Friday at New York Comic Con 2014 was another whirlwind of fun and surprise!
First up, Ashley Eckstein was at the Her Universe Boutique at ReedPOP’s official convention store. There, she chatted with fellow Star Wars: The Clone Wars fans and grabbed a photograph of the entire group. Notice the two Tooka dolls at the scene! Using Bonnie Burton’s “The Star Wars Craft Book,” I’ve picked up the Tooka doll-making hobby and shared my creations with fans in the community. Ashley received her very own traditional Tooka doll, and I also passed one along for Star Wars: The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni. Sharing Star Wars with others is what I love doing most, so I’m glad that’s how my Friday at NYCC kicked off.
Ashley also attended the “End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture” panel later that day.
Convert kryptonite into your own personal strength with Pop Culture Anti-Bullying Coalition’s powerful panel! Topics: geek, cyber, and LGBT-bullying, becoming a hero IRL. Learn strategies from celebs and experts CN VP Alice Cahn, Her Universe’s Ashley Eckstein, Jokers Wild’s Joe Gatto, #HerRT’s Matt Langdon, Dr. Travis Langley, ADL Director Eva Vega-Olds, and Founders Author Carrie Goldman and Chase Masterson.
“From now on, Con-goers will come for cosplay, entertainment, freebies, autographs–and healing.” -CNN
The panelists discussed the need to stand up for others who are unable to stand up for themselves. Certain people feel powerless and sink into a helpless position, but with the assistance from others around them, the bullying drastically decreases. The panel called on each and every one of us to not stand by and let someone else handle the job, but they said that we should all be our own hero and become heroes for each other.
Personally, I know what it’s like to have others poke and make fun. I’ve been teased for my weight, both by family and friends. Because of that, I continue to make an effort to share compliments and congratulatory remarks at Her Universe’s Fangirl of the Day posts. Each fangirl is unique and seeks to share her nerdiness with the world. She shouldn’t be afraid to accept that aspect of herself, and so, I log in and leave a short comment–something that could potentially bring a smile to someone’s face. A small compliment can make a world of a difference, especially if that person has experienced bullying.
As a librarian at a college, I also hear many students use foul and disrespectful language, such as “That’s so gay” or “That’s retarded.” We also see those kinds of expressions in the Star Wars community and across many other fandoms. I asked ADL Director Eva Vega-Olds how to handle that sort of situation.
TWG: Students in social conversations tend to use words like “retard” in a very offending way. How do you go about approaching that as an authority figure?
Eva: When somebody steps on your toe, what do you say? I say, “Ouch.” When they say things around you, just say, “Ouch.” And if they want to know why you said it, you can say, “There are a lot of people with cognitive challenges and mental disabilities, and they don’t have an option. They don’t take it lightly–the people in their lives don’t take it lightly. And right now, you’re taking it lightly.” You never know who’s around you and who has somebody that they love very deeply in their lives that you could be offending and hurting. I would just say “Ouch” as a conversation starter. And if they don’t want to hear or know more, they at least know that somebody is aware and didn’t take it lightly.
A more detailed post about the “End Bullying!” panel will be released at Fangirl Next Door. Stay tuned!
Following the informative panel, I spent the rest of the evening at the Del Rey Star Wars booth with fellow fans of the community. The day came to a swift end, but not without a pleasant surprise from Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera Syndulla in Star Wars Rebels. Along with Christian Blauvelt, Deputy Culture Editor at BBC.com and lifelong Star Wars fan, both he and Vanessa came to visit the booth after the show floor closed. There, we took pictures with Hera and Kanan cosplayers, and I passed along my Tooka doll gift, tying up my awesome Friday at New York Comic Con!
Vanessa Marshall (@vanmarshall) October 14, 2014