Articles Comments

The Douchey DM » Featured, General Gaming, Misc, Opinion » Gencon 2012: Cosplay Abuse

Gencon 2012: Cosplay Abuse

There are two different forms of cosplay abuse. Abuse of the term, the ideal, and the activity is the one that I think is a bit more personal to me. The second is abuse of the people themselves. I don’t really mean physically, though that definitely does enter into it, I mean more almost emotional abuse. Let me first talk about the former kind of abuse.

This is something I feel a real need to talk about. Especially after some recent comments on my previous article. I’m going to start off by saying that I am a crafty person, and I became a crafty person because I wanted to make decent garb for the local renaissance faire. My first year at the local faire I wore a robe made out of a bed sheet. I immediately felt outclassed and completely out of place. I decided on that first trip that I would never again attend an event in anything less than my best. Not the best, my best. I put a lot of effort into every single piece of every costume I ever made for faire. If it was something I couldn’t make myself, I found someone that could make it for me. I was in my teens, and had too many extra curricular activities to have a job. Because of that I was almost always broke. My mom didn’t have much money either, so I didn’t get an allowance. Instead she gave me $10 a week for lunch. When I wanted something, I would generally just skip lunch for a week so I could afford it. I am very well attuned the idea that you make do with very little. I still never had a bad costume. I made sure of it.

This is the sort of thing I’m talking about.
Photo unattributed.

This is the reason I cannot even begin to fathom the people that would attend a con, in a costume that is created with less than the basic amount of care. I can understand the draw to wear a costume, I used to do it a lot as I mentioned, but to just toss something together without even a speck of concern for how it actually looks. To me, what this does is it makes cosplayers look bad. Imagine if you were running a game of Pathfinder and your player showed up with a d20′s that were numbered one to fifteen and had several numbers doubled or tripled. Or maybe you were running a game of GURPS and you had a player show up with their character rolled up in FATE. It shows a lack of respect for what they are doing, and belittles the effort that everyone around them is putting into it. Also, for me, it even shows disrespect for whatever property it is you are trying to flatter with your imagery.

I know this may not be a popular stance on the subject, but this is how I feel about it. My next topic though, is something I saw happen almost repeatedly while at GenCon. People being rude and almost dismissive of cosplayers. It seemed like every time I turned around I heard a terse “Stand still so I can take a picture.” or “Hey stop for a minute!” Don’t get me wrong, plenty of people asked politely if they could take a picture but there were so many who did not. Quite a few people were just downright rude to the people who’s picture they wanted to take. These are people just like you, and you are asking them to take their time to stop for a picture. You should at least be moderately respectful. Any good cosplayer knows that going to an event in costume means that you will likely never get anything done in a decent amount of time. Back when I went to faire in costume a good third of my day was taken up posing for pictures. It was fun, but it was also quite exhausting. Having people be cordial definitely helps offset some of the irritation and grumpiness that creeps in at the end of a long day.

This is not the Power Girl from the Con, but it shows what she looks like.
Image copyright 2012 David Ngo for GFBRobot.com

The biggest thing that I saw that really upset me was people almost taking advantage of people in costume. For example, there was a woman dressed up as Power Girl. If you aren’t familiar with the character she is basically in a white unitard with a red cape and blue gloves. She is also pretty well known for being a very busty character. This woman dressed as Power Girl fit the bill perfectly and was wearing a very good costume. I was taking a bit of a breather at this point and saw her walk by, I considered asking for a picture but she was talking to some guys she was with and I assumed they were making plans to do something. I let it go and kept up my Extended Rest. A short while later she returned sans companions. This time I did stop to ask her for a picture(sadly it was way blurry and I deleted it), and just as I was thanking her for her time this group of guys comes running up to her. I heard a loud “Dude, take my picture with this hot chick.” as he threw his arm around her waist and basically squished his face into the side of her boobs without a moment’s thought to asking for consent. The friend snapped the picture and then shouted “My turn!” I could see on her face that she was uncomfortable by many shades at least. Since I was still standing there I piped in with a “Hey fellas, chill out a bit its not a free show alright?” I of course was set on the other end of a withering look from Big Burly Dude Number 1 who was now behind the camera. Not to be outdone, I shot him my own withering look and a terse “Seriously, give her some space and next time ask her damn permission before just assuming you can run up and grope her for a picture.” Grabby McFingerson snorted and they walked off. Power Girl gave me a grateful smile and I smiled back and we parted ways.

I saw this particular scene play out time and time again all day long with various girls and women on the receiving end of unwanted attention purely because they were in costume. I even saw one guy do a covert boob grab. I was across the hallway and couldn’t do a damn thing about it, but that makes me sick. Just because someone is in a costume, no matter how bad or trashy or flesh revealing it is, does not mean you are allowed to get a free show. Put your hormones on low gear there Captain Jack, this time you aren’t getting a Jolly Roger. These are human beings, not sex dolls on parade for your perverse enjoyment. If you want to put your hands on someone, go to a strip club. Not a gaming convention.

And before I get accused of being sexist, I saw it happen with women as well. In this case it was even more overt and I would be even more likely to call it gross sexual imposition or something similar. A guy was wearing one of those full neon bodysuits head to toe. Don’t ask me what its from I don’t even know if its a character or what, but I see them all the time at conventions for some reason. His package was quite impressive I must admit, and apparently a gaggle of ladies agreed with me. Out of nowhere one of said giggly ladies runs up and full on grabs his junk and then runs away giggling. Why would anyone in their right mind think that this behavior is OK? No normal person in a normal environment would think that this is OK, but for some reason at GenCon when dealing with cosplayers its a perfectly legitimate thing to do for some people.

To clear the air a bit, I should mention that to my senses there was no alcohol involved in any of these instances. I have told these stories a few times since my trip and each time someone asked me if they were drunk. I really don’t think they were. I think it was just a matter of taking too many liberties in a non-standard situation. The lesson here, is just to be a decent human being. Ask permission to take a picture, thank them for their time, and for gods sake if you have to be in the picture keep your hands to yourself.

Written by

SirGuido has been a Happy Jack's RPG fan since the first moment he heard Stu on Kicked in the Dicebags. He hopes one day that he will get to meet all of these great people and play lots of games with them.

Filed under: Featured, General Gaming, Misc, Opinion

52 Responses to "Gencon 2012: Cosplay Abuse"

  1. JonNo Gravatar says:

    THANK YOU! 1000000 times. THANK YOU! MY fiance cosplays as Rikku (FFX-2) and I see guys hitting on her and trying to grope her all the time! I’m not saying that she isn’t attractive (She’s a former model for pete’s sake!), but I have seen this activity from both men and women. Eventually, somebody is going to do this and get punched in the face, or kicked in the groin.

    This has even happened to me! There was a photoshoot I was at where My butt was grabbed by several female cosplayers, all because they liked how it looked in my cosplay. It’s not cool!

    You are absolutely correct in thinking that this needs to be addressed as a part of convention life. it is a major problem and needs to be corrected.

  2. Laura JeanNo Gravatar says:

    Hey i really enjoyed reading this and agree whole heartedly about both cases you’ve talked about, even if i haven’t had the time to put all my effort into a cosplay, and i put a lot in no matter what, i still feel bad if i can’t put in my best effort or don’t have the funds to. And on the other abuse I’ve heard several awful experiences from both sexes, if i want a hug, because the character is one of my favorite, yeah i’m excited but always respectful and ask the person and hug gently because cosplays are expensive.

  3. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    I for one am saddened by the bros who just dive into photos, grab girls bodies or even take photos of the wrong part (i.e. looking at the guys next to me, and his LCD screen just has boobs or more southern parts ZOOOMED IN) That is so childish, I have costumed and cosplayed and when I take pictures I wanna see the entire costume, I am always cordial because I hate it when people are rude to me, so I know how the costumners feel. It makes me sick to think that guys (people) do that. They need “decency patrols” for christ sake, you can ruin a girls con if you are a total block head. Great post by the way, loved your points and props for sticking up for that girl.

  4. Sade M SpearsNo Gravatar says:

    I agree 100% with this. I’m an extremely amateur
    cosplayer, but an avid enthusiast. I have always treated cosplayers with the utmost respect. They put so much work into their costumes. It’s an honor to be given permission to take their photo. The thought of harassment baffles me. Do people have no manners anymore? What a about respect for other human beings? Or even respect for their own hobby?

  5. StuNo Gravatar says:

    There is only one group of people who should even ASK for hugs from cosplayers who are perfect strangers: little kids.

    Everyone else is being creepy and they should stop it. Period.

    You want to know why people think gamers are socially awkward basement dwellers? This is a prime example.

    I hate the fact that those of us who’ve been taught some manners get slathered with the same brush as the groups of douchebags wandering convention halls thinking it’s cool to act like asses.

    I wonder if we should start getting pictures of these assholes and post them publicly, shaming them into behaving like grownups.

  6. GraceNo Gravatar says:

    I would like to add to this by saying that there is also abuse cosplayer to cosplayer as well. I attended Gen Con this year, and have for the last 3 years, in costume of course. There is a certain girl who always attends, usually in a very shotty slutty version of a cosplay. Last year, she asked if she could hug me, the word “sure” hadn’t even left my mouth, and she was grinding herself on me…This year, she was photo-bombing a group of cosplayers outside the exhibit hall dressed in nothing but a thong and corset. At one point, she walked up to my SEVENTEEN yr old friend who was dressed as a Silent Hill nurse, and screamed at the top of her lungs, “OMG the things I would do to you SEXUALLY!” in front of a dozen or so children in the surrounding crowd. One of the photographers yelled back at her, “Control yourself, there are children around!” which she promptly ignored…

  7. KaraNo Gravatar says:

    The thing that I wish that people understood is that this kind of behavior actually scares people away from attending events. I hear men complain about there not being enough “hot” girls, but the reality is there would probably be a lot more if you treated them and their costumes with respect. A very good looking friend of a friend attended an event and never came back because of how she was treated, not because she didn’t like the event or the cosplay, in fact she loved that part.
    As for the ladies shame on you! It seems to me that a lot of girls feel because they are female at in a male dominated scene that they get a free pass and that every guy there wants his junk grabbed,or kilt flipped up in the case of my fiance. I mean what nerdy guy doesn’t want to be groped by an attractive girl? Right? Wrong ladies the guys deserve just as much respect as you do.

  8. SirGuidoNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, I never realized that cosplay was such a hot button issue with gamers. I didn’t expect this kind of response at all. It was just something I noticed and it really bothered me. Maybe its because of the large number of women who game at my FLGS, not to mention work there, but its something that has started to be an issue with me. Almost every weekend I see someone being creepy to one of the girls in the store. Then when you go to a con and you see it taken that extra step, it makes you want to cock punch someone.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      See…and you thought you didn’t do an adequate job of “journalist” you might have just blown the top off of a “real issue”! Jeeze, what a bunch a bastid’s chasin the gamer geek ladies away…That needs to be dealt with pronto Sir!

  9. Andreas DavourNo Gravatar says:

    Well said. I do think it is the “away from home” feel that makes people be rude like that. But, manners! Know your manners! Be nice, ask permission and as usual – don’t be a dick!

    It’s strange it has to be told.

  10. ducttape queenNo Gravatar says:

    It was a important read. One thing this didn’t bring up is mobbing the press who have a camera out and all. My friend almost got her expensive camera broken cause a little mob group of cosplayers crowded her while she was taking photos of and having interviewing them(practically running her over). Everyone is a attention craving cosplayer for a reason or another. Being respectful works both ways. This goes back to the golden rule point of the article. “Treat others like you wish to be treated”.
    While discussing inappropriate grabs or gropes: UNDERAGED cosplayers (male or female) getting touched or grabbed without being ask if it’s okay to do so by people they don’t know the age of either. (vise/versa if your a younger person that goes to far in a pic or fandom moment with a older person)The under age are not naive either. Cons are a great place to meet people friends and fanbase , cosplay with friends, and enjoy a break from the ordinary or complicated reality. Congoers are not criminals or child molesters. Just know boundaries of your own and others around you.
    If there is a range of teenage to older guys hitting on a underage Poison Ivy (Batman) , Yoko(Gurren Lagann), or a shirtless fit male cosplayer walking around ; think about actual people in the costumes and their personal space and dignity.Don’t cause trouble for the con because you want to get grabby. The con holds the event FOR YOU and EVERYONE to enjoy kindheartedly.

  11. TimNo Gravatar says:

    This is such a shame. You see, this is a prime example of things convention security should be watching out for all the time. If your security is understaffed, people feel like they can get away with more.

    Regardless of whether people are away from home or in their own hometown, they should respect other people’s personal space. It is the law after all, and conventions are no exception. Never touch, hug, glomp, or cause unwanted physical contact. If someone kindly agrees to a handshake, or a small hug that’s well and good, take what you asked for, and make no alternative moves. If you ask for a hug, be gentle and don’t hold on long. A quick hug is fine, if you have been provided consent from the one you wish to hug.

    The same applies for a handshake or anything else. Ulterior motives are heavily frowned upon in all walks of life, and harassment is harassment. It is a felony offence, and should be dealt with accordingly.

    It should also be noted that verbal harassment is just as bad as physical harassment, and should be prevented from the start.

    Cordial and proper mannerisms makes everyone’s day (and oftentimes weekends) a lot easier, and far far more enjoyable. If people can behave themselves, they might just walk away with a new friendship.

    Cosplay is a time consuming hobby, with a very tight knit community, and both the cosplayer, and cosplay itself should be respected properly.

    Also if you see harassment like this, report it to the nearest convention staff member, AND the nearest law officer immediately. As stated above, this isn’t an acceptable action, and by no means should be tolerated.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      AGREED!

  12. KiaNo Gravatar says:

    I have a friend who has had a lot of negative experience with this. She prefers cosplaying male characters, but she’s a pretty hot girl and binding gets uncomfortable fast. She gets a lot of “So you’re cosplaying Sexy -insert character here-?” comments and has had a lot of negative experiences with guys coming up to her at con. Which is probably why the past few years she has surrounded herself with mostly other girls at con (and our very intimidating 6’8″ football player friend) to keep the creeps away. There are still some persistent ones though.

    My only personal issues were at my first con. I joined a glomp circle wearing a short (and, unfortunately for me, loose) skirt. I don’t think there was a single guy there that didn’t pick me up and spin me around to give everyone a panty shot.

    Long story short: It’s disrespectful to touch people without asking, and very disrespectful to show off their bits publicly without permission.

    As to your other point regarding bad costumes… I agree to an extent. For some people they want to make it (or don’t have the money to buy a good one) and don’t have the skills. For them I have empathy. It’s the people who do a last minute goodwill run and call their random clothes and too-much-face-paint a costume that bother me. Though what bothers me most is people who criticize other people’s costumes. I have a friend who got a little butt-hurt over losing a cosplay contest, saying the winners weren’t THAT much better and only won because they were wearing sexy costumes – in reality, only one was a sexy costume and it was very well made and was exactly to character specifications. Stuff like that needs to stop. It really demeans the cosplayers who put in time and effort all because someone is a sore loser.

  13. shortymonsterNo Gravatar says:

    This is endemic of a bigger problem, and one that I never thought I would see so much when it comes to gamers. it’s best summed up on a question I saw on google or some such about a father worried about his daughter asking if other fathers out there would feel safe sending their daughters to a party when there will be boys there drinking (I know you said that booze didn’t seem to be an issue, but the point still stands when you see the response). The first answer to this was pure wonderful on toast, and after a quick search I’m annoyed I couldn’t find it. the basics though are still pretty awesome as the guy phrased his answer as another question. basically asking if any fathers of young men would feel safe sending their son to a party if the son didn’t know enough to respect women and would try something because of the booze. The reason they shouldn’t feel safe, as the guy stated, was that he would flat out kill anyone who thought that a bit of booze and some the girl wearing the clothes she wanted to wear were enough of an excuse to rape her.

    I know that this is an extreme example, but it touches the same bases, and I think that any guy who feels a sense of entitlement to a woman because she’s showing off some skin should seriously take a long hard look in the mirror. Possibly followed by punching himself in the balls. Longer thoughts by a different writer to by found by clicking through the link found here.

    http://shortymonster.co.uk/?p=142

  14. JackNo Gravatar says:

    First off, I want to say that you’re spot-on with your second point. I suspect that the perpetrators of such harassment are terrible people in real life, rather than blaming either the Con or Cosplay for their actions. It might present a ready target for their appetites, but the fact that they do what they do, I think, speaks to a general character flaw. (Also, you can’t touch the girls at strip clubs. So I’ve been told.)
    .
    Second though, I think you’re being a little hard on the sloppy Cosplayers. Yeah, Cardboard Gundam is a sorry sight, but he’s not making *Cosplayers* look bad, he’s making *himself* look bad. He’s not really hurting anyone, and I don’t think it’s fair to give him a bunch of grief because he did a bad job. That you were able to take the time and make the effort to do a good job on all your costumes is great and you deserve a pat on the back. But spewing venom at people who do less than you just feels… small. You have no idea what motivates Cardboard Gundam, or what sorts of constraints he may be working under, so making judgments against him as a person seems a bit much. Go ahead and say that his costume looks terrible (because it does), but I don’t think it should go farther than that. (And honestly, I don’t think you should tell him to his face that he looks like crap; that kind of approaches the second class of harassment.)

  15. Heather Moira GreenNo Gravatar says:

    I cosplay in scanty outfits and normally just expect lude comments. Not saying its right, but if you put your self out there half naked then you should be prepared to deal with unwanted situations. Most the time I just keep one of my muscly male friends close by to wan off untoward behavior and it works.

  16. Michelle LuquetteNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you! Cosplaying has really gone off the deep end in the last ten years (IE: this last growing generation). My cosplaying partner and I travel to various conventions now and host a panel that teaches the basics of how to act at a con and treat other cosplayers, and a panel on the sociology of cosplaying (Why people take up this hobby, why anyone can cosplay, etc) – to try and inform people that this -kind- of has stop. We’ve seen a lot of con-goers tear up in our panels while telling their own horror stories or listening to ones we repeat. You’d think that people would be catching on that this is a hobby – a place to celebrate being around like minded people – not act like you’ve been dropped on your head.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      I feel like I’m dropping comments all over this thing…but this crap really matters to me. I mean here are a group of people that in general society has shrugged its shoulders at and smirked (condescendingly)at over the years. Finally, ladies (especially) are getting an opportunity to truly embrace their love of the characters/subject and unfortunately are getting treated like sh@t by the same bastids who apparently love the characters/subject the cosplayers are seeking to embrace…Not at my Con!

  17. Ines SilvaNo Gravatar says:

    I agree 100% with you. I’ve never been the object of ouvert groping, but just because i impose limits;i’m fine with a hug or an arm around the waist if whoever wants a pic like that asks nicely, but i definetly stop my foot when they’re not.
    What most people won’t get is that just because you’re doing something you love and that happens to make you show a little skin it does not mean you have to subject yourself to stuff like being spoken to disrespectfully or being groped. =)

  18. [...] Gencon 2012: Cosplay Abuse (doucheydm.com) Share this:EmailTwitterFacebookPinterestDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  19. Renae "Tao" CummingsNo Gravatar says:

    I 100% agree, and I’ll admit, that’s also bad on my part to also judge someone, whether they made it with care or not. In a way, it’s a personal pet peeve, and everyone has them. Costume or not.

    However, for as long as I’ve done cosplaying, I don’t do it out of attention, I don’t even dare go for it just for the sake of popularity. I do it for the fans, myself included. In the same throw, I get complimented, get some jokes and of course, way loads of fun and throw seriousness out the window.. until someone for sure crosses the line, like picking me up from the floor and mashing their face in my boobs. Really? Necessary? No. Course, also, are the assholes that think you can’t see them in a mask and rudely scream in your face when you’re doing absolutely nothing.

    Some people in cosplay also have to remember, there are fans of the person you’re doing. It’s painful if you have NO idea on who you’re doing, but only because of how the outfit looks. Not to offend (and if I do, majorly sorry.) but that’s sort of bad on us as cosplayers. You basically are asking for the person to do that sort of thing. There’s so much wrong in the minds of those who don’t cosplay, it’s not funny at all.

    I can’t honestly even begin on where the groping started with me. I went as Mature from KOF, and where i put my money (front left pocket on the chest..) one guy even tried to do so, but I screamed “HE TOUCHED MY BREAST!” Security had him on the spot and as embarassed he was, I think he learned that I or any female cosplayer, aren’t that stupid.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      Our convention organizers need to be ABSOLUTELY aware that our lovely cosplayers are a HUGE draw for their event, and consequently need to make every effort to protect and respect said individuals.

  20. CourtneyNo Gravatar says:

    I totally agree with the codplayers that basically poke fun at the rest of us by dressing in whatever they can find because they don’t care. I spend months on my costumes mostly because I buy pieces at a time to make it more affordable.
    On the subject about cosplayer abuse I’m a little upset with the girls. Come on girls! Stand up for yourself! No where was it mentioned that they said “hey stop that” “please don’t touch me” or “I don’t think so.” If women are gonna just stand there and take it then of course men will continue to do it. In the aspect of the man in spandex, did he complain? Or did he laugh it off and think how popular his junk is in that outfit.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      yeah a bit of a tough one…it’s hopeful that people will in general have the common decency to know what would be bullsh@#t out of costume would apply with costume. Lack of complaint doesn’t equal compliance…

    2. FirefairyNo Gravatar says:

      Um, I call bullshit. While I can see the point of saying “Stand up for yourself!”, the “opt-out” standard of consent, demanding that the recipient turn away unwanted attention after it has been initated, doesn’t even hold up for unwanted advertising emails. Why in hell should it apply to low-grade assault, sexual or otherwise, no matter what the gender of the victim?

      Many of these interactions take place very quickly, and unless the cosplayer has both planned a response to the particular variety of unwanted attention and doesn’t freeze up due to distress, the interaction is usually over before any serious objection could be mounted, and ripping into someone verbally because they just assaulted you (yes, walking up and grabbing someone without consent is assault, albeit without intent to cause harm) isn’t what most people will have the immediate urge to do- most people will just want to get away.

      We do not need to bring this victim-blaming BS into Con reality. I don’t care if someone is cosplaying a flat-out pornographic character wearing nothing but spangles and body paint- touching without asking is assault, and the cosplayer doesn’t have to say a damn thing for it to be wrong.

      1. LawstudentNo Gravatar says:

        I’m sorry to be picky but the correct term is battery. Under the black letter law (keeping in mind differences in state and local laws) Assault unless it is aggravated assault is the threat of harm (intentionally causing apprehension of harm), while battery is actually touching. Harm can be offensive contact, which include unwanted contact, like a grope or an unwanted hug. Intent to touch without consent satisfies the intent aspect of battery. So these people are committing a crime by touching a cosplayer without permission. But otherwise I agree with you a 100%. Blaming the victim for the crimes of the other person does not help the situation. Nor does it stop the situation, it makes the victims not want to report these instances and thus leads to more instances instead of a solution.

  21. HyveMyndNo Gravatar says:

    Part of the prevalence and problem with this issue is the incorrect assumption that wanting recognition means it’s OK for people to invade your personal space and/or for them to treat you like an object.

    I have never cosplayed in my life (except on Halloween, which doesn’t really count), but I imagine part of the appeal of doing so is the recognition, and occasionally the attention, you get for doing so. Everyone wants to be good enough at something so that people say “Wow! Look at that! Cool!” I for example paint minis. Even though it’s an enjoyable hobby and do it mostly for myself, there is still a small (OK, maybe a large) part of me that does it in the hopes that people will look at my stuff and stroke my ego by saying how awesome the paint jobs are. Being recognized for something is a great feeling. I imagine cosplayers are saying some variation/combination of “Look at this costume I made”, “Look at how much I resemble this character”, or “Look at how devoted to this franchise I am.”

    But I would scream if someone snatched up one of my minis without asking permission first. Of course that’s not nearly the same as being groped by a complete stranger, mind you. But putting yourself out there is unfortunately seen as implied permission for some people to ignore the rules of social etiquette. SirGuido, the guy who gave you a withering stare for calling out his friends is just as much of a douche bag as the one who copped a feel from the Power Girl cosplayer.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      yeah…agreed HM….I’ve been Bobba Fett at a few of our Space Party’s and for some reason showing the world you’ve got the cajones to dress up as one of your characters equates with I am “up for anything” which is pretty damn lame. Here’s to changing that part of the culture.

  22. Jay PerkinsonNo Gravatar says:

    Very well written and agree with a majority of your points. As someone who goes to cons strictly to take pictures of the cosplayers I have always politely asked before taking a photograph. My stepdaughter who is 17 and goes to these events to cosplay as well. The 17 year old girl that Grace mentioned is is one in the same. I would have said something but all stares at here from 20 some people around here was loud enough.

    I think one reason some people behave this way is the disconnect from actual social interactions. In a world where we communicate so much anymore without seeing the actual person we are talking to causes that.

  23. Wendy Steenson MurphyNo Gravatar says:

    My daughter was the 17 year old silent hill nurse mentioned above. She wasn’t at the convention center 5 minutes before someone, asking for a picture, grabbed her ass. I had left her alone outside the restroom for no more than a handful of minutes!
    I let her roam around pretty much on her own, and just followed behind her a bit most of the weekend. If anyone started getting too chummy Momma-Bear was there to poke them with a stick, lol.
    After seeing how the guys, including a lot of creepy much, MUCH older ones, oggled her……yeah…she won’t be going to any cons solo anytime in the near future!

  24. KimNo Gravatar says:

    I was at Gen Con this year and must have had a thousand photos taken of myself and my friend who cosplays with me. Out of all those photos one, ONE! guy asked if arm around the waist was ok. He was very polite and I agreed. I also let him know that out of the 3 days I was dressed up he was the only one who asked for permission and thanked him. I had many guys ask if they could take a photo with us which was fine, but never agreed to touching. Some even would just say I need a hug and hug me without my permission. I had two guys hug me at once and my boyfriend had to say “guys that’s my girlfriend, get off” because they wouldn’t let go. The arm around the waist and even a hug every once in a while doesn’t bother me at all, its just the lack of respect and assumption that its ok to touch someone b/c they are wearing a costume.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      Sad. I think sometimes people think cosplayers are a “paid’ part of the con like strippers at a bachelor party. It behooves those in charge of any con to set some strict ground rules regarding cosplayahs…I hope to have several(many) at our ALASKCON…and I would be very upset to hear that they were made to feel uncomfortable or set upon by attendees…

    2. NickNo Gravatar says:

      Ugh… Listen, I totally did this to a girl dressed as Max from 2 Broke Girls at GenCon this year. It was the most embarrassing thing ever because looking at the picture later, I could see that she was legit leaning away from me. I didn’t realize until then how uncomfortable I had made her and I still feel bad about it. I have a huge crush on Kat Dennings and I may have come on a little strong. By “may have” I mean “absolutely did” and by “a little” I mean “teenage girl meeting Justin Beiber”. I’m sure that would be bad enough if I wasn’t 6’1″ 300 lbs., but I do, and MAN did I freak her out. Anyway, look: I just wanted to say sorry on behalf of everyone who gets way too excited to meet a representation of their favorite actor or superhero and doesn’t have enough oxygen fueling their brain to remember how things like manners work. Thanks for making conventions that much more colorful.

      1. FirefairyNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you for both the apology and the perspective.

  25. Wendy Steenson MurphyNo Gravatar says:

    Actually, my daughter just was reading all this and reminded me how my 20 year old son, dressed as a quite muscular Pyramid Head Saturday evening was pretty much fondled by every woman who asked for a picture with him…..even the ones older than me!
    When my daughter and I would close ranks they would kind of back off a bit, asking her if she was his girlfriend. Once we explained we were his mother and sister, they usually scooted off with red faces.

  26. KateNo Gravatar says:

    I agree, some personal respect is in order. Ask to take a picture, ask to be in said picture and don’t touch unless asked.

    I did find it surprising that there was a girl there in pretty much lingerie (I didn’t recognize the costume, anyhow). People need to remember it’s a family event as well.

  27. Matt FerencziNo Gravatar says:

    I try to put effort into my costumes, but usually they’re fairly easy, such as Super Mario, Super Luigi, Wario, or Squall Leonhart.
    I’ve never been to a convention, other then E3 (which was awesome, since I met Keiji Inafune and ton of other people and friends), but I would be angered if I saw someone disrespect another person like what you described with the person dressed as Power Girl. Sadly, I know this primarily happens to girls, to be its wrong regardless. People, in general, should be treated with more respect. Thats why I always asked the Booth Girls at E3 and the cosplayers at Video Games Live politely if they minded having their photos taken and thanked them for their time as we. Maybe its just because I’m a small town boy, but I’d like to think basic manners haven’t been forgotten in this day and age.

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      Groping Mario has got to be a niche market….but Wario now…he’s doomed!

  28. MargaretNo Gravatar says:

    Oh my i really have a feeling that it is just something about the people of gen con. One of the times I went to gen con I caught a guy who was actually trying to get an up-skirt picture of me with his phone. Luckily I scurried away, and even if he did manage to get a picture, thank god I was wearing tights that day.
    At other conventions I have been too people have usually asked for my picture nicely and not been too creepy about it.
    I think it happens more at conventions where cosplayers are in the minority. At Anime conventions I feel there are more cosplayers than not so people tend to know how to treat fellow cosplayers. Or maybe because I dont cosplay well known characters, or I haven’t had the same issue of being groped.

  29. StuNo Gravatar says:

    Pepper spray.

    1. Johanna MeadNo Gravatar says:

      Stepping back and saying – as loudly as possible – “That is NOT okay!” carries a reduced risk of bystanders getting caught in the periphery.

      And it’s amazing how far a little bit of public shaming can go…

      1. KimiNo Gravatar says:

        Love this! Most cosplayers try to be polite or not make a scene, but a scene NEEDS to be made. People need to know that someone is doing it AND that it’s not ok with you! Loudly saying something is MORE than acceptable.

  30. Philo PharynxNo Gravatar says:

    This is the kind of problem that needs to be addressed by everybody. Cosplayers, bystanders, security, con management. If you see this, don’t let it slide. Let people know that this is not acceptible behavior. Yes, it can be hard at first. To all of you above who have confronted the jerks – Good job! To everybody cool enough to put on those costumes – thank you for sharing your creativity with us. I’m sorry about the jerks, and I promise to treat you with repect.

    As for bad costumes, I tend to be tolerant. Mr. Gundam was obviously doing it as a joke. He’s owning the fact that he’s wearing a bad costume. Others may be new at it, or just not as skilled. Just let it go. Save the intolerance for the jerks with grabby hands.

  31. just passing byNo Gravatar says:

    Good thing I came across this. I think I need to rant this out.

    I’ve been sent a really racist message recently. The message is included that only asians can cosplay and things like that.

    The race does not matter. What matters is the fun you have and the effort you put into everything. Some cosplays are “bad” because we can’t afford this hobby to the fullest that everyone wants.

    Im on the $10 for lunch money thing. Because I love cosplaying. I don’t care what other people say about me. I try my best, do my best, and most of all have fun.

    No, im not a model, no, I don’t have a job. No not everyone has to be perfect. The reason why I still cosplay today is because it makes others smile. I don’t want to get touched without permission, im not here to be your little toy.

    Some people need to learn some respect.

    I don’t even know what im saying anymore.i’ll just leave now…

  32. Nova RavenNo Gravatar says:

    thank-you for the article! things like this have really become a bad part of the culture and they do give cosplayers a bad “crazy kids acting up’ sort of reputation that allows it to continue as we’re all just painted with the same dismissive brush.

    I’m not a kid and I’m not a “casual” cosplayer. I’m a costumer or cosplay artist. there is a difference between them, there have always been diff levels of costuming at cons. buying premade cosplays on e-bay has made it a lot easer for the casual cosplayers who just want to wear something from their fav fandom to fit in and have fun. there is absolutely nothing wrong with that side of it, but i find those are the fans who are there for lols and more prone to misbehavior. you’re just more likely to play around if you don’t care so much about damaging the cosplay you’re wearing since you didn’t make it yourself in the first place.

    I absolutely agree that some casual cosplayers are taking things to a new low tho and to them all I can say is just buy the t-shirt if you wanna fit in with your fandom. It’s less insulting to the rest of us who are actually slaving over our outfits.

    I also highly dislike photo snipers. that to me is also a cosplay abuse. the photographers who are trying for that candid shot without asking permission first, these are not ‘real’ cosplay photographers, they are not working with me, they’re working against me. they fail at understanding what cosplay is. by not asking permission and not giving me a chance to pose properly and represent the character correctly they’re just using me as a free model for their own sometimes artistic sometimes just ‘hey lookit what i saw at the con’ agenda.

    I can’t use a candid photo for my portfolio if i do ever find it online afterwards and not asking first just makes me feel like an object who has no say. in a public place the general public i can forgive cause they don’t know better and barely know what cosplay is, but actually at a con where we’ve all paid to get in it’s different. and when i do say no to a picture request why do i always get an ugly look and rude comments back? I’m human, I have other stuff going on, I don’t know you or what you’re going to do with my pic! they can take all the pics they want tho and there’s very little anyone can do about it since con security is not geared towards controlling that for us. and everyone has a cell camera these days too.

    theres really no way to stop this sort of photo abuse, but we can definitely speak out and call security over clear and blatant sexual harassment when people get gropey with being in the shot too. I usually say no to people being in the photo with me since its cheesey and touristy. I definitely give them a very wary look first.

    the first time i cosplayed an actual character at a convention i was mistaken for a hooker and asked my price. i learned my lesson and usually crossplay(bind my chest and wear a male characters clothing) now if i’m cosplaying alone. Girls outfits require a group so that we can watch out for each other, both for perverts and for theft of things like cameras and cell phones being set aside when we pose for pics. that’s just been the reality of it for as long as i’ve been cosplaying. I wear black bike shorts under all my skirts because of the guys standing at the bottom of escalators trying to take panty shots. I never tell anyone where I’m staying or my real name if I think it can be overheard. there are tons of common sense things you need to do at cons that you should probably do other places too, to me it’s just the way things are if you want to stay safe. manners and common sense do not get suspended with the rest of your disbelief in a fandom setting but many people seem to forget that.

    i think the best thing we can do is to speak out when we see things happening that are definitely not ok. the more we let things slide the worse they’re going to get. we’re all in this geeky hobby together after all !

    1. Curtis JacksonNo Gravatar says:

      It is sad to hear that ladies really exploring their love of a character/concept still have to pursue it with such a defensive stance. It is my hope that as a male member of the gamer/con culture the vast majority of us will agree to stand up for our lady geeks and be utterly intolerant of any bastid/douchebags who make ANYONE feel unwelcome/threatened/set upon. Keep up the cosplay the majority of us just love it and want more!

      Cheers,

      Curt.

  33. pickupthetelephoneNo Gravatar says:

    “if you want to put your hands on someone, go to a strip club”

    Uh, how about no. Strippers are people too, and as such it is blatantly disrespectful (and potentially illegal) to touch them without their express consent. And that’s without even taking into consideration the rules of the club, which generally prohibit you from laying hands on the dancers. They are at WORK, and just because their job means dancing and stripping, you are still by no means entitled to touch or otherwise harass them.

  34. Kevin G. O'ConnorNo Gravatar says:

    While this sort of behavior is never acceptable (groping ladies without consent), sadly it is something one must learn to expect when dressing in revealing costumes at an event populated primarily by young men.

    While I am not often groped in Sandtrooper armor, I am however prodded, hit, smacked, and have even had someone attempt to tackle me. This is something I’ve come to expect and prepare for because as a costumer, I put myself in the unwilling position of the target for the ill-mannered and/or ill-behaved. People like to show their friends how ‘cool’ they are but acting like a moron at the expense of others, and the costumer it often this outlet for them to be a douche-bag. This is the same position any cosplayer, male or female, puts themselves into the moment they put on their costume, whether they signed up for it or not.

    This doesn’t mean you should ‘learn to live it’.. Not at all. It simply means you need to prepare for it and come up with ways to prevent the unpleasent/unwanted things from happening. One tried and true method is to have a “spotter”; someone to watch your back and keep an eye on the crowd. This person can be either male or female, as I’;ve seen both work well, but to prevent lewd groping or other such behavior, a hulking, meat-eating male might be best.

    Another thing is that cosplayers need to understand that they don’t have to put up with it. Ever. If some guy lays his face up against your breasts without your consent, then you step back immediately, out of reach of the offender and you tell them that sort of behavior is NOT okay with you. If they persist, then you have have every right to make a stink, loud and proud. I’m sure most people would come to your aid. Afterwards, if they really, really persist, you snap a pic of them with your own camera or phone and report them to security and/or the police. That might sound extreme, but it’s something that you’re well within your rights to do, regardless of being in costume, and getting the police involved should be a last resort.

    But overall there is the old rule that has served mankind well for eons. Safety in numbers. Don’t walk it alone, especially when you’re in a revealing/sexy costume.

  35. Dirty SteveNo Gravatar says:

    SirGuido,

    You are a gentleman and I salute you. Good work.

  36. Haximus PrimeNo Gravatar says:

    I took my boys 12 and 14 to GenCon with me this year because they are excited about getting started gaming. It was the highlight of their year. Imagine my surprise when I could hardly walk around the convention because so many attention seekers were walking around wearing hugely inappropriate costumes for a family event. Being a long time gamer and an adult, I guess I really never noticed how bad it had gotten until I decided to take my sons. It is a two way street, respect the atmosphere of the event, I can understand dressing and acting a fool over in the Westin where they warn you in advance, but don’t come out into the general convention area and prance around half naked and then act indignant when you get the attention you so sadly desire.
    Thanks.

Leave a Reply