So Swancon! That science fiction convention I was on the committee on and helped run.
Have a picture taken by Arinellen from the XXP bloggers shows my approach to event management.
I ran one panel at Swancon this year, leading the feral group I call my ‘craft day’ friends: Penny, Nic, Emma and Sarah F. Sadly, I didn’t think to grab pictures of this set up. Basically, these are friends from a few years back, when I decided I wanted to start up an informal crafting meet-up at my house every couple of weeks. These are the friends that kept showing up, even though we very quickly stopped crafting and just started watching tv, arguing and recommending other media to each other.
The panel After Buffy, was an attempt at moving past the main few action women in the modern consciousness. When people talk about awesome women, strong women, and female action heroes, what you quickly notice is that Buffy, Ripley, Sarah Connor and Lara Croft are the names that keep coming up and dominating the conversation with their various merits rather than diversifying the list. It becomes a battle for perfection, rather than finding loads of role models.
I promised we’d put a list of the recommendations online as we didn’t get time to mention many of the creators and texts that we wanted. These aren’t all SF or action, but whatever we thought had the potential to showcase women being awesome, whether the work itself was terrible or brilliant. They are things we’ve recommended to each other, discussed loads or watched in a group.
TV and Movies
- Lost Girl
- Birds of Prey
- Rizzoli & Isles
- Hope Springs
- The Runaways (the movie)
- But I’m A Cheerleader
- Kamikaze Girls
- Tank Girl
- Itty Bitty Titty Committee
Books and Authors
- Barbara Hambly
- Jane Yolen
- Ursula Le Guin
- Joanna Russ
- Lucy Sussex
- Cherie Priest
- Cat Valente
- Vonda N. McIntyre
- Marianne De Pierres
- L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Gael Baudino, Gossamer Axe
- Genevieve Valentine, Mechanique
- Gail Simone
- Alison Bechdel
- Jen Van Meter
- Faith Erin Hicks
- Wonder Woman (Greg Rucka, Gail Simone)
- ’92/93 Black Canary (Sarah Byam)
- Queen & Country (Greg Rucka)
- Painkiller Jane (Jimmy Palmiotti)
- Digger (Ursula Vernon)
- Passage of Time
- Catwoman (Ed Brubaker)
- Powergirl (Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Amanda Connor)
- Manhunter (Marc Andreyko)
- X-23 (Marjorie Liu)
- Captain Marvel (Kelly Sue DeConnick)
- Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
The panel itself went really well. Surprisingly well. We came third in the best-in-program contest which is pretty wicked, and we weren’t expecting the crowd we got. We were also impressed that we managed to only upset one person (we’re really sorry, Kendra!) with how opinionated and overboard we tend to go. The vibe was really good too. It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a panel, and the impression I’ve gotten is many people felt the same. The vibe continued into the next panel (on queer representation) with the recommending spirit continuing onwards.
The audience was pretty awesome. At the time, we weren’t expecting such an awesome discussion from the audience, or the number of people that showed up. We’ve managed to get most of the notes (borrowing heavily from alias_sqbr for this post). Note: I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of these recs and I can’t guareentee we didn’t miss a whole heap.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
- The Legend of Korra
- Girls with Slingshots
- Questionable Content
- The Princess Diaries series (especially 2)
- Tank Girl
- Girl Genius
- Ice Princess
- Global Frequency
- Runaways (the comic)
I did notice a fixation on the princess tropes and roles that subvert or bring in alternative roles. Personally I think the princess trope just needs to be burned to the ground and erased from the media’s collective consciousness alongside Barbie and cheerleaders (even subverted ones like Buffy). However, the panel and certainly members of the audience disagreed with me and there was no shortage of suggestions. I still wonder if the reason we defend these princesses is that we have so few other characters to form attachments to.
Possible idea for a future panel? One not run by me, I’ve sworn I’m out after this round.
Full credit needs to go to Lily for pointing out that we completely missed Batwoman. She won a signed copy of Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – while there were millions of good suggestions from the audience, this was the most obvious character and comic we missed.
We’re always after suggestions, and people should feel free to keep mentioning stuff in the comments.