We can get into a long, healthy discussion about the culture of the cosplay world, but I wanted to focus on three things in particular.
1) The cosplay community is so vibrant, beautiful, creative, and awe-inspiring. I watch videos of cosplay groups, I see people magically construct outfits and props, I see people bond, connect and build something amazing together. That is such an amazing thing to witness, I hope that the cosplay community stays around forever.
2) Sexual harassment and sexual assault is a very real thing in this community and it can happen to anyone. I cannot and never will be able to wrap my mind around the existence of this mentality, but it is very much present in our society, and that both infuriates and saddens me very much.
3) The concept of said harassment is sometimes exploited and that makes me even madder and more upset.
I read an article today and it was about a young woman who called out her harasser stating the following:“Thirteen years ago, I was under 18- a minor. I was attending an anime convention in the Chicago area. A group of cosplayers, including myself, headed up to a hotel room to change out of our costumes. We were followed. While we were undressing, a photographer began slamming into our room’s locked door in an attempt to break in. The room had one of those sliding locks, which broke open under the force. The photographer rushed in with a camera, attempting to get nude photos and/or video of underage cosplayers.“That is a direct copy/paste from her article.
As you can imagine, the photographer being accused of the above lost credibility, lost work, lost contacts with conventions, etc… Said photographer uploaded a video of that exact moment. None of the the accusations were true. I will post the video below and if you look in the description, he links to all other correspondence/articles.
Her response: First and foremost, I’m not posting the video here. It would be triggering to some, and also NSFW due to language. You can find it yourself, gentle reader.
My reaction is this: No, clearly I did not remember all the details. It was 13 years ago, and I’ve tried to be honest and clear any time something new came to light.
I must call BS here. This guy’s reputation has taken so much damage because of an accusation that was made based on a foggy memory from 13 years ago. She even goes on to say that he didn’t remember exact details either. I WOULDN’T EITHER IF HAD TO REMEMBER SHIT FROM 13 YEARS AGO. She instigated this cry wolf story. She wouldn’t link the proof against her because it would be “triggering”. There was nothing in the video that would cause such a violent, mental breakdown on her part of any parties involved. Even in the moment that was recorded, there was no drama, no overreaction, just… nothing. Nothing was wrong. No one was screaming, a riot didn’t happen, police weren’t called. I highly dislike people who exploit the “trigger warning” concept and use that as a shield to hide behind.
Whatever her reasons for doing all this, it has done nothing for the community and it has damaged both herself and the photographer. Did he have an idiotic moment? Yes. You can see why in the video below. Did this moment warrant being accused of doing something illegal and have his reputation tarnished? Nope.
It is a shame that some within this community want to tear it down for the sake of popularity. A friend of a friend wrote a damn good closing statement to this whole thing: As much as we need to protect women and young girls at conventions from sexual harassment, we also need to ensure that people won’t be subjected to unfair witch hunts over someone else’s self-victimization fetish.
That being said and going back to point 2, there are very real situations that happen, and I will always be of the belief that people should say something and report anything that happens to them. There are legitimate stories out there, and probably tons more that are not told because people are afraid to use their voice. I will always encourage you to fight back and not stand for someone using you, bullying you, or think they can take advantage of you because you are enjoying a hobby you love.
Going back to point 1, I don’t cosplay very much, but with my dabbling in this community, I will always believe that this culture should be about creating and enriching. It should be about learning new skills, acquiring more knowledge and achieving camaraderie. This community is absolutely beautiful in its heart and I want that to be its legacy.