Cosplay ≠ Consent, my two pennies
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
A friend of mine posted this to his Facebook w̶a̶l̶l̶ TIMELINE, I thought the status update was quite funny so I went to my friend Mimi to create a short comic depicting that scenario. All joking aside… this is a serious problem among the cosplay community.
“Never ever, in any capacity, is this ever okay”. There’s your line, say that every single time someone assumes that a sexy costume equals “hey you [person I don’t know]! come over here and grope my naughty bits”. It’s an issue that’s been brought up outside of the cosplay community, wherein just because a lady dresses sexy, they are asking for harassment. Within the cosplay community, unsavory assholes with a shitty sense of what makes proper social interaction, take it upon themselves to demean and objectify someone for wearing the costume they chose. Now I’m not going to get into the whole subject of objectification in comics/games/nerd culture… that’s a whole ‘nother ball of yarn that I’m not touching on here. But we are nerds, g33ks, and lovers of this subculture we hold near and dear… we have the right to feel comfortable around our nerd-brethren. Years of ridicule from the “popular” kids to the way that media depicted us before geek became so bloody chic. It’s clear we’ve had it rough, so why by the power of fucking Grayskull do some of you justify sexually harassing someone in a sexy costume?
Most depictions of women in comic books and games tend to span the gamut of sexy to assuming that she must have a drawer in her secret lair dedicated to storing her double-sided tape. But many of these characters are strong women, able to save the world and are just as worthy of the title “hero” as those with a MAN suffix on their hero names. These are the icons of our modern mythology, so it’s no surprise that we would want to dress up as them.
When a cosplayer dons Emma Frost’s digs, she isn’t doing it for me or you or any of the drooling sacks of shit who seem to lack proper etiquette. Cosplayers do it for themselves; it’s very self-gratifying to wear the mask of our heroes. It’s all well and good when proper human beings can appreciate the workman ship of a costume and comment on how great someone looks in it.
“Wow! You make an exceptional Emma Frost! Kudos on the costume,” is a proper response.
“OH MY GOD! YOUR BEWBZ ARE THE TITS! CAN I HAS TOUCH?” IS NOT A PROPER RESPONSE YOU MOUTHBREATHING SACK OF SHIT!
This behavior has to be nipped in the bud...Take a line from Wil Wheaton, just say “Don’t be a dick!”
Some guys have even gone so far as to call out some of these girls as “fake nerd girls” who “only do this for attention”. I’m not going to deny that some people may get off on pulling the wool over the eyes of hapless nerds. But even if this is the case, that is a shitty reason to sexually harass someone, in fact there never is a good reason to. Her bare stomach and low neckline is never to blame for your pig like actions, you are to blame because you are a shitty person and should probably hari-kari yourself… please!
Now I’m not just limiting this to the ladies. Guys get it too, though we aren’t the most vocal side to the Cosplay ≠ Consent coin, it does happen. Even geeky girls with a shitty sense of social interaction will try a game of “grab ass” or “stomach grope” if a guy has the rockin’ body of a super hero. I’ve received some of that myself, in my early days of going to cons and cosplaying, I remember one year I cosplayed as Phantom Dark from DNAngel (I’m totes dating myself mentioning this anime) but one con goer took it upon herself to glomp me and ruin the wings I made plus forcibly trying to get me to pose “super BL” with her friend dressed as Krad. Now I’m all for you appreciating the work I put into my costume, shoot... I love taking pictures with people and even handing out a hug or seven when you ask, but an unwelcome glomp or feeling pressured into fulfilling your yaoi fantasies is not my idea of a good time.
Basically, harassment comes in all ways/shapes/forms, it isn’t limited to just ladies (though they do face the brunt of it). We as a sub culture need to take it upon ourselves to stand up not just for ourselves but also for our fellow geeks. If you noticed someone clearly making another cosplayer feel uncomfortable, please do not let it slide. This behavior has to be nipped in the bud and if that person ends up feeling like a shitty excuse for a person, so be it… they deserved it! Take a line from Wil Wheaton, just say “Don’t be a dick!”