strange_doings: (Default)
strange_doings ([personal profile] strange_doings) wrote2017-07-06 06:14 pm

Cosplay Is/Is Not...

As with many things that inspire me to write, there was a post going around from someone on Facebook about how sad/angry they were about people's attitudes about cosplay, and while I could appreciate the reasoning behind the rant, it was based in so many misconceptions that I was moved to write a rebuttal. Before I do, however, let me say this up front: mocking or bullying anyone for any reason, over cosplay, is dumb and bad. Cosplay as a hobby is for everyone no matter who they are or where they come from, and everybody enjoys their cosplay differently. Every way is the right way to cosplay, unless it's being deliberately harmful or inflammatory to someone. Anyone who thinks they have a right to police who wears what needs to sit down and shut up.

The poor angry poster, however, made some rather mistaken claims. I don't know them, I don't even know which friend of a friend of a friend shared or reposted the post, so I don't know what happened to them to make them angry, who was bullied or why. Cosplay is not about accuracy, they said, or number of followers on facebook or other things, and cosplayers used to never bully each other over these superficial things.

Oh honey, have I got news for you.

I have been cosplaying (under whatever term for the practice was in vogue at the time) since 1999, and I consider myself still not as much of a veteran as people who've been wearing costumes at conventions since the 1960's and 70's. Whether hearing their stories or having my own experiences over the last 18 years, I can say with (chagrinned) confidence that yes, cosplayers have always bullied each other over stupid shit. The only difference between cosplay now and then is the actual websites whereupon said shenanigans occur.

If it wasn't racist bullshit or fat-shaming, which has always been a thing in cosplay, it was mocking people for making their own costume, mocking people for not making their own costume, saying you weren't a "real" costumer/cosplayer unless you did original designs, slut-shaming anyone who wanted to wear a revealing costume, demanding that you actually look like the actor if you wanted to do live-action, and let's not forget the never-ending screeching about crossplay. There was a time when men and women who wanted to dress as a character of the opposite gender were openly mocked and threatened, even if they weren't actually transgender. Then there was the time when it was assume everyone who crossplayed was transgender and why would you want to be a boy if you didn't feel like a boy. Now, it's pretty much taken as given that this is a thing people do and most of them aren't trans and most of them don't even care about passing.

(TBC)