I decided to add “equality” given that I do read a lot of articles with intersectionality that cover stopping a lot of -isms, and they are all equally important. As always, these are links that I found interesting and you might too.
Books Nominated for 2013 Hugo Awards!
Woohoo! Chicks Unravel Time & Chicks Dig Comics were nominated for The Hugo Awards. Big congratulations to the editors, all the other writers, and everyone else involved in the production and love of these books. 🙂
Introducing Moz Reader!
I love working for such an amazing company like SEOmoz. I’ve been so bummed about Google Reader shutting down, but guess what, we stepped up and created the Moz Reader! I’m really thrilled. (If you’re wondering where I was, I was in NYC instead of in the video.)
So it’s been a while — too long — since I’ve made one of these posts, which means, I’m going to just do a link dump without my usual explanations so I can hurry things along and get to the new stuff. As always, what I like, you may not like.
When I first saw the “article” about cosplay from Men’s Fitness, I shrugged it off as immature linkbait.1 It wasn’t worth my time to argue with a troll, and I’m sure as hell not linking back to it. (Which is what the author, Jordan Burchette, wants.)
Then I thought for a second and went, great, now next time we bring up a systemic oppression in geekdom (as geekdom is part of society), male geeks with +20 privilege are going to bring this article up and say they are oppressed by society. (First rule of talking about oppressive systems, check your privilege at the door. Second rule, don’t derail. Third rule, don’t compare oppressions in a hierarchy of oppression; it’s all bad.)2
But because I spend my time around wonderful people who try to find the teaching and learning moment in everything, I instead did my best Wesley Wyndam-Pryce3 impersonation and said, “Eureka!”
Men’s Fitness actually illustrates beautifully why sexism hurts men too.
Burchette spends most of his time making snarky comments, not perpetuating ridiculous beauty ideals for women, but mocking male cosplayers who lack the same idealized male bodies as Thor, Batman, or Captain America.4 Unrealistic ideals found in the pages of Men’s Fitness. Burchette says that there’s something innately missing in these cosplayers that causes them to dare to dress up their less-than-perfect-by-Men’s-Fitness-standards bodies like comic book characters. No one will argue that spandex — superhero fabric du jour — shows everything and that many male superhero costumes are cut to show off uber muscled bodies.5
The problem, however, is not the cosplayers or even the fabric choices. The problem is the beauty ideals perpetrated by sexism and put in the media.
Surprise! Men’s Fitness is the media, and a magazine that sets Western body ideals. Men’s Fitness literally has the power to change these stereotypes and male beauty myths. But they aren’t, because they make money off telling men (and women) that their bodies are not perfect enough. Why would you buy Men’s Fitness unless you somehow felt bad about your body?6 At least this is the misguided logic used in editorial and advertising decisions.
Ridiculous men’s beauty standards are just as dangerous as ridiculous women’s beauty standards. They hurt people.7 They promote ridged gender coding and make unhealthy and unrealistic expectations for how people are supposed to look and act. Born out of sexism, these male stereotypes have progressed and grown right along female stereotypes, and they hurt individuals and society.
Male geeks with +20 privilege are right; they are being bullied by Men’s Fitness. The way to stop it isn’t just to call out the author or the article, but to call out media, like Men’s Fitness, every single time they pull this false beauty ideals out, even when it doesn’t directly affect geeky male cosplayers. Because in the end, unrealistic beauty stereotypes affect everyone.
Linkbait: An article purposely written in such a way to draw lots of attention and comments. In this case, this is the bad kind of linkbait.↑
I completely made these rules up. Though they are what I try to operate under, especially when I am in a space where I have privilege.↑
This would be Wesley from Season 2 of Angel, who’s actually a great example of a character who early on does not conform to masculine stereotypes and is the “girly” or “wimpy” one. (I love Wesley in all his incarnations from adorkably dancing in sweaters to grizzly and shotgun-wielding.)↑
As long as none of them are penciled by Rob Liefeld because no one wants 1) a 74-pack; 2) that many pouches; 3) no feet. <– This is how you snark like a comic book geek.↑
This is not even getting into women’s costumes, which often have a whole layer masturbation-fodder attached to them. (Not literal layers as that’s what the clothing lacks.)↑
Other motivations for buying magazines include actual journalism or real health tips, which are both harder to write and (sadly) harder to sell (which is the media’s own damn fault for giving us junk food and guilt).↑
There are almost 1 million men and a little over 7 million women in the United States who suffer from eating disorders.↑
P.S. Yes, I am a cosplayer. But you can make fun of me all you want about that.
I am pretty much beyond biased about how awesome GeekGirlCon was. Along with my staff, I’d worked since August 2010 to make the dream of GeekGirlCon a reality, and I believe that it truly happened. I fought back happy tears all weekend; only to finally cry Sunday evening after reading what Greg Rucka wrote in my Batwoman trade. (Don’t worry, at that point, I was surrounded by people who care and love me and hugged me.)
I still am beyond the moon at how many people showed up. (A rough estimation of 2000 per day.) I can’t believe we sold out. I am still so touched by all the smiles, all the packed panels, all the cosplay, and all the new friends made.
Being the woman in charge is a weird role because in many ways I did not have an actual “job” at the convention. I had a few things I had fixed on my schedule — set-up, meet King 5 news, go to the PR event, host the masquerade with Julia, moderate the Geeky Business Panel, give a ‘thank you’ at the Labyrinth showing, and tear-down — but mostly, I wandered around fixing things. My staff is really awesome, so it was less fixing and more lending a hand, making a decision, or sending someone on a mission.
That said, you know what sucks about being president, I missed all the really awesome panels I wanted to see and I missed meeting many people I wanted to reconnect with or meet for the first time.
Some of my favorite things:
— My mom came to help me out, and I really enjoyed the look on her face (she worked registration) when she realized just how long the registration line was before the doors opened. It was also fun to see her get that proud mom glow when people complimented GeekGirlCon and my work.
— Crossplaying as Sherlock with my lovely Watson. And having lifelong friends not recognize me in costume, not to mention a few GeekGirlCon staff doing a double-take. (I think my mom was a little freaked out.)
— Tiny crossplaying Jack Harkness posing in front of the TARDIS, while mostly annoyed at her blue tooth as her guardian took photos. (I still have blue paint under my fingernails from finishing the inside of the TARDIS the Wednesday before.)
— Getting to play with Tammy’s amazing Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth puppet, hearing Karen Prell talk, and listening the audience get excited every time David Bowie’s area flashed on screen.
— Being dressed up as Wonder Woman while Trina Robbins told me about the Wonder Woman lunchbox from the ’80s she’d found at a thrift shop recently. (Also having multiple friends tell me how they just wanted to have tea with Trina.)
— Chatting with Chase Masterson, who’s all around amazing. I’ve been a die-hard Trekkie since I was 4-years-old.
— Watching an entire audience sing along with Molly Lewis’ song about wanting to have Stephen Fry’s babies literally.
— Getting to finally meet panelist Karen Burrows, whom I’ve known online since 2003. Plus, getting to reconnect with my long-time fangirl friends who live in different parts of the country/in Canada/in England, including Erin, Tania, Bridget (and her partner Joe), Jen, Matt, Anna, Katelyn, Bill, and Lisa.
— Being able to provide people with an experience of a lifetime, and geeky women a safe space to geek out all weekend long.
Some things that did not go as smoothly as I’d hoped:
— I forgot the masquerade prizes in my kitchen. Seriously, they were sitting between my cast iron pan and fruit basket. Plus, I’d sent my partner Jason to search for them at the info booth, and he missed the masquerade completely.
— Registration lines were a little longer than needed to be. Plus, some vendors, panelists, and sponsors waited when they shouldn’t have. (You might’ve seen me walking the line and calling out for them.) I’m just so freaking glad that Seattle had awesome weather.
— Not having transport for people with disabilities or tiny children to get to and from the two locations. I’m not quite sure what could’ve been done, but I’m sure there were some kind of option.
— While this was a known issue before the con started, having to tell a nursing mother that the only available private space was a bathroom. (Why aren’t there more convention having spaces in Seattle with more rooms?)
— Not getting to reconnect with/meet the following people properly: the women from Hello Earth Productions, Jen Van Meter, Sarah Kuhn, Anita Sarkeesian (with whom I had an awesome post-con lunch, book shopping, and ice cream fun time with), and everyone else I didn’t get to say hi to.
Random things you might not know about GeekGirlCon and me:
— 100% of our staff are volunteers. All money made by GeekGirlCon goes directly back into the organization.
— As much as I hated charging for some events, the only way we were able to have a masquerade was by throwing a separately ticketed burlesque show. We also worked in partnership with the EMP to do part of the convention there, including bringing Jane Espenson.
— I’m a completely crazy person, who spent the month prior to GeekGirlCon interviewing for a new job (see GeekGirlCon being a volunteer gig), getting said new job, giving notice and training former coworkers, and, oh, yeah, planning for GeekGirlCon. (I started my new job yesterday.)
— My awesome staff is already emailing me, ready for the next steps. So I’m off to answer some emails that need my attention.
Check out the news story King 5 did about GeekGirlCon:
It’s no secret that I love Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Angel: the Series and greatly enjoyed Firefly. But it is a little bit of a secret that I broke up with Joss Whedon. At least reading or watching his works since Serenity. I try not to talk about it because of my deep love for Buffy’s universe and coming into conflict with those who wear the “Joss Whedon is my master now” t-shirts.
But Whedonesque was a burlesque show about the fannish love for Whedon’s projects. I couldn’t resist going when I heard about it. Plus, in full reviewer disclaimer, my friends Miss Elaine Yes and Captain Vanadium Silver were in it and the producer Jo Jo Stiletto is putting together a panel for GeekGirlCon. The show I attended was on Saturday, July 16th.
Whedonesque kicked off with host Rebecca M. Davis singing the theme song to Firefly. I was incredibly impressed with Davis’ hosting as I’ve been to a lot of burlesque shows, and she’s one of the best I’ve seen. She commanded the audience’s attention as needed and was delightful.
The Saturday show opened with Billy Corazon performing a truly fanboy number. Corazon went through the ups-and-downs of being a Whedon fan, especially concerning the cancellations of many of Whedon’s shows. A newer performer, he was full of energy and spunk. He ended up in his incredibly mismatched Avengers outfit, of which I was instantly jealous of his Captain America underoos.