May 16, 2013

Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent

Costuming and Harassment

This graphic fills me with anger and sadness at the same time,

It is a symptom of things that happen at comic book and costuming conventions, and is so completely unacceptable I don't even know where to begin.

Costuming is about exploring and expressing a different part of your personality in a fun way, of showing your support and enthusiasm for your favorite movie, TV show, character or genre. It is about meeting other creative people, and most of all it is about having FUN.

Behavior depicted in this graphic is offensive and cruel, and should not be tolerated. At all.

Making fun of a person's body style or inappropriate touching is never acceptable, even if that person is in costume, especially if that person is in costume. People in costume, more often women than men, are sometimes subjected to groping, lewd comments or unwanted advances because of the costumes they are wearing. For some reason some people seem to think that because a costume is involved, the rules don't apply. 

(image source: thumbcramps)

If I see verbal abuse I will be stepping up in a heartbeat to challenge those doing it, you can count on that. "Hey tough guy. Want to pick on someone? Pick on ME. I'm right here, take your best shot."

People in the costuming and cosplay community are starting to speak out with a campaign called Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent. Being in costume does NOT give another person the right to:
  • touch you inappropriately
  • insult you because of your body size, shape or style
  • take upskirt pictures, or other types of lewd snapshots
  • assume you are sexually promiscuous and available for a date
Behavior like this is a form of bullying, and I don't react well to bullies. In fact I get very angry very quickly when I see someone getting bullied, and believe you me, I WILL step up. I have no problem at all confronting bullies.

It is sometimes argued, "Those women are wearing skimpy costumes! What do you expect??"

This is offensive blame-the-victim reasoning, the same kind of reasoning that tries to shift blame to victims of rape because of the way they are dressed. It doesn't MATTER how a person is dressed; even if a person is naked, there is still no excuse or any inappropriate touching. Cosplay does not equal consent. End of discussion.

If you go to cons, you can be a part of this as well. Stand up for yourself and others, and let people who act like this know this:  just because you are wearing a costume does not mean you're fair game. Most people I know in the costuming community will not tolerate behavior like this, and if we stand up to such people, everyone can have a good time.


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