Stop Sexualising Cosplayers!

“Nerdy babes dress up in sexy costumes for London Comic Con” – the headline used by The Daily Star just hours after the event finished. That said, it wouldn’t have taken long to rehash its headline from the last MCM event in October: “Raunchy cosplay babes flock to UK as Comic Con hits capital.”

Underneath was a slider gallery entitled: “Sexy Cosplayers strip down for Comic Con – Hot cosplay girls wowed with their sexy looks at one of the gaming industry’s biggest get-togethers – Comic Con Russia and Igromir 2017.”

A Worn Out Stereotype

Every cosplayer is all too aware of this stereotype. Yes, they often do wear revealing costumes drawn from the world of pop culture. Sometimes these are strong and admirable characters that are empowering role models for fans – especially those who are stereotypically shy or suffer deeper problems helped by embracing a different character. And yes, a more exhibitionist crowd certainly is attracted to such events and relishes the opportunity to have their erotic image circulated across the internet. Cosplay really is a world where “each to their own” is a quality to be respected, moreso than in the real world. Plenty of ‘sexy babe cosplayers’ do want to look attractive, and who wouldn’t, but this shouldn’t be taken at such a superficial level all the time.

MCM Comic Con itself provides reasonable rules on what it deems acceptable costumes at its events. “Skimpy costumes are permitted though concessions to accuracy are needed if skimpy to the point of negligible coverage i.e. less than typical swimwear. Take extra precautions beneath a skimpy or delicate costume to avoid exposing yourself completely should something go amiss,” it said.

The sexy cosplay stereotype is nothing new – the Amazon link beneath this post will probably generate no end of ‘sexy cosplay costumes’. But if only more news sources could celebrate cosplay for what it really is and get over the fixation on a bit of female flesh – and we say this despite The Costume Rag’s emphasis on prude Victorian fashion! The Express opened with promise, “MCM Comic Con 2018 has wrapped up at London’s Excel Centre after pulling in thousands of enthusiastic comic book and gaming fans from all over the world. Here are exclusive photos of the best cosplays and the talented people behind them from this year’s MCM Comic Con London.” And yet it let itself down with a gallery entitled ‘Cosplayers take over London in their hottest outfits.’

Clickbait

The sad irony of this language is the journalistic content of such sources is actually quite reasonable, if brief. “Fans of BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who have hit out at London Comic Con after charging £230 for a chance to meet former doctors Christopher Eccleston and Peter Capaldi at this summer’s Film and Comic Con in July,” The Daily Star said. “A £230 diamond pass will get you a selfie, an ‘exclusive mug’ and an autograph.”

The unfortunate truth about the use of ‘cosplay babes’  and ‘scantily-clad revellers’ is that in a world dependent on clicks and shares (which we admit The Costume Rag is similarly tied to), both are provided by inspiring outrage among what we wish was one half of the Facebook newsfeed and providing softcore filth to the rest.

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