There comes a time in every cosplayers life when he or she is either verbally harassed or gets very rude stares from passers-by. This negative attention typically comes either from other cosplayers, non-cosplayers at conventions, or the so-called "normal" people you run into outside of the convention space.
For the most part, other cosplayers are more understanding than the other two categories (Although you will probably get judged regardless). However, you will always run into the occasional incredibly stuck-up individual who, sometimes regardless of talent or costuming ability, will take an immediate dislike to you - possibly because you are cosplaying the same character.
But I digress. I have decided to share some experiences that I/we have had at cons. Notnecessarily bad ones, as I don't want this to turn into an angry rant- just things I have heard people say, be they amusing or not so amusing.
This was taken somewhere in the "normal" part of town, right before the extreme social awkwardness of the moment became evident.
While cosplaying as the Witch at Animazement:
- Our group of Left 4 Dead cosplayers accidentally wandered too far away from the convention area and into "normal human territory" while looking for food (actual food, not zombie food). We knew we had gone too far when people in cars were stopping and staring, a cop seemed like he was trying to decide whether to arrest us for something, and people who were clearly not at all affiliated with the convention stopped us and started taking pictures of us in front of a restaurant with their phones. Awkward times.
- At one point some guy came up to me and said something along the lines of "You've got to have balls to wear that." Thanks...I think? Regardless, it was only afterwards that I realized how incredibly naked I looked. Definitely glad I did that cosplay with a group.
We knew what we were getting into.
While in our Panty and Stocking cop outfits at Katsucon:
- Small child comes up to us with his parents in tow, pointing, and says "Look mommy, are those policewomen?" Parents looked very awkwardly at us in our slutty cop outfits. I almost died. Also, I'm pretty sure this happened twice.
- Catcalls. Not unexpected, but I just try to ignore them.
- Male hotel staff members telling us to "Please arrest us, officers, we've been very bad." Temporarily amusing, if also vaguely uncomfortable. Also, like we hadn't heard that one before.
- It was dark by the time we headed back to the hotel, and random people who definitely were not with the convention started taking pictures with us. They may or may not have mistaken us for streetwalkers.
- Also, the looks we got from the hotel staff were somewhat less than friendly. You'd think they would be used to Katsucon by now. We're not eating babies or skinning cats, so please don't look at us like we are scum.
What many people don't seem to understand is that we are cosplaying characters - Characters whose personalities and clothing choices have nothing to do with our own. It doesn't make us crazy, it doesn't make us immature - it's a hobby, just like playing an instrument, or watching football, or crocheting, or base jumping. Okay, maybe not exactly like base jumping. What could be scarier than looking up and seeing cosplayers inexplicably falling from the sky?
I appreciate it when I am dressed up for a con and people on the street ask us where we are going. They're curious, and I'm happy to explain to them. Sometimes they look at you like you're crazy, sometimes they nod and smile nervously, but sometimes they seem genuinely excited. It's the people who scowl and move away that really bother me - but what can you do other than try to be polite?
Cosplay is something we do because we enjoy it. People tend to be wary of or hate things that that they don't understand, and I feel like this is such a shame - and not just in regards to cosplay.
But you know what, in the end...