I'm not sure how many of you are into cosplay or attend comic book conventions but a popular topic lately has been "Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent". This message is mostly backed by women who cosplay and feel they have been violated by men at conventions or online because of how they are dressed. This bothers me so much for multiple reasons. I felt like it would be an interesting subject to discuss and see what you guys and gals think.
First of all, I will openly say that I do not support cosplayers who dress immodestly or provocatively in public. That goes for men and women. I do not want to see a girl dressed in basically her underwear around a convention or a man in a speedo! As much as I love a good-looking guy like every other girl, I'm sure his wife or girlfriend wouldn't be pleased if she knew I was checking him out. Yes, the human body is a beautiful thing and our bodies should be celebrated, but I believe our bodies are also sacred and shouldn't be displayed for all of the world to see. I also know that many of the comic book characters we see are drawn to look very exaggerated. The women are drawn to be tall with itty-bitty waists, voluptuous bottoms, and "blessed" chests while the men are ripped beyond belief and have perfect bone structure. For the most part, real people don't look like that unless they've unnaturally enhanced their bodies. I agree that it's cool when people look exactly like the character they're cosplaying as, but taking steroids and getting a boob job is going way too far. Working out, using make-up/prosthetics, and dying your hair a different color can be examples of what I think is "okay" in the realm of trying to look like a comic book character.
Here's where it gets down to the nitty-gritty. Do women (and/or men) have the right to rebuke people who grab them without consent or say inappropriate things to them? In a perfect world, the answer would be yes. People shouldn't have to fear being violated if they want to express their fandom by dressing as a specific character. However, we don't live in a perfect world and people can be repulsive animals sometimes. While men are usually blamed for being the ones who contribute to these inappropriate gestures, I have seen women do it too. Both men and women are visually driven. If a man sees a very toned woman wearing barely anything but spandex, of course he's going to feel inclined to make a move or say something! That's how men are wired! With that said, I feel like it's the cosplayers responsibility to be aware of what they are wearing and react maturely, not the audience.
If you want to dress as a sexy Catwoman or a shirtless Thor, go for it. That's your choice and shouldn't be influenced by what others think. However, don't expect people to behave and treat you with value and respect. In today's society, sex sells and we all know that. Like I said before, both men and women are driven by what they see. People are idiots! They will completely forget about respect and personal space if they see huge boobs or perfectly toned abs in front of them. If you don't want people touching you or taking pictures of you while you're dressed scantily, then you might want to reconsider cosplaying. Whether you like it or not, eventually you will encounter a situation where someone is being inappropriate towards you. I think how you deal with it is the most important part, which is entirely up to yourself.
So to conclude this post, I think everyone who preaches "Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent" needs to reevaluate what they're saying. Because in reality, people will always be inconsiderate and there's nothing you can do about that. Next time you're cosplaying, be mindful of what you're wearing, how it can be perceived by the people around you, and how you will respond if someone violates you.
I'm sure some of you won't agree with what I've said in this post, and that's perfectly fine. I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a comment below.