Thoughts and more

Pride and Cosplay

As I sit here with my wireless going down regularly, I’m still able to watch facebook cosplay groups collectively lose their minds because of cosplayers who dare to Pride up their cosplays. It’s probably important that I mention I’m primarily seeing this happen in the Star Wars cosplay world, but I’m sure it’s a problem beyond just there.

So what’s going on? Let me put this plainly: people who have a problem with someone adding a rainbow flag to their costume are bigots. I have never seen cosplay groups flip out over mash-up cosplays or other costumes that might deviate from the canon outfit. I’ve seen Hello Kitty Avengers, Stormtroopers decked out in Louis Vuitton or Adidas, amongst a ton of other mashed up and non-canon costumes. I’m sure there are people that aren’t thrilled with them, but I’ve never seen outrage over them.

No outrage over those costumes, but outrage over rainbow flags? Outrage and insults flying. Screaming over their hobby becoming political. News flash: nobody’s sexuality or gender expression is harming you. It’s not ruining your hobby. It’s not making it political. LGBTQIA+ people exist. They’re not mythical. They are simply existing and Pride is a time they can do that, be proud of their existence and celebrate the brave people who got them to this point. Want to learn more about Pride? The Human Rights Campaign has a really concise history of Pride here.

But why does this all intersect with cosplay? Cosplay is a place where marginalized people often find an open and welcoming community as well as the chance to express oneself in a safer environment. I’m a chubby nerd who likes to make stuff. Cosplay provided a safe place for me. The same applies for pretty well any other marginalized group including LGBTQIA+. We should strive to be welcoming of all types of people who show up to cosplay with us; gay, fat, POC, trans, neurodivergent or whatever else makes someone feel not included in their communities.

Welcome everyone and enjoy the diversity the cosplay community allows to us experience. I’ve learned so much from the people within the community and I hope I can turn what I’ve learned into action to help those who need it. I’ve seen the cosplay community work to raise awareness of cancer and support those who need it. The LGBTQIA+ community should be part of the people we wrap our arms around. Feel excited for Pride. Raise them up. Learn how you can work to include people instead of making them feel different. We all need to be welcome and in turn be welcoming. Show some love and maybe you’ll experience some in return.

 

 

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God….I hate that character

Do you hate some characters that everyone seems to cosplay? Or do you hate that particular character design?

Yeah, same here. There are some characters I just can’t stand. So what do you do when you see a cosplayer dressed as them?

You shut your mouth and mind your own business.

Seriously. Shut up. That person clearly liked that character enough to dress up as them and possibly spend hours upon hours working on a costume and props. Your opinion will do nothing but upset them as you’re just being a rude jerk.

What do cosplayers owe you?

To make it short, nothing. Given this, how can we all adjust our expectations?

That said, cosplayers LOVE TO HAVE THEIR PICTURES TAKEN. Most of the time, they will be more than gracious to any fan. As long as you ask nicely, that picture with Spider-man is most likely yours. So many cosplayers love to comb the internet after a con looking for a picture of their cosplay taken by a fan on their adventure to the con. It can be a real kick seeing your photo on a stranger’s Instagram. It is crucial to remember though that a con is not Disney World and those cosplayers are not paid costumed actors.

Over the years, I’ve read and heard plenty of complaints from con goers that cosplayers were rude to them and wouldn’t agree to photos. But let’s break this down. Cosplayers….are just con goers in costume. They paid to attend the same event as everyone else. They have friends to see, vendors to visit, bathrooms to use, snacks that need to be eaten. Sometimes they’re running to attend or participate in a panel. Sometime they’re waiting in line to see George Takei too. Let them enjoy their con just as you would like them to let you do.

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Everyone should have a great time at the con, cosplayers and non-cosplayers alike. Don’t follow a cosplayer into a bathroom stall because you want a picture. Yes, that’s happened to me and other cosplayers I know. Let a cosplayer eat their hot dog. Let them check out that vendor; you can ask for a picture once they’re done (the vendor will be grateful too!). Ask nicely. Don’t snipe creepy photos from across an aisle; you’ll get a much better photo if you let the cosplayer know they’re getting their picture taken and can pose. Don’t touch cosplayers without their permission. Basically, let a cosplayer enjoy the con like every other person. If you do that, you’ll get a photo or ten. Often those people who have complained about rude cosplayers not agreeing to a photo just weren’t respectful of the situation.

And cosplayers, you have a part in this too. Be nice. Can’t take a picture because you’re on the run to get to a panel? Let that person know. Tell them you’d be happy to stop for a photo when you have more time later. What it’s all about is treating each other with a bit of respect. We all can enhance each other’s experience if put a little effort into it. And as always, no means no and that needs to be respected too.

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You and Me and Colossalcon Makes Three

Ah, I’m back. Feels tremendous. Sorry for the hiatus. I needed to find my equilibrium.

So, what’s up with you? It’s been a bit. I hope you’re doing well, making cool stuff, and taking care of yourself. If not, you’re doing your best and tomorrow you can try again.

As for me, I’ve been all over the place!  End of the school year is always full of non-stop everything. And let’s not forget the stress of Colossalcon. Not cosplay stress though. Usually school is over by Colossal…but, this year not quite. Needless to say, I’ll be working right up until I leave for con on Friday. If you were hoping to hunt me down before that, no such luck.

But that leads to the next bit of awesome news! On Sunday at 10am (you can do it! Just drink a few less on Saturday night! and bonus, badges for Sunday are waaaaay cheaper), I’ll be presenting I can believe I wore that! A Guide to Plus Size Cosplay alongside the fabulous Ginger Pétillant-Perón. I am SO EXCITED.

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Inappropriate gif usage? Perhaps. But really, I am beyond thrilled to have been accepted to present a panel at Colossalcon. To a large degree, which I’ve discussed before, I found a lot of confidence in my body at that particular con. And seeing that it’s a con with a cos-fit contest, it might seem backwards. I hope that our panel can help others find their confidence too. You have just as much of a right to be at that waterpark in a bikini or burkini or t-shirt and shorts as anyone else. So please swing by and hang out with Ginger and myself. And don’t think only plus-sized folks are allowed! When we boil this all down, what we really want to promote is that cosplay is for everyone no matter your shape, size, gender expression, color, or whatever else makes you feel different. Please come and share the stories and love. Seriously, we want all your beautiful faces there.

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Ah! And I’m gonna get some pics of cosplays finally! And stuff!

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Hey Errrrybody

So I’ve fallen off the face of the planet. After an extremely busy early March with Cleveland Concoction and Wizard World, I was hit by a series of losses; family friends, family, former students. It wore me out mentally and emotionally. I’ll be the first to admit cosplay fell off my radar because of it. But finally next week I have spring break and I am greatly looking forward to hitting the big reset button during that time and getting myself back on track…b/c COLOSSALCON is right around the corner. I’ll be back with you all very soon and I am looking forward to it. Any suggestions for topics you want me to hit up? Send them my way.

Well that was different….

What an absolute difference a week makes. One week ago I was a guest at a small fan-run convention. The day after I get home I find out that I would be working at Wizard World Cleveland that coming weekend. These cons are completely different beasts and man was I going to find that out by jumping headfirst into it.

I found out officially that I was going to be a vendor, as well as presenting on the creative stage, literally the Monday before the con. Oops. Guess I wasn’t going to have time to request of time from work for the con itself or load-in times. This required some real rearranging of my schedule, a lot of leaning on good friends for help, and a definitely some flexibility. Yikes.

Luckily, somehow, everything seemed to end up working out. Staff with the con was super great at making sure my info got up on their site almost immediately and it looked so smooth and sleek. Check-in with Wizard World was easy and efficient as well. I didn’t really see too much of con staff during the weekend…but I guess that’s ok.

One thing I really noticed about large cons like Wizard World over the smaller cons is that everything is up and running right away. Gates open and attendees pour in. Definitely no time to really acclimate to the situation, you’re just in it. But as a vendor, that’s what you want; feet in the aisles and eyes on your merchandise.

I was located in LGBT Alley, which is a new and growing feature of Wizard World conventions championed by fellow cosplayer and good friend, Alexa Heart. It’s an area of the con dedicated to LGBT and LGBT-friendly vendors. Often I find small cons to have an emphasis on diversity and inclusion and despite the seemingly open atmosphere cons have, there isn’t always a safe place for our LGBT friends. It was a super friendly area to be a part of and I really look forward to what Wizard World may do with the area in the future. Trust me, there’s a need. I really loved my aisle mates and we had a blast even in the slow times. Definitely need to work on my booth set-up though, which is fine for smaller cons or craft shows, but tended to get lost in the massive booths around me.

Now did I say I presented on the creative stage too? Oh yes, I did. So yeah, that was pretty neat. I got to present my wig care panel and I love teaching people about wigs. I always feel like I get to help remove some of the mystery of wig wearing and styling and hopefully getting someone closer to living their wig life to the fullest. Ok that sounds dramatic, but seriously, wigs are intimidating. If I can help someone feel more confident about cutting or just wearing a wig, I feel like I’m actually providing the cosplay community with the lessons I want to be more available to all cosplayers.  That’s what I really love to do.

It was definitely a whirlwind of a two weeks for me, but I am so incredibly glad that I had the opportunities that have come my way. And now I’m going to go pass out for the entirety of this weekend.

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Cleveland ConCoction or How I learned to stop caring about the size of the vendor room and embrace the small con

My first con was Wizard World (in its infancy as a touring con) and I was absolutely blown away by the size. It was so cool to see so many geek things in one place; things that up to that point I hadn’t really been able to find outside of a comic shop. It was so exciting. To be honest, it could have been the worst con in the world, but since it was my first time in such a big space, it was the world to me.

My second con was Chicago TARDIS, a single-fandom con focused solely on Doctor Who. What a complete difference from my first con. It was smaller and more intimate. I spent more time in panels than the dealer’s room (don’t worry though, I left with too much merch anyways). I enjoyed evening programming like karaoke and dancing. It was definitely a whole new perspective on what cons could be. And by the way, it was massive fun.

Since then my con-going career kept going and going. I have been to Cleveland ConCoction 4 times, 3 times as a guest and once as a featured panelist. In those times, I’ve grown to love the con so much. Like my time at Chicago TARDIS, the programming is spectacular. All day long there is something to attend from author panels to comedy presentations and so much more. There is tons to learn from professional guests and panelists who attend in the various subject areas and those guests are also available to chat in between at their tables.

Beyond the excellent programming, small cons like ConCoction allow attendees to form fast friendships and develop a con family of sorts. My years at the con have introduced me to some of the coolest people I would probably not otherwise have the chance to meet. They’ll come to my panels, workshops and chat at my table. It’s amazing. And it’s not just happening to me because I have been a guest. The amount of hugs I saw go around before everyone headed home at the end of con on Sunday was amazing. So much love to go around to people who have just days before (or years before for annual attendees) been total strangers.

I have also been fortunate enough to see this con grow over several years. There have been different approaches to programming over the years and a move to a larger, rambling hotel (ok, it seems really rambling. My room felt like 5 miles from the lobby, but ended up just down the hall from most of the con stuff). Oh and there’s this annex building to the hotel which I kind of thought might be a bit of a pain, but it housed most of the gaming. It was pretty cool to see the gamers have that much room dedicated to just themselves….and a food truck.

My absolute favorite thing I’ve experienced in my capacity has been seeing the cosplayers grow and compete. I’ve seen cosplayers take their first tentative steps in an environment they perceive as safe to getting their first offers to become cosplay guests themselves. That’s so fulfilling. To know you’ve had any impact on someone’s growth as a cosplayer is so incredible.

As for that vendor room? Small cons have great vendors as well. Sure their booths might not be 25 feet tall with enclosed shopping, but you’re going to get a great personalized shopping experience. Expect lots of local geek businesses and an emphasis on bolstering smaller businesses.

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