How to Keep The Cosplay Community Safe
What is Cosplay?
Cosplay is the hobby in which someone dresses up as a character from some (fictional) medium such as film, television, comics, novels, manga, etc. Cosplay is a hobby that has gained popularity over the years; conventions, parties, and various social events have emerged surrounding cosplay. And with this is the inevitability of social interaction. As with any social interaction, you get the bad and the good. Many people tend to push and cross the boundaries of cosplayers and this is a habit that needs to end.
Here are some ways we can keep the community safe:
Be a Safe Person
Being a Safe Person means being an open and understanding person someone can go to without fear of harassment, judgement, or shame. A safe person takes the responsibility of making sure that their environment is as safe a place as possible. Hear someone participating in bullying/shaming? Call them out. See a person in an uncomfortable situation? Politely intervene and check out what is going on. Make sure people feel safe going to you for help so that you can encourage them to make moves on behalf of their own safety in case they feel too alone/anxious/unsure of how to do it on their own. Take note of who is a safe person and who isn’t and choose your support system wisely.
Consent before Action
Consent is a clear and enthusiastic yes! This isn’t just for sexual encounters, make sure to ask consent before you touch another cosplayer or their things for any reason. This includes asking to touch their cosplay props, take picture of/with them, or hang out with them. In party situations ask before dancing. In dating situations, ask before touching, and come to an agreement to what is/isn’t ok when you do decide to take things to a more intimate level. Meekness and silence is NOT a clear an enthusiastic yes. Inebriation of any sort is NOT a clear and enthusiastic yes. Sleeping in NOT a clear and enthusiastic yes. Make sure to take not of body language and other forms of non-verbal language.
Report to Event Staff
Event organizers are creating fun experiences for you, and the last thing they want you to feel is unsafe. When going to an event, take a couple minuets to figure out who the event staff is and who can help you in case something occurs. Report any suspicious persons or activities you see at your event. Better safe than sorry. If you do see or experience any boundary crossing or assault, report it immediately. Remember: It is easier to handle the situation sooner rather than later. Besides, think of all the other people you are protecting from possibly experiencing the same thing.
Making negative comments on people’s clothing, appearances, and experiences is a part of
bullying and/or victim shaming. It is a highly toxic part of the cosplay community. We should be uplifting those around us and embracing our diversity and the unique aspects of cosplay many people bring to us. People’s personal experiences are just that: personal. And if they need your opinions and support they will seek you out. If you cannot give your support (be a safe person) then simply inform them of you inability and direct them to someone who can better help with their issue.
If you have additional tips and info on how to keep the community safe, let us know in the comments below!