A little background about myself since it’s relevant before we begin: Most of my life I’ve been pretty scrawny. I could eat and eat and never gain weight for the longest time until I hit my mid-twenties. Suddenly I was gaining weight and it bothered me. When I hit 198 lbs, I told myself I was going to lose weight before I hit 200 for the first time in my life.
That was over six months ago now, and since then I started exercising daily, eating better and I cut junk food mostly out of my life. I lost an amazing 35 pounds and I have managed to keep it off. So it goes without saying that I am very pro-fitness and that’s the standpoint I am coming from. I tell you all of this so that my biases are out in the open, people know where I stand because I know this can be a difficult subject for many.
One of the biggest questions when it comes to cosplay, and a regular “controversy” is the age-old “if you don’t have the body for the character/costume, should you still do it?”
For the sake of keeping things anti-controversial, I won’t be posting any images or citing any specific names of any specific incidents (please keep people’s privacy and livelihoods in thought!), but I’d like to talk about the issue as a whole. Part of what I want to do with this piece on a weekly basis is to sit down and have a chat with all of you at home.
We’ve all seen plus-sized cosplay models and low-sized (for lack of a better term) and we’ve seen this discussion appear all over on both sides of the fence. We’ve seen people have a go at curvier cosplayers for trying to portray slender or “skinny” (again a lack of a better term) characters, and we’ve seen slender people try to take on larger characters; both being met with praise and criticism.
So where do we draw a line? What is the rule of thumb? Should it be only acceptable to take on a character if you “have the body type” for it?
I’m going to go with: no. I say this as someone who cares about fitness and is an exercise nut as well.
While having a certain shape to your general figure (not talking about weight, but more of how your body carries itself, such as hourglass figures vs. pear figures, etc.) can definitely give you a more appealing look to some for taking on certain characters, it should not constitute the general rule of “all that is or shall be”.
This is a community like many where cosplay is common and rampant, but something we all need to remember is that these people are fans like yourself. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and be judged, and we’ve all been there before. They may take photos, do poses and even go to conventions to show off their outfits, but remember they are doing so not just for our entertainment and praise, but for themselves as well. We should never allow our passion for a hobby to isolate someone out of the said hobby.
It is, however, okay to offer critiques and growing points for people. I say growing points because I feel people should build upon their strengths rather than dwell on their weaknesses.
Always remember though, never offer critique where it’s not being asked for.
We should support anyone who wants to partake, even if we personally don’t like the look they are pulling off. I always remember my time in fanfiction groups where I was always witnessing long bouts of people saying that you should never attempt X or Y and that whenever someone asked about how to do X or Y, they were always told the best advice is to never try X or Y because it was always “difficult” to pull off “well”.
I was never a fan of that mentality because, in my mind, I saw it as you just talked the person out of it that may have been the person who was going to do it well. We will never know what we’re missing out on if we talk people out of trying. It is better to have a million missed shots at something and end up with that one really great one in the end than it is to avoid taking any chances so we pump out more and more of the same.
What do you guys think?
Love all of you, Key
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