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05 Jan 2013 - 19:1795526
Stigma around the crossplay community?
I've been thinking recently, and out of curiosity I just wanted people's opinions on a couple of things. Why is there still some stigma and prejudice around the mtf crossplay community, but less so around the ftm crossplay community? It just puzzles me how SOME people can say they have no problem with women dressing as men, but the moment a man dons a skirt it's creepy and unacceptable. And I'm not talking about the people who just chuck on a dress for laughs, but the people who take time and effort to present themselves as some of their favourite characters. I know that these views don't apply to every person, but I've found that for a fair few people, they still do. What are your opinions on the subject and why? Do you support crossplay? Do you crossplay yourself? I'd love to here what people have to say on the matter as it just really fascinates me, and I always enjoy a good discussion. Thanks.


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05 Jan 2013 - 19:3595528
I personally don't mind it at all. If people love the character enough to cosplay as them (therefore doing what the rest of us are doing) Why should they get any grief for it? If anything they should be praised amongst cosplayers who know how tough it is to walk out in public in a costume for trying something out of their comfort zone. Quad/fursuiters are praised (there's some stigma around furs, mind you)but I don't see crossplaying as anything less deserving of it.

At the same time, I don't really see it as something above same-sex cosplay. I mean sure they've got the balls to pop on a dress and come out to an event. But everyone is wearing something unusual, putting effort and love into the costumes and portraying the character - as long as they aren't jerks I really don't mind.

I think girls get away with it because in regular day to day fashion girls are now wearing jeans, jackets, so for them to do what is the same in what is a costume isn't so strange. They also now sport short hairstyles, or even shaving it right down, you name it. Some guys crossplaying as females can be really accurate, so don't get me wrong on this, but on a general scale I think girls pull it off better and slip under the radar lot easily and have ways to conceal their build. Men can have a much harder time at doing this as there will always be the tell-tale sign in their height, shoulders and build.

If anyone ever wanted to do this though I wouldn't discourage them or pick at them for it.


05 Jan 2013 - 19:4695529
As a male to female crossdress and sometimes crossplayer, I can tell you what I believe causes the stigma. Which is that we see girls crossplaying guys more often than guys crossplaying girls. Also I think a lot of guys are put off "dressing" in public or at cons because either a) they think its takes away from their masculinity or/and b) their afraid of how they'll be persevered by other or/and c) they've heard about mtf's being attacked and don't want that to happen to them.


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05 Jan 2013 - 19:4695530
I'd actually never even considered the point that girls dressing in jeans and jackets in everyday society might have an influence, even if it is a subconscious one for some. That's actually really interesting

I find it's generally men who are more unpleasant towards mtf cosplayers also, but I could never quite figure out why. I'm probably just being really dumb here though.


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05 Jan 2013 - 20:0495531
Well my personal opinion is people should be able to cosplay whatever they like and not get grief for it. As for why there is a stigma though I can see two reasons:

1) Sexism still exists. The point I'm going to make is basically well put in a Madonna song of all things where she says: its okay for women to wear boots and jeans because its okay to be a man but its degrading for a man to look like a woman because its degrading to be a woman. Basically society still holds the view that anything traditionally male is inherently superior to anything traditionally female. It's okay for females to wear female clothes because that's what women are supposed to do and its okay for them to wear men's clothes because men are basically better. Whilst for a man to wear women's clothes word be him worsening himself. I don't think this is a concious thing but some people definitely do have this in their subconcious. Weird fact: I read a study showing the wages of male to female transexuals tend to decrease post transition but the wages of female to male tend to go up.

2) Although the main aim of the feminist movement was to free women from being treated as second class citizens, it also gave them the chance to redefine their gender role. Since there was no similar movement for men they didn't real have the same universal push towards questioning gender roles. Moreover some of the backlash against feminism seemed to push for men to take on more traditionally masculine roles. This means those who trangress their male society-assigned gender role suffer stigma.

Sorry if this is all too political!


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05 Jan 2013 - 20:1195532
I found that really interesting Carmina. I hadn't even looked at it from that perspective. And the fact about transgender wages was something I never knew.


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05 Jan 2013 - 22:0995541
I think it's more accepted due to the androgyny in male characters in media, e.g. Most of the Final Fantasy males. This means that it does make it easier for FTM (never heard these acronyms before, threw me as to what they meant initially ) as the characters already have a bit of a feminine look to them.

I've very rarely seen FTM crossplays do a very masculine character such as Wolverine (first that came to mind) and not make it more feminine.

Where as generally, in media, female characters are made very feminine and less androgynous which makes it harder for MTF cosplayers to portray the character, as the androgyny just isn't as common.

Saying that though, I've seen some awesome MTF crossplays and what people think shouldn't bother you. If you enjoy it, f*ck what anyone else says There's Stigma all around us, there's no point worrying about it. Even just being a cosplayer there's stigma.


06 Jan 2013 - 00:3595547
A cosplayer can make you think twice about the gender.

Man in a dress, little bit strange but hey do whatever you want.

Man looks like a woman and you think it's a woman; good show. Now there's a trap we can all be proud of.


06 Jan 2013 - 00:4395548
Look-wise, I think it's because of how cosplay is mostly rooted in anime. If you think about it, most anime men do look rather feminine, which means that a girl can often cosplay a good male aniome character, simply because of the fact that the man looked rather feminine to begin with.

Men don't have this luxury, so ftm crossplays often look a bit "weird", which might cause some people to raise eyebrows. Me personally? I don't give two shits

Thats my theory at least.


06 Jan 2013 - 01:4795551
As a couple of people have said, the higher stigma around mtf crossplaying often simply boils down to that it is seen as degrading for a man to dress as a woman, because women are seen as inferior.

To provide a non-cosplay example, in all-male prisons, the weaker men are dressed up as women, and are forced to perform female roles (I won't go into any more detail as it gets very graphic).

Unfortunately, despite everything feminism has tried to achieve, women are still seen in society as the weaker gender and so for a man to dress and behave like a woman is to 'lessen' himsef.

I don't agree with any of this, but sadly this is what research has shown


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07 Jan 2013 - 09:2995601
The idea of it being based around sexism is interesting, but honestly in my experience it's simpler than that, and based around homophobia.

A lot of straight (or closeted homo/bi-sexual) men can't deal with the fact that they might find another man attractive, because it's still seen as "wrong". So if there's a very convincing MTF crossplayer and they find them attractive, it frightens them when they discover it's actually a man.

This is what I've heard from various guys, straight from the horse's mouth.

(To answer your other questions, I've crossplayed, my male partner has crossplayed, and actually most of my friends, both male and female, have done it too. It makes no odds to me as long as someone makes an effort )



Last edited by Mighty Odango (07 Jan 2013 - 09:31)
07 Jan 2013 - 10:4995603
As someone that has done MTF - I found and still find it hilarious. It was in fact half the reason I did it, to make people squirm and actually maybe think a little. Unfortunately this didn't pan out entirely to plan, as I apparently made an excellent trap.

We're a society that as a whole has easier access to information than any previous time in man's history, and yet are as a majority still quite close minded. Thankfully, geekery tends to attract more open-minded people than elsewhere - traditionally speaking anyway, theres more blur/overlap these days it seems.

People will always react against whats seen to be 'abnormal', arguments for it range from genetic survival instincts (at a most basic level - animals do it to a point as well afterall!) to just being an ass.

If me doing it on occassion makes people take a hard look at their idiotic ideas of gender roles are ridiculous, then awesome. Clothes are just clothes, they don't determine your measure as an individual and yet all this drama unless you're so good at it the average person can't tell.

As a minor aside, I still kinda find it funny I got accused of racism by a couple people for doing a humanoid FFX Ifrit way back when. A simple fact of life is no matter what you do or how you do it SOMEONE somewhere will have an issue with it, even if its utterly ridiculous.



Last edited by Junta (07 Jan 2013 - 10:49)
07 Jan 2013 - 10:5095604
I was reading up on this in psychology the other day; and yes, due to the culture and definition of what is socially acceptable, women can get away with crossplay whilst men unfortunately face a little turbulence... (I could go into a huge psychological rant here but will refrain from doing so...)

My views on crossplaying and crossdressing differ, but I don't want to go into that too much. Thing is, most female cosplayers (including myself) feel less vulnerable when in crossplay, and if guys want to show their appreciation for their favorite female characters by crossplaying them, hey, what's stopping them?!


07 Jan 2013 - 11:4195608
I think homophobia (whether conscious or not) is a big part of the hate. Look at the word "Trap" people use, and the implication of deceit and malice. I've also seen female con-goers hating on FTM cosplayers for "tricking" them.

There's also the fact that a lot of con-goers are youngsters still going through puberty. And that's a time when they are still working out their sexuality and identity, and where they fit into society. Crossplay can challenge this, and make them confused or uncomfortable.

You'd think fellow cosplayers would be more understanding of crossplayers given that we all can be treated like outsiders by the general public, but "othering" tends to trickle downwards, like bullying.

Quote Carmina:
2) Although the main aim of the feminist movement was to free women from being treated as second class citizens, it also gave them the chance to redefine their gender role. Since there was no similar movement for men they didn't real have the same universal push towards questioning gender roles. Moreover some of the backlash against feminism seemed to push for men to take on more traditionally masculine roles. This means those who trangress their male society-assigned gender role suffer stigma.


There shouldn't need to be a men's movement. A lot of the perceived discrimination the Mens Right's muppets point out, is really just the things needed to give women equality of opportunity. When women are truly equal, there will be no need for positive sexual discrimination, and gender roles should be less of an issue. Regular feminism* benefits us all (particularly us crossplayers ).

(*=as opposed to the man-hating parts of radical feminism)


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Last edited by PandoraCaitiff (07 Jan 2013 - 11:44)
07 Jan 2013 - 11:4995609
Quote FreeFallen:

My views on crossplaying and crossdressing differ, but I don't want to go into that too much.


Quick question but why? Your statement suggests one is fine to you while the other is abhorent, so whats the *real* difference here? Is it that ones a fictional character (so arguably acting) and the other isn't and that makes you uncomfortable?

As one of my personal favourite examples of why this whole 'gender clothing' thing is hilariously daft is a traditional piece of Scottish clothing - the kilt. After all its worn by Scottish men, but its basically a skirt. And yes, I'm aware that technically they're more complicated, must be worn a certain way etc etc, but thats really just semantics. So if you had one guy wearing a kilt & sporran and one guy wearing a tartan mini-skirt, what really is the difference?


07 Jan 2013 - 11:5895610
Quote PandoraCaitiff:
There shouldn't need to be a men's movement. A lot of the perceived discrimination the Mens Right's muppets point out, is really just the things needed to give women equality of opportunity. When women are truly equal, there will be no need for positive sexual discrimination, and gender roles should be less of an issue. Regular feminism* benefits us all (particularly us crossplayers ).

(*=as opposed to the man-hating parts of radical feminism)


I agree in part but disagree in another. I don't think that men suffer discrimination to the same extent as women but there are genuine men's rights issues (such as equality in child rearing) that should be addressed. I do agree with you that many men's rights organisations are actually using it as a cover for being anti-feminist or a backlash against moves towards true equality and that the feminist movement does benefit both sexes. There are organisations out there that support specific men's issues and are genuinely pro-feminist. I also think the male gender role does need to be challnged in the same way as was done for the female one.

Obviously homophobia does play a part to in the stigma against crossplayers, as I doubt the issue has a single cause.


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07 Jan 2013 - 12:0495611
I think it's just less noticeable for a girl to do crossplay than guys. Trousers use to be something that only men should wear, women should be in skirts. So, whilst trousers have blended into both genders, skirts are still predominately female.

I mean, moving away of crossplaying/dressing - I hear a lot of shit about the Scots, and how they wear "skirts" and aren't real men cause they're in a skirt, and also about the "dresses" some cultures wear. If that sort of immaturity is going on about other cultures and traditions, you're gonna get stigma about MtF crossplay too.

I mean, in cultures where women are still openly classed as inferior, you'll find a lot of issues if they crossplayed. I mean, you do hear about people (mainly men) making a ruckus about girls cosplaying guys because "females are inferior and should not dress up as a superior male".

This sorta thing is gonna be around whilst gender inequality and old fashioned and immature opinions are. You'll find that most cosplayers don't give two hoots, it's mainly the people outside of it all that get their knickers in a twist.

As to Carmina's feminism thing and nothing for males; The idea of Feminism is to raise women so they're on the same standing of men so they're of the same worth, not to decrease the value of men.


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07 Jan 2013 - 12:1195612
Quote Junta:
As one of my personal favourite examples of why this whole 'gender clothing' thing is hilariously daft is a traditional piece of Scottish clothing - the kilt. After all its worn by Scottish men, but its basically a skirt. And yes, I'm aware that technically they're more complicated, must be worn a certain way etc etc, but thats really just semantics. So if you had one guy wearing a kilt & sporran and one guy wearing a tartan mini-skirt, what really is the difference?


One is almost knee length and one isn't. And one is a kilt.

Sorry, in my eyes, and my family (we're Scots) a kilt is never a skirt, it's a kilt. It's actually one continuous piece of material, which you wrap around yourself in a certain way and everything. I'd be the same way about it if someone called a robe a dress. It's not a dress it's a robe. It has a specific name.

However, I don't have any issues with crossdressing or crossplaying.

Sorry - I get annoyed at stuff like that, because I get a lot of crap about it and it does my head in. What's the difference between trainers and sneakers? Not much to me but to other people there are massive differences.


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07 Jan 2013 - 12:3695613
Quote Carmina:

*stuff about discrimination towards men*


For what it's worth I completely agree with you on this one. It's nowhere near as prevelant as misogyny, but men do suffer some discrimination. However, I personally think it needs to be addressed as part of the wider push towards equality, rather than a movement on its own.


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Last edited by PandoraCaitiff (07 Jan 2013 - 12:40)
07 Jan 2013 - 13:5895615
Quote NixieThePixie:

One is almost knee length and one isn't. And one is a kilt.

Sorry, in my eyes, and my family (we're Scots) a kilt is never a skirt, it's a kilt. It's actually one continuous piece of material, which you wrap around yourself in a certain way and everything. I'd be the same way about it if someone called a robe a dress. It's not a dress it's a robe. It has a specific name.


As someone also with Scottish ancestry (my Mums side of the family) I'm more than aware of this - the point still stands. From an aesthetic stand point, they are similar enough that to the uninformed they aren't too different and yet people have no problem with it. (If its the length thing annoying you, swap to a relevant length skirt).

Your counter argument is more "it has a specific name due to being a historically traditional garment" than addressing the point - primarily that as it is the societal norm (due to its cultural origin) it is fine to be worn by men, yet something that is very aesthetically similar is not. Just because it has X name and it made in Y way doesn't change the fact it is incredibly similar to a skirt in terms of rough aesthetic. And yet the 'average' Scottish bloke would mock another guy in an 'actual' skirt.

Of course there are still people that throw a wobbler about guys wearing them (as someone else has pointed out), but most aren't going to say it to the average Scots face. That comes back around to the "its different" thing I mentioned in my first post in this thread.



Last edited by Junta (07 Jan 2013 - 14:00)
07 Jan 2013 - 14:0295616
Quote NixieThePixie:

As to Carmina's feminism thing and nothing for males; The idea of Feminism is to raise women so they're on the same standing of men so they're of the same worth, not to decrease the value of men.


Absolutely. It's just I often do get stuck explaining to some men how being a feminist is not the same as being anti-men or blind to gender-based discrimination that effects men specifically. I definitely think men's rights issues are best served by working with feminists rather than against them. The point more was along with improving women's worth in society came questioning the gender roles that were appropriate for women. It became appropriate for women to wear clothes or do activities that were exclusively for men beforehand. Whilst the opposite hasn't really happened for men. I think part of the drive towards equality should be for both sexes to question gender roles. And you're right that dresses/ skirts being exclusively for women is somewhat arbitrary. Corsets although mostly worn by women today were originally worn predominantly by men.


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08 Jan 2013 - 10:5695668
Quote Junta:
Quote FreeFallen:

My views on crossplaying and crossdressing differ, but I don't want to go into that too much.


Quick question but why? Your statement suggests one is fine to you while the other is abhorent, so whats the *real* difference here? Is it that ones a fictional character (so arguably acting) and the other isn't and that makes you uncomfortable?

As one of my personal favourite examples of why this whole 'gender clothing' thing is hilariously daft is a traditional piece of Scottish clothing - the kilt. After all its worn by Scottish men, but its basically a skirt. And yes, I'm aware that technically they're more complicated, must be worn a certain way etc etc, but thats really just semantics. So if you had one guy wearing a kilt & sporran and one guy wearing a tartan mini-skirt, what really is the difference?


I wouldn't say "abhorrent", but you are right in that it makes me feel slightly awkward. I guess it's natural to feel like that though, as gender-appropriate behaviors are drilled in by society from birth and reinforced by others, even if unconsciously, and the opposite behavior is discouraged... So trying to see things differently from an already conditioned mind is a little puzzling!
However, like I said before, I don't view it as abhorrent; just personally a little uncomfortable, but I don't oppose it or anything. I believe that everyone has free will, so they should go and do whatever they want to with their lives! YOLO. ;D
Heh, as has already been covered, a kilt is a kilt, not a skirt XD


08 Jan 2013 - 12:4995673
Quote Junta:
Of course there are still people that throw a wobbler about guys wearing them (as someone else has pointed out), but most aren't going to say it to the average Scots face. That comes back around to the "its different" thing I mentioned in my first post in this thread.


If it's not in Scotland, or at a wedding, or as part of full national dress they still might get stigmatised.

I've got a work colleague who had a really cool bad-ass black kilt that he wore to work for a bit. But he got so many cat-calls, "humorous" remarks, and comments he went back to trousers as it wasn't worth the hassle. The office is a poorer place for it

Edit: But if they weren't so expensive, I'd be tempted by a Utilikilt myself


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Last edited by PandoraCaitiff (08 Jan 2013 - 14:16) Reason: broken URL - Thanks Nixie
08 Jan 2013 - 13:1495676
Quote PandoraCaitiff:
Quote Junta:
Of course there are still people that throw a wobbler about guys wearing them (as someone else has pointed out), but most aren't going to say it to the average Scots face. That comes back around to the "its different" thing I mentioned in my first post in this thread.


If it's not in Scotland, or at a wedding, or as part of full national dress they still might get stigmatised.

I've got a work colleague who had a really cool bad-ass black kilt that he wore to work for a bit. But he got so many cat-calls, "humorous" remarks, and comments he went back to trousers as it wasn't worth the hassle. The office is a poorer place for it

Edit: But if they weren't so expensive, I'd be tempted by a Utilikilt myself


This - I know plenty of Scots in my area who've worn kilts to regret it because they get so much crap for it from people being "witty".

The end of the day, it comes down to what people perceive as normal and out of place. If it's "out of place" to them, they'll find it uncomfortable. Unfortunately, most people either try humour, shut off and avoid what it is or get angry to overcome the discomfort. Then you'll get some who ask questions to familiarise themselves with this "new" thing.

Essentially, if more men wore skirts/dresses/flowing outfits less people would care.

EDITandora, you forgot the .com from your link :3 I added it to my quote though.


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Last edited by NixieThePixie (08 Jan 2013 - 13:15)
09 Jan 2013 - 11:5895720
So any suggestions for overturning this prejudice?

Personally I'm going to keep on doing crossplay, and being friendly and approachable at events. Any stigma directed at me has been away from cosplay events, or done out of earshot. (I've not seen myself on Bad Cosplay websites yet either - phew!)

I'm also going to keep up my policy of supportive messages, and sharing advice, when people post about wanting to try crossplay.

Anything else we can do?


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