Monday, 22 June 2015

A Cap Geek Girls News Flash: Little Big Changes

AN UPDATE FOR OUR FANS

WHERE WE STARTED:

When Capital Geek Girls launched in January of 2013, it was supposed to be a temporary little side project. On her home blog, GirlCrafted.com, founder Jordan Danger wrote an article talking about how she’d recently learned of a flurry of sexism issues that were arising for women in geek venues (like shops and conventions). She launched the Geek Girls facebook page that same day, meaning for the page to provide a space for women to share their geeky fandom without the fear of trolling or harassment.

The facebook page—expectedly/unexpectedly—took off quickly. It turned out, there were lots of women who wanted to talk about geek stuff. And men, too, who wanted to support and engage in this all-gender-friendly virtual space. Speedily, CGG’s Facebook page became a busy place to be.

Exactly a year later, Danger launched CapitalGeekGirls.com, a blogazine written by nearly two-dozen women geeks. The CGG team populated this site with articles for an entire year before pausing to assess and evaluate.



WHAT WE'VE LEARNED:

These last two years have seen the CGG management take on a lot of fights. We had heated debates with con organizers who felt that women weren’t even a demographic worth welcoming. We fought with an allegedly girl-friendly merchant who refused to advocate for an issue faced by female vendors (in his words, because it wasn’t his concern and didn’t affect his business). We found ourselves in positions where we had to decide if we could report on harassment experiences at local events—if we did, we’d find our writers banned for being troublesome. We had repeated dismissals by merchants for sponsorships, and venues/events who failed to sustain good girl-friendly practices despite many rosy promises.

For Jordan Danger, who admits to having lived a sheltered geek girl life for most of her youth, these battles were as painful and exhausting as they were eye-opening and poignant. But despite these challenges, we choose to keep Capital Geek Girls running. Because what we learn from these incidents is that the group is needed more than we ever knew. In fact, CGG’s team saw that firsthand at our panel presentation in Ottawa Comiccon 2014, when our panel room was stuffed to the rafters and women were approaching the mic to give teary thanks, “For providing a place online where it was safe to just be a geek girl”. No hefty political agenda, no overly-sexualized photoshoots; just geek girls being geeks.


OUR NEW DIRECTION (AND IT'S KIND OF OUR OLD ONE):

Bringing us to the present, now. The CGG Editorial Team has reviewed our fails and wins, our pilot projects, and our experiments. We have come to realize some very important things:

1. CGG cannot be tied to any one sponsor. There are too many risks associated with doing so: will that sponsor adhere to all the girl-friendly guidelines? Will they be seen as truly girl-friendly when a CGG rep isn’t present to see? Do they respond to geek girl demands or just stock the same ol’ handful of overstock girl merch? The only people who can decide what geek merchants, at any given time, are girl-friendly….are you, the Capital Geek Girl fans. 

So we are launching a Geek Girl Feedback Machine. This simple survey app will allow you to tell us where and when you’ve had positive and negative geek girl experiences. Periodically, we will share your anecdotes, preferences, and challenges.

This means that we will be saying goodbye to The Comic Book Shoppe as our headquarters and official sponsor. The Shoppe has put together some good things for women, but we’ve found the relationship to be less fruitful and empassioned than envisioned. We hope that the Shoppe will strive to support geek girls well into the future, and they are still ranked among the most girl-friendly shops presently open. Our fervent hope is that, by interacting with a larger variety of shops and venues, CGG can find the most genuine and passionate changemakers and work with them to get the other merchants and venues on board, too.

2. CGG was never meant to BE the newsource. We love our writers, but the Capital Geek Girls was always meant to be a sharer of news, not the news producers. So for the next Phase of CGG, we will be returning to what we like to do best: using our Facebook site to curate/share articles, sites, merch, and discussions to the fans. The CGG site will continue to run, with “Last Month At A Glance” updates, occasional articles about major news, and content provided by fans—stories, photos, or videos from your fails and wins in the geek community. The site will be quieter, while the facebook page returns to its rightful place as our main form of communication with all our CGG fan-family.


IN A NUTSHELL:

So basically, we’ve taken the last two years of pilot project time and have streamlined our Capital Geek Girls monster into a lean mean geek machine. You’ll hear from us constantly on Facebook; you’ll get monthly updates here on the CGG site; and we want you to engage with us more often, through facebook discussions, or submissions of your pics, vids, and stories. Our official headquarters is once again virtual and international, with no one sponsor dominating our work, and we want to hear from you about what geek venues—everywhere in the world—are geek girl-tastic.


Thank you, everyone, for the love, support, and enthusiasm you have shown CGG over the past two-and-a-half years. We are proud to continue providing a safe space for geeky girls to geek out.

The CGG Management Team

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