|Cosplay. I approve.|
Understanding WHY something happens is a vital part of any learning process.
Every time a Blizzcon takes place, I have the same conversation with myself. It goes pretty much like this:
[Me sees a picture of a female cosplayer wearing very little indeed.]
Me: How can that possibly be practical attire as ACTUAL ARMOUR?
[Me realises they are simply copying a bunch of pixels, and in fact have done a bloody good job of just that.]
Me: Why do woman feel the need to do this in public places?
Let's be clear about a few things here: I have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with Female Cosplay like this (or indeed Male Cosplay because the point here I'm trying to make isn't the flesh on show.) I also have absolutely no issue with it happening either: after all, in pretty much every case, these costumes are incredibly faithful to the source material from which they have been taken. There is no faulting the skill and ability of those who have taken the time to produce the costumes. What I don't understand, and this continues to be the main issue I'm concerned with, is WHY people do it.
This has been the part of the equation that has continued to elude me, but thanks to the Community I now have a better idea of mentality than I ever have at any point in my life, and that's been quite a revelatory experience.
I was recommended some fabulous source material from many people for starters, and this led me off on a number of tangents: let me provide those links for you as well, so you can go away and do your own research as I did :
- The Problem with Cosplay Celebrity by Bitter Gertrude
- A Feminist Visits Comic Con by Natalie Wilson
- The One-Sided Problem of Oversexulisation in Videogames by Paul Tassi
- The embodiment of sexualized virtual selves: The Proteus effect and experiences of self-objectification via avatars from Science Direct.
- Powerful Outside Incentives for Sexy Cosplay by Games and Trips
The fact this is the first year I've felt assured enough to ask for advice and help on gaining more information is an important step forward in my understanding/personal learning process . That I also feel confident enough to share those feelings, I suppose, is also a deciding factor in all of this... and it makes me realise that there are clearly some parts of my brain that aren't wired in the same way as other people. I have to admit, my first question to any scantily-clad cosplayer if/when I eventually meet one is likely to be 'aren't you cold?' (assuming that I met them in the UK and it wasn't the hottest day of the year.) I have a better grasp of the issues at play too, thanks to you guys (really do appreciate all the contributions yesterday) As is often the case, personal feelings are of far greater significance in the long run... because facts, such as they are, get mired in a really rather overwhelming number of grey areas.
I think we can all agree on a few basic principles, however:
Not everyone looks the same. As a result, providing unrealistic visual aspirations (especially to the young or vulnerable) is neither wise or advisable. Objectifying ANYONE is never a state I want to advocate without permission or indeed without a sound reason... one could argue it should never happen at all, but with the way the world works, you could counter there are those who set out to do just that for very specific ends... and I don't want to debate these points without further understanding of the mindsets behind those who do this. I watch people build fabulously intricate costumes, but the pictures don't reveal to me either motivation or enlightenment as to the mindset of the designers. I suspect many people may not feel comfortable in revealing these feelings either, just as I didn't in talking about the subject generally.
Needless to say, I have no doubt I will be blown away in the next few days by the effort that people have placed in their creations, and at NO POINT do I wish to either belittle or cast aspersion on what I KNOW is the phenomenal amount of work. Part of me, I must say, wishes I had even a tenth of the talent these people do in their creativity, and perhaps that is what I should focus on more, rather than making this the more 'basic' discussion it inevitably devolves into. Needless to say, I'm hoping that when the Expansion hits, we'll see more female characters in less revealing outfits, just because if you're going to fight monsters you REALLY should have a decent set of armour in which to do it.
[PS: My Main looks like this:
A portion of her midriff, chest and arms are exposed. This is a conscious decision based on the items that were available to mog her to make her look, at least in my eyes, appropriate for her task, which is standing at the back and NOT GETTING HIT. If she were a melee fighter the choices WOULD be different, and that is undoubtedly based on a vast number of factors that would, I am sure, make a wonderful scientific survey all of its own.
I am well aware that I am as much of a victim of my own perception as anyone else. However, I am considering consequences. That, at least in my own mind, is progress.]