Tips for Having a Good Convention Experience

As summer winds down into the cool months of autumn, convention season is also slowing down. There are still some big events left to be sure, but the winter months are often considered a rest period. People will use this time to save some money, focus on school or work, and prepare for the next season of conventions; early year events typically have an outpouring of well-made and creative costumes. However, in this storm of preparing, we must remember that we’re attending these events with other human beings and their desire to have a good time is equally as valid as ours. In the meantime, here are some general tips that will help make sure that you, your friends, and strangers will have the best time possible.

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Sexualized Saturdays: A Non-Furry’s Defense of Furries

Within the geek community, there are few subcultures that catch more shade than furries. If you’ve been to an anime or comic convention you’ve probably encountered a few of them; some are immediately identifiable by elaborate anthropomorphic animal suits, and in some cases they simply sport some animal features like ears and tails. There are also many members of this community who are fans of the aesthetic but don’t actively participate in the costuming aspect. I’m not a furry myself, and don’t have any authority to really analyze the community, but in the past I have engaged in some active furry-derision, and I’ve been challenging myself about why. What led me—and apparently so many others—to choose furries as a subculture scapegoat (no pun intended)? What inclines a community made up largely of outsiders to exclude another subgroup? Well, I don’t know for sure, but I have some theories.

fox robin hood

His voice was so sultry though, what’s with that?

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Using Black Hashtags to Change the Landscape

I hope you’re ready: It’s Black History Month, and we’re gonna be talking about representation! What are the first images you see when you search “beautiful people”? What about “cosplay”? You will see lots of vibrant colors. However, that doesn’t generally extend to skin color; there’s not a lot of diversity in the skin color of the people who appear when you search. While the number of people of color appearing with these search terms is not zero, they are pretty low. So, how do we respond to this and try to make it better? Find out below the jump.

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Offensive Costumes? Let’s Not

Halloween is right around the corner, so it’s that time of year again where we need to have a discussion about what is or isn’t appropriate to use as a costume. As with cosplay, costumes are a way to have fun and express yourself. However, some lines shouldn’t be crossed. This is not a post discouraging people from doing “sexy” costumes; I’m not one to slut-shame. No, I want to have a discussion about offensive costumes.

This has been a hot topic in the cosplay community recently. I’m sure many of you have seen the now (in)famous picture of a white cosplayer doing a version of Garnet from Steven Universe in which she employed brownface to get a desired “more accurate” version of the Crystal Gem. Although this makes me and others fairly uncomfortable (as did the ensuing non-apology), I’m not here to start a dogpile on someone—different cultures have different understandings of race relations. I’m much more invested in discussing why the action, not the person, is racist and problematic.

Yep, might as well get into this now.

Yep, might as well get into this now. (via Nerd Reactor)

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Cosplay Is Expression

I’ve been getting into cosplay more and more recently. I love dressing up, whether it be costumes or formal wear. For me, this is a large portion of going to conventions. It is also why I’m so partial to Halloween and weddings. Having interesting costumes is a lot of fun, and brings a sense of accomplishment when you can create something that looks how you want it to—whether it being creating garments and props from scratch or simply piecing together an ensemble that feels just right. But frequently, people will ask: “why do you like cosplaying?” I’d like to discuss that for a bit.

Cosplay!

Cosplay!

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Chubby Cosplay

I’m writing this only a few hours after the Ferguson Grand Jury passed down a no indictment decision in the murder of Mike Brown. It’s hard to be excited or joyful about anything when I’d much rather set a fire under the American justice system. It feels deeply disingenuous for me to turn around and say “let’s be happy about something unrelated,” but this is a Web Crush Wednesday post, and so that’s what I’m doing.

As our longtime readers well know, I spend pretty much all of my time either cosplaying, working on cosplay, or earning money for future cosplay. And although I have had plenty of experience being the victim of sexism while cosplaying, as a thin person, I have the privilege of not being shamed for my weight when I dress up. The same is not true for heavier cosplayers, who are often mocked or shamed for daring to commit the crime of having fun while fat. That’s where this week’s web crush comes in. Chubby Cosplay is a fan-run blog that celebrates cosplayers of diverse body types. Continue reading

Why Otakon Gave Me Some Frowny Emotes: Unacknowledged Social Issues In Anime

This is how we party in Dorne.

This is how we party in Dorne.

On a rare break from work this past weekend, my excellent beard and I made the trip down to Baltimore, MD for Otakon: the second-largest anime convention in the US with over 32,000 attendees. While I was there having fun and sweating it out in my Oberyn Martell cosplay (gratuitously pictured), I intended to pop in on some feminist and/or diversity panels and happily report on the status of social progress in the geek community, but after reviewing the schedule for the weekend, I found virtually no programming that could fit into either of those categories. This would not have surprised me five or six years ago, but with other conventions and fan events putting marked effort into accepting and celebrating marginalized fans, it was surprising and slightly disheartening to realize that Otakon offered virtually nothing that I could consider relevant to this blog. Anime has many praiseworthy tropes, especially magical girls, as well as more than its fair share of problems with representation, but for whatever reason, neither positive nor negative commentary was brought to bear at Otakon.

Trigger warning for moe weirdness after the jump. Continue reading