My First San Diego Comic-Con: It was OK

The first highlight of SD Comic-Con 2015 was getting a free coconut water. A few blocks after I stepped off the trolley, a Vita Coco employee in a blue minivan said, “Want a coconut water?” and I said “Yeah!” and she gave it to me and then I kept walking. Sami getting free stuff and perking up after marching through crowds of nerds is going to be a common theme.

I was surrounded by nerds a lot; it was ok.

I was surrounded by nerds a lot; it was ok.

I am going to be using the word “nerds” quite a bit. I prefer it over the (probably) more accurate descriptor, “geeks,” because it has more dignity. I call these convention-goers nerds not because I think they are uncool, but rather out of deference to their superior knowledge. You see, I am not nerdy enough for San Diego Comic Con.

Write your own blog post about SDCC by filling in the blanks!

Write your own blog post about SDCC by filling in the blanks!

I am nerdy about birds, and words, and throwing theme parties. I am not nerdy about movies, videogames, and definitely not comics. When it comes to movies (and actors, and directors) I have to tell people to pretend I grew up Amish, because I don’t know anything. I have a game I like to play when someone mentions a title I don’t recognize: Describe the Movie in a Convincing Way So People Don’t Make Me Watch it Because They are Stunned I Have Never Seen it.

Wait, you lie about movies you’ve never seen? Do “Wag the Dog”

Yeah, it’s that movie where the emotions of one person screws up everything for everyone else and it makes you wonder about systems of control and…I’m totally off, huh?

No, actually, that’s pretty accurate.

SD-comic-con-giant-sriracha-bottle

I heart Sriracha but I didn’t heart how many booths seemed to be reselling cheaply made goods from China.

Videogames are pretty cool. I watched my brother play them growing up, and I have clocked enough hours in The Sims to have built an actual house. Same goes for Minecraft. More recently, I enjoyed GTAV and I even have a little murder song I sing under my breath when I kill innocent civilians for petty cash. I’m on kind of a lifelong binge-and-purge cycle with viddy games and, by keeping no gaming systems at my house and using OSX, I’ve remained purged of these time-sucks for a very long time — long enough to be totally out of the loop with real “gamers.”

Wait. Does anyone really enjoy a person listing their interests, especially when their interests are things they can do in their pajamas? Next I could prattle about the webcomics I read, and how at Comic-Con I stood near Dumbing of Age creator David Willis and took a bookmark from his booth, and didn’t say anything to him because I didn’t have anything to say. A person getting their caricature done asked Willis if Joyce, the main character, was based on anyone real, and the answer is Yes. It’s all there, it’s all in the website and the comics and there’s really nothing to ask David Willis because he makes quality art and quality stories and just pay goddamned attention.

I was grumpy because my free bookmark wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the free Mad Libs booklet I got earlier. The emotional cycle of feeding a swag addiction was getting to me. I wanted good swag only, and I didn’t want to carry a lot of it, and I also didn’t really want it — I was just bored. One of my favorite swags was ice cream, even though they made me take a selfie for it, simply because I got to throw the trash away when I was done with it.

Another cool swag I got was this hat. It also required a selfie -- with this attractive woman.

Another cool swag I got was this hat. It also required a selfie — with this attractive woman.

Some of the nerds had these giant swag bags. Katelyn explained that they fill them with “trash” (flyers, cheap posters, cards with advertising on them) and then put them in a corner of their bedrooms for several months before throwing them away. I admit this sounds like a strange custom to me, despite being pretty happy about this Mad Libs booklet I will hold onto for a few weeks in case it becomes fun for a party, be disappointed, and throw away.

She also explained that Comic-Con used to be the place to get rare comics and other nerd stuff that you couldn’t get at your local comic stop, as well as a place to see exclusive previews. Nowadays, you can eBay and also videos of previews go online about an hour later. She didn’t buy anything or preview anything, but I can only assume that going through every single row gave her some ideas for her nerd shrine.IMAG1212

It seems, to this newcomer with no nerd cred, that SDCC suffers an identity crisis. If buying cool comics has been replaced by buying overpriced junk, then what is it? Is it a cosplay event, a chance to meet celebs, a place to play pokemon, great for geeky photo opportunities, an art show, the home of [adjective] panels (I did not go to any of these), a nostalgia circle-jerk, even worth it at all? Not for me, not really. I’d rather just go home and decorate my bicycle because even though that’s what I do for fun, I’m just not nerdy enough for Comic-Con.

You say black I say white You say bark I say bite You say shark I say hey man Jaws was never my scene And I don't like Star Wars

You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don’t like Star Wars

Never been? You can:

  1. Not go at all, and enjoy the convention from the comfort of home by watching it on snapchat!

:)

5 Conversations Women Should Stop Having, Really

I saw an article, “5 Conversations Women Should Stop Having,” by HuffPo and got excited to get my feminist morning-read on, but….what was I thinking this is HuffPo. Of course it’s just “5 Conversations People Should Stop Having” …if they want to stop being boringgggzzzz.  Everybody talks about being stressed out, “traumatized” by their parents, annoying people, where to eat dinner, and clothes. This article is not news.

Good on HP for not resorting to all-out disgusting stereotypes, but if this was supposed to be an appeal to female readers it was weak. Actually, no. Shame on HP for implying that these conversations are only problems, only annoying, when they are had by women.

These are the 5 Conversations Women Should Stop Having, Really:

1. I am not a feminist, because… You’re actually some kind of feminish. Fine. We get it. There are so many different ways to be a feminist, and so many disagreements about those ways.  Some of us take CGS classes. Some of us raise boys up to be good men someday. Some of us burn things. Some of us just try to go about our day without ruining anyone else’s. But unless you truly believe that women don’t deserve equal rights with men…you’re a feminist. Pretty much.

I’m not going to argue with you; you can self-identify however you want, but you’re wasting precious breath that we could be spending on “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” That’s all feminism is to me.

bra-burning-is-a-lie

2. Your body is amazing/beautiful/perfect but my body is sad/horrible/flawed. Actually, I do think there can be value in comparing our bodies and our feelings about them so that we can learn and grow. But I’m sick of impossible compliments, sick of the whiplash of first trying to process the nice thing you said about me and then the gloomy thing you said about yourself.

HOWEVER. I am trying to teach myself to hear the little plea in such statements: “Please see that you are privileged and acknowledge your advantages over me because you are socially recognized as attractive.” Because I know I’m a minx with glorious hair (er, actually, that I don’t face discrimination for my weight, physical health status, and race), I think I hear this plea and I try to answer it when I can.

Sometimes, though, it isn’t so obvious that I might have a particular privilege and it really just comes across as another beautiful lady telling me I’m more beautiful-er than she. Um?? Girl you’re amazing. I guess I’m just supposed to say, “Stop it, no you are.”

Here’s the conversation I’d rather have: “I’m dissatisfied with _____ part of my body and I’m reaching out to you as another woman to help me contend with that. Maybe I just need you to boost me up, or maybe I need you to agree with me that you are fortunate to not have this problem and that it’s ok for me to feel disadvantaged sometimes.”  And I’d also like to make time for this super special conversation, “I am proud of _______ part of my body and I’m reaching out to you as another woman to help me celebrate that.”

shut-up-prettier

3. “She needs to stop wearing the Hijab.” One woman will say, the Hijab is a symbol of oppression, and muslim women (in America) should not wear it. Another woman will say, it is her choice, her freedom of religious expression: “Don’t bother her.” The two will argue, neither side will concede.

Which of the two will also say that revealing clothing degrades women? Which of the two will counter, it’s her choice, let her wear those daisy dukes and boob toob? (It’s not always a predictable pattern.)

We should not argue over how much or how little cloth we use to cover our bodies. We should instead agree that what is more important is our freedom to choose for ourselves. Whose eyes do you feel when you get dressed in the morning? I’m a femme lesbian; I feel the eyes of women who might think I should put on a flannel instead of a frock. I feel the eyes of women who see the advantages of my femme invisibility, and yes I acknowledge and understand them to be true. I ask them to see the loneliness in my femme invisibility, too.

Can’t we just agree the whole point is to have the freedom to wear what you want? Please let the communities who wear particular items of clothing discuss within their own communities about the symbolic significance and/or necessity of those items, and shut up and enjoy your high heels and/or combat boots.

Bad-feminist-fuck-it

4. I’m not like other girls because…. You. Are. Not. Like. Other. Girls.  I know. Thing is, we’re all incredibly different from each other.

Don’t tell each other this, don’t believe this. If you form a friendship on the basis of, “It’s ok, we’re not like the others,” you won’t make it through those moments where she is like all the others. You’ll be sniffing out each other for signs of the enemy, The Conforming Woman. You’ll want so badly to be seen as Not A Typical Woman that you’ll erase yourself, you’ll erase entire identities.

The only time we should see each other as fellow women is when we are on the same team, when we are sharing in our suffering or our growing, when we’re listening to the experience of someone who is going through “woman” differently than we have — or soul-touchingly “the same.”  Otherwise we should see each other as other human beings.

Which leads me to….

5. I have all guy friends because I don’t get along with (normal) women (but you’re an exception).  If this is a conversation you hear yourself frequently starting, you need to Just. Stop. Go stand in a mirror and practice a new conversation: “I don’t understand why I’m insecure in my ability to relate with other women. I need to heal this in myself.” I get that it’s tough sometimes to form relationships with women when the patriarchy often pits us against each other, but if you believe it’s only other women that are the problem, then you’re part of the problem.

This conversation breaks my heart more than all the others. When a woman starts this conversation with me, I wonder, does she think she’s not getting along with me? Does she think we have reasons to be enemies simply because we’re both women? “I’m not like other girls, don’t fear me,” she says as if it’s a truce.  Excuse me, but I like women. I love women, actually. You can’t take that away from me. You can’t make me some sort of “not really a woman” woman.

And if she knows I’m gay, do I not count as a woman, because I might look at her the way a man does? Does she think I’m not capable of valuing her as a person rather than a person I’d like to touch naked?

Does she realize the poison she is spreading between women by perpetuating this conversation?