Today I went to Gamma.Con in Canberra. We had a table in Artists Alley and it was a very lady-friendly (lady-centric, even!) set up - of all the artists in said alley at least two thirds were women. It even aimed for a trans*-aware setup (while the feedback sheet asked you to identify your gender,…
This was pretty much our experience of the con too, except apparently being a yaoi artist means you want douchebag fanboys to spend their entire day borderline sexually harrassing you. My thousand-yard stare got more use today than it has in a long time.
I know these posts probably make both of us look like crazy SJWs if you don’t know us, but isn’t it reasonable to expect anime fandom to have progressed a little since 1994? And no, we’re not fucking flattered by the attention. Attention that makes you uncomfortable is a lot worse than nothing at all.
I’m really glad we caught up with our amazing friends for dinner afterwards, and the fans and committee members who stopped by our table were heaps of fun to talk to, but I’m also really glad it was for only one day!
I was seated nicely between Emma and Himesan at Gamma.Con, so this should just cover off the opinions of a row of very cool female traders. B-)
I was lucky enough to escape most of the douchebaggery. There are a couple factors that might have come into that: I was tablesharing with an outgoing guy and, more importantly, my partner generally stayed pretty close to me when I was at the table. My partner is an imposing looking man, and the brand of douchebag at GammaCon was not the type to try and alpha male him physically (at least, not when I was at the table)…actually, I was pretty lucky this time in that I managed to glare away or generally avoid creepers even when I was alone at my table.
The Con was a little bigger than I expected, though still pretty small. That said, I have attended small cons before so my expectations were very minimal. Cost-wise, I think the value could have been better judged for the attendance - I know many traders would not have broken even, let alone made a profit.
From my experience, out of the GammaCon staff, Natalie was exceptional. The White Mage cosplayer was switched on and polite. The Konata cosplayer (?) and the guy who gave me my vendor refund at the end of the day was nice and polite, which wins points with me - especially at the end of a tiring Con day. But every other volunteer fell somewhere on the scale between “Oh dear” and “Oh dear god no”, though Hime and Emma have said more about that. This was particularly disturbing given how many families did turn up to GammaCon, and how the event otherwise tried to pitch itself as lady-, trans- and family-friendly, and often failed on the service delivery.
As an artist and a trader, I am super super happy that I’ve met Emma and Hime - it’s reassuring being with other women who know that harrassment is *not* okay, and that I’m not being crazy to want and expect a safe environment. It’s a wonderful change from many years of attending cons and essentially growing up in a fan environment where harrassment was expected to be tolerated. I’d like to attend Gamma.Con and associated events again, but I’d also like for them to pick up their game.