We Would Like to Thank the Academy…

OK, we can now talk about the Sooper Sekrit Projekt of which we were part. The Mary Sue put out a call for participants to help New York Comic-Con craft a new anti-harassment policy. We were asked to participate. An hour of squinting at a teeny-tiny Skype text screen later, and we had hammered out the beginnings of a policy. Well, now it has been let loose into the world. The Mary Sue has a nice write-up of the final policy.

Back in the early days of the Backup Ribbon Project, we felt as though nobody else cared about creating inclusive and safe geek spaces. The fannish culture in our hometown reinforced this feeling.

Getting from there to where we are now has been scary and gratifying all at the same time. And none of it would have happened without you guys. Taking ribbons. Retweeting. Facebook sharing. Talking about the Project.

So we would like to thank all of you. We are (and probably will continue to be) gobsmacked at what our crazy little “what if…” idea has done.  Every time we think that the Project has run its course, something bigger and better comes along.

Who knows what’s next?

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GeekGirlCon Update and Other Sundry Stuff

First off, we now have an actual TIME AND LOCATION for our “Geeks Got Your Back” panel at GeekGirlCon. We are scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 12 at 10 am. Look for the short, busty chick with the Gamora hair carrying a box festooned with Keep Calm and Backup stickers in one hand and a large coffee with four shots of espresso in the other. I will be sharing the stage with our fabulous Social Media Wench, Danicia, and the lovely Wolfcat (you may remember her from last year in her formal Hawkeye gown). We will have ribbons, cards and stickers! Second, in case you missed our guest spot on Krypton Radio’s Event Horizon, the entire podcast is now available online.  Scroll down until you find Episode 71. Do check out some of Krypton Radio’s other nifty SF-oriented programming while you are at it. It’s sci-fi for your wi-fi! Third, we are practically bursting at the seams to share with you the details of our Sooper Sekrit Projekt with The Mary Sue, but it may have to wait a day or two, so be patient. More nifty stuff coming your way SOON!

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What are We Doing Tomorrow Night, Brain?

Well, tomorrow morning, actually. We will be participating in a telecon with Jill Pantozzi of The Mary Sue, along with several other people as part of a joint effort to help New York Comic-Con revamp its anti-harassment policy. As you may well imagine, we are very excited to be asked to participate in this.

We will say it again — we could not have come this far without the support of everyone who took ribbons, shared our blog entries, retweeted us, friended or followed us, or simply sent us messages of encouragement (and an occasional ass-kicking when we needed it). What started as a half-baked, crazy idea has taken on a life of its own. Every time we think that this can’t go any further, it somehow does. And we thank all of you for it.


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Radio Interview and Possible Exciting New Project

First off, our fine friends over at Krypton Radio will be airing our interview Saturday, Aug. 23 at 9 pm. We will be chatting about harassment and con culture in the wake of recent events at San Diego Comic-Con. Come to think of it, you should just listen to Krypton Radio regardless, as they do all sorts of nifty SF/geek oriented shows.

In other news, our friends over at The Mary Sue are partnering with New York Comic-Con to draft an anti-harassment policy. They are currently taking nominees to help them with this undertaking. We have been nominated and should hear by Sunday the 24th if we made the cut. We’ve spent the last several years bitching about what is wrong with harassment at cons. So now, we get a chance to put our money where our admittedly loud mouths are.

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Upcoming Radio Appearance

Really quickly — we are going to once again be featured on an upcoming edition of The Event Horizon, courtesy of the fabulous people at Krypton Radio (it’s sci-fi for your wi-fi). We will let you know once we know the air date/time so that you can all tune into the dulcet tones of us discussing harassment, con safety, and how we as geeks can all be just a little more excellent to each other.


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Backup Ribbons are IN THE HOUSE!!

We have in a fresh batch of Backup ribbons, complete with that new ribbon smell! These have arrived just in time for your late summer/early fall cons. Follow these simple directions to get some of your very own.

IMPORTANT INFO: If you want ribbons for any events over Labor Day weekend,  please specify this in your email so we can get you a fast pass to the front of the queue. The cutoff for ordering ribbons for Labor Day events is August 25, so that they will get to you in time.

We always welcome pics of you with your ribbons at events! We may even run another flash challenge like we did for Phoenix Comic-con.


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SDCC and Being Better to Each Other

So then, let’s talk about San Diego Comic-Con, shall we? In response to increased attention about harassment at cons in general (and SDCC in particular), SDCC spokesperson David Glanzer  stated that the con has only garnered a few reports of harassment. Glanzer felt little need to emphasize SDCC’s harassment policy beyond having it on the website, in the event guide, and emailed out to attendees.

You would think, for an event the size of SDCC, that having posters around the convention center warning about harassment might make it more difficult for harassers to claim that they did not know about the policy. Glanzer instead thinks that “the story would be harassment is such an issue at Comic-Con that they needed to post these signs around there. Now, people within the industry, and fans, know that isn’t the case, but the general public out there, and I think the news media, might look at this as, ‘Why would you, if this wasn’t such a bad issue, why do you feel the need to single out this one issue and put signs up about it?’ I think that’s a concern.”

Let’s now visit a few highlights just from this year alone:

1. Even before SDCC started, Geeks for CONsent garnered national attention with their online petition for SDCC to have a more comprehensive and easily accessible anti-harassment policy. This led to Glanzer’s response about what he considers to be the adequacy of SDCC’s anti-harassment policy.

2. Model Alicia Marie posted on Facebook about somebody who tried to pull down the bottoms of her Tigra costume. He got chased down and beaten up by her companion, well-known cosplayer, model, and TV host Adrianne Curry, who was in a Catwoman costume.

3. Sadly, as many people may already know, a young cosplayer was found unconscious and bleeding in the pool area of the main SDCC hotel. Although initial reports said that she had been assaulted, San Diego Harbor Police concluded she sustained those injuries from falling off a fence (we would be curious to know how a fall from a fence could result in these injuries). A cosplay photographer who had brought her to SDCC was arrested and, although he was not charged with assault, is still facing charges of sexual contact with a minor.

Now people might say that this was only a handful of problems at an otherwise harassment-free event. Here’s the thing, though: How many assaults go unreported? Marie’s harassment only made headlines because both she and Curry are considered geek celebrities. The young cosplayer’s case only came to light because her parents took to social media for help in finding her (and we have no doubt that there was a flurry of “Fake story!!!” comments).

For every one of these two cases, there are probably many more that go unreported. Which, in a horribly ironic twist, actually gives credence to Glanzer’s assertion that SDCC does not need to make more of an effort to protect against harassment because only a few cases are ever reported. And if harassment is not noticed at SDCC, why there’s no problem whatsoever!

We can do better than this. And by “we” that’s all of us in the geek community. We all rallied behind Marie and that young girl, sending them messages of encouragement and support. All to the good. But we need to be better toward each other before it gets to the point that those two cases reached.

As for Backup Ribbon Project, we are looking at partnering with other groups, having more panel discussions at cons, and even putting together a Backup Street Team of people who will have ribbons, cards, and stickers at events that we cannot get to ourselves.

What are YOU doing?




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