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Author Topic: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?  (Read 7322 times)

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RJay64

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Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« on: May 12, 2015, 05:09:16 PM »

Hi. When I first started going to conventions in 2011, I never saw any of these big "Cosplay is Not Consent" signs. Now, they are everywhere. I wrote a blog post on this topic, and wondered if anyone wanted to give some feedback?

http://agamersescape.com/post/118559086021/notes-on-cosplay-is-not-consent

Basically, I think some of the unfortunate situations come from miscommunication on both sides, or misinterpretation anyway. In other cases, some people are just jerks.

spycker

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2015, 11:06:54 PM »

it was created by feminists, my computer at home has all the detailed information they left out as to why the creators started that stupid motto, males get harrassed too, I appauld fanime for not putting those reminders up!
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trusis

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 05:18:12 PM »

First of all - Everyone gets harassed, that is not a secret. Statistically, females get it more and it tend to be very sexual in nature. It happens everywhere.

Fanime, as well as any other convention, is a place where you should feel safe. This is the place where you already have something in common with someone else. Some people are going to let loose, glomp, yell at a person dressed up as their favorite character, and just hug a lot.

Remember Manners!  Please, Thank You, Great Job.

Asking For Consent should be Automatic- the fact that there are signs at other conventions should make you feel uncomfortable.

That fact that there are people who have been victims of harassment within the community they should feel the safest in should concern you.

Respect them if they say No, ask them if they are "sure" if they look kind of disgruntled.

Just because they are dressed up doesn't get you rights to do whatever you want, fully covered or otherwise.

If you are going to post their picture on the internet or use it anywhere, ask them if they are OK with it.

Fanime has a zero tolerance policy, if you get harassed by someone, get the staff. Back of your badges have a number you can text or go to Con-Ops.

The fact that a person went around the convention (year or so before) taking up-skirt pictures of women and girls without consent should concern you.

Don't play this off as some Feminist/Anti-Men BS, this is a real problem for everyone especially in a community the celebrates an art form with some risque outfits.

In my 17 years of Fanime, attendees have been generally good at the consent thing. I was wearing a bear hat and someone asked to touch the ears.

Since I've never seen these signs at fanime could just mean everyone is civil enough to respect each other.
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Nina Star 9

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 07:48:40 PM »

Eh, I have mixed feelings on this movement.

For the record, my mixed feelings aren't coming from a place of being against the idea or from a place of anti-feminism (or "what about the men!!!!11" mentality), but from a place of not knowing if this movement is really doing /enough/.

In my experience, there are two types of "creepers": accidental creepers (often of the oblivious variety) and purposeful creepers. This movement is good on the level of reminding people that cosplayers (of all genders and presentations) are people who have boundaries, and that those boundaries should be respected. I think that's great. That takes care of a lot of the accidental creepers, who may get overexcited or forget that cosplayers are people in costume and not objects to be looked at/touched or the character or models or whatever.

However, most of the creeps I have personally dealt with have been the type who don't care about other people's boundaries or otherwise have some sort of sense of entitlement. This includes those who think that people (typically women or those who are presenting as women) enjoy/are attracted to people (typically straight cis men) who are a little more pushy or forward, shall we say. These people are the ones that cosplay is not Consent doesn't even begin to address. Most of these types either already know that what they are doing (saying inappropriate comments, taking inappropriate photos, touching people without permission, etc.) is wrong and simply don't care, or they think that they have the right to do those things and won't take no for an answer or think they can get away with something.

I'll admit it -- I'm a creeper magnet. I think it comes from being fairly attractive, female-bodied, a decent cosplayer, and willing to wear cosplays that highlight my physical assets. I also give off "don't mess with me" vibes, so I only end up with the most oblivious of the accidental creepers or the most persistent of the type who don't care. These are the "give no f***s about your boundaries" types. I've been harassed. Thankfully I've never been touched in an area where a swimsuit would cover, but I have been touched inappropriately and without permission in other areas. I've had men follow me, demanding my phone number. I've been grabbed, pulled into a crowd, and told that I made good masturbation material. I've also had wonderful, supporting, fantastic people surround me, and I'm very thankful for that. (I had people just this past weekend get upset at me for not letting them take an outright butt shot of me, and I told the people I was with -- who I just met a few minutes before -- and they made sure to help me watch my back, especially when posing for other photographers and I couldn't do so myself, to prevent people from taking butt shots without permission. Thank you, lovely people of the Smash Bros. gathering <3) Most people can take a hint and buzz off when I express displeasure at their behavior toward me, but many don't, and while I think this movement is great, that type of person will not listen.

Though, the movement has been good at raising awareness so that people can support each other when faced with a problem. I'm glad for that. It's also been good for giving cosplayers the confidence to clearly state when their boundaries are, and for reminding the honest folks (which is most folks, don't get me wrong here!) to ask permission before certain types of interactions.

I don't know what can be done, but I wish that something more could be done. As I said, it's good for reminding people who may get overexcited or forget or even those who feel like they can get away with something, and that does happen quite often, but most of the negative experiences I've encountered have been with those who don't care that they are crossing my boundaries, not those who don't know that they are crossing them. (And I'm not expecting people to magically know what cosplayers are thinking -- cosplayers should clearly vocalize what the issue is whenever possible. People should try to read body language the best they can, but nothing beats outright telling someone "I'm not comfortable with that," since it's not always clear. It's when people then continue to push that boundary or get upset at the cosplayer for having a certain comfort level that issues arise.) Miscommunication happens, and it's unfortunate, but that's not the majority of the issues I've had. Maybe someone else has a different experience, though.

(And before anyone says anything, especially since /the skin coverage or sexiness level of the cosplay involved should not matter in terms of not harassing someone/, I've been followed and harassed in totally non-sexy cosplays as well as sexier and more revealing outfits. It's more likely to happen if I'm dressed as a sexier character, but it would happen even if I were 100% covered.)



it was created by feminists, my computer at home has all the detailed information they left out as to why the creators started that stupid motto, males get harrassed too, I appauld fanime for not putting those reminders up!
I'm......not even going to touch this, except to say that the movement is not gender-specific. It doesn't leave out men. In fact, the signs posted by the OP don't mention gender at all. Also dismissing something entirely because it was created by feminists is a bit of a red flag here for me but okay.

Since I've never seen these signs at fanime could just mean everyone is civil enough to respect each other.
Generally, con attendees are great. They are supportive and wonderful and ask for consent and everything is fine. But oh, how I wish your quote here were the case. Maybe it's because it is a larger con, and maybe it's because I tend to wear more elaborate cosplays, but of all my years going to both Fanime and other cons (mostly smaller ones), I can only think of one creeper off the top of my head at another con (SacAnime -- this person later got into pretty big trouble for sexually harassing minors who were sitting on a panel he was organizing, if I recall correctly), but I've had countless creepers of varying levels of creepiness at Fanime. *shrugs* I'm not sure why they don't have the signs.



Though, I can say that I didn't have a single unwanted hug this year, even at the Homestuck gathering!! Everyone asked first and it was fantastic.


Also, I have a bit of a humorous story -- I didn't find this creepy at all, for the record. I was wearing Justin Bailey!Samus on Friday, and it is very much an ass costume. I went with a 1980s style high-cut leotard, and I wear flesh-tone dance tights underneath. Two people (presumably a heterosexual couple) came up to me and each wanted a picture with me, separately. The woman came up, put her hand around my shoulders or waist, took the picture, and exchanged cameras with the man. He came up, started to put his arm around my waist (not really an issue), and the woman, holding the camera, said "honey, you can't grab her ass. Believe me, I had to restrain myself, so you'll have to restrain yourself, too." Thank you, random woman, for not grabbing my ass, and for noticing that your partner was about to and stopping him!
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RJay64

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 10:02:14 PM »


If you are going to post their picture on the internet or use it anywhere, ask them if they are OK with it.

I think it's unreasonable to ask everyone if they are okay with this. They could walk away before you get the chance, or you could simply forget.

Why else would someone take your picture unless they wanted to show off their photography skills (well, or they like you)?

I just post whatever pics I take, I'm not going to lie. I've never met someone in cosplay though that didn't want to show off their costume, since they worked hard on it usually.

Erik_anderson

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2015, 12:04:48 AM »

Quote
I think it's unreasonable to ask everyone if they are okay with this. They could walk away before you get the chance, or you could simply forget.

Let me provide a bit more color on this one, the rule of thumb is if they(the cosplayer) are already posing, then go for it, take the shot.  If they are not posing, if they are having a intimate conversation, taking a break, eating, getting in our out of parts of their costume.  Ask first.

You don't want to be the paparazzi and make cosplayers feel like they don't have a moment peace or break.  It may surprise you but wearing and caring our stuff is tiring, and we are on our feet most of the day and the last thing I need to feel like I need to hide so I can take my gear off and air dry a bit, eat a snack, or talk to my family.  All this behavior does is drive people to not want to cosplay or to push hard for a zero photographer zones.

I know there are some photographers who like taking candid shots and even stalk cosplayers to catch them off guard. I have personally walked a few to security and had them bounced out of conventions for this. In one case causing a young lady to tears, shacking and to try to hide behind the biggest cosplay they could find(me, in a big daddy).  Just don't, or if you do snap that shot, go over afterward and show them the shot and ask if its ok.  It may be a great shot, but if the person does not want you to have it, then do the right thing and delete it.

Remember: You are not paying these people to model for you, so you can't expect them to do, or allow you to do, what ever you want without complaint.

Also remember you are not in public, you are on private property while on the grounds of the convention center/hotel and you are restricted by the policies of the convention.  Nothing sets my wife (who is a professional photographer) off, is people trying to play hallway lawyer about this; conventions space is not public space, the square outside is still private property.  General rule of thumb, if you are asked to stop, stop.  If you don't, expect to be ejected and or arrested (as the upskirt fellow found out last year).
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Imperial

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2015, 06:24:11 PM »

Holy cow, Erik, you hit the nail on the head with this one. only things to add to it is Fanime does have a zone for zero photography, Cosplay Hangout, where they can fix and relax to cool room with fans, and no photography is allowed there. the people who were in there this year would be more than willing to help you in both fixing(help, not do it for you) and with other problems, such as stalkers, creepy photogs, etc. We, the people in the room, are there for the cosplayers, we want to help as much as we can without intimidation. I get that some who are shaken will do anything to get away from the cause and are scared of authority, such as rovers, hense the space for it.

nother thing is, if you catch a creeper photog, take a picture of him, or do a description of him and take it to a rover. they will get on the horn and the person can be cause and brought to justice.
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SquishyK

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2015, 01:38:38 PM »

I know this is an old thread but I was at a convention this last weekend (y-con) and had something happen to a friend and myself that reminded me of this topic. So I thought I would share. We were both dressed as characters from a BL series and had been getting photo requests all day. For some we just did casual poses and some we got a little more shipy with. All were in good taste. Then one photographer came up to us and asked for my character to be the "uke" (I was cosplaying the Seme). So we tried a pose that we thought matched her request, but when it wasn't what she had wanted she then tried to physically turn me and position me the way she would like. I still didn't understand so she pulled up another photo of the position on her phone. Needless to say it was raunchy/risqué and I immediately (but politely) turned her down. She then proceeded to push the issue saying "why not, are you embarrassed?" I simply continued to politely say no and she backed off. At the time I wanted to address the situation with minimal embarrassment to all parties involved. I was also concerned with looking out for my friend and making sure that she wasn't put out as she was new to y-con. Looking back on the situation I sort of wish I had said more to that photographer (and probably would have if she had continued to press the issue). If given the chance I would have told her that it was not appropriate to physically touch me, especially without asking permission first. And that it was ok to show me what she wanted or make a request but when I turned her down she shouldn't have continued to press the issue. I'm sure that she was well meaning all-in-all but probably not conscious of proper photography etiquette (or perhaps bordering on common courtesy in light of her touching me without asking). And the fact is this is NOT an isolated incident. I have many cosplaying friends and I hear about stuff like this happening ALL THE TIME!!

So, how this has colored my feelings on the "cosplay is not consent" movement: Fact is sometimes people just don't know how to conduct themselves. And you can't necessarily rely on issues being properly addressed when they come up. I wish I had said more to that woman, unfortunately I did not. I feel as though getting information out there and opening up discussion could only help the situation. And don't just say "cosplay is not consent" and leave it at that. Explain to people what that means. I could see Fanime and other conventions adding a flyer to badge pick up bags which highlights "cosplay is not consent" and then provides bullet points on what is and/or is not proper cosplay photography/interaction etiquette. And even informs them that there will be consequences for breaking those rules. Most cosplayers will check the rules of a convention to make sure their costume does not breaking any. Or when a cosplay does break the rules they tend to find out rather quickly and learn to check the rules in future. Casual photographers (your average con-goers) usually are not going to go out of their way to find out how they should interact with cosplayers. They probably aren't going spend time at a panel finding out that information (though it is nice that sometimes there are panels which address this and other issues, it helps facilitate a forum for discussion). On the other hand, putting information right under someone's nose might improve the chances it will be seen (and perhaps taken into consideration). This is NOT mere "nagging", useless rhetoric, or tacky "feminist" propaganda. Everyone should be able to go to conventions and feel comfortable and enjoy themselves without having the experience discolored by that one rude photographer. The sad truth is this might be an impossible dream. However, Fanime (and every other convention) should be doing the MOST they can to facilitate a safe and comfortable environment, not the least.
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cutiebunny

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2015, 01:07:09 PM »

I don't think it's a convention's responsibility to constantly remind people everywhere that "Cosplay is not Consent" anymore than I think a convention should remind attendees not to have room parties and not to drink if they're not of legal age.  Most of the people attending conventions are adults and are able to make their own choices.  Those that aren't, though, should be constantly under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian.  That's utter nonsense if they're not.  I do think it's a con's responsibility to provide security to its attendees, though that might be more of a manpower issue (either having the funds to hire security or enough volunteers). However, I grow weary of conventions like SakuraCon and their blatant posters everywhere I go in the hall.  My thoughts on the issue are simple - If the thought of the possibility of people taking lewd pictures of you bothers you so much, don't dress up.  I wear anime shirts at cons.  No one goes up to me and asks me to pose, nor do I take pictures of others. Or, if you do dress up, be aware that there will always be a problem and stand up for yourself if something bothers you.  Trying to "save face" by not calling out those that cross the line will only futher the problem. 

There will always be at least one person at every convention that will try to take lewd photos, want to take risqué poses, etc.  No amount of advertising, panels, shaming, etc. is going to change that.  Ever.  Many attendees are just socially awkward.  And many others are just creeps.  Until conventions do a thorough vetting of every attendee, this will continue to happen.  It is each individual's choice to cosplay and it is each individual's responsibility to decide what they're comfortable doing/showing/portraying.  If and when someone crosses the line, it is your responsibility to tell that person how you feel.
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SquishyK

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2015, 02:43:16 PM »

I don't think it's a convention's responsibility to constantly remind people everywhere that "Cosplay is not Consent" anymore than I think a convention should remind attendees not to have room parties and not to drink if they're not of legal age.

Fanime DOES notify attendes of exactly this stuff in the "code of conduct" section of the event program. It says things like "no selling alcohol to minors" and "no smoking inside building or within 25 ft of an entrance". You know, basic laws that everyone should be aware of. So how would notifying attendees that the convention is private property and thus attendees have the right to not be photographed if they so choose any different?

My thoughts on the issue are simple - If the thought of the possibility of people taking lewd pictures of you bothers you so much, don't dress up.

I don't agree with the "if you don't like it, then don't cosplay" mentality. If that were the case then hardly anyone would cosplay. I even know people who have stopped cosplaying because of how the fan community treated them. It' just sad when it comes to that. I'm in favor of doing anything possible to make sure it doesn't have to come to that.

Most of the people attending conventions are adults and are able to make their own choices.

The person to whom I referred in my anecdote was an adult (everyone at y-con is of legal age) I honestly didn't get the feeling that they were intentionally being a creeper either. They just didn't know.

be aware that there will always be a problem and stand up for yourself if something bothers you.  Trying to "save face" by not calling out those that cross the line will only futher the problem. 

Many attendees are just socially awkward.

Cosplayers can be socially awkward too. It's easy to feel pressured into doing something you are not comfortable with and it is all  well and good to say "next time I'll stand up for myself" but far more difficult to actually do that in the moment. I didn't mean to just let what happened slide, and I regretted it after the fact. And that wasn't even the first time that a photographer has made me feel uncomfortable. Some people don't do well with confrontation, so should only confrontational people cosplay?

There will always be at least one person at every convention that will try to take lewd photos, want to take risqué poses, etc.  No amount of advertising, panels, shaming, etc. is going to change that.  Ever.

You're absolutely right and that is pretty much what I had said. But I'm not talking about stopping every incident ever. I'm talking about raising awareness. I drive the 85 to work every day and there are big electronic signs that are used for amber alerts but sometimes they say things like "Don't text and drive", "click it or ticket", "report drunk driving", and "if you are in a minor accident pull to the shoulder". Things that quite honestly every person old enough to drive should already know. But they do it to raise awareness. So if having "cosplay is not consent" signs help to prevent harassment by even just the smallest fraction then I find it hard to sympathize that you "grow weary" of them.
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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2015, 03:02:45 PM »

Pitin and Cutiebunny, both of you bring up good points. I am taking note of this convo, but some things I want to make clear.

"dont like it, dont cosplay it" Mentality: well, I may be a guy so I shouldn't have say, but I do see guys that do risque cosplay and still say no to some shots. say a Bayonetta cosplayer was asked to do a pose that they themselves do not want to do, but is done in game. They are not obliged to do so if they dont want to. its their body, let them do what makes them comfortable. Yeah sure there may be some too risque cosplays that they feel comfortable to do but the con themselves does not want anything to do with it, but again its their body, their choice.

"social awkwardness" at con in general: if you have a problem, and dont feel like telling the person directly as you dont feel confortable in doing so yourself, ask a friend, or even another photog there, or even call con-ops. preferably another photog there as they often respect each other there. thats what I can say about other cons, but at Fanimecon, CGD members will be around, who are there for cosplayers, to help you in these matters. We are there for you, so we can and will do things for you in those situations.

Cosplay is not concent Signs in general: Ill cook on that. I can only have so much, and even then I have other priorities on that.
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cutiebunny

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2015, 06:45:04 PM »

Fanime DOES notify attendes of exactly this stuff in the "code of conduct" section of the event program. It says things like "no selling alcohol to minors" and "no smoking inside building or within 25 ft of an entrance". You know, basic laws that everyone should be aware of. So how would notifying attendees that the convention is private property and thus attendees have the right to not be photographed if they so choose any different?

Does Fanime not mention the "cosplay is not consent" motto in their rule section as well?  I don't think I've been to a con in the past few years where that hasn't been blasted everywhere.

I don't agree with the "if you don't like it, then don't cosplay" mentality. If that were the case then hardly anyone would cosplay. I even know people who have stopped cosplaying because of how the fan community treated them. It' just sad when it comes to that. I'm in favor of doing anything possible to make sure it doesn't have to come to that.

How hard is it to use some discretion?  If the character you want to cosplay normally walks around in skin tight clothing and that is something that you, as a cosplayer, would not feel comfortable wearing, why do you have to cosplay in that particular outfit?  Or that particular character?  Once again, no one is forcing any cosplayer to wear what they choose to wear.

As for those that have stopped cosplaying because of a couple of creepers, while I feel bad that there are people out there that have ruined it for them, I also think those who feel this way are allowing the creepers to win.  Ultimately, it's up to you if you want to let jerks ruin it for you. 

The person to whom I referred in my anecdote was an adult (everyone at y-con is of legal age) I honestly didn't get the feeling that they were intentionally being a creeper either. They just didn't know.

I was at YaoiCon as well this past weekend.  Yes, they are all adults, and yes, they can make their own choices.  That's why I think, other than a brief mention in the rule book, bombarding people with PSAs is annoying.  By the age of 18, you should know to practice safe sex, realize cosplayers are fellow attendees and if you're 21, to drink in moderation.

Cosplayers can be socially awkward too. It's easy to feel pressured into doing something you are not comfortable with and it is all  well and good to say "next time I'll stand up for myself" but far more difficult to actually do that in the moment. I didn't mean to just let what happened slide, and I regretted it after the fact. And that wasn't even the first time that a photographer has made me feel uncomfortable. Some people don't do well with confrontation, so should only confrontational people cosplay?

This again boils down to your personal comfort level.  Would you feel comfortable wearing this costume in public?  Would you feel comfortable if something attempted something lewd?  If you would, how would you deal with this?  Would you be able to ask them for their name and/or badge number?  Could you tell them off?  How would you handle yourself?

I think that cosplayers, as well as any young man or woman in general, should think and practice how to handle themselves when dealing with uncomfortable situations.  That's just common sense in the world we live in.

You're absolutely right and that is pretty much what I had said. But I'm not talking about stopping every incident ever. I'm talking about raising awareness. I drive the 85 to work every day and there are big electronic signs that are used for amber alerts but sometimes they say things like "Don't text and drive", "click it or ticket", "report drunk driving", and "if you are in a minor accident pull to the shoulder". Things that quite honestly every person old enough to drive should already know. But they do it to raise awareness. So if having "cosplay is not consent" signs help to prevent harassment by even just the smallest fraction then I find it hard to sympathize that you "grow weary" of them.

I think that people are very much aware of "Cosplay is not Consent".  I attend conventions throughout the US.  It's in every convention's book and many cons have signs advertising this throughout the convention.  I don't know how much more blatant it could possibly be.

What I think bothers you is that someone, an adult, made you feel uncomfortable this weekend, and you feel that that boils down to the fact that YaoiCon doesn't have signs advertising this.  Even if the signs were present, that likely would have made no difference.  Just because someone crossed the line when it came to acceptable behavior does not mean that everyone in the community should have to be bombarded with more PSAs. 
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Nina Star 9

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2015, 08:11:50 PM »

I feel like a lot of the time, people "know" that cosplay is not consent, but don't think that it applies to them/their situation, and I'm not sure if signs would really help with that. It seems like it's an easy mantra to recite, but that most people think that it applies only to, say, that older man taking upskirt shots, or saying lewd comments or trying to touch a cosplayer in a skimpy outfit, but don't realize that it also applies to, for example, a teenage girl interacting with someone in a non-sexy outfit from a popular fandom (such as the girl who put her folded arms on my shoulder, from behind so I couldn't even see her coming, and put her face right next to mine in order to say some sort of comment about my Pearl cosplay this past SacAnime, or the girl who touched my face /after/ I moved away from her hand and she was told not to touch me). I'm sure that if I were to ask either of these two people, they would say "well, of course cosplay is not consent!" but not think that touching strangers without permission falls under that, no matter the ages or genders of the cosplayers, and whether the situation is sexual or not.

I'm all for educating people, and signs can help people feel safer at a con, but sometimes I wonder if it's a false sense of security that isn't backed up by security. Thankfully, from all I've heard, Fanimecon tends to be good about handing harassment cases, but not all cons are, and putting up signs can be an easy (and hollow) tactic to make it seem like they are better about it than they really are.

Not that cons are entirely big sexual harassment fests. I don't want it to seem that way, but it does happen. Overwhelmingly, I've had positive experiences with people at cons, but that 5~10% of interactions that are negative do leave an impression.

On the subject of "if you don't like it don't wear it":
I've been harassed (sexually and not) in cosplays I don't consider sexy. I get much more harassment in cosplays that are sexy (say, my Justin Bailey!Samus, which has a thong back), but I do get harassment in cosplays that aren't traditionally sexy.

I've also gotten harassment in "normal" clothes at cons.

The main reason why I go to cons is for cosplay, so I'm not going to hit the con in normal clothes in hopes that it'll stop harassment. Really, while I'd consider myself a bit of a creeper magnet, it isn't a big enough issue to make me want to stop, though it is a big enough issue that I take extra precautions, especially in particular cosplays.

I have no qualms at all about wearing something revealing or sexy out in public. That's not the issue. And I know that I'll get some attention that I don't want. I can usually handle that, but sometimes, it's really scary (being physically grabbed and pulled into a crowd to be told that I make good masturbation material, or being followed down the street by someone demanding my phone number, or having people demand personal information of me in general), and sometimes, though I'm usually not afraid of speaking up, sometimes my tactics backfire (being called names for not allowing someone to take a photo I'm not comfortable with -- thankfully this has never escalated beyond this point), which is also scary. It's my body and my costume, and I know my limits and what I'm comfortable with -- wearing a thong in public? hell yes! letting people take pictures just of my butt? hell no! -- and I'm usually not afraid to articulate these boundaries. I know what I'm getting into, while at the same time, I know that in an ideal world, I shouldn't have to put up with this, and that what I wear shouldn't in any way place any blame on me.

Though, usually, my tactic is to tell them a firm "no" when asked for something I'm not comfortable with. I very rarely have the type of interaction where I would be able to easily see a badge name or number in order to report, and usually the people are so generic-looking that they then slip back into a crowd and I lose track of them. I rarely have sustained creeping from the same person, or up-close creeping where I can get to something as small as a visible badge (if it is even visible), especially with my glasses off (as I can't wear contacts so I take them off for cosplay). Sometimes, I don't realize how messed up an interaction was until after it is over, and by then it's too late. Most things that happen aren't really worth reporting, but it would be nice to be able to report the things that are especially bad. :| I feel like I should work on being able to get badge numbers off of people.

(Now, the times when I'm not okay with speaking up, I typically just walk away, and these are usually when something so strange happens that I'm dumbfounded, or when I'm overwhelmed or overstimulated, which can happen to me somewhat easily in a con environment, especially if I'm in a complex and difficult to wear cosplay.)

Yes, there will always be creeps. That's not going to change. I think that a better tactic than having didactic messages posted at the con would be to make cosplayers feel more empowered to speak up against harassment. It's hard, especially with people socialized to be feminine or those who are shy (or who, like me, sometimes are overwhelmed and just want to /get out of there/), but it can be done. I think that attendees watching out for each other and feeling empowered to speak up would go a long way in doing what the cosplay is not consent movement is trying to do, only from the other side -- yes, you can tell creepers to not creep (or teenage girls to not touch the faces of strangers even after being told not to), but it seems more effective if creepers know that they can't get away with it. Maybe it'll make the malicious-type creeper sneakier. Who knows. But the oblivious-type creeper is too probably oblivious to pay attention to social cues and such messages anyway (though this is the type that 'cosplay is not consent' would probably have the most effect with because they aren't necessarily trying to do anything wrong) and the malicious-type creeper already knows that it's wrong and is trying to get away with it.

I'm all for shifting con culture so that these things are, absolutely, unacceptable, but I'm not sure if this movement can really do that.
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SquishyK

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2015, 04:36:11 PM »

Does Fanime not mention the "cosplay is not consent" motto in their rule section as well?  I don't think I've been to a con in the past few years where that hasn't been blasted everywhere.

No, they don't. All I saw was no hugging people without asking. And it says to ask before taking photos in the photo and autograph etiquette section, but honestly it's worded like a casual suggestion. (do this to get the best quality photo).

How hard is it to use some discretion?  If the character you want to cosplay normally walks around in skin tight clothing and that is something that you, as a cosplayer, would not feel comfortable wearing, why do you have to cosplay in that particular outfit?  Or that particular character?  Once again, no one is forcing any cosplayer to wear what they choose to wear.

I never wear anything I'm not socially comfortable with. As Nina Star 9 said, it doesn't even matter. Fully covered cosplayers get creeped on too.

It's in every convention's book and many cons have signs advertising this throughout the convention.  I don't know how much more blatant it could possibly be.

So because other conventions already do it Fanime is exempt? What if every con had that attitude? Not to mention all the people who only go to Fanime (I did for many years) or are going to a convention for the first time.

What I think bothers you is that someone, an adult, made you feel uncomfortable this weekend, and you feel that that boils down to the fact that YaoiCon doesn't have signs advertising this.  Even if the signs were present, that likely would have made no difference.  Just because someone crossed the line when it came to acceptable behavior does not mean that everyone in the community should have to be bombarded with more PSAs.

The one isolated incident was just being used to illustrate a situation in which promoting awareness might have been helpful. The point I was trying to make though is that this isn't an isolated incident. It's a bonafide trend.
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Amanojaku

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2015, 02:31:20 PM »

I actively keep an eye out for people being creepers, and either say something to them or con staff.
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eHash

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2015, 10:14:02 PM »

"Cosplay is not consent" is definitely a term that those in the community are familiar with and understand, but as someone
earlier pointed out...what about people who only go to FanimeCon or are first timers.  From my own experience I can offer the following thoughts:

10 things to remember as a cosplayer:
 (1) Never do anything you are uncomfortable with.
 (2) Ask the photographers information before agreeing to be photographed.  At the very least take a picture of them or their badge.
 (3) It's your right to refuse.  If you are uncomfortable, decline. If they follow you, find a staff member.
 (4) Use your best judgement. (never believe someone when they say it's for their "Private" collection)
 (5) ^ If you feel like your judgement is impaired, schedule a different time.
 (6) If you feel pressured or extorted into something, walk away and find a staff member.
 (7) Professional photographers will never touch you.  This is a common amateur mistake.  Let them know it's not ok.
 (8) Theoretically, if you are under 18, you can't sign a release, your guardian has to.
 (9) Report anything unethical or suspicious.
 (10) A lot of attendees (cosplayers and photographers) might be awkward/socially inexperienced.  If you see someone in a bad situation, help them out by finding a staff member/rover (or call the # on the back of your badge).  A few years ago I witnessed a few underage girls posing in troubling poses.  I went and got a rover.  The cosplayers might have been game for it, but often time people (not just youth) forget that these pictures could follow you for the rest of your life.
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Angelx624

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2015, 03:38:03 AM »

I definitely agree that it doesn't take a revealing/skin tight costume to get creeped on. I had some guy randomly come up to me during Stockton-con earlier this year and he was giving me a "look" and trying to make "friendly" conversation with me, and I was dressed as Konata from Lucky Star in her winter uniform. I mean yes it's a schoolgirl outfit and the skirts aren't the longest, but it's not meant to be a sexy outfit. And I'm still gonna wear that cosplay despite what happened. I made it clear to the guy that I wasn't interested in talking with him and he walked away, so you could say I was lucky that it didn't escalate, but I feel bad for when I hear even worse stories.

I definitely agree that if a cosplayer or person is unable to speak up when something like this is happening to them, they should definitely go to someone nearby to help defend them. Cause most likely there will be someone around that has the guts to tell the creeper off. I myself am not afraid to shoo a creeper away, and if someone came to me asking for help in telling a creeper what is and isn't ok, I most certainly wouldn't hesitate on helping. Cosplayers as well as others should be encouraged to ask others for help when they can't handle the situation themselves.

Creepers at conventions or anywhere in general will not stop me from wearing something. That's for sure. They don't control me nor do they own me. That is purely my decision.
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Moetic Justice

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2015, 03:42:28 PM »

Ideally, what is and isn't acceptable, as well as how unacceptable behavior is to be dealt with, would be laid out in an explicit and comprehensive anti-harassment policy, but Fanime doesn't have one. The code of conduct says, "Do not harass, threaten, bully, stalk, or mob people. Please do not hug or glomp without permission. Respect other people’s personal space." Those three sentences are it. I don't know what exact wording and implementation are the best fit for Fanime specifically, but the brevity and vagueness of the existing policy is a cause for concern.

For more information on the whys, whats, and hows of convention harassment policies, I recommend The Ada Initiative's resource page on the subject.
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MyAlterEg0

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Re: Thoughts on Cosplay is Not Consent?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2016, 06:51:45 PM »

Respect other people’s personal space." Those three sentences are it. I don't know what exact wording and implementation are the best fit for Fanime specifically, but the brevity and vagueness of the existing policy is a cause for concern.
[/url]
I disagree!
How many people read the code of conduct thoroughly?  Blasting a meme like "Cosplay is not consent" doesn't do much more justice then repeatedly saying "don't drink and drive".  The messaging has already been put out there and those who don't take it seriously are still going to do it.  The vagueness gives the convention lots of leeway in it's interpretation and when it comes to protecting everyone.  As an attendee, I feel more comfortable knowing that if someone has made me feel uncomfortable for any reason I can bring it to a Rover's attention. If you are concerned that it's not specific enough, perhaps you are engaging in questionable actions...
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