Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cosplay is NOT Consent

Instead of writing about the events of today's Comic-Con, I'd like to focus on a single encounter that essentially defined my day.

After successfully picking up some swag from the Plants vs. Zombies booth, I was approached by a woman. The conversation went like this:

Woman: You know EVERYONE can see down your top.

Me: Excuse me? I am wearing a shirt under my corset.

Woman: Doesn't matter. EVERYONE can see down your top.

Me: I don't see what the problem is. I am covered up.

Woman: It doesn't mater. [At this point, I believe she says] It makes it seem like you have something that you don't.

The woman and I walked away from each other, and I was left in shock. My cosplay outfit of the day consisted of a sleeveless shirt with lace shoulders, a long black bustle skirt, and an overbust corset on top of the shirt. I did not feel my cosplay was inappropriate in any way. Moreover, why did it matter what I was wearing? Why did it bother her so much that she took the effort to approach me?

Conventions are one of the few times people can come out of their shell and dress in unique ways. For me, cosplay is one of the big reasons I attend conventions, and I take pride in the outfits I put together. I strongly believe that wearing cosplay does NOT give others consent to harass or make unwanted advances. There should be no place for such negativity in an environment where everyone is simply trying to have fun.

This is not the first time I've been victimized by sexual harassment at a convention. While dressed up as Pinkie Pie during FanimeCon, an individual made negative comments about what I was wearing. I realize that I probably should have brushed off these comments, but at both Comic-Con and FanimeCon they bothered me enough that I went back to my hotel and changed.

I share my story because I want to prevent other con-goers from experiencing the shame and self-consciousness that I felt today. Harassment can ruin someone's convention experience, so please be respectful and keep your mouth shut if someone's dress does not please your personal aesthetic. Let's keep Comic-Con and other conventions a safe place for self-expression and creativity.

1 comment: