If you look around the site at our costumes, you can probably tell that I like to hide that I’m a girl. Part of this is because I hate my face. Part of this is because I think women have more to offer than just their tits. And part of this is because I don’t like gender being part of the equation in the reception of my costume.
“Oh you did a great job…..for a girl.”
(Granted, it is an added wow factor when something hulking or tall has someone 5’5″ inside it, but there are plenty of short guys pulling off the same feat.)
I wore a skimpy costume to Pax (Juri Han) because I genuinely liked the character, and because the costume was a sewing challenge. It probably got as many pictures taken of it as any other thing we make, and I don’t cosplay solely for attention, but I definitely noticed the quality of the attention was different than when I wear a larger or more complex build. It was superficial and borderline demeaning. Compared to other costumes I’ve made, it’s not the type of attention I want; nobody leers at Swamp Thing, and Iron Man gets compliments on his paint job, not his ass.
I know a lot of female costumes in comics, movies, and games are skimpy. There’s not a lot to be done about that other than demand equality and petition for more half-naked men. But there’s a disturbing trend of trying to make everything “sexy”. Cosplay has become a business for some people, and sex sells. If you can make Predator, or you can make “sexy Predator”, which one is going to get more attention (money)?
We’re not big cosplayers and we’re not out there trying to make money, so I suppose we have the luxury of not caring about hits and likes. But I would just like to see more class and more skill being employed by female cosplayers who are being seen as role models to younger girls (whether they intend to be or not).
It’s hard to talk about being classy (especially when I curse like a sailor) without being disparaging to other cosplayers who put their goods on display. If they’re comfortable doing that, more power to them. It’s when that’s all they do, and in turn, little girls think that’s all they can do to be seen as valuable or interesting, because they see that bikini clad version of Buzz Lightyear getting more attention than the guy (or girl) that spent 6 months on a movie quality build. They see women being commodified and they think their only value is in their body, and instead of taking STEM classes they take stripper classes.
You can be the Ironette dancers:
or you can be Iron Man (Or Iron Heart, I suppose):
Not to hate on the Ironettes; dancing is hard, I’m terrible at it. And not to hate on women that maybe, you know, really can’t do anything more than look pretty in a bikini.
Sometimes we settle for less because it’s comfortable and familiar; because it’s what we’ve seen work. And that’s fine, once in a while. That’s fine until that becomes all we do, all we see, and all we strive for. Encourage your little girls to aim higher. Encourage yourself to aim higher.
This doesn’t apply to just ladies, and it certainly doesn’t apply to just cosplay.
Stop settling. Be more.