"I wonder who that line is for?" I mused, standing outside our panel room on Sunday. Surely there must be someone famous in the next room.
Tippy grinned at me. "That line is for us."
"What?" My jaw dropped, and I might have fell onto her shoulders. "Really? Honestly? Oh my god."
And that was the scene you see above. Twenty minutes before the panel was due to start, we had a longer line than you can see in that photo, with the ability to fill the room we were given (capacity 80ish) twice over.
Let me rephrase that: the Fake Geek Girl panel, an event with no celebrity participant, brand name, or discussion of one fandom, got a line of around 160 people. I could not have been more astonished. It's sad, in a way, because so many people were turned away, and we wish we could have opened the conversation to everyone. But knowing that the topic was so popular is extremely encouraging--and not just to my personal ego. It means that we're not the only ones who are looking to fight sexism in geek culture, and that is extremely heartening.
The panel itself was of course fantastic. We got some amazing discussion going, stories told, and concepts talked about. We had a rapt and receptive audience, and they asked some great questions at the end. If you were among the lucky ones who got in, I'm so glad you were there. If you were one of the unfortunate ones who didn't--thank you anyway! I'm delighted that you were interested, and I'm sorry we had such a small room allotted to us. We may have started this conversation, but without you guys it wouldn't have been anything like a success!
If you haven't already, take a listen to the Chicago Nerd Podcast that we released before the panel--Jeff combined both segments into one conversation, and it's a great listen.
Thanks to Jamie Coville, recorded audio of the panel (and many more) is up on Bleeding Cool! Much appreciation to him.
And Michael Silberman of Great Eye Films was taking video before, during, and after the whole panel. His segment should be released in about two weeks--complete with conversations from the panelists beforehand, and the audience members reactions afterwards. I'll be sure to post that as soon as it goes up.
Last Sunday was a beautiful demonstration that not only do conversations about misogyny and gatekeeping need to happen, people want them to happen. They're not optional--they're necessary. So let's keep it going, people. Comment, chat, or email. Come find me in person if you live in the area. Start a discussion with your own geeky friends if you don't. And do your own panel at your local con on the topic. Keep the faith, and the fight.
Thanks to my lovely kick-ass fellow panelists for doing this with me. I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and I can't wait to do it again!