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WisCon final schedule

Behind the cut. This is exciting!

I'm Not Your Metaphor: Explaining Oppression with Analogies - Fri, 9:00–10:15 pm, Conference 5
Ian K. Hagemann (m), Jesse the K, Josh Lukin, Kate Nepveu

In 2011, some Occupy Wall Street protestors embarrassed themselves by citing John Lennon's problematic comparison of gender oppression with racial injustice. That comparison is part of a long tradition in which people try to point out that one kind of oppression is being overlooked by citing a more familiar outrage. But is disability really "like race"? Is Islamophobia a "New McCarthyism"? Are gays the new Jews? Are such analogies ever useful, or are they always unacceptable appropriations, erasing one kind of suffering by reducing it to a metaphor for another? What about attempts to make a statement about oppression or colonialism using fictional peoples — can they escape all the problems inherent in the real-world comparisons? How can we avoid creating hierarchies of oppression?

Is Every Kickass Female Character a Mary Sue? - Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm, Conference 4
Kate Nepveu (m), Becky Allen, S. N. Arly, Jessica Plummer, Beth Plutchak

Anyone who has even a small kernel of knowledge about fan fiction is probably more familiar with the Mary Sue archetype than they would like. Mary Sues (and their male equivalent Gary Stu) are characters inserted into a fictional world that are obviously stand-ins for the author her- or himself. They're often near perfect, loved by everyone, and the center of attention in both fan works and published or broadcast media. However, a recent trend to label every standout female character with this label as a pejorative has both fans and professional writers annoyed. What makes a Mary Sue? And even if she rears her head, does that necessarily mean the character isn't a good one?

Realistic and Unrealistic Sex in Fiction - Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm, Senate B
Margaret McBride (m), Katie Clapham, Deanna Lepsch, Ashlynn Monroe, Kate Nepveu

What makes sex in fiction realistic or head-twistingly not? Do we want realistic sex? Is fanfic better at it?

Discworld and Gender Issues - Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm, Senate B
Kate Nepveu (m), Bronwyn Bjorkman, Rhea Ewing, E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman, Jenny Nilsson

In 39 books to date, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series does a lot of good things with gender themes and some less than good things. Let's talk about the wide range of female characters in Discworld, their different kinds of agency, the number of stories that center on female relationships, and the problematic of strains of gender essentialism and heteronormativity, especially in Discworld's non-human species.

How To Be a Fan of Problematic Things - Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm, Assembly
Kate Nepveu (m), Ariel Franklin-Hudson, Jacquelyn Gill, Jamie Nesbitt Golden (thewayoftheid), Paul Rehac

Lord of the Rings. A Song of Ice & Fire. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Many of us like things that are deeply problematic! Liking these works doesn't (necessarily) make you a jerk. How can we like problematic things and not only be decent people, but good, social justice activists? How does one's background matter? How does one address the problems? This panel will discuss how to own up to the problematic things in the media you like, particularly when you feel strongly about them. Inspired by http://www.socialjusticeleague.net/2011/09/how-to-be-a-fan-of-problematic-things/

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