A few days ago, on a crisp fall afternoon, I met up with the fiery-haired Undies of Wondy to discuss our different experiences in cosplay. Amanda was kind enough to share her thoughts about plus-size costuming, in particular, after several reports of weight shaming in the community surfaced online. This is not a new trend; people online and on the convention floor have treated cosplayers of “non-normative” body types and even skin color rather cruelly because they don’t “match the character.”
The irony in this stigma is that virtually no one can look exactly like a fictional character who, more often than not, is portrayed with exaggerated proportions unachievable in reality. Still, for some cosplayers (moreso those seeking to enter competitions), getting as close as possible to the source material is key– and that’s fine! The problem lies in judging everyone on that same standard, when the vast majority of both men and women in the community seem to dress in colorful spandex and flowing lace not for competition’s sake, but because they want to express their passion for a character/genre and have fun. It’s unfair, therefore, to shame anyone for his or her efforts to join a community that was founded on inclusivity and sharing mutual interests, especially considering the time, effort and bravery involved in constructing and donning a costume.
We recorded this video in the hopes of encouraging everyone to join in the hobby. We also wanted to offer a few tips on just how to be more inclusive and avoid isolating others. After all, even behind the anonymity of a username, your words can have a profound effect on a real person. A single comment can bruise someone’s self-esteem, the results of which can be devastating.
If you’d like to show your appreciation for plus-sized cosplayers and spread some positivity, feel free to join the appreciation group on Facebook. If you want to see an entire gallery showcasing fantastic cosplayers of all different sizes and types, the Huffingon Post put together a great piece at New York Comic Con. Finally, if you want to learn more about the harassment reported at that very same convention, which we touched on in the video above, you can catch up with my Tumblr post here.
Bottom line: be courteous to everyone at a convention, cosplayer or otherwise!
Banner art by Isaiah Stephens, used with permission.