Kitska | 火渡キツカ
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@9 hours ago with 35 notes
Okay everyone. There is something very important that I feel we all need to think about. This a topic that I feel more of us should discuss. Because whether we like it or not; it exists and we ignore it. And it’s something that should be thought about and how we can change it. ‘Bullying’ in cosplay has become so rampant in cosplay over the last few years, and it’s time that I said something on it.
To start with, let me tell you a story from back in the days of before cosplay. A long time ago in a state far far away, I was in first grade. I was taller than normal kids and I loved my cartoons, Disney, and everything to do with horses. My clothing choices reflected it and I was such a happy little kid. One day, on the bus home from school, I was sitting near the back. My friend I sat with had gotten off much earlier in the trip, so I was all by myself. There were a group of girls in my grade who were a few stops ahead of mine who sat behind me in the way back. I had never done a single thing to these girls except exist. As soon as my friend had left, they started. It was things I could easily ignore. Them talking about something I was wearing. Commenting on my hair. And even saying something that I had done in class (ie: sharping a pencil or getting the only A on the spelling test) and what a loser I was. Calling me a teacher’s pet and such a baby; all of these things hurt. But I could ignore it.
It wasn’t until they hit their stop did they get up to get off. And to this day it’s crystal clear in my mind. One girl leaned over me, got right up in my face, and called me a ‘dork’. Her friends followed with similar remarks of ‘nerd’ or ‘loser’. One hit me in the face with their backpack and threw mine onto the floor of the bus. I was even told I didn’t deserve to even be around and that I should never even bother to come back to school. Then they laughed and headed off, leaving me to pick up all my notebooks while trying not to cry. This happened again and again for weeks until one day I was in tears when I came home. It took me almost a month to finally tell my mother that there was ‘a mean girl’ and she was ‘picking on me’. After that, I never took the bus again. My mother picked me up and dropped me off every single day. Because the girl’s mother wrote it off as “kids being kids.”
Growing up, I did have friends. They were the few that I would hang out with and they were the ones that made me feel like I could be my real self and not have to worry about what they would think of me. They were who I felt safe with and, like most kids would think; we would be best friends forever. Sister till the end. And even still, I never told them what happened. Even when it happened in school, recess, lunch, etc.; nothing was said to them or my mother. The teachers didn’t even notice. But I was being tortured by these girls because I was ‘different’.
It would take me years to realize that I was the way I was because it was me. That I was exactly who I was meant to be. It took me until the middle of high school to be proud of being a nerd girl and a gamer. And that came about with another girl being mean to my face and me basically stepping up to her, getting in her face, and telling her to screw of. That I had dealt with her torture for years and she can keep it up, but it’s on deaf ears. She only did was she did to feel like she was bigger person and because she wasn’t hugged enough as a kid. Needless to say, I never heard a word from her again. And to this day, I have no idea what happened to her.
And when I discovered cosplay, I knew that I had found a community of people who many people had felt the same way. People who found comfort in knowing that there others who were called weird or a nerd or even a loser. And we were proud of being different. (And who would have thought that being a nerd would be considered cool at some point? In a way, we were ahead of that curve without realizing it.)
Pushing ahead to more recent times and enter the cosplay world. I will not go into the details of this because it is still one of the worst experiences I have had in this community. Long story short, I was having verbal and written attacks on a very popular website. People were being downright nasty to me in regards to something that happened at a convention and were tearing me to shreds over matters that were out of my control and what they didn’t understand. Words were being said, rumors being started, and telling me how if I was smart, I should never show my face at conventions again. And what hurt the most was I found out some of those comments were coming from people I considered friends.
Needless to say I was in shock. Not because it was because of their accusations and lies. But because all I could think back to was that time on the bus. Being called a loser and a nerd. And being told I didn’t deserve to be around. I shut down. I worried my friends because I did not want to continue to do something that made me so happy for years. I tried to follow people’s advice about ignoring it and letting it go. But I had a horrible knack of letting things that hurt me chew away on my emotions until I lose it. It took a visit from a friend of mine, who made a 6-7 hour car trip alone to see me, to snap me out of it. They told me that all the things these people were saying were them trying to claw their way under my skin and make their lives more interesting. If they had all the time in the world to sit there and think of horrible lies about people, then obviously they aren’t amounting to much personally and this was the only joy they got.
It took me a month to recover completely from all that negative. And it took me almost three months to learn how to just laugh off the rumors and just continue on with what I love without caring about what others think. I am still grateful to my friend for that pep talk they gave me. And it made me realize that I really had people who cared enough about me to make sure that I kept doing what I loved. The same thing goes for more recent events in the cosplay community. But instead of months to recover, I was over it in about a day and moved on. Because of that, I became closer to someone who is very important to me and finally went for things I wanted in my life. And because of that one incident, I have become someone that I have always wanted to be: Working on and off- Broadway and taking classes at one of the best fashion schools possible. All because one person did something to hurt me, I turned it into three amazing things and tons of opportunities.
When I came into the community of cosplay all those years ago, I felt like I had finally found a safe haven. A place where people could be who they wanted, express themselves, talk about their favorite things, and make all new friends who shared in these likes. And it was all because of the one common interest in cosplay. I have met some amazing people in this community, including my best friends and my boyfriend. And yet, I have met those who like this hobby for whole different reasons. They are here to be the best, no matter who they have to step on to become the ‘famous’ cosplayer they want to be. Have the photographers swoon over them and even just kick people down because of things they don’t like.
Fast forward to today. Even though I have learned to laugh off people who are rude in the community, I still see those who are having this happen to them. People who are turned off to cosplaying things because of their size, their skin color, or even their skill level. There are those who will sit there and say to someone’s face that “Your costume is completely inaccurate. And you should feel bad about it because you obviously suck at what you are doing.” I have even seen a girl be told something was wrong with her costume and that she was far too heavy to be dressed as her favorite Sailor Senshi and she just broke down and cried. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that they said she made it wrong and that she was too fat. She then told me that it was her first costume she had ever made on her own and she was so proud of it. But now all she wanted to do was change out of it and go home. I had never been so disappointed with people and cosplayers in my entire life. This girl had to be no older than 16 and she had been so proud. To be turned off to cosplay that quickly because of someone who has an ego? It was awful. I told her that she should ignore the haters. In all honesty, she did an amazing job on her fuku for a first time costume. If she kept at it, which I hope she did, they she will have an amazing future ahead of her in cosplay.
What was the point of this note? Very simple. ‘Bullying’ has become a growing issue in the cosplay world here in the US. I use the term bully loosely because it isn’t what I experienced when I was a kid, but it can be pretty darn close. It [cosplay] has turned into a ‘perfection or nothing’ hobby, where if your costume or your personal look are not ‘right’, you will be torn apart for it or just ignored. This has become worse and worse over the years to the point that people are making those kind of judgments on people without even realizing they are doing it. Praise for something awesome is a rare find these days. If you aren’t the complete package with the professional grade everything, you are overlooked and forgotten about.
Example: A person who has been cosplaying for seven years and has made armor with fiberglass and with beautiful detailing embroidery on their skirting will get more praise and kudos than a beginner who has made their first pleated skirt and modified a toy sword to look like their characters. Why? Because one is far more flashy than the other.
People need to take a serious step back and think about the beginning of their cosplay ‘career’. What were you turning out as a costume? How proud were you when you made that first skirt or first pair of pants that came out great? And think about having someone walk up to while you are wearing it and telling you that you are completely wrong in what you did. Would you have still been proud of it? Think about when you managed to get that make-up look right after all the hours of practice? And then had someone tell you that “You’re too pale to be that character? Why did you even bother?”
I know I have been told that I’m too pale, too skinny, look too much like a boy, don’t have big enough boobs. The running gag for years was that I was a trap. I was really a dude in drag whenever I cosplayed a girl. And even though I can make a convincing guy when I try, I am still girly. (When I want to be. I’ve always been a tomboy) But I just said screw the nay-say, I am very happy with how I look. I love my pale skin especially. I know there have been some discussions about the whole skin tone in cosplay. (especially with the Legend of Korra.) My personal take on the matter is this: Who cares? I don’t care if you are black, white, olive, purple or blue. Cosplay who you want to and if anyone says anything, screw them. You cosplay for you. Not others.
When I first made this page, I made a statement:
“The cosplay community is kinda like that show Toddlers and Tiaras. Everyone wants to be the center of attention. Everyone wants to stand out above the rest. And when they don’t win, they throw hissy fits and bash the winners (through the usage of the internet). Honestly, I find it so sad that some people think that if they are the best here, then they are gonna be #1 in the real world. Keep the perspective people. We’re all nerds in costumes. And sometimes stepping back and walking away into the real world is the best thing you can do. ♥ #CosplayIsFun #NotWorthDrama”
This statement is still true to this day. I have thought about this for a while. I know that I can’t expect the world to suddenly change and we are all going to get along and sing songs. But I hope you will think about it. Share it with people if you see fit. This community should really try and be more of that: A community. Some people have been here longer while others are just starting out. And once the veterans have moved on and have stopped, these newbies will be the experienced vets. I just wish everyone would remember all this is for fun and it’s not serious business. Especially when it comes down to making fun and ‘bullying’ those who are looking for acceptance from another group of nerds.
It’s about fun. Not bringing others down. So before you post that picture on the internet of the overweight girl in her fuku for laughs or make that rude comment on someone’s photo about their material choice on a costume: stop and think. How would you feel if you were getting those comments? How would you feel if it was you being told that your hard work was wrong and awful? No one deserves it. Not in something that is supposed to be fun.