Take It or Leave It

The Ten Commandments of Cosplay

Posted by HERETICPRIME on August 23, 2015 at 5:40 PM

Lately I've seen a lot of bad cosplayers.  No, I don't mean cosplayers that are hacks.  I mean cosplayers that have sucky attitudes and behaviours.  I don't like cosplayers that use the culture and it's people for their own cheap gain or need for attention.

Wouldn't be nice if we could all just follow the mantra of Wil Wheaton?  "Don't be a dick."  It's simple, or at least it should be.  Unfortunately, some dicks can't even go to dick rehab because they are so deep in cock thuggery that they don't know where to start.

Well fear not!  After a long and exhausting spiritual trek to Mount Doomkitty, and hours of prayer and meditation at the Temple of Ani-Mia, I had a revelation!  Here are The Ten Commandments of Cosplay!!!

1  ) You are all Cosplayers, and there shalt be no Cosplayers beneathe you. 

Like anything, there are varying degrees of devotion, and devotion is based on many things.  Some of us have different reasons for loving something.  Sometimes we have more time to devote to it.  Other times we have more money.  Some of us have more skill or natural talent in our practice.  Some of us exercise our devotion in groups.  So whether we see someone at a convetion in a superhero T-Shirt that they are proud of, a pristine cosplay complete with moving and light up parts, or the first attempt of someone still perfecting their craft, we are all united under one passion.

2 ) Thou shalt give credit for any photographed image.

So you've made a cosplay that you're particularly proud of it.  An admirer asks if she can take a picture of you in it.  You do a dorky pose, and the photographer smiles, crouches down, and snaps away.  A few days later, she sends you the pics and you look awesome!  You post your pics, and you get a few hundred new Subscribes, Likes, and Follows.  Later, one of those new fans edits your pics and adds some special effects for you.  You look like an effing X-Man, so you post it and it goes viral!  You monatise your YouTube and Blip.  BOOM!  You have the money to make better cosplays, to make better videos, to make more money, to make cosplay accessories to sell, to become a household name, and to live high on the hog for the rest of you life! 

You did it, and the best part is you did it all by yourself!  WRONG!  You were just another geek in a costume who posed awkwardly for a picture, but the photographer was better at taking pictures than you were at modeling.  Then another fan did a kick-ass edit and made you look iconic.

When you post or share your pics, do the right thing.  Credit the photographer(s).  Credit the editor(s) and special effects person(s).  We all deserve recognition and respect for the jobs we do.

3 ) Thou shalt not take the name of "Stalker" in vain.

This one is one of the closest commandments to my heart, having been a victim of it, hearing stories of it, and witnessing it.

One time my best friend's brother came with us to a convetion I was vending at.  He has special needs, but is highly functioning. He even has a job and his own friends he visits.  He is a sweet guy.  Even into adulthood, he likes to greet EVERYONE with a hug.  Well, I also had two con girls working for me, and I told one of them that Billy (We'll call him Billy.) has special needs, so if she thought he was behaving unusually for an adult, to keep that in mind.  I also asked her to be a pal and sort of look out for him.  I was too busy to tell the other woman.

'Long story short, the con girl I didn't tell tried to blame some of her questionable behaviour on Billy.  She said she was freaked out because Billy asked her if she wanted to be Facebook friends.  I was immediately disgusted at what she was hinting at.  I explained that Billy was of special needs and liked to make friends.  Then, I asked the woman that did know why she didn't explain this.  She had no response.

Ladies, I know that you like to look nice in your cosplay.  I also know that sometimes you might have a certain person, or type of person, in mind that you would like to admire you.  Please don't be rude or nasty to someone because they might not be your ideal admirer.  Unless they are truly being creepy, then don't call them a creep.  Unless they are truly stalking you, don't label them a stalker.  Things like that stick to reputations, and in peoples' minds.  You can seriously hurt someone's feelings and cripple them socially.

4 ) Remember the days of the Con, and keep them Friendly.

This kind of goes with Number 3.  Remember that con etiquette is not everyday etiquette.  People are going be more approachable, and want to approach you.  People will want to stare at you a bit more to admire your geek wear and/or cosplay.  People may ask to take your picture or want to pose with you in them.  People may invite you to do things with their groups or want to partner with you because they don't want to have a good time alone.  While there is no law that says you have to oblige, the least you can do is react calmly and be polite with your answers.

5 ) Honour the Staff and the Venue.

Most people don't go to conventions with the intent to break rules.  But I also think that most people do not take the time to read the rules of the con, or those of the venue of which they take place.  Take the time to familiarise yourself with them.

You may find out that your cosplay or props might not be con-friendly.

Learn about the staff and who handles the different departments so that you can get all the help you may need while you're there.

You might also want to take a look at a map of the Venue grounds to cut down on time for routes, plan your panel time, and for basic safety.

6 ) Thou shalt not Shame.

This relates to Commandment 1.  Don't make other Cosplayers feel badly for being themselves and enjoying their craft.  Don't "slut-shame" because someone cosplays sexier than you do. This also goes for people that you think aren't attractive enough to cosplay what they chose to.  If they're comfortable with their bodies enough to wear it, then let them wear it.

7 ) Thou shalt not exploit for money.

There seems to be this new trend of Cosplayers charging people for pictures.  These Cosplayers have caused some discussion and re-evaluation on what it means to be a Cosplayer. 

Some of you might not have a problem with this.  Well, I want you remember back a few years ago when there was this trend of guys calling out "fake nerd/geek girls." There was a profound fear that Cosplay was being infiltrated by attention whoring little bitches that were making all the "real nerds/geeks" feel out of place at our own functions.  I think that we got over that, and learned that girls and women could be just as big geeks or gamers as boys or men, but this charging for pictures is not helping.

As soon as money is asked for something that is meant to be fun and free, it taints and perverts it.  'Money for friendship.  'Money to be left alone,  'Money for sex.  The very idea of money for Cosplay pictures cheapens the art, and gives credence to the idea of "fake nerd/geek girls" exploiting our lifestyle.

Oh, and for the record, I'm not a fan of the cosplayer pay sites, and the people that sell nude alternative Cosplay pics for big money, either.  Don't say you are cosplaying if you are tryting to do porn.  I have nothing against porn.  I just don't like my porn stars adding more confusion to CONsent and  hustling my people.

8 ) Thou shalt not Scam.

I love the idea of programs like Kickstarter and GoFundMe.  Even though we only control 10% of the wealth, it allows us normal Janes and Joes to throw our pennies into a common cause that the mainstream media would not.  It's like a monetary Spirit Bomb that we all raise our hands to for the chosen Goku of the moment.  'Know what I don't like about it?  'Cosplayers using it for their own personal use.

I don't care how it's worded.  Whether you say it's only for materials for the perfection of your craft, or for some group project, it's still your personal use...unless you're doing that costume or performance for a cause.

It's also not to help you get on your feet.  It''s not to pay for your car that broke down.  It's not to help you move into a new place.  It's definitely not to pay for your boob job so that you can look better in your cosplays..."for the fans." 

Don't get me wrong.  There are some worthy reasons that a person might personally need crowd funding for, like a medical emergency or natural disaster, but never for personal Cosplay.

9 ) Thou shalt not bear false rumours.

Please don't start or perpetuate false or unconfirmed rumours about other Cosplayers.  Drama doesn't always work the way we intend it to.  Sometimes people can sense the thrist, and know when a person is up to no good. That effort we spend trying to badmouth other people sometimes backfires, and we end up looking like the busy bodies we are.

There are some Cosplayers that I don't like, and there are some that don't like me.  Sometimes, I may get in conversations where I expess my dislike for them, but I don't make a special effort to do so.  Even when I feel a need get something off of my chest about a Cosplayer in an article or public statement, I don't wring my hands, or shake my fist to the heavens to swear their destruction.

10) Thou shalt not take credit for thy fellow's work.

Like I said, earlier, you shouldn't feel shame for not making every stitch of your Cosplay.  You don't have to "grow the cotton to make the thread to make the fabric and harvest the berries to die it" (Misa on Wheels).  It's okay to buy what you need to cosplay...BUT...if you do, give credit where credit is due.

A lot of copslayers buy components for their cosplays like headgear, jewelrey, gloves, boots, body suits, capes, belts or sashes, horns, ears, wings, and tails.  Sometimes cosplayers buy props like weapons and signs.  Sometimes, the help also comes in things like patterns, stitching, and dyeing.

No one is saying that you have to broadcast what you did and didn't make, either.  Just be truthful if you are asked, and definitely give credit by name if you know the person that made the piece(s) you are using.

So, what do you think?  'Do my "commandments" make any sense?  Do you agree?  Are there some that you would replace with others?  Let me know.  Comment.  Share.  Discuss with your friends.

Categories: Cosplay/Costume, Trolling, Pop Culture

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