Cosplay Is Not Consent: A Rant from Both Sides
Cosplay Is Not Consent: A Rant from Both Sides
As a female who enjoys the art of cosplay, I am well aware of the “Cosplay Is Not Consent” movement. While I have never personally experienced any public criticism regarding my cosplays, as I have not cosplayed “provocative characters”, I have heard and read about many others who have spoken up against such actions. Unfortunately, something had to trigger the development of individuals acting in a lewd manner towards certain cosplayers. These unnecessary actions have led to the development of this movement, whose goal is to end the harassment of those cosplayers and bring light to the necessity of policies at conventions to help prevent future incidents. But if cosplayers are aware of the possibility of being ogled while at a con and it makes them feel uncomfortable, why wear the specific cosplay outfit? I am here today to explain the movement from both sides, hopefully providing insight and a better understanding of why this is such a prominent issue in the cosplay community today.
Cosplay To Your Heart’s Content
Cosplay is defined as the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. Basically, it’s Halloween every day and it’s fantastic. Cosplay seems to have been getting more and more attention as of late, and it has turned into a huge hobby for thousands of people all over the world. Have a favorite super hero that you’ve always wanted to dress up as? Well, suit up and have fun! Cosplay is about having a great time and embracing your inner geek.
For some, cosplay is an outlet for self-expression. If you’re incredibly shy in real life, cosplay can be a way to open up and become a completely different person. You can be confident and sexy like Poison Ivy, or strong and mysterious like Batman. When it comes to cosplay, there is no limit to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. And despite what you may hear, you are not limited to who you can cosplay based on gender, size, race, or experience! If you love your body, whether you are male or female, and you want to wear a more revealing cosplay, you can! Nobody has the right to ever tell you who you can and cannot cosplay. And what better place to dress up than at a convention where hundreds, even thousands, are dressed up as their favorite characters?
Derogatory Comments Towards Cosplay
This is where “Cosplay Is Not Consent” steps in. The message that so many people are trying to spread is that no one – male, female, or whatever gender you identify as – has the right to harass anyone because of the way they are dressed. If you decide to dress up as Cammy from Street Fighter, you should be able to without the fear of being secretly photographed from behind or constantly experience rude and inappropriate comments. The same goes for males, of course, because while females may be the predominant victims, both genders can be targeted when it comes to this situation. Unfortunately, this is a real problem that needs real awareness among cosplayers as well as convention goers in order to keep cons a safe and fun environment for everyone.
The “Other Side”
Like with every debate, there is another side to this issue, which is as follows. If harassment is such an issue amongst the cosplay community, why do people continue to wear cosplays that provoke, or encourage, this kind of behavior? If you don’t like being stared at, don’t wear an outfit that causes you to get stared at. While no one should have to rearrange their costumes because of someone else’s lack of respect and self-control, it’s a simple way to resolve the problem as well as keep the harassment issues contained. If you dress in a provocative cosplay, don’t be surprised when you have inappropriate comments and crude gestures thrown at you. If the comments and gestures bother you, change into a less revealing cosplay.
While it is an unfortunate statement, if you put yourself out there in a revealing cosplay, there will always be people that will stare and be inappropriate. The other side of the coin with this movement probably isn’t the prettiest, but it’s honest. The best way to keep from being the recipient of derogatory behavior is to think before you cosplay. If there isn’t much to an outfit, it may be one that will draw less than positive attention to you and your craft.
Can There Be A Solution?
The truth is that there will always be strife with this issue. Those that wish to spread the word about “Cosplay Is Not Consent” will always argue that you shouldn’t have to be afraid to dress up as whoever you want, simply because someone lacks respect for others. The other side will always argue that if you dress in a more revealing cosplay, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get a less than appropriate response about it. Personally, I support “Cosplay Is Not Consent,” but can see the argument from both sides and can understand each point of view.
Is it possible to produce a solution for this problem where both sides will be satisfied? Unfortunately, the answer has yet to be discovered. Conventions can implement harassment policies in order to reduce potential incidents, but it’s not possible to monitor each and every con goer for the entire weekend. Convention attendees have the power to report inappropriate activity they witness, so use your powers for good and help keep your conventions safe and fun for everyone! Hopefully, with enough awareness, people will understand that being confident and wearing a cosplay that shows a little skin does not give anyone the right to make someone else uncomfortable. Show respect for your fellow cosplayers instead of tearing them down or making crude comments. With great power, comes great responsibility, and everyone has the power to implement a positive change in the cosplay community.