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For Vix - Cosplay Bullies Suck

When I was a young cosplayer, I had my only bad cosplay experience. It soured me on group meetings, actually, and I don't sour easily.

It goes like this.

At my first Dragon Con, I tried my hand at cosplay for the first time. And one of the first costumes I elected to take for this adventure was my Sorcerer's Apprentice one. I had also recently discovered cosplay.com and such and found out there was a Disney group meetup at the then-usual tenth floor Marriott location. So, I decided to go. I responded to the forum threads and penciled the meetup into my plan for the con.

When I got there, I was happy to see Jaffars and Aladdins and Ursulas and such and honestly not many princesses (though the Jasmine that was there was astounding). And my Sorcerer's Apprentice outfit had garnered many compliments through the day at the con, so I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Enter a pair who likely thought they were trying to be helpful, but who came off mean to a n00b who didn't know them and didn't ask for their opinon. They commented that I needed new gloves with the right amount of fingers (never mind practicality) and that (apparently) a character-defining aspect of Mickey Mouse is that his ears always face the camera, so to speak. I don't know if this is true for sure, but I also don't care. I only know that to a baby cosplayer, their words felt mean.

I was upset and swore I'd never go to another group meetup/photoshoot, because those people were mean and I was just doing this for fun and screw them.

In retrospect, when I replay that conversation, these particular women were not overly mean to me. They didn't know I was a newbie, and that I'd get my feelings hurt, I suppose. And I laughed and played it off as no big deal, so they may still be unaware of this. However, they weren't exactly nice, either. They were not my friends. We were not engaged in a conversation about how to improve upon our cosplays. They just volunteered their "feedback," and it wasn't peppered with any "hey, nice job on this or that."

So, yes, Vix, I agree. Bullying in cosplay has to stop. For my part, I've only barely experienced it just this once, and the vast majority of cosplayers I know are marvelous human beings who have become my friends.

Still, I say fuck you and your perfect ears and your gloves with the right number of fingers and your dress that is the perfect shade of blue, sticklers. Some of us just do this for fun and we do the best we can with what we have. My Socerer's Apprentice cost me all of about $30, and that was nearly all for the hat, which, yes, is store-bought. My Ravenclaw cost me less than that. My Hit-Girl, on the other hand, is the most expensive outfit I own, and Irisa likely runs right behind her in that department. I'm older now. I have more disposable income. I've learned how to sew much better with each project I've done.

But everyone starts somewhere. Everyone sucks at first. Get over it.

And not everyone aspires to screen-accurate. Sometimes, a wrong-model toy gun and a borrowed trenchcoat gets the job done for a 57th Overlander. Cosplay is all about the cosplayer, not you. In fact, here, let me refer you to something I wrote a while back for my buddy Alasdair's blog.

Oh, and I've long-since gotten over my group meetup angst, by the way. The G.I. Joe group at Dragon Con this year was a blast, and the Defiance group was fun both this year and last. I'll be back, Irathients, and YO, JOE!

And on that note, wabbit out.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lolmac
Mar. 7th, 2015 01:45 pm (UTC)
I'm a master costumer, a retired professional who has made literally hundreds of specialty items. The Opera priced some of my pieces at five figures (if they had actually been willing to sell them). My work appears in the Opera's image archive, in video clips, on posters, in programs. I even made costumes for one of the first video games to include live-action performers.

In one of my costume boxes, I have preserved a gown I made in 1977. It's bright green polyester knit, badly pilled, with a stitch-witched hem. Yes, indeed, I sucked when I started sewing! And I will keep this gown all my life, to make sure I never forget that nobody starts out as an expert.

When I talk to other costumers -- and, tbh, almost everyone I meet is less esperienced than I am -- I talk about the things they've done that are cool, and work, and are great ideas, and look great. If they want specific feedback on where they can improve in their future work, they need to ask for it; I'm much more interested in encouraging them to keep doing the work at all. As long as they love it enough to continue, they'll keep improving!

Only two things, that I know of, stop people from improving as costumers: if they decide they know it all and have no room for improvement, or if they stop doing it at all. I can't do anything about the first condition, but I can sure as hell do my best not to contribute to the second!

Edited at 2015-03-07 01:46 pm (UTC)
jackwabbit
Mar. 9th, 2015 10:46 am (UTC)
1-that's because you're awesome.

2-if I promise to come visit, can I see this gown? ;)

3-and though I know only a little about Adventure Time, I know THIS.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN43sCyEanA
lolmac
Mar. 9th, 2015 12:34 pm (UTC)
Of course you can see it, although I'll have to get it out of storage, and I'll probably also display something that doesn't suck, to salve my ego (or maintain cosmic balance, something like that).

One thing I will add: the gown was actually very comfortable. (It was an SCA costume, btw, which makes the polyester knit a sadder thing, but that was what I could afford at the age of 16.)

Icon show me at the Opera, mending a butterfly's wing for an Opera with a giant butterfly.
jackwabbit
Mar. 10th, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
Well, yes, that does make sense.

And funny story. Also at my first Dragon Con, I met @haldira in person and we're still buds. But then, we only knew each other from Kids Need to Read stuff and not well.

Well, I worse my Ravenclaw outfit to the Shindig (I forget why), site of the only drink I've ever had at Dragon Con (thanks, @JPatrickBarry!), and Haldira and I took a pic of the two of us in our cosplays on purpose, because I made a comment on how inexpensively I'd made mine. Her costume was NOT inexpensive, and we did it as a study in contrast for fun.

And that is cosplay to me. Fun. :)

Also, THIS is very important: "... that was what I could afford at the age of 16." EXACTLY. Don't judge, asshats. You don't know where people are coming from.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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