From coffee houses to Comic-Cons, libraries and classrooms to webinars and museums, Jennifer has spoken at events nationally and internationally as a featured speaker, panel organizer and contributor, conversation moderator, and interviewer.
Contact Jennifer for rates and availability.
Super/Villainesses on Screen
“The witch is the pop-culture heroine we need right now,” said Vulture in regards to contemporary American politics. Comedy Central’s Broad City devoted an episode to celebrating the elemental power of witchy women, while standout characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Guardians of the Galaxy’s Nebula and Thor: Ragnorok’s Hela are presented with unprecedented and nuanced motivation behind their villainous rage. Are bad women truly bad? Or is the act of labeling them “evil” a way of containing female power and empowerment? What drives female rage? Redemption? What makes her monstrous? Can supervillainesses be just as revolutionary as their more “heroic” sisters? Are they more subversive? How can we identify with them? Draw from their, perhaps, darker traits? In this three night class we’ll explore these questions and more.
Deep dives into femme fatales such as Bond Girls and Cat Women will give insight into how sensuality is tied to female villainy. Boss witches and savvy sorceresses from Harry Potter’s Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy to Supergirl’s Selena and Maleficent’s eponymous character are opportunities for exploring power, rage, and aging. Bad babes with conflicting allegiances such as the X-Men’s Mystique and Star Wars’ Qi’ra, as well as those seeking redemption, like Thor’s Valkyrie, will help us answer the question “Are bad girls truly bad?” Narrative roots of the fear of powerful women including Western fairy tales and myth will also be discussed throughout the course.
November 1: Femme Fatales, Cat Women, and Witches
November 8: Assassins and Aliens
November 15: Super-baddies of Marvel and Star Wars
Wonder Woman: Herstory of a Heroine on Screen
Spend an afternoon diving into the history of the world’s most iconic superheroine with pop culture historian and local geek girl, Jennifer K. Stuller!
If you sobbed and cheered when Princess Diana charged across No Man’s Land in 2017’s Wonder Woman, then you’ll want to join Jen for an in-depth look at Wonder Woman’s cinematic evolution. Starting from Cathy Lee Crosby’s 1974 pilot, we’ll continue through Lynda Carter’s iconic turn, a variety of animated characterizations from the past forty-five years, the disastrous 2011 pilot featuring the otherwise glorious Adrianne Palicki, and arrive at Patty Jenkins’ blockbuster starring Gal Gadot. We will view and discuss clips, some hard to find, and Jen will provide cultural, social, political, and historical context – deepening our understanding of the character and her significance in the pop culture pantheon. A familiarity with the comics is not critical to class enjoyment. Cosplay is encouraged!
Amazons and Other Ass-Kickers: The Evolution of Superheroines
Join pop culture historian, Jennifer K. Stuller, for an engaging history of super and action heroines on screen.
When director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017) grossed over $800 million worldwide, it disproved the Hollywood myth that action movies featuring female leads don’t do well at the box office, and demonstrated, on the heels of the also wildly successful Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, once and for all, that audiences were in fact craving them. But Rey, Furiosa, Diana, and Thor: Ragnarok’s Valkyrie, are standing on the shoulders of oft-overlooked cinematic warrior women. In this survey class, pop culture historian Jennifer K. Stuller tells their story for a richer reading of superheroines on screen today.
Over three nights we’ll travel through time and space with witches, superheroes, mutants, swordswomen, and ship captains as we consider how era and zeitgeist influence representation. Along the way, we’ll discuss how characters like Barbarella, Supergirl, and Gamora reflect or subvert gender norms of their time, and how even problematic heroines in B-movie, blaxpolitation, and comic book-inspired genres can be revolutionary. Finally, we’ll examine the potential of characters like General Leia, Jyn Erso, Misty Knight, and Hermione Granger to fuel our resistance movements in an age of Trump and the watershed #MeToo movement. Stuller will provide cultural context and expert insight throughout, and clips and conversation will illuminate a long history of Amazons and other ass-kickers.
April 19: Daredevil Dames, Costumed Crusaders, and Private Dick Chicks
April 26: Girl Power and “Strong Female Characters”
May 3: A Woman’s Place is in the Rebellion – Superheroines for Resistance
Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau
“Using Their Powers for Good: How Geektivists, Geek Grrls, and Gaymers are Creating More Inclusive Communities,” Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, 2015-2016
How do geeks who are committed to social justice foster inclusivity? Geek activists, geek grrls and gaymers are making the personal political. Inspired by their love of fandom, tech, comics, games, television, costuming, and conventions, they are using their powers of good to challenge the self-appointed gatekeepers of geekdom with efforts that ensure their beloved culture is progressive, representative, and inclusive. Jennifer K. Stuller explores the people and organizations that are using community-building to create alternative spaces, crowd-sourcing to circumvent traditional modes of production, media criticism to challenge and raise awareness, and performance to subvert gender norms. As a member of the speakers bureau, Ms. Stuller gave this talk to a variety of audiences in Washington State during the 2015-2016 season.
“Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology,” Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, 2013-2014
From Wonder Woman to Buffy Summers, Emma Peel to Sydney Bristow, Charlie’s Angels to the Powerpuff Girls, superwomen are more than just love interests or sidekicks who stand by their men. In this lively multimedia presentation, pop-culture historian Jennifer K. Stuller will help us explore how the female hero in modern mythology has broken through the boys’ club barrier of tradition. Using comics, television and film, we will discuss female action and super heroines from the 1930s to the present day. Do social and political forces affect pop culture—and vice versa? This conversation will examine women’s representations in media and women’s roles as media makers, inspiring us to think deeper about popular culture, media, gender images and storytelling. As a member of the speakers bureau, Ms. Stuller gave this talk to a variety of audiences in Washington State during the 2013-2014 season.
Television and Entertainment
Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics, “The Truth about Wonder Woman”
Season 1, Episode 2
As comic books became popular and male superheroes rose to stardom, one man created a feminist superhero inspired by both his wife and his mistress.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
New Day Films, 2012
A film by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. The DVD includes a deleted scene (shown below) that explores the powerful performances given by women of color in b-list films, and the unexpected heroism of women in slasher movies.
A deleted scene from Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines newly released DVD.
Warner Home Video, 2009
Interviewed for the special features documentaries, “A Subversive Dream” and “The Daughters of Myth.”
Granger Leadership Academy
HIGH-FIVING A MILLION ANGELS – ACTIVISM AFTER GLA
At the GLA we learn the skills we need to be engaged and community-driven citizens. But once we get home, how do we translate our aspirational, Leslie Knope-inspired, intentions into real-world action when our daily lives are more reflective of the chaotic and goofy Liz Lemon? We’ve already named and defined our values, now it’s time to create plans for weaving activism into the everyday. This workshop for alums will take a deeper dive into our hero identities, as we navigate the kinds of heroes we dream of being with the realities of the heroes we are. Together we’ll reexamine our understanding of action and activism and practice goal-setting that balances our dreams of revolution with more realistic and achievable resistance. As we structure our journeys with intention, we will find ways to reframe & acknowledge success that, like Lemon, will have us high-fiving a million angels.
San Diego Comic Con
“What Rebellions Are Built On”
As America faces the drawing up of Death Star plans (or border walls, refugee bans, and faith-based registries) culture and politics have never felt so…pop culturian as now. But stories have always been political, and fandom has too. In this Darkest Timeline, themes of hope and rebellion in stories such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Wonder Woman are serving not just as moral guides, but popular culture, and particularly geek enthusiasms, are shaping cultural conversation around strategic resistance. Moderator Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazon; Geektivism) leads a conversation with geeks making activism their superpower by hacking popular culture for social justice, civic activism, and participatory politics – including in anti-bullying initiatives, advocacy, and for charity. Sara Mortensen (The Harry Potter Alliance; Words Alive), Nicole Gitau (Geeks OUT; FLAME CON), Tracy Deonn Walker (The Color of Fandom; Duke University), Dr. Annalise Ophelian ( Looking for Leia), and Chase Masterson (Pop Culture Hero Coalition; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) will explore the what, why, and how of geek activism, talk about rebellions being built on our favorite fandoms, and how you too can raise your wands, embrace your inner Groot, and wield The Force in the name of geektivism and all that is worth saving in this world.
GeekED: Civility vs. Anger
It seems that the odds of successfully surviving a discussion around politics these days are 3,720 to 1. The level of aggression in your average DC vs. Marvel argument at Comic-Con International parallels conversations around hot topics on college campuses. Are polarized positions part of the fun, or do they create barriers to more rich and nuanced conversations? Are activities like rigging a Rotten Tomatoes review just harmless fun, or attacks on free speech and creativity? Jennifer K. Stuller (writer, pop culture critic, GeekGirlCon), Keith Chow (Nerds of Color), Dr. La’Tonya Rease-Miles (UCLA), Tony B. Kim (The Hero Within), and David Surratt (UC Berkeley) join others to help everyone understand how to make civility a prime directive. Moderated by Brian MacDonald (UCLA).
What Rebellions Are Built On
As America faces the drawing up of Death Star plans (or border walls, refugee bans, and faith-based registries) culture and politics have never felt so…pop culturian as now. But stories have always been political, and fandom has too. Today, themes of hope and resistance in stories such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Wonder Woman are serving not just as moral guides, but as inspiration for plans of political action. Hear from geeks making activism their superpower as they wield nerd enthusiasms like the Force; hacking popular culture for social justice, civic activism, and participatory politics – including in anti-bullying initiatives, advocacy, and for charity. Moderator Jennifer K. Stuller (GeekGirlCon; Ink-Stained Amazon), Robyn Jordan (Black Girls Create), Suzanne Scott (UT Austin), Josh Siegel (Geeks Out), Fox Smith (Superheroines, Etc.), Amber Garza (Sequential Rights; Geeks Out), and Maddy VonHoff (ONE Campaign; GeekGirlCon) will talk about how memes, cosplay, and performance challenge stereotypes and raise consciousness around identity politics, rebellions being built on our favorite fandoms (and, of course, hope). In these times of hardship, “We are Groot” – and you’ll learn how you can embrace your inner “Grootness” to be a geektivist too! Room: 25ABC
Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: More Than Just Cookies
“The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: To Bechdel, Or Not to Bechdel”
You might be seeing more popular media starring women, but are there more that are actually about women? With so many stories failing the Bechdel Test (a test that measures whether a story has two women in it who talk about something other than a man), it leaves many wondering if pop culture is making any progress at all. Here to discuss the Bechdel test as well as diversity in media (and the lack thereof), are Action Flick Chick, Katrina Hill (100 Greatest Graphic Novels), Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology), Jennifer Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons, GeekGirlCon), Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5, Quest Retreats), Jessica Tseang (Little Geek Girls, Girl on Geek), Tony B. Kim (Hero Within, Crazy4ComicCon), Ashley Bles (Henderson State University), and moderator Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Most Craved).
“Rise of the Fangirls: Women in Recent Geek Culture”
In 2010, nine women gathered onstage in front of a packed and engaged crowd at Comic-Con International to dispel the myth that “Geek Girls, like unicorns, don’t exist.” The subsequent six years have seen an explosion in female representation in geek spaces. Surveys tracking attendance numbers at fan-based events, as well as data regarding women gamers and comic book readers, are suggestive of gender parity within geek culture. Headlines coming out of Comic-Con itself proclaim that “women totally dominate” the event and that we are experiencing the rise of fangirls. But how far have women in geek culture really come since that landmark “Geek Girls Exist” panel? Andrea Letamendi (Pop Culture Hero Association), Jamie Broadnax (Black Girl Nerds), Kristin Rielly (Geek Girls Network), Suzanne Scott (UT-Austin), Sam Maggs (Bioware, Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy), Marie Poole (Lone Shark Games), and moderator Jennifer K. Stuller (GeekGirlCon, Ink-Stained Amazon) talk about what interventions are being made in the culture, what areas still need work, and what the fangirl future holds.
The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: Positive Portrayals of Women in Pop Culture
With so many damsels in distress, “fridged” girlfriends, and invisible women in popular culture, how’s a fangirl (or fanboy) supposed to find a lady to look up to? By banding together and making their own, that’s how! To discuss the best (and most disappointing) examples of powerful women in pop culture, Action Flick Chick Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak) has assembled a team of women and men dangerous in their own right: Lesley Aletter (professional stuntwoman), Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia founder), Adrienne Curry (host/model/Tolkien enthusiast), Jane Espenson (Husbands), Alan Sizzler Kistler (TheMarySue.com), Bryan Q. Miller ( Batgirl), and Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazon).
Once More, with Comics: How the Whedon Universes Continue in Comic Book Form
Authors Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak, GeekNation.com), Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-StainedAmazon, GeekGirlCon), and Traci Cohen (CSU-Sacramento) examine how comic books and graphic novels provide a new form of media adaptation in which the graphic novel form furthers the canon or official continuity of television series as sequels to the original material. Creator Joss Whedon’s television universes enjoy new life in print (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9). Sharing their own thoughts on these Whedon comic book follow-ups are comic book writer/actress Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara), writer/producer Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood), writer Chris Gage (Angel & Faith), editors Scott Allie (Dark House) and Mariah Huehner (IDW), and actors Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bring It On) and Tom Lenk (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cabin in the Woods).
The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: Oh, You Sexy Geek!
Does displaying the sexiness of fangirls benefit or demean them? When geek girls show off, are they liberating themselves or pandering to men? Do some “fake fangirls” blend sex appeal with nerdiness just to appeal to the growing geek/nerd market, or is that question itself unfair? And what’s up with all the Slave Leias? Action flick chick Katrina Hill (ActionFlickChick.com) asks Bonnie Burton (Grrl.com), Adrianne Curry (America’s Next Top Model), Clare Grant (Team Unicorn, “G33k & G4m3r Girls”), Kiala Kazebee (Nerdist.com), Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Nerdy Bird Jill Pantozzi (“Has Boobs, Reads Comics”), Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons, GeekGirlCon) and Chris Gore (G4TV’s Attack of the Show!) to discuss whether fans can be sexy and geeky at the same time — and if they should!
The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: Where Are the Action Chicks?
From Superman to superwomen. Katrina Hill ActionFlickChick.com, voted by G4TV viewers as the “Next Woman of the Web”), Jill Pantozzi (Comic Book Resources), Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Marjorie Liu (Dirk and Steele), reality TV star Adrianne Curry, and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Wonder Woman) ask, “Where Are the Action Chicks?” Why, despite the popularity of heroines like Xena, Wonder Woman, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have comics and films not produced more superheroines and other action-oriented women? They are joined by the Ink-Stained Amazon herself, Jennifer K. Stuller, who explains how the female hero in modern mythology has broken through the boys’ club barrier of tradition and reveals the pivotal role of high-heeled, costumed crimefighters in popular culture.
GEEKTIVISTS, GEEK GRRLS, & GAYMERS: HACKING POPULAR CULTURE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The Internet enables connections across many facets of geek culture, facilitating community-building with shared expressions of enthusiastic fandom. But it also offers new forms of intervention through the languages of new and social media, and Geektivists, Geek Grrls, and Gaymers are combining identity politics and fandom to hack popular culture for social good. Come curious, leave inspired—contemporary geeks are engaging with popular culture and culture jamming in innovative and playful ways that make our world a better, nerdier, place. With Jennifer K. Stuller, Jo Jo Stiletto, Val Complex, Benjamin Williams, Danielle Gahl
MEN IN COMICS
We’re flipping the script on those all-men, “women in comics” discussions with this non-compliant, tongue-in- cheek discussion on the state of men and male characters in comic books. No bashing allowed; bring your love of all things comics and join us!
THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY: AWAKENING ITS POTENTIAL
Building on the momentum established by Katniss, Anna and Elsa, and more, Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered the lingering remnants of the “female-led story as niche” illusion as thoroughly as emerging Jedi heroine Rey trounced retrograde villain Kylo Ren. Yet the Heroine’s Journey has no single formula, no specific strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, or flaws. We’ll will discuss the key factors storytellers must consider in crafting tales featuring female protagonists. With Tricia Barr, Jennifer K. Stuller, B.J. Priester, Teresa Jusino
MATRIARCHY IN MAD MAX: MOTHERS, WARRIORS, AND WIVES!
Rarely has a film dazzled the senses like Mad Max: Fury Road. Visceral cinematic spectacle meets unprecedented feminist politics. By subverting notions of masculinity and femininity while simultaneously rejecting a world that favors power for the few in favor of a society that privileges collaboration of the many, MMFR champions compassion in an oppressive world and suggests that hope is the most powerful tool we have. Women drive the narrative on screen, engaging us with their unique stories and shared journey, but they are behind the camera too. Our panelists will discuss how and where this subversive mythos succeeds with the female hero’s journey, age, race, gender, disability and representation, war and sexual slavery, where it can do better, and where we go from here. With Sarah Mirk, Kristine Hassell, Kari Lerum, Jennifer K. Stuller, Elsa S. Henry
X-FILES: CAN’T STOP BELIEVING
Like Billy Miles and C.G.B. Spender—The X-Files returns! Prepare for this momentous occasion by opening up the drawer labeled “X” with a panel of spooky-level experts and super-fans as they reflect on the cultural and personal impact of their favorite cult TV series. As of one of the first shows to be embraced through the budding vehicle of Internet fandom, The X-Files had significant influence on the development of fan culture in the digital age. Panelists will examine how digital and social media facilitated relationships between fans and creators, discuss manifestations of fan phenomena, and share conspiracy theories on where the series reboot might take us. Don’t miss it! With Sarah Mirk, Raychelle Burks, Pepper, Jo Jo Stiletto, Jennifer K. Stuller, Erica Fraga
THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY: FEMALE LEADS ON THE RISE
In the year since the last GeekGirlCon alone, geek genre stories with female leads have only grown more prominent. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 surpassed the acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy in the 2014 box office, and solo movies starring Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are in development. Comics like Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, and Silk have sales exceeding numerous traditionally popular titles. Television’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed itself to be a superheroine origin story. This December, Star Wars: The Force Awakens appears poised to launch another heroine’s path to adventure. The panelists will discuss the distinguishing aspects of the Heroine’s Journeys created for protagonists like Katniss Everdeen, Kamala Khan, and Skye / Daisy Johnson, as well as looking ahead to what might be in store for Carol Danvers, Rey, and other heroines. With Tricia Barr, Jennifer K. Stuller, B.J. Priester, Alan Sizzler Kistler.
The Heroine’s Journey: Moving Beyond Campbell’s Monomyth
Joseph Campbell’s model of the Hero’s Journey derives from narratives with male protagonists in patriarchal societies. This model creates significant problems when applied to contemporary Heroine’s Journeys, which are characterized by their support network and drawing strength from interpersonal and some- times romantic relationships. Consider Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games, The Legend of Korra, and Disney’s Frozen, among others, and join us for this fascinating panel on transforming the Hero’s Journey to the Heroine’s Journey. With B.J. Priester, Tricia Barr, Alan Kistler, Jennifer Stuller.
Geeky Careers: Advice from Four Geek Girls
Join Jennifer K. Stuller (co-founder of GeekGirlCon, writer, editor, and pop culture critic and historian), Jennifer Ash (user researcher at Bungie Games working on Destiny), Catherine Kyle (Ph.D. student in English, teaching writing, literature, and pop culture), and Sara Spink (animator and digital artist on The Boxtrolls, Beavis and Butthead) as they draw from their diverse backgrounds to answer questions about how they’ve incorporated their passions into fun and meaningful work.
Karen Prell: The Career of a Muppeteer
Karen Prell has been part of the Jim Henson family since 1980, performing first on Sesame Street, and later as Red Fraggle on Fraggle Rock, and The Worm in the movie, Labyrinth. Since then, Prell has become a computer animator and a game animator. There will also be an exclusive performance by Red Fraggle—not to be missed! With Karen Prell and Red Fraggle, moderated by Jennifer K. Stuller.
Spotlight on Kelly Sue DeConnick
Kelly Sue DeConnick has worked in the comic book industry for the last decade, writing comics and adapting manga into English including the scripts for Kare First Love, Black Cat, Sexy Voice and Robo, and Blue Spring (among others!). Come hear Kelly Sue talk about her career, and the state of women in comics as both characters and creators. With Kelly Sue DeConnick, moderated by Jennifer K. Stuller.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fan Phenomena
Few could have predicted the enduring affection inspired by Joss Whedon’s television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With its origins in a script Whedon wrote for a 1992 feature lm of the same name, the series far outpaced its source mate- rial. Fan Phenomena: Buffy the Vampire Slayer explores how this continued devotion is internalized, celebrated, and critiqued. Learn how the show permeates our cultural consciousness through new narrative, academia, language, and political activism. With Amy Peloff, Clinton McClung, Jane Espenson, Jennifer K. Stuller, Jo Jo Stiletto, Suzanne Scott.
Changing Culture in Mainstream and Alternative Spaces
Convention culture can create community, influence industry, provide marketing opportunities, foster career development, and challenge perspectives. But when difficult conversations regarding representation, gender, race, or ability are met with hostility by event organizers, industry leaders, and by geeks themselves, do we continue to show up to these larger spaces? Or is it more productive to create alternatives? Where is action most effective? Panelists will discuss where we draw the line, best use our energies, or vote with our dollars as community organizers, creators, speakers, and activists. We will talk about what constitutes a safe space, how to set an example, send a message, and raise the bar—as well as how we drive change and build our businesses through these smaller, yet safer and more inclusive, spaces. With Jennifer K. Stuller, Jo Jo Stilletto, K.T. Bradford, Rob Salkowitz, Shoshana Kessock.
Fan Studies: Past, Present, and Future
Fan studies emerged out of intersections in television studies, feminist and queer theory, and (sub)cultural studies in the early 1990s. It has since grown into a robust and diverse field of scholarly work on fan communities and the transformative works they circulate. This roundtable conversation will survey the history of fan studies, discuss trends in contemporary fan scholarship (anti-fandom, fan labor, etc.), and speculate on the future(s) of the field. With Anne Jamison, Jennifer K. Stuller, Julie Levin Russo, Suzanne Scott.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling Sing-a-Long Event
Host, Clinton McClung; Co-Host, Jennifer K. Stuller
History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman
Watch footage from the independent documentary, History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman, with director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and a panel full of experts as they examine our culture’s obsessions with superheroes. Panel explores the evolution of the representation of female empowerment. Panelists: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (moderator), Gail Simone, Trina Robbins, Jennifer K. Stuller, Mike Madrid.
Character Studies: Geek Girls in Popular Culture
How challenging is creating geek girl characters? Come to a panel discussion on geek girl representations in film, TV, novels, comics, and other media. How do you balance the “girl” with the “geek”? And what’s the current state of the geek girl characters in pop culture? Panelists: Jennifer K. Stuller (moderator), Amy Berg, Cecil Castellucci, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Sarah Kuhn, Jessica Mills, Stephanie Thorpe.
Current female cartoonists and writers have role models such as the ladies on this panel, but who did these creators look up to? Join cartoonists, artists, and writers as they chat about their early inspirations, how they research a character, and the muses located in their daily lives. Panelists: Brittany Matter (moderator), Roberta Gregory, Trina Robbins, Jen Van Meter, Joelle Jones, Anne Timmons, Jennifer K. Stuller.
Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology
From Wonder Woman to Buffy Summers, Emma Peel to Sydney Bristow, Charlie’s Angels to The Powerpuff Girls, Superwomen are more than just love interests or sidekicks who stand by their Supermen. Author, blogger, and pop culture historian, Jennifer K. Stuller explains how the female hero in modern mythology has broken through the boy’s club barrier and reveals the pivotal role of high-heeled, costumed, and kick-ass crimefighters in popular culture through video clips, slides, and readings.
KUOW and MoPOP Present – That’s Debatable: Politics is Ruining Popular Culture, 19 September 2018
In 2018, politics is pop culture and pop culture is politics. Is this inextricable link a good thing, or is it ruining what we love about both?
Join KUOW and the MoPOP for a debate about the proposition: “Politics is ruining pop culture.” With a panel of smart Seattleites, we’ll unpack how the current political landscape is changing how we consume pop culture – past and present – and whether or not that’s a good thing.
Arguing for the proposition:
Melanie McFarland – TV critic for Salon.com
Mellina White Cusack – Digital Marketing Professional and author of The Seattle Conservative blog.
Arguing against the proposition:
Daudi Abe – Professor, Writer and Hip Hop Historian
Jennifer K. Stuller – Pop Culture Historian and Co-Founder of GeekGirlCon
Hosted and moderated by KUOW’s Zaki Hamid.
“Closing the Gender Gap in Entertainment: Systemic Social Change Through Media”
UN Commission on the Status of Women NY, Parallel Event, 17 March 2017
With the entertainment industry’s major impact on global economics, pop culture film and television is well-positioned to accelerate closure of the gender gap. Media has a responsibility to lead society in employment practices and programming, as well as to address the underlying cultural and structural causes of gender inequality. Featuring prominent actresses and activists, this event focuses on women’s economic and psychological empowerment through the influence of media. Which TV shows and films are empowering to women? What support is needed from audiences and activists to effect further change? How can industry leaders of both genders create equality by promoting female-driven media? This event explores the economic implications of women’s roles in media, as well as research-based strategies for female empowerment through pop culture television and film.
Panelists: Carmen Perez (Women’s March National Co-Chair), Lauren Duca (Teen Vogue), Ravi Karkara (UN Women), Bettina Hausmann (President & Executive Director, UN Association San Diego), Carrie Goldman (Pop Culture Coalition Co-Founder & Award-Winning Author), Gail Simone (DC Comics Writer, NYT Best-Selling Author), Dr. Janina Scarlet (Clinical Psychologist and Author), Jennifer K. Stuller (Feminist Pop Culture Historian, Author, and Media Critic). Moderated by Coalition Founder and Actress, Chase Masterson.
Trek Talk: Exploring Star Trek’s 50-year Impact on Pop Culture, Fandom, and Geekery
(Part of the Trek Talk series in celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary in 2016)
Museum of Pop Culture, 4 March 2017
MoPOP’s exhibition Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds examines Star Trek’s impact on culture and society, especially on science, engineering, medicine, politics, and law. Additionally, it looks at the series’ impact on mainstream popular culture—examples include television shows like The Big Bang Theory and The West Wing, comedies and parodies like Galaxy Quest. This panel takes a close look at Star Trek’s impact on fandom itself, asking How has Star Trek affected and influenced fandom in general? Would fandom as we know it today exist without Star Trek? If Star Trek had never been created, would we have fandom at all?
Panelists: Jennifer K. Stuller, Abie Ekenezar, Wende Doohan; Moderator: Brooks Peck
“Fans Behind the Mask: New Data for Cons (Webinar),” 9 September 2014
Industry experts Rob Salkowitz, and Jennifer K. Stuller discuss how event organizers, publishers, retailers and the media industry alike can capitalize on the changing face of fandoms to drive further growth.
“Harlots & Heroines: Images of Women in Media and Pop Culture”
Think and Drink by Humanities Washington, 9 May 2012
Panelists: Jennifer K. Stuller and Amy Peloff; Moderator: Marcie Sillman
Interviewing and Facilitating
“Reinforcing/Subverting Gender in Entertainment Media”
Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) Festival Forums panel, 3 June 2017
A discussion of ways creators and consumers can better understand representations of gender in media, the societal benefits of women making movies, and how we can support gender equality in all aspects of the filmmaking industry. Moderator: Jennifer Stuller
Interview with Trina Robins, Comic-Con, 23 July 2016
Comics Arts Conference special guest Trina Robbins is a writer, cartoonist, and comics herstorian. A leader in the feminist underground comix movement with her landmark It Ain’t Me, Babe Comix and co-founding of the Wimmen’s Comix Collective, Robbins is also a renowned chronicler of the history of women in comics.
Interview with Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian, GeekGirlCon, 11 October 2014
Anita Sarkeesian, creator of pop-culture analysis webseries Feminist Frequency, discussed her work, her inspirations, and the pressures of being a high-profile feminist on the internet.
by Sarah Mirk. Bitch Media, 14 August 2014.
Wonder Woman first hit the comics page over 70 years ago—but her story and personal history has changed dramatically with each new generation of artists, writers, and fans.
This show explores Wonder Woman’s origins and impact over seven decades. The LA-based Homemade News crew talks about the strange story of her creator William Marston, then we analyze her Amazonian origin story with an excerpt of an article by Stevie St. John. Then, author and scholar Jennifer K. Stuller heads to San Diego Comic-Con to talk with comics fans and publishers about what Wonder Woman means to them. Finally, we look to the future of Wonder Woman, as DC comics team Cat Staggs and Amanda Deibert talk about the new Wonder Woman comic book they’re creating right now.
Karen Prell: The Career of a Muppeteer, GeekGirlCon, 2013
Karen Prell and Red Fraggle, moderated by Jennifer K. Stuller
Spotlight on Kelly Sue DeConnick, GeekGirlCon, 2013
Kelly Sue DeConnick, moderated by Jennifer K. Stuller
Academic Conference Talks
SELECT COMIC ARTS CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS, 2006–2017
“Feminist Geek Culture”
Popular Culture Association Conference, Seattle, WA, 9 March 2016
“All That Matters is What We Do: Fans, Community-Building, Love, Social Justice, and Other Activist Lessons from the Whedonverse”
Featured Speaker at the Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, California State University, Sacramento, 22 June 2014
“Celebration of the Female Geek”
Presented at NWSA Conference 2013, and VikingCon 2013
Walking the floors of San Diego Comic Con International—the premiere popular culture convention in the United States, if not also globally – is a thrill. But the gatekeepers of geek culture be they industry-makers or fanboys in the worlds of technology, popular culture, and gaming have time and again proven apathetic to the hostile environment they create for women. Female creators are often excluded from programming, and female attendees are booed for calling attention to such gender discrepancies. Women’s bodies are used to sell product creating an intimidating atmosphere, and when women attempt to be consumers of product they are ignored by vendors as they are assumed to be ill-informed customers. Inspired by a rare panel featuring all women presenters called “Geek Girls Exist”, a group of women in Seattle came together to prove that not only did geek girls exist, but that by connecting through female community and creating a safe space for marginalized fandom they could empower each other and through their visibility change geek culture itself.
“Numfar! Do the Dance of Seduction! Nerd Burlesque, Performing Fandom, and the Whedonverse”
Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., 14 July 2012
“I would like sexuality to be part of the show.” —Joss Whedon
A band of gorgeous misfits gathered aiming to misbehave. They were a crew much like the Scoobies or the Browncoats – brave and beautiful, funny and sexy, smart and inspirational. Instead of the Library, the Magic Shop, The Hyperion Hotel, the Firefly class ship called Serenity (or the Dollhouse, thank goodness), their home was the stage. These performers were subversive in answering an unspoken question—“What is Sexy?”—with diversity and playfulness. Blending body positivity, creativity and a pop culture obsession, they illustrated that fandom can be found in the most surprising places. Here, it was in Whedonesque Burlesque.
“Numfar! Do the Dance of Seduction!” combines fan, performance, sexuality, and Whedon studies with field research including interviews with nerd burlesque performers and burlesque historians to investigate how performance is a physical embodiment of fan fiction. This multi-media presentation will titillate both body and mind through its exploration of how the dominant themes of the Whedonverse (sex, death, feminism, family) make burlesque both a particularly entertaining and profound place for fan expression.
“The Ink-Stained Amazon Presents the Best, Worst, Known, and Not-So-Known Pop Culture Influences on the Buffyverse—Mostly”
Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses 4; Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida, 2010
1 cup, Sarah Connor; 1 cup, Ripley; and 3 tablespoons of the younger sister from Night of the Comet.
Check out the cinematic trailer to whet your appetite.
“Buffy and the Amazon Princess”
Holy Men in Tights: A Superheroes Conference; University of Melbourne, Australia, 2005