The Cliffs of Insanity: Cosplayers

Cosplayers, Lara Croft, Tomb  Raider
Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. I suspect she wouldn’t take being sexually harassed.

Welcome back to my adventures in climbing the cliffs of insanity. I took a week break while GeekMom shifted to our new site. What adventures did I have in the meantime?

I followed the controversy surrounding how a member of the press treated Lara Croft cosplayers at PAX East, mourned Roger Ebert and Carmine Infantino, and went shopping for refrigerators. Alas, I bought one that doesn’t double as a TARDIS and it doesn’t dispense hot water for tea, either. On the good side, it’s decorated with artwork by my minions.

I attended PAX East with my youngest son, wearing my Wonder Woman hoodie, making me fairly recognizable. I know this because after the Geek Parenting panel on Sunday, at least five people came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the panel. I’m not that striking a person so it had to be the hoodie.

I was pleasantly surprised by the gender make-up at PAX East this year because it seemed to my untrained eye that more women were in attendance than several years ago. It was nothing like the nearly even split at New York Comic Con but enough women to register. I ran into a lovely woman in the food court who’d made her cosplay Adventure Time Princess dress herself. She looked lovely and we chatted. She was about my daughter’s age and is a social work major at a local university. In other words, she was pretty awesome.

And then I returned home and read the account of Megan Marie, the Community & Communication Manager at Crystal Dynamics (developers of Tomb Raider), about an incident with a member of the press at PAX East and I was appalled. I instantly thought of the young woman I’d met and of all the awesome cosplayers I know. Here was a group asked to an event sponsored by one of the companies and someone decided that made them ripe for unwanted sexual attention. A “sexual commodity” as one of the more persistent commenters on Marie’s blog keep insisting. Another asked what is the right way to ask a woman that one finds sexually appealing to have sex with them? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe one should first realize it’s rude to go up to someone you don’t know and assume they’d welcome an upfront “so, you want to have sex?”

Here’s a thought: if it’s not good form to ask a random woman on the street to have sex with you (and it’s not), then it’s not good form to ask a cosplayers just because she has a costume on.

But the upside of all this controversy? First, the reaction of the PAX East staff, who immediately dismissed the man from the con. Second, the reaction and support for the cosplayers.

But, the biggest win was that Megan Marie’s blog brought attention to a real problem and suggested a solution. The problem is one that Sheryl Sandberg has been talking about on her Lean In book tour, that women undervalue themselves and must break free of this conditioning. The solution, as Marie found out, is that there is more courage when you’re standing up for someone else, as she did at the con, and she vowed that she would no longer be silent on her own behalf either.

Bravo. And she’s right. I know I’m far more inclined to stand up for someone else, especially my kids, than I am for me. And I was even more glad I wrote this article about the Audi SuperBowl commercial. Even if the commenters on that post seem to be under the misapprehension that I’m a sad, ugly, bitter woman. Sorry, no, guys. But thanks for playing!

And here are some more cosplayers standing up for themselves: The Beginnings of Consent Project.

Thank you, Carmine Infantino 

And onto the comics legend who co-created two fictional woman who never had any trouble standing up for themselves: Black Canary and Barbara Gordon.

One of Carmine Infantino's longest lasting creations.
One of Carmine Infantino’s longest lasting creations.

Carmine Infantino passed away yesterday at the age of 87. He leaves behind a lasting legacy especially at DC Comics. He co-created the Golden Age Black Canary, Dinah Drake, one of the very few superheroines whose identity doesn’t rest on a male superhero. Later, he was the artist for the first appearance of the Barbara Gordon Batgirl.

The first Flash comic I ever bought.
The first Flash comic I ever bought.

He’s best known for the creation of the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, who has possibly the best costume design ever, yellow lightning bolts over a red costume.

Infantino was also responsible for bringing Jack Kirby over to DC Comics, leading to the creation of the New Gods, including Darkseid, for hiring Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams for DC Comics. In his spare time, he co-created the Human Target with Len Wein and, when he was freelancing after reading DC Comics, did the artwork on Marvel’s Star Wars series.

His distinctive crisp lines were easily recognizable even to my untrained child’s eye and now that I’m an adult, I could see his wide influence in superhero comics.

He’ll be sorely missed. I know many out there are missing Roger Ebert, and that’s right and proper, but he’s not the only great we lost yesterday.

And onto something a bit more domestic.

No Women Stuffed Inside This Fridge!

This is home improvement year in my household, as it’s time to finally do some projects like the floors and various items in the kitchen. Such as replacing the fridge.

I thought it was time to join the 21st century and buy a refrigerator that dispenses water. Alas, it’s not a TARDIS fridge (though you can buy TARDIS mini-fridges). And it’s not fancy enough yet to provide me with hot water for my tea, but it’s new and it fits all my refrigerator magnets. I suspect refrigerator magnets is something I could get seriously geeky about, especially if they contain my kid’s artwork, as these do.

Magnets! photograph by Corrina Lawson
It’s not a proper fridge without magnets! photograph by Corrina Lawson

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.