Geek Feminism

Working on ending sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression in geek culture.

The Geek Feminism Track aims to create a space that is interesting and exciting to existing feminists as well as welcoming and safe to those who are new to feminism but understand the need to redress the imbalance in much of mainstream geek culture. This year we'll be hosting our keynote speaker, Naomi Alderman, plus Jane Fae talking fairies, and discussing everything from Mad Max to geek fitness to the Women of Musicals; and kicking it all off with a lovely tea party. See you there!


The Big Geeky Tea Party: come, gather and be merry (with Tea!) - 11.45am - 1.00pm, Connaught A
This open session is an opportunity to come and chat to the organisers and meet other like-minded Geeky Feminists. Share ideas, book and blog recommendations, and promote campaigns. There will also be an opportunity to take a pen to the walls and finish the sentence “Geek Culture needs Feminism because…” with what you find most important.

Lemon Cakes and Courtesy: in defence of Lady Sansa Stark - 1.30pm - 2.45pm, Connaught A (with ASOIAF)
A critical examination of the way Sansa Stark is interpreted by fans of the books and show, with curator of The Geek Agenda, EK McAlpine. Looking at feminist readings of her character and development. Dairy-Free Lemon Cakes provided. Bring your own direwolf.
Talk by EK McAlpine

Don't Call Me Babe: picking apart the tropes of kick-ass women characters - 3.15pm - 4.30pm, Room 41 (with the Here Be Dragons film festival)
From Hermione Granger to Black Widow, via Furiosa, Katniss Everdeen and so many more, we all love badass women smashing up their enemies and enacting superheroic power moves we can only dream of. But haven't we had enough of the male-dominated film industry bringing out action and comic book films that rarely go beyond “Look! Girls can do it too!”? This opinionated panel will tackle the tropes of kick-ass women, from compulsory catsuits to sisterhood solidarity fail, and ultimately figure out: what could a real bad ass women character look like?
Panel: Tara B, Laurie Penny, Clara Jackson, Pip Janssen

This Geek Can: fitness for geeky feminists - 5.00pm - 6.15pm, Connaught A
Between Fitbits, Fuel points, and apps galore, the fitness world has gone tech. If you don’t know your HRM from your BMI then this is for you. Join us for a body-positive conversation about exercising out of self-love, the benefits (and myths!) of exercising, and all the tech and online tools that are out there for you to play with.
Panel: Adrian Hon, Matt Wieteska, Rachael Acks

Historical Heroines: the women from history that we admire - 6.45pm - 8.00pm, Connaught A (with History)
History is often seen as being about Great Men, but there were plenty of Great Women. This panel celebrates those women who have, against the odds, made their mark on history. A group of historians and writers pick their favourites.
Panel: Kari Maund, Laurie Penny, Simon Trafford

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations? Gender roles and queer identites in Star Trek - 6.45pm - 8.00pm, Royal B (with Star Trek)
A 101-level panel giving an overview of questions around gender roles and queer identities in Star Trek stories. How are women in Star Trek portrayed and perceived? How much is the futuristic society of Star Trek influenced by contemporary mainstream understandings of gender? Are there actually queer characters in Star Trek, or just Very Special Episodes? How are fans sharing their own ideas about gender and sexuality in the Star Trek future?
Panel: Cleo, Amy (such_heights), Neth Dugan, Viktoriya

Zombies, Run! - Stories from the Sound Booth - Connaight A, 8.30pm - 9.45pm
Long Description: The immensely popular and feelings-inducing fitness app is now in its fourth season, and has undergone some major changes. We gather some of the creators and actors to talk about their time working on the app, their favourite moments, and where they'd like to go next.
Panel: Phil Nightingale, Matt Wieteska, Adrian Hon


We Are Not Things: Wives, Imperators and Blood Bags in Mad Max: Fury Road - 11.45am - 1.00pm, Connaught A
What a lovely day! Join us for a deep dive into all aspects of the unexpected feminist blockbuster hit of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road. We'll look at where the film succeeds and where it doesn’t, and which aspects of the film’s construction relate to or were influenced by feminism. Characterisation, story, costume, cinematography, editing - we’ll look at it all! Witness!
Panel: Naomi Alderman, Laurie Penny, Ludi Valentine

Women's Writing and Fanfiction: as creators and consumers - 1.30pm - 2.45pm, Connaught A (with Fanfic)
Statistics show that fanfiction is a predominantly female medium. This panel explores the value of a space where women can create and consume uncensored works of fiction, and considers what public opinion can tell us about the ways in which women writers are marginalised.
Panel: Viktoriya, Neth Dugan, Pensnest, Writcraft, Hannah

In conversation with Naomi Alderman: unlearning bias and creating better fiction - 3.15pm - 4.30pm, County A
Novelist and Zombies, Run! co-creator Naomi Alderman will be talking with Siân Fever about the challenges of creating fiction, and identifying and tackling internalised bias in your process and within yourself.

If Only I Sang ... the woman I'd be! - 5.00pm - 6.15pm, Connaught A
From Calamity Jane to Eliza Dolittle, Mary Magdalene to Elsa: Roz Kaveney and Jane Fae explore the roles available to women in musicals. The best, the worst and who, if either could sing a note, would they most like to play. In between picking favorites, and dissing disasters, there may be space for some serious discussion about whether the musical has proven a good - or bad - vehicle for women. Does it merely magnify all the worst in social stereotypes... or does the arrival of Elphaba suggest that finally, good deeds will sometimes be rewarded and women can, at last, begin to defy gravity?
Panel: Jane Fae, Roz Kaverney


Tiny Pieces of Skull: trans street and bar life in the 1970's - 10.00am - 11.15am, Connaught A
In 1988, Roz Kaveney wrote a noirish fictionalized account of her time on the mean streets of Chicago as a newly transitioned woman in the late 70s: much praised in manuscript at the time, it only saw print this year.
Reading and talk by Roz Kaveney

Writing For Truth And Justice: developing your non-fiction writing - 11.45am - 1.00pm, County B
Bring your ideas and questions on blogs and columns, and learn what works. A workshop with author and journalist Laurie Penny.

Of Power and Porn: have mortals corrupted the Faerie dance? - 11.45am - 1.00pm, Connaught A
Faerie is everywhere. It is the other: the third way, neither good nor ill. A way for strong Faerie queens and adventurers to prove their worth. The ultimate empowerment for women. 

Or are Faerie women really given just two choices: heroes when they put on the sword and armour and venture forth as surrogate men; otherwise sex objects in gossamer and little else? 

This session aims to stir up debate about the way Faerie is used in modern culture - and ask whether it is genuinely empowering of women? Or yet one more illusion? 

Wings encouraged: bring your own magic.
Talk by Jane Fae

Screening: IN THE TURN (2014 Dir. Erica Tremblay. Dur: 90 mins) - 1.30pm - 2.45pm, Room 41 (with the Here Be Dragons film festival)
IN THE TURN is a feature length documentary about a 10-year-old transgender girl who finds acceptance and empowerment in the company of a queer roller derby league.
IN THE TURN is screening as part of our Official Competition.
Introduced by Tara Brown

Screening: WHIP IT (2009 Dir. Drew Barrymore Dur: 120m) - 3.15pm - 5.15pm, Room 41 (with the Here Be Dragons film festival)
Drew Barrymore's sadly overlooked directorial debut is full of humanity, fun and head-smashing Roller Derby awesomeness. Ellen Page's disaffected teenager finds acceptance and happiness on the Austin Roller Derby scene as 'Babe Ruthless'. Much excellence happens.