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.
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.
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.
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
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
Here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends, most of our posts focus on geeky media. We hardly ever broach the techie side of geekdom. But it deserves to be talked about, because women and POC are still massively underrepresented in technological fields. When we think of techie geeks like hackers, tinkerers, and makers, we still think mainly of white men.
There are many reasons for this, but one that I’ve personally heard girls tell me is that they just aren’t that interested in technology careers. Most girls in our culture simply aren’t raised to like the hard edges and so-called ugliness of the “guts” that make up the insides of our devices. So how can we get more girls interested in technology? One way is to meet them where they are, with things they’ve already been socialized to like, in order to show that there is more than one “right” way to approach technology.
Enter today’s Web Crush: The Laser Girls. They 3D print acrylic and metal fingernails. Yeah, you read that right.
There’s a high price tag on being a woman in our society. And I don’t mean financially, although cis and trans women both can easily spend thousands of dollars trying to meet the minimum social requirements of femininity—tampons, makeup, clothes for passing as female, gynecologist appointments, hormone treatments, as well as pepper spray and self defense classes, add up to a pretty penny. I mean the fact that women’s bodies are considered public property. In both fictional media and real life, women must be beautiful before they can be anything else, and we are at fault for not upholding those standards of beauty to an impossibly precise degree.
An oft-cited real world example is the difference between the media receptions of Lance Armstrong losing a testicle to cancer and Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy—while the former was treated as a sad but necessary loss for Armstrong in his struggle with cancer, the latter was met with significant outrage. Didn’t Jolie know she was a sex symbol? By having her breasts removed for the important and personal reason of cancer prevention, didn’t she know that she was selfishly depriving horny guys around the world the ability to jerk off to them?