Monday, April 8, 2013

We are not afraid to fail

What would you do if you were not afraid?
What would you attempt to achieve if you believed it was impossible to fail?

These two questions seem to be at the forefront of the female world lately, mostly thanks to Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In.  (Which I can’t wait to read…#3 of 8 on the Library list!) and a great post by Meagan Marie.  

But it got me thinking about what we, as women in fandom, could do if we weren’t afraid to fail?

From taking the leap to be a model  & costumer (a la Chainmail Chick) to being an editor for one of the premier SF/F publishers in the industry to starting a movement all about “that guy,” the members of Nerdiquette 101 are often taking risks to follow their dreams.

Even when sometimes those dreams require sacrifices and struggles.  Every one of the members of Nerdiquette 101 have at some point had “that guy” experiences…

These two women are only part of the example of the Nerdiquette 101 crew have taken leaps of faith and followed their dreams even though those dreams come with baggage of their own.  From an industry dominated by men, to the concept of Fake Geek Girls, they and, by default we, struggle with the choices we make in our lives to challenge the status quo of fandom.

Are the sacrifices worth it? What about the hours and travel?  The times of "that guy" ness?  Are the perks that come from being a member of fandom – the squeee factor when you meet a like-minded fan who gets it, the excitement of meeting your favorite actor or author, worth it?

What could we do if we knew we couldn’t fail?

Nerdiquette 101 is a unique entity in that while it was started by a bunch of women, it quickly incorporated men who “got it.”  Men, who didn’t feel the need to explain away the negatives that the women had encountered and, in most cases, were quick to defend us.  Men, who may have had “that girl” experiences, and understood why the movement got started.

So what can we do when men and women aren’t afraid to fail?

How can we change fandom so that all women (and men) feel accepted for who they are and what they are fans of?  Where no one has to feel uncomfortable about a situation because there were people around who called out “that guy” on his behavior? Or who pointed out that using a particular term was insulting?

We can start with what we’re doing now.  Teach the teachable.  Nerdiquette continues to host panels at conventions, facebook relevant news, and protect and back up women (and men) when in uncomfortable situations. 

But there’s more to come…expect to see us doing video blogs, “taking it to the street” and getting more women to share their stories (like the PAX incident) of both the negative and the positive of fandom and conventions.

We may fail.  We may get laughed at and told we take things too seriously but what could fandom be like if we don’t?

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