Ending Convention Rape Culture

DC-Cosplay-Video-600x254As the popularity of cosplay has risen, so have the number of assaults and insults that cosplayers suffer at large events. San Diego Comic-Con 2014 just passed, and some of the biggest stories to come out of the event were about an underage cosplayer who was found bloodied and unconscious in costume, and a famous cosplayer chasing down a man who groped her friend.

Unfortunately, many cosplayers unwittingly contribute to the very convention culture that endangers them. They contribute, not with the costumes they wear, but by trying to be polite or by not knowing what to do when incidents happen. It can be a very distressing and embarrassing to be objectified or assaulted at a convention, and knowing exactly what to do can be hard. So here are three basic rules of how to react in these horrible situations:

1. Don’t be Polite!

CosplayCreeps-2Every convention has huge numbers of bloggers, vloggers, press, internet personalities, and regular patrons who are combing the floor for cosplayers to put on the spot. Many of these jerks ask inappropriate sexual questions or try to touch you in ways that make you uneasy (hugs, leering at specific body parts, filming/photographing specific body parts, etc). If you are uncomfortable DO NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO PLAY ALONG! Regardless of how witty your response is, questions and behavior of this nature is disrespectful to you and contributes to the convention culture that objectifies cosplayers. Tell them that they are being inappropriate, and end the interview. Tell them that you are not comfortable with them putting their arm around your waist, and step away. Tell them that your “eyes are up here” and walk away. No amount of Facebook likes or Twitter followers are worth encouraging these disgusting convention parasites.

2. Be Loud!

Black Canary Cosplay

Black Canary Cosplay by Miss-LolaMarie

If something inappropriate happens, BE LOUD ABOUT IT! I know this can be hard because it is an embarrassing situation, but acting fast and getting people to notice what is happening is the best way to insure that predators are caught. Shout at the person to STOP and state what they are doing. For example, “STOP TOUCHING MY BREASTS! THAT IS NOT OK! THIS GUY/GIRL IS TOUCHING ME INAPPROPRIATELY!” and POINT THEM OUT! The more people who see the person, the better the chance of them being held responsible for their behavior. Hopefully someone will even snap a picture of the asswipe.

(Although I agree that they deserve it, I do NOT recommend physically striking the person since that can get you into legal trouble down the line.)

3. REPORT!

72808_632272580120728_389343122_nDo NOT just move on with your day after an incident happens. Report it to the convention staff (and make sure they really take note of it!) or the police if the incident is serious enough. We want predators removed from the convention, so we need those in charge to know that they are there! Even if you didn’t get a great look at the person, TELL AN OFFICIAL and let them know what you do remember. Often, these creeps bother/assault multiple people in a day. DON’T HELP THEM GET AWAY WITH IT! The truth is that we really don’t have dependable statistics on convention harassment, because so many victims don’t report their assaults. We need to start making officials take notice of this problem, and the only way to do that is to inform them EVERY time it happens

4. BE A WITNESS!

cosplay-is-not-consent

Cosplayers can’t wait for other people to stand up for us! WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES!!

Help yourself and other cosplayers by being aware of your surroundings and looking out for trouble. I realize that we shouldn’t HAVE to do this, but unfortunately, the reality is that this is a necessary precaution to help protect ourselves. If you see something happen BE LOUD and REPORT! Stick around to tell officials what happened, or take the initiative if nobody else has the guts to report what happened. We can’t wait for white knights to save us. Cosplayers have to stand up for ourselves.

 

Assholes and predators are in geek culture, just like every other community. It is NOT your fault if someone is insulting or assaulting you. It doesn’t matter what you wear to a convention, EVERYONE deserves respect. If we are going to change this culture we need to band together and send the message loud and clear that we are NOT going to put up with this. We cannot wait around for other people to step up, we have to start stepping up and speaking up for ourselves!

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Dawn of Justice: Wonder Woman Rumors

Rumors about the Batman vs. Superman movie, now called Dawn of Justice, have been flying around the internet for months. I was thrilled that Wonder Woman was rumored to be in the film, then had a mixed reaction with the official casting, but I’ve always known it would be the outfit that would really make or break my hope for this film. Now, thanks to JoBlo.com, we may actually have some hints at the direction they are taking Diana in the DC movies.

Wonder Woman’s costume:

Rainfall Wonder Woman

Costume design from the Rainfall Films Wonder Woman Short

The reports of Wonder Woman wearing the pre-new52 jacket and leggings outfit are inaccurate. Completely. The description of the outfit from our source uses the term “badass” on multiple occasions. This Wonder Woman is ripped right from the comics and has a “traditional, yet sleeker” costume that’s “battle ready.” She’ll have a blue leather skirt, silver-armored cuffs that reach to her elbows, golden tiara (with a design of some sort in the center, possibly the red star) and a variation of the traditional-looking red top (no word on additional armor on it). Her overall appearance is described as “Amazon warrior princess” and definitely not an urban reimagining. She’s there to kick ass and that’s readily apparent. Word is that WB is getting a VERY positive response on her appearance to those they’ve shown it to.

HALLELUJAH!!!! THIS MAKES ME SO HOPEFUL AND EXCITED!!! This sounds very similar to some of my favorite Wonder Woman designs, but it also may give us more hints about the movie. A “traditional” and “battle ready” design suggests that they may be keeping her back story intact, which is hugely important to fans. It also sounds like she is going to be a powerful fighter herself, rather than eye candy to hang on Superman’s arm.

Wonder Woman’s weapons:

That’s right, not just a golden lasso here. Wonder Woman will have no less than FOUR weapons, including shield, sword, spear, and of course, the traditional lasso. It’s also noted that she will wear the shield on her back,surrender Captain America style, when not in use.

Did you read that?!? GOLDEN LASSO!! If these rumors are to be believed than this is another sign that they are staying true to comic book Wonder Woman! It is also a great sign that they are arming her with the most common weapons that she is portrayed with in the comics. Now to wait and see if the lasso retains the magical properties it traditionally has.

Wonder Woman’s screen time in the film:

Her character will be introduced as “Diana” in the film initially before we ever see her as Wonder Woman. She will have a fair amount of screen time and will team up with Batman and Superman for the final battle against an un-named villain who may be working or controlled by Lex Luther. Her origin will be intentionally vague, but she is brought into the fold to show that there are other superheroes in the universe other than Superman.

This part I am taking with a grain of salt. I’ve worked on enough movie projects to know that things change drastically between the script and the cutting room floor. It’s nice to hear the whispers that she will be more then a small cameo, and it’s GREAT to hear that she will be fighting in the big final battle. Hopefully, they don’t have her end up being Lois Lane 2.0 and just a new pretty face for Superman to save over and over.

JusticeLeagueLeaving her origins vague may mean that they are planning on giving her a solo movie later to explain things, but I’m guessing it’s due more to pacing and trying to keep the movie shorter than Gone with the Wind. They are introducing A LOT of heroes in this movie. It initially focused on Superman and Batman, but now the confirmed cast includes Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Cyborg, Aquaman, and possibly even Nightwing. That’s a lot of explaining to do if they are even going to briefly touch on everyone’s origin stories, and introducing that many characters in a film will cut drastically into the screen time of any individual character. This makes me nervous, because I want Diana to get the screen time she deserves as part of DC’s trinity.

Dawn of Justice has to do well for Wonder Woman to get her own film. These rumors give me hope, but we have a long way to go before we see the final product.

Wonder-Woman-Comci-Book-2

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Renaissance Faire Survival Guide

Kimi

GoldenLassoGirl (me) at Faire!

I have been working at renaissance faires all over the Western United States for over a decade, and attending them as a customer since long before that! They are strange, but wonderful events that capture the imaginations of all kinds of people. There is really something for everyone, but a few simple tips will help you get more enjoyment from your time at a faire.

1. Water
Alcoholic beverages are the drink that ren faires are known for serving. Imbibing can be a fun part of your day, but most renaissance faires take place in the hotter months of the year. Try to match your alcohol intake with equal amounts of water. Dehydration and overheating are the most common reasons for First Aid treatment of faire customers, especially those in costume.

2. Shoes
The average renaissance faire visitor will walk over four miles at a large faire. Most of that will be on uneven dirt paths, which make the mileage even harder on your feet. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes to maximize your fun and enjoyment. I also suggest wearing closed toed shoes because of all the dirt (sweaty feet + dirt = toe mud… eww). Sexy spike heeled boots may seem like a wonderful idea when you leave the house, but you may regret wearing them by the end of the day as you’re hobbling to the exit.

FacetoFacewithMagicbyNikkiJee3. Map
It’s vital that you know where to find different shows, food vendors, and most importantly, the ale stands and restrooms. This will save you lots of time if you want to be on a schedule, or let you know which direction to wander if you don’t have a specific destination in mind. Most faires hand out maps as you enter the front gate.

4. Privies
Commonly known as Port-a-Potties, these are one of the drawbacks of visiting most renaissance faires. They are not pleasant, but there are ways to make the experience less miserable. First, go to the units farthest from the entrance to the port-a-potty area. These are usually the least used and the cleanest. Leave most of your stuff with your friends when you go in, because you want to limit the contamination and avoid dropping things into the Privy abyss.

20080829-ren-fair5. Cash
Faires are a wonderful place to buy jewelry, costumes, art, and so much more directly from the artists. It’s a great opportunity, however, the methods of payment that you can use may vary from booth to booth. Most merchants can accept credit card payments thanks to the magic of smart phones, but there are still a few who can’t. Ale stands are usually cash-only as well, and it’s good form to leave tips for servers and performers. Be ready for that and bring cash with you to avoid the crazy ATM fees and lines that happen at most faires.

6. Costumes
Costumes are one of the best things about visiting renaissance faires. You will see a huge variety of outfits, including stunning historically accurate recreations, pirates, fairies and fantasy creatures, vikings, Stormtroopers, and SO MUCH MORE! Feel free to dress up and join in the fun, but remember tip #2 from above. Costumes made from natural fibers are the best because they breath in the heat. Avoid large amounts of leather because it can get really hot, and avoid rubber at all costs!!!

My band, The Merry Wives of Windsor

My band, The Merry Wives of Windsor

7. Shows
I’ll admit, I’m a little biased here. I want people to come see MY shows! I love performing and faire crowds are wonderful! Renaissance faire shows will have a unique feel to them and are usually very interactive. Be sure you read signs or program descriptions before you sit down to watch something, especially if you have kids with you. Some shows contain some naughty content, but usually they are clearly marked. Be sure to buy something or leave a tip at the end of the show if you enjoyed it. Renaissance faire performers work hard for their art, and are usually paid MUCH less than minimum wage, IF they are paid at all. Show your appreciation for their hard work by helping fill their gas tanks and their tankards!

8. Safety
Renaissance faires are a melting pot of different OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtypes of people, with some alcohol and costumes tossed in for fun. They are safe, but as with any public situation (conventions, amusement parks, county fairs, concerts, etc) you need to be aware of your surroundings. Inevitably, there are those few people who will get drunk and inappropriate. They may be inappropriate with you, or with each other. PLEASE REPORT THEM TO SECURITY! You can do this by finding a security person, or by telling the nearest ale stand or booth. We work very hard to create a fun place, and we don’t want our hard work to be in vain because of a few jerks.

**IMPORTANT: Remember that not everyone wearing a costume is a faire employee!!! Many people dress up and pretend that they are part of the show, but they paid for their ticket just like you. These “playtrons” are usually at the root of most behavior complaints since they are not trained to interact with the costumers. If someone in a costume is making you feel uncomfortable, be direct! Tell them to stop, then report them to security so it doesn’t happen to someone else!

9. Parking167-081stprize_000
Most faire parking is a big dirt field. If you’re lucky, there might be some flags or lines to help show you where to go. If you are VERY lucky, there might be some people pointing for you. By the end of the day it will ALL LOOK THE SAME!! A sea of dust covered cars is hard to navigate. Use a handy Car-Finding App if you have one, or at very least, take a picture with some stuff in the background to reference later. Trust me.

10. Open Mind
Renaissance faires are AMAZING. They are such an eclectic mixing of different aspects of the human experience. A mix of history, art vendors, concert, carnivals, reenactments, conventions, food festival, and costume party! I love it! Come to faire with an open mind, ready to experience something truly unique.

To find a renaissance faire near you, visit Renaissance Magazine’s Renaissance Faire List!

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Skyrim Wedding Picture

Skyrim-Wedding

What happens when a costumer and a photographer/VFX artist fall in love? EPIC PICTURES! This visual celebration of our nuptials and our obsession with Skyrim, has been a long time in the making and we debuted it on February 17th in honor of our first wedding anniversary.

Each member of our wedding party, including our ring bearer and flower girl, were photographed individually in front of a green screen. The clothes were all bought at local thrift stores and we had a blast ripping them up, then covering them in movie dirt and blood. Actually, I was a little too vigorous while ripping up my stunt bridal gown with scissors, so there is actually a good amount of real blood on mine. #legit

While this started as a fun project to celebrate our fandom, it’s quickly become very popular! Our picture was even featured on Kotaku.com! We really love that other fans have enjoyed our work and really appreciate all the well wishes!

Now, to plan for next year…

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Do it Yourself: Costume Helmet (Big Barda)

big_barda_by_jack_kirbyI have always loved Big Barda’s design. Over the years it has changed significantly, but her samurai-inspired helmet has remained a trademark of her look. I decided early on that I wanted to go with a more real-world design for the helmet, but make sure that it was still clearly recognizable. Who am I to improve on Jack Kirby’s work? Despite the sleek design of the helmet, this was easily one of the most complicated cosplay projects that I have tackled.

I started with a practical base, which came in the form of a child’s toy Dodger helmet that I picked up at the thrift store for $2.50. I cut the bill off of it and used it for the foundation of Barda’s Helmet. I then used craft foam to measure, design, and test the a few different designs for the back of the helmet that comes down around the neck. I had to be careful that I could still turn my head without trouble, but still have it come down as far as possible.

BardaHelm1Once I finalized the pattern for the back of the helmet with the cheap craft foam, I traced it onto Worbla and made the final version. I used industrial glue to cement the new Worbla piece to the Dodger helmet.After the glue dried, I used my heat gun to bend the Worbla into exactly the shape I wanted. This included adding a slight curl to the bottom of the helmet, and making sure it was symmetrical. Finally, I used Bondo to smooth the seam and make the Worbla and Dodger helmet look like one item. My little detail sander is a godsend for working with Bondo on small or detailed items like this. GET ONE!

BardaHelm2Adding more details with Worbla was the next step. Barda has very distinctive patterning on her helmet, and this is where Worbla really shines. It’s so easy to cut a small strip and then bend it to fit along the edge of almost any shape. It attaches to itself when heated, but I also used glue since I’m not sure if it would have securely attached itself to the Dodger helmet and Bondo.

Then I used Gesso to make it completely smooth, by adding a thin layer then sanding, then adding another layer and sanding. Barda’s helmet needs to look completely smooth and very futuristic. The Gesso and sanding made the parts of the helmet completely level and smooth, and also insured a uniform texture for the primer paint to attach.

BardaHelm3After what felt like endless hours of sanding, I added the smaller details to the helmet with Worbla. In the picture to the left, I painted the details from the previous step black so you could see the difference. The Worbla attached to the Gesso, and is always incredibly easy to use on details like this. I used Gesso where the strips of Worbla met to make the details seamless and to avoid the gaps that can sometimes show on the final process.

BardaHelm5

Paint job not finished

Now it’s time to paint the helmet. Big Barda’s helmet is a shiny smooth black, so this took a while. The technique is to lay a thin coat of spray paint over the whole helmet, wait for it to dry COMPLETELY, then use extremely fine sandpaper lightly on any areas that aren’t perfectly smooth. After that’s done, you do it again. A lot. Eventually, you will get a nice smooth finish that doesn’t look like spray paint.

Barda’s helmet goes all the way down to her shoulders, and like many comic book outfits that defy logic, she can still turn her head. Physics doesn’t work like that for me and so I had to come up with an alternative. I used black scale maille around the neck to extend the look down to give the illusion of the helmet reaching my shoulders. It ended up matching perfectly, and is one of my favorite details on this cosplay. I created the scale maille piece and attached it with Velcro to the inside of the helmet. The fact that it was removable made painting and finishing the helmet easier.

BardaHelm6Clear coating can be one of the most stressful parts of a project. I  wanted maximum shine on my helmet, so I used a high gloss clear coat. I highly recommend that you use the same brand of paint throughout a project (if possible), and ALWAYS test different paints together on scraps before using them on your work in progress. Nothing is more heartbreaking than having something almost finished and then watching the paint bubble or flake because of a chemical reaction. I carefully added multiple clear coats, leaving many hours between each coat to insure that it was completely dry when the next was added. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!

I used copper leaf to add the metallic shine. As always, practice leafing on scraps before working on your final piece, and take your time. Fine paintbrushes are very helpful for leafing corners and edges. It can be really tricky to get it looking right. After I finished leafing the main helmet, I added more layers clear coat. This iBardaHelmetFinisheds a vital step after leafing and prevents the metal from tarnishing or peeling off.

Now the majority of the helmet was done, and I could create the decorative front. I wanted it to have some weight and depth to it, so I used Kamui Cosplay’s tutorial and sandwiched a layer of craft foam between two layers of Wonderflex. The Wonderflex should be larger than the craft foam so that you can heat seal it around the edges. I molded these pieces with heat to perfectly fit to each other, and to the finished section of the helmet. After these pieces cooled, I painted them or copper leafed them just like I did the other parts of the helmet. To finish it off, I used industrial glue to attach these pieces to the rest of the helmet.

BigBardaGoldenLassoCosplay

 

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Magic in Marvel Movies

Doctor_Strange_6534The internet is buzzing with rumors about the casting of Marvel’s Doctor Strange. While some really great names have been linked with the role of earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, there is another reason that I am thrilled to hear that Stephen Vincent Strange will be appearing on the silver screen.

It means REAL magic will be appearing in a modern comic book movie universe for the first time.

Yes, I know that Loki has been using his hologram-like tricks since his first appearance, but Marvel has been very careful to explain away magic. Asgardians aren’t gods, they are super advanced aliens who occasionally come to earth to pretend to be gods. It’s not a Soul Forge, it’s a Quantum Field Generator. Jane Foster lays it out for us when she explains, “Magic is just science we don’t understand yet.” While they have been pushing the envelope with each new film, there still hasn’t been anything that has been expressly described as magic. Doctor Strange’s power is completely based on magic and I don’t think that they will risk the wrath of fans to try to explain it away with some advanced science. The technology-ruled Marvel movie universe is officially going to cross the line that they’ve been so careful to tiptoe with Thor.

wonder womanThis is a huge deal when many people claim that some characters, like Wonder Woman, can never appear on screen with their magic-based powers and backstories intact. These people argue that the modern audience won’t accept magic in comic book movies, and so these iconic characters must be altered to fit neatly into the expected norm. It’s refreshing that Marvel doesn’t agree.

This adds a huge number of amazing possibilities for upcoming DC and Marvel movies! Scarlet Witch, Wonder Woman, Zatanna, John Constantine (for real this time), Enchantress, and so many others now have hope of appearing on screen intact. While adding a few technological advances to the Amazons might smooth the transition (maybe a cloaking device hides Paradise Island instead of magic?), I believe that the magical foundation to Wonder Woman’s powers and her magical items can succeed on the big screen. DC’s movies have had a very different tone than the Marvel movies, but I believe that they can build upon the foundations laid by the successful Marvel franchises. The average moviegoer isn’t going to separate the DC and Marvel movies into exclusive categories. If they accept Loki and Doctor Strange in an Avengers movie, they will accept Wonder Woman or John Constantine in a DC movie.

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Golden Lasso on Social Networks

Sif_Kimi_1Golden Lasso has been working to expand its reach on social networks! You can find us all over!

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Google+

Tumblr

Pinterest

The plan is to slowly take over the internet, but in the meantime, enjoy the cosplay, gaming, and other geeky stuff!

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

GalGadotIt has finally happened. Wonder Woman is going to appear in a major motion picture. Gal Gadot wasn’t on my short list for the part. She wasn’t even on my long list for the part. To be honest, she hadn’t crossed my mind at all. I was hoping for Lynn Collins, who screamed Wonder Woman with her performance in John Carter. Lynn has the look and the acting chops to bring Diana to life, despite the fact that she’d need an apple box and some movie magic to make her appear taller. In contrast, I really don’t know anything about Gal except how she looks physically, because she’s never been in anything that required much acting.

The movie I have been dreaming of has arrived, and I am filled with a mixture of joy and fear that only comes with being a fanatic… er… fan.

JOY: DC movies are really well cast.
I may not like all the choices or stories, but I have almost always liked the casting in DC movies. Every time I nerd-rage out about someone being cast, I have (almost) always been proven wrong. I ate my words with both Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, and Ann Hathaway’s spot-on Catwoman. Man of Steel and Green Lantern were both well cast, and their actors did their best despite terrible scripts. The casting people at Warner’s B&Jobviously have a good eye for this, so maybe Gal will knock it out of the park.

FEAR: DC movies have really crappy scripts.
DC movies have a history of terrible scripts that are filled with cornball jokes or gaping plot holes. I think George Clooney could have been a Batman for the ages if he had been given the right script. Ditto for Jim Carrey as the Riddler. Can you imagine him playing a creepy, puzzle-crazed Riddler in a more realistic way like Heath Ledger’s Joker? These problems have continued into more recent projects. Batman Begins started the new DC movies off strong, but both The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel suffered from bad pacing, lack of character development, and moments that simply didn’t make sense! I am terrified they will completely miss the mark with Diana’s appearance in Batman & Superman, which will be the death sentence for any Wonder Woman movie in the works.

JOY: Gal has actual military experience!
I love this! My sister joined the US Army a few years ago, and even her weeks of boot camp gave her an impressive amount of training. Israel is the only country in the world where service KidsandWWis compulsory for both women and men, and two years of military service in the Israeli Defense Force is nothing to sneeze at. Women can be assigned to infantry combat service and be directly in the line of fire. Even if Gal didn’t experience that, Israel is far from a peaceful place and the training would have prepared her for all possibilities. She has been closer to real combat than most action stars in Hollywood.

FEAR: Gal isn’t built like Wonder Woman.
Yes, I’ll admit that this is a bit shallow, but Wonder Woman’s physique is part of what drew me to her as a child. I was always one of the tallest kids in my class. Combine that with my athletic build from years of competitive swimming and the rude comments prepubescent boys made, I could often feel out of place. Wonder Woman helped young Kimi deal with that. She showed me that a woman could be physically imposing, while still being feminine! While there is certainly a lot of depth to Wonder Woman, her physical build shouldn’t be ignored. I hope Gal hits the gym.

JOY: Zack Snyder’s movies look cool.
There is no disputing that Zack Snyder has great style. Man of Steel and Watchmen were visually stunning interpretations of comic publications. Most importantly, 300 proved that a movie based Suckerpunchon ancient stories/myths (like Wonder Woman herself) could succeed and be accepted by the modern audience.

FEAR: Zack Snyder sucks at creating good female characters.
This is the director who HONESTLY thought Sucker Punch was a story of female empowerment. That’s right, the movie about girl who is trapped in an insane asylum and repeatedly raped, but mentally escapes to a fantasy world where she is a sex slave, who mentally escapes to another fantasy world where she is a scantily clad fighter trying to find random objects, but in reality, she just gets lobotomized in the real world and stays a victim. Wow. Way to empower women Zack. Create a Russian nesting doll of victimization and assault for your female characters on all levels of their psyche. While I have no doubt that Mr. Snyder will make fight scenes that will be worthy of Wonder Woman (just look at Faora in Man of Steel), I believe he is utterly incapable of capturing her character and motivations.

When it comes right down to it, the actress is not my biggest worry with Wonder Woman appearing on film. I’m much more concerned about the writers, and the director. That being said, I’m trying not to judge too harshly until there is something to be judged. I can’t wait to see the costume they come up with… or can I?

*worry*

wonder-woman-migraine

 

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What is Inappropriate Cosplay?

Image courtesy of http://www.twoohsix.com/

Image courtesy of http://www.twoohsix.com/

In October, I traveled to Seattle to speak about the Psychology of Cosplay at Geek Girl Con. It was an amazing panel organized by Dr. Andrea Letamendi, a clinical psychologist and cosplayer, and included Jessica Marizan, Chaka Cumberbatch, and myself as panelists. We discussed a ton of really great concepts, and the inevitable topic of “inappropriate” cosplay was brought up and discussed by the panelists.

I want to be completely clear about my feelings on this topic: THERE ARE INAPPROPRIATE OUTFITS TO WEAR TO PUBLIC EVENTS, AND AS COSPLAYERS, WE HAVE TO BE AWARE OF OUR AUDIENCE.

Now, the main focus of these debates is often skimpy/sexy cosplay. While I tend to be more modest than many other cosplayers, I have no problem with revealing cosplays. I have worked with children long enough to know that the human body, contrary to what many believe, is not damaging to the average child’s psyche. I know I’ll probably get emails about that statement, but it’s true. The cosplays that really worry me are the bloody and violent ones. Those can really freak out kids in a way that cleavage never could.

This is NOT the cosplayer I saw, but this is the same basic concept.

This is NOT the cosplayer I saw, but this is the same basic concept.

My best example of this is from a convention that I attended in 2012. I was dressed up as Wonder Woman, and as always, was having a blast posing with kids. One of the most excited fans was a little Superman, proudly wearing his foam muscled outfit from the Halloween store. He flexed his muscles and flew circles around his parents to show me how fast he was. “Cute” doesn’t quite cover it. Later that day, I was wandering the halls and I ran into a mutilated Superman cosplayer limping around and posing with people. From a makeup/costume viewpoint, he really looked incredible. He really resembled Superman and his massive injuries/blood looked real even from up close. I was admiring his work from a distance, when I saw my little Superman friend from before stopped dead in the middle of the aisle. The look of horror on his little face made my stomach drop. He started crying, and had to be carried off by his parents.

We are portraying characters that people love, and in some cases, look up to as personal heroes. This is especially true for children, who are a significant portion of the con-going population. We have to balance self-expression with our responsibility to respectfully portray these characters that have left such a deep mark on pop-culture. The last thing our community needs is policing and limiting of creativity, but we need to be empathetic. Be reasonable with the blood effects, or save it for select events and photo shoots. If we have the passion to step into the shoes of the most powerful characters in fiction, surely we have the power to step into the shoes of young fans and their families.

GoldenLassoCosplayKids

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Rainfall’s Wonder Woman

A few months ago, I was asked to help bring my hero to life. I thought I was dreaming when Sam Balcomb of Rainfall Films brought the initial idea to me. Was it possible that Wonder Woman might finally be represented well on screen? Would I really get to help make that dream into a reality?

Rainfall Wonder Woman sketch

Sketch by Sam Balcomb

Since that fateful day, I’ve been able to talk about Wonder Woman even more than usual. Breaking down everything from Diana’s history and motivations, to classic comic poses and ancient Greek myths. We decided to heavily base our short on the Perez-era Wonder Woman, complete with ThemAmazonsyscira and monsters out of Greek mythology. We poured over my collection of Wonder Woman comics to capture all the details, even if they would go unnoticed by most of the audience. Through it all, the Rainfall team was adamant about being true to the character, and making a truly kick-ass female superhero.

Then there was the most daunting task of all: designing the outfit. Costuming is a huge part of my life, and I’ve tried my hand at Wonder Woman’s costume before, but we really wanted something unique that would pay homage to Diana’s Greek and warrior roots. It had to be functional, but still capture the iconic look that is so familiar to pop culture. We finally settled on two distinct looks, a more armored suit for the flashbacks to Paradise Island and a sleeker look for the city scenes. Our incredible costuming team, Heather Greene and Sarah Skinner, were able to create the entire costume from scratch, including the leather armor and steel scale maille. Yours truly braided the Lasso of Truth!

On Rainfall SetThe days on set were incredible. Everyone was thrilled to be a part of the project. Rileah Vanderbilt, who plays Wonder Woman in the short, was incredibly dedicated and a huge Wonder Woman fan! The stunt team was incredibly talented and we all watched in amazement as Wonder Woman, with their help, flew for the first time. America Young, Clare Grant, Alicia Big Barda and Wonder WomanMarie, Christy Hauptman, and myself filled out the rest of the Amazons. It was so much fun getting to know these wonderful women while dressing up and playing with swords. It was even more fun to reconnect with all of them at Comic-Con 2013 a few weeks after shooting. Rileah and I even hit the convention floor cosplaying as Wonder Woman and Big Barda, also from DC Comics.

This was truly a labor of love. By combining our talents and passion for this character, I believe we were able to create something worthy of the Amazon Princess. I will be posting more info about this project in coming weeks, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy our passion project!

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