Diversity and Cosplay: Why are there so many hang-ups?
I just don't understand WHY this has been and is becoming more of a problem in Geek Culture. Because we've all come up against some type of stigma in everyday life for loving what we love... Which is Geek Culture. Whether that is your overwhelming love of comic books, anime, manga, video games or anything else that falls into that category.
And now there is hate, harassment, hurt, and misunderstandings happening all the time within OUR own community, where we're supposed to be able to feel comfortable, secure and without judgement for the thing or things we love doing.
One of those THINGS we are talking about here is COSPLAY.
Curves and Cosplay
Why is it that, when I am at any CON that I've ever been to, I hear the whispers of "she is too fucking fat to be Wonder Woman!?" I mean, IT DRIVES ME FREAKING CRAZY! It is just my opinion (as we all have them) but those women and young girls that build up enough courage to strut their curvy stuff in an convention center full of strangers and not miss a beat should be applauded. These women should not be body shamed just because the character they are portraying is a size 0. And said characters are made of the imaginations of the mind, pencil lead, ink, paints and adobe illustrator. It's not real! But the feelings and emotions of these CCC's (Courageous, Curvy Cosplayers) are real. And how is it going to benefit or make your life better by "whispering" (I quote that because, trust me, most people are horrible at whispering, and most of the time people aren't trying to whisper at all) about their size? I wonder if those "Whisperers" even think about all the hard work, man-hours and monetary cost that went into making that perfect sized outfit. And then that final talk in the mirror to themselves that they have pulled out all the bells and whistles, and pulled it off to boot! And telling themselves "I AM REALLY FUCKING ROCKING THIS COSPLAY!"
I guess I'm just trying to understand how breaking a person down for expressing their love for their favorite character betters us in the Geek Community. People come in all sizes and shapes, and not all fictional characters do. So like Thumper said "if you don't have anything nice to say... Keep it in your fucking head, or get socked in the face-hole!" I think that's what that damn bunny said, but you get my drift. LOL.
Race and Cosplay... Don't you roll your eyes at me!
Yes, I'm going to talk about it. Because people are STILL talking about. These are more of the murmurs I hear at the CONS or I read on the Instagram comment post. "Sailor Moon is not black, so why would she even...?" Again, it's a fictional character. If I connect with that character it shouldn't matter what color I am and vice versa. People could (and I know they do) ask you why do still buy toys (collectible figures) and watch cartoons (animated films or anime) at your age, you should grow up already. Because that's for kids, bro! And we've all been ridiculed for our interest. So... why are we spreading that negativity in the GC (Geek Community?) And with a limited amount of characters of color in the main vein of popular GC, what are black people supposed to do... Just not cosplay or just keep recycling those same few over and over again?
But in the same breath, some white people have a connection with some black characters, and they are unapologetic about it. As it should be.
If you are going off the rails with the color thing, you might want to thing about it. I am not by any means saying if you want to go to COMIC-CON 2017 as Michonne of The Walking Dead, then by all means. Go kill that shit with all your might! But if your face paint is questionable, watch a YouTube tutorial or just go without it.
Because my fear for you is that you are unconscious of the awkwardness you are about to create for yourself and others. And 9 out of 10 times, I know that people are not TRYING to be offensive or hurtful with face painting themselves as African Americans. And I know that some people are just super sensitive and no matter what you do, they are going to find fault in your portrayal just because you are not black. Number 1. Forget them & do you. Its OK and you're not racist.
Let's illustrate this point a little though. Let's say you wanted to go as Mr. PoPo from Dragon Ball Z. And yes, I do know that Mr. PoPo is not African American, but he is literally BLACK. And I know that Mr. PoPo skates on the lines of Black Face, but let me make my point. OH, look at that, I have pictures...
Now, I am not saying that the guy on the left meant anything but to go as Mr. PoPo. But he didn't quite get the face paint where it should be. It could leave some feeling a little sideways about what he is really trying to do. Even if you know as soon as you see him, he is Mr. PoPo, but it can come off awkward. The kid on the right has got the idea down pact. Instead of painting his body black, he did a black long sleeve shirt and gloves. The face paint is EVERYTHING. He did the red lip, the gold trim on the jacket and the turban looks like he took his time and care with it.
I once commented on a Facebook post about if a young lady (mixed-black/white) should have painted her skin darker to pull off a dark skinned character. And I stated that it wasn't necessary, for whatever reason I wrote, but she could do what she liked at the end of the day. Oh... SHE TORN INTO ME! And I just watched the flames grow from there with comments from others. It was cray, yo!
I just think this is more appropriate.
The white woman in this picture is killing it as Michonne! I am not going to wonder who the hell she is when I see her walking down Concourse M at the CON. She doesn't need the brown skin for her to register in the mind as Michonne. If you work on the actually details of the costume, that will put you were you need to be to read as that character.
And standing next to the African American woman as Michonne illustrates the point even more so. Because the Details are everything and she looks just as much as Michonne as her counterpart.
If people maybe wouldn't focus so much on the color of a character, and making it a MUST or it just won't work, I think that would save a lot of stress on the cosplayer and the viewer.
Hey, but do you.
Trouble Free Face/Body Painting
I also think it's super cool when cosplayers stretch the skills and paint their entire bodies to bring to life our favorite other-worldly characters of GC. Or tan just the right shade to pull off a professional flesh tone finish like Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder. Below are some beautiful examples of black and white cosplayers doing just that.
Let's all agree that cosplay is for fun. And we don't need to spread the negativity that others outside the GC put on us, and funnel that same toxic energy to our brothers and sisters in the GC. No matter their color or size.
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