make wry observations on current events; not "Feather-Pens"), not to mention the evident sweat dripping, which, as depicted in Batman 1-1xxx, observable sweat, as physiological signaling of exhaustion, engagement, nor-deep thought, are clearly not caused by physical exertion, signifying that this is a situation of mistaken messages, products penned under dastardly duress... this is simply the latest attack campaign on the noble knight of the Gotham Night; lies, and financial finagling by the Grand Old Party of Criminal syndicates for the Criminal Masterminds of Gotham.

Shenanigans.
posted by infinite intimation at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2011


I'm not sure you realize what you did there. You're assuming that women are naturally not geeks and that something like this is an outreach effort in an attempt to recruit women to the geek way-of-life.

Which is factually wrong and also confused in an actively destructive sense.

Women are, of course, geeks all on their own, and for the same reasons, as men. An implication of your comment might be not just what I wrote above, but also that it's men who want to recruit women into geekhood for their own purposes. Which is a problematic way of thinking about things, as I'm sure you realize.


Thanks for this -- you have neatly laid out my own objections to that post.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:56 PM on October 23, 2011


Great comment, ad hominem. Though I'd say that being participants in a patriarchal culture, we're all members of the patriarchy, in a sense.

I've told this story before, but about fifteen years ago when I was the build engineer for a small, somewhat elite, geophysical/petroleum engineering modeling software group composed of about twelve programmers, a manager, and myself, there was only one female programmer.

There was a tradition of recognizing group member's birthdays, there'd be a little party with cake during lunch.

The female programmer baked the cakes.

One day I asked her about it. She was a little embarrassed to be talking about it but explained that the group's manager had just originally asked her to do it. So she did.

My father was a mainframe business programmer and, later, upper-management. As you might guess, there were even fewer female programmer in that world, in those days (70s and 80s), than there are now. He was moderately sexist and originally had a bias against female programmers. That changed, though, when he became a senior manager and had a few working for him. He came to believe that they were excellent programmers and especially more generally as conscientious and hard-working employees.

Later, he married a programmer who had previously worked for him and, through her, he became somewhat radicalized on the topic. He would talk about how female programmers were discriminated against in all the ways described in your comment. She complained about it, but, as women usually do, nevertheless just worked her ass off on an uneven playing field, often having to do 50% more work just to keep even with the men.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2011


Yeah I was a meeting where there was one female developer. Someone, I think it was actually the the team lead said "let's send the girl out for coffee". The lone female developer, she was maybe 23, said something like "yeah, I'd like a latte" and then looked around the room expecting someone to be writing down orders. Everyone was staring at her expecting her to take orders and go get coffee.

Nobody ended up with coffee.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:30 PM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


[what patriarchy] refers to is a kind of worldview that is manifested in society via various conventions and institutions. These things are all loosely connected and there is no controlling person or persons who direct it.

Feminism is a worldview that is expressed via people who self-organize in its defense and promotion.


With respect, modulo time and track record, your definitions are tautological. What are conventions and institutions, if not the direct product of people who've self-organized?
posted by mhoye at 2:36 PM on October 23, 2011


Someone, I think it was actually the the team lead said "let's send the girl out for coffee".

It's shit like this that makes me long for an annual Workplace Stabbing Amnesty Day.
posted by elizardbits at 2:40 PM on October 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's the fact that we're still having same arguments, and we have the same idiots making the same ad-hominum arguments in favor of the sexist status quo, that really has caused me to lose patience with geek culture. It's like men who came of age in the 70s are running geekdom, with their "women can sort of have equality, as long as we can treat them as sex objects" attitude.
posted by happyroach at 2:45 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


On the word "girl": while I'm not a huge fan of the word, I'm pretty sure it's just being used for the sake of alliteration and with no malicious intent. Geek Woman/Lady/Dame/Broad/whathaveyou con doesn't work as well.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 2:50 PM on October 23, 2011


Aside from the alliterative reason, I suspect "girl" is being used in a "reclaiming" sort of way. Someone else sort of mentioned it, but some young women geeks call themselves "geek girls" as a kind of badge. I'm not sure it's quite like "gay" or "queer" but sometimes it feels that way. "Yes, I AM a geek girl! What's it to ya?"

I was a bit bothered by the "girl" in the name but went anyway. And now I realized I missed a whole bunch of talks I would have liked. I decided not to go to the STEM talk because I am a women in a STEM field and figured I wouldn't find it interesting but I think now I would have liked it. I had fun anyway though. Some panels were kind of boring, but at least they were all attempting to be substantial - no panels that were just about worshipping $HotGameDesigner. Considering I'm not much into (video) games this was a good thing.
posted by R343L at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2011


The blog I quoted (Artw's 2nd link) said something I interpreted to mean it was all sold out; that's why I don't think I would have gotten in.

.... Oh! Ha! Okay, that was all you meant. I get it. :) Good, I'm glad my interpretation was wrong -- that you didn't think, for any reason, that you would have been unwelcome. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by webmutant at 5:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am shocked at how quickly this thread nosedived off at the beginning, and I am reading it after a modded cleanup. Wow.
Thank goodness for the second half of the thread.
posted by Theta States at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that the whole point of most conferences is to bring together hundreds of different ideas under one roof with plenty of social lubricant for hopefully friendly discussion and debate, not to deliver hive-mind consensus statements.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:54 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


As another guy that attended the con it's really surprising to see how some people tried to make the whole con (two tightly packed days of all kinds of panels and activities) all about two events that took up a small fraction of the time. On top of that there's so much wrong-headedness that seems to be saying that women can't be sex-positive and geeky women in particular aren't allowed to be kinky. It's really disappointing to see a great and positive event be boiled down to this confused and diminishing viewpoint.

This was my first con of any sort and it's really set a high bar as to what I'd expect from anything in the future. The thing that stood out the most to me was the overall atmosphere of respect. There was a strong undercurrent that everyone there had a right to be there and that there's nothing wrong with not fitting into a "standard" mold. The goal, it seems, was to be as inclusive as possible in an arena that seems overwhelmingly exclusive, and I think the organizers succeeded.

I feel like I could go on and on about the amazing and inspiring panels I went to or all the awesome stuff for sale in the merch room, but I feel like the most poignant thing for me was my experience in the game/activity room (where, at one point, two adorbs little girls painted their first miniatures across the table from me). I've been out of proper geeky circles for a while and one of the things I wanted to do at the con was to relearn how to play Magic: the Gathering since Seattle has quite the booming scene and I used to have a lot of fun with it. In one corner of the game room was a table set up specifically for learning Magic so I went over and had a fun time relearning the game along with two women who were learning for the first time. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed and just good.

Cut to this past Friday where I went to my very first local Magic tournament put on by a local comic/card shop. The atmosphere couldn't have been more different. For starters there were twenty or so guys and one woman. It became kind of obvious why there was such a disparity when it began to seem like the most vocal people in attendance, including the organizer, were consistently making sexist and generally skeevy remarks about women. At one point, in regard to the early Halloween revelers outside, the guy in charge used phrases like "whore-oween". I didn't feel at all comfortable there and I'm ostensibly part of that in-group of guys.

I guess my point is that GeekGirlCon is about setting a higher standard for what it means to be a geek so that it's about fun and acceptance and not about having to feel alienated to take part in the things that interest a person.
posted by mindless progress at 2:18 PM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


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