Cosplay is not consent (neither are short skirts)


Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Storm Aiken, Designer

Convention season is rapidly approaching, folks. That means it’s time to start planning. For most people, that means booking a hotel room and buying their tickets as soon as they can; it also means starting to make their cosplay, if they haven’t yet. If you don’t know what on earth that means, cosplaythe shortened version of the term “costume play”is defined as the activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction.

Most people choose what character they want to cosplay, and then they make/buy a costume for that character; they then wear it to the aforementioned convention. Do you want to wear a dinosaur suit? Do it! How about a tight Poison Ivy costume? Go for it! This doesn’t seem like a problem, right? Wrong! Many character designs (especially females) consist of form-fitting, revealing clothing. Most women who cosplay want to stay as original to the character as possible, so they try not to change very much.

However, this can pose a very common problem: unwanted sexual attention from others. Let’s not sugar-coat it. Let’s call it for what it is: sexual harassment. Situations can range anywhere from taking pictures without permission to full-on groping. This has led to numerous instances where the cosplayer feels like they need to alter or choose a different cosplay in order to avoid sexual harassment. Some have even stopped cosplaying altogether.

This issue extends much further than cosplay and is sadly very prominent in our society. Most women— and even some men—have learned with age to always be conscious of what they are doing and wearing. Many forego wearing a shorter skirt or a tighter top in fear of being sexually harassed or worse. The fact of the matter is that women should not have to live in fear due to what they’re wearing, while society sits idly by and creates excuses for their harassers.

“She was asking for it” is one of the most common examples of these excuses. No, she wasn’t! She didn’t get dressed this morning thinking to herself “Golly gee, I hope that I get groped today”! No. She was probably thinking about how cute she looked, and how she couldn’t wait to show her new outfit to her friends.

Instead of trying to teach women to be mindful and fearful, society should teach men to respect a woman and her choice of clothing. Women are not objects. Women are living, breathing, human beings. They deserve to be respected.

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