249 posts tagged cosplay
249 posts tagged cosplay
Cosplay Update! Claire, Ashlotte, and Gabrielle!
Because I have SO MUCH FREE TIME ON MY HANDS I decided to add an additional costume to my roster for Fanime! I’m totally stoked to finally finish my Claire Redfield costume, which will be uncharacteristically comfortable. I think I’ll regret adding her to the list as SDCC creeps closer though, when I’m not finished with Ashlotte or Gabrielle Belmont. :P
I spent the weekend painting the back of Claire’s vest, and I’m quite proud of the results considering that I’m not an illustrator by any means. Her right hand is a bit of a mess, but I’ll cover it with some zombie blood and call it a day!
I’m making light progress with Ashlotte (debut at SDCC), but mostly just the chest piece and skirt/leggings. I need to get cracking on her armor!
Gabrielle Belmont (debut at Dragon*Con) is proving slow, but coming along nicely! I’m having fun making the Cyclone boots and the Dark Gauntlet out of Worbla. Started work on the Combat Cross, too!
I’m actually really enjoying working on more than one costume at a time - it allows me to move onto something else whenever I get frustrated with a particular piece, which is quit often. :S
I’ll also be at BigWow this next weekend in San Jose, wearing a slightly updated version of my Zatanna costume. It’s been years so I’m excited to pull her out of the closet again!
That’s all for now - I’ll post more WIP photos as they come!
Why Do I Cosplay? Let Me Count The Ways…
The past couple of weeks have run the gamut from disheartening to encouraging, but predominantly enlightening. I’ve learned lessons about others, about myself, and about the industry and hobby I pour my heart into. I feel that I’m a stronger individual and professional coming out the other side.
Despite the turbulence, I’m incredibly happy with the caliber of discussions that ignited from my blog, as visibility is important to facilitating change in both the game industry and the enthusiast cosplay community. That being said, after a few initial bullet points the game industry aspect of my original post isn’t at the heart of what I’d like to tackle today.
I’d like to quickly get a few follow-ups out of the way:
The above line of thinking directly ties into the root of this blog, which is a means of rebutting one of the most common sentiments expressed in response to my original post. Ready for it?
Cosplayers dress up for the singular purpose of attracting and satisfying the male gaze.
There seems to be an impression from those external to the cosplay community that the hobby is sexual at its core. Can cosplay be sexy? Absolutely. To assume that sexy is the endgame for all who participate, though, is very misguided. Drilling deeper, the belief I’m seeing echoed is that we craft costumes with the ultimate goal of being objectified by male strangers. This line of thinking is reductive in the most basic sense, as it boils the pool of participants down to heterosexual females or homosexual men. In reality the motivations for cosplaying are as diverse as cosplayers themselves.
[WHY I COSPLAY]
I cosplay for many reasons, none of which are to attract sexual attention. So what motivates me to dress as fictional characters for fun?
[SINCE YOU BROUGHT UP SEXY…]
In response to my previous blog, I was quizzed repeatedly on how I feel when I do get sexual attention from men or women while in costume. The line of questioning was especially aggressive from those who asserted that I was asking for lewd behavior by dressing a specific way.
To be totally frank, I didn’t much mind sexual attention when I first started cosplaying eight or so years ago. I was also much younger then, and hadn’t faced some of the challenges I’d later come across in my professional career. I’ve become less comfortable with this sort of attention over the years, and as a result have begun to gravitate towards strong rather than traditionally sexy characters.
I’m fairly certain cosplaying as Mad Moxxi is what turned the tide. Borderlands is one of my favorite games of this generation. Dressing up as Moxxi seemed the perfect tribute to showcase my fandom. Not to mention, the idea of stepping into the stilettos of a psychopath seemed like fun. I modified a bit of Moxxi’s design for modesty sake, commissioned part of the costume, and made the rest. When I debuted the costume at SDCC 2010 I had an absolute blast prancing about in it. However, when my photos were showcased on a popular blog the comment section devolved into a discussion about my breast size in relation to the character. We’re talking over a hundred comments. It felt really gross. I wasn’t a person. I was a specimen.
So while wearing Moxxi was fun, it helped me establish my comfort zone. While I still enjoy leggy ensembles or a v-neck top from time to time, I much prefer badass to suggestive characters. I’d rather be complemented on my craftsmanship than my cleavage. If someone does find something I wear sexy (a totally subjective term, as I’ve been called sexy while dressed as Lady Two-Face) I still expect common decency and respect in our exchanges. If I catch someone stealing a glance, I’m not going to make a fuss. It’s when the scenario becomes degrading and dehumanizing that I take issue, and when I have resolved to take a stand.
Let me be perfectly clear. This isn’t an attack on sexy. I actually appreciate both men and women in this capacity. This is rather my personal cosplay mantra, forged from both my unique personality and life experiences. But just as cosplayers participate in the hobby for a variety of reasons, we all have our own comfort zones. Respect should be the rule, not the exception. I hold this equally true for conservatively dressed fans on a show floor as I do for cosplayers who earn cash taking off costumes via paid websites or burlesque performances. A mutual, mature exchange between consenting adults is fine in my book, as long as the aforementioned respect remains intact.
[SO WHAT UNITES US?]
So yes, cosplay can be sexy. I feel strongly that “sexy” isn’t the thread that unites us, however. I don’t pretend to speak for all cosplayers, but throughout the years I’ve been made privy to many motivations.
Some consider cosplay little more than a hobby. Others have transformed their passion into a career and make a living off merchandise, commissions, or paid convention appearances.
Some cosplayers invest thousands and thousands of dollars into their costumes. Others craft outfits out of cardboard.
Some cosplayers collaborate with groups, each playing to their strengths and achieving incredible results. Other prefer to work alone, fabricating every part of their ensembles.
Some cosplayers dress up for the love of the character. Others dress up for the challenge of the costume.
Some cosplayers take on personas that echo their own. Others use dressing up as a chance to step into the role of a polar opposite.
Some cosplayers won’t leave the hotel unless they are covered head to toe. Other cosplayers show skin whenever possible.
So what unites us? In the eight years I’ve spent a part of this community, I’ve found that passion, fandom, and courage are the bonds we share.
Ultimately, the above illustrates my primary objective in writing this blog. Cosplayers are complex. People are complex. While I understand that snap judgments come to us unsolicited at times, what marks you as a better person is making the choice not to act on them. To treat individuals as just that. If you decide to dismiss an entire fandom based on misguided notions like the above, you’re the one poorer for it.
I’ll just leave this here. LJinto once again captures an incredible photo in the simplest of spots.
Short little interview with Connected Digital World about cosplay! I also talked briefly about TR multiplayer here. :)
As of this moment, I don’t. To be honest I never plan on opening a store with “Meagan Marie” branded merchandise. I’ve been encouraged to do so to help recoup some of the expenses I incur while making costumes, but it’s not really my style.
Let me say this explicitly before I continue: I have no issue with cosplayers making a living from their craft. If I had wall space, I’d buy posters of my favorite costumers and plaster them all over my craft space for inspiration. I am just not personally interested in pursuing that route.
I want to work in the game industry until I’m senile and am forced to retire. Gaming is it for me. Cosplay is a hobby that I’m incredibly passionate about, and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m not in it to make a living, and I have no desire to work my way into professional costume production.
I fear that if I start to monetize my work it will detract from the real reason I do what I do. I cosplay because I love it, it challenges me, and it lets me express my fandom. There’s no room for financial incentive in the equation.
Similarly, that’s why I’ve decided not to run “like” contests or aggressively promote my social profiles. I’m just fine with organic growth. If you find me interesting and choose to follow me, that is wonderful. If I’m not your cup of tea, no big deal. Since I’ve got nothing at stake on a personal front, it doesn’t hurt me to have slow-growing social numbers. The slow burn also allows me to get to know people on a more personal basis, which is a nice inherent benefit.
So, no. No cups or pillows or stickers with my face on them. Although I’m immensely flattered and somewhat surprised that there seems to be a small demand for the like..
That being said, because I am asked if I sell prints at least once or twice a week, I’ve been trying to figure out a solution for those interested. What I’ve come up with may be more trouble that it’s worth (for those interested in acquiring) but I’m willing to do so should enough interest be expressed.
I could, in theory, get permission from my favorite photographers to make high-resolution images of my costumes available online. At that point, anyone interested could print the image himself or herself and display as desired. If they were looking to get it autographed, I’ve been considering getting a PO box where the image could be sent, as long as return postage was included.
Please let me know if this is an option I should pursue further. I have no qualms paying a small monthly fee for a box, nor for taking the time to run back and forth to the post office. It’s the least I can do as a thank you for continued support.
So that’s that. :)
Ha! While I think this question could have been asked with a bit more tact, and I would have respected it more if you didn’t opt for anonymity, I actually agree with you.
I’ve had a bunch of “difficult” questions building up in my inbox, and not enough time to address them. I don’t shy away from them though. I enjoy answering them. So, to be quite frank, I actually do think I’m given a bit more hype than I deserve. This isn’t some sort of self-deprecating plea for validation. It’s the truth, and one I have no issue admitting.
I find myself labeled with terms like “professional cosplayer,” “world-class cosplayer” or worse yet “queen of cosplay” with increasing frequency. While I genuinely appreciate the sentiment and support, I don’t think I deserve accolades of such caliber at this point in my cosplay “career.”
I adore cosplay. I adore cosplay culture. I immerse myself in it daily. That being said, I’m keenly aware of the incredible talent out there worldwide. Having such praise directed my way, when phenomenal cosplay talent out there aren’t getting the respect they deserve, makes me a bit uncomfortable.
I’m fairly certain my popularity as a cosplayer has been augmented by my day job. Working on TR raises awareness of my cosplay work. I understand that the duality of being an industry professional and an avid cosplayer provides an interesting angle for articles. I don’t see anything inherently wrong with it, either.
I think the other part of it is that my costumes get a good degree of attention because of the effort I put into photoshoots. I often spend months scouting locations, brainstorming with photographers, and handpicking makeup artist who can help bring my costumes to life. Collaboration with talented individuals elevates every aspect of the final result, including the representation of my costumes.
The above isn’t to say that I’m not proud of myself, or that I lack talent. I’m immensely proud of what I’ve accomplished the past five or so years. I know I’ve got and incredible amount left to learn, though. Like finally sitting my ass down and learning how to sew beyond an amateur level. And that’s just fine. Cosplay is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Each project is an opportunity to learn a new skill and to better my technique.
So yes, perhaps I get a boon in attention for reasons outside my actual craft, but if anything it pushes me to work harder and to ensure I deserve that attention. Till then I’ll continue to grow, and improve, and hopefully inspire other cosplayers the way that so many have inspired me.
Ches by Kags-chan
Ghost in the Shell by Lewograph