Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twitter cosplay a'splosion y'all!

  So I check my Twitter today because, well, I have very little else to do and I find a comment by Gail Simone that instantly got me curious.

  "Well shit." I think, I just put up something about cosplay.  I know it ain't me because, frankly, I'm terribly unpopular, and rightfully so.  But as I continued to read her passion over this it made me wonder if my own stance on cosplaying was somehow wrong.  So I did some research to figure out what is behind all this, highlights and my thoughts after the jump.

  So this all starts here.

  To sum up we have 11 pictures of people cosplaying Black Widow.  Black Widow is, on the surface, an easy costume to do.  I couldn't make it because I can't sew a button so I can't say if it would be an objectively easy costume to make or not.  However you have a black body suit, wrist gauntlets and red hair (if you're playing the Natalia Romanova version) or blonde hair (for Yelena Belova).  Pretty simple, not a lot of moving parts and the costumes pictured are competently made.  I don't know, I didn't really have a problem with any of the costumes.  A few of the comments skew towards the harsh but honestly it's the fucking internet, try to find content that doesn't skew harsh.

So that leads to this.

  To sum that up we have a pretty mad Gail Simone who makes this important point:

--"...these women are having fun. They are honoring a character they like in a way that makes them happy. In doing so, they make a lot of other people happy.
  In return, you chose to wipe your feet on them, for no other reason than your doubtlessly crippling insecurities overwhelmed you.."

  The rest of it is pretty much a personal attack against this Chris Spags.  This bleeds over to Twitter and we get this, this, this and this.  Allllllll of which leads to this.  That last thing is an apology in case you haven't been following along.  I don't know how sincere an apology it is, he's a PR guy and having known a few I know that they can say pretty much anything and sound sincere.  But the highlight is this from Rebeeca Young who apparently goes by the AKA Aktrez:

--"I’ve suffered from eating disorders since I was 14 years old. I’ve struggled with up and down weight loss my entire life. I got into costuming and cosplay because of my love of comic books – especially a character named Emma Frost from X-men.

It is hard enough for those of us with a passion for costuming to try to fit ourselves into these fantasy character archetypes. But, then to have unflattering images singled out and judged by men and women who sit there and pick apart, not only the costume, but our physical appearances is absolutely disgusting.

NO ONE looks like these characters. No one. Movie stars are airbrushed and have all kinds of special waist cinchers and flattering lines put into costumes to give the illusion of perfection. They have personal trainers and nutritionists working with them 9 – 5 to keep them in top physical shape. Artists draw women with size 22 waists and DD cup sizes. To hold anyone to the standards that are presented is ridiculous and laughable.

Women are beautiful creatures. We’re the ones who bring life into this world. We are the ones who are the caregivers and the nurturers. Yes, we are sexual creatures and yes, women are damn sexy. But, we should NEVER be held to this false ideal of perfection based on Hollywood and fantasy artwork.

Cosplayers do it for the love of the character, for the passion of the person being represented and for the appreciation of an artists masterpieces. We aren’t entering a beauty pageant to be judged on our physical appearances. We do it as a hobby. As an escape and an extension of our imaginations. We do it for FUN!

Articles like this need to STOP before more women begin hurting themselves in order to conform to someone else’s ideal of perfection."

  That's a very strong thing to say.  And she's right.  And it's true, to a point.  Also I don't think what she says is true for every cosplayer.  It's like saying every Teamster is lazy.  They aren't, some work very hard, some want to but can't because the Teamsters is a fucking stupid union with fucking stupid union rules and some are just really, really lazy.  It's not fair we have a body image problem here (in this country), it's not fair that our fictional heroes and heroines are created in the image of something that is not, or rarely not, humanly attainable.  That is not fair.  But there's a reason they picked Chris Evans to play Captain America instead of Jack Black (although that would have been a pretty awesome movie too).  The physicality is apart of the character.  If you love a character,  I get that.  If you want to have fun and dress up as that character, I get that.  If you want to dress up as that character and you look nothing like them, I get that.  I get wanting to escape into a character and forget about who you are and the life you lead and become something... super.  I get it.  You should be admired for your bravery and commended for your love of that character.  You should be allowed to be whoever you want to be no matter what.  However you ARE NOT entitled to encouragement.  You ARE NOT entitled to compliments.  You ARE NOT entitled to anything and you ARE NOT immune to criticism.  You know who is?  My cat.  Cause he's an adorable widdle kitty face.  

Anything YOU get from it is YOURS and what you get from it is up to you, not the god damn (Batman) internet.  
  You should derive pleasure from what you do and you should do it for you.  You should not do it for either the support or criticism of a bunch of assholes on the internet.  I don't give a shit about Chris Spags and I don't give a shit about Gail Simone.  I admire Gail Simone because she's written things I've enjoyed but she doesn't know me and I don't know her.  It's mutual, we don't care about each other.  But I really jumped into this expecting to take her side against this Chris fellow but what I found was a bunch of name calling.  If I were either of these people I would have made an appeal for either a public or private discussion where we could come to terms and understand each other.  Neither person did this and for that they are both guilty of being no better than each other or immature children.  In this way we did not raise the level of discourse, we called each other names across the playground.  

  However the person I'm most disappointed in is you Linkara.  You don't have a dog in this fight, YOU MAKE FUN OF PEOPLE MORE TALENTED (I include successful) THAN YOU FOR A LIVING.  You make money off of hating things.  You shouldn't be making any statements on this subject, especially since you start by admitting you didn't read the article.  I guess you want to get involved, okay, but it's sort of a Kanye move man.  "I'ma real happy for you an Imma let you finish but I didn't read nothing and what's this men's interest thing?  I'm a man and I'm not interested therefore it has not validity and I speak for all men.  Also catchphrase.  Also Power Rangers."  Other than to show blind support I don't know why you did what you did.  I only say this because I expect more from you and because it felt pretty pointless and when I'm trying to find the source of all this, reading pointless, blind support doesn't help me learn anything any faster.  You know what, it actually slows me down and I'm trying to do some of this shit at work and you aren't helping.

  Anyway, after all that we close on a quote from Chris Spags apology:

Additionally, the overly visceral, defensive reaction of some of the cosplay followers to trickle in after the calls to arms was just sad. One accused me of cyberbullying for profit, only to tell me to “hang myself” in the next sentence. Without a twinge of irony.

Another posted personal information about me. Another repeatedly posted stuff from my Facebook account. No joke – 75 others (no exaggeration, we counted) accused me of having a small penis, not getting laid, or worse. Two said I was probably gay (which is smart — you accuse me of tearing others down and then mock another historically diminished group). Oh and one email said I probably punch women and girlfriends in the face.

  What the fuck people?  I understand wanting to defend one of you're real life heroine's but seriously, how are ANY of the people who said that shit any better than the person you're attacking?  HOW?  This is our solution to conflict?  You felt slighted and insulted but what of Chris Spags?  Dudes only trying to make a living.  Also in that article is a ludicrous comparison, by someone else, of cosplaying to racial discrimination.  As cosplayers at no point were you/we ever subject to separate water fountains, cosplayer seating on buses, not receiving medical care based on who you were cosplaying as or subject to legislation that limited you're way of life.  You can ALWAYS TAKE THE COSTUME OFF.  Jesus Christ people, what the fuck is wrong with you all?  As many other people stated, ironically quite angrily, that this is about fun.  So make it about fun, get you're fun out of it and fuck everyone else.  But seriously I will slap the next person that compares racial discrimination to ANYTHING OTHER than racial discrimination.  Alright, rant over.  I can't believe that I'm the god damn (Batman) voice of reason in all of this, I once dropped a piano on Wolverine for gods sake.  


  1. "However you ARE NOT entitled to encouragement. You ARE NOT entitled to compliments. You ARE NOT entitled to anything and you ARE NOT immune to criticism."

    Obviously, but the end of your article makes it sound like this isn't true for Chris Spags. Why is he just "trying to make a living"? If you put yourself out there (and especially if you try to make a whole piece about insulting other people) you shouldn't act entitled to encouragement or immune for criticism yourself, which is exactly what he's doing on twitter, etc.

    1. Alright, my first comment ever and it's an intelligent point. I love it, I'm legit excited. Okay on to the rebuttal, because I believe in discourse.

      Astrogirl you are absolutely right. Chris Spags is not entitled to encouragement nor is he immune to criticism. But what you have done is criticism. It's intelligent, it's based on the objective evidence and it's not a personal attack (just as Rebecca Youngs comments were to the original piece). Calling someone gay, accusing him of misogyny or accusing him of having a small penis is not criticism, it's a personal attack. It's the same bullying behavior that he is being accused of.

      Were his comments hurtful (I won't even get into if they were clever, funny or warranted)? The ones I saw say yes but not more mean spirited than No Punctuation, Atop the Fourth Wall, Nostalgia Critic or even MST3K or really any one else like that. It's just those are 'soft' targets that most everyone can agree with and this clearly isn't a 'soft' target and understandably so since it involves people and their bodies and criticism.

      So to speak to your comment, he's not and I'm not defending him, I'm simply pointing out that while others feel insulted and marginalized by his comments they chose to attack rather than consider and engage in intelligent conversation. I had enough of that shit in High School and it makes me angry anytime I see it. I feel what he did on Twitter was simply an act of defense. It was petty and immature to join in on the name calling but it was petty and immature of Gail Simone to continue it, or even, it could be argued, start it. I'm supporting neither person (and I like Gail Simone, her Twitter is usually so fun to read) because it was handled poorly by both. But just as Chris Spags isn't entitled to encouragement (he IS entitled to his personal opinion however) or immune to criticism he also does not deserve to be personally attacked just as the people he commented on didn't deserve to be personally attacked. However his side is a little more justifiable because he's a content provider on the internet and the internet likes and feeds, for the most part, on negativity. But, and I see it continue as it ripples through Twitter, the cycle isn't breaking, he just keeps getting attacked by the very people who feel attacked.

      At some point someone representing the comic or cosplay community (ahem Linkara, who got yourself involved, or Gail Simone) has to put it aside and call off the dogs and not allow the cycle to perpetuate. Of course it's the internet and it will probably just fade out all on its own. Sorry that was a lot but your comment really made me think. Thank you for it.

  2. Right here, right now, I promise, if I get good quality comments like the one above I'll try really, really hard to personally respond. Obviously if I get flooded that will make that harder (psssst I don't see that happening). Also you've seen the length of my responses so you've been warned.

  3. Hi Fancy Deadpool,

    I wrote a very, very long comment to your article, with the full intention of posting it here, but it turned out to be TOO long and exceeded the 4,096 character limit that was permitted by the reply box. Rather than post it in pieces, I will post a link instead to a personal blog I maintain where the comment will be displayed, intact.

    (I swear I'm not Internet whoring. But it was 300 characters over, and I couldn't cut anything down.)

    Link here: Hope you reply.

    1. I did reply.

      see here:

      and here: