We love cosplay! It takes a lot of talent to create the perfect costume, and a lot of courage to wear them out! Unfortunately, not everyone treats cosplayers the way these awesomely creative people should be treated. In an interview with Vice, Vivid Vivka of Cosplay Deviants (NSFW) talks about the “Cosplay Is Not Consent” panel at this month’s Anime Expo and how she’s treated when she cosplays.
In the interview, she points out that it’s when cosplayers wear sexier costumes, people tend to not respect them:
At first, my costumes were more along the lines of bloody horror themes: Pyramid Head from Silent Hill, zombies, etc. Mostly people just stayed away from me! But as I grew up, started my alt-model/nude-modeling career, and became much more confident and comfortable in my skin. I started to “dare to bare.” I started cosplaying the characters whom I adored and wanted to dress up as, but before was too shy or nervous to. It’s no secret that anime girls defy gravity, and super heroines usually wear too-tight spandex and not much else. I’m not perfect, and I don’t have the ideal gym body. But I like my skin, and I wanted to play, so fuck all who try to stop me!
The internet is a ruthless place, though. A photo gets posted, and everyone has an opinion that must be shared… Online harassment is a constant flow, and it’s downright nasty. In person, it’s a different story. People would ask for a photo, and “jokingly” grab my butt. Lewd, tactless, raunchy things would be said or asked of me, and followed by a “JK… unless you will.” I feel like a lot of people don’t realize they are overstepping their grounds, and they don’t realize how hurtful, scary, and gross they are being.
And it’s just not men who treat her poorly:
Once I was cosplaying a video game character, Mad Moxxi from Borderlands 2, who is a very ample busty character. A couple walked by, and the gent was very excited for the character, as he was a big fan of the game. He asked for a photo with me, and right before the camera snapped, I heard his girlfriend saying that he didn’t need photos with “some gross slut. I thought you were into real women.” I was crushed. It hurt. I didn’t do anything. Why am I not “real”? Why am I a slut? I’m character-accurate, and having fun!
No one is built like cartoons. They are two-dimensional beings, without gravity or age. You should be able to dress up like whomever you want, even if your waist isn’t that small, hips aren’t that wide, legs that long, bust that big, hell, even if your skin color isn’t “correct.” Cosplay should be, and deep down is, about the love of the characters and the joy of the craft.
Her advice for cosplayers faced with unpleasantness:
Speak up and stand up for yourself. No is a viable and powerful word— it’s OK to say it! Don’t let anyone push you down or pressure you into something you don’t want to do. Someone is being a jerk? Fuck that person. You don’t have to take a photo with them. Someone is touching you, or invading your personal space? Tell a security personal. We, as individuals, are powerful creatures. And most importantly: You are not alone. There are so many other people who are out here, and on your side. We can work together to educate, enlighten, and create a happier, healthier, more fucking awesome cosplay environment. Be most excellent to each other.
Thankfully, many conventions like GX now have clear anti-harassment policies in place — if you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you can let convention staff know. In GX’s case, physical aggression will result in the immediate removal from the con without a refund and they’ll be banned from any future GX events. Cons should be safe places, and organizers like GX fight fiercely to make that happen.
(featured image via Vivid Vivka’s Instagram)
GX3: Everyone Games marks the third year of the GaymerX convention, a meeting of LGBTQ tabletop and console gamers with panels, meet-ups, parties and more! The convention takes place December 11 to 13 in San Jose, California.
This year’s Bosses of Honor include RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel, Mass Effect’s Jennifer Hale, and many, many more!
Tickets are available at GaymerX.com.