Let’s End Cosplay Body Shaming.
(AfroGamers.com) Cosplay should be fun beyond belief! One should be able to have a small moment in this crazy world where they can be the embodiment of the characters they love. This is nerd/blerd culture at its best. It doesn’t matter whether you love MCU, various kinds of anime, Disney cartoon, or even video game character ( and I’m sure there are many others) you should be able to have your spotlight in that moment as you fellowship with other cosplayers looking to capture the same experience. Cosplayers put a daunting amount of hours and money into creating the re-creation of their beloved character via themselves. Most of us will never get opportunity to stand next to the actors/actresses that embody the very spirit of the characters with love to watch and read about, but a cosplayer is the next best thing. In these spaces there are children that light up at the opportunity to take a picture with Batman or Naruto. This is the magically wonderful side of cosplay.
The problem is, as with most spaces, judgement, entitlement, and shame tend to taint the most beautiful environments. Too many are so attached to characters that they forget humanity. So you love a particular character and feel a connection to it…this is great but it’s not okay to judge someone else that is cosplaying said character truth be told we are all drawn to characters foe many different reasons, and each personal is entitled to their own connection without judgment. This is important because it leads us to the subject of body shaming. You know the conversation whereby we discuss who is too fat or skinny to cosplay a character. This is the space where one thinks it is okay to impose their need for a character to be seen in a particular body type or an act of war has been committed. However, some of these same people would not like the discussion of cosplay characters and race…but that’s a topic for another day.
Why should a woman have to suppress her love for “slave Jasmine” from Aladdin because she is full figured? Why should she be shamed because several men, and women, feel she isn’t sexy enough because of her size to cosplay that character? Why should that woman have to endure horrible body shaming comments…even on down to being told to kill herself? Her cosplay is dear to her and she feels connected to that character for whatever reason so why should she have to dim her light because someone doesn’t approve of her body? Why should an overweight man put aside his want to cosplay Aquaman because he doesn’t have a gym cut body? This has to be addressed because it’s happening all over the country.
No one has the right, barring racial or overtly offensive connections, to decide how a cosplayer connects with their character. The body shaming needs to stop. We should be celebrating all the artistry and creativity we see in these spaces, but instead some choose to make it toxic for others that don’t look like them. This is just a mirror of what we see in other areas of society that intends on bullying people via body shaming. You never know what has happened in a person’s life that contributes to their weight or healthy, and it really shouldn’t matter. they are people, and they deserve to be treated with human decency.
It is not the job of the cosplayer to create your fantasy…it is for them to embody their own. If you want to see a character portrayed a certain way…cosplay the character yourself or gravitate to the cosplayers that portray the character to your liking. Neither of these options include body shamming and trashing someone’s vision that they are entitled to have. Let’s kill the body shaming and allow the cosplay world to continue to be magically awesome.
Staff Writer; Christian Starr