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09 Jul 2012 - 17:3387336
Question about London MCM
This October will be my first time attending the Expo, but over the past few weeks I've heard some disturbing stories regarding some rather "overzealous" con-goers, or Weeaboos as they are otherwise refferred to who attend the MCM Expo.

I've heard stories of fans tackle-hugging people to the ground, being downright rude, and in some extreme stories, sexually assaulted other cosplayers by means of groping them.

I've heard some stories of con-goers at the Expo yelling horrific abuse at people for as little as not agreeing with a particular ship - one story was told by a British German girl who gently told off a Hetalia cosplayer for using German slurs against jews casually as "part of her character" and was met with a torrent of abuse before.

Another girl - a Hetalia cosplayer was allegedly groped by another Hetalia cosplayer against her will because it was "Kawaii"

Has anyone EVER had this happen to them? Been physically, verbally or sexually attacked in one way or another? Or are these stories exagerated?

I'm aware that these incidents probably arent limited to the Expo, but more than one of these stories have apparently taken place there and considering my younger sister is coming with me, it's a little concerning.

The only conventions I've attended so far have been Auchinawa, which with a few minor exceptions has been full of very friendly, polite cosplayers, so I was quite taken aback to hear that some of this stuff happens.

Any info you guys can give me is much appreciated! Thank you!


09 Jul 2012 - 17:4287341
Such things do happen, but often they're younger fans causing the problem.
The Hetalia groups are full of them unfortunately (though, not all of them, I used to cosplay Hetalia and there were some lovely people. I stopped cosplay Hetalia because the fans annoyed me).
Never been to Auchinawa myself, but I assume it has an age limit. At Expo there is no such limit, so it's full of younger fans.

Nothing like that has ever happened to me, and I don't know of anyone personally who has had something like that happen to them.
If you stick with the right people, stay away from the screaming fangirls, you should be fine =]


09 Jul 2012 - 18:0187342
I'd say the same, I've never had anything bad happen to me at an expo, I have heard stories of people being tackel hugged, but I've never seen it.

But if you stay in groups of people who you know, you shouldn't have a problem, and if you do, make a gigantic fuss and get the problem people kicked out!


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09 Jul 2012 - 21:4487360
Again, it's never happened to me. In all honesty my personal educated guess would be that most cons are probably about as bad as each other, give or take.

I've been approached by, shall we call them "odd" people, but all of them were harmless. I've definitely never personally seen anyone get groped or harassed to the point it made them feel uncomfortable.

At the end of the day, the beauty of cons is that you don't have to talk to everyone or even be near certain people (most of the time) you do get the screaming fan girls and stuff but they're easily avoided so it's nothing to be concerned over, really!


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09 Jul 2012 - 22:3687367
The worst I've had at Expo happen to me, is when I was cosplaying Undertaker, and needed to repair a bit of my costume, and someone ran up and hugged me while I was walking to repair my costume.

It wasn't a tackle, but cause I was blind due to the fringe, and fact I had my long nails on, it wasn't welcomed. If I was asked, if would have given them a hug, rather then frightened where this person suddenly came from.


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10 Jul 2012 - 04:1287369
Sounds terrible!
Nothing like this has ever happened to me and I haven't heard any of my friends complaining about it either...

However I can imagine such things happening, perhaps look into which cosplays attracted the most 'tackling/sexual assaulting' type behavior and choose a different cosplay. Sounds like you shouldn't cosplay Hetalia if I'm honest!!

I hope that learning other people don't experience this type of behavior will encourage you to go and enjoy yourself!! ^^

Afig


10 Jul 2012 - 07:1187371
Well...

I haven't personally had negative experiences from Expo-goers, but I've known people who have. I have had issues from non-Expo-goers.

The first Expo I went to:

I went with a group of people I knew from College. One of them has a medical condition which means she's in pain if she walks. We thought, "hey, lets get her a wheelchair for Expo so it's not so painful for her"

She got a lot of abuse from other Expo-goers for being in a wheelchair, including being kicked.

Non-Expo-goer experiences:

At the hotel I stayed at the last time I went to Expo (May 2010 I think), I was dressed as Cosmos (from Dissidia) and was just checking out when a couple of guys started hanging around and asking questions and stuff. Now, I don't mind curiosity, but questions and statements which have an offensive underlying tone? No. It was very unsettling and somewhat distressing as, technically, what they were saying wasn't nasty so I couldn't really tell them to back off, and neither could the hotel staff who did their best to at least get them to leave me alone (saying if they didn't have a room then they had to leave, and trying to distract them and such as I went through the final procedures of checking out).

Same two guys also groped the girl I was staying with (I can't remember the character's name). She didn't tell me til long after the incident, otherwise I would have kicked up a stink just to ruin their day.

SAME EXPO: The girl I mentioned with the disability? She had a nasty experience with a non-expo-goer too, in her hotel.

I mention these things because they can happen, but it doesn't happen often. You'll often have the odd "well, that's a shit cosplay" (typically from someone who's not in a costume) but don't let that bother you. If you go to Expo, then it's kinda better to go in groups or hang around in groups.

- As to Cons being the same? No. I've never had an issue with anyone at Kita, although did get some odd comments from a group of 11 year old boys at last Aya.


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10 Jul 2012 - 07:5387372
The worst I've had is being hugged without being asked. I do cosplay Hetalia and have never come across any trouble personally at the group meets but from discussions I've heard it does sound like those sort of things do happen. I think most people are right that its generally the younger fans (not to say that all younger attendees act like this but there's a rather vocal minority). I think you should be fine though. If you're really concerned try going later in the afternoon or on Sunday when the crowds will be slightly smaller?


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10 Jul 2012 - 08:2187375
It does happen, and it happens more at MCM expos because of three major factors.

1. Age. There is no age limit so you often get younger cosplayers thinking it is acceptable to breach personal boundaries with glomps (the tackle-hugs) and hitting people with yaoi paddles etc. They also seem to think it's ok to grab people inappropriately. I've had both. I've had a costume damaged by someone who glomped me, I've also had someone who literally flying-tackled me, took a running leap at me and this caused me to pull a muscle in my back from catching them.

2. Amount of people. At other events, the number of people who are able to attend is capped. At MCM Expo there is no such limit, and as such, you have massive crowds who are all close together. This causes issues for personal space from the get-go and can easily be exploited. It also means that people become slightly hyper as the sheer volume of people can over excite some attendees.

3. Location. The simple fact is that actual conventions such as Kitacon, Amecon, Ayacon, Fushicon etc. have locations that are very self-contained. They will either take place within a university campus or within a single hotel. This removes the general public from the equation to a far greater degree. At MCM Expo it is within the ExCel centre which will be playing host to other events, which means attendees to the centre who are not part of MCM. There are also a lot of residences nearby so the external areas are often full of people walking through. The majority of these will have no problem and some may be pleasantly curious, but then you'll always have the people who mock or attack what they don't understand.


Sorry, that turned into a bit of an essay! LOL


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10 Jul 2012 - 08:2287376
Oh and please don't limit this just to Hetalia cosplays. There were a lot of immature Hetalia cosplayers because it was the "in thing" but that seems to be swinging towards Homestuck now.

And in the past we had the same issue with Naruto fans and Bleach fans. The immature crowd will often be in whatever is the most popular fandom of the time.


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10 Jul 2012 - 08:3787377
Quote sjbonnar:
It does happen, and it happens more at MCM expos because of three major factors.

1. Age. There is no age limit so you often get younger cosplayers thinking it is acceptable to breach personal boundaries with glomps (the tackle-hugs) and hitting people with yaoi paddles etc. They also seem to think it's ok to grab people inappropriately. I've had both. I've had a costume damaged by someone who glomped me, I've also had someone who literally flying-tackled me, took a running leap at me and this caused me to pull a muscle in my back from catching them.

2. Amount of people. At other events, the number of people who are able to attend is capped. At MCM Expo there is no such limit, and as such, you have massive crowds who are all close together. This causes issues for personal space from the get-go and can easily be exploited. It also means that people become slightly hyper as the sheer volume of people can over excite some attendees.

3. Location. The simple fact is that actual conventions such as Kitacon, Amecon, Ayacon, Fushicon etc. have locations that are very self-contained. They will either take place within a university campus or within a single hotel. This removes the general public from the equation to a far greater degree. At MCM Expo it is within the ExCel centre which will be playing host to other events, which means attendees to the centre who are not part of MCM. There are also a lot of residences nearby so the external areas are often full of people walking through. The majority of these will have no problem and some may be pleasantly curious, but then you'll always have the people who mock or attack what they don't understand.


Sorry, that turned into a bit of an essay! LOL

Quote sjbonnar:
Oh and please don't limit this just to Hetalia cosplays. There were a lot of immature Hetalia cosplayers because it was the "in thing" but that seems to be swinging towards Homestuck now.

And in the past we had the same issue with Naruto fans and Bleach fans. The immature crowd will often be in whatever is the most popular fandom of the time.


Completely agree with sjbonnar on this one - on the whole most people there are mature, friendly and will gladly pose for pics/chat/or help out anyone if asked =]


10 Jul 2012 - 09:5087382
Quote sjbonnar:

2. Amount of people. At other events, the number of people who are able to attend is capped. At MCM Expo there is no such limit, and as such, you have massive crowds who are all close together. This causes issues for personal space from the get-go and can easily be exploited. It also means that people become slightly hyper as the sheer volume of people can over excite some attendees.



Everything SJ said is very true. I want to draw particular attention to this point as I think a lot of it has to do with a simple matter of proportion - at a con with 300 attendees, you'll get one or two people who behave inappropriately. Scale that up to Expo size (we're talking tens of thousands of total attendees) and unfortunately you're bound to encounter many more.

Auchinawa is a pretty small con, and in an enclosed space (though there were some issues with the rugby fans at the last one that can be related to problems that Expo has with non-Expoers on the site). In comparison you might get a bit of a culture shock, because Expo really is huge.

I've not had terrible problems myself (partly because I work the events and therefore don't have much contact with the crowds as a whole), but I have encountered very rude people, abuse for refusing "free hugs", and inappropriate comments. I've also had friends have their costumes damaged (to the point of near-destruction in some cases) by glompers, and I've seen some extremely inappropriate behaviour.

There are ways to avoid the problems as much as you can. Go with friends, and keep to a tight group. You're less likely to get hassle if you don't cosplay from something really popular, particularly the things that are currently "in" - at the moment, as mentioned, it's Homestuck, but it changes with the times. Try not to go near the screaming, excited groups if you can avoid it; a lot of them tend to stick outside the hall itself, in the steps area. Try to avoid being in full cosplay outside the grounds and in the hotels, unless it's a fairly normal looking outfit (there are changing facilities in the Expo hall for cosplayers). If you DO encounter a serious problem, find a member of Expo staff or security and report it if you possibly can.

MOST people at Expo are friendly, fun, and just want to enjoy themselves. I don't want to put anyone off attending because of the actions of a minority because it can be a fun and exciting event, especially if you're fairly new to the scene. Just be aware of the possibility of problems and take what steps you can to avoid them


10 Jul 2012 - 10:1687383
Personally I've had the most trouble from non-cosplayers (and most likely non-atendees) at expo. Last May was the worst (likely more people were loitering around becuase of the great weather). Across the weekend, we were approached by some rather agressive individuals by the DLR station trying to sell (presumably) fake tickets to expo. Near the trees, some young oik stole my partner's hat (my partner was cosplaying Red from Pokemon) while we were all sat down having a rest, and ran around the outside area with it before throwing it back at my partner. There were also some idiots having a water-fight near one of the hotels, where people were trying to walk.
Personally I think the worst cosplayers - the ones to avoid - are the stormtroopers. I've seen them break some poor guy's sword by grabbing it without permission, and I got rudely shoved aside by them as I tried to get to the exit before a migrane kicked in >_<.

I wouldn't say it's the kind of place I'd want to wander around by myself, but if you're with other people it can be easier to shrug off all the little annoyances. Certainly, the prolematic ones are the noisy minority - most of the people attending are very nice, friendly and don't want to hassle anyone.


10 Jul 2012 - 14:2787394
I think there might be problems, I suppose any kind of event where there are large numbers of people in a small (ish) area, there will be. But don't let it put you off!

Just go, take everyone's advice and I'm sure you'll be fine! And if your really worried, why don't you see if theres a group of more seasoned expo-goers you can hang around with on the first day or something! I'm sure they'll keep you safe!


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10 Jul 2012 - 23:2087421
I just want to be the flipside of things here but obviously other people have much more experience of expo than myself.

May Expo this year was my first ever expo. I had a great time. I didn't have any problems with attacks, people inappropriately touching me, no matter how hard I tried (j/k) or random glompers (someone did ask me to "curb stomp" them (stand on their head) for a photo though) I was in probably a less "down with the kids" cosplay but expo is very crowded and you will get idiots in such a large mix of people.

I would probably say don't get put off from going to Expo because it was great fun and a great experience but as everyone else said avoid the hyper kids, avoid the crushes for entry and generally just try and be safe. You can get someone being a dick to you just walking down the street so I definitely wouldn't avoid expo just for that


11 Jul 2012 - 07:5387432
'sup

This may tell you more http://www.starchildcoffee.blogspot.com.

As many have said before this post, the factors of age, crowd limit and availability lend itself to a lot of abuse.

The forum alone is so heavily restricted that you have a character limit on how much you can sneeze. This is all because there is little to no enforcement, just threats and legal tape. You have 2000 people for every one member of staff that has any authority, all this bad behaviour is the tip of the iceberg compared to what could happen. If we introduce a new fad that is a health and safety nightmare, and everyone does it, how can that be policed in it's entirety at all?

I could share with you expo stories, but the fact is as the link above outlines, that based on the popular media we all like there will be a higher concentration of immaturity and childishness than you will come across in normal society.

What do children do when they think they're important? They get loud, obtuse, intrusive, rude, violent and act without thinking.


11 Jul 2012 - 09:0587435
I can understand why you are worried about taking your little sister after hearing such things - but I think you've just heard those stories because they are the rare and extreme examples. The stories you've heard are probably due to the fact that they are shocking - its the same as in any other part of life (i.e. the news on tv! Only the really bad/shocking stuff gets broadcasted, right?)

I think as long as you take into account that there will be thousands of expo-goers, so there will be a lot of different people, you'll notice that these incidents are rare. The worst I've seen happen was to my friend who received some harsh words about her cosplay - but never any groping or proper abuse. If you're really worried about this type of thing, do as the others have said and choose cosplays where this isn't likely to happen (i.e. Hetalia, Homestuck, Yaoi fandoms etc) but if you're keen to cosplay them, don't let it put you off (cosplay is for fun, after all!)

Most people will stop IF they start behaving inappropriately. If you lay down a line, most people will respect it, and if they don't, go to an expo member/security guard and alert them. Unfortunately there will be some pushing and shoving due to the crowds, but not a lot, and isn't too bad a price for the great day I'm sure you two will have.


11 Jul 2012 - 14:5887455
Just shadowing Sammykins;

You gotta remember there are thousands of attendees at Expo. A lot of the stuff that people have brought up happened over a several Expos too, so incidents rarely happen. It's just people remember stuff like that.


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