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05 Feb 2013 - 16:1596927
Historical Cosplays and Possible Offence They May Bring
I'm wanting people's opinions on cosplaying historical characters. Now, I say cosplaying because I'm talking about taking them from games or comics.

I ask because I'm wanting to cosplay Marquis de Layfette from Assassin's Creed III for Japan Expo, as it's in France and he's French. Buuuut... Would that be offensive to cosplay a man of a different nationality, who, essentially, could be blamed for the French Revolution? (long story short on him, he helped America in the War for Independence by asking for money and fleets from France. This bankrupt France and caused all the issues which led to the revolution)

So it got my thinking, what about other characters which are actual historic characters? What do you guys think?

Ayacon Plans
05 Feb 2013 - 16:3196930
I don't think there is any issue with most historical cosplays to be honest. Now if you wanted to cosplay Hitler or Stalin on the other hand it would be a totally different kettle of fish.

People cosplay / re-enact Napoleon for example quite regularly. And as a re-enactor I have seen a great many historical character reproductions.

I think it's also to do with how many generations you have removed from the character and whether there are living relatives / victims. With your character, that isn't a problem. Just make it well and with respect.

EDIT: Additionally, if the costume is exclusive to a game / series most people won't know who you are anyway... if they do recognize you it will be because of the game.

Last edited by Jenivix (05 Feb 2013 - 16:32)
05 Feb 2013 - 16:4996932
I don't see a problem with it. Something like Hitler, where there are still living victims of his regime, I can see would be weird but someone from longer ago less so. Also there's an extent to which its not exactly a historical character per se, but a fictional character based on a historical one.

05 Feb 2013 - 22:3996950
Quote NixieThePixie:

I ask because I'm wanting to cosplay Marquis de Layfette

The Americans probably wouldn't find him offensive

As to the more general point (warning - ramble about to begin), I think context is all important. Quite rightly Stalin and Hitler have been used as a shorthand and frankly I'd be pretty disturbed if someone wanted to cosplay these chaps - even if they could quote a source such as a comic etc.

Yet, even here context can overide the distaste. So,(bear with me I'm using extreme examples here) the waxworld episode of Red Dwarf, someone dresses as Hitler = funny. If someone trotted into the British Legion in the same costume = not funny at all.

Historical cosplays will always be a tricky one, as there is a line somewhere as to what is deemed acceptable. Where that line gets drawn (context, time past etc) will be determined by taste, context, personal perspective etc. So what's acceptable to one person would be highly offensive to another and I think great care would have to be taken.

However, in the case you mention Nixie I can't see anyone taking offense at all

06 Feb 2013 - 01:5196955
I have done historical costumes and have done a character that has been based on a very nasty man in the War of Independence. I've never received a problem through doing it.

I think it does come down to context of the character and what you are aiming for.

If you were to do a character to deliberately antagonise people then it would be frowned upon. But doing a costume because you like the character, costume or the time period I think is absolutely fine.

When I did my costume from the War of Independence it was because I really liked the costume design and the actor who played the character. I was also part of a group who were all being characters from history films. I fancied the challenge of making a military uniform of the era.

06 Feb 2013 - 10:3396967
I think what might be good to remember here is that it's not a costume of the actual person. It's a characterised representation of that person. There are alot of historical figures used as characters in different ways (Dynasty Warriors, Sengoku Basara, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)

Also even though the game was developed in Canada, Ubi Soft is a French company.

06 Feb 2013 - 11:1296970
For what it's worth, I've never even heard of Marquis de Layfette! Best ask actual French people whether he's likely to cause offence.

I think you are generally safe as long as it is out of living memory. No-one's going to cause a fuss over a Genghis Khan cosplay, but Hitler or Pol Pot or someone would probably casuse offence as there are still people living who have been affected by them.

Of course context matters too, like others have said. A Gestapo costume might get a pass at a World War Two re-enactment event. (Although there was some drama a few years back when SS costumers turned up at a wargaming show with their kids in Hitler Youth uniforms!)

06 Feb 2013 - 11:2396972
Like the last post, I too have never heard of Marquis de Layfette. as i'm sure the majority of people haven't. I do feel that something is only offensive if it was worn to create offence. So there is no reason for some to be offended by a character from a game at an event that is featuring cosplay! it is an historical character with no direct ties to anyone alive, as some people have mentioned prior to this. as it is historical and not current or topical..

I'd roll with it!

07 Feb 2013 - 00:4997012
i think you should be ok to cosplay them if you say to people how he's in the game and you fancied cosplaying them

13 Feb 2013 - 10:4397267
No, this shouldn't be an issue at all!

CosplayIsland Staff Member

13 Feb 2013 - 11:3597271
Right, I'll go forward with him. If I get cold feet, I can always hold him back to Aya or something.

Ayacon Plans
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