I wanted to offer up my belated Arisia report. (Why belated? I was playing catch-up after a bacterial infection and then Arisia… and then I came down with the flu, which I’m still suffering from.) I know I’m not alone when saying this has been one crap winter, health-wise.
The hotel and venue were great, as usual. My panels were awesome (more on that below.) This was my first “dry” Arisia–I usually indulge in a drink after my panels are done, and also usually attend Barfleet and other parties. But this year I was on antibiotics, so I didn’t drink and got lots of rest.
The family joined me, as they have the last few years. I was unfortunately unable to see many of the science panels that I love at Arisia. My husband did, and he witnessed–on not one but TWO panels–the extremely smart and dynamic astrophysicist Pamela Gay being mansplained to by audience members. As he told it, she got comments from the audience as a panelist that no man ever would have received.
On a related note, I had an interesting experience on my Feminism panel. A middle-aged, white gentleman asked us “why do you keep talking about women?” I think we were dead silent for about three seconds. Why were we talking about women? Because women still earn less than men, are judged differently in schools and workplaces alike, and under constant threat from sexual assault and intimate partner violence. To name a few.
And although we did talk about women a lot, all of us panelists were “intersectional” feminists (including the one male) so we also spoke about how feminism includes issues of race, class, gender, ableness, sexual orientation, etc. But there’s always “that guy” in the audience, looking for ways to cry about how women get too much attention. Or men don’t get enough. Or something. My fellow panelists were all excellent, as were the panelists (with some crossover) on the “Shame on Slut-Shaming” panel that I moderated.
My favorite panel (as a panelist) was “Mad Max & Melissa McCarthy—Genre Film Feminism.” I moderated this one, and fellow panelists were among the most intelligent, thoughtful women I’ve ever paneled with. We had a great discussion, and partly because we were not all in lock-step with each other. But everyone listened, everyone had a chance to talk, and it was very respectful.
I participated in the Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading with a group of talented women authors. I read from Fluff, my novella-in-progress (which is also suffering from neglect due to my illnesses.) I also had fun hanging out with my fellow Broads at the Broad Universe table in the Dealer’s Room. Plus, I sold as many books as I ever had at a con!
Kudos to the Arisia staff, who handled registration beautifully after some snafus last year, and who continue to do an excellent job with programming and tending to the safety of con-goers.
Finally, thanks to all who stopped me in the halls of the hotel to tell me they appreciated my panels! That is so gratifying. Being a good panelist is important to me.
Until next year…
p.s. I was planning to be at Boskone this coming month, but I may be busy playing catching-up, so stay posted for info. on my appearance there.