Sexy Cosplay, Nerdlesque and Men’s “Right to Sex”: Time to Move Past the Karate Kid

Crazy days, friends.  The President is an admitted sexual predator.  There are open debates about whether women should be “redistributed” to provide more sex to more women. But at the same time, there are now feminine Star Wars heroes to choose from, and women are finally getting some much needed, much-deserved justice on matters of abuse and assault.

Incel, The Misogynist Ideology that Inspired the Deadly Toronto Attack.” (Vox)

Blizzard Wants its Diverse Fans to Feel ‘Equally Represented’ by Overwatch’s Heroes“- (Polygon)

Nerdlesque and Body Positive Cosplay.” – (The Geek Anthropologist)

The Redistribution of Sex” – (The New York Times)

…..and finally, “Anyone want to cosplay Overwatch Playboy Bunnies with me?” – (one of the cosplay groups I belong to)

I don’t think it’s too much to say that this is a singular moment in U.S. cultural history.

The headlines above describe the edges of a phenomenon in which women increasingly reject Judith Butler’s “law” of society, and stretch out to make choices that push against multiple canons, societal expectations and collective fantasies.

These events and thoughts, these increasingly violent and entrenched positions have recently led me to believe that there is something really important going on in geekdom, something that could show us the way to how we can get through this moment of gender trouble as a nation.

My Two Cents on What’s Going On

I’ll explain. Let me start from an early essay from Cracked, one of the most perceptive pieces that I had read in quite a while. In 2012, I read this article from David Wong: “Five Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women.”

In the essay, as it states, Wong lays out how men are 1. Taught that they are owed a hot girl, 2. Are trained to see women as decorative, 3. They think that women conspire with their penises to ruin them, 4. They feel like their manhood (of the 300 kind was stolen, and 5. They feel powerless because of all of the above.

I don’t agree with everything in this piece, but much of it rings very true. It’s the author’s attempt to explain why, even though men hold most, if not all of the economic and political power, “no amount of male domination will ever be enough, why no level of control or privilege or female submission will ever satisfy us. We can put you under a burqa, we can force you out of the workplace — it won’t matter. You’re still all we think about, and that gives you power over us. And we resent you for it.” This, Wong writes, explains the rage.

It’s a convincing take on the problem described in the headlines above.

Incels apparently believe they are owed a “hot” woman, believe that women have all the power in society and are filled with violent rage at their lack of power.

And when they are thwarted, and cannot treat women as toys, objects or decorations, they snap and start killing them.

This has got to stop.

We have to stop teaching men that there’s only one way to be a man and it involves big muscles, violence, and treating women like trophies.

so, as I often do, I think cosplay, gaming culture and the fandoms have something to teach us about sexuality, gender, identity and the possibilities of what the world COULD look like, if we could break free of a Karate Kid/Donald Trump kind of world view.

Back to Overwatch: What Can Cosplay Teach Us?

Kiogenic, my daughter, plays Overwatch. Her favorite character is Tracer- a strong, short-haired, fierce lesbian who is as sassy as she is brave.  This is the beauty of Overwatch, as noted above, the game was designed by the people who brought us World of Warcraft, men who realized that women appreciated characters who didn’t just walk around in bikinis. Here is one of the creators reflecting on the decsion to create non-sexualized characters for Overwatch:

“”We’ve heard [from] our female employees and … even my daughter tools me out about it,” he said. “We were looking at old Warcraft stuff on YouTube, a cinematic … and my daughter is like, ‘Why are they all in swimsuits?’ And I’m like ‘Ugh, I don’t know, honey.’

So there are LOTS of choices of representation in Overwatch, the cast list is extensive:

There are lots of different choices for women who want to cosplay or play as non-sexualized and strong women.

Which, frankly, is why I was so confused when I saw the call for Playboy Bunny/Overwatch cosplayers on my Facebook thread.  Didn’t, (I thought), the decision to overtly sexualize the Overwatch players completely undercut the idea behind creating them as non-sexual?

What I’ve decided is…. actually, NO.

While we definitely have a lot of work to do in the representation of women (and men) in society to allow for different types of expression, the “Playboy Bunny” Overwatch characters were examples of women’s agency: their ability, through cosplay, to explore whatever sides of their identity they would like to.

Women, and men, in cosplay, can cosplay, crossplay, gender-bend or make up new and sexually adventurous versions of characters to express and explore their own sexualities freely, and in a healthy way that doesn’t resort to hurting others.

I think it’s GREAT that women don’t have to be confined by either the cage of puritanical “purity” OR the “sexualized decorative trophy.”  Again, I don’t know that women have that freedom everywhere, but I increasingly see it in cosplay.

What’s more, I see an open space for men to cosplay, crossplay or do nerdlesque- breaking out of that toxically limited box of Arnold Schartzenegger testosterone and Trumpian disdain for women.

As Geek Anthropologist Emma Louis Backe writes, “nerdlesque pushes back against pernicious sex myths within the geek community.” Nerdlesque, in which both men and women have the opportunity to perform sexy, burlesque-style performances of their cosplays (Femme Kylo Ren as striptease, for example).  Nerdlesque, as the New York Times, took note of above, is about breaking out of the vicious and damaging hetero-normative narrative about men and women that has framed geek culture for too long. This is the “adorkable misogyny” of Big Bang Theory.  The caricature of geeks as poorly socialized straight men eternally mystified by women hazards becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy: a modest but vociferous circle of geek men seems to warily view the entrance of smart, beautiful, and strong women into the geek fold.”

This paradigm would insist that strong women are a danger to men’s power and position, and that non-ideal body types are not decorative enough to be accepted. This stereotype of course, is just nearly as damaging for men as it is for women. It also, of course, excludes queer and asexual cosplayers by framing everything within the nasty, sick anger-generating paradigm that teaches men to hate women.

Where Can We Go From Here?

If Wong is right, and our culture teaches men to hate women, we need to create better, healthier cultural models. Some of this is ongoing- in cosplay especially.

it’s no secret I’m a fan of cosplay as a way to build self-esteem, promote respect for others, celebrate creativity and help people grow. What I would like to see entertainment, economic and political leaders learn from the beautiful and brave artistic work of cosplayers.

Sex isn’t inherently bad.

Women can enjoy sex.

Men don’t have to be Spartan warriors.

Women don’t have to be barbie dolls.

Men do not HAVE to be ruled by their sexual drives

Women can be strong and smart

Everyone deserves to be safe and happy, everyone deserves to be respected.

All bodies are beautiful bodies.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

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Faces of Cosplay: William Herschel Moore

Greetings! Welcome back to “Faces of Cosplay!”

There was a little hiatus as Kiogenic and I wrote a book….(see the ad to the right!) but I haven’t forgotten about all the great cosplayers I’ve met and talked to. And I am still very committed to helping them showcase their work!

The further I get into cosplay, the more impressed I am with the ingenuity, creativity, and skill of all the cosplayers I know. So without further ado, here is William, who I met in Arkansas at the Arkansas Anime Festival, also known as A2F.

A2F is one of our favorite cons, it’s small, but not too small, friendly, well run and well-attended. The cosplayers we meet there (like Paul, who I’ve profiled before).

The last time we went to A2F (sadly, before Kiogenic ran off to college), I went to check on her in the line for cosplay contest pre-judging.  She had struggled to get into the newly made Yang gauntlets (a very tight fit), and now couldn’t take them off until after the cosplay competition.

These Yang gauntlets!

William, I remember, was walking up and down the super-long line of cosplayers, asking if anyone needed water- and then bringing it to them. So this is my best memory of William, in cosplay, a friendly, decent guy, a superhero for all the thirsty, tired cosplayers!

(side note: conventions that set prejudging appointments, instead of those long lines are better.)

Road Hog from Overwatch

Name:  William Herschel Moore

Day Job:  Game Master at Bolt NWA! An escape room in Bentonville Arkansas

Age: 22

Home Base: Lowell, Arkansas

Why do you cosplay?

It’s fun to be able to become some of my favorite characters and be recognized as those characters!

How long have you been cosplaying? 

I’ve been cosplaying since about 2010, which is crazy to think about now…. it doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing it for 7 years.

How do you choose what characters to cosplay?

Well, honestly I try to find larger characters. I try to fit them to my body type, luckily enough they are all characters I end up liking!

What’s your most famous, or best-known cosplay?

For the longest time, everyone knew me for my Choji Akamichi cosplay from Naruto, I’d say I cosplayed him exclusively for about…. 2 1/2 years?

Choji from Naruto

The more I look at my old Choji cosplay the more I realize it was literally just stuff I pulled from my closet. Aside from the shirt my dad and I made.

Do you make or buy your costumes?

Both actually. I order some pieces online and alter them as well as having help from others when it comes to making stuff. A vast majority of my cosplays are thanks to my friends that have helped me make them. I can’t take the credit for my cosplays.

As Mario (right) with Luigi from Kingdom Hearts Mario and Luigi

What advice do you have for other cosplayers? Especially new cosplayers?

I guess my advice should go hand in hand with what I just said. Never be afraid to ask others for help. You’ll always find people willing to help out and teach you a new way to do things! Who knows, maybe someday someone will come to you asking for help and you can teach them!

What the best thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?
There was one gentleman at a local convention that came up to me and told me that he and his wife always look forward to the cosplays I come up with and loves seeing my updates on his feed. He told me he came to one convention for a day just to see my newest cosplay at the time!

Tombstone Taric from League of Legends

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?

The worst thing I’ve had said to me was because I’m larger, I’ll never get any attention as a cosplayer and that I should just do myself a favor and stop cosplaying all together before something bad happens to me haha. Well, I kept cosplaying and nothing has happened yet!

Do you attend conventions? Do you have a favorite?

Yes, I attend conventions, though lately the number of cons per year has dwindled, due to adulting constantly. Hooray for bills. Can’t really say I have a favorite haha. I love all the conventions I go to equally! Most of the time I go to see my friends and Con family more than anything else.

I interviewed William via Facebook messenger. You can check out his work at https://www.facebook.com/OneMooreTimeCosplay/

Taco, Taako, and Other Signs that I’m Old

 

KIOGENIC IS 19.

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

very much like this. From adorable, small, opinionated talent to drop-dead gorgeous, Talented, outspoken, and excellent person.

Sigh. Anyway, since she now consumes media mostly in another city (away at Webster U., where she is very happy), I am totally clueless about what is going on in much of fandom.

She is, still, however, cosplaying and building cosplay. She just now has new a new cosplay posse, including her friend Raleigh, who lives on her floor in the dorm.

When Kiogenic was home for Christmas break, she asked if she could take the Sulaco (our sewing maching) back to school with her.  I said yes, because our sewing machine fix-it guy, weary of having to repair a machine never meant for sewing pleather, had recommended we get an all-metal old school machine.

So we bought Peggy, at a thrift store, for $20. Isn’t she beautiful?

Peggy

Yes, I name our sewing machines. No, I don’t think that’s weird.

So we had two machines, and she took one back with her to make some new cosplay with Raleigh, which she and Raleigh showed off at Visioncon in Branson, for Kiogenic’s birthday extravaganza.

Here are Kiogenic, Sammy Jo (cosplaybestfriend), Raleigh and Scooter (cosplayboyfriend, who you can see is REALLY TALL.)

My 19-year-old daughter at the convention with her 21-year-old boyfriend, who is a math genius.  Another sign that that I’m old.

Another hint? I was so clueless about what Kiogenic and Raleigh were cosplaying that I misspelled it when I tweeted it out. To be clear, this is Taako, from the podcast The Adventure Zone.

Since the Adventure Zone is a podcast, the fans don’t know for sure EXACTLY what Taako looks like but there is consensus on umbrella, hat, and general fabulousness. This makes cosplay more fun!

Here is Taako’s bio on the wiki:

“He is a high-elf wizard with a chaotic good alignment. He is originally from New Elfington.  Prior to joining up with Merle Highchurch and Magnus Burnsides he hosted a traveling cooking show, ‘Sizzle It Up with Taako’,  but fled after forty people died in the show’s final episode.”

Which frankly, makes him sound to me like the elf member of Spinal Tap. But again, I’m old. She said “Taako” and I heard “Taco.”

So I totally called him “Taco.” On Twitter. To an audience of like seventy billion people.

I’m old. The kid leaves and I’m stuck with TNG  and Tap cultural references.

Anyway, she and Raleigh did Taako with his twin sister Lup. And they were AMAZING.

Fantastic make up by Sammy Jo and photography by Scooter- who turns out to not just be a math genius, but a GREAT cosplay photographer!

And, in my defense, within an hour of me tweeting a photo of her as “Taco”, a nice fan of the podcast had gently corrected me and made FAN ART of her cosplay! Which……I can’t copy and paste in this blog, because again, I’m old. Follow this link if you’d like to see it.

As a bonus, you get to see my original tweet about “Taco.”

Ah well. I may be old, but I’m very lucky. Very blessed and very happy to have such a great kid, with such great friends, and to have such a great family.

 

Mako Mori, Wonder Woman and Black Panther: Rules and Representation

young wonder woman

I’ve spent the last year reveling in the success of the Wonder Woman movie and eagerly anticipating the Black Panther premiere.

Both are huge signs and signals to Hollywood of what we know from cosplay already: that identity, representation and fan inclusion matter. 

As of November, the Wonder Woman movie became the highest grossing superhero origin story ever.  As of today, the film has made 891 million dollars. Almost a billion dollars!

But Black Panther, with it’s massive pre-sales numbers and kick-ass reviews may pass that mark. FANTASTIC.

Black panther kid

Kids. Men. Women. Black.White. Asian. Hispanic. All WANT to see detailed, well-rounded, heroic representations of themselves- as we all know from cosplay. That’s what cosplay has been doing for a long time: offering the chance for people to perform stronger, braver, more beautiful or more dangerous versions of themselves as a way of exploring identity.

That cosplay involves crossplay, gender-bending, mash-ups and other great creativity, however, is a sign that media producers don’t always provide to fans the images that they seek.

Cosplayers, as I’ve said before are both very creative and very savvy about finding ways to both express and represent themselves and also to recognize the figures, characters and ideas that they resonate with.

The kids above, rocking Wonder Woman and Black Panther cosplay, are just two examples.

As a fan and a cosplayer, I’m always impressed by the intelligence and creativity of sf/fantasy/comic fans and their costumes.

But as a scholar, I’m also impressed by the awareness and savvy that gives us the Mako Mori test. 

You may have heard of the Bechdel test, which asks us to consider representation of women in film. The rules are:

  1. is there more than one female character who has a name?
  2. Do the (at least) two women talk to each other…..
  3. …..about something other than a man?

If you stop and think about it, it’s a truly astounding amount of films that don’t pass this test. (And MOST sf/fantasy films don’t.)

In real life, women have identities and names, and they talk, all the time about things that are NOT men. Work, politics, film, whatever.

So this has been a rallying cry for years in an effort to get more women represented in film as both 1. important and not just decorative (that’s also the sexy lamp test. I’ll talk about that later) and also 2. interested in more than just romantic entanglements with men.

But of course the Bechdel test is designed as a guide, not a hard-and-fast up or down rule or vote. There are films that women find to be good representations of them and their aspirational selves, but that don’t pass the test.

Enter the Mako Mori test.

mako mori

Mako Mori is the protagonist of the sf film Pacific Rim.   She is, in fact, the hero of the film, and the film is arguably about her.

But….it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. There are only two women in the film, and they don’t talk to each other.  Doesn’t mean you can’t like it, but for a lot of folks, that was disappointing.

The thing is though that, especially for female fans of Asian descent, it’s really hard to fault a film that is really a coming-of-age/hero’s journey/chosen one tale about a woman.

Fans of color point out how vanishingly few representations there are of Asian women like this.

And so, the Mako Mori test was proposed in a conversation in Reddit by the user Chalia.

The Mako Mori test is:

  1. If the movie has at least one main female character
  2. …who gets her own narrative arc
  3. …and whose arc does not exist solely to support the male lead’s story

This allows a different perspective and appreciation for the film and the truly original and even transgressive stance of placing the woman’s arc in the center of the plot.

so why do we even care? BECAUSE REPRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT.

And this is at least as true for white men as anyone else. Look at the backlash against the strong women in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Men who had grown up visualizing themselves as pure Luke or Han-who-follows-no-orders were existentially troubled by a not-perfect Luke, and a rogue fighter pilot who gets scolded by female generals (and who is really ultimately responsible for all the rebels dying.)

I think it’s important to remember that kids (and adults) can see and visualize themselves as not just victims or assistants, not just girlfriends or servants (please see Spike Lee’s important “Super-duper magical negro” theory.)

the_offensive_black_movie_cliche_that_wont_die

African superheroes, Amazons who run and kick ass in their own nation, Asian robot drivers and Hispanic princess are all IMPORTANT in the dreams they help build, and foster and communicate.

And so are, still, Harry Potter, The Karate Kid and every superhero that the Chris collective plays (Starlord/Kirk/Thor, etc.)

Maybe next we can have representation of men being caring, emotional and collaborative.  Let’s devise a test for that!

 

Meeting the Cosplay Family(s) at La Mole

(Version en Espanol de este articulo por hacer clic aqui)

I’ve returned from my adventure in Mexico at La Mole Comic Con . What a great event.

On Saturday, I met talked with many more cosplayers,  and I was struck by how many family groups there were.

My experience of groups attending together in the U.S. is that these tend to be affinity groups (groups of friends.)  I have met a few family cosplay groups- and after all, I blog as one, but I noticed how many more of these folks I met in Mexico City.

And I am very sure that this is the time I’ve met cosplay grandparents. : )

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Ignacio and Estela as Snow White and The Punisher

Estela was quick to tell me that she isn’t normally the “Princess” type (she’s a fan of the Spiderman franchise)- but had dressed as Snow White for her grand-daughter, who was at the convention as Princess Peach.  Here she is with her little sister (who is the most adorable, tiniest Michonne you’ve ever seen).

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Cosplay grandparents and granddaughters!

Fantastic. More on this family to come.

In addition to the grandparents, I also met groups of siblings and cousins.  Here- Diana, Aden, Joseline, Mariana and Edgar as various characters from Mario Kart (including the “final lap” cloud.)

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They were a lot of fun- had collectively decided to cosplay, had worked on costumes together and were there as a group.

I also met two brother-sister pairs:

Javier and Andrea, taking advantage of the IT hype to give people a fun scare:

Pennywise and Georgie

these two were having a great time and getting along famously.

There were also Rebeca and Ramon (with their father- who like my esposo, was just tech support).

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Rebeca as Camus and Ramon as a Digimon

Rebeca and Ramon’s Dad, beaming proudly (and taking photos of me interviewing these two), is an example of some really nice family support dynamics that I observed, however briefly, at La Mole.

As I’ve written before, I often encounter U.S. based cosplayers who wish they had more family support. Sometimes I’ve met U.S. cosplayers who talk about open hostility to their hobby from their parents and family.

As a Cosplay Mom myself, I’ve always loved that Kiogenic (cosplay daughter) was into cosplay- it’s creative, it’s positive and it has really allowed her to make new friends while learning new skills. So many worse things a young person can spend their time on.

I mentioned this to several of the cosplayers I met in Mexico, but they all reported at best, enthusiastic family support (as in the case of Rebeca and Ramon’s Dad who spent a month of weekends making their costumes), and at worst sort of a shrugged indifference by family members- “huh, that’s a funny thing the kids are into.”

As the cousins told me, the saying is that (paraphrasing) “if your kids spend money on cosplay, they won’t have any for drugs or alcohol.”

True.

So many more people to talk to and much more to learn, but I was charmed and delighted by the wonderful cosplay families I met at La Mole!

A big shout out and thanks to all those supportive families.

 

Familias del Cosplay en La Mole

(For an English version of this post click here)

Acabo de regresar de mi aventura en México en La Mole Comic Con.  Fue un evento fantástico.

El sábado, hablé más con muchos que practicaban el cosplay, y me impresionó la cantidad de familias que había en el expo.

Mi experiencia de grupos en los EEUU es que suelen ser grupos de amigos, unidos por su interés colectivo en un programa o juego.  A veces veo familias que participan juntos, pero me pareció que había más en el D.F.

Para empezar- conocí a abuelos que participaban en caracterizar personajes favoritos.

P1000943_Moment

Ignacio and Estela as Snow White and The Punisher

Estela me dijo al principio que normalmente no se disfrazaría como una princesa (es aficionada del universo Spiderman)- pero esta vez vino al expo como Snow White por su nieta, que asistió como la Princesa Peach de Mario Kart. Aquí se puede ver a la Princesa Peach con su hermana menor- la más pequeña y más adorable versión de Michonne que puede existir.

P1000945_Moment

Cosplay grandparents and granddaughters!

Me parecian fabulosos (y escribiré más de esta familia en el futuro).

Después de los abuelos del cosplay conocí a grupos de primos y hermanos. Aquí- Diana, Adén, Joseline, Mariana y Edgar como varios personajes del Mario Kart. Ellos lo pasaban re bien, habían trabajado en los disfraces como equipo y llegado al expo de muy buen humor.

También conocí a dos pares de hermanos.

Javier y Andrea, que se aprovechaban de la fama de la película IT para “sacar de onda” a la gente y “llegar al extremo.”

Pennywise and Georgie

Los dos se estaban divirtiendo.

Finalmente conocí a Rebeca y Ramón (con su padre, que me recordaba a mi esposo en que sirvió como apoyo técnico)

IMG_0901

Rebeca as Camus and Ramon as a Digimon

 

El padre de ellos, con sonrisa orgullosa (sacando fotos de ellos y de mi en la entrevista) da un ejemplo de las dinámicas de apoyo dentro de familia que yo percibí en ese expo.

Como he dicho antes en este blog, en los EEUU, a menudo me encuentro con gente joven que me hablan sobre su deseo de tener más apoyo de la familia y de sus padres.

A veces conozco a cosplayadores que reciben hostilidad e insultos de su familia.

Como una madre de una hija que participa en cosplay, yo pienso que es un pasatiempo muy saludable. Ella conoce a nuevos amigos y aprende destrezas técnicas nuevas en construir disfraces.

Hay cosas mucho peores.

Como los primos me dijeron en la Mole, en su familia dicen que los jóvenes “que gasten su dinero en cosplay no tienen dinero para alcohol o drogas.”

Es la verdad.

Sé que tengo mucho que aprender sobre el cosplay en México y quiero conocer a muchos más participantes.

Pero hoy quiero dar aplausos a todos los que conocí, y las familias que los apoyan.

#Estoyenlamole- Bilingual Entry in Inglés y Español

(Sigue alternando el español)

I had a great day at La Mole yesterday, and met some wonderful cosplayers and artists.  I learned some things that I’d like to explore more about how similar- and different the cosplay community is in Mexico from the United States. But of course one key thing is language.

I learned that for my somewhat introverted self- it’s that much harder to get up the courage to approach strangers to talk to me about cosplay. And I learned that while I’m pretty fluent in Spanish, my vocabulary lets me down sometimes if I want to talk about, say, forming foam armor with heat guns.  (Many thanks to the patient cosplayers who hung with me while I fumbled around for terminology).

In speaking to cosplayers, I specifically asked if I should blog in Spanish and English to better communicate with the Mexican cosplay community. The resounding answer was YES. So this blog will be bilingual.  I toyed with the idea of doing two separate posts- one in English and one in Spanish. That may be less cumbersome. At some point, I may design a separate Spanish-language site.

For now though,  this post will be bilingual (alternating paragraphs) and I’d be every so grateful for feedback on if that works or not!

Lo pasé re bien en La Mole ayer, y conocí a muchos artistas y cosplayadores talentosos.  Aprendí de varias cosas que quiero explorar más en cuanto a las similaridades- y diferencias de las comunidades del cosplay en Mexico y Los Estados Unidos.  Claro- una de las lecciones claves tiene que ver con el idioma.

Aprendí que para mí- como soy media introvertida, es aún más difícil acercarme a los cosplayadores que no conozco para hacer preguntas.  También aprendí que, mientras tengo destreza en la lengua, muchas veces no tengo el vocabulario de hablar de tales cosas técnicas como formar el “foam” con una pistola de calor.  (Mil gracias a los cosplayadores que me tenían paciencia cuando yo buscaba palabras).

En hablar con los cosplayadores, hice preguntas específicas acerca de si yo debo escribir ambos en español e inglés. Me dijeron que sí.    Por eso, decidí escribir este blog- y los otros que escribo acerca del cosplay latinoamericano, de manera bilingüe. Pensaba también en simplemente tener todo un artículo separado en español- y también en abrir un sitio/blog que esté puramente en español. No sé todavía.

Empecemos con este blog que alterna entre las dos lenguas.  Estaria muy agradecida por comentarios y sugerencias acerca de la cosa.

Where to start? Maybe with my first impressions on similarities and differences- 

¿Cómo empezar? Quizá con lo que es similar, y lo que es diferente.

Similarities/Lo Similar:

The cosplay and art here in Mexico is as amazing and creative and enthusiastic as any con that I’ve attended in the United States.  I will profile some of these cosplayers in more detail in coming posts, but here’s a taste, just from day 1!

El cosplay y el arte que he visto aquí es tan creative, entusiasta y fantástico como el que he visto en los Estados Unidos. En artículos futuros, haré retratos más detallados de algunos de estos cosplayadores. Por ahora,¡ un vistazo del primer día!

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Eduardo y Fernando como Punk Batman y Mecha Joker

Leo como Harley Quinn in Crossplay

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Jagr, author of Momentum with Momentum.

 

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Artista Siames Escalante of Umiiland

What’s Different? / Lo Diferente

Again, I have many observations, but here I’ll add just a few words and expand more later.

The cosplay here is almost overwhelmingly done by males (or who identify as male).  There were lots of women at the convention yesterday, but hardly any in cosplay.  I did see this AMAZING gender-bent Nightwing

P1000933_Moment

I didn’t get to talk to this cosplayer- she (assuming, here) radiated “back off” and had a male bodyguard/chaperone. (I always do my best to respect cosplayers’ desire to talk or be left alone.)

Tengo muchas observaciones, pero ofreceré simplemente algunas en este momento para expandir más en el futuro.

El cosplay que vi fue hecho casi en total por hombres (o los que se identificaban como hombres). Había muchas mujeres en el evento, pero casi ninguna en cosplay. Vi (arriba) un Nightwing- versión femenina, pero no pude hablar con ella (aquí asumo que se identifica como mujer)- dio toda una impresión de “no me hables” y también  vino acompañada por un guardaespaldas/chaperón. (Y siempre hago lo que puedo de respetar a los que participan en cosplay- si están dispuestas a hablar, o si quieren mantener su espacio privado).

I think there will be  a lot to say about gender and gendered cosplay as I work and meet cosplayers and reflect. Today though, I am back to the convention, and look forward to posting more later!

Creo que voy a tener mucho que decir en cuando al genero y como funciona el genero en el cosplay aqui. Sin embargo, necesito tiempo para pensar y reflejar. Y hoy- de regreso al evento!  Escribire mas en el futuro!

Faces of Cosplay: Dr. Crossplay

One of my favorite cons is Cosplacon- a friendly, well-run affair that focuses specifically on cosplay and cosplayers.

This year, I went with Kiogenic (cosplay daughter) and friends to the annual event.  Once they were ready to hit the floor, we went down to the atrium for photos:

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this is Kiogenic’s “Lego Batman” Robin.

When we were done and they had run off to meet up with friends and other people much cooler than I am, I sat in the sunny, 1970’s lobby and watched the show.

I love Cosplacon because just about everyone is in cosplay (it’s a cosplay convention, after all).

There were assassins and pokemon, monsters and anime princesses. A sea of happy, excited and excellent cosplay.

But as I sat there, my attention was most drawn to an stunning, statuesque cosplayer in fishnets, top hat and a tailcoat.

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Dr. Crossplay as Zatanna Zatara

When he worked his way around the floor, I asked to take his photo and we struck up a conversation. This is how I met the eloquent, elegant Edward Johnson, aka Dr. Crossplay.

Name: Edward Johnson

Age-ish: 48 Years Old Be 49 this August

How long have you been cosplaying? I have been cosplaying four years now.

Why do you cosplay? I cosplay for fun along with the recognition and respect from other cosplayers and fans. I’m able to bring my favorite comic book characters to life and I love the positive attention I get from fans,other cosplayers, friends and strangers.

How do you decide what to cosplay? I get a lot of my choices from Google, Bing, Facebook, and Deviant Art.

Do you have a favorite, or signature cosplay? My favorite cosplays are and have been Zatanna, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy.

Dr Crossplay Harley

Harley Quinn.

Do you make or buy your cosplays?  I tend to make my own costumes.just not exactly from the fabric or from the first sequin and stitch up. I throw together my costumes from other clothes and some other costumes I buy locally on the cheap or from thrift and do some hemming here, and adding more style there, to make my costume the way I want it to be the best I can make it to be.

What advice do you have to other cosplayers? Start out small. Go to the nearest con or comic event nearest to where you live. Don’t be afraid to buy a costume and do some modding or fixer-uppers to get the costume to fit how you want it to. Many cosplayers start out for the first time will go with something simple and build up for there as they progress. If you go to a convention, you’ll see a lot of different types of costumes, from store bought to homemade, from simple to complex. Some people aim to look as much like the character they’re portraying as possible. Others don’t. It’s all a matter of personal choice. The key to not being intimidated by other cosplays is to remember, it’s just for fun and those cosplayers are having fun just as much.

What is the best thing someone has said to you about your cosplay? Most people will say “That’s a great cosplay. Did you make it yourself?”

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay? The worst I’ve had to endure a few cat calls and some homophobic slurs. Most of the slurs were online. I will sometimes confront them online and put them in their place and or just block them all together.

Do you attend conventions? I most certainly do attend conventions,Yes. So far it has been Cosplacon in Jefferson City, Dodecacon in Columbia, Visioncon in Branson, Missouri.

 

Please Don’t Be an Ass- Nothing but Love for Fans and Cosplayers

I’ve been thinking a lot about how easy it is to encourage and give hope, but also how easy it is to injure and beat down.

I’m like a lot of us- I carry around compliments and nice things people have said to me like little pieces of precious metal- to pull out and look at when I’m low.

And I also carry around insults and jabs- some from when I was a child. And really, they feel heavier.

This is true for most of us. In work or in relationships, researchers estimate that it takes between 5-10 compliments to offset every insult.

For every negative thing you say to someone, especially a child, you need to say ten positive things.

I knew this intuitively, but as always for me, it helps to see it in scholarly or research form.  I knew this not just because of my own experience, but in what I see in cosplay and at conventions. I love this drawing, because it is so true:

encouragement

Cosplay changed my daughter’s life. The people she met at our very first convention were so kind, so encouraging and so very positive that she left that event saying “I wish I could live at the convention.”

These are the first people that we met. I am sad at how bad this photo is, and very much wish I could tag them, but I want to at least give them credit and love and appreciation here

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I went to a panel led by the gentleman in the top hat the next day, and he even spent some time emphasizing just how important it can be to a young person to be accepted. Steampunk might have generally accepted rules and conventions, but you should never smack somebody down for their effort.

He said, “you might see a young cosplayer, and their whole costume might be just a pair of goggles.”  “And that is GREAT.”

I’m so grateful to him, the ladies in this photo, the artist Eric Burton, who we met at the same convention, and the so many other cosplayers and artists and creators who have been kind to us. Thank you.

I think most people don’t know how much of an effect they can have, even with one small compliment.

But they do, and they can help someone overcome a devastating insult or attack.

We’ve had overwhelmingly positive experiences in cosplay, but just this month, at RTX in Austin, Texas, one of my daughter’s heroes was, well, an ass.

She chose RTX, the convention for the production company Rooster Teeth for her senior trip.  I would have taken her to England or Japan, but she wanted to go to Austin and meet the men and women who make her favorite programs.

It’s her dream job to work for them.

We spent extra money on a VIP pass and she worked for weeks on cosplay and on making art to give as gifts to the celebrity folks to make the shows.

and the vast majority of them were LOVELY and fantastic and complimentary and everything we’ve come to expect and hope for at a convention.

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Cosplay Daughter’s Felix  (RvB) Cosplay. These guys were GREAT

 

But one of the people she was hoping to meet was mean. And that’s really sad.

She stood in line for hours to meet the star of a show she likes (she wouldn’t want me to say which one), and when she got to meet him, she expressed what a big fan she was.

He then proceeded to quiz her on, “well did you see X episode”?

and when she faltered and wasn’t sure, he mocked her, because it was a “trick question”. “We didn’t do an episode about that.”

WTF dude.

Is this because she was female? Young? is he just mean? Who knows.

but out of all the stories she told me after her experiences, including fantastic ones, it was the experience she told me about the most. It hurt. It made her feel small and stupid. It crushed her.  Words like that are even stronger from someone you respect or admire.

Cosplay daughter used to want to code, until I sent her to a computer camp where she was outnumbered by insulting and abusive boys. This reminds me of that.

I’m just glad the positive outweighed the negative at RTX.

I don’t know why someone would behave like that. Arrogance. Misogyny. Damage. I don’t know. But it’s a very strong and valuable reminder to me about how much power both positive and negative feedback and interactions have.

I talked to cosplayers at the convention, mostly working my way down lines of people waiting to get into events. I met lots of wonderful, creative, supremely talented cosplayers like these

RWBY at RTX

All fantastic gender-bent RWBY cosplayers!

Most of the cosplayers were open and happy and proud and ready to share. We would chat, and I’d take photos, and we’d talk materials and characters and backstories with the surrounding crowd.

But as I worked my way up one line, I saw two young Camp Camp cosplayers ahead trying to make themselves smaller and smaller. They couldn’t have had clearer body language that they didn’t want to talk to me. They drew down into themselves and tried to disappear.

So of course I left them alone.

But at the time, I wanted badly to just walk by and say something nice. And now I’m just so much hoping that they didn’t stand in line to meet the nasty celebrity. I hope they had a good and positive convention.

and I hope, very much, that I always remember this lesson. And say nice things. And be positive.

I want very much to be one of the 5 to 10 compliments that helps counter any insult a cosplayer receives.

 

Faces of Cosplay: Sarah Harris

Sarah and I are cosplay moms.

When I first started on the odyssey of helping my cosplay daughter (Kiogenic) craft and construct (without going broke), I started a thread on cosplay.com called “cosplay parenting.”

parenting

This isn’t us, obviously. But great cosplay parenting!

While it seemed to me that there were a good deal of parents who supported their children in costuming (and who cosplayed themselves), I hadn’t found anywhere we could share ideas.

Sarah was an early contributor to that thread. She was helping teenage sons in England as I was helping a daughter in the U.S, and we shared ideas and celebrations. I watched the elaborate process of the construction of her cosplays from across the pond.

We became Facebook friends, and talked politics and life events, family and comics.

We started as fellow cosplay moms, but now she’s more than that: my super-cool English friend- cosplayer, artist, and best-ever tour guide……

Because when Kiogenic and I were in London this summer, I finally got to MEET Sarah in person!

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She was lovely and warm and friendly, and had organized the most fascinating street art and counter-culture tour of Camden- ever. We wound around the market and through alleys, looking high and low at the work of many of Sarah’s friends.

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This was my favorite.

She showed us the places the cool kids hang out and showered cosplay daughter with comic book gifts.

As she and Kiogenic browsed comics and graphic novels at a small, locally-owned shop, I chatted with the guy behind the desk, who was interested to learn how I knew Sarah.

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“It would have been awkward if you hadn’t gotten on” he observed.

He was right. I suppose it would have been. But I hadn’t really worried about it. Sarah was already a friend before I “met” her in person. Fascinating, brilliant, talented and delightful.

So today I’d like to offer a profile of my cosplaymom, artist,  costumer and maths-whiz buddy Sarah:

Name: Sarah Harris
Day job: statistician for a marketing agency
Age-ish: 50 (ouch!) (Still not quite come to terms with that!)

Why do you cosplay?

At the moment I’m not (although never say never!), but when I did it was for 2 reasons…for something fun to do with my sons, and because I just love making things. The construction side of cosplay tended to be more fun to me than the actual dressing up part.

How long have you been cosplaying?

The first cosplay I made was 3 years ago. The first I wore was 2 years ago.

How do you choose your character(s)?

The only costume I ever made for myself was Rocket Raccoon. I thought he looked like a fun construction challenge and I wanted to make it for one of my boys but neither were keen…. so I made it for myself instead! The boys’ costumes were always characters they chose themselves from computer games.
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Rocket Raccoon. The tail. And the GUN!

Do you have a signature, or favorite cosplay?

Favourite is probably the Lich King armour from World of Warcraft that I made for my son Connor. It took over a year!
Lich King

Sarah has SKILLZ.


Do you make, or buy your cosplays?

Everything made from scratch. Making is the fun bit for me.

What advice do you have to other cosplayers?

Blimey…..people don’t usually ask me for advice! just have fun with it I guess! And if you aren’t having fun either change the way you do it until it IS fun, or find something else you enjoy more.

What’s the best thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?


Best reactions are always from the little ones. “Rocket I love you” is probably the best 🙂

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?


This is going to sound horribly smug but I don’t think I’ve heard any negative comments! Closest I guess is “oh it’s a CHICK in there!” when someone heard Rocket talk in an unexpected lady voice 🙂

Do you attend conventions?

Yes, around one per month. Comic books are my first love so I tend to go to the ones which are comic content heavy.
Which is your favorite?
ooh, hard to choose. the best I’ve been to this year so far was a bit of a one off, a convention to celebrate the 40th birthday of the British comic 2000AD. I’ve been reading it since I was 9 🙂 So that was a real blast.

Check out Sarah and the rest of the Implausible Cosplay Gnus of her family at: https://www.facebook.com/implausibilityofgnus