Strong Women Characters and GeekGirlCon

The first person to walk up to my table was Anita Sarkeesian. She looked stunningly beautiful. Her long dark hair had thick strips of bright red dyed in it. She was about my height and wore dark colored clothes. She looked physically very strong and a sense of confidence and intelligence seeped outward from her presence like a warm glow. The internet has tried for years to paint her as harsh and ugly but they will never succeed because the truth is that she is as beautiful as she is intelligent. She smiled as she picked up one of my handmade hair clips that said “feminist” in the center and held it to her hair. She remarked to her companion that she used to, “always wear flowers in her hair.” For a moment I had a vision of Anita who has faced so much hate, in years past, younger, perhaps at a music festival, smiling and laughing, with brightly colored flowers in her hair. I wanted to say, “hey, I’m Amy from Skepchick, I understand what you have been through, we’ve been through similar, we stand by you – we get it!” or say anything that would have made a difference- but it was early in the morning- and really what could I say that had not been said before? All I could get out of my mouth was, “You’re awesome.” Which she is. And it was a perfect start to a weekend that was to become a constant parade of strong women in front of my table.

I have been to a lot a cons where there is cosplay. Saturday, the first day of the event, was very crowded. My table was filled all day long with people trying on necklaces and asking questions and making purchases. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized I had seen a whole lot of Princess Leia cosplay. I remembered them later because I am fond of wearing my hair in two buns and I was noting the different techniques women had used to wrap up the real and/or fake locks. What I didn’t realize until later that evening, was that there were a lot of princesses at the con but not a single slave costume. That is quite impressive. The number one Princess Leia costume at conventions across the land is the Slave Leia likely for its in bondage and body-baring sex appeal, but not at GeekGirlCon. Here, the women characters were based on strength and not submission. Their attractiveness came from their intelligence not from how much skin they showed. All of the women- even the characters that were captive in films, or skimpy in dress, like the new mothers of Mad Max Fury Road– at GeekGirlCon presented themselves as freed and in total command of their destiny.

Sunday was a bit more relaxed for me and I took some time to take some photos of cosplayers and a few of the brilliant vendors and volunteers.


cosplay at geek girl con

Mad Max cosplay

This was one of the vendors, Ashley the printer behind Monkey Minion Press.
Ashley from Monkey Minion Press

Even the stuffed animals were tough at GGC. This is a photo of me and my booth neighbor, a character from a scifi book written by Thomas Gondolfi.
Amy roth and a bear

Another very friendly and fun maker near me was Lynn from Pingihats.
Lynn from pingihats

A completely handmade costume by vendor Small Rini Lady.

A fully robotic Dalek that talked and ‘exterminated” humans as it cruised the floor.


Nightmare befor xmas cosplay

I loved the slogan this event promoted which was, “There is no one way to be a geek.”
no one way to be a geek

Some of the fabulous fan-art of Geek Fire Labs.
geek fire labs

hair clip

where is your evidence

cosplay ggc

cosplay 2

Serious armor cosplay was happening thanks to Sinister Metal Works.
sinister metal works

BIG shout out to our very own Dr Ray Burks who organized and led the DIY Science Zone!
Ray and DIY science zone

This was a section of the con where kids could do hands on science projects. It was PACKED the entire event. The DIY Science Zone was staffed by NASA scientists, astrophysicists, chemists and some familiar faces from these parts of the internet such as Mad Art Lab’s very own scientist/artist, Emily Fink.
Emily Fink in the science zone

NASA Systems engineer, Dawn Myers and another badass science zone volunteer preparing their table. (Sorry I did not get the name of the woman in the glasses but I’m sure she is a genius!)
Dawn Myers

And a friend of Skepchick, Mr Jason Thibeault was spotted volunteering in the Zone!
Jason Thibeault in the science zone

The kids got to learn about science and make things! It was brilliant and perfectly organized.
diy science zone

On Sunday a lovely young woman came up to me with a book in her hand. She asked if I was Surly Amy. I said yes. She asked me if I would sign her book. She commented that she had too many white male autographs in it. I laughed as she handed me the book. I wrote, “Stay strong and don’t take any shit ~Surly Amy” I’m sure she won’t.

See you next year, GeekGirlCon!

seattle sm
View of Seattle from my hotel room.

All photos by me © Amy Davis Roth 2015

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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One Comment

  1. Hi Amy,

    I’m not sure if you remember me, but It was great seeing you at MakerFaire NY! I don’t know how much time you got to walk around and see everything, but it was my first and I found the whole thing overwhelming (and hot and dusty). I hope it was a successful weekend for you. I don’t know if my makerspace got any new members from our booth, but we took 3rd in the Powerwheels race and got another blue ribbon for our orbital redersphere, so I guess we can call it a successful weekend for us.

    Girl Geek Con looks like a lot of fun too. Not surprised at the lack of Slave Leia there, it just doesn’t seem like the kind of venue that attracts that sort of crowd. Hopefully, the new movies will introduce a bunch of new female characters that will widen the possibilities for women who want to cosplay Star Wars (including those who want to do so in bikinis).

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