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05 Apr 2013 - 20:16100481
With sites like Cosplay Deviants, I was initially thinking that viewers would have to be pretty stupid to not understand there's a difference between cosplay and pornography, but then I remembered that thinking it's ok to grope people in public is also stupid. So really I shouldn't be surprised that some people react that way.

The guy who groped Eloraborealis is, for all intensive purposes, the same guy who grabbed me in a nightclub last year. Why did he do those things? Because he instinctively believed that he had a right to do so based on where we were, and how I were dressed, and did not take the time to stop and think about that before acting. In my case, I confronted the guy, who responded by simultaneously apologising (this is progress) and running away into the crowd shouting that he just couldn't help himself (not so much progress). But it makes clear what was going on in his head at the time - that he'd just acted without thinking.

With this in mind, going to GG about this sounds like a great idea! Perhaps if there was some kind of awareness material at Expo, that would be the catalyst that makes people THINK before they act. Conventions often have articles in the conbooks on cosplayer etiquette, and it's true that I've never heard of this happening at such an event, only ever at Expo and similar events, with huge attendance and little communication with attendees. Perhaps if there was some kind of communication material on the subject at Expo, promoting these basic rules we take for granted (ie. no touching without permission, no photographs without permission, no harassment) widely to all guests... that could make a big difference? By making the rules clear, and saying, No, it is NOT okay to touch someone, or photograph them, without their permision, regardless of what they're wearing, EVER, no exceptions.... that might trigger that thinking, in those who might have previously done something without doing so!


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Last edited by HystericalDame (05 Apr 2013 - 23:23)
06 Apr 2013 - 10:55100485
There are some interesting questions here, just picking up a couple of points that interested me -

It's an interesting question as to who we are cosplaying for. I know some people will shout "ME" without a second thought giving reasons like "it gives me confidence", "I enjoy it". Is this true though? When we think of some "sexy" characters, who do you think they are drawn for? What is their audience? Well, basically, for the most part, they are for male titillation and enjoyment. Think about the female characters from Guilty Gear, or the Bond girls, or characters from Blaz Blue. When you cosplay those characters their audience becomes YOUR audience and there's very little you can do about it except not cosplay them.

Regarding fursuits and people touching you - it's pretty much inevitable. There's rarely a second thought when people "pet" you. I was dressed in my prototype Alice the rabbit cosplay and a child started petting my lower back (It's stilted so it's as high as he could reach) but there was nothing to take offence at. Same as with adults it very rarely means or should be taken as anything but people wanting to feel the tactile sensation of the fur.

No- cosplay isn't consent but we should ask ourselves WHY we are cosplaying and if we don't like the attention certain types of cosplay brings perhaps we should just bite the bullet and cosplay something else?

You can't wear something skimpy and expect people not to stare and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.



Last edited by Jenivix (06 Apr 2013 - 10:57)
06 Apr 2013 - 13:12100491
Quote silver-vixi:
and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.


Ugh! You've just reminded me of something I hate ! When crossplaying as a female character, everyone thinks they have the right to feel your false breasts. It might not be part of me, but its still invasion of personal space. And think about what happpens if you guess wrong and its not a crossplayer!


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06 Apr 2013 - 17:16100499
Quote silver-vixi:
Think about the female characters from Guilty Gear, or the Bond girls, or characters from Blaz Blue. When you cosplay those characters their audience becomes YOUR audience and there's very little you can do about it except not cosplay them.


There's a big difference between being an audience for a drawing, and for a real life person wearing a costume though. Sure, you'll get male attention for cosplaying one of those characters. But receiving some lingering stares is a far cry from being touched inappropriately, or without permission. Suggesting that by wearing a skimpy costume you should expect to be touched or harassed, makes it sound like the audience is not responsible for their actions. Even the biggest fans of a fan-service-y character are capable of distinguishing between that character, and a person dressed as that character who is deserving of as much respect as any other human being. There's no excuse for it.

Of course, children reaching out and grabbing fur or other especially tactile fabrics is different, as they haven't necessarily learnt to control their impulses yet, and there's not anything sexual in it. Still perhaps annoying, but it's a completely different kind of issue. Adults can suffer from poor impulse control too, but should definitely accept responsibility for it (unlike the two attendees that Wolf confronted, on the first page of the thread). You do not have a right to touch someone, no matter how soft and cuddly they look. If you pet someone in a fursuit, and they don't like it, then apologise.

Quote PandoraCaitiff:
When crossplaying as a female character, everyone thinks they have the right to feel your false breasts. It might not be part of me, but its still invasion of personal space. And think about what happpens if you guess wrong and its not a crossplayer!


Ugh. That's so dreadful.


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Last edited by HystericalDame (06 Apr 2013 - 17:29)
06 Apr 2013 - 19:18100507
I agree that if people cosplay a 'sexy' or 'attractive' character that the audience isn't without responsibility for their actions. Any costume should not =consent although some costumes may be more likely to influence 'that' type of attention of course.
I think ultimately the cosplayer and the audience both have responsibilities. It's when one crosses the invisible line that it's not ok (people seem to need to remember that cosplayers are individuals and what one my be happy doing another may not be happy about doing.

It's definitely something that can be dealt with and prevented from both sides (both cosplay community and audience) I really think posters at cons/expos is a good thing.
I'm wondering if there's anything else that can be done also, because posters at cons/expos don't deal with the online issue of harassment for example this type of thing http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/forum?c=showthread&ThreadID=9966&page=1#lastpost and also I've heard of people being pm'd about their costumes etc in an inappropriate manner online, that's not ok but how do you stop it?


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06 Apr 2013 - 19:19100508
Quote silver-vixi:


No- cosplay isn't consent but we should ask ourselves WHY we are cosplaying and if we don't like the attention certain types of cosplay brings perhaps we should just bite the bullet and cosplay something else?

You can't wear something skimpy and expect people not to stare and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.


As I've said several times there's world of difference between looking and touching/ photographing someone without consent. The latter is no different to say groping a girl in a club because she's wearing a low cut top- she wasn't asking for it.


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06 Apr 2013 - 19:21100510
Quote PandoraCaitiff:
Quote silver-vixi:
and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.


Ugh! You've just reminded me of something I hate ! When crossplaying as a female character, everyone thinks they have the right to feel your false breasts. It might not be part of me, but its still invasion of personal space. And think about what happpens if you guess wrong and its not a crossplayer!


Grabbing bits of someone's cosplay is unacceptable too. For one thing you might inadvertently damage stuff.


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06 Apr 2013 - 19:27100512
Quote Carmina:
Quote silver-vixi:


No- cosplay isn't consent but we should ask ourselves WHY we are cosplaying and if we don't like the attention certain types of cosplay brings perhaps we should just bite the bullet and cosplay something else?

You can't wear something skimpy and expect people not to stare and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.


As I've said several times there's world of difference between looking and touching/ photographing someone without consent. The latter is no different to say groping a girl in a club because she's wearing a low cut top- she wasn't asking for it.


There is a movement against that type of thing isn't there, they dress up in nightclub wear and protest in the street to raise awareness that their clothing/being a female doesn't=consent!
I agree there is a difference between looking at an attractive person and acting upon it, it does cause an issue though if the cosplayer is happy for one type of attention and the other person is happy for the other type of attention ¬__¬ I think they both have a responsibility in this situation but I'm not 100% on what exactly that means!!!


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06 Apr 2013 - 20:28100516
Quote Afireinsidegirl:
Quote Carmina:
Quote silver-vixi:


No- cosplay isn't consent but we should ask ourselves WHY we are cosplaying and if we don't like the attention certain types of cosplay brings perhaps we should just bite the bullet and cosplay something else?

You can't wear something skimpy and expect people not to stare and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.


As I've said several times there's world of difference between looking and touching/ photographing someone without consent. The latter is no different to say groping a girl in a club because she's wearing a low cut top- she wasn't asking for it.


There is a movement against that type of thing isn't there, they dress up in nightclub wear and protest in the street to raise awareness that their clothing/being a female doesn't=consent!
I agree there is a difference between looking at an attractive person and acting upon it, it does cause an issue though if the cosplayer is happy for one type of attention and the other person is happy for the other type of attention ¬__¬ I think they both have a responsibility in this situation but I'm not 100% on what exactly that means!!!


The cosplayer might well be happy posing for sexy photographs but if in doubt its best to ask if something is okay. Same with stroking fursuiters- it's not hard to ask them if they mind you touching their costume and if they say no to respect that.


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06 Apr 2013 - 20:32100517
Quote Carmina:
Quote Afireinsidegirl:
Quote Carmina:
Quote silver-vixi:


No- cosplay isn't consent but we should ask ourselves WHY we are cosplaying and if we don't like the attention certain types of cosplay brings perhaps we should just bite the bullet and cosplay something else?

You can't wear something skimpy and expect people not to stare and you can't wear something fluffy and expect people not to touch.


As I've said several times there's world of difference between looking and touching/ photographing someone without consent. The latter is no different to say groping a girl in a club because she's wearing a low cut top- she wasn't asking for it.


There is a movement against that type of thing isn't there, they dress up in nightclub wear and protest in the street to raise awareness that their clothing/being a female doesn't=consent!
I agree there is a difference between looking at an attractive person and acting upon it, it does cause an issue though if the cosplayer is happy for one type of attention and the other person is happy for the other type of attention ¬__¬ I think they both have a responsibility in this situation but I'm not 100% on what exactly that means!!!


The cosplayer might well be happy posing for sexy photographs but if in doubt its best to ask if something is okay. Same with stroking fursuiters- it's not hard to ask them if they mind you touching their costume and if they say no to respect that.


So we need to promote an asking culture instead of an assumption taking one? Also some questions could offend people, I know I'd be offended if in costume and asked to pose a 'sexy' way etc but I get it's A LOT better than being touched/having a photo taken without knowing about it!!!


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06 Apr 2013 - 20:48100518
Quote Afireinsidegirl:


So we need to promote an asking culture instead of an assumption taking one? Also some questions could offend people, I know I'd be offended if in costume and asked to pose a 'sexy' way etc but I get it's A LOT better than being touched/having a photo taken without knowing about it!!!


I'd also say a culture of using your common sense and empathy. I think its often possible to make some sort of judgement from someones behaviour as to what is okay.


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06 Apr 2013 - 21:25100520
Just been reading this myself. Its an interesting read, and its a nice project.

I know there have been some stories of bad/odd behaviour from some people at UK cons/expos, but its always seem like 1 person out of the many.

Reading that article, it almost feels like its eerily common over in the US.

Worrying thing I found out is that there seems to be no laws in America in regards to taking pictures of people in public places. And this seems to be the excuse for some people, saying its in their right to take whatever picture they want.
They don't seem to care that just because they can do it, and there isn't a law to stop them, doesn't mean they should do it...

I'm almost glad I happen a socially awkward mess, because its meant whenever I want a photo of someone in costume, I've always had to ask people, if it stops me from being a dick like some of the idiots posting on there, then I am glad of it.


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06 Apr 2013 - 22:00100525
Quote Carmina:
Quote Afireinsidegirl:


So we need to promote an asking culture instead of an assumption taking one? Also some questions could offend people, I know I'd be offended if in costume and asked to pose a 'sexy' way etc but I get it's A LOT better than being touched/having a photo taken without knowing about it!!!


I'd also say a culture of using your common sense and empathy. I think its often possible to make some sort of judgement from someones behaviour as to what is okay.


Common sense goes a long way and cosplayers who've been put in these situations have obviously used theirs to deal with it. But the people who did it to them clearly are lacking something...


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06 Apr 2013 - 22:10100526
I never really put much thought to cosplay harassment before, but reading some peoples experiences it's quite shocking what some guys and even girls think is acceptable behaviour towards cosplayers be they wearing revealing costumes or not.

Over the 4years since I started cosplaying I've noticed an increase in lude remarks and inappropriate gestures/actions that I've received and I wouldn't consider anything I cosplay as overtly sexual/revealing. More recently when I was working on a stand at Eurogamer just doing promotion work in cosplay, I had my arsed overtly groped by a fair few different guys, this has happened on the odd occasion at Expos but never so many times at the same event, at the time I just put it down to the guys just assuming that because I was working in costume that when I agreed to a photo with them they could squeeze my arse as the photos were taken and it wouldn't matter, since I was representing a company I didn't say anything just swiftly moved their hand from my rear as soon as they'd done it; this sort of thing I just take with a pinch of salt, however in the same day I also had my chest groped by one guy which I feel really crossed the line but again apart from telling him that was unacceptable (which was followed by a shrug) at the time I felt there wasn't much I could have done about it. 

What I don't understand is why people think that they have a right to inappropriately touch a stranger regardless of what they are wearing and where they are wearing it.

I definitely agree with some of the suggestions for raising awareness of this issue as it seems to becoming more common.

Xxx


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06 Apr 2013 - 22:39100527
I wonder how much scope there is for awareness at Expo? (Personally I've not heard of it being a problem at smaller events, which often have 'convention/cosplay etiquette' sections in the con books, but if anyone has then please speak out!)

It would be fantastic to have some kind of poster campaign, but I've got a feeling that it would be hard to put posters up outside of perhaps the Totally Cosplay area. Especially since I'm guessing most of the trouble happens out in the hallway, which isn't space that Expo has paid for, and I bet anyone putting posters up out there would get in trouble.

Perhaps as a leaflet, or a page in the map/timetable book that's given out at the entrance, and in the goody bags? Something eye-catching and well-designed, put into the hands of a large number of guests, as well as online/anywhere it can be put up/on the screen before the masquerade/whatever is possible, could really make a difference in nipping this sort of thing in the bud, before it gets worse! (I hope that's not just optimism talking...)


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06 Apr 2013 - 22:48100528
Quote diphenhydramine:
I wonder how much scope there is for awareness at Expo? (Personally I've not heard of it being a problem at smaller events, which often have 'convention/cosplay etiquette' sections in the con books, but if anyone has then please speak out!)

It would be fantastic to have some kind of poster campaign, but I've got a feeling that it would be hard to put posters up outside of perhaps the Totally Cosplay area. Especially since I'm guessing most of the trouble happens out in the hallway, which isn't space that Expo has paid for, and I bet anyone putting posters up out there would get in trouble.

Perhaps as a leaflet, or a page in the map/timetable book that's given out at the entrance, and in the goody bags? Something eye-catching and well-designed, put into the hands of a large number of guests, as well as online/anywhere it can be put up/on the screen before the masquerade/whatever is possible, could really make a difference in nipping this sort of thing in the bud, before it gets worse! (I hope that's not just optimism talking...)


Completely agree with everything you've just suggested, as cosplay is such a massive part of expos I think it should be something you are told maybe when you buy a ticket/terms and conditions etc, should be online and at the event. Leaflets sound great, how would someone finance that and who would we expect to be financing it/handing them out? I think giving someone something in their hand is personal and should be a reminder of what is 'ok' behaviour towards cosplayers hence why I like it!

Also I really think it's less likely at cons and smaller expos because there are less people and there tends to be more of a community/personable culture (I talk to a lot more people for a lot longer at smaller events).


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07 Apr 2013 - 06:46100532
Quote Frederica_la_Noir:
at the time I just put it down to the guys just assuming that because I was working in costume that when I agreed to a photo with them they could squeeze my arse as the photos were taken and it wouldn't matter, since I was representing a company I didn't say anything just swiftly moved their hand from my rear as soon as they'd done it; this sort of thing I just take with a pinch of salt,


And that's part of the problem. Not you, but the culture that made you feel shrugging it off was all you could do. And the culture that made them think it was OK.

Quote diphenhydramine:
(Personally I've not heard of it being a problem at smaller events, which often have 'convention/cosplay etiquette' sections in the con books, but if anyone has then please speak out!)


It's kind of a vicious circle. People are scared/worried/apathetic and don't report, so people assume that no reports mean it doesn't happen, and then when it does we assume its an isolated incident and let it go.

Thankfully campaigns like this encourage people to speak out and discuss it.

Quote Afireinsidegirl:
I wonder how much scope there is for awareness at Expo? (Personally I've not heard of it being a problem at smaller events, which often have 'convention/cosplay etiquette' sections in the con books, but if anyone has then please speak out!)


I think the Cosplay =/= Consent signs are a really good idea. I'm going to print one off, and carry it with me at expo for photos. Or maybe a badge, so I don't have to consciously get it out when snapped. If I feel really brave I might write it on the butt of some pants, as I'll be wearing a short skirt!


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07 Apr 2013 - 09:16100537
Quote PandoraCaitiff:

I think the Cosplay =/= Consent signs are a really good idea. I'm going to print one off, and carry it with me at expo for photos. Or maybe a badge, so I don't have to consciously get it out when snapped. If I feel really brave I might write it on the butt of some pants, as I'll be wearing a short skirt!


So you're going to raise awareness in your own way then that's cool! I wonder should we set up some sort of raising awareness group? Where groups of individuals promote the message or just leave it to individuals and cons/expos.
Like a fb group, a real life group with meet ups for pictures that we then promote etc Idk, just suggesting things


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07 Apr 2013 - 12:36100541
Quote Afireinsidegirl:
So you're going to raise awareness in your own way then that's cool! I wonder should we set up some sort of raising awareness group? Where groups of individuals promote the message or just leave it to individuals and cons/expos.
Like a fb group, a real life group with meet ups for pictures that we then promote etc Idk, just suggesting things


That would be cool. Although I wonder if it would be good to tie in with an existing group. Like the 16bit Sirens, or M.E.S.S.A.G.E. or Feminist Frequency

I've just pinged off an email to a friend who is a printer to see how much some "Cosplay =/= Consent" stickers would cost. Wearing a sticker is way less confrontational than a placard, and means the message gets sneaked into more pictures


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07 Apr 2013 - 17:10100545
Quote PandoraCaitiff:
Quote Afireinsidegirl:
So you're going to raise awareness in your own way then that's cool! I wonder should we set up some sort of raising awareness group? Where groups of individuals promote the message or just leave it to individuals and cons/expos.
Like a fb group, a real life group with meet ups for pictures that we then promote etc Idk, just suggesting things


That would be cool. Although I wonder if it would be good to tie in with an existing group. Like the 16bit Sirens, or M.E.S.S.A.G.E. or Feminist Frequency

I've just pinged off an email to a friend who is a printer to see how much some "Cosplay =/= Consent" stickers would cost. Wearing a sticker is way less confrontational than a placard, and means the message gets sneaked into more pictures


Joining existing groups is fine as long as they have the same message and run their groups in the way we would need!!
Stickers are fun as well as sneaky and less confrontational!!


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09 Apr 2013 - 23:59100683
Quote PandoraCaitiff:
I've just pinged off an email to a friend who is a printer to see how much some "Cosplay =/= Consent" stickers would cost. Wearing a sticker is way less confrontational than a placard, and means the message gets sneaked into more pictures


Stickers are a great idea! Pretty cheap to print, and easy to use (and also to quickly stick on something and run away and hopefully not get caught NOT THAT I CONDONE VANDALISM OF COURSE.)

I'm a graphic designer, so I'd be happy to pitch that in anywhere it's useful! Even if it's just a case of getting the type for the stickers nicely arranged Actually, thinking about that, my final project for my degree is based around cosplay experiences. I bet I can sneak in some propaganda somewhere...


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Last edited by HystericalDame (10 Apr 2013 - 00:01)
10 Apr 2013 - 01:47100685
This is something that should be promoted by any gender. It's much more prevalent in males harassing females but more and more I'm seeing "fangirls" think it's ok to grope men too.

I am not even remotely attractive but this has happened to me in the past more than once. Only on one occasion was I quick enough to actually respond to it and I got a reply of, "You're a guy, all men want their asses squeezed!"

People also have an issue of realising the difference between what we accept from friends and what we accept from strangers. "I just saw you doing [what was requested by said stranger] with that other girl for a photo!"

"That other girl is a friend I've known for 3 years."

And cue a stream of insults.


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10 Apr 2013 - 08:18100689
Quote sjbonnar:
People also have an issue of realising the difference between what we accept from friends and what we accept from strangers. "I just saw you doing [what was requested by said stranger] with that other girl for a photo!"


Agreed.

There's also a big difference between fanservice-y photos where the photographer asked nicely, and the model had control over the pose and what was visible and what wasn't; and the non-consensual upskirt photos grabbed by some random pervert with a camera.


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10 Apr 2013 - 08:28100691
love the sticker idea. i'm as an artist/designer i'd be happy to look at coming up with a proper logo should we need one?

but anything that gets the message across is brilliant.

its like the 'asking for it' campaign. not sure who its by but recently saw a brilliant poster that was about 16 silhouettes of the same girl but in various shapes/styles of dress. under the first one it said 'not asking for it' and under all the others it said 'still asking for it'
...it was really good.

so glad that so many of us care so passionately about this and want to be pro-active about it! COUNT ME IN X


10 Apr 2013 - 17:04100733
As much as a bit of awareness won't hurt any one, I'm kinda worried about some of the responses about photography -

If you're in a public place in a costume people do not have to ask for your permission to take a photograph. They do not have to have your permission to film you either.

You may request a picture or a film of you to be taken off the internet, but if you were in a public place I'm a afraid you don't have a leg to stand on.

Although it's nice to be asked for a photo you can't seriously be demanding that people can't take a picture of you without asking!

I'm not defending people who invade personal space - but the onus is not just on them to stay away, it's on you to be aware and protect yourself. There are nasty people around and not everyone at a convention is a nicey nice person, there's no vetting criteria for getting in and you are responsible for your own safety. Not everyone who acts like they didn't know any better is actually telling the truth.

Whether you like it or not, there are predators, lots of them and wearing sexy cosplays IS consent for a lot of things and it isn't all in the convention hall. People could get hold of your pictures and masturbate to them for example, it's not exclusive to those on CD.

So,you have to ask yourself about the audience and whether you are happy with that audience - you have to be aware that you are objectifying yourself in any cosplay. People aren't going to see YOU they are going to see the character.

I know my views aren't the most popular, but I feel they need to be taken into account.


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