Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Editorial: "Cosplay ≠ Consent" and the Real Underlying Question

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the California Conventions Blog.

Unless you have been living under a rock in the past month, you've probably heard about  "Cosplay ≠ Consent," this new movement to bring about awareness of sexual harassment at anime and comic conventions. Even conventions like Anime Conji caught onto it and imposed stricter policy when it came to attendee conduct; according to some eyewitness accounts, they caught a long-time "creeper" and banned him from all Southern California conventions. Now, whether this was a result of the movement or they finally caught him after years of sexually harassing cosplayers and the countless reports is yet to be seen.

However, there is a bigger question that lies beyond this, what I consider to be origins of this movement:

Why is it that when people attend anime and comic book conventions, it seems like all common sense gets thrown out the window?

I asked this same question on our Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, and looked like that everyone was giving the same answer: because we can. To a lot of us, anime/comic conventions are a time when we get away from our lives at school, work, and/or at home to go cosplay, enjoy the convention scene, and hang out with friends & old acquaintances for a weekend. 

But to some, an anime or comic convention seems like to be an escape from life all together. The biggest offenders of this would have to be your typical 12-17 demographic of this generation: they're not well-rounded socially yet, but they also grew up differently in the age of Facebook, Gaia Online, 4chan, and Tumblr versus our generation that did not grow up on the internet as much as today. So when they go to anime/comic conventions, they do not have the skills of social interaction because they're still in development so they interact like they're on the internet. This doesn't mean that other demographics, especially the one above it, the 18-35 demographic, are immune from this.

Typical sightings include "meme spouting" (i.e. "u mad," "trolololo," "poker face"), random acts of space privacy like glomping, and events that one couldn't fathom (see Homestuck Bucket). At one point in the history of anime conventions, Yaoi Paddles were sold and were used to slap people's behind. Eventually after enough complaints conventions cracked down on the dealers that were selling these paddles and banned them from conventions. However, the most saddest thing of all is when someone gets seriously injured from misconduct at anime conventions. I've heard of stories where people have been bitten to the point of bleeding to where someone was glomped, fractured a leg and/or ribs, and are now somewhat disabled or have a permanent limp. 

I'm perfectly fine if you decide to glomp your friends, and even then you should give ample warning because some glomps are more vicious and ground-tackling than others. But because you do some act on a random stranger, whether it's glomping or meme spouting or sexually objecting cosplayers, ask yourself this simple question:

Would I do this in the general public and not just at an anime/comic convention?

Granted, we can all get carried away once in a while, especially when we're around friends and those who are part of the fandom that we're in (i.e. Persona, "fsteak," and "Social link, go!"). But, if you keep common sense in check and don't act like a total hooligan, then we can stop events before they happen especially those are addressed in the "Cosplay ≠ Consent" movement.


  1. *pops up with green face and equally green garish suit* CREEEEEEEEEEEEPER!

  2. Nice article.Common Sense should apply to both sides. We are in an age when females under the age of 25 don't know the difference between being complimented and being sexually harassed. We got young female and male alike more confused sexually now than my and probably your generation ever was. I feel the cosplay does not equal consent movement was created because a handful of young females cosplayed in sexy outfits and got hit on and found it uncomfortable. Or they encountered some rude and obnoxious guys. With cosplay growing as a subculture within anime fandom the typical average guy and even alpha males are attending Anime cons in hopes of meeting or hooking up with the more attractive female cosplayers.

    Now most "social" or the average young woman has enough experience and common sense in knowing how to deal with unwanted advances from men. But I have noticed the average or typical female anime fan have trouble in dealing with unwanted male attention. Most often then not through my experience going to cons I get an awkward thank you from most female cosplayers for just saying that their costume is nice. Many of the females who wear the more daring or sexy type of cosplay should have enough common sense to realize they are going to attract all forms of male attention,good and bad. They wouldn't be cosplaying and showing so much skin in the first place if they didn't want to get some form of attention and photo opportunities anyway. I don't feel these young ladies should be bothered or sexually harassed. But they should realize that if your showing your "ass" or walking around in a public setting showing skin you are going to get all kinds of attention. And just because your cosplay doesn't equal consent to be treated like a sexual object it also doesn't excuse you for being rude and coming off as a bitch to some guys who gives you a compliment.

    The rules of engagement(meeting and hooking up) apply to everyone.Including young women who like to dress up in barely there or sexy cosplay. Bitchy cosplayers are making it harder for the other female cosplayers who actually do want to meet and talk to guys.


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