Mainly a Hetalia blog, but you will also find Homestuck, Avatar, the Avengers, Sherlock, and anything else I find interesting.
Race, Cosplay, and Social Justice - Oh My!
So, okay. I know I’ve said I’m done with talking about this subject. But there’s just a few more things I need to get off my chest - not just for myself, but on behalf of a lot of people. Specifically my friends and followers because now you guys are being attacked and called ignorant/uneducated and that just ain’t cool.
This is one gigantic post of everything I possibly feel relating to the issue of Race and Cosplay. I cover a variety of topics, and I’m sure it will step on a few toes, but these are things that I need to say right now, if only so I can get the thoughts out of my head before I go crazy.
I’m making a list because I have to keep my thoughts organized, otherwise this is going to turn into even more of a novel than it is already. [Side Note: It took me three hours to write this, so you’ve been warned. It’s long.]
Basically: I don’t know what I am talking about and I admit it but I’m still going to talk and because what I do is ~art~ I am exempt from having to examine or correct myself. I do not care if I am hurtful because what I do is more important than the feelings of others. Oh a little dash of persecution complex because being called out on doing racist things is the equivalent to being the everyday victim of institutionalized racism. (Even though they admit that fucking Hollywood and thus the media and society as a whole already agrees with them)
That’s a much easier and quicker read then basically what this adds up to and what the problem is with artists these days.
Except the entire point of the post was to say that people feel differently on this manner, that everyone’s feelings are legitimate, and - most importantly - no one’s feelings are more important than anyone else’s.
1. Some people are hurt when cosplayers tan.
2. Some people are hurt when cosplayers don’t tan.
3. All cosplayers are hurt when they are told who they can/can’t cosplay, especially when it is based on their race.
My desire is to draw attention to the part of this debate where the majority are hurt, as it has mostly been ignored. And that would be the part that tries to segregate cosplayers to only dressing up as characters from their own race.
No matter what the cosplayer chooses to do, they offend someone. If they tan, they hurt the people who equate it to brownfacing. If they don’t tan, they hurt the people who equate it to whitewashing. And if they don’t cosplay that character, they’re sending the message that it’s not okay to cosplay outside of your own race, which is such anti-progressive thinking I’m astounded to see the SJ movement advocating it without realizing what they’re saying.
The cosplay community, for decades, has tried to make it clear that it’s okay to cosplay outside your race. It’s the first thing beginner cosplayers worry about, and we do our best to reassure them that it’s alright to do so; that while the rest of society will tell them what they can/can’t do because of their race, that sort of attitude won’t be tolerated within the cosplay world.
And now we’ve got the SJ crusaders persecuting anyone who so much as steps a toe out of their race - unless it’s the other way around. POC can cosplay whoever they want, and do it with low-quality costumes, but they’re immediately praised as being “perfect.” If a white cosplayer dresses up as the same character and has a higher-quality costume, their workmanship is completely ignored in favor of saying they “suck” because they’re white. The reverse of this (POC cosplayers’ craftsmanship being ignored in favor of bashing their race while white cosplayers have poor craftsmanship and are still praised) is absolutely true as well; it happens frequently and is also Not Okay!
This sort of behavior hurts both sides. If someone always gets a free pass because of their race, how are they ever going to better themselves as a cosplayer? Likewise, if someone devotes time/energy/effort to a costume only to be told it sucks anyways because of their skin color, what sort of message is that sending to not only the rest of the cosplay community, but the nerd community in general?
Yes, cosplay is an art. But it’s extremely different from traditional or digital art in the fact that it is so closely interlaced with people. In many ways, our bodies are the canvas. We make our bodies the center of attention. It has never been and never will be “just about playing dress up.”
Cosplay involves self-esteem, self-expression, body image, and so much more. This is not anywhere close to the same as telling an artist that Katara looks a little pale in their painting. When you’re telling someone who they can/can’t cosplay, you’re not saying the equivalent of, “You can’t draw this, you can’t paint that.”
You are quite literally telling them, “You are not good enough to represent this character.”
And that hurts, that damages, and I’ve not seen a single social justice crusader take the emotions of the cosplayers into consideration. Just because we’re wearing costumes doesn’t mean our feelings and opinions are suddenly illegitimate.
P.S. You keep using the word “racism” but I do not think you know what it means. Because, as I mentioned in the initial post, the only thing racist about this debate is using a person’s race to limit who they can or can’t cosplay. That is what I’m saying needs to stop.
P.P.S. Social justice crusaders with no connection or understanding of the cosplay community have far less “right” to speak on this subject than I do. No, I don’t have a degree in social work or ethnology, and I wanted to make that clear. But I’m a cosplayer, and this is a perspective that is not being allowed to be heard or explored throughout this debate. The SJCs are telling us the feelings of the cosplayers Do Not Matter, and that is absolutely not true, especially when we’re the ones primarily being affected by this issue.
I think I love Nina omfg
The thing is that our feelings don’t matter because we’re white. We have no right to talk because we’re white. We know nothing about oppression because we’re white and privileged, we can have the most shitty life ever, but if we’re white we’ll always be privileged, if we’re bullied by pocs we’re still privileged because we’re white. And all the Social crusaders will tell you is: Oh buh-huh the white person is offended, oh no, poor white people’s feelings are hurt.
I have yet to see a social crusader say: From my own experience, this and this and this and this happen to ME and I feel offended that YOU are cosplaying a poc. I HAVE YET to see someone say that.
I’ve had a friend saying that she couldn’t find a job because of her accent, she really explained it how it happen. So in her case I can understand and I’m sorry it happen to her. But I am not going to be tolerant for who isn’t tolerant with others.
I think their point of fighting for equal rights, is lost along the way, when they try to stop other from doing something because of their race. It goes against what they fight for. But whatever, what do I know. I’m a white latina.
This whole convo.
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