Welcome back to another Fake Geek Girls Like Us interview. Fake Geek Girls Like Us is a feature on +5 Charisma where I interview some awesome geeky and nerdy ladies out in the geek world. This month I get to chat with a new friend of mine, Genevieve Latour, about Cosplay, Jessica Jones and zines!
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Can you tell us about The Dionysus Experiment?
Yeah, hiiiiii. I’m Genevieve and I do some stuff. Stuff includes but is not limited to zine making, art making, comic/manga reading, video game playing and video editing. The Dionysus Experiment is a zine that was started by myself and some of my best friends and has since evolved into a bit a community collective. We identify as a feminist and activist zine. We also throw events – which we began hosting as a way to distribute the zines. We’ve been at this for a year and in that time have put together five issues and put on five events. We’ve also recently started taking our zines around to different conventions and markets.
For the zine itself, we come up with a theme for each issue and then ask for submissions from artists, usually local ones. Some previous themes were “Oversaturation”, “Phases of Identity” and “Pieces of/by Women.” Then we plan an event that also works around the theme and showcases visual art, pop-up shops, performance art and live music. I’m bias but I think they are a blast!
2. What are you currently reading?
While in the transition of moving apartments, I found a few issues of a horror manga called Uzumaki that I had been reading up until the point of cutting them up. All my other books are in boxes. The visuals were so beautiful and affecting, though twisted (literally, in some cases) that I couldn’t help myself from cutting out pages and using them for art-stuffs afterwards.
While all my other books have been stored away, I’ve been obsessing over a PS3 game a friend lent to me, Alice: Madness Returns. In it, you get to play Alice in a dark re-telling of her story, where she has been released from a psychiatric ward to an orphanage after supposedly killing her family. The game is an RPG where you travel through a dark and demented Wonderland, adventuring to find the truth of Alice’s past and cure both Wonderland and her mental health.
Alice is sassy and strong, despite the trauma she has gone through. Aaaaand there are a tonne of cute costume changes that don’t attempt at oversexualizing Alice, which is nice. I believe this was noted in one of the more recent Feminist Frequency episodes.
Oh, also Sweet Tooth. Two issues in, and I love it.
3. When did you first realize that you may be considered a “nerd” or a “geek”?
Oh, pretty quickly. For sure by middle school… most girls were dreaming of Aaron Carter or whoever the pretty boy du jour was, and I was crushing on Inu Yasha and Tidus – so that was a good give-away. And when that one kid asked me why my Piczo page was covered in pictures of “bug eyed girls” – another good indicator. I had different early adolescent obsessions than those kids did, I think.
But generally, I’ve never been interested in traditionally “feminine” activities or entertainment. Or “masculine” ones. I wasn’t girly, but I also wasn’t sporty. Because I never fit in to those groups, being nerdy was the most comfortable place for me to be.
4. Can you tell us about your latest series? How do you incorporate comics and manga into your artwork?
I make art for fun and therapy, it’s all self taught – and it quickly became clear to me that my drawing style was highly influenced by comics and manga. At first I didn’t like that because I wanted to make realistic drawings and didn’t feel able to. Eventually, I became more comfortable with my personal style and I’ve decided to just embrace it.
The latest series I’ve worked on is a new direction for me. The Uzumaki graphics that I was reading were so captivating that I felt immediately inspired – and as I went through the issues available to me, I starting cutting out my favourite panels. The pieces I made are really rather simple, just one or two panels paired with some red text. Some of them are suppose to be a bit cheeky and others reflect personal struggles. I’m quite happy with the turnout!
5. Have you ever done cosplay before? If so, what character? Why did you pick that character?
I cosplayed once as Lightning from Final Fantasy 13. I quite liked her as a character, in fashion and fighting style. She also looks like a total fucking badass in FF13 2 and 3, but I haven’t gotten my hands on those costumes yet. I’m shit at sewing so making costumes isn’t really in the cards for me but I loooove looking at professional cosplay photography!
6. Are there any geeky or nerdy website, blogs or zines that you can recommend?
I frequent Nerdist, The Mary Sue, Freakonomics, Kotaku and i09 quite a bit – but they are mega sites that most geeks/nerds are likely already aware of. As I’ve become more political, a lot of the more niche nerd related sites that I visit also appeal to my feminism.
I found one recently…Bikini Armour Battle Damage. It’s a tumblr account that focuses on how female video game/comic book/anime characters are dressed (usually, when they are meant to be wearing some form of armour). The game pits character outfits against a bingo card that includes tiles like “boob window”, “high” heels, “nipple “additions” and so on. The idea being that the more tiles you have to check off, the worse the costume is – or at least the more stupid it is.
Sometime I find that I follow stories more than I follow specific blogs, so ill flip through articles and written pieces from all over the web when I’m knee deep in a new obsession.
7. What do you think of the scenes of Wonder Woman in the Batman versus Superman trailer? Are you excited for the movie?
Not as much as I probably should be. As you might recall, we met while I was reading the Secret History of Wonder Woman. So I am very excited to see a live-action iteration of her character – and she was a total badass in the trailer… But I’ve still got some issues with it. I know it’s like, such a classic shitty geek thing to do – but I’ve got issues with the casting of Wonder Woman. I guess she just doesn’t look the way I would have imagined it.
Wonder Woman is an amazonian princess, but she’s being played by pageant queens. Lynda Carter, who to date the most famous live-action iteration of Wonder Woman, was crowned Miss World America in 1972. Gal Gadot won the 2004 Miss Israel competition before moving on to compete in Miss Universe. While I understand that being from Isreal means that she has served two years of military service – this is still a pageant winning fashion model who completely fits Hollywood’s predetermined aesthetic for how a woman on screen should look: small and feminine. My Wonder Woman looks like she can kick ass because she has muscle mass.
I love the character, but she never looks the way I imagine she should when Hollywood is responsible for casting her. The complicated thing is that I really don’t like falling into the terrible tradition of judging a woman and her capabilities to play a character based on appearance. I hate myself when that happens. But it happened. When I saw Gal Gadot in the ensemble, I thought she was stunning – but also that she looked like a model doing a pretty good job at pretending to be Wonder Woman. Long story short is that I think there are a lot of different body types (and a lot of different athletic body types) but we’re still stuck in this endless cycle of size zeros and noodle arm heroes…
I’m still totally going to go see it though. I’m hoping to be proven wrong.
8. What were your thoughts on the Jessica Jones show? Would you recommend watching it?
Oh yeah, big time. Jessica Jones came in and reminded me why these kinds of characters can be cool and why these stories can be interesting at a time when I was starting to distance myself from the genre. I have like, a laundry list of things I loved about the show, haha. I loved the emphasis on female friendship. I loved that Jessica was a fucking badass, but not unafraid or unable to get hurt, that she had a spectrum of thoughts and emotions. I love the way the show handled the trauma of sexual assault, and especially conversations about sexual assault. I loved the subtle social commentary on the “invisibility” and/or ignorance of addicts. I loved that there were jokes poking fun at traditional superhero storytelling. I could go on for longer but essentially, I really liked the show and specifically how it dealt with its characters – they were believable and more fully formed than what I had become accustomed to.
9.Who was the first female character that you can remember looking up to?
Lisa Simpson, Mulan and Carmen Sandiego, hahaha. I liked Lisa Simpson because she seemed much more clever than everyone around her. I liked Mulan because she was very determined. I liked Carmen Sandiego’s jacket and that she got to travel so much. I was pretty easy to please, I think. So long as they weren’t in frilly dresses and had some clever lines, I was happy.
10.Are there any movies or television shows that are coming out that you are looking forward to (near or distant future)?
THE FORCE AWAKENNSSSSSSS. MORE BROAD CITYYYYY. Sisters, Suicide Squad and whatever Amy Schumer and JLaw are cookin’ up.
Thanks to Genevieve for chatting with us! Make sure to check out her awesome zine. Thanks for tuning in! Fake Geek Girl Like Us is an interview series on +5 Charisma where we talk to girls in nerd culture. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be featured!