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[personal profile] aynjel
Wiscon has been one of my favorite conventions since I started doing conventions on a regular basis in 2000-ish. When I fell off the face of the planet stopped going to conventions on a regular basis, Wiscon was one of the ones I missed most, so it makes sense, I guess, that when I crawled back up onto the face of the planet a few years ago and decided I'd poke at conventions again, Wiscon was the first convention I went back to.

I don't necessarily love the whole "getting to Wiscon" part of the convention (I don't think I've ever been somewhere that's had a direct flight into Madison, not even when I was travelling for work), and travel lately seems even worse for me than it was in The Before Times, but it's a trip I'm willing to make.

I've seen a lot of folks say a lot of different things about Wiscon. Some praise it. Some long for the Good Old Days of Wiscon, not realizing that (as in other places in the genre) the Good Old Days for them weren't so good for others--mainly women of color--who have worked very hard and deserve to be included.

Very recently, I saw someone say that they didn't feel like Wiscon was for fans, and I was blown away by that. The Leverage panel--up against the Tiptree auction--was in a packed room with people spilling out into the corridor (and there were still more people who wanted to be there!). The whole of the room sang along with Amal El-Mohtar quoted from Steven Universe during her Guest of Honor speech. (Well, the whole room except me. In that moment I felt like I was quite possibly the only person at the convention who hadn't seen any Steven Universe.)

I'm not sure that Wiscon would be the convention it is if it wasn't for fans.

And maybe the problem that some folks have with Wiscon is that the fans there are not uncritical of the things they love. Even while they're squeeing about the awesome of their favs, and the ways in which their favs get things right, people acknowledge the fuck-ups, too. They talk about the racism, the sexism and misogyny, the transphobic jokes, they shine a light on the almost unbearable cisness and whiteness and hetness of so many of the shows and stories that are out there. They talk about how their favs can do better. They talk about the importance of representation, and the damage that lack of representation and bad representation can do to people.

I guess if you want to consume your entertainment uncritically, Wiscon might not be the convention for you. But y'know what? If that's what you want from a convention, then you've got a bunch of other options.


Anyway, I love Wiscon. I love the opportunity to see folks I don't get to see very often anymore. I love that the convention grows and changes with new fandoms and new fans. I love that we can have a thoughtful and still squee-filled spilling-out-of-the-room panel for a TV show that ended 15 years ago.

And now I have a day and a half left to unwind and get myself ready to walk back into my day job... where gender and pronouns are assumed, everyone's straight until proven otherwise, and the merry-go-round of fail keeps turning.
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