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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12 comments

  1. Darran says:

    I could be out of line but perhaps some of the larger and stronger cosplayers should Superhero Up and protect the smaller members of their community.

    I am not advocating vigilantism… fuck it, yes, yes I am. The community should have a neighborhood watch system set up.

    All of that being said. Pick your battles. Somebody comments on somebody’s boobs or ass or bulge I’d say tell them to get lost. Physical contact is a no-no and somebody should be physically ejected.

    Great article! Time to end the douche-bag bullshit and get back to having fun.

    • Darran says:

      OH… when I said tell them to get lost, I forgot to mention to report them. Perhaps the people who run conventions could set up a system of ejecting these individuals after so many reports? I’ve never been able to go to any modern cons so I don’t know how they are run.

      • Shadow says:

        Get their badge. Their badge would have their name on it. Either take a photo of the badge and the asshole or by taking the badge itself.

  2. Yes! 1000 times yes!! This is what I keep saying. Say NO and say it loud. Do NOT be afraid of hurting someones feelings! How can we teach people to do this!! Especially women who are taught from an early age – don’t make trouble, don’t be loud, don’t complain! When you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, when you feel uncomfortable, you have a right to speak up!!! Thank you.

  3. […] at San Diego Comic Con, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. The Golden Lasso has a really good article up on Convention Rape Culture if you want more to read on this […]

  4. Hey Kimi, I don’t know what your personal experiences have been with Greg Benson (the guy in the first photo with Lady Loki) but in all the times I’ve run into him he is very clear with the women he interviews before he interviews them that the subject matter will be overtly lewd. He is kind and polite, and if you don’t want to interview with him it’s no problem. It’s unfortunate that all people see is his youtube persona, which is just that- a shtick. It gets him views and makes him money, which he uses to do things like create a gourmet restaurant for the homeless at a shelter for a holiday. Just wanted to inform a bit from my end, and I hope you had an AMAZING SDCC!! :) <3

    • Kimi says:

      Hey girl!

      SDCC was incredible, and I’ll be writing about how great it was soon. I don’t know Greg, but the image illustrated the point without going over the top and humiliating a cosplayer too much or including curse words. It was actually from an article about the Loki cosplayer being upset about the interview. Maybe that experience is why he is clear about the subject matter now? I’m very glad to know that he is clear with people before interviewing them. Thanks for the info! <3

  5. Di Lua says:

    Hi, there!
    I have a cosplay blog in Brazil and I talk a lot about assaults like this.
    I think your article was very nice and I wonder: would you let me translate it to portuguese and blog about this there?
    Rape culture in conventions is unfortunately pretty common in Brazil, and I think your comment was really relevant about this issue.
    Please, let me know if you agree.
    I’d give you all the credits of course.

    Thank you!

  6. S.Shaddix says:

    I know this feeling, and have been guilty of being too polite, however I am lucky I always have someone with me
    I wore a more reveling Harley Quinn outfit this year and did get a lot of people wanting photos etc, and I don’t mind the photos, but I DO mind if they think they can just grab me or put their hand on my ass, its not cool. It feels hard at times to tell them off but you just have to do it, even if it gets you called a b****, better than being touched!

  7. Jesse says:

    One thing that women have started doing in Japan when they get grabbed is to grab the man by the wrist that touched them and drag him to the nearest police officer (Typically there are a few on every platform but it wasn’t doing any good because they couldn’t see it in the crowd) Usually the man is too surprised to say anything. This ensures he’s caught. I’m not sure how well it will work in America though, but it’s worth a try.

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