Confessions of a Cosplay Underdog

edward

 

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.

I just can't help that I look awesome as a boy

I just can’t help that I look awesome as a boy

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.

Why?

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)

My Ginga Costume during one of the rare times it snows in South Carolina. Did it ever snow in Beyblade?

My Ginga Costume during one of the rare times it snows in South Carolina. Did it ever snow in Beyblade?

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

I did Yoko back when there wasn't a such thing as a Facebook Fan Page. A costume made from pure adoration of the character.

I did Yoko back when there wasn’t a such thing as a Facebook Fan Page. A costume made from pure adoration of the character.

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.

My Black Widow costume made my likes skyrocket briefly. Hmm, I'll give you two guesses why.

My Black Widow costume made my likes skyrocket briefly. Hmm, I’ll give you two guesses why.

 

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).

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5 responses to “Confessions of a Cosplay Underdog

  1. Fantastic article and idea!

    I’ve always found it incredibly odd that a group of generally outcasted group of people ever feel the need to make other people feel outcasted, but I suppose it’s because it’s the only way they can feel better about themselves. Good cosplay is good cosplay and should always be considered as just that, regardless if there’s a lack of boob or a little chub.

    • It feels like highschool! I thought I escaped all of this, but whenever there is a large community I suppose there will be tiers. I think if popular cosplayers were more eager to interact with the not so popular ones (and not just their “fans”) then it would be a whole different ball game. Some of them won’t even answer craftsmanship questions from other cosplayers

  2. I think that what you are doing as a cosplayer is amazing and has always been Amazing! When I first started back in 2008, you were one of the first cosplayers that I actually talked to on cosplay.com and had been a spark of inspiration since then. 😀 I love following the work and progress that you put into the cosplays and when they’re done you do a killer job!! You should have more likes and follows in my opinion. 🙂

    When I’m looking for cosplays, it doesn’t matter to me how large their fanbase is. If they have a killer costume and look amazing in their photo, they get a like from me. (A great photographer really makes the cosplay image as well) Dedication, effort and accuracy are what stand out to me the most. There are a few big name cosplayers that look good in photo or such, but I see huge mistakes in the costume. That turns me off while I’m thinking, “Not sure if person cosplayed because they actually love this character, or they could just make them look “sexy.” I’m not much of a critic and I know that cosplay is expensive and very time consuming that not everyone can create a costume as accurately as possibly. It’s just a little upsetting to see someone with a smaller fanbase come with a perfectly accurate cosplay, yet not get as much recognition.

    With tits and ass being one of the “highlights” of cosplay, I feel that this is true with most anything that involves a fan following. it’s hard to get established when there are so many people on the interwebs out to creep for only that. I kinda understand why there’s such a pressure for females to cosplay as sexy characters or alter their characters (even male) to be even more sexy. Ugh, it’s like a neverending battle. >_< I myself (noob to cosplay) look at the cosplayers with huge following and just think that I couldn't ever really get to that status because I'm just lacking something in looks. It sucks to feel like that! 😦 Even though I cosplay just for complete fun, it would be cool to have a piece of that larger fanbase to be recognized for the effort.

    So yeah, I feel what you mean in this article. Wonderful writing btw! Sorry I kind of rambled with this post. I think writing a book about this issue would be an AWESOME idea! 😀

    • Appreciate your comment! You didn’t ramble at all 🙂 it’s all a vicious cycle – from character creator to cosplayer. I shouldn’t completely blame the cosplayers because there really aren’t many women to work with that aren’t dressed super sexy in media these days. And the ones that are not dressed that way have boring outfits! Even still, you can tell who does it for the attention and who doesn’t just by following their work and seeing the trend in their costume.

      I know I’ll never get to a huge “fanbase” because I’m 1.) black 2. curvy. Two strikes against me! Haha. Sad, but true. I can never fit the cookie cutter image the community wants. That’s why I just carve my own path and do costumes that are FUN to me. Hopefully I will get back in shape (for when I do want something sexy) and also get back in guy’s costumes soon.

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