Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist
People are really putting the cosplay community on blast lately. I can’t lie. I am pleased. A lot of the things that are being said are things I have personally said or things I have said in conversations with cosplaying friends. I am blessed to have friends that have been in the community as long as me (10+ years. I have personally been at this for thirteen) and friends that are newer to the hobby. It is utterly astounding how different the views are on cosplay. Is our community that divided? Veteran cosplayers look at this hobby in a whole different light then the newer ones.
Recently I read “The Race for ‘Likes’ and Why It’s Damaging the Cosplay Community“. This is what got me to thinking about this hobby and, while I wrote a nearly incoherent comment on the blog post, I wanted to take the time to write about cosplay on my own blog. I rarely write about cosplay on here because I am just so jaded about the community these days. It seems nearly daily that an article such as that one pops up that confirms that I am A.) not the only person that recognizes this is a problem and B.) really do not see any way this is going to change. Essentially the article is saying this in a nutshell: Cosplayers are letting likes on Facebook dictate who is talented, but SPOILER, men are the number one consumers of cosplayers. Men are the ones typically doing the “liking” and sharing.” Well, what do you think straight, male nerds want to see? Ass and tits.
Looking back on my own costumes, I have certainly evolved more towards this asinine trend of pandering to what the men want. It was probably a subconscious decision when my boobs grew in. I am a late bloomer and when the boobs grew in they really grew IN. I’m proud of my girls and, more often then not, I guess the internet is proud of them too. But I am undeniably a crossplayer. That’s right ladies and gents. I like to dress as a boy. Typically, a 12-15 year old boy. The last crossplay I did was in 2010. I was Ginga Hagane from Beyblade Metal Fusion/Fight. Considering I took a cosplaying break in 2012, I have not done a male character in so long. It was not because I consciously decided to not dress as boy. It just some what happened. I found myself planning a male costume this year and actually had to pause. How well would this go over in this new era of cosplay?
Well, it wouldn’t go over too well.
Because crossplayers have no place in this new era.
It is absolutely madness that it has gotten to the point that only sexy women are being recognized in a hobby with amazing talent. I was astonished – flabbergasted even! – when a popular female cosplayer told her facebook fanpage she would cosplaying Robin from Young Justice and her fans were horrified. Oh the HORROR of her covering up her body to do a costume she really wanted to do of a boy. I commented on her picture encouraging her to do it.
And the poor male cosplayers. Their numbers are even lower. The highest male cosplayer number I have seen was probably around 4000 while “sexy hot women” are tapping out nearly 300k nowadays and growing. How ridiculous is that!
(edit: I found a guy with nearly 100k likes! That was a shocking surprise)
But it isn’t even about these sexy women. They are sexy. They use what they got to get what they want. It is more about these likes and shares numbers. Cosplayers are constantly following these trends. New cosplayers come into the hobby and think that this is what they must do to build a large following of – who? Weird people on the internet. It is no secret these numbers can get you some crazy awesome
opportunities. I think, at it’s core, this is what all of us really want. To make it in a hobby we love. Because, honestly, if I can get invited to conventions with my mere 200 or so “likes” (thanks for sticking in there with me, folks!), then that will be what I really want. I really just want to share my knowledge of cosplay. I really just want to be told I am doing a good job after committing so much time, money, and effort to my costumes. Because I do make them by myself. It is my money going into them. I do it for myself and do not need any validation to keep doing it. After all these years, there is really nothing anyone can say to keep me going or to make me quit. But that one appreciative comment that my time was not a complete waste was always enough to make me smile.
However, anything less then – say, 10,000 is not going to get my invited to any convention. It is not going to open some magical cosplay door. Because no matter the amount of knowledge and talent that I have teeming from my every fiber, it means nothing to anyone without the likes to “back it up.” That is really, really sad.
Before social media, before likes/shares/followers, there was this little thing called cosplay. Nerds would dress up and go to conventions. They would search all over the backwater parts of the internet for even a place to talk about cosplay because it was not so open. They would all be so kind to each other. They would share tips in forum format. They would form life long friendships. They would compete in contests to show off their craftsmanship. I love this hobby. I always have since I was fourteen years old. I see where it is leading, but I do not see a way to stop it. I’ve been trying to get with the program, but all I really want to do is run around as a boy on weekends. Is that too much to ask? Am I contradicting myself if I do try to get likes and garner awareness of my page? Is it a contradiction to do a sexy costume without really wanting attention from it? So many questions with no answers.
Now a shameless plug. I have been considering writing an entire book about the trepidation of being a cosplayer, but also focusing on some of the positive aspects too! The book will be titled Confessions of a Cosplay Underdog and would, hopefully, contain a ton of good blogs from the across the internet on a variety of subjects dealing with the cosplay community. There will be a way to submit articles, blogs and even photos coming in a few weeks (or at least I hope in a few weeks).