When it comes to sexuality in Cosplay, men and women, but mostly men, often forget that there is a person behind the provocative attire. People see a pair of boobs and all of a sudden it’s Armageddon, or BooBageddon. The masses let loose a firestorm of attacks often using lewd comments and negative judgments as their ammunition. Why would anyone would want set foot on a con floor, or on the internet, in the face of such repugnant behavior?
It’s simple really – they (the majority of them anyway) are fans. They have the audacity and desire to see themselves realized as their favorite pop culture character, perhaps because they look like them, or simply want to show their love for the character to the world. Despite however provocatively dressed that character may be (as represented from the brush strokes of sexually disillusioned male artists, and even some female artists like Amanda Connor, the current artist on Power Girl), these fans aren’t intentionally putting themselves out there to be marginalized.
It’s time to talk about the Cosplay elephant in the room. For that I’ll turn the mic over to a well respected cosplayer from down under, Ardella. In her video “Me, My Boobs and I”, Ardella talks about breasts in cosplay and the profound effect said breasts have on people. She’s not the first one to have ever said anything on the subject, but her sentiment is strong and she delivers perhaps one of the better articulated and reasonably sounded arguments on the matter.
Boobs, we all love em. Let’s just make sure we love each and every one as well as each other the right way.
Ardella’s video makes me want to stand up, grab my Star Wars pom-poms, and cheer. Fans who dress up are proud of themselves and their costumes. Their also daring enough to be so enamored with the character (for their cosplay) that they spent thier hard earned money and time constructing those wonderful costume pieces. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have made and put on the costume in the first place.
However, it’s one thing to be astounded, and look upon gleefully at someone’s beauty in an admirable sense. It’s another thing to be lewd, crude and completely ignore the fact there this is a human being in front of you. Even if you’re not in either aforementioned category, no one should be body shaming a cosplayer or accusing them of being “in it for the attention.”
People often look at cosplayers and enjoy their bodies or overall looks as well as the costume. There’s no need to shame that either. Those people aren’t overly horny idiots, but rather sexually liberated, sane and stable people. However, there are plenty of creepers and disrespectful jerks out there who are in it just for the boobs Throw in the typical Internet Chatty Cathy out there saying “Look at that b*tch over there dressed as Xena, standing there like that like she f’n owns the place. What a Wh*re” and you can see the problem.
If you called out the obliviously, purposefully ignorant, or judgmental person out on their sexism, they’ll usually respond with defensive and accusatory remarks. You’ll hear something along the lines of “You see how she is dressed,” or “I was only fooling around.” As if either argument makes that initial statement or act any less hurtful.
This is why we have to have movements like #CosplayIsNotConsent, which, as the tag implies, means – You do not have permission, regardless of however I am dressed, to approach/engage me in ways that make me feel uncomfortable. People need to know that words, regardless of intent, can be hurtful and demoralizing. Diminishing a person to one superficial characteristic is never OK.
There are many arguments on the subject of sexism in cosplay and varies resources which are a simple Google search away (Tune into http://www.everydaysexism.com/ and http://thehawkeyeinitiative.
I always thought the female form was/is a beautiful thing. A powerful thing. I admire women who dress like a goddess and act like one. However, some past content on this site, even those posted by me, would imply otherwise. I haven’t always done things the right way here, but we’ve been righting that wrong for a while now. It has hurt us traffic wise, but we’re much better without it.
It should be no ones prerogative, intentional or not, to demoralize another person. We all are part of a Geek and Nerd culture that is supposed to celebrate itself. Feeding into a subservient objectification of any of us is not positive thing. We’re better than that. If can rip a quote from our recent interview with Yaya Han “We’re All In This Together.”
What I’m trying to say in my round about way is that sexuality has its place in Cosplay, and while discussing it can be a dangerous, slippery slope. We need to discuss it. If all you see is boobs, butt, or whatever slightly exposed private part, then you don’t see the person behind the costume. There are those who are in it for the boobs, as well as men and the women that will cater to those people, and I guess that’s OK, but we should all be respected as individuals.
Everyone should learn to refine their filters. Cosplayers are people too. The have a full time job, bills to pay, worries and hopes and feelings…etc. The take away lesson is: Don’t forget your humanity. If you were to say or do something that would make your Aunt slap you upside the head, then it’s probably a good idea to keep it to yourself.
Remember, with great boobs comes great responsibility