April 4, 2013

CONsent or CONfusion?

Recently in the gaming and the convention social worlds, there has been a lot of buzz about the way women are treated online and in real life. From fake geek girl hating, to sexual comments towards cosplayers, and judgement of a persons cosplay or gaming ability due to their gender are all among the topics. Constantly people come to me asking my opinion of these things. Why? I am a ‘female cosplayer’, and a ‘hardcore’ female gamer. I’m not a female gamer though, I’m just a gamer. I do not want to be referred to by my gender. I’m just a person. I don’t call other gamers ‘guy gamers’ or ‘male gamers’ that just sounds weird. So does girl gamer. I have always dealt with any sort of backlash that I receive from my hobbies in a very direct manner. To me, gender is no object. I would like to add a non-industry related video by my favorite female blogger who addresses some of these issues.

Now I want to specifically talk about conventions, and that cosplay is not consent. Here is one of the articles that was posted on my wall by a friend I met at a convention. Sure, cosplay is NOT consent. Just like anything other than a verbal “Please have sex with me” is not consent. Doesn’t matter your gender. Don’t put your fingers, reproductive parts or anything else near any part of another person without them asking you. Women are typically the victims of this, and we should never HAVE to do anything different because other people are immature dickheads. However, there are some things I have always done that make me feel less like a victim. If a photographer starts telling me to pose in a way I don’t want to, or tries to sneak a picture of my bum when I’m not looking, I look him right in the eye and tell him how uncool that is. I don’t just look uncomfortable and assume he’ll get it. If someone comes up to me at a con and asks me a question that I don’t like about my outfit, I tell them. It is surprising how uncomfortable people are when you confront them about being a creep. I’m sure that once you tell them to their face that they need to not do that ever again, they will consider that the next time they approach someone else.

A Walking Dead inspired costume I have. Photographed by Garmstro Photography

You could consider me a feminist in some ways. I don’t want my capabilities to be judged by if I have tits or not. I am just as capable as any other person, and I have done well in the industry. From competing in FPS tournaments to interning at Illfonic Studios (Denver based producer of Nexuiz). I have been writing for gaming publications for over six years, and custom built my own computer. The list goes on. The difference between the way I am treating this and the way some other female cosplayers is that I didn’t do all of this because I’m a woman, but because I’m a person who loves science fiction and video games. I am always surprised when someone brings something like this up to me, I forget it is even an issue because I don’t make it an issue for me. I try not to let it bother me when someone is being a turd, because no matter how much our society advances there will always be a few turds in the punch bowl. I have done some pretty revealing cosplays in my time. I think they are incredibly fun. I would consider myself a sex positive person, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of what our bodies are like. I know that when I dress that way I will get attention. I use it as an opportunity show people that I can be a smart independent person, who also just really likes to spend time on quality cosplays and wear them. A lot of times people don’t realize that what they say is considered offensive or threatening, and it is really easy to correct that.
We like the comics, games, and shows because of the coolness of the characters. Why ruin the awesomeness of someone re-creating that character by treating them like an object?


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