Elisa Melendez

This year’s Florida Supercon offered over 800 events between celebrity Q&As, photo-ops, and panels covering all aspects of geek fandom. Some of the panels, held late at night, covered the more adult side of geek life. One such panel was held by (NSFW) MyGeekGoddess.com, a members-only website featuring models of a geeky persuasion who often cosplay…and then take it all off. The panel was made up of a few of the Geek Goddesses, their photographer and co-founder, and a model of color (still somewhat of a rarity in the cosplay community) cosplaying as Aveline from Assassin’s Creed Liberation and taping the panel.

From the program notes: “The Girls of Geek Goddess break down taboos and explain why nudity doesn’t necessarily mean you are naughty.” As a card-carrying feminist who has had a run-in or two with groups of women on different points on the feminism spectrum, I braced myself for what I perceived to be the worst: a group of conventionally attractive women distancing their site from other sites by suggesting that they’re not sluts like those other sites. And heaven forbid someone bring up feminism! I was already preparing for the inevitable, “Oh, god, we’re not feminists—-we LOVE men” or other such derivations that would make my blood boil.

Thankfully, the panel proved to be a breath of fresh air after having held it for so long. Oracle, the co-founder and photographer, immediately identified herself as a feminist within the first couple of minutes, and the rest of the girls happily followed suit. According to Oracle, MyGeekGoddess is explicitly feminist in its inclusion of forums and blogs in addition to its photosets, which enable the models to communicate directly with members on all things geek. Unlike other sites which focus on the fantasy of having Chun-Li or Princess Peach fulfill your desires, Oracle says, “We try really hard to let a girl be a whole-rounded person. We highlight the model, not the character.”

And what of the girls who partake in modeling? They’re all proud geeks in their own right, and they feel significantly empowered to get naked in front of the camera. Some of them have been doing it for the better part of a decade, like Jessica Nova and Alice Malice. Maygin Theresa, however, only started this past February, at it is the first site she has modeled nude for. So far, she loves “embracing the feminism of it all—being nude, being confident, and showing my geeky self.” They take their geeky selves seriously, and it shows in their commitment to cosplay. Geek Goddess Bear is a seamstress and fabricator who has competed on the cosplay circuit and won, and she takes great pride in both her cosplay and her cosplay-less body.

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No matter what the stories were, the main takeaway of the panel was that they were not sluts—and neither is any woman who decides to enjoy her body, enjoys sex, or enjoys sharing her body with a bunch of people on the Internet. This was reinforced throughout the Q&A portion, which answered why “slut” is such a bad thing (“We’re taught that a woman who enjoys sex is somehow doing something wrong”), how guys like them can approach women like them (“The best thing you can do is treat me like an equal”), and what they hope to achieve (“Maybe helping nerds think that Catwoman over there is a person with a brain and feelings”).

Surprisingly, throughout the Q&A, chunks of people would leave the room. More people trickled in, but I had my suspicions that a lot of the guests were expecting more show rather than tell, especially when it turns into a pretty serious discussion of gender roles, how their prescriptions can be a prison for men and women, and the stigmas women face when engaging in nude/fetish work. And that’s a shame—those folks are often the ones most in need of actually hearing what these smart, sassy, sexy women had to say instead of just enjoying what they show.