Sexism and Exclusiveness in Fan Communities

The link blow is a personal essay from a Star Trek fan, giving her astute thoughts and experiences on cosplay at conventions and fan communities.  Check it out, and then I have some thoughts to add after hers:


I’ve spent a lot of time in geek communities of various types.  I practically grew up in a game store, and I’ve been to my fair share of conventions, mostly game conventions like GenCon and Origins, as well as SF/F conventions such as World Fantasy, the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts and the WisCon Feminist SF Con.

GenCon and Origins were really the ones that had the kind of environment that the blog writer (Sakurasaurus, perhaps?  There is no specific name given on the post from a cursory look, but I also don’t want to do even the tiniest bit of erasure) describes, with prevalent cosplay.

When I was growing up, it seemed like there weren’t many women in my corner of the geek world.  I can’t rightly say how many women were around and active in their own communities, choosing not to participate in the circles I was in for the reasons Sakurasaurus gives, or for other reasons.  I saw and experienced a fair amount of exclusiveness by members of the circles I was in, but always tried to do what I could to be a sane and not-creepy person when moving in geek circles that had women in them.

Some of this sentiment made it into Geekomancy in comedy form, since I don’t know of a more effective mode of cultural critique than comedy.  I could write a scathing essay about the sometimes appaling behavior by some men in some fan communties, but far more people are likely to listen to me if I can use a comedy frame, one that holds up that bad behavior as something to critique while getting a laugh.

The comedy frame isn’t to downplay the importance of the issue, for me, it’s to emphasize it.  I don’t have the experience of being a female fan, but I can write from what I’ve seen happen and what I hear from female friends and their experiences.  I try to support efforts towards inclusiveness and awesome feminism in fandom, and I hope that Geekomancy will do some of that work, while giving folks a good laugh and a compelling story.

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