By Tali’Belle Cosplay
So I've gone over a few things in the con/cosplay community which are awful, absolutely inappropriate, and just not right. "But Tali’Belle, hang on there!" you say, "How can we have fun at cons if there are so many rules and so many things we can’t do?" Well, citizen, first of all, it’s all about using your head, common sense and all that. If it’s inappropriate and rude in everyday life, it’s probably inappropriate and rude at a con too. But then things can get blurry when we take into account that at a con, you know you are surrounded by your fellow nerds and people who enjoy what you do. Is it appropriate to ask the cute couple cosplaying as Tali and Garrus if they plan to do some ‘Talibrations’ later? After all, you aren't insulting them or touching them, you’re joking. Can you yell ‘PASTAAAA’ if you’re cosplaying as Italy from Hetalia? After all, it IS in character. Is it permissible to ‘ship’ other cosplayers when dressed as Nepeta Leijon or another shipper/matchmaker character?
|Copyright flickr.com/siredgar Used under Creative Commons License|
Well, here’s the thing: conventions are fun, exciting, and a place where a nerd can feel at home, so by all means, if people aren't bothered by your behavior and it isn't hurting/endangering anyone (including yourself, it’s probably ill-advised for a Batman cosplayer to think they can actually glide off a third floor railing in the Marriott Marquis, all told. Even if he won’t land on anyone.) have a good time. But here are some things to consider:
The first thing is asking for a photograph/hug/handshake/etc. Be mindful of the person you are requesting it from as well as your location. Is the person upset, preoccupied, or rushing somewhere? If so, wait. You’ll probably see them again. Also, are you asking in the dealer’s hall or another crowded area? If so, take it outside, step out for a moment to a place that’s more relaxed where you won’t be in the way.
Now, permission is also important. Some cosplayers are shy, or self-conscious, or a host of other reasons they don’t wish to be photographed. Unless they have entered a contest on stage where photography is part of the package, you have to ask. Not only for their sake, but also for the sake of those around you. Younger con goers or parents who brought young children are there and what could be creepier than, say, a grown man with a camera aimed at a particularly attractive Sailor Scout without the cosplayer’s knowledge?
|Robert Downey Jr. Invades Tom Hiddleston's Space. Don't be like RDJ!|
Another thing to be aware of is your costume/prop. Cosplaying as Songbird or a Big Daddy from the Bioshock games? Awesome! Amazing costume, big ticket price or lots of hard work, I’m sure you’re very proud of it. But watch large parts or props like a wingspan or a weapon. I know from experience it is uncomfortable trying to sit with or carry one of these, but a staff should be carried upright and at your side or just ever so slightly in front of you unless you are posing. A sword should be sheathed or carried by your side; a gun must be holstered or, in the case of large ones like Seras Victoria of Hellsing’s Harkonnen Canon, carried like a staff. This is not just to avoid hurting other con goers but also to keep your prop from getting broken. Props are expensive and take a lot of skill and effort to craft; it is devastating for one to be destroyed.
On that note, same principal as touching a cosplayer applies to touching their props: Ask permission. You don’t know what it’s made of, how much it cost, how much work was put in, how delicate it is. Its owner does, so listen to them when they say whether or not you can hold/touch their prop and when they tell you how.
|Copyright Doug Kline. Used Under a Creative Commons License|
|Thrall and Aggra from WoW|
Now, if you’re the one being harassed and the harasser isn’t rational enough to ignore you or simply be polite, go get con security. If you fight back, you will get kicked out as well; your ticket is non-refundable. Con security is supposed to deal with this sort of thing and 9.9 times out of ten, they will.
|Twin Lara Crofts with Squall Leonhart in the middle. Copyright Bruce Moyle, Used Under a Creative Commons License|
Overall, cosplay and the convention scene is a community, it is for fun and meant to bring people together, to tell geeks and nerds everywhere: You are not alone. You have a family that is millions strong, let your flag fly, we welcome you. Divisive, cruel behavior should have no place in that sort of setting.