Cosplayers: Dress Sexy, Act Smart

, by Zoë Gulliksen

The pilgrimage to nerd Mecca starts in a couple of days: San Diego Comic Con has once again arrived! Every July fans of all ages travel to the biggest convention in the world to seek out their favorite movie stars, comic book creators, and ultimate collectibles. Over 130,000 people attended last year, many of them participating in cosplaying.

There's one main difference between Comic-Con (and similar comventions) as apposed to other mass gatherings of people for an event: Cosplay. Simply put it's when fans dress up as fictional characters. A lot of problems can arise when someone see's a good looking woman or man wearing the revealing costume of their favorite comic book character. 

Whenever this time of year comes around, bloggers give advice to attendees on how to properly interact with those in costumes. One of my friends and the best Comic Con guru around, Crazy4ComicCon has written a wonderful piece on his site about Cosplay Etiquette, which you can read HERE. I would also recommend his other tips on all matters concerning SDCC.

My advice to attendees is to simply be courteous to cosplayers. For example, don't initiate physical contact or follow someone around to take their pictures without permission. Treat them with respect and suppress your urges to shower them with affection. This may seem like common sense but when thousands of people get together in a crammed, rushed environment excitement eclipses manners. Another thing I've noticed (which is the central theme of this piece) is that there is a distinct lack of advice to cosplayers themselves: Don't forget your common sense.

my Black Canary costume
After every major convention there are a slue of people complaining about the harassment they received while in costume. Most of the time they are well warranted complaints that deserve attention, but those seem to be the ones that end up taking a backseat to the people who lament endlessly about being cat called or having inappropriate pictures of them showing up online. 

Let me make this distinction clear right off the bat: I do not defend nor support the harassment of cosplayers at conventions. Comic-Con in particular has a very large police, security and staff presence throughout their public areas. Stalking, sexual assault and the like are a sad but very real part of our society. If you feel threatened or harassed look to them for help immediately. 

YOUR SAFETY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FEELING EMBARRASSED ABOUT ASKING FOR HELP. 


That being said, more people need to take a smarter and more realistic approach when cosplaying. If you are dressing up as a character with a revealing costume you need to  be accepting of that from day one.

(click for bigger image)
I don’t care how much you love Power Girl’s personality or good intentions or her importance to the fate of the DC universe. If you decide to cosplay as her you are making the conscious effort to show off your breasts in a manner that will draw much attention. From ALL genders. Cosplaying as Power Girl and then complaining afterwards that everyone kept starring at your chest all weekend is not an argument; it just shows how little common sense you have.

If you are choosing to wear a costume that purposefully shows off your rack then embrace it! You're wearing a costume for a reason, so have fun with it. Show it off, don’t complain about it. If you run into a fellow attendee who makes a rude comment in passing, BY ALL MEANS call them out on it (you ARE dressed like a superhero after all, feel free to be courageous).  But you have to let it go. They do not deserve your time nor your effort. Assholes are all around us, and that doesn't excuse Comic-Con especially considering how many people who attend have a tendency to act immaturely. If you spend your entire time there miserable because of one or two people's unnecessary comments you'll miss out on the HUNDREDS of people who enjoy seeing you flaunt your fandom. 

I'm not new to cosplaying. I have dressed up as various characters over the years from Ramona Flowers (practically every interpretations of the character including from the Scott Pilgrim video game where I simply wore underwear & a sweatshirt), to a Pokémon on kid’s day, as well as Peggy Carter from Marvel's Captain America movie. Back in 2010  I dressed up as Black Canary at an anime convention. Now, I made a few conscious decisions about my costume: I chose a leotard that covered my butt more than Black Canary's customary thong. I also did not zip my costume down to my navel. Why? Because as much as I love the character I didn't feel the need to be naked in public to prove it. Granted, I was still in a skin tight leotard and fishnets but I was fully aware of the consequences that might ensure. Many costumes at Comic-Con look like my Black Canary leotard: skin tight and hardly covering the butt. I knew that every time I squirmed to fit into the costume and that there was no denying it was revealing. 

Sure enough, within 15 minutes of my leaving my room and walking down to the lobby of my hotel a teenage guy called out to me from the upper level. He said I dropped something behind me. I turned and couldn't see anything, so I bent over lower, worried that one of my boot straps had already fallen off. Of course I hadn't actually dropped anything, the guy just wanted to see me bent over. I quickly realized my mistake, gave him the finger, and went on my way. I did not dwell on it because that idiot did not deserve my attention, which is what he was ultimately after. But you'll be dammed sure I never made that mistake again. 

If you go to a convention and are disgusted by attendees having any type of reaction to your costume besides the exact thing you want them to do/say, don’t wear it. Does this seem unfair? Maybe, but it's even more unfair of you to demand everyone to act the way you see fit.  The attention and compliments for a cosplay well done is empowering and deserving after weeks of hard work building the costume. Not to mention the gym time put in to make sure your abs look perfect. There is nothing wrong about wanting to look sexy at a convention! However, wearing a costume that's more revealing than half the stuff you'd find at Victoria's Secret and then complaining that attendees were staring or taking pictures of your ass is idiotic. You are attending an event with over 100,000 people (again, some of which are a bit more immature than regular folks) and if you truly believe that no one will objectify you then you are naive.

Surprise, surprise: Characters in comic books and movies are sexualized! This is not a new fact and anyone dressed up in a sexy costume and claiming they did not do it to look sexy is either lying or in utter and complete denial. If a cosplyer does not want to dress up in as revealing an outfit as a character, he or she can easily modify the costume to be more to their liking. If someone wants to dress up as Power Girl but doesn't feel comfortable with the bust opening, there are other Power Girl costume options one can chose.

There are countless articles written degrading men for saying lewd things to women in revealing costumes at conventions. I am not giving those arguments any less meaning. Some people can shrug that stuff off but if you're honestly offended, you're honestly offended. What I'm saying is that you need to apply the same awareness and common sense you use in your day to day life (i.e. wearing revealing clothes to bars, clubs, etc) to what you do at conventions. 

Utilize self preservation, ladies and gents. Take care of yourself, and have a fun (and safe) Comic Con.


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The Force For Fun Winner: 'Jim vs Vader'!

, by Zoë Gulliksen

After weeks of voting and showcasing all the entries into the Force For Fun contest held by Pringles and Star Wars, we finally have a winner! Congrats to Erick Beck and Justin Johnson for winning the $25,000 grand prize!

The Force For Fun was a promotion in which over a thousand fan made ideas were crowdsourced on Tongal.com. After months of hard work, only seven final videos competed to be chosen as Pringles national advertisement! As I mentioned before, I was chosen to be a The Force For Fun Influencer and it was such a fun experience!

You can check out the winning video below and behind the scenes footage in a previous post here.




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