Finding Positivity for All: A Look at Body Positivity in Cosplay.

Feminism, body positivity, and acceptance are all topics you can find widely discussed across almost all social media platforms. Millennials today seem to be concerned with abolishing the days of bullying the awkward, overweight, or less-popular children on the playground. Those ideals are seeping into various factions of society, namely “geek culture”. Once considered to be outside the norm of society, “geek culture” has been made popular with the explosion of social media. Television shows such as The Big Bang Theory portray characters that once were thought of as underdogs as the stars of their respective shows. The growing popularity of San Diego ComicCon has left consumers fighting and going to crazy lengths to get tickets to the coveted pop culture convention.

So what does all this have to do with sewing and costuming? Because of the rising fame of “geek culture”, more and more people have turned to wearing costumes to these pop culture conventions. They post their pictures on social media and open themselves up to various critiques from the unwashed masses. DC Comics’ Harley Quinn is one of the more popular characters for young women to portray at comic conventions and with the success of 2016’s Suicide Squad, a new wave of fans have been exposed to the so-called Clown Princess of Crime. But due to Harley Quinn’s more form-fitting and revealing costumes, cosplayers have a tendency to be judged if they do not fit the exact body type of the character. Cosplayer Linz Stanley was called “too thick” while wearing her Suicide Squad (portrayed by Margot Robbie) version of Harley.

Linz Stanley proving that the trolls aren’t going to get her down! Image pulled from Instagram

It is because of this that many who might be interested in starting up in the cosplay community might be intimidated. But so what if you don’t look like a certain character? Who cares if you’re a different race or have a different body type? Many cosplayers believe that cosplay is for everyone. It’s the faceless people behind the keyboard who seem to have such a problem with those that aren’t exactly like the actor or artist depiction of a character cosplaying them.

I think one of my favorite things, personally, is the fact that there is a mentality of “you can be anything you want to be” within the community. I personally know a pair of twin sisters who happen to be half-Asian and they cosplay as every Disney princess available. They don’t limit themselves to just characters like Mulan and Jasmine. They allow themselves to experience every Disney princess because that’s what they love to do.

Steph and Chrissy of Twincess Cosplay, being as lovely as ever. Image pulled from Facebook.

At one point, some faceless Internet troll on Instagram commented on a photo of the pair of them, myself, and two other girls all dressed as different Disney princesses and said that one of the girls in the photo was too “Asian” to be dressed as Tiana from Princess and the Frog. The backlash from other commenters on the photo was tremendous. I pointed out that I, myself, am half-Mexican and was dressed as a character that is a creole.

Fabulous cosplayers and commenters battling Internet trolls. Photo pulled from Instagram

To those of us inside the community, cosplay is for everyone. It shouldn’t matter if you’re African-American and wanting to cosplay as Elsa from Frozen or Caucasian and want to cosplay as Zoe from Firefly. It’s an inclusive community who embrace those that want to join in on the fun.

References

Carvelli, A. (2015, October 20). Cosplay Opinion: You Don’t Need to be a Model! #Cospositive. Retrieved from http://www.popculthq.com/2015/10/20/cosplay-opinion-you-dont-need-to-be-a-model-cospositive/

Catherall, S. (2016, September 17). Sewing, it’s all the fashion. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/fashion/83554452/make-and-mend-how-the-sewing-machine-got-hip-again

Lussier, G. (2015, July 06). The Crazy Lengths People Go To For San Diego Comic Con. Retrieved from http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-crazy-lengths-people-go-to-for-san-diego-comic-con-1715847049

References for Media

Graphic of Linz Stanley retrieved from Instagram

Graphic of Twincess Cosplay retrieved from Facebook

Graphic of group cosplay retrieved from Instagram