Okay guys, this is it. That post, the Body Image post. I’ve been letting the ideas for this one percolate, and I’ll be honest that I’ve been concerned about writing it and inadvertently using a phrase that offends someone.
But sometimes that happens anyways, and I’m not doing myself or my readers (Hi mom!) any favours by avoiding it.
Body Image and Cosplay. I shit you not, this is probably more touchy than racism and cosplay, (thought honestly it shouldn’t be). But, everyone’s got a body, so everyone has an opinion about bodies. You’re your own body expert… of only your body.
Different Bodies in the same costume still look amazing.
Unless you’re a doctor, I guess. Then you’re kind of an every-one’s body expert.
The Body Problem.
For an artform, costuming is inheriently tied to bodies way more than most. A painter doesn’t wear his painting around, and have people tell him that he should paint something that suits his body type more. Ditto with a musician. (Singers/Idols excluded for unfortnate media reaons).
We all have bodies, should we care what other people think? Empowerment-Calamity wants to say “No! Fuck (not literally) the shaming people. You own that body, arthritis, gout and all!”.
Empowerment Calamity braved a bikini at Colossal Con despite jiggly bits.
Practicality Calamity says “Yes… and no.”
Practicality Calamity wins out in this case, although it’s not going to go over well with Empowerment. But I swear, there’s a good reason for this, and it all comes down to why you cosplay and what you want out of this crack-like hobby of ours.
I’ve made a handy reference chart on whether or not you should give a fuck about how you look in your costume:
Why do you Cosplay?
To Play as the character
Tell the haters to drink haterade. You’re doing this for YOURSELF. No one else. Own it. Work it. Enjoy it. You’re the one having fun, and there’s no revenge like success and fulfilment.
This isn’t a beauty contest. This is a skills contest. There are more important things to worry about on stage than if you’ve got a bit of jiggle in your wiggle. A flat tummy is impressive, but it doesn’t hold up to hand embroidery and perfectly flat-felled seams, yo.
Why yes, I am twice as much person as Kudrel. But that’s okay.
However, if you are nervous about being on stage, you can eat healthy and choose to be active, (actually, always do that. It’s good for you), but if people bitch about your body, chances are they’re upset with how awesome your costume is and have nothing else to make them feel better.
Feel pity for them. Move on, win that award.
To become a cosplay Idol
Here’s where people might disagree and/or get upset.
If your sole intention is to become cosplay-famous… you’re going to need to face some harsh truths:
- If you are basing your success on your looks, then be ready when others critique them. Some critique may be helpful like ‘I think a cat eye would really make your eyes pop’ and some won’t like ‘you should lose that cellulite’.
*spoiler:* NO ONE LOSES CELLULITE. It’s there forever. Know when to listen and when to ignore.
- There are certain ‘standards’ of beauty that people like. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s the truth. Straight white teeth are more appealing than crooked stained ones. You’re not going to change the minds of everyone.
- You’re going to have to put work into maintaining yourself just like you put work into your cosplays. I’m not saying botox, but eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise will be important.
- People can get mean and spiteful, and if you’re famous (or an idol) they are going to react to you, because you’ve put yourself out there.
That said, if you’re ready to deal with the negativity, strong enough to shake them off and aware enough of yourself to know if you can make the grade, go for it.
There can be curvy idols and POC idols, short and tall, male and female (and everywhere in between). There is always going to be someone somewhere that wants to take you down a notch. If you’re ready for that…
There is nothing wrong with showing off what you’ve worked hard on: be it a costume or a body. Whether you want to listen to what people are saying, is up to you.
It is YOUR body, but for the love of god, take care of it. You only get one, and cyborg technology is still decades away.