Thanks to FaceBook, I recently stumbled upon a lovely gem of a blog post regarding a fellow female cosplayer and her horrible experience with some supposedly “skeezy” guy at New York Comic Con (October 11-14, 2012). You can find the article here, if you so choose to read it.
Now, I’d like to clarify that this is not an attack on this woman. She was very much in her right to be offended by these men, if she does not like that sort of attention. However, as someone who also wanders about in corsets with my boobs pushed up to my neck, I find the entire situation incredibly distasteful, and the post a little offensive. I found her attitude in very poor taste toward the situation, and while, yes, the guy was borderline crude, I don’t necessarily think he deserved the reaction he was given.
I’ve been going to cons for a number of years, and those who share these experiences with me can vouch for the fact that the world of a convention is a much different than the outside world. It is generally a more relaxed atmosphere, and honestly, yes you can get away with a hell of a lot more than you could just walking down the street. I myself have had numerous conversations in costume (sometimes with strangers) involving my boobs, ass, or what have you. There’s no harm intended by it, its simply a conversation in jest.
Mind you, I’m a pretty open person. So long as you are not outright insulting to me, I really don’t care what you talk to me about. If I’m wearing a costume that has my boobs hanging out, I certainly have to expect that they are a potential topic of conversation and/or distraction. My friends and I joke about this sort of stuff ALL the time. If they begin to troll me, I simply troll back! There’s no use getting upset over what they are saying… 99% of the time they think they are being funny, and in my experience the rest of the time sometimes they don’t even realize they are being out of line. I don’t know, maybe I just don’t offend that easily. I thought the bit where she said, “I actually have no breasts at all, what you see is just all of the fat from my midsection pulled up to my chest and carefully held in place with this corset. It’s really uncomfortable, I don’t know why I do it,” was damned brilliant. I about died laughing. I was so disappointed to find that she actually thought he was being incredibly malicious.
This is just one example of many fellow female cosplayers I have encountered over the years… and I am not sure how to handle it. Some people claim that if you are a woman who wants to cosplay, there are hardly any options that aren’t sexually objectified. Which, I will maintain, isn’t true. There are plenty of characters that are completely covered and aren’t all boobs and ass. However, if you DO choose to cosplay a character that is sexy, you have to understand the sort of attention that that sort of costume will bring. I am currently planning an Assassin’s Creed gender bend that will involve some serious corset cleavage. EVERY person I have shown the concept art to – friend or stranger, guy or girl – has commented on the amount of boob it shows. That sort of attention cannot be avoided.
Now, I’m not saying this means put up with sexual harassment. NEVER do that. If you are uncomfortable, you get out of the situation and you get out of it fast, as the blog author did (although I think it could have been handled better). However, I encourage anyone who goes to a convention to remember the culture you are stepping into. Whether you are female or male, sexy or not, you need to realize what you are wearing, how other people will perceive you, and be prepared to properly handle the sort of attention it will attract.
What’s your take on sexy cosplay? Let us know!