Cosplay = P0rn? (NOT!)
Obviously I'm not the one who posted my Shana cosplay photo on that site. My photo, along with many other cosplayer's photos, were used without permission. I'm not exactly sure what is the motive of the perpetrator but I'm sure none of us want our photos there.
I have already emailed the site and reported abuse of the photo along with the request for them to suspend the uploader's account. I have yet to receive any reply from the site, which is not surprising , seeing how the entire site is full of ripped off photographs and is of indecent nature.
A fellow cosplayer (who was also a victim ) managed to track down the identity of the uploader and was suggesting I expose him on my blog to warn others. Obviously that is something I didn't choose to do because honestly, I couldn't care less who he/she is. Such incidents happen way too much and too easily. You can sqash one pervert but you can't stop all of them, there's no end to this.
And some of you might have seen this photo of a Showgirl cosplaying as Athena during the coveted Games and electronic convention ; ChinaJoy. This photo along with news of how the model was banned from the event went viral a few weeks ago
This is old pie but I'm sure you catch the drift of this blog entry. Objectification of female cosplayers.
Of course the objectification of the female body is not unique to the hobby but lets face it. How many of your non-Animanga friends / colleagues/ family members raised their eyebrows and thought you were doing porn when they found out you Cosplay? The fact is, Cosplay is very much associated with a list of hanky panky behaviours even though that is not the truth in real life.
I have nothing against them but, the recent emergence of high profile sexy Cosplayer-turned-models doesn’t quite help the situation either.
And I can still remember the uproar in the local community when a judge of a high profile Cosplay Competition openly commented something along the lines of "Cosplay is all about being sexy" . Brings home the message how deep that presumption is rooted in the minds of the public (the judge was the event sponsor representative ) huh?.
After Zephyus and I came in third for AFA's regional Cosplay Competition in 2010. We accepted a telephone interview with a local paper. And one of the first question the reporter asked was " So why did you choose to cosplay a Nun? Usually when girls cosplay they would choose bikinis or skimpy costumes. They would choose something that reveals a lot of skin. Why didn't you? ".
I was speechless and could barely make a come back reply. While I have always knew this was how the world works , it was still very hard to digest when confronted to.
I try very hard to avoid telling people how to live their life. But today, I would like to take this opportunity to bring awareness to this issue and remind everyone in the community to always be mindful of the way you present yourselves either in photos online or at events.
Yes, it takes two hands to clap and while I agree the perception of others outside the hobby needs correcting. There is a limit to how much we can blame other people.
Of course the above statement is not referring to the sggirls.com incident whereby perfectly decent photos of the victims, including myself, were stolen and used without permission.
I'm talking about unnecessarily explicit cosplay photos and costumes in public events and on public SNS accounts. While i understand the urge to be as close to the fictional character as possible, we must also remember we live in a world with moral and consequences. Your decisions might just help sink the reputation of our hobby even further. Remember, there is a thin line between tasteful and pornographic.
The famous Cosplayer molestation case that was on the front page of our local evening papers (2009).
To the many non Animanga and Games people out there. Cosplayers cosplays because we like it. Because it is an outlet for our artistic inspirations to flow. A chance for us to express our fandom in a new level, a chance for us to do something extraordinary and a chance to create something beautiful with our God given talents.
Yes, I believe it takes a certain amount of talent to do a good cosplay. It may sound cheesy and ego inflating but that is my belief. The society deem the executing of many other activities such as drawing, designing, singing and acting a talent so why shouldn't Cosplaying be too? Do you know how much observations skills, crafting skills, dressmaking skills, make up skills, photography skills, photo editing skills and effort it takes to present a good Cosplay photo?
While there is probably a million reasons why a cosplayers does what he/she does. I choose to believe that majority of us in the community do it out of our love for Anime, Manga and Games. And our burning desire to create a piece of Art that will reflect our existence, passion and youth. Fame and money comes into the picture occasionally but they are just perks, not objective!
And get it, at least 60% of the Cosplay population don’t cosplay in revealing costumes!
Objectification of the female body and assuming Cosplay is all about sex is nothing new. While there are many bigger humanitarian, political and financial issues to pay attention to, this is one issue close to my heart. If you think this blog entry can help clear up some misunderstanding about Cosplay; please share this entry.