Posted By Kathleen David on October 16, 2013
A couple of things that have come up on the web about cosplay and cosplayers. (I am desperately trying to not hyphenate cosplay since I have been informed that there is no hyphen but it is a little hard since my word processing program thinks cosplayer is wrong and cos-player is right).
One happened in front of me although I didn’t know at the time. At NYCC there was a group of men who were going around and “interviewing” cosplayers. They were asking questions that were not appropriate to begin with and, while they did ask permission to touch, they asked in the rudest manner and in some cases didn’t take no as an answer. People reported them to the convention more than once. There didn’t seem to be much being done until it came to light that they faked their press credentials and then they were out on their butts and banned from any Reed show. So points to Reed for not just brushing this off as fans will be fans.
There is a movement on the Internet and at cons that are trying to get the message that costume does not equal consent. There is also the back off movement to allow women and girls feel comfortable at conventions wearing what they want as the guys do. Although I do have male friends who look good in spandex who have had their butts pinched and their package fondled without their consent so don’t think this is a one gender issue. And we can’t say that it is outsiders who are doing these sorts of inappropriate behavior since the last couple of times it has been in a controlled environment so no one was there that didn’t apply to be there.
Another fan behavior that I am not loving is the “why are you cosplaying that, it is not your body type” comments. I don’t think doesn’t happen to men, but I do think this happens more to women than men. I heard some comments in passing from people at NYCC, which weren’t very nice. “She is not as hot a cat girl as that other chick I saw was.” “Maybe if she lay off the donuts, she would look better in her costume.” “I like my Wonder Woman with a rack on her.” Yes, we can hear you talking to your buds and playing who’s is bigger. I can’t stop anyone from having opinions but think before you talk people. Would you say this if your mother were standing next to you?
And cosplayers, I am not expecting a united front. Heck, I know there is sniping going on just having been on that side of the costume. One of the biggest flame wars I got in the middle of had to do with two groups of costumers who had been competing against each other for years. Once group had a few more wins under their belt but skill wise both groups were pretty much even. But you might have each other’s backs at these things. I swear some of the worse comments I heard about others came from cosplayers. Especially the shaming comments.
I also saw a lot of cosplayers talking to each other and making new friends. I saw people in costumes getting compliments from fans and positive feedback. I did see good things going on so it was not all bad.
I don’t really wear costumes anymore. It is a rare occasion that I do. Part of that is when I moved from fan to professional, I knew that I was a professional therefore some of my previous fannish activities got put by the wayside. Not with any regrets on my part. I have enjoyed my professional career very much thank you. I appreciate those who do and the artisanship that goes into these costumes.
I hope that the actions that Reed Expo took will help. I hope that other conventions especially the big ones take note and take action when they come across this sort of behavior that makes others uncomfortable. I really wish we could allow people to cosplay what they want to cosplay without making them feel as if they aren’t worthy of the character they want to emulate because of some unwritten rule that they aren’t the right “type” for the character.
Let’s go out there and have FUN again.
I am grateful for both the costumers and the fans that give positive feedback to each other.