Time to be done with ‘Cosplay Drama’
What happened this week in terms of cosplay that I saw?
- More about the CONsent Movement
- Cosplay Photographers and getting paid
- Jessica Nigri’s lack of permission for selling a photo
But what was more abundant that I saw this week on my personal feed than all of the three above?
- “Getting really sick and tired of this cosplay drama. Cosplay is about having fun.”
I’m sorry if this is a little shocking to everyone, but cosplay isn’t just about having fun. I know, mind blowing, yes? But let us think of a few things about cosplay.
Cosplay is a growing world wide hobby that connects people via conventions and the internet with their hobby. These are people who can be into cosplay for reasons such as: craftsmanship, overcoming personal social boundaries, making friends, showing appreciation for a character, wanting to be socially accepted, omgIjusthavetowearthat, ect. No one person’s story is the same when it comes to why they love cosplay. These people who buy or create their own costumes will also feature themselves in performance or craftsmanship competitions, and out of this be naturally competitive in cosplay. They go to these conventions amongst other con goers and mix with a multitude of fandoms which they may, or may not like. They interact and are photographed by professional photographers, beginner photographers, other cosplayers, staff members, panelists, security, guests, other convention goers, and regular people outside of the convention. They interact with people of the same fandoms at photoshoots or mix and match with other fandom followers in a relaxed place in the convention or possibly backstage at an event like the Masquerade. They trade information with people and connect via the internet, and cosplayers who utilize a fan page connect with hundreds, if not tens of thousands of fans online. We share each others work online while also posting our own. We make friends with other cosplayers, and sometimes the relationship grows deeper or just falls apart.
Cosplaying above all else is a hobby that is run majority on being social with others. The heart of you doing it might be simply to dress up as your favorite character, but in the end you will become this character in order to socialize with others (or attempt to.)
So why is it that cosplay cannot be just about fun? Because people don’t socially interact the same way and do not agree with each other. You have millions of cosplayers who are from different towns, different countries, speak different languages, believe in different religions or philosophies, believe in different political ideals, were all raised differently, have different kin and different family, ect ect. Though you may not think you bring these in with you when you cosplay, these are the fundamental ideals that build you as a person. So when you put several thousand people together in the same location with only ‘cosplay’ as their only similarity, there is going to be friction.
Cosplay is not a perfect hobby. If you expect to interact socially with other people in this hobby you have to come to realize that there is going to be problems and there are going to be disagreements. And that people are going to want to vocalize that there are problems in the community and either be even toned about it or radical off the wall.
When you throw down a cosplay disagreement as ‘cosplay drama’, you spit in the face of the debate that might be rather important to the growth of our community.
- CONsent isn’t just a bunch of girls in sexy outfits complaining that they hate being called ‘fuckable’ at con. It’s a microcosm of a fight against rape culture and other types of harrassment in our own community.
- The fight over paid/free photographers is more than people being cheap. It’s also revealing a lot of issues when it comes to photographers at conventions now having to face the fear of being hit with needing to make licensing issues at conventions in order to have their own light equipment or professional gear with them.
- The issue with Nigri selling a picture isn’t some photographer complaining he’s not getting paid, it’s an actual case of copyright infringement and was trying to spread the word to get her to take down the piece when he wasn’t being taken seriously.
Calling any of these issues ‘cosplay drama’ is attempting to put up a wall between you and the ‘issue’ because you do not want to deal with it. You want to keep this ideal that cosplay is a ‘perfect hobby about fun.’ But the nice thing about cosplay not being perfect is the fact that it keeps it fluid, evolving, and growing more and more every day; it has no founded rules or moderators that need to keep it perfect.
At the same time you cannot cherry pick a topic based on its format. I’ve seen the same people this week share the Wonderwoman cosplayer photo on their facebook page and a day later complain about how CONsent is nothing but drama.
There will always be the radicals that over-blow everything, that’s part of having different people in a hobby. And it is alright to be at the sidelines and just not give a crap about what is going on: that is a logical choice as well. But by summing up any issue growing in the community as a ‘cosplay drama’ simply limits yourself in helping an ever growing community involved because of an innate fear of the hobby changing.
Unless it is someone specifically picking out other people to make a mockery of them, not all social discussions in our community are drama. Its something that people want to talk about to fix (or unfix) so let them discuss. Time to get rid of ‘cosplay drama.’