|I LOVE the Gender Bent Justice League. I love everything about them. Photo via Of Foxes and Hedgehogs|
I've even tried my hand at cosplaying myself, despite the fact this means I don't have a chance of getting all the photos I want because I'm too busy posing. On the whole, it's been great fun. I played Lilith the Siren from Borderlands one year, and happily I was with my boyfriends who played two other characters from the game, so we were pretty recognisable. Also, we were all holding big Nerf guns, which is always pretty attention getting.
|"Mordecai" got SO tired of holding that gun.|
|If you DON'T want to read an issue of Transmetropolitan in which Death is a temporary|
filthy assistant, I don't even know what to say to you.
There's been a lot of talk lately about how wearing a costume doesn't equal consent. I thought for a moment this principle would have been self evident - but then I remembered this is the real world we live in, and OBVIOUSLY because a woman is wearing tight clothing it means she is "asking for it", whatever "it" might be. Meagan Marie is something of a celebrity in the cosplay world, and has posted an eye opening post about some appalling behavior from a journalist towards a group of Lara Croft cosplayers. Her courage in standing up and calling out this sort of grossness has gotten everyone talking about the way female cosplayers are viewed, and consequently treated, which is obviously of great interest to me, being female and someone who cosplays as well as someone who likes taking photos of cosplayers. Not only do I want to be treated respectfully myself, but I want to make sure I'm treating others respectfully too, so I've been reading a lot of the discussion. Honestly, most of it has just made me more and more afraid to go to a convention in cosplay - there are some absolutely chilling and vile stories coming out about how other con goers treat female cosplayers sometimes. I'm not going to recount the details of the discussion - suffice to say it's the same old tired rehashing of some male members of the fan community insisting they can judge a woman's availability by what she's wearing, and that women should adjust their outfits according to how they want to be treated. I'm so SO tired of this argument that it makes me sick, and I don't really feel like there is anything to add that hasn't been said better by other people.
There is a part of the discussion about whether women do or do not have permission to dress however they want that I feel hasn't been done to death though. Most of the discussion I've seen so far has been focused on conventionally attractive female cosplayers, because they are apparently the ones who cop the most flack. Now I haven't done any kind of research on this, but I imagine it's true that the conventionally attractive female cosplayers get the most blatant sexual harassment, however being a fat female cosplayer comes with it's own set of challenges. If you're conventionally attractive, you should apparently expect to get groped. But if you're a fat cosplayer, I can tell you from experience you can expect to be ignored and marginalised. Not everyone does this - I've gotten some very gratifying attention while in cosplay. But I never got nearly as much as the conventionally attractive girls, regardless of who had the better costume. I've always felt somewhat on the edge of the whole cosplay thing, primarily because of my size. There are maybe three easily recognisable characters I could play that are "body appropriate" - I'm the wrong colour for Amanda Waller (DC Comics), and Ursula from The Little Mermaid would require full body paint, as would Princess Fiona from Shrek. Apart from these, it would have to be a version of an otherwise skinny character - and people aren't always particularly kind about plus size interpretations of characters they feel should be a certain size. This quote from Doctor Her exactly mirrors my experiences at conventions;
"I’ve been in earshot of people who snicker and laugh at the plus-sized Batgirls or other cosplayers who don’t fit the skinny actresses they’re portraying. Once I asked one of these curvy girls to pose for a picture and genuine shock crossed her face."
Once I realised the bigger cosplayers were so marginalised they were shocked to have their picture taken, I've been putting them at the top of my list to get photos of, because I'm pretty stubborn like that sometimes. I remember last year there was a group of Spartans from the movie 300, and four of them were ridiculously buff. They were naturally getting stopped for photos approximately every three seconds to pose with girls, because girls love a good ogle just as much as boys do. I, however, stopped their chubby, red headed friend, and made sure to get a photo with me draped over him, because he had the chutzpah to show up in a freaking loincloth to a public event, and dammit, that deserves attention whether he's buff or chubby. His "friends" sniggered at him while we were posing, as did some of the bystanders. I suppose two fat kids posing together was just too hilarious, right?
|I posed with the buff guys, then noticed the chubby one was standing back,|
like he thought I wouldn't want him in the shot.
|So I made sure to let him know I thought he was just as photogenic as the others.|
If you're fat and you decide to wear something society deems "inappropriate" for your body type, you can expect people to snigger, to point and laugh. You can expect people to physically push past you in order to get yet another shot of the gymnast dressed as Chun Li doing high kicks. People like Tony Harris will accuse you of being merely "Con-hot", which seems to be his way of implying you have big tits but you're not as skinny as you apparently think you are, and this is a crime against all those people who are there to ogle you. How dare you put on a costume and not even be hot!? What a rip! It's bad enough that all these hot women are there, blatantly begging to have people invade their personal space, but to have someone fat lumber into the middle of that is just disorienting. And when people get confused, they get mean. It's pretty easy to find whole pages devoted to hating on fat people who cosplay - with a quick search I found this and this and then I decided I was tired of looking at this crap. Imagine what they're saying to each other where there ISN'T a public record of their opinions. Aie.
|This is Tony Harris. He writes comics, and hates cosplayers, particularly girls.|
|Yup, this is actually going to be my outfit.|