Cosplay or costume + play has been around since people have been around. There’s a je ne sais quoi about dressing up into a costume, or character, that people find alluring. However, just like a museum display – cosplay: do not touch.
Most Americans are exposed to cosplay for the first time around Halloween. They are taught that if you dress up in a costume or character, walk around the neighborhood, and exclaim Trick or Treat at each door that candy will be given for their efforts. That’s easy to understand. Then sometimes we encounter a street performer in a metropolitan city dressed in all gold, or silver, or sometimes an elaborate costume like a pirate. While we encouraged to interact with them by giving money first then taking photos we still respect the cosplay: do not touch – the unwritten rule, but understood by rules of respect.
Then there’s masquerade parties, movies, video games, comic books, fashion models, and conventions to name a few events that warrant people performing a form of cosplay.
Cosplay: Do Not Touch
Sadly, in American culture, sex sells. The popularity of video games and movies dictates that the character, especially female, are scantily clad in clothing. Picture this, a young woman dressed as a Wonder Woman for a Halloween party. Tons of praise is thrown her way for the attention to detail to her cosplay, but if you know the character, there’s exposed skin. For some reason or another, that’s a recipe for harassment. That costume isn’t granting consent to touch. In fact, it should represent cosplay: do not touch.
It’s a quick way to teach American females not to dress that way for the negative way they feel when the rules of respect are not abided by, and non-consensual touching happens to them.
It saddens me, really.
People – women and men, especially young women – should feel encouraged and embolden to dress up as their heroes, super or role models, and know that their personal space will be respected by all. They shouldn’t fear comments or someone “coping a feel”. Sigh – but they do.
I suggest if you start with respect then results would be like that. I find it silly to reiterate what we should be learning in early childhood – do not touch without permission. If you ask, and denied, then be respectful and accept that answer. If you asked and approved, be grateful they allowed it.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard as a child, “Look with eyes, not with your hands”. Maybe I should remind adults of that, as well? Just remember this Halloween, have fun dressing up as your favorite superhero, comic book character, movie character, but be respectful.
Even though they are dressed that way doesn’t grant consent to touch – only to admire.
As always, be good like you should, but if you can’t be … actually, for this one time – just be good.
Mic drop *bOoM*