Fiber Reinforced Plastic Armor Tutorial (Twilight Princess Zelda) - http://wilkowen.deviantart.com/art/Fiber-Reinforced-Plastic-Armor-Tutorial-363402477
Cosplay is about having fun and showing your love for a character.
Cosplay is about enjoying the outfit you made/commissioned/or just bought.
It does not matter if you are too skinny for a character, or more on the heavy side.
It does not matter if your eyes are a different color, if you have a braces, acne, are shorter than them, taller than them.
It does not matter if you are the opposite gender as them. (People do genderbends or bind/make or get fake breasts all the time!)
If all that doesn’t matter, then why should cosplaying outside of your race? All you are doing is showing love for your character and not trying to “take them away” from a POC. It goes the same the other way around. If a POC wants to cosplay Disney Cinderella or Elizabeth from Bioshock, then I say go for it! As long as you having fun, then really, skin color does not matter.
Some people like going a little further and doing makeup to tan their skin, but it isn’t necessarily black facing. I personally don’t bother tanning my skin, but that’s because I’m terrible at makeup and am very new to cosplay, plus don’t see the issue with having a different skin color.
Cosplay. Is about. Having. Fun.
or: How I was accused of it It was yesterday when I wanted to post the first make-up test for my upcoming cosplay of Carlos from Night Vale. I put a lot of work in the make-up, painting on tiny…
This is a blog post that was submitted yesterday, about the topic of “blackfacing” and cosplay outside of North America.
My bottom line is this: Cosplay is about love for a character, before anything. If you want to cosplay a character because you love their costume, or something about their character, go for it. Just the way I would say to people with different shapes or genders, you are allowed to love and relate to any characters, and cosplay is a great way to explore that.
That being said, race and representation are questions worth talking about and mulling over. As long as you are going into this educated and informed, as well as prepared to encounter people who may disagree with your choices, I say cosplay on.
I personally had a really awful experience in one fandom where I was basically bullied out of a cosplay and a whole fandom because I wanted to cosplay a character of a different race than my own.
And that is not okay.
We can agree to respectfully disagree and set our own personal boundaries as far as what we are comfortable cosplaying, but that doesn’t mean we have a right to attack others for choosing differently.
I always get a bit heartbroken when I see people limiting themselves to cosplaying “what they look like” instead of “what they love.” Sure they can be one and the same! But just as you can fall in love with another person outside of your race, nationality, skin color, etc. you can also fall in love with a character who does not quite resemble you.
To bring up a popular illustration of diversity in available characters: I’m Latina. How many Latina Disney princesses are there? NONE. There are plenty of tan ones though, (but ”tan” isn’t a race). I guess I’ve sorta got Kida, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Esmeralda, and even Chel if we dip into Dreamworks. Interestingly enough, I’ve had the unique conflict of being told I’m too dark for pale characters, but too “light” for tan characters- ooh I just love when people criticize my skin instead of my costume!! /sarcasm
Be proud of who you are, but don’t let it limit who you are. I have a Chinese friend who cosplays every disney princess and heroine- and I mean EVERY. That’s like her goal in life, actually. XD And she rocks all of them. Anyone who would bother pointing out that she’s an “Asian Cinderella” is missing the point of cosplay- which is about dress up as characters you love. It’s not about looking spot-on like the characters- that’s what being a Disney park actor is about. ;P
I get where people are coming from when they feel like they have nothing to cosplay, really I do. How many lead animated/video game Latina characters can you name off the top of your head? I can think two, one of which is actually pale skinned (Latinas can be pale also). Regardless, I definitely don’t let that get in my way of doing what I love and cosplaying characters I love. =) I think if people let race, color, height, or weight stop them from cosplaying certain characters, then they’re not cosplaying for the right reasons. D:
Also, while it does not offend me personally, you should never have to change your skin color for cosplay. Don’t be afraid to rock the skin your in, and that awesome cosplay too. Be proud of who you are, and not just skin color, but ALL skins, be them freckled, tattooed, pierced, scarred, birth marked, etc. As they say “love the skin you’re in!”
So I identify as genderqueer (of the ‘all’/’depends on the day’ variety) but all of my legal paperwork says ‘female’ and that’s generally a thing I’m okay with. And I primarily crossplay (which is crossdressing cosplay because portmanteaus are fun). Rough count stands at four female character costumes to fifteen male character costumes (though I will frequently make more than one canon outfit for characters I like). My first costume was crossplay, and my latest costume was crossplay. There are two reasons for this:
1) The characters I’m drawn to in series I am drawn to end up being male (and there’s an entire post in that about gender balance in media and genres but it’s a different post).
2) Despite possesion of XX chromosomes, I have a fairly masculine appearance - tall, broad shoulders, fairly square jawline. If my hair is short (most of the time these days) I pass for male in everyday clothes.
Given that, I’ve had basically universally positive experiences crossplaying - generally the reaction when people realize that I’m female is ‘amused surprise’. The worst comment I’ve had was a very confused convention center employee telling me I was in the women’s bathroom, to which I replied ‘Yes, I know’, and then went into a stall.
(side note: the legalities of using an opposite-sex restroom actually vary considerably even city-to-city, though it’s important to consider the comfort of both yourself and other people using the bathroom, and if you identify on the gender-binary, use whichever restroom you would while dressed normally. Also, my limited experience is that men’s restrooms smell awful. Even the single stall ones).
My negative gender-related experiences have actually occurred while wearing costumes that match my biological sex but not my percieved gender identity - ie, being a female-bodied person wearing a female character’s outfit, but percieved as a male-bodied person crossplaying. While dressed as Ada Wong (from RE4) I had a young woman grab my chest and ask what I used for stuffing because ‘they look so real’. She was incredibly apologetic afterwards which made the incident more awkward than insulting, but people? Do not grab boobs without consent. Even if they are fake. Seriously.
The second incident was less invasive but actually more emotionally hurtful - I was cosplaying Sailor Uranus and had a photographer shout ‘Hey, Sailor Man!’ at me. Which after all the work I had put into the costume really stung - because while dude probably thought he was being funny what I heard was ‘You did such a lousy job I can’t even gender you properly’. Even if I had been a crossplaying guy, that’s still not an appropriate comment. The majority of crossplayers are attempting to present as different gender identity and telling them they failed at it is neither funny nor complimentary.
And a good rule of thumb for gendering people both in cosplay and normal life, if the person hasn’t given you concrete implicit clues, ask. ‘Are you are boy or a girl?’ is awkward and kind of rude (also, I’m twenty-five, the answer is ‘neither’, thanks), but ‘what pronouns do you prefer?’, while it may sound a little weird to people not used to it, is generally not considered rude, and also validating that person’s own gender identity by deferring to them and implictly saying you’ll respect their preferences. And it is important to actually respect those preferences. Even if you think ‘sie’ is totally weird-looking it does not hurt you one bit to use it with someone who prefers it, and it validates and bolsters their own identity.
Hey, I just saw a few of the posts that were on this post about cosplaying outside of your race. The short version is: if you look at media right now, if you pick out any show, 90% of the characters are going to be white. It’s almost guaranteed that 100% of the main characters are going to be white. Shows with POC (especially dark-skinned POC) are very very limited.
I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with cosplaying a POC if you are white, if you’re doing it respectfully and without yellowface, blackface or brownface. But, if you’re white, it’s like you reaching over and taking from the POC bowl, which has less than a tenth of what you have in your bowl. I don’t know why you would do that.
It’s because of these current inequalities in society that race in cosplay is such a problem. POCs don’t have the liberty of having a sea of characters to choose from, and therefore cosplaying as a white character is empowering. But for white cosplayers who do have every other character to choose from, going out of your way to cosplay as a POC is like stealing from us what little we have.
Because Disney princesses was a topic mentioned - I am Chinese, and the only, repeat, only, princess I have is Mulan. But if you’re white, then you have Ariel, you have Aurora, you have Snow White, you have Belle, you have Rapunzel, you have Merida, the list goes on and on. And I don’t know why white cosplayers would choose to cosplay Mulan (a Chinese girl important to other Chinese girls) when they have so much more choice. And as a pale-skinned Chinese person, I think it would be out of my bounds to cosplay Jasmine (because I am not brown), or Tiana (because I am not black), or Pocahontas (because I am not native), because those princesses are also the only Disney representations those particular people have.
Hopefully this makes sense. I’m sorry if it’s a little irrelevant to the topic at hand, but I wanted to put in a response to all the submissions about cosplay and race. Again, I don’t think it’s inherently wrong, but I just think people should still think carefully about what they’re doing. I’d be very thankful if you could publish this.
((Cosplay Tutorial adds: It is quite alright, everyone has different opinions on the subject and it’s always good to see different opinions, arguments and viewpoints ;)
Someone who isn’t chinese might want to cosplay Mulan because they love her character, or perhaps her outfit, or perhaps the movie, or because they feel they relate to the character in some way. She is a really fantastic character and has always been one of my favorites. It all depends on why you cosplay and why you choose the characters that you dress as. ))
ashighasalways said: That’s awesome! I have been wondering, to which bathroom do you go while you are crossplaying
Since you don’t actually change sex you (usually) need to use the washroom for your sex. This can be a legal issue, but it is also about privacy. A room full of changing girls might not appreciate a guy walking in, even if he is wearing a dress. Vice versa, there are guys who wouldn’t be comfortable using a urinal with a girl in the room, even if she is dressed as a male.
Transgender is a different situation entirely but depending on where you live they might not be able to use their preferred gender washroom either.
If you don’t want to reveal your actual sex then you can look for “family” washrooms or single stall washrooms that are open to both sexes. You could also slink away and find a less-populated washroom to use.
Hope this clears things up!
(Thanks to kinkyray for pointing out I used “gender” instead of “sex”. It has been changed to be more accurate)
Ok so, I have a story kinda about both cosplaying as an opposite gender and as someone outside your race, don’t worry though its all one story.
So I decided to cosplay as Aomine from Kuroko no Basket (sense the second season is out and everything) Aomine is a boy (where as I am a girl) and he’s also a dark skinned character. And all of the people I’ve met who have cosplayed as him, which I will admit is like 3 people but still, say that they do actually use body paint. Me being as lazy and also as broke as I am, decided that was a totally lame idea and so I did just kinda a test as him to see how I would look using an old wig and the camera on my phone, so obviously not high quality, but I did still like the way it looked, enough to post it on the internet anyway.
So ya know I posted it on facebook for awhile because someone I knew wanted to see pictures of it, that whole shebang. And not even an hour after I posted it I got like 4 messages on my Facebook telling me how ugly I looked as Aomine.
I’ve long sense deleted the messages (as well as all the pictures) so I can’t tell you word for word, but there was some very hurtful things that this person sent me. Weather they were a boy or a girl, I don’t know. I also have no way of telling their real name or anything like that as the facebook account who messaged me was obviously someone I did not know and was a fake account that had all its info blocked until you added them as a friend. Now, as I said, I can’t relay word for word but I remember one of the things that they said that got to me the most was something along the lines of “You’re way too girly to be such a manly boy you make him look so ugly plus he’s Asian and you’re not so it gives you no right to cosplay as him”
Ok, so s/he was the one who talked about gender, someone else who I actually knew was the one who talked about race. A guy I had been acquaintance with for a while also saw these pictures and felt the need to inform me that it was racist toward dark skinned people to cosplay as a dark skinned character. (????????????????????????) if you’re thinking what the fuck then you’re not alone because so am I. He then went on to say (and he has said this stuff to me before actually) that not doing the skin type right is insulting to fans of the show because you’re ruining the character for them. This guy was also said some hurtful things about other characters I have cosplayed as. He seems to think its ok to critique me on everything I do even though I don’t want to hear it.
But is that going to stop me from cosplaying as Aomine? no. I’ve decided the cosplay wasn’t complete enough for me, not for them, for me. and so I’m going to buy a couple of new things for him. I should say body paint is NOT one of them as I still have no intention of using paint to match his skin tone. If other people decided to do it, hey more power to ya, its just that I’m too lazy to ever do that. Plus I touch my face too much to have it last probably more than a couple hours.
Someone saying I’m not very good at crossplaying doesn’t really effect me too much. I am a girl so Its not really that insulting to me if you say I look like a girl, that’s restating the obvious. Though while in crossplay I do try and look like a boy with makeup and other things I do still have the body frame of a girl and the voice of a girl, so no matter what my face looks like you can still kinda tell that i am a not a boy, and if I was a boy I’d be a very girly looking boy. But, I think thats really neat. I mean, a lot of anime and video game boys are pretty girly looking, so being a girl plays into your favor.
So, all of these words did effect me, but I can look past the things they said and realize that I don’t have to impress them. I cosplay for myself, and if other people don’t like it thats too darn bad.
So, I’ll leave you with this, don’t let what other people say effect you too much. Everyones a critic, just do what you do and be awesome at it.
(endnote from Cosplay Tutorial: Not going to get into the topic of “blackfacing” or anything like that but if you are considering changing skin tone for cosplay you should be aware that there is a lot of controversy around it. This is one article that I found interesting: http://www.dailydot.com/society/cosplay-brownface-whitewashing-racial-controversy/ )
I would like to share a story about crossplay and my experience with it. So my first cosplay I actually completed was a jrock cosplay (Kyo from Dir en grey, one of the outfits he wore during the Osaka-Jo Hall concert). It was my dad’s idea and I thought it looked cool, but problem was I was still new to sewing at the time and needed help.
I asked for help from one of my mom’s friends and everything was going well until she found out that Kyo was a guy and I would be dressing up as him and she flipped out (she is a bit more old fashion I guess you can say to put it nicely). I can tell she was upset and uncomfortable about and kept making rude comments and telling me how it is inappropriate to to be dressing up as someone who was a male (or when guys dressing as women or looking too feminine).
After that, I just tried to learn sewing on my own as it was sort of hard to get help from others.
I didn’t let it stop me though and finished my cosplay. I was glad I received a lot of positive feedback over all. I found that enjoying crossplaying (currently working on a Derek Stiles and Victor Niguel Trauma Center cosplay).
Just remember that while not everyone will agree with some of your choices for cosplaying, there will always be a lot of others who will support you! As long as you aren’t breaking any of the con rules or doing something that can be seen as really offensive towards others, you shouldn’t let others stop you from doing what you love and who you want to cosplay as.
Here is my finished costume that I told you about if you want to see it.
So, I love dressing in costumes for many reasons, but mostly because it’s just so darn fun! Twice I’ve cosplayed characters that would be considered “white”. Those characters are Ashe and Syndra from League of Legends. I love the game, and more so for the design of the characters and their costumes. I’m sure many, many cosplayers feel the same way about the game.
Thing is, I’m biracial (Black and Thai), and the characters from League of Legends are, mostly, white. However, I don’t think skin color is what makes a costume. I don’t treat my skin tone as a costume prop, and when costuming a character, I think solely of the outfit design and hair colors. While it is great to match the character completely, to me, it’s about the garment more than just the look of one’s natural features.
I wore both costumes to the League of Legends Worlds games (Ashe for 2012 and Syndra for 2013). Both times, the costumes were well received. Perhaps it’s because LoL players are incredibly polite to their cosplayers, but my skin color wasn’t even addressed or mentioned, and the character was still plenty identifiable because I made the costumes look as close as I could to the source materials. It was a great compliment to have a person run up to me in my Syndra costume and say “you know it’s a great cosplay when you can tell the character from behind and far away”. I think I hurt my face from smiling so long at that! We took pictures, chatted, bro fist, and all that jazz :D
When it comes to being a fan of a character and wanting to dress as them for a convention, I can say this: JUST GO FOR IT! People who truly appreciate the character, and your hard work, won’t even care what color skin you have. And anyone that does have to point out your skin color or ethnicity… really, they don’t matter. Enjoy what you do, love what you love, and don’t second guess it because of a stranger’s opinion of you at a glance.
And not to plug, but to see the costumes:
Thanks! And happy costuming and crafting to everyone!
If anyone would like to submit their own comments/stories/support in regards to cosplaying outside of your race, bodytype, gender etc please feel free to submit them.
Askbox is closed but the submit box is open.
If you have an alternative opinion on the subject you are also welcome to submit it. Please note that abusive posts will not be published, but well worded opinions are welcome.
Hi! (for some reason I can’t find the askbox xD) In reference to the previous question, I’ve always wanted to cosplay Tiana from The Princess and the Frog even though I’m white. I just feel like absolutely no one would be okay with that, seeing as she was the first African American princess and I feel like people would think I’m trying to take away from her character, but I just really love her costume and her character! Do you think that would be acceptable?
Just like I mentioned before, be respectful (ie. no “blackface”) and you should be ok but if you have doubts, if you feel uncomfortable or you don’t think you could handle negative comments then go for something else. Cosplay is a lot less fun when you’re being super self conscious.
I see it this way: If someone says it’s inappropriate for a ____ (a race) person to cosplay a _____ (other race) character then that puts a big limit on cosplay in general. If only certain races can cosplay certain characters, those races are also being told they can’t cosplay outside of those characters. Then it can go a step further to cosplayers not cosplaying outside of their gender, their weight range, their age, etc. It’s a big circle of not a lot of fun.
I see cosplay as a hobby where you dress up as a character that you love. You love their story or their personality or you love their outfit and so you work your butt off to make the best costume you can. Nothing matters beyond that unless you want it to, because the costume you make/wear is your interpretation and your own creation based on what you want to get out of the hobby.
(( Tiana is the first African American princess, but Jasmine is the first Arabian, Pocahontas is the first Native American, Mulan is the first chinese, Snow White is the first German, Cinderella is the first French … etc. There are always going to be firsts, don’t let that hold you back ))