I have been sitting on the article for some time, due to people especially in the cosplay community having a knee-jerk reaction to the subject matter, and having to get my wording for this opinion piece just right. Not to mention the fact that social justice has also got their tentacles into the cosplay movement, making it even more of a minefield to navigate without triggering someone. So before I start off, I want to make the following extremely clear. I am not trying to victim blame, though touching on this subject I might come across as such but I am looking more at the reasons why I think the “Cosplay is not Consent” is a hypocritical movement., I am also not saying they aren’t allowed to dress-up in revealing cosplay outfits. But they should be prepared for the consequences that come along with wearing something revealing in a public space.
Having said all of this, I have said this plenty of times on social media and on this blog. That especially Cosplayers have a dangerous lack of self-awareness when it comes to these types of situations. Maybe it is due to being extremely naive about how the rest of the world views them and their hobby or the fact that they have little or no awareness when it comes to their surroundings. Take the above Cosplayer for example, let’s ignore the complete contradiction contained in a single image for a moment. She is Cosplaying as Jakuzure Nonon from the Anime called “Kill la Kill” which I have never watched before. But from my understanding and watching the trailers and looking up the show on Google a big part of the Anime has to do with fan-service and the clothes/lack thereof.
Now personally as an Anime fan I am not big on shows that contain massive amounts of fan-service, that is my own personal taste not saying such shows are bad and not going to debate the merits of said show. But what I am going to say is that anyone who wears a costume from an Anime like Kill la Kill, in my opinion [Trigger Warning], should be extremely aware that they are wearing a costume designed to objectify you as Cosplayer and as a woman. There is a reason why social justice warriors and feminists despise this Anime. So you can surely expect comments will be made, you can also expect to be hit on. It is the kind of attention you would expect and in many cases, it is the kind of attention *some* not all cosplayers will be looking for.
It is like running around in the rain and expecting not to get wet. Now don’t get me wrong if someone comes up to you and starts groping you in a sexual manner at a convention then there is no excuse for something like that. But and here comes the big but, excuse the pun. The “Cosplay is not Consent” movement claims that you should cosplay what you want to cosplay, without fear or any repercussions. And to some extent, I agree with them. You as a cosplayer should not have to cover every inch of your skin to feel safe. And here is where I disagree, dressing up in a fashion specifically designed for sexualization and objectification, in my opinion, makes you a target for people who do not know where to draw the line.
This isn’t a perfect world we live in, some people and those assholes with no self-control do exist. And until neither of these people exist anymore. And we don’t live in a world were living in certain cultures and countries. Where wearing deliberately sexualized attire is perceived and considered as an invitation to freely abuse someone. So when you are wearing something that barely covers up all the important bits, irrespective of it is true to the cosplay or not don’t act surprised or shocked when it does happen. Act angry, violated yes but not surprised no. The best way to deal with these type of situations is have both parties bear the responsibility. Cosplayers need to be aware of the type of attention they are attracting, and the people at conventions need to have some common decency and treat Cosplayers with respect.
[Editorial Note:] Touching a Cosplayer without consent and making sexual advances is NEVER okay. But Cosplayers also need to become more self-aware when it comes to their surroundings and the situations they are placing themselves in by wearing revealing outfits.