Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cosplay is NOT Consent Includes Cosplayers Too

I’ve been contemplating for a few days now on whether or not I write about my Cosplay is not Consent experience. Should I write about what happened? Do I want to relive the unfortunate experience? Is it worth being told? Once I asked myself these questions, I realized that my experience should inform cosplayers that they are NOT an exception to the rule.

It was Friday night at Anime Boston 2016, and it happened during the Magi photoshoot gathering in the Prudential Center near the Microsoft store. I was cosplaying as Morigana and it was time for a picture with Alibaba and another Morigana. The Alibaba cosplayer seemed pretty excited about the opportunity and wanted a “sexy” pose. Yeah, his/her (I don’t know if it was female or male cosplayer) words. I figured the person wanted a hug, which is what I did. Initially, the person had their arm over one of my shoulders, which I was fine with. Unfortunately, something gave the person the audacity to place their hand below my waist right above my butt. The audience obviously took notice because I heard the words “No no no” out loud. I turned to look at the person and said “don’t do that.” S/he complied and placed their hand above my waist. Since the person obeyed my wishes, I stayed to finish the photo op. Sadly, the person didn’t apologize. Not even after the gathering was over.

In my view, a cosplayer such as this person crossed the line with my physical comfortability. I never gave them permission to touch me inappropriately. What’s more depressing is that it was done by a COSPLAYER, who in my view should have known better.

Being in cosplay as a character doesn’t mean I’ll be okay with other cosplayers acting or treating me a certain way. That goes with being in character. It was an uncomfortable situation that lingered in my mind for some time. Remember this isn’t a fictional story world like a manga or anime, I’m still human, I’m still me and I’m not a character from a show.

So, I ask all cosplayers to please remember that everyone has a different comfort level, whether it’s physical, verbal, etc. interaction. Everyone has a physical contact limitations. Some may be comfortable being touched a certain way, others may not. In the end, it’s always best to ask permission when any form of physical contact is involved. Even as something as touching their wrist to adjust their pose, it is best to ask before literally touching them. Also, everyone makes mistakes, so remember to apologize. Otherwise, it’s going to look like you have no shame in your action nor consideration for someone’s feelings. Again, cosplayers are not an exception to the rule. Cosplay is never consent.

© 2016 Linda Thai
Photography by Linda Thai
For more pictures, check out the Something Deeper: Anime, Manga and Comics Page on Facebook

For my cosplays, check out Lyntha Tye on Instagram

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