Photo by Liz Henry, via Flickr

At GeekGirlCon, the Face of Geekdom Is Changing

This year’s event features G. Willow Wilson, Maritess Zurbano, Lil Chen, and others.

I want to be clear: The idea of “reverse racism” is bunk. It’s made up. It’s not real. Same with “reverse sexism.” The reason why is pretty clear: American culture has a default switch in its cultural and political systems, and that default switch is white and male. Even now, in 2017, most popular entertainment is directed toward a white, male consumer; when women and/or people of color apply for positions ordinarily filled by a white male, they must endure ridicule, scorn, and outright hatred for daring to step up.

So racism and sexism is what happens when people who hold power—who occupy the default-switch position—exercise that power on people who do not occupy the default switch. Racism and sexism is not just a personal action; you can’t employ racism and sexism unless you have the institutional and systemic power to back you up. So the news that some white and male staffers quit independent Seattle convention GeekGirlCon earlier this year, citing reverse racism and sexism as the reason for their departure, fit a pattern that’s spreading through geek culture right now.

It is true that there has never been a better time to be a woman/LGBTQ/POC nerd. But that’s only because until about a decade ago, nerddom was almost exclusively a white, male place. We’ve seen great strides in representation over the past decade: Just about any comics bestseller list is loaded with books by populations who 15 years ago would never have had the opportunity to publish. But the mediocre white dudes are striking back, whining that they have to share their comics shops with gross girls and other “SJWs” and engaging in targeted harassment campaigns on social media.

This is precisely why spaces like this weekend’s Geek Girl Con are so important. We’ve made tremendous strides forward in representation in my lifetime, but regressive forces are actively trying to turn back the clock. Without spaces for nonwhite, non-straight, non-male nerds to network, geek out, discover new work, and promote their own, all that progress could be lost. Featured contributors include Seattle powerhouses like comics writer G. Willow Wilson and Maritess Zurbano (billed as “the only Filipina-American professional stage hypnotist in the world”) alongside nationally known videogaming figures like Lil Chen and Fryda Wolff.

You’ll also find hundreds of comics artists and novelists and assorted nerd personalities, including local institutions like Outsider Comics, Geek Boutique, Clarion West, and the University of Washington. And yes, straight white men are entirely welcome—so long as they’re OK with the fact that it’s not all about them, for once.

GeekGirlCon, Washington State Convention Center, The Conference Center, 705 Pike St., geekgirlcon.com. $40–$55. All ages. Sat., Sept. 30–Sun., Oct. 1.

Paul Constant is co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books. Read books coverage at seattlereviewofbooks.com.

More in Arts & Culture

Hulking out at the ACE Comic Con in Glendale, Ariz. Photo courtesy of ACE Comic Con
The Pop-Up Disruptor Con

ACE Comic Con heads to Seattle this week with a stripped down, star-focused model. Will it work?

Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan is still a teen, making ‘Lush’ an even more ridiculous indie rock achievement. Photo courtesy Ground Control Touring
Pick List: Snail Mail, Sounders Pride, Peach Kelli Pop

The week’s best entertainment options.

Dino-Might

While peppier than its predicessor, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom still feels very calculated.

Photo by Brett Curtiss/Flickr
Memories of Prides Past

We caught up with some notable locals to reminisce about their favorite moments from the festivities.

Illustration by Taylor Dow
Indignation and Compassion

Cancer season, and summer, begin with choppy waters.

Patrons grab a drink at the outdoor space of Kremwerk Complex. Photo via Kremwerk
Putting in the Werk

While best known for underground dance music, Kremwerk has quietly fostered Seattle’s alternative queer entertainment scene.

Take dad out to the ball game, take dad out with the crowd… Photo by Elise Lin/Flickr
Father’s Day Pick List

Make the most of a day with the ol’ man with these dad-centric activities.

Speedy Ortiz with the candlestick in the flowery room. Photo courtesy Ground Control Touring
Pick List: Speedy Ortiz, Men in Blazers, Fremont Fair

The week’s best entertainment options.

Image courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
‘2001’ in 2018

As Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece returns to theaters for its 50th anniversary, have moviegoers betrayed its legacy?

Most Read